BCD436HP: new scanner, but reception is horrible

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ebxgsxr

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so i bought this scanner new on amazon. had a friend program it for me so it will pick up my local PD (trunked digital system). i have heard a couple transmissions here and there, but generally it's just silence. i have tried it on different floors & rooms in my house with no success to hear radio transmissions. once i though that maybe it was just a "slow" day & no one was on the radio. but then i used broadcastify & verified that there are radio transmissions going on. it's just my scanner isn't picking them up.

i thought maybe it's just my area. i tried it at my parent's house (about 5 minutes away), but nothing different there. i even brought it to my work to test it (which is about 10 minutes away from the 911/dispatch center and still nothing.

anyone had these problems or know if there is something else i can do to get to actually use my scanner?
 

jonwienke

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If you're hearing anything, it's not a reception problem, unless what you hear has a lot of garbles and dropouts. You probably have Service Types turned off that you need to turn on, or you may have your scanner location set incorrectly.
 

troymail

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Yup... service types not enabled out of the box is typically the first thing to look at (why Unidentified does that is a total mystery and makes no sense).

Still, more information would help us help you if that isn't the issue. What system (s) or activity are you trying to listen to? Where are you located? How did you program the radio?
 

rwier

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Quoting Troy for emphasis:

" .... What system (s) or activity are you trying to listen to? Where are you located? How did you program the radio? ... "
 

ebxgsxr

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i am monitoring Baltimore County PD. the squelch level is set to zero. i am located in the southwest corner of Baltimore County in Maryland. i actually had a friend program the radio (since i honestly know nothing about this). i thought he said he used some common program. i thought the service types are enabled. it's not total silence, but 99% of the time it is. there were a couple times i did hear transmission of the units. but it was very brief like maybe a couple seconds. i thought my friend said he used sentinel to program the scanner. i advised that i wanted to be able to monitor specific precincts, so i wasn't listening to everything (like when listening to broadcastify where it would jump from precinct to precinct). so i he set up the quick keys to specific precincts so i can jump from one to another.
 
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ebxgsxr

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also just to try to give more info......the signal bars on the display will usually be nothing. but for a second it will blink full strength then go out.
 

n2pqq

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Squelch set to zero ?

Try turning it up some .
 

jonwienke

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First of all, learn to operate your radio. Read the manual. Install Sentinel. Even if it's monitoring traffic you want to hear one day, what you want to hear may change dramatically if there is another riot, a power outage, a terror incident, or a natural disaster. You may want to hear traffic from a different precinct than usual, or hear fire and EMS traffic, or listen to power repair crews, depending on the day's events. Being dependent on other people to change the settings for you is always going to be frustrating.
 

marksmith

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i am monitoring Baltimore County PD. the squelch level is set to zero. i am located in the southwest corner of Baltimore County in Maryland. i actually had a friend program the radio (since i honestly know nothing about this). i thought he said he used some common program. i thought the service types are enabled. it's not total silence, but 99% of the time it is. there were a couple times i did hear transmission of the units. but it was very brief like maybe a couple seconds. i thought my friend said he used sentinel to program the scanner. i advised that i wanted to be able to monitor specific precincts, so i wasn't listening to everything (like when listening to broadcastify where it would jump from precinct to precinct). so i he set up the quick keys to specific precincts so i can jump from one to another.
Baltimore County is blabbing continuously.

It is not a quiet system. It also is a simulcast system, which can give you some issues, but within Baltimore County you should not have real issues.

If you are good enough on a computer to sign into this forum and ask questions, you are sharp enough to use Sentinel to program your radio. I strongly recommend you install it and use it. You need it to do firmware upgrades, and it makes programming the radio very simple with a few views of YouTube videos that train you to use it.

Until you do, you will never know exactly what your radio is programmed to receive, and won't be able to make any simple changes or additions.

536/436/ws1095/996p2/996xt/325p2/396xt/psr800/396t/HP-1/HP-2 & others
 

ofd8001

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Whenever I'm in the situation of not hearing something when I think I should, I'll turn Weather Scan On. In your scanner it is Menu>WX Operation>Weather Scan. (To turn off, it's Function+System).

This is a decent test to see if the scanner is working properly. Some times things happen that will damage the receiver, such as too much RF near the antenna, or other things too. In that situation, the scanner reception is severely diminished and you have to be right on top of a transmitter to hear it.

Are you sure that your scanner was "brand new and never touched" when it came from Amazon? I've seen some posts where people getting scanners from there got returned units (where there may have been a defect) or other strange things.

The only other thing I can think of, since you did hear something once, is a location issue. I'd confirm your zip code is set correctly and also suggest you bump the Range value up to 50.0. If that makes an improvement, lower the Range value incrementally until you find the "sweet spot".
 

marksmith

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The range value does not effect radio reception, it only determines what the radio loads from the database.

Also, the OP advised that a friend of his "programmed" the radio, so I am assuming favorites lists and not full database, but that could be wrong.

Checking the weather band is a good way to see if the radio is receiving at all.

536/436/ws1095/996p2/996xt/325p2/396xt/psr800/396t/HP-1/HP-2 & others
 

ofd8001

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I was thinking there was an outside chance that the user might be in a different location than the programmer, to the point where Location Control could be an issue. For example, the user was 6 miles away from a 5 mile Department.
 

jonwienke

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That's possible, although the friend who programmed the scanner is pretty incompetent if he programmed the scanner with the wrong location.
 

ebxgsxr

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First of all, learn to operate your radio. Read the manual. Install Sentinel. Even if it's monitoring traffic you want to hear one day, what you want to hear may change dramatically if there is another riot, a power outage, a terror incident, or a natural disaster. You may want to hear traffic from a different precinct than usual, or hear fire and EMS traffic, or listen to power repair crews, depending on the day's events. Being dependent on other people to change the settings for you is always going to be frustrating.
he set it up so i can use the quick keys to listen to each specific precinct in Baltimore County. he also set up so it has their normal talk group and then their tac channel.

Whenever I'm in the situation of not hearing something when I think I should, I'll turn Weather Scan On. In your scanner it is Menu>WX Operation>Weather Scan. (To turn off, it's Function+System).

This is a decent test to see if the scanner is working properly. Some times things happen that will damage the receiver, such as too much RF near the antenna, or other things too. In that situation, the scanner reception is severely diminished and you have to be right on top of a transmitter to hear it.

Are you sure that your scanner was "brand new and never touched" when it came from Amazon? I've seen some posts where people getting scanners from there got returned units (where there may have been a defect) or other strange things.

The only other thing I can think of, since you did hear something once, is a location issue. I'd confirm your zip code is set correctly and also suggest you bump the Range value up to 50.0. If that makes an improvement, lower the Range value incrementally until you find the "sweet spot".
it appeared to be brand new from amazon. had everything in the plastic like it appeared to be from the factory. amazon classification stated new.

if testing the weather scan, i'm getting static on all channels. but not getting any info.....is that normal?

i did think that he might have programmed it to his zip code (unintentionally). so i went into the menu and put in my zip code. the scanner then started loading all the pre-programmed channels and would start to monitor those. so my friend told me how to turn that off so it would just monitor the channels that i wanted. but thinking back, i don''t remember really hearing anything when it was monitoring the whole database.
 

Jimco

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When you do hear transmissions, are they clear or do you hear them cut out a lot during the transmission? The Uniden radios suffer badly in some situations with simulcast "distortion". Usually that manifests itself in the following ways:

* You hear a response to a message that you never heard. For example, you'll hear dispatch say "10-4" or "Received", but you hear nothing prior to that.

* Communications that you hear are broken up or garbled.

* The error rate on P25 transmissions is high. (You can see this by pressing Select, Func, Select.)

If you have simulcast issues, sadly, there isn't a whole lot you can do about it. However, a previous poster who seemed to know more about your area than I do indicated it shouldn't be a problem for you. Cross your fingers!

One more question: When you hear transmissions, are they all one particular type? For example, do you hear ONLY dispatch and just don't hear unit-to-unit? If so, that would indicate that you have the service type disabled.

One more thing to check, and you really should use Sentinel for this. Check to make sure that your quick keys are enabled. In Sentinel, there's a check box for each quick key. If it's unchecked, that will create a problem.

Jim
 

jonwienke

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If you are not hearing any of the weather channels I say you have a defective unit.
Not necessarily, if using the stock antenna indoors in an urban area. Plus, the OP is getting some transmissions from the local system. That wouldn't happen if the unit was defective. Most likely cause is Avoids, Quick Keys, Service Types, or location settings.
 

troymail

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Not necessarily, if using the stock antenna indoors in an urban area. Plus, the OP is getting some transmissions from the local system. That wouldn't happen if the unit was defective. Most likely cause is Avoids, Quick Keys, Service Types, or location settings.
I used to say that if you're not hearing weather, the radio or antenna is bad. However, where I live now, I don't receive weather much if at all so that is no longer a good global test in my opinion.

Having said that - if the user is properly attempting and cannot receive a weather broadcast in Baltimore County, there IS definitely something wrong with the radio/antenna.... the only other possibility is some type of overwhlelming interference.
 

ebxgsxr

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When you do hear transmissions, are they clear or do you hear them cut out a lot during the transmission? The Uniden radios suffer badly in some situations with simulcast "distortion". Usually that manifests itself in the following ways:

* You hear a response to a message that you never heard. For example, you'll hear dispatch say "10-4" or "Received", but you hear nothing prior to that.

* Communications that you hear are broken up or garbled.

* The error rate on P25 transmissions is high. (You can see this by pressing Select, Func, Select.)

If you have simulcast issues, sadly, there isn't a whole lot you can do about it. However, a previous poster who seemed to know more about your area than I do indicated it shouldn't be a problem for you. Cross your fingers!

One more question: When you hear transmissions, are they all one particular type? For example, do you hear ONLY dispatch and just don't hear unit-to-unit? If so, that would indicate that you have the service type disabled.

One more thing to check, and you really should use Sentinel for this. Check to make sure that your quick keys are enabled. In Sentinel, there's a check box for each quick key. If it's unchecked, that will create a problem.

Jim
there are times that i only hear part of the transmission. but the error rate (when i checked) says err ---

If you are not hearing any of the weather channels I say you have a defective unit.

Sent from my SM-S907VL using Tapatalk
all i am hearing is static until i adjust the squelch. once i reach 2 for squelch, then nothing.
 
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