BCD536HP: Memory Organization on New Uniden Scanners

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eriepascannist

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I am looking into potentially getting myself a BCD536HP to use here at home on my county's new P25 trunked system. I have read through the factory manual and also the "Easier to Read" version online, and I still have some questions about how organizing the scanner works. I'm not a fan of all the fancy lingo Uniden chooses to use: Systems, Departments, Favorites Lists, etc.

I originally bought a Whistler TRX-2 to monitor this system, but because I got a bad radio (I think) I had to send it back. (I'm debating between another of those or the Uniden one.) I liked the easy to understand "Scanlist" organization of the TRX-2: you just pick what you want from the database on the SD card (frequencies, talkgroups, etc.), put it into one or more scanlists, and away you go.

Is a similar set-up possible with the BCD536HP? I keep reading about how you have to use the database, seemingly at all times, and adjust what you receive by location. Is this the only way to scan on this radio?

Frankly, I know the system frequencies and TGID's; all I want to do is organize them into their own banks/scanlists/groups (whatever term you choose to use), ex. police, fire, EMS, etc., and easily turn these on and off. The Whistler made good sense in doing this; I'm not so sure I see that amidst all the fancy features and bells of the BCD536HP.

Any insight would be appreciated!
 

werinshades

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I am looking into potentially getting myself a BCD536HP to use here at home on my county's new P25 trunked system. I have read through the factory manual and also the "Easier to Read" version online, and I still have some questions about how organizing the scanner works. I'm not a fan of all the fancy lingo Uniden chooses to use: Systems, Departments, Favorites Lists, etc.

I originally bought a Whistler TRX-2 to monitor this system, but because I got a bad radio (I think) I had to send it back. (I'm debating between another of those or the Uniden one.) I liked the easy to understand "Scanlist" organization of the TRX-2: you just pick what you want from the database on the SD card (frequencies, talkgroups, etc.), put it into one or more scanlists, and away you go.

Is a similar set-up possible with the BCD536HP? I keep reading about how you have to use the database, seemingly at all times, and adjust what you receive by location. Is this the only way to scan on this radio?

Frankly, I know the system frequencies and TGID's; all I want to do is organize them into their own banks/scanlists/groups (whatever term you choose to use), ex. police, fire, EMS, etc., and easily turn these on and off. The Whistler made good sense in doing this; I'm not so sure I see that amidst all the fancy features and bells of the BCD536HP.

Any insight would be appreciated!
Sorry about the TRX-2 experience, I know I was one who tried to help. To answer your question here, it's a yes. You can set it up however you want. I do that all the time, and do not download the info from the RR as I like it set up my own way.

You can duplicate the system in 3 separate Favorite Lists (FL) so you can turn on/off while in Scan mode. (1-Enter key/2Enter key etc) then set up each department's talk group ID etc. You'll like the display on the 536hp as it has more room to display.

You can download Sentinel like I did before the scanner arrived, and start learning some of the in's an out's of it. It's not perfect either, but you'll get the hang of it. I also use ARC too.
 

jonwienke

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The database is always available, but you aren't required to scan it.

You can make favorite lists with items copied from the database, or created from scratch.

Everything in the database is tagged with GPS coordinates and a service range, so that if you tell the scanner where you are (either by connecting a GPS or entering a ZIP code), it can parse out what database items are nearby and within range. If a GPS is connected while in a vehicle, the scanner continuously updates the active scanlist, activating things as they move into range, and deactivating things as they move out of range. Uniden calls this feature Location Control.

Location Control cannot be disabled when scanning the main database, but can be enabled or disabled in a favorite list.

All database and favorite list items are also tagged with a service type. In order for something to be scanned, ALL of the following must be true:

1. The main database or favorite list containing the item must be turned ON in the scanner menu.

2. (Favorite lists only) All quick keys assigned for the favorite list, system, department, and channel must be active. Quick keys are completely optional, and are probably not something you should mess with until you are comfortable with the working of the scanner. None are assigned by default.

3. The service type the item is tagged with must be turned ON in the scanner menu.

4. Unless the item is in a favorite list with Location Control turned OFF, the distance between the item and your scanner must be less than the item's service range setting + the scanner's range setting. If the item is 15 miles away, and its service range is 12 miles, if the scanner's Range is set to 0, it will not be scanned. But if the Range is set to 5, it will be scanned, because 12 + 5 > 15.

There is no need to organize favorite lists by service type (police, fire, EMS, etc), because you can filter what is scanned by enabling and disabling service types. You can have one favorite list with everything within reception range, and switch between listening to local businesses and EMS/fire simply by toggling service types.

To get started, I would recommend listening to the main database, and use location control and service types to choose what you want to hear. Once you get comfortable with that, you can start making a favorite list and refining what you scan.
 

werinshades

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The database is always available, but you aren't required to scan it.

You can make favorite lists with items copied from the database, or created from scratch.

Everything in the database is tagged with GPS coordinates and a service range, so that if you tell the scanner where you are (either by connecting a GPS or entering a ZIP code), it can parse out what database items are nearby and within range. If a GPS is connected while in a vehicle, the scanner continuously updates the active scanlist, activating things as they move into range, and deactivating things as they move out of range. Uniden calls this feature Location Control.

Location Control cannot be disabled when scanning the main database, but can be enabled or disabled in a favorite list.

All database and favorite list items are also tagged with a service type. In order for something to be scanned, ALL of the following must be true:

1. The main database or favorite list containing the item must be turned ON in the scanner menu.

2. (Favorite lists only) All quick keys assigned for the favorite list, system, department, and channel must be active. Quick keys are completely optional, and are probably not something you should mess with until you are comfortable with the working of the scanner. None are assigned by default.

3. The service type the item is tagged with must be turned ON in the scanner menu.

4. Unless the item is in a favorite list with Location Control turned OFF, the distance between the item and your scanner must be less than the item's service range setting + the scanner's range setting. If the item is 15 miles away, and its service range is 12 miles, if the scanner's Range is set to 0, it will not be scanned. But if the Range is set to 5, it will be scanned, because 12 + 5 > 15.

There is no need to organize favorite lists by service type (police, fire, EMS, etc), because you can filter what is scanned by enabling and disabling service types. You can have one favorite list with everything within reception range, and switch between listening to local businesses and EMS/fire simply by toggling service types.

To get started, I would recommend listening to the main database, and use location control and service types to choose what you want to hear. Once you get comfortable with that, you can start making a favorite list and refining what you scan.
Excellent advice as always, but I think what he's trying to duplicate is the Scanlist type set up from the TRX-2. While in scan, you can enable/disable groups/departments on the TRX-2. So he can manually program the 536hp this way if desired.

1-Police 2-Fire 3-EMS as an example. On the 536 he can duplicate the Trunking System on all 3 Favorite Lists (FL in Uniden lingo) and while in Scan if he just wants to listen to Police, he can depress 2 Enter,3 Enter and that temporarily Avoids (Uniden lingo for Lock out) Fire and EMS.

I think that's what he's shooting for..simplicity. Yes it could be done.
 

jonwienke

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IMO it makes more sense to use Service Types to toggle what services you listen to.
 

eriepascannist

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Thanks for the insight guys. Yes, I was looking for a simple set-up that makes it easy to turn things on and off. Werinshades, yes, that's what I was after, and I'm glad to know you can do it. It looks to me like Uniden's main selling point of this radio is the location-based features and the ability to use with zero programming. I was concerned when I saw no mention of this kind of set-up.

I have a BCT15X right now, which uses a similar (I think?) set-up of Systems, Groups, and Channels. I was really frustrated trying to understand how this all worked, and ended up using Systems just like banks and only having one "Group" per System. I assigned each System to a type of service I wanted and gave them each a Quick Key. So if county fire is in System 1, I toggle that on and off just by hitting 1 on the keypad. I don't want to have to worry about what System/Group a certain thing is in that I want to monitor if an incident is breaking.

I really like the way GRE and subsequently Whistler set up their organization structure of Scanlists, almost like "flexible banks." To me, this is a big plus. I guess I'm trying to stay as close to the old bank set-up as I can here. I know that's not practical for space and convenience now, but I like having all my police in one "bank," fire in another, etc. and that was my goal with the 536HP.

I do have the Sentinel software and I like it more than Whistler's EZ Scan. It looks really simple and easy to use. I also love the features of this radio, which are certainly appealing to me. The organization structure was my main hang-up in my investigation thus far.
 

werinshades

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Thanks for the insight guys. Yes, I was looking for a simple set-up that makes it easy to turn things on and off. Werinshades, yes, that's what I was after, and I'm glad to know you can do it. It looks to me like Uniden's main selling point of this radio is the location-based features and the ability to use with zero programming. I was concerned when I saw no mention of this kind of set-up.

I have a BCT15X right now, which uses a similar (I think?) set-up of Systems, Groups, and Channels. I was really frustrated trying to understand how this all worked, and ended up using Systems just like banks and only having one "Group" per System. I assigned each System to a type of service I wanted and gave them each a Quick Key. So if county fire is in System 1, I toggle that on and off just by hitting 1 on the keypad. I don't want to have to worry about what System/Group a certain thing is in that I want to monitor if an incident is breaking.

I really like the way GRE and subsequently Whistler set up their organization structure of Scanlists, almost like "flexible banks." To me, this is a big plus. I guess I'm trying to stay as close to the old bank set-up as I can here. I know that's not practical for space and convenience now, but I like having all my police in one "bank," fire in another, etc. and that was my goal with the 536HP.

I do have the Sentinel software and I like it more than Whistler's EZ Scan. It looks really simple and easy to use. I also love the features of this radio, which are certainly appealing to me. The organization structure was my main hang-up in my investigation thus far.
The 15X progrmming is different as you're probably aware by now. If you do end up purchasing the 536hp, its much like any other scanner with the learning curve. Watch the tabs, the + opens up other options in Sentinel. System/Site/Department..some new terms you'll be learning. Good luck...you'll be fine.
 

lu81fitter

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It sounds like you have the 15X down pretty good and like it. I also have a 15X. It's a great radio. When I made the jump into listening to digital, I did a lot of research and ended up with a BCD996P2. I had my reservations about buying the 536 because of the many difficulties others seemed to be experiencing. The programming style for the P2 is virtually the same as the 15X ,with the added settings for digital. Although the P2 does not have the database built in, so you only program what you want to hear. But it sounds like you already know what you want to listen to. The 536 has more adjustable settings for monitoring P25, but 996P2 seems to do fine for me, but I don't have anything to compare to.
Good luck with your new scanner, whatever it may be.
Just my 2 cents.
 

eriepascannist

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It sounds like you have the 15X down pretty good and like it. I also have a 15X. It's a great radio. When I made the jump into listening to digital, I did a lot of research and ended up with a BCD996P2. I had my reservations about buying the 536 because of the many difficulties others seemed to be experiencing. The programming style for the P2 is virtually the same as the 15X ,with the added settings for digital. Although the P2 does not have the database built in, so you only program what you want to hear. But it sounds like you already know what you want to listen to. The 536 has more adjustable settings for monitoring P25, but 996P2 seems to do fine for me, but I don't have anything to compare to.
Good luck with your new scanner, whatever it may be.
Just my 2 cents.

Thanks for this helpful insight. My county radio techs also recommended this model when I asked them. I will definitely keep this in mind, and I am glad to hear it is similar to the 15X. I imagine it would do the majority of what I want in a P25 radio. Besides that, the fewer "moving parts" there are, the less likely one is to malfunction!
 

hiegtx

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Thanks for this helpful insight. My county radio techs also recommended this model when I asked them. I will definitely keep this in mind, and I am glad to hear it is similar to the 15X. I imagine it would do the majority of what I want in a P25 radio. Besides that, the fewer "moving parts" there are, the less likely one is to malfunction!
Programming on the 536HP and 436HP under the DMA system, which you've already used with the BCT15X.

While there are other differences to be sure, there is quite a lot of similarity. In the 15X, you have Systems & Groups, along with Sites for systems that cover a larger area, such as a multi-county or statewide system.

On the x36HP series, you have Systems and Departments. Departments are roughly the equivalent of Groups (from the 15X), but the quick keys are easier to access to toggle on & off. Sites also are at the same quick key level as departments.

The top level, Favorites, in the x36HP scanners, is what contains the various systems. Whereas with your 15X, you have a set of programming loaded. While you can somewhat control which of your systems are active via Startup keys, your programming is pretty much set. On the x36HP's, your Favorites lists can be utilized in a number of different ways. You can create a list for each area that you might be in, for specific counties, or service type (such as an "all Fire" list). Using quick keys you can turn these on or off as desired without having to upload a new, different, programming file from your PC. For more on the use of Quick keys in the 436Hp & 536HP, see this Wiki page.

I would suggest that you download and install Sentinel. You can take it for a test drive without having the scanner. Yes, there is a learning curve, but as you are familiar with DMA programming from your 15X, you already have a good of knowledge to start with.
 

Railbender

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With my 536HP I have programmed favorites lists for City PD, City FD, Chautauqua Co P25, etc., a total of 15. They can be turned on/off as described above, 1 yes, 2 yes, etc. Works very well. I do prefer to use Butel ARC536 for programming rather than Uniden Sentinel since it gives be a clean slate each time I open it. I can open any favorites list and make changes as desired. Under Service Types be sure to turn off Transportation unless you want to listed to the buses on the Chau. Co system, or just delete that talk group.
 
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ofd8001

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Having a good understanding of Systems and Departments (AKA Groups) is an excellent foundation. (Kinda like math - if you can add and subtract, then multiplication and division is the next step).

The addition of Favorites Lists is basically one more larger container of programming data.

It may seem intimidating to a new user, but once you get the hang of it, it works pretty good.
 
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