Moving from BCD396XT

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optize

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I currently have a BCD396XT, what I don't like about it is the signal is horrible. It has to sit a certain way or else it won't get radio transmissions and if it falls from that position, you're back down to not receiving anything.

I was thinking of moving to the BCD996XT but wanted to hear thoughts. My scanner sits at home, it doesn't move around so I'm hoping a base scanner won't have the reception issues I'm currently having.

I listen to a 800mhz trunked system about 15 miles away.
 

W2GLD

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First off, you need to make sure you're running the latest firmware in your scanner... Secondly, are you using the stock antenna that came with the scanner? If so, they're okay for very strong local systems; however, you might be better served with an actually 800 MHz antenna such as the one Radio Shack sells for $20. A 800 MHz, system that's about 15 miles away shouldn't have any reception issues, unless you're getting mixing from local cellular towers. It's likely that the mobile version, with the supplied antenna will NOT yield better results; however, if you only use it at home and you can install a 800 MHz yagi antenna pointed at the system you want to listen too; you'll have great reception with either scanner as properly installed external antennas will always out perform...
 

optize

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I've tried every antenna for the 396XT, the one that works best is the radioshack 800mhz one but it still has the issues of only working if the scanner is perfectly lined up.
 

W2GLD

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I've tried every antenna for the 396XT, the one that works best is the radioshack 800mhz one but it still has the issues of only working if the scanner is perfectly lined up.
What system are you trying to monitor? And from approx. where? I know you said 15 miles or so, but perhaps you have a nearby cellular tower causing interference.
 

W2GLD

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Okay, couple of quick things to try, while I'm doing a cell tower search on that area.

First, make sure you have that system setup as FM, it's a Motorola Type-II system and it should net be faulted to NFM as Uniden universally decided for us.

To do this, press hold, and make sure you are holding on a frequency and not a talkgroup. Them, press fund and the 9 key until FM is displayed. This is the default for all the sites in that system.

Second, it does not appear that the system has been rebanded just yet, but you'll want to be ready for when they do and this requires a custom table. To do this, go into the menu and under that systems programming select the site, then edit bandplan, and then custom.

Enter the following two tables only!

Band Plan Base Freq (Lower) Base Freq (Upper) Offset Polarity Spacing
1 851.0250 MHz 854.0000 MHz 440 + 25 kHz
2 851.0125 MHz 868.9875 MHz 0 + 25 kHz

Also, while you're in the site, go to "Set Modulation" and change the to FM as default.

Finally, the only frequencies you'll want to program into that site are the control channels and alternate control channels. Usually marked in Red for primary control channels and Blue for secondary control channels. That's all that's needed in order to properly follow a Motorola Type-II SmartZone system effectively.

Now, let's look as to why you're not hearing it clearly; I'll let you know what cell sites I find in that area; however, have you also tried the scanner with the ATT function on and off to compare the reception?

More to follow!

Regards,

Jerry
 

W2GLD

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It also looks like you might be using incorrect frequencies as well for that site. Here's what I found on file for the Chandler site:

866.1500 MHz
866.2500 MHz
866.6000 MHz
866.6750 MHz
868.7750 MHz

I would try programming only these frequencies into that site and see what happens... I suspect the other control channel that's listed in the database under the Chandler site is incorrect and belongs to a more distant tower, yet it's still will lock on that one during scan. If you find that these frequencies and the other changes work, please report back and let us know your findings. I suspect this will clear up your issues.

Regards,

Jerry, W2GLD
 
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optize

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It also looks like you might be using incorrect frequencies as well for that site. Here's what I found on file for the Chandler site:

866.1500 MHz
866.2500 MHz
866.6000 MHz
866.6750 MHz
868.7750 MHz

I would try programming only these frequencies into that site and see what happens... I suspect the other control channel that's listed in the database under the Chandler site is incorrect and belongs to a more distant tower, yet it's still will lock on that one during scan. If you find that these frequencies and the other changes work, please report back and let us know your findings. I suspect this will clear up your issues.

Regards,

Jerry, W2GLD

Jerry, W2GLD
Thanks Jerry for the help. I'm pretty 'new' when it comes to radios, I used the RadioReference program to automatically program it to me, I just selected the closest site to my location. I'll try manually entering in those.
 

W2GLD

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Thanks Jerry for the help. I'm pretty 'new' when it comes to radios, I used the RadioReference program to automatically program it to me, I just selected the closest site to my location. I'll try manually entering in those.
No problem, we all had to learn new at some point as well and that's why these forums groups are here, to help one another out... Someday, you'll be here on the groups doing the same in return, I am certain of that.

Those other settings are crucial too, to optimize your listening pleasure, especially the FM vs NFM settings. You'll hear the difference and it will be more soothing to listen to!

Good luck and let us know how you make out.

Regards,

Jerry, W2GLD
 

optize

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Made the changes you recommended, didn't have any effect. I get 1 bar of signal in house, but when I'm outside, I get all 5 bars and perfect reception.
 

W2GLD

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Made the changes you recommended, didn't have any effect. I get 1 bar of signal in house, but when I'm outside, I get all 5 bars and perfect reception.
I'm guessing, since you're in Arizona, that your house is CBS construction, which would contain allot of steel rebar; an outside antenna will likely be your best bet. A simple Discone works great for all bands.
 

SCPD

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yes

I'm guessing, since you're in Arizona, that your house is CBS construction, which would contain allot of steel rebar; an outside antenna will likely be your best bet. A simple Discone works great for all bands.
Exactly or a nice St-2,get that antenna outside good and high ,use decent coax cable and connectors.
 

optize

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I'm trying to figure out how big they are, on the radio shack website, they look huge and our HOA would obviously have a fit if it is as big as it looks. Is there a small one that works?
 

SCPD

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yeah heck

When I was staying by a friends house I took the back of the set BNC METAL antenna and put that outside with some coax and that helped alot!

Smallest idea....
Instek ATA-001 BNC Antenna for the GSP series

The discone is gonna scare em Get the ST-2 and call it a TV antenna,tell em its for digital TV reception.

Left is St-2 right is small back of set antenna that comes with a base scanner.

Cant put outside,then put er in yer attic!
 

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Blackink

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I'm trying to figure out how big they are, on the radio shack website, they look huge and our HOA would obviously have a fit if it is as big as it looks. Is there a small one that works?
The ST-2 is 102" vertical height. That's 8 1/2 feet high!
 

wtp

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and some

I'm guessing, since you're in Arizona, that your house is CBS construction, which would contain allot of steel rebar; an outside antenna will likely be your best bet. A simple Discone works great for all bands.
some cbs around here have insulation that has aluminium foil on both sides of 3/4 foam and then add in metalized windows and you have the best faraday cage that you can walk around in.
for my daughter to use her phone she goes outside.
 
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frog760

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Your first battle is reception. When we had your type system, I used the radio shack magnetic base car scanner antenna and placed in on the window sill in a side room (HOA here too). Works great. But my scanner was located in that room.

Your second battle is keeping the spouse happy. Mine doesn't want a large box in the living room--thus I bought an HP-1. They are more aesthetic than a 996 or 536 and can be taken with you since it also has batteries--best of both (base and handheld).

The new 536 kept in a side room will work for you when the siren app is functional--I have an old IPhone just waiting for the app--even has a kickstand case to sit right next to me.
 

wtp

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antenna

here also we have to get a sweet spot for clear reception so i had my girlfriend try a new antenna for her 396xt
we searched the net and found an antenna that had sma connector and swiveled and tilted.
that way if you want you could lay the radio down and position the antenna any which way
we got 2 antennas for like 8 bucks and they are fine
we were searching for sma computer antennas 800mhz
if i find the name i will update.
 
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