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Shakenbake158

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Hey guys, I recently ordered a Uniden Bearcat BCD396XT, and I have a lot of questions, I was told to come here!


So, I live in Davenport Washington, which is about 45 minutes west of Spokane Washington, and 30 or so miles away from a commercial airport, as well as an Air Force base.

Is there anyway I would be able to pick up either of those airports from my house? Or is that simply too far?


Second question, what is the easiest way to program these things? Is there software that will do it for you, or do you have to do it manually? What do you guys recommend?


Are there any accessories that I should buy? I am assuming I should buy an aftermarket antenna, especially if I want to pick up signals from a ways away.


I think those are all the questions I have of now, but I am sure I will think of more.


Thanks for looking, and all the help!
 

captclint

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Hey guys, I recently ordered a Uniden Bearcat BCD396XT So, I live in Davenport Washington, which is about 45 minutes west of Spokane Washington, and 30 or so miles away from a commercial airport, as well as an Air Force base.

Is there anyway I would be able to pick up either of those airports from my house? Or is that simply too far?
Generally, Airport traffic is limited to 2-5 of miles. However, you can hear the airplane side of the conversation for 50 or more miles.
Second question, what is the easiest way to program these things? Is there software that will do it for you, or do you have to do it manually? What do you guys recommend?
FreeSCAN Is free, and you can download frequencies for your area from the database. You would need to become a paid subscriber to this site to get the automatic down loads, but this is also very reasonable($7.5 for 3 months). This can save you countless hours of programming and frustration.
Are there any accessories that I should buy? I am assuming I should buy an aftermarket antenna, especially if I want to pick up signals from a ways away.
Depends on what you want to monitor. Generally, the stock antenna will work well for air/VHF/UHF, but not so much for 700-800Mhz. However, if you get one for that range, you will not receive the others as well as the stock antenna. However, any portable antenna is fairly limited in range...maybe 5 (moblie units)-20 (base stations) miles. Now an external antenna for the home is a very good choice for stuff 20-40 miles. The exception would be air port traffic. You still won't hear much beyond 10 miles.
 
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DPD1

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Putting an antenna outdoors, will always be better than stock, and also better than anything indoors.

If aviation is your thing, you can also look up the 'Center' freqs for your area, both UHF and VHF... that way you get all the planes flying high above you, in transit... as well as the guys coming and going from your area. The guys with Center will also carry the farthest, since they are the highest. The UHF stuff takes patience. You won't be hearing tons of action. It's best to just leave those running with everything else off, on a weekday... Then you will periodically hear them.
 

Shakenbake158

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Generally, Airport traffic is limited to 2-5 of miles. However, you can hear the airplane side of the conversation for 50 or more miles.FreeSCAN Is free, and you can download frequencies for your area from the database. You would need to become a paid subscriber to this site to get the automatic down loads, but this is also very reasonable($7.5 for 3 months). This can save you countless hours of programming and frustration.
Depends on what you want to monitor. Generally, the stock antenna will work well for air/VHF/UHF, but not so much for 700-800Mhz. However, if you get one for that range, you will not receive the others as well as the stock antenna. However, any portable antenna is fairly limited in range...maybe 5 (moblie units)-20 (base stations) miles. Now an external antenna for the home is a very good choice for stuff 20-40 miles. The exception would be air port traffic. You still won't hear much beyond 10 miles.

Well thank you for the link to FreeSCAN, it sounds like becoming subscriber is definitely worth it.

That is a bummer that I won' t be able to get air traffic from my house, but oh well, it was a long shot anyways.

What signals might be between 700-800Mhz? So you are saying if I get an antenna for the 7-800Mhz range, I won't be able to pick up the other air/VHF/UHF signals?

Do you have a recommendation for an antenna?

Putting an antenna outdoors, will always be better than stock, and also better than anything indoors.

If aviation is your thing, you can also look up the 'Center' freqs for your area, both UHF and VHF... that way you get all the planes flying high above you, in transit... as well as the guys coming and going from your area. The guys with Center will also carry the farthest, since they are the highest. The UHF stuff takes patience. You won't be hearing tons of action. It's best to just leave those running with everything else off, on a weekday... Then you will periodically hear them.

The 'Center' frequencies sound very cool, I will have to do some more research on them.






I am a little overwhelmed with the whole UHF/VHF, 700-800Mhz stuff.
Is there a general guide that explains the different types of frequencies?

For example, are my local police radios going to be UHF, VHF or in the 700-800Mhz range?


Thanks for the help!
 

captclint

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What signals might be between 700-800Mhz? So you are saying if I get an antenna for the 7-800Mhz range, I won't be able to pick up the other air/VHF/UHF signals?
In case you have not seen this, These area ll the known frequencies in your county. Lincoln County, There are no UHF(450-470Mhz), just VHF (150-170Mhz.) This is the only 700 Mhz, and you can't receive it with your scanner, so don't bother with any antennae for that range: Washington State Patrol Trunking System, Statewide, However, as we have pointed out, a good outside antenna will allow you to hear things from surrounding counties, as well as more mobiles in you area.
 
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Shakenbake158

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In case you have not seen this, These area ll the known frequencies in your county. Lincoln County, There are no UHF(450-470Mhz), just VHF (150-170Mhz.) This is the only 700 Mhz, and you can't receive it with your scanner, so don't bother with any antennae for that range: Washington State Patrol Trunking System, Statewide, However, as we have pointed out, a good outside antenna will allow you to hear things from surrounding counties, as well as more mobiles in you area.
Well thank you once again, I think I've got it figured out now.

I do have a question about the SMA-BNC adapter that came wit my scanner.
What is the point of it? I can't use it with the stock antenna, correct?

When I buy new antenna should I buy one with a BNC connector?


Also, I have been trying to do more research on those 'Center' frequencies that DPD1 mentioned, and I can't seem to find anything on them, those would be something I'd be highly interested in.


Thank you!
 

Spitfire8520

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I do have a question about the SMA-BNC adapter that came wit my scanner.
What is the point of it? I can't use it with the stock antenna, correct?

When I buy new antenna should I buy one with a BNC connector?
The SMA-BNC adapter is for people who already have a stock of antennas for BNC or are thinking of getting antennas that only come in the BNC format. You don't have to get a BNC antenna, but it's useful for if you are looking at an antenna that doesn't come with a SMA connector.

Also, I have been trying to do more research on those 'Center' frequencies that DPD1 mentioned, and I can't seem to find anything on them, those would be something I'd be highly interested in.
I believe he's talking about the Air Route Traffic Control Center frequencies that handle flight traffic at higher altitudes as opposed to specific airport frequencies. There's a database entry below with some of the frequencies out there.

Seattle (ZSE) Air Route Traffic Control Center (ARTCC) Scanner Frequencies and Radio Frequency Reference
 

teufler

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This is Freescan 2.17 file for Lincoln Cty. If you have the cable that came with the radio, upload the file to your radio. Reception range varies with the terrain from your listening location. Antennas, external is better but antennas can be adapted, as most are beter than the rubber duck that comes with the 396xt. An old TV external antenna works pretty good. You will have to adapt a fitting that will fit your radio but thats not a big thing. In a pure sense, the tv antenna os horizonially polorized as what you are attempting to liosten to is vertically polorized. There will be a lose of reception but the gain of the antenna will far exceed the lose of polorization. So if you have few mountains between you and what you are attempting to monitor, range of 100 miles is not uncommon. File is zipped so you willl need an unzipping utility. 7-zip is a fine product and cane be downloaded from the web.
 

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DPD1

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I believe he's talking about the Air Route Traffic Control Center frequencies that handle flight traffic at higher altitudes as opposed to specific airport frequencies. There's a database entry below with some of the frequencies out there.

Seattle (ZSE) Air Route Traffic Control Center (ARTCC) Scanner Frequencies and Radio Frequency Reference

Yep... You're not going to need all of them. The best way to figure out which ones might be best, is just go by the names. If you recognize the names as being fairly near you (maybe 75 miles at least), then that's a hint there might be something. But in the end, you'll probably have to put them in and just eliminate the duds through trial and error. Keep a list and make a note when you hear something on one. Then that way you know. If you don't hear anything for at least a month, then you know it's probably not worth keeping it. However, the UHF are less used, so it can sometimes be months before you happen to hear something on one of those. As you start following planes from freq to freq, you will start learning the patterns, and thus... be able to predict the routes (direction) planes are taking, based on the freqs they use. There is also the lower level Class B type frequencies, which is generally the agency between Center and the airports. Those will often be listed with airport freqs though.
 
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