Introduction and purchasing BC346XT question

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yabber

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Apr 3, 2010
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Toronto, Ontario, Canada
Good evening everyone, I should have posted a while ago but wanted to read up and learn everything first.

Currently, I'm rocking a Realistic PRO-2010 desktop unit. :)

For now I am looking for a handheld trunked scanner (not digital).
I am interested in listening to everything - but of course fire, local transit & police (until they turn digital later this year.) I'm in Toronto, Canada.

I'm planning on buying a new BC346XT & USB cable from the local shop tomorrow. As well as the obligatory RR membership.

I been jotted down a few questions to start with. Hopefully they're quick and simple.

-- Is there anything (frequency range) the BC346XT scanner won't receive that I might be surprised to discover?

-- The shop will program it for $40. Should I even consider this? I'm planning to start by programming it myself (with software)? I know I can always go back to the shop if the DIY approach doesn't work out.

-- Should I start with the Uniden software or another application for programming? I'd prefer to start with free software.

-- When I'm downtown I expect strong signals, and would prefer a short (discrete, stubby) antenna, or even one that folds back on the unit so I don't stand out when on foot and so I can carry it in a small bag I have. Any suggestions for short/stubby all-round antennas or should I really decide what frequencies I want to prioritize before buying an add-on antenna?


My notes had 20 questions, but it looks like I've figured most of them out.

When I'm setup and the weather is good, I'm going to try to lure someone in Toronto out for Beer or Lunch for some local pointers.

Thanks for reading and I hope to chat later.

-Yabber
 

whiskeytango

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Sep 7, 2009
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sacramento ca/reno nv
it receives : 25 - 225 MHz, 400 - 512 MHz, 806 - 960 MHz, 1240 - 1300 MHz. youre basically gonna miss the military am channels, in the 300's.

40$ isnt bad for programming, but knowing how do it gives you, imo, a way better understanding of radio and trunking etc.

is your local municipality a trunking system? typically the smaller the freq the bigger ant youll need, check scannermaster for antennas
 
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ka3jjz

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Jul 22, 2002
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23,471
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Bowie, Md.
There's a stumbling block here - the Ontario Provincial Police (OPP) use a digital system, and the 346 won't receive that. Unfortunately the digital trunktrackers are all kinda expensive, unless you run into a sale at the Shack (no more Radio Shack...).

We have a current listing of all digital scanners here (and from here on out, anything here or in our wiki that's blue is a link...)

Category:Digital Scanners - The RadioReference Wiki

As for software, it does depend on which manufacturer you go with. If you stick with the Unidens, FreeScan is pretty much the defacto standard. We host its user manual in our wiki here

There isn't any freeware for the GRE/RS digitals, but there are good choices nonetheless.

Object Oriented Scanner Software - The RadioReference Wiki

For the PRO-96/2096, Win96 is the clear champ, although some folks like BuTel's ARC96.

As for short antennas, there are many possibilities - but frankly the little antenna that comes with the handhelds these days would likely be fine in an urban area (assuming there isn't so much signal that it overloads it, which can happen). However if you want to go smaller, Comet's Miracle Baby might be just the ticket. Just keep in mind not to expect miracles - these little antennas might be fine in an urban scene, but you'll want to revert once you leave it.

We have several threads in our Eastern Canada forum regarding programming for the Fleetnet systems; and I should also mention our wiki for Ontario has step by step articles on the subject...

Ontario(CA) - The RadioReference Wiki

Finally if you aren't familiar with some of the terms (particularly in the trunking world which has its own set of ever expanding jargon), and how-tos, our wiki can help with that as well. Go to the blue toolbar under the Scanner Master ad, float your mouse over wiki and select wiki home. On that article you will find tons of links - going through the Links for Newcomers (particularly the Connecting scanners via USB and Trunking Basics) and, depending on what radio you decide on, either the Uniden DMA FAQ or the GRE/RS Object Oriented Scanners FAQ would be highly recommended.

Get something tall and cool (it was 91 degrees F here in Maryland today) to drink and make yourself comfortable. Start reading, make yourself known in the Eastern Canada forum. You have some homework - and there will be a test on Tuesday (don't worry, it's open book) HI

73 Mike
 

yabber

Member
Joined
Apr 3, 2010
Messages
14
Location
Toronto, Ontario, Canada
Thanks a lot guys, I think you've covered everything.

I couldn't get to the shop, so I ordered my BC346XT from Scanner Master last night. I saved about $115 ordering online.

Yes, the OPP are digital but I'm not too interested in them because Toronto has our own police force. The OPP has been boring whenever I have listened anyway. I will listen to Toronto police *while I can*. However, they may be moving to digital in the next few months, before the G20 summit begins. I would assume they will remain digital after that. (that's a whole other topic) I might buy a digital scanner a year from now, but that's ok with me.

The wiki is awesome, and it's the reason I only had 4 questions left. I have found that with scanning, no matter what I look up it leads to 3 new questions. A lot of things I didn't even know I needed to know are in that wiki, from iPhone apps to rebanding.

I had seen a lot of posts about Fleetnet but I had not seen that specific wiki page yet. I'll definitely be reviewing it shortly.

I figure I'll get my conventional frequencies setup and working. Then I'll get the trunking working. I'll need to take some time to get comfortable with the unit, and lurk here. Then I'll be back here or the regional forum with a new slew of questions. :)

Thanks again! I'll try to pay it forward down the road.

-yabber
 

K7CAR

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Joined
Nov 12, 2009
Messages
150
Location
Monroe, WA
I don't know what's it like in Toronto, but would guess there's a ton of analog stuff you'll be able to listen too for many years, so your 346 won't be outdated anytime soon. Read up on all the programming pains and download FreeScan. ProScan would be your best option if you care to buy software.

The Uniden scanners are a beach to learn, but once you figure out you have to push this button once then spin around and cough twice it's a piece of cake. The same questions are asked week after week, so read up on those and you should be fine. If not there's plenty of help here.
 
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