I Need Help Programming My BC346XT Scanner

Status
Not open for further replies.

afili8ter

Member
Joined
Jun 24, 2011
Messages
8
Location
Nashville, TN
Hello all,

I have a BC346XT scanner I bought almost 3 months now ($259) and I still can't get it to play any of the channels.

I live in Nashville, TN (Davidson Co) and I'm trying to program the local police for starters. Below is what I've tried so far without any luck:

a. I've read the manual that came with the scanner
b. I've registered here at RadioReference.com
c. I've downloaded the trial version of ProScan v4.4.7
d. I've searched the Internet for specific instructions to program at least one frequency with this scanner.

The trial version of ProScan is an excellent piece of software for programming my scanner, but the problem is that it doesn't play anything after I load what I think is what I'm looking for to scan.

The scanner connects to my computer and all the functions work simultaneously between the scanner and software. I know there's nothing wrong with the software, but I just can't get my scanner to play anything at all.

My main problem is that I'm still not familiar with the "Trunked" system. I've been reading all I can but everything I read seem to be too broad/basic, and not specific to my scanner.

I'm used to scanners and I've been reading on the trunked systems, but I just never had a scanner that was trunked, until now.

Is there any one that is in Nashville, TN (close to 37206) that could help me understand what I'm suppose to do for a fee? All I need is someone to show me exactly how to program at least "Nashville Police", and hopefully I'll get the understanding on how to program other groups/frequencies.

I'm a quick learner and I don't need anything more than someone showing me how to program Nashville Police. I don't need general instructions because I've been trying to manually program the scanner for so long now, I'm ready to pay someone to help me understand what I must be doing wrong.

When I used ProScan on both of my computers, I just knew I would have my scanner programmed immediately, but I thought wrong. It's more complicated than I thought..... and that's because I don't understand what I'm doing.

I'm willing to pay immediately if the price is right and if you'll show me exactly how to setup at least one frequency and I hear something here in Nashville, TN.

Thanks in advance for anyone that may be willing to help me out.
 

Placid1

Member
Premium Subscriber
Joined
Aug 29, 2011
Messages
78
Location
NM
While you are waiting have you checked to see if you have the most current firmware yet?
If not check here -> BC346XTFirmwareUpdate < UnidenMan4 < TWiki
I see one of bug fixes is for a rebanded system and looking at nashville it looks like they are rebanded

Nashville/Davidson County System
System Name:
Nashville/Davidson County System
Location:
Nashville, TN
County:
Davidson
System Type:
Motorola Type II SmartZone
System Voice:
Analog and APCO-25 Common Air Interface
Last Updated:
September 26, 2011, 9:56 am (Updated Function Tag assignments for 1 talkgroups)

Important Rebanded Note

One or more sites for this trunking system have gone through the 800 MHz rebanding process. Your scanner may be incompatible, require a firmware update or require special programming to track these sites. Please visit the RR Wiki Rebanding page for additional information.

http://www.radioreference.com/apps/db/?sid=6495
 
Last edited:

trkntrlrman

Member
Premium Subscriber
Joined
Aug 28, 2008
Messages
179
Location
Desert Hot Springs, CA.
CLEAR ALL memory, Download FREESCAN, then download the frequancies you need from RR to your freescan program and then upload them to your scanner. If that dosent work You might want to have the scanner checked and make sure it's working properly.. Make sure you have your baud rate set correctly. If you bought it used it may have a problem...
 
Last edited:

afili8ter

Member
Joined
Jun 24, 2011
Messages
8
Location
Nashville, TN
I've tried the update and I can't get it to update. Here's the problem:

1. When I run the BC_VUP file, it loads with COM 2 selected with no other port options.
2. The scanner is set to COM 1 on the computer.
3. If I set the scanner to COM 2 on the computer, then the BC_VUP software will load with COM 1 selected, and no option to select COM 2.

Any idea what is going on?
 

afili8ter

Member
Joined
Jun 24, 2011
Messages
8
Location
Nashville, TN
CLEAR ALL memory, Download FREESCAN, then download the frequancies you need from RR to your freescan program and then upload them to your scanner. If that dosent work You might want to have the scanner checked and make sure it's working properly.. Make sure you have your baud rate set correctly. If you bought it used it may have a problem...
Thanks for the info trkntrlrman, I'll give it a try.

The scanner is brand spanking new (Fingerhut).....

I'll post back results.
 

Placid1

Member
Premium Subscriber
Joined
Aug 29, 2011
Messages
78
Location
NM
I've tried the update and I can't get it to update. Here's the problem:

1. When I run the BC_VUP file, it loads with COM 2 selected with no other port options.
2. The scanner is set to COM 1 on the computer.
3. If I set the scanner to COM 2 on the computer, then the BC_VUP software will load with COM 1 selected, and no option to select COM 2.

Any idea what is going on?
Maybe you have some other scanner software running at the same time?
You can check what firmware version is on it now. it is possible its already the newest.
Look at the setting on your radio it has set backlight, adjust key beep, battery option, and the one you want-> see scanner info.

Looking at Davidson county I see a lot of D's and E's for the police trunking system (digital and encrypted).

I am not sure if your analog trunking scanner would work with that.

Download both the trunked and conventional systems for your county. You should be able to get something.
 
Last edited:

hiegtx

Mentor
Premium Subscriber
Joined
May 8, 2004
Messages
6,347
Location
Dallas, TX
For this system, Nashville/Davidson County System Trunking System, Nashville, Tennessee - Scanner Frequencies
virtually all of the public safety talk groups (police & fire) are tagged as either "D" or "E" in the Mode column.
The ones labeled as "D" are digital, and you won't be able to receive those on your 346XT, no matter how it's programmed. You need a digital scanner for these.

For the ID's labeled with an "E", those are encrypted. No scanner will be able to receive these talkgroups.

There are some interoperability talkgroups labeled as "A", for analog, on this system. Those would be scannable with the 346.Other services (public works, utilities, code enforcement, for example) are also analog.

The Goodlettsville system in the county is also analog, and can be monitored with the 346.
 

afili8ter

Member
Joined
Jun 24, 2011
Messages
8
Location
Nashville, TN
Maybe you have some other scanner software running at the same time?
You can check what firmware version is on it now. it is possible its already the newest.
Look at the setting on your radio it has set backlight, adjust key beep, battery option, and the one you want-> see scanner info.

Looking at Davidson county I see a lot of D's and E's for the police trunking system (digital and encrypted).

I am not sure if your analog trunking scanner would work with that.

Download both the trunked and conventional systems for your county. You should be able to get something.
The firmware on the scanner says "3.88" when I click on the backlight and then click down on the volume knob. It's at the top right side. I don't recall the original version no#, but thanks for that info too.

To trkntrlrman,
Thanks for the info on the FreeSCAN. For what it's worth, although I like the ProScan and the FreeSCAN, I'm glad I didn't pay for the full version right now being as though I can't even get one channel programmed with the trial version. It's worth the money, but not for me right about now.

To hiegtx,
Believe it or not, but you've shed a heck of a lot of light on this for me. I'm beginning to understand it more. Now I need to learn how all the information fits together.

I'm pissed now, because I returned the other scanner I bought from Fingerhut to get a scanner that will pick up what I wanted to hear. And now I bought this one too, and this one doesn't pick up on those channels.

Although I read what this scanner can do before I exchanged it for the other one that I returned, I still didn't know enough to check and understand the codes and what is actually digital and analog. That's my fault on that one.... but darn, technology is moving super fast.

I can only listen to Nashville Police from RadioReference.com. I have a BlackBerry 8330 and a paid police scanner and recently Nashville has become unable to connect to.

I hate to have to go through all of this again and send the scanner back, but I'm going to do it. That was my purpose of getting the scanner, to listen to the police and other emergency stations.

I live about 4 blocks or so from the train tracks and I had the scanner search for railroads and it won't even pick them up.... not unless I'm doing something wrong. But the software and scanner are connected and I can see progress and changes take effect, but still, nothing.

Is there anyone living around Nashville that picks up the Police and have have a handheld scanner? If so, which brand/model do you have?

Again, thanks to all of you for your help and insight. I'll be learning more by reading the database page to understand all of this better.

Oh well, guess I'll be packing it up soon and sending it back. Glad I kept all the packaging.
 

afili8ter

Member
Joined
Jun 24, 2011
Messages
8
Location
Nashville, TN
For this system, Nashville/Davidson County System Trunking System, Nashville, Tennessee - Scanner Frequencies
virtually all of the public safety talk groups (police & fire) are tagged as either "D" or "E" in the Mode column.
The ones labeled as "D" are digital, and you won't be able to receive those on your 346XT, no matter how it's programmed. You need a digital scanner for these.

For the ID's labeled with an "E", those are encrypted. No scanner will be able to receive these talkgroups.

There are some interoperability talkgroups labeled as "A", for analog, on this system. Those would be scannable with the 346.Other services (public works, utilities, code enforcement, for example) are also analog.

The Goodlettsville system in the county is also analog, and can be monitored with the 346.
I just now came from that database page, and looking at the column "MODE", I can see the "D" and "E" for the Police. I just learned something new. Thanks!

I'm sure there's a legend or chart that can help me understand what I'm looking at.

I'm so glad I took the time to post to this forum. The response was instantly. Thanks for such a great community to be in.
 

W8RMH

Feed Provider Since 2012
Premium Subscriber
Joined
Jan 4, 2009
Messages
7,977
The firmware on the scanner says "3.88" when I click on the backlight and then click down on the volume knob. It's at the top right side. I don't recall the original version no#, but thanks for that info too.
That (3.88) is the voltage in your batteries.

To check the firmware - press Menu, Settings, See Scanner Info, Firmware Version, and it will show the firmware version in a x.xx.xx format.

Although from what I've seen above, you are trying to monitor a system that is 99 percent digital.
 
Last edited:

Placid1

Member
Premium Subscriber
Joined
Aug 29, 2011
Messages
78
Location
NM
I just now came from that database page, and looking at the column "MODE", I can see the "D" and "E" for the Police. I just learned something new. Thanks!

I'm sure there's a legend or chart that can help me understand what I'm looking at.

I'm so glad I took the time to post to this forum. The response was instantly. Thanks for such a great community to be in.
If you mouse over the top of the column (mode) where you see the D,E, ect. you will get a description of what the letters mean.

The bcd396xt is the handheld digital trunking scanner that uniden makes.
 
Last edited:

afili8ter

Member
Joined
Jun 24, 2011
Messages
8
Location
Nashville, TN
If you mouse over the top of the column (mode) where you see the D,E, ect. you will get a description of what the letters mean.

The bcd396xt is the handheld digital trunking scanner that uniden makes.
Thanks for the mouse over info. I thought they were just header text only.

I guess the "D" in the model no# from Bearcat means digital.

To OHI063,
Thanks for the info. My firmware version is 1.05.00

I really had hoped this scanner would pick up those channels. I had my hopes up so high...
 

bama9999

Member
Joined
Jan 15, 2006
Messages
738
Location
Gulf Coast
You could listen to Nashville's radio traffic via the live feed here on RR, and use your 346XT for the analog stuff that it will pick up in that area.
 

kd8ati

Member
Premium Subscriber
Joined
Feb 5, 2008
Messages
288
Location
Ferndale, MI
Re: Nashville Help

There are three main kinds of scanners....

#1. The simple $60 - $125 analog non-trunking scanner. This scanner picks up your simple analog conventional stuff thats on repeaters.

#2. Analog trunk-tracking scanners. More expensive then #1, but able to pick up most trunk systems that are NOT digital, as well as everything #1 can receive.

#3. Digital trunking scanners. The top of the scanner line, and the most expensive. These scanners will receive everything #1 & #2 will, as well as the common (Apco25) digital trunking systems that are NOT encrypted. U.S federal law prohibits people from monitoring encrypted communications.

So the kind of scanner you buy will depend on on what you want to listen to. As has already been mentioned, the mode (analog or digital) (trunking or non-trunking), is all available in the database.

If you wish to listen to Nashville Police, Nashville Fire, or Davidson County Sheriff, you will NEED a scanner that does digital trunking.

For a complete list of digital trunking scanners, you can visit this web site...
Radio Scanner Guide - Category 5: Digital Trunking Scanners

It should also be noted that the "Pro" scanners listed, like Pro-106 are Radioshack branded scanners. You will also see PSR brand scanners. PSR is the maker of radioshack scanners. So many features between the "Pro" scanners and "PSR" scanners will be similar. The "BCD" scanners are made by Uniden. Do not ask which brand is better. That would be like asking a group of people which version of Windows they like better. You will get all different answers.

Hope this helps some.
 

K7CAR

Member
Joined
Nov 12, 2009
Messages
150
Location
Monroe, WA
Have you heard one signal? Go into Menu, WX Operation, then WX Scan and see if you are hearing a NOAA weather station. There should be at least one strong signal you pick up on the Scan. As long as you aren't 20 ft. underground or 100 miles out in the boonies you should pick up a NOAA signal. If you don't hear anything perhaps your scanner is defective.

You can also do a Service Search. Menu, Search For, Service Search, then scroll thru the List and Scan one of those. You should hear some signals on those scans. Ham Radio and Air should have plenty of strong signals that you'll pick up. The 346 is an analog scanner, but there should be 1,000's of signals you can listen to in the Nashville area that aren't digital. Verify it's working first before we tackle the programming and software.
 
Last edited:

blue5011

Member
Joined
Nov 21, 2010
Messages
432
Location
Faribault County, MN
I don't think a BC346XT Scanner will receive digital stuff. I too had a heck of a time figuring out the trunking and digital stuff. Luckily I found a file for Freescan that worked and now got my BCD996XT working as it should.
 

Ed_Seedhouse

Member
Premium Subscriber
Joined
Jul 10, 2010
Messages
572
Location
Victoria B.C. Canada
I don't think a BC346XT Scanner will receive digital stuff.
You are right, it won't. Fortunately there are still a lot of analogue trunking systems in my area and even the main one is mostly analogue with only the police being on digital.

Luckily I found a file for Freescan that worked and now got my BCD996XT working as it should.
Yes indeed, it makes this scanner useable and I wouldn't use the 346 without it. Freescan is great.

I have moved on to the GRE 800 for the digital channels, but it costs more, though it is a lot cheaper than the home patrol or the 396. If you want digital at the most reasonable cost the 800 is they way to go but the 346 is still a great little scanner.
 

afili8ter

Member
Joined
Jun 24, 2011
Messages
8
Location
Nashville, TN
To K7CAR,

I do get NOAA and I believe I had it set to a tv station once before before and I was getting signals. I get the NOAA on 162.550 CH1 (FM).
--------------------------------

To blue5011,

What do you mean by finding a "file" from FreeScan? I have downloaded it a couple of days ago, and I still want to thank trkntrlrman for pointing that software out to me. I've used the trial of ProScan and another program I forget the name right now, but nothing worked.

When I knew there was/is software to program theses scanners, I knew it'll kill a week or more worth of time trying to program it manually, especially when I'm still learning about the "trunking" system. I know I can program these scanners with ease once I understand the trunking/digital part of operating this scanner. Trunking is new to me with scanners, but I do love the challenge... more so if I didn't spend all that money on this scanner and it won't scan what I want it to.

It's just not the same and fun listening to the scanner when what you want to scan isn't scannable with what you already have. I upgraded my software on my BlackBerry 8330 and the paid software I bought before I knew about the mobile "RadioReference" and it's picking up Nashville again, but as usual, the time I receive the transmission, it's about 3 minutes slow. On "RadioReference" the time is the exact time on my phones, computers, clocks and watches. So I know "RadioReference" IS "real-time" with me receiving the signals.
------------------------------------------

To Ed_Seedhouse,

Thanks for the info. The GRE PSR-800 seem like a scanner I could use. It already have a built-in SD card, but can the card be taken out? or do you just update the data on the card?
----------------------------------------

To kd8ati,

I see they have some nice scanners. Some of the basic things that I know came with my scanner seem to be things in which you have to pay over there, or are they optional items?

Again, I thank all of you for your insights on this, and the wealth of information I learned already about the trunking system.

I guess I try to program what I can before I send it back to get a feel for doing it. Although the scanner I may buy... hopefully, I'd still like to be able to learn how to program the scanner instead of everything already pre programmed without me being able to manually do anything, but the GRE 800 looks promising.
 

Ed_Seedhouse

Member
Premium Subscriber
Joined
Jul 10, 2010
Messages
572
Location
Victoria B.C. Canada
To Ed_Seedhouse,
Thanks for the info. The GRE PSR-800 seem like a scanner I could use. It already have a built-in SD card, but can the card be taken out? or do you just update the data on the card?
mmed without me being able to manually do anything, but the GRE 800 looks promising.
Yes it can, but I find it a pain to do so because of age and clumsiness and very short fingernails. I have to use tools, but if you are normally dextrous you should have no problem. I did replace the one that came with the scanner with a 4 gig card and that works fine. But really there is plenty of room on the original.

I don't bother removing the card very often, I have other radios so I just turn it off and do the upload to the logical drive that then appears. It never takes more than four or five minutes.

There is a cosmetic problem that occurs with those units that doesn't bother me but might bother you, so you should be forewarned if you are considering buying it. They paint the faceplate on the front with a "knubbled" effect, but it rubs off very easily and looks odd. I just took a cloth and rubbed it all off to leave the faceplate shiny, no problem and it never affected either the screen readibility or the keyboard usability, but if you do decide to buy you should know about that in advance. There is a GRE forum here and you should read through it.

For the price, it looks like the 800 provides about 90% of the ease of use that the Home Patrol does, for a lot less money. The database is updated weekly and is easy to download though copying it over to the chip takes around ten minutes if the chip is in the unit.

Battery life is not as good as the 346, but good enough for me. It charges from a USB port, not from a wall wart but you can get wall plug usb adaptors for minimal cost. BNC connector rather than the screw on for the 346. Shorter rubber ducky antenna but I can get ham repeaters coming in at five bars from locations over 50 miles from my home. Of course I also have a big external antenna I use at home and that gets further, but still I find it's reception with the built in ducky rather impressive.

You can load from the database with the scanner itself if you want, but I generally use the software. The scanner must be OFF to transfer the data to it and you can't see the live display on your computer screen as with Freescan. I am currentlly listening to some hams talking on the Sumas Mountain repeater near Vancouver on 146.41 megahertz on the big antenna and it is coming in at 5 bars from 75 miles away from my home near Victoria, B.C.

It's by no means a perfect scanner, but I like it. I also liked the 346 and have nothing bad to say about it except that the documentation sucks and it is hard to program. Bur "Freescan" addresses that problem for free, and a $15.00 quarterly fee her at RR will let you have on line access to the same database that comes on the cards for the 800 and the Home Patrol. The database is great for fire, safety and utility conventional and trunked systems but, at least for my part of the world has no information on Ham channels and repeaters. I had to find them myself and program them manually, but both Freescan and the software that comes with the 800 make that easy, if tedious, and the information is all out there on the web if you look for it.
 
Last edited:
Status
Not open for further replies.
Top