BCD536HP: I'm Considering a BCD536HP; but have concerns.

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SSN571

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I have been playing with a HP-1 for the past 2 weeks to try and figure out all this new radio stuff. It is ultimately going to live with my wife's aunt in East Texas.

I was going to try and get back into Shortwave listening (had not done any since around '88), but my wife is not interested in all that 'far away stuff', and said that I can have another 'more local' toy. Well what's an old retired kinda guy gonna do? Get the durn 'local' toy!

But says I. . . I be liking bells, whistles, knobs, buttons and all that old stuff that showed that this box is indeed a real radio, Yarrr. So to me that 536hp looks pretty much like one. No I ain't interested in the HP-2, not no way, not no how.

Not long ago, I had ordered a Whistler scanner, for the aunt, on Amazon. Well, it had been clearly used, and was even missing parts. Back it went and I bought the HP-1 from ScanMaster, and I am very reluctant to buy another radio from Amazon, although it appears to be 50 bucks cheaper. That is a pretty big "discount", and I can't help but wonder what's missing? So Scanmaster it is.

Then there is ScanMaster. I was looking at the "buy it" page, and the CHOOSE YOUR OPTIONS section, and there are a lot of options:

SETUP: well, I had to buy a Windoze tablet to install software on the HP-1, so I suppose that I can just as easily do the same for the BCD536HP (Apple user since 80).

SOFTWARE: ARC536, is that not what one downloads for the above, or is that something else special?

MANUAL: Easier to read format.... I'll think about it.

DMR UPDATE: now there's the kicker. It looks to me that the BCD536HP has been around for a while, and I have yet to find any announcements with regard to updating this 'Flag Ship' hardware. Heck, it seems that Microsoft and Apple update their 'Flag Ship' items every 13.5 hours (except for the Mac Pro). Further it appears that this DMR Update was announced and or has been out for almost a year. So why the heck is this Update not included in the, hopefully, brand new radios that Uniden and/or Scanmaster are selling now?
It also appears that if one does not have upgrade installed, which asks where and how is it installed on the radio? Hopefully not on the SD card which, based on my experience with the HP-1, is corrupted any time the static gods are running around my carpet or one plugs the A/C adapter in the radio and then into the wall.
Back to the subject, it appears that if one does not get this upgrade when ordering the radio, the one will have to send it back to get it installed at a later date. $75; but I may have missed a link.

Therefore are/is the concern(s) valid? Should I just bite the silver dollar and pay for the DMR Update and buy this scanner? Or seeing as how this HP-1 does not work all that well where we currently live, I think that Phase 2 has hit the area, tell my wife that the 'local' idea is not all that hot, and I really need to get a Shortwave radio? ;) yarrr.
 

eaf1956

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No you do NOT have to send the scanner back to upgrade either DMR or ProVoice. Just register the S/N on Uniden's site and purchase a key. They send a key via email or it also will display on your Uniden site, enter that into the scanner and you are set. I believe ProVoice is $50 and DMR is $60 at the current time. Each is a separate upgrade.
 

fxdscon

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SOFTWARE: ARC536, is that not what one downloads for the above, or is that something else special?
The free Sentinel software is included at no charge for both the HP1&2 scanners as well as the BCDx36HP scanners. ARC536 is additional software that you would need to pay extra for.


DMR UPDATE: now there's the kicker. It looks to me that the BCD536HP has been around for a while, and I have yet to find any announcements with regard to updating this 'Flag Ship' hardware. Heck, it seems that Microsoft and Apple update their 'Flag Ship' items every 13.5 hours (except for the Mac Pro). Further it appears that this DMR Update was announced and or has been out for almost a year. So why the heck is this Update not included in the, hopefully, brand new radios that Uniden and/or Scanmaster are selling now?
It also appears that if one does not have upgrade installed, which asks where and how is it installed on the radio? Hopefully not on the SD card which, based on my experience with the HP-1, is corrupted any time the static gods are running around my carpet or one plugs the A/C adapter in the radio and then into the wall.
Back to the subject, it appears that if one does not get this upgrade when ordering the radio, the one will have to send it back to get it installed at a later date. $75; but I may have missed a link.
No need to pay a dealer to do any updating, setup, or upgrading when you purchase your scanner. It's something you will need/want to do yourself at some point in time anyway.

All of the information you will need for the DMR or Provoice upgrades including.....

  • How much it costs (less than $75 when you do it yourself)
  • How to determine your S/N and ESN numbers for registration
  • How to register your scanner and purchase the upgrade keys
  • How to update the firmware and install the upgrade key into your scanner

    Are all clearly outlined by following the links on Uniden's website:
BCD536HP < UnidenMan4 < TWiki

IF you follow the links for your choice of upgrade, read and follow the appropriate instructions to the letter, the upgrade process is very simple and straight forward.... and only takes a few minutes.

.
 

SSN571

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Thank you for your reply

I will re-read the indicated links, however, does that mean that this 60 to 75 dollar resides in an easily corruptible SD or is it some sort of firmware upgrade.
 

fxdscon

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I will re-read the indicated links, however, does that mean that this 60 to 75 dollar resides in an easily corruptible SD or is it some sort of firmware upgrade.
The upgrade keys are stored in the scanner's internal memory, they are not stored on the SD card. There is nothing the end user can do, in the normal course of operation, that can erase the upgrade keys once they have been entered into the scanner. Even if there was a way to corrupt the key, it could just be entered again.

SD card glitches can be an occasional problem with these types of scanners, and are nothing to be overly concerned with. Recovery from such a situation is a very simple and quick operation. Especially if you have prepared an inexpensive spare card with your files on it.... you can be up and running again in less that a minute.... even in the field without a computer.

Even without a spare card, you can be up and running again in about ten minutes following a re-format and "clear user data" process... and then re-writing your saved data (including favorites lists, personal settings, profile settings etc.) from the Sentinel software to the card.

MANUAL: Easier to read format.... I'll think about it.
You only need to pay for one of those manuals if you wanted a printed one. They are freely available in HTML format here:

for the BCDx36HP scanners:

Easier to Read BCD436/536HP Digital Scanner Manual

For the BCDx36HP Sentinel Software:

BCDX36HP Sentinel Software Manual



.
 
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hiegtx

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I will re-read the indicated links, however, does that mean that this 60 to 75 dollar resides in an easily corruptible SD or is it some sort of firmware upgrade.
You may be confusing the firmware update with this ScannerMaster item:
https://www.scannermaster.com/SD_Card_Upgrade_for_Uniden_Database_Scanners_p/01-681933.htm

On that sku, they create you a favorites list based on the location you give, then copy that to a new larger card. Also on the card is the latest public firmware for your scanner. If you have not updated that (easily done via Sentinel), then the card would update the base firmware for you. However, that would not give you either the ProVoice or DMR upgrade. ScannerMaster charges $75 to do either the DMR of ProVoice upgrade.As noted, you can do that yourself for less.
 

SSN571

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Thank you for your reply.


However regarding; "Even without a spare card, you can be up and running again in about ten minutes following a re-format and "clear user data" process... and then re-writing your saved data (including favorites lists, personal settings, profile settings etc.) from the Sentinel software to the card."


I have been experiencing awful problems with SD cards on the HomePatrol-1. I went through the reformat, clear data, etc. process with the card that came with the scanner. Everything seemed "to take", work for a while and then give me the deadly 'problem with SD card error'. Scan Master said that it was some sort of static issue. I understand that one must turn the scanner off when removing batteries, however, evidently it has to be turned off to be connected to the wall charger and even then one has to be careful on the order in which that is done. Evidently one must not plug into the scanner and then into the wall, but just the opposite.

I bought a new SD card, and went through the formatting and DB installation and so far, if I am very anal about ensuring that the scanner is off, before doing anything about power changes, things have gone as expected (cross fingers).

One final observation, as per Scan Master's recommendation, I went out and bought a low cost Windows Tablet (Mac kinda guy here) to do all this with. It has a micro SD card slot, but the formatting software that I downloaded reports that it can't format the card. No problems if I put the card in the scanner to do it. I don't know if there is some sort of Windows driver thing missing, or if the formatting software only works with a card that is the scanner by design. On a steep Windows learning curve here. I had to jump through hoops just to get the all the software installed on the Tablet, i.e. installing Frameworks 2 (it came with Frameworks 4 installed). This leads me to think that this software is very old, with no actual software version updates in the future.

Thank you again,
trav
 
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