BCD536HP: Latest Status

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nydxa

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I'm seriously considering buying a 536. Been reading the forums and much of the info seems to be from early adopters.

1. Regarding WiFi, is it / will it be possible to remotely stream audio to a PC or mobile device?
2. How about remote control of the radio?
3. What are the major unresolved issues with the 536?
4. Any comments on Butel's software vs. Sentinel software?
 

jonwienke

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Short version:

#1 and #2 are not complete, as is the trunked system Analyze function. Once the wi-fi dongle firmware and Siren app are completed (no release date set yet), you will be able to stream audio and remote control the scanner via wi-fi.

Sentinel does most everything scanner programming software needs to do, but it's got a klunky user interface and doesn't make some simple things very easily doable. Butel's software is supposed to be better, but it's also not free. I haven't used it yet.

Despite having some unfinished features, the x36 scanners are powerful and capable scanners that offer reasonable performance for price even in their current unfinished state.
 

nydxa

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Just a few more questions

Thanks so much for your honest response.

The last scanner I purchased was the 996, used with Butel’s software. In reading through Butel’s web page it makes reference to expanding the capability of the 536, suggesting that the features listed below can’t be done with Uniden’s software

• True Excel style editor with cut/copy/paste options
Q1: Can I copy and paste into Uniden’s software?

Q2: Is the 536 limited to its internal database, or can I program in new systems that may not be in their system (using Uniden software)?

• Add any frequency or talkgroup that is not in the built-in database
• Add/Modify a control channel frequency
• Add a trunk system that is not in the built-in database
• Easily share you favorite hpd files with other BCD436/BCD536/HomePatrol users.
• Change Alpha tags
• Change or add subtones
• Add Airband, CB, Marine, Railroad, FRS and GMRS frequencies
• Change the service type of frequencies and/or talkgroups
• Search a frequency range
• Re-order or Rename favorite lists
• 'Bulk' edit channel parameters
• 'Bulk' Edit Database files so you can change delay and alert setting in the database.
 

durangoGreg

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I would not describe Sentinel as a true Excel style editor with bulk copy & paste.

You can copy and paste but it is more limited to specific groups of fields.

I think you can do everything on your list but it isn't what I would call easy. It is more tedious and has lots of quirky things to be careful about not setting properly.

Sentinel is a free download and you can use the editing, downloading database, and making favorites, etc. without the radio.

There are also numerous videos on Youtube that show how to do various tasks with Sentinel. The best way to get a feel for the software is to use it.
 

garys

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To say that Sentinel has a klunky interface is charitable. Maybe it's because I am so used to the ARC style interface and am so much more comfortable. That said, Sentinel is still needed for many functions, such as setting up Profiles and ARC536 still needs some refinement.

At first I wasn't at all interested in the Siren app and WiFi dongle, but once I actually bought a 536 and have had some experience with the display I hope to use it for mobile operation. The display is too small and too busy for comfortable use in a vehicle. Using the three line display option makes the fonts bigger, but severely limits the information displayed.

Even with that, the scanner is very powerful as jonwienke says.

I haven't paid a lot of attention to the Analyze feature, so I haven't been disappointed that it's not out.

I expect that the software folks working on the x36HP scanners are feverishly trying to fix the WiFi and Analyze issues and they will be done as soon as possible.
 

ofd8001

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On the Sentinel versus ARC 536. . .

You can do some things with Butel that you cannot with Sentinel. Examples are alpha tag justification and capitalization. If you have files created with other Butel products, you can import them directly into ARC 536 with fewer steps as compared to Sentinel. Also, if you go with the Pro version of ARC, it will do virtual control of the scanner and log transmissions.

On the otherhand, you can write multiple Favorites Lists to the scanner using Sentinel where you cannot in ARC. Plus Sentinel allows you to see all of your Favorites Lists at one time. Also, if you want to save a Favorites List as an HPE file for sharing purposes, this can be done only with Sentinel.

I believe ARC is an unfinished product as some features do not yet function correctly, such as finding and deleting duplicates (but you can't do this in Sentinel either). ARC does not do Profile creation/editing, which I think is a signficant negative.

With that said, I do some things in ARC 536 and other things in Sentinel. The thing I have to remember is to keep my files coordinated. Thus if I make changes using "A", I have to read and save those changes using "B".

And of course, Sentinel is free where there is a charge for ARC.
 

garys

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This is an excellent summary of the two applications. I use both. My version of ARC has a flaw in that when I write a FL to the scanner, all of the FLs are changed to have the same Start Up Key. I then read the scanner in Sentinel saving only the last loaded FL and then rewrite everything to the scanner to fix that problem. Or I can manually fix all of the Start Up Keys. I'm hoping that Gomert will fix that, but haven't heard any more on the subject in months.



On the Sentinel versus ARC 536. . .

You can do some things with Butel that you cannot with Sentinel. Examples are alpha tag justification and capitalization. If you have files created with other Butel products, you can import them directly into ARC 536 with fewer steps as compared to Sentinel. Also, if you go with the Pro version of ARC, it will do virtual control of the scanner and log transmissions.

On the otherhand, you can write multiple Favorites Lists to the scanner using Sentinel where you cannot in ARC. Plus Sentinel allows you to see all of your Favorites Lists at one time. Also, if you want to save a Favorites List as an HPE file for sharing purposes, this can be done only with Sentinel.

I believe ARC is an unfinished product as some features do not yet function correctly, such as finding and deleting duplicates (but you can't do this in Sentinel either). ARC does not do Profile creation/editing, which I think is a signficant negative.

With that said, I do some things in ARC 536 and other things in Sentinel. The thing I have to remember is to keep my files coordinated. Thus if I make changes using "A", I have to read and save those changes using "B".

And of course, Sentinel is free where there is a charge for ARC.
 

nydxa

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Question about using Butel

On the Sentinel versus ARC 536. . .

You can do some things with Butel that you cannot with Sentinel. ...
With that said, I do some things in ARC 536 and other things in Sentinel. The thing I have to remember is to keep my files coordinated. Thus if I make changes using "A", I have to read and save those changes using "B".
And of course, Sentinel is free where there is a charge for ARC.
I just ordered the 536, and I'm strongly considering the Butel software. I noticed that on Butel's site they caution about using the 536's front panel USB connection, deeming it unreliable. They sugget using the rear panel "accessory" connection. Exactly what is that connection, a 9P serial cable?. I looked in the on line owners manual but could not see any reference to it. I too will likely use both programs. I have many existing lists from my 996 and 796, so being able to easily import them is a big plus.
 

ofd8001

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Yes - it is the 9 pin RS 232 and the port on the rear of the scanner is the one where you'd connect a GPS device. Set the port speed on the scanner (through the Set Location section) to 115200.

The 9 pin cable is only needed for Virtual Control/logging purposes. The supplied USB cable will work for programming with the ARC software just as it does for Sentinel.

If your computer does not have the 9 pin port, then you'll need a USB to Serial Port adapter. A null modem adapter will also be needed.

Maybe more information that what you desire, but here's the situation. The USB cable can be used in either Mass Storage mode, which is for programming purposes, or in Serial Mode, which is used for Virtual Control.

It was found that some gremlins somewhere (yet to be discovered) were changing the front port on the scanner from Serial Mode to Mass Storage, which stopped proper functioning of Virtual Control. Some times it would happen right away during a Virtual Control session, some times people could go a long time before the port acted up.

So the Uniden folks looked into this and found that using the rear 9 pin port intended for GPS connection, would do what needed to be done. This issue came up after publishing the manual, so that's why this isn't included.

The important things to note: If you use the rear port for Virtual Control, the speed should be set to 115200. If you use a GPS device, then you have to change that port back to 4800.
 
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