Making it harder?

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troymail

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I have to believe I'm not the first to say/ask this but - does it seem like that in an effort to make scanning easier for users (particularly novice users), the radios are becoming more and more difficult to figure out given all of the variations in the way we can program them?

The complexity in needing to understand trunked radio technologies is being hidden (when users really should try to understand) and being replaced by features that allow for many ways to do the same thing when it comes to programming.

So what are your thoughts?
 
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Clearwater, Fl.
I have to believe I'm not the first to say/ask this but - does it seem like that in an effort to make scanning easier for users (particularly novice users), the radios are becoming more and more difficult to figure out given all of the variations in the way we can program them?

The complexity in needing to understand trunked radio technologies is being hidden (when users really should try to understand) and being replaced by features that allow for many ways to do the same thing when it comes to programming.

So what are your thoughts?
I COMPLETELY agree, new scanners are being "dumbed down" so much that all you need is a zip code? I mean really? I have absolutely no problem with entering every channel and TG for every system I want to listen to. If you don't understand what "Control Channel Only" means, then you shouldn't be allowed to even use the same model scanner I am because you obviously are educated e NOT enough to appreciate the technology and options available. What GRE/ Whistler and Uniden SHOULD do is make their little lame a*s zip code only scanners for "that type of people", mean while for us dedicated scanners and hobbyists, have another completely configurable. I honestly, don't like the zip code only way because that puts you in a lower class of scanner users and THOSE are the ones that are ruining the scanner experience for all of us, by posting comms online, ect. and essentially forcing departments to go to encryption. If you are willing to enter the required info, that clearly shows that you have respect for the hobby like wise, I will have respect for you.
 

w2xq

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wheels63

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I miss the days when all you had to do was enter a freq number and you could hear your local police or fire dept.Scanner makers are making it way to hard to enjoy your scanner. They are finding ways to makes us pay more.

Tom
 

jaspence

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Radio complexity

The complexity is due to the drastic change in trunking versus conventional semi duplex and the number of units on a trunking system. Where there two or three frequencies for a single department, there are now several or even dozens of government units sharing 10 or twelve frequencies. At one time in my life, I had three black and white TV channels to choose from. As demand grows, so does complexity.
 

N8IAA

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Fortunately, GA
For the only scanner manufacturer that is currently in operation, combining two scanners into one, was a SNAFU, FUBAR, or whatever you want to call it. I've never seen so many confused people wondering why their new $600 scanners will need to go back to the manufacturer because of minor problems that should have been found out by beta testers.

It was made more complicated by trying to 'dumb it down'.

I for one, would have liked to see a hardware upgraded x96XT series with Phase II, and the proper decoding for multisite trunked systems.


It would have a place in the shack at this moment.

But, they instead decided to try and appease too many with the new line of x36HP scanners. You can read the problems with getting out a scanner before its time.

I, for one, will keep the scanners that are currently in the shack. Programming them the way I want to monitor the conventional and trunked systems near me.
Larry
 

kma371

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Messages
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I think they need two versions. Simple and Advanced. This HP1 style of programming is a pain in the ***. I prefer the old method as it was more user friendly. That's the reason I am not buying the new scanner.
 

wtp

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Port Charlotte FL
crystals

the good old days of crystals...
as a kid i went to radio shack and got my locals but happen to notice a drawer of 155.55 was there.
i did not know of anyone local so when i could afford it i got one
living in bergen county nj all i ever seemed to hear was westchester county ny
i thought it odd that a store in paramus would have westchester at all...and then i heard some different
folks talking. it turned out to be the narcs of bergen county. then it made sense. i got to listen years before the hardcore radio listeners knew about it and for obvious reasons did not share it for a looongg time
that is why i like the old days
of course i like having thousands of freqs in the radio as well
ok later
 

RoninJoliet

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ILL
I was hoping there were scanning folks like me out there and these postings are exactly what I been thinking but afraid to say anything because of "bully" responses....I been in scanning over forty five years and just luv programming my own Uniden and GRE/RS trunking scanners....Im 71 and really never learned "computers" and firmware downloads etc....Some of us grew up in a world without computers....These new Uniden scanners are really great but there is no time for scanning , just learning how to correct problems with the scanners of today....My 996-396 XTs have enough SQK's and GQK's, technology without more junk added too them....Worry about "decoding' and the he** with other stupid non-usable stuf....Plus here in ILL the radioreference database has so many mistakes (I have tried correcting) most of the downloaded info is wrong.....Its really getting out of hand on features out doing the GRE (Whistler) people and getting back to simple programming....I guess im the minority and most likely get slapped aroung for this rant but who cares.....Thank you for reading and allowing me to vent.....
 

cherubim

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In order to broaden the appeal of radio scanners the manufacturers are now targeting the attention deficit and plug & play crowd who've never used a scanner before and want more functionality than an iPhone app. Unfortunately, the end result with such a move is the erosion of control that one has with scanner operation and programming. Modern radio scanners are indeed being "dumbed down" to cater for the masses whilst the real enthusiasts get the shaft.

In addition to this disturbing trend in scanner development we now have manufacturers skimping on quality control and not delivering what they promised.
 

W8RMH

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I think they need two versions. Simple and Advanced. This HP1 style of programming is a pain in the ***. I prefer the old method as it was more user friendly. That's the reason I am not buying the new scanner.
I totally agree. We need both versions. I had the 436 and returned it after a week. Yet I can program the DMAs in my sleep.
 

dmg1969

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I COMPLETELY agree, new scanners are being "dumbed down" so much that all you need is a zip code? I mean really? I have absolutely no problem with entering every channel and TG for every system I want to listen to. If you don't understand what "Control Channel Only" means, then you shouldn't be allowed to even use the same model scanner I am because you obviously are educated e NOT enough to appreciate the technology and options available. What GRE/ Whistler and Uniden SHOULD do is make their little lame a*s zip code only scanners for "that type of people", mean while for us dedicated scanners and hobbyists, have another completely configurable. I honestly, don't like the zip code only way because that puts you in a lower class of scanner users and THOSE are the ones that are ruining the scanner experience for all of us, by posting comms online, ect. and essentially forcing departments to go to encryption. If you are willing to enter the required info, that clearly shows that you have respect for the hobby like wise, I will have respect for you.

While I may agree that scanner manufacturers should make a fully configurable scanner for people like you who enjoy programming everything themselves, I have to say that your post comes off holier than thou. "THOSE" people"? "Lower class of scanner user"? Wow. Judgmental much? Or is elitist a better word?

I have been a scanning enthusiast for the majority of my 44 years. Most of that time was spent listening to what was around...analog, conventional low band, VHF and UHF. I was never into amateur radio or anything like that. I did not study radio theory. I just enjoyed scanning and got my first scanner as a Christmas gift when I was 10 or 11. I just recently took the leap and bought an HP1 as my first digital scanner. Now, I didn't just plug it is and run...I programmed the favorites using Sentinel and chose the systems and talk groups I wanted. But to listen to you...anyone buying a scanner that you can configure by zip code is an idiot. What about the elderly person at home looking for something to keep them occupied or a young person looking to get into the hobby but has little knowledge of programming frequencies, systems, departments and talk groups?

People like you posting crap like that does detracts from the hobby...it doesn't add anything to it. If I were reading your post and looking to get into the hobby, I might reconsider. And what do the online scanner feeds have to do with the zip code entry radios???? I happen to not like the online scanner feeds either. But you could just as easily get one up and running with a non Homepatrol type scanner. That type of scanner is not exclusively used for feeds. That was just another justification for your rant against the "lower class of scanner user".


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Sportster77

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While I may agree that scanner manufacturers should make a fully configurable scanner for people like you who enjoy programming everything themselves, I have to say that your post comes off holier than thou. "THOSE" people"? "Lower class of scanner user"? Wow. Judgmental much? Or is elitist a better word?

I have been a scanning enthusiast for the majority of my 44 years. Most of that time was spent listening to what was around...analog, conventional low band, VHF and UHF. I was never into amateur radio or anything like that. I did not study radio theory. I just enjoyed scanning and got my first scanner as a Christmas gift when I was 10 or 11. I just recently took the leap and bought an HP1 as my first digital scanner. Now, I didn't just plug it is and run...I programmed the favorites using Sentinel and chose the systems and talk groups I wanted. But to listen to you...anyone buying a scanner that you can configure by zip code is an idiot. What about the elderly person at home looking for something to keep them occupied or a young person looking to get into the hobby but has little knowledge of programming frequencies, systems, departments and talk groups?

People like you posting crap like that does detracts from the hobby...it doesn't add anything to it. If I were reading your post and looking to get into the hobby, I might reconsider. And what do the online scanner feeds have to do with the zip code entry radios???? I happen to not like the online scanner feeds either. But you could just as easily get one up and running with a non Homepatrol type scanner. That type of scanner is not exclusively used for feeds. That was just another justification for your rant against the "lower class of scanner user".
I totally agree. When I did a lot of travelling for work it was always a pain in the a** to find time to get to a RS or other electronics store in the area to get a cheat sheet for the local area so I could add them to my scanner ,after deciding which other area to delete, just so I could listen in for the week or so I was in town. Now all I have to do is enter the zip and I'm good to go, no need to program fleet maps or LTR tables. And next week when I'm someplace halfway across the country I can do it again and still not have to lose any of the other info because it's still in the library.
 

troymail

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Folks -- let keep this a friendly discussion please! :lol:

The things I was trying to point out is that the radios are coming with more and more features and variations in the way you can program the same thing. It takes alot of time to learn how things work (or are supposed to work) - but of course, that's part of the fun of the hobby. The concern I have hear is it is more and more difficult for users o learn and hard for others of us who want to help guide new users. I find helping others a rewarding part of the hobby - and hopefully you do too.

The challenge many times however is sometimes in that things don't work as well as we'd like and this can sometimes be in the underlying understanding of how trunked radio systems work. These systems are becoming more and more advanced and are a long way from where some of us started (me included) where your local fire or police department dispatched on and responded to calls on a single frequency that could be hear across the county.

Assuming a basic understanding of how these systems work and then layering on top of that the complexity of programming the radios (and remembering various quick keys and other settings) can make the hobby even more frustrating for users - particularly those coming into the hobby for the first time.

Don't get me wrong - you and I were once new at this too! I think the more users we have in the hobby the better for many different reasons. The challenge is keeping them involved by offering assistance to them the best that we can.

Thanks for your continued input -- and please - let's keep this friendly and don't make it personal!
 
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While I may agree that scanner manufacturers should make a fully configurable scanner for people like you who enjoy programming everything themselves, I have to say that your post comes off holier than thou. "THOSE" people"? "Lower class of scanner user"? Wow. Judgmental much? Or is elitist a better word?

I have been a scanning enthusiast for the majority of my 44 years. Most of that time was spent listening to what was around...analog, conventional low band, VHF and UHF. I was never into amateur radio or anything like that. I did not study radio theory. I just enjoyed scanning and got my first scanner as a Christmas gift when I was 10 or 11. I just recently took the leap and bought an HP1 as my first digital scanner. Now, I didn't just plug it is and run...I programmed the favorites using Sentinel and chose the systems and talk groups I wanted. But to listen to you...anyone buying a scanner that you can configure by zip code is an idiot. What about the elderly person at home looking for something to keep them occupied or a young person looking to get into the hobby but has little knowledge of programming frequencies, systems, departments and talk groups?

People like you posting crap like that does detracts from the hobby...it doesn't add anything to it. If I were reading your post and looking to get into the hobby, I might reconsider. And what do the online scanner feeds have to do with the zip code entry radios???? I happen to not like the online scanner feeds either. But you could just as easily get one up and running with a non Homepatrol type scanner. That type of scanner is not exclusively used for feeds. That was just another justification for your rant against the "lower class of scanner user".


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Interesting how so many other people have the EXACT same opinion I do, they just say it differently. I am simply affirming what troymail is saying in HIS OWN POST. Why are you getting an attitude with me saying that putting in a zipcode signifies a lower class of people when I simply reiterated in different words , troymail's very first post? Not to mention, when I first started in the hobby, I had to figure out what different systems were and what not to program in and I obviously was NOT turned off. In addition, I was NOT referring to online scanner feeds, but rather, somebody, innocently (out of ignorance) posting some law enforcement news they heard on the scanner on ie Facebook, that eventually would make that particular agency consider encryption.

Thank you and good day.
 
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PACNWDude

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Scanners being dumbed down.

I have seen this trend for quite some time.

It used to be that you would buy a Radio Shack Pro-2006 and the "modification" manual with an Opto-electronics board and then have to hunt for your radio frequencies in use in the local area. Or like a previous poster stated, go to the local RS store and get a copy of their local frequency list.

I eventually upgraded to TrunkTracker scanners and found control channels. Being in the professional side of communications with military countermeasures experience, it was always nice to see what the public was able to hear for just a little money.

Then it was on to getting an amateur radio license so as to not get hassled by local cops wondering what I was doing with a scanner in my car in an eastern state.

Next, professional radio service monitors could be used to listen to analog cell phone conversations. Then with some scanner hobbyist posting what politician Newt was saying, got that part shut down.

Fast forward a number of years, digital encryption, P25,software defined radios,newer versions of frequency hopping. It may seem to be getting easier, but for the better listening, it is still hard.

For those who still want to hear the good stuff, I recommend: federal government communications work,getting your amateur license, getting a GROL and then lots of practice in the real world.

You will not get the "meat" of the "hobby" with a cheap scanner and a zip code! Working at a local radio install shop that puts gear into police and fire vehicles will possibly help a little to. Although from my personal experience, they tend to hire people right out of community college electronics classes with little to no experience.
 

Reflex439

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Not everyone wants the meat. Some just want the potatoes! :)

Today with scanners and radio systems able to program thousands of channels, trunking, TGIDs, PL codes, control channels, talk groups, various trunking flavors, GPS, etc., they need to be dumbed down for the average scanner user. The majority of scanner users are not radio techs or hardcore technology addicts, and manufacturers cater to where the money is. Its no surprise that manufacturers ended up with a product that meets the majority of users nicely, but leaves out the rank beginners, or the hard core radio enthusiasts. Uniden shot for the larger chunk of the market with one radio, and maximized their return on investment. Their goal wasn't to appease everyone, but to maximize their return on investment, satisfy the wants of the corporate directors, while simultaneously trying to satisfy the needs of the masses. Which generally excludes the needs of the beginners at one end, and the experienced at the other.

I'm closer to the top of the pyramid than the bottom, but not a radio technophile like some when it comes to scanners. I'm a licensed HAM, but my interest in scanners is not the technology but being aware of whats happening in emergencies, storms, etc, as well as casual listening for enjoyment. I can program a trunked system from scratch, but enjoy the ease and speed of downloading a ready made database and re-configuring to my liking, as its much faster to get up and running. I don't have the 436 or 536, but would find the ZipCode programming a great way to populate the radio, then customize it from there. I don't need to manually enter all the data myself, as long as I can modify it to get to the same end result I desire.

Perhaps I am misinformed, but can't you also program the 'dumbed down' BCD436/536 just as you could the 396/996? Looking at the softwar e for both (I have the 396XT) and comparing them, I see the same data fields on both. Sites, frequencies, TGID, trunk formats, fleet maps, ID formats, etc,. Or can you only program it via ZipCode? If you can do both, then the ZipCode programming is just a convenience option, and I would hardly think adding that option dumbs down the whole radio. Any more than adding cruse control to a BMW dumbs it down for serious driving enthusiasts.

ProductionGuy85, perhaps you didn't mean to express yourself in a condescending manner, or put forth an elitist attitude, but thats how it came across to me based on the comments below.

"If you don't understand what "Control Channel Only" means, then you shouldn't be allowed to even use the same model scanner I am because you obviously are educated e NOT enough to appreciate the technology and options available."

"I honestly, don't like the zip code only way because that puts you in a lower class of scanner users and THOSE are the ones that are ruining the scanner experience for all of us, by posting comms online, ect. and essentially forcing departments to go to encryption."

"If you are willing to enter the required info, that clearly shows that you have respect for the hobby like wise, I will have respect for you."

I understand that you may feel slighted by manufactures dumbing down the scanners to fit the majority of their users. But your attitude should be directed at the manufactures by coaxing them to build another scanner directed squarely at the radio technophiles, rather than suggesting people shouldn't be allowed to use the existing radios because they don't fit your profile of what a scanner hobbyist is.

As a software engineer, I've invested thousands of hours learning various computer languages and technologies. I was on the internet 'Super Highway' when it was still a 'dirt road' (ARPANET) and email was privy to only a few large manufactures on the network. I've seen it dumb down over the years and fill up with things like Facebook, forums, anonymous email, twitter, MySpace, and millions of useless abandoned websites.

Should those that don't understand PLPs, PSNs, ITU-T, packets, FSK, if-then-else loops, assembler, hex, modulo 8 math, etc, be limited to using x486 computers and AOL? And gamers be limited to low end computers because they don't really understand the complexity of the hardware/software under the hood for their high end computers? Hell, most people don't know the difference between 1080i and 1080P, MPEG compression, LCD vs LED, yet they all enjoy the programming on their big flat screen tv's. Or should they still be using CRT's and leave the LCD/LED/Plasma TVs to the technophiles who do know?

Everybody has different reasons for using a scanner, computer, TV, etc. If you are well read in the hobby, its obvious the scanning hobby is a lot bigger then just those just interested in the technology, and in fact most are indifferent to what technology is used and more interested in what is being broadcast.
 
V

VGSMC_8520

Guest
What GRE/ Whistler and Uniden SHOULD do is make their little lame a*s zip code only scanners for "that type of people", mean while for us dedicated scanners and hobbyists, have another completely configurable. I honestly, don't like the zip code only way because that puts you in a lower class of scanner users and THOSE are the ones that are ruining the scanner experience for all of us
Relax, you're being a douchebag. Straight up. Have a Snickers or something.
 

HopperD

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I have seen this trend for quite some time.

It used to be that you would buy a Radio Shack Pro-2006 and the "modification" manual with an Opto-electronics board and then have to hunt for your radio frequencies in use in the local area. Or like a previous poster stated, go to the local RS store and get a copy of their local frequency list.

I eventually upgraded to TrunkTracker scanners and found control channels. Being in the professional side of communications with military countermeasures experience, it was always nice to see what the public was able to hear for just a little money.

Then it was on to getting an amateur radio license so as to not get hassled by local cops wondering what I was doing with a scanner in my car in an eastern state.

Next, professional radio service monitors could be used to listen to analog cell phone conversations. Then with some scanner hobbyist posting what politician Newt was saying, got that part shut down.

Fast forward a number of years, digital encryption, P25,software defined radios,newer versions of frequency hopping. It may seem to be getting easier, but for the better listening, it is still hard.

For those who still want to hear the good stuff, I recommend: federal government communications work,getting your amateur license, getting a GROL and then lots of practice in the real world.

You will not get the "meat" of the "hobby" with a cheap scanner and a zip code! Working at a local radio install shop that puts gear into police and fire vehicles will possibly help a little to. Although from my personal experience, they tend to hire people right out of community college electronics classes with little to no experience.
Man did you bring back old memories. I still have my Pro-2006 with the board that you mentioned. Still use it all of the time, it's a good radio. It pulls in channels better than one of my newer radios (Pro-106).

With that said, I like the challenge of programming my radios. To me it's fun and I enjoy it. I also like pulling in distant stations. I live in the LA, CA, area and there's a lot to listen to. I'm always tinkering with my antennas to try and tweak them. Added to my repertoire is a shortwave radio so I can listen to stations from around the globe.

As you mentioned - fast forward to the present... we radio hobbyists have to adapt to changing technology. Lots of law enforcement organizations are going digital and if we want to listen we have to buy equipment that's capable of doing so. That equipment is becoming more and more sophisticated to program and operate. People will just have to learn how to operate their $600+ radios if they want to reap the rewards. But some want their radios to work right out of the box with no programming. Doesn't work that way. Research what you're getting yourself into before you buy.
 
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