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New to the Scanning World : Introduced with Pro-96

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sublime40

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I went to radio shack yesterday and paid 400 bills for this nice new gre pro-96 digital scanner. I know nothing about scanning, or anything about how it works.

The local radio shack in my town did not stock this model, and the guy said that no store did anywhere around here. He said that it was probably a model being phased out, unnecessary anymore. He then shows me the pro-97 saying this is what i want. I tried to explain to him that i wanted a digital scanner because they wont go out of style with upcoming technologies.

Was i right or him? I wonder if i should have got a different model, maybe a uniden. I must say this model seems to work very well, im picking up departments from towns 30 miles out. I dont like the actual construction, its a bit bulky and feels cheap. the buttons are nice but the case feels like a normal radio shack special...

I cant believe how much goes on in a day. just last night there was a molestation call, two shots fired, a goose in a drunken guys house, a couple domestic violences, heart attack, 2 hit and runs, and a guy stuck at the bottom of a dam! I dont even have all the channels around here. it seems radioreference doesnt show them all... i really dont know if im using this site right though....


i guess i first just want to know if i should sell this while i can get full value back and get a different model. im looking for something that will last me forever basically, or at least until i get tired of listening. itll be awhile it seems.... i hear of this rebanding stuff and dont want to be left stranded


thanks for any help in advance....
 

sublime40

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Northern Illinois. I was hoping to find a laid back place, because im completely ignorant to scanning. i always thought it was a boring hobby, but then again i never had a radio that could hear more then cb channels. im literally amazed at all the conversations im picking up, with just a handful of channels programmed in.

also, i seem to read conficting features. can this scanner tune into regular am/fm radio stations? i thought a review somewhere said it could, but i cant figure out how. i mainly want to tune into 670am and 720am...
 

n4voxgill

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You got a great scanner, but it does not go down to the AM band. The 399.99 price is also a good deal. I have several scanners and the Pro96 is by far my favorite. The scanner is not on clearance, just on sale. I think the audio quality and basic operation is superior to the uniden scanners. I use WIN96 to program my Pro96 you can read up on it at www.starrsoft.com
 

John_M

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No AM/FM reception on the Pro-96. Iv'e had my Pro-96 on all day and I have heard alot also. What city/county are you in in Illinois. The database can tell you if there are Digital systems/channels that you can monitor with the Pro-96.
 

sublime40

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winnebego coutny, illinois. i get clear reception from ogle county, and can also hear stevenson with static. also get boone, but dont have channels yet.

how do i get the state police to work? it seems they are digital, and i used win96 and the internet download to input the channels, but it said it could only input the first 50? i dont think i did it right...


edit- i want to add that even though i havent had experience with any other scanner, this one really does seem to perform with high degree. even the weakest signals it still makes it audible enough to interpret.
 
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John_M

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This is the system you want to monitor?

http://www.radioreference.com/modules.php?name=RR&sid=2324

You'll have to decide what sites you want to monitor and program them individually in seperate banks.

Under the settings page check:

Trunk Id Display to Text.
Id Sub Bank On/off mode to on.

1. Program in Control Channels and set rx mode to MOT
2. Set Type to Mot
3. Set 9600 baud to normal
4. Set all fleetmaps to 00
5. Program in TG's for each system using Decimal values.
 

mancow

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The guy at the RadioShack was a futz. You were correct and he was wrong. The PRO-96 is the top model they offer and will give you full capability. The PRO-97 is great but with the 96 you have the option of monitoring digital. The Feds are all switching to it as well so you will have that capability too.
 

sublime40

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Thank You all for replying.

I knew i was right, this guy was just pushing something that he could sell right away. he wouldnt even let me out the door, he kept saying something else and i was just going 'ok'... 'yep' ... 'hvanice...' and he kept blurting on because he knew i was willing to buy.

john- thank you. is there a guide somewhere i could reference to learn what talk groups are about? and how to implement them. i seem to have only one of the digital police freq working. i just get static but at the bottom it shows a percentage, and some sort code cycles, like BEE00, SY140,T010B over and over. mean anything?
 
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loumaag

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As to where to learn about trunking, well right here of course. Check out the Trunking page on the RR Wiki. Start with the Trunking Basics page.

I am not sure what John_M was talking about separate banks since the system he pointed to (STARCOM21) is a Project 25 system; you can just put the control channels (and alternates) in your scanner and go from there. Note that your scanner will not use the 700 MHz channels in that system, as it cannot trunk track in the 700 MHz range.

BTW, welcome to scanning and the site also. :D
 

John_M

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1. Yes you can put the CC's into one bank. The problem with this method is that the scanner may lock onto a CC from a near by system when you really wanted it to lock onto a CC from the system you want to monitor. This was what I was really trying to avoid by putting the systems into seperate banks also you can specify which TG's you want to listen to.

(If you move around alot.)

2. You can also put all the CC's in one bank and lock out the CC's from near by systems you aren't currently monitoring.

(If you move around alot.)

3. By putting the systems into seperate banks you can specify what TG's you want to listen to for each system.

(If you don't move around alot.)
 
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loumaag

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John, I have no arguments with what you say in the three points you have above; however, you referenced a single system, not multiple systems in the post I took issue with above. When dealing with a single TRS, the idea for you to be able to scan multiple sites within the system in the same bank, not separate the sites by bank. This was the failing of the Uniden models for so long (now solved with the BCD996T). When separating sites (within the same system) by bank you run into a maintenance headache, you have to maintain separate (mostly identical) TG lists for each bank, you waste memory, etc.; hence, why the GRE radios were at an advantage in this regard for so long.
 

sublime40

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loumaag said:
As to where to learn about trunking, well right here of course. Check out the Trunking page on the RR Wiki. Start with the Trunking Basics page.
thank you, i need to read a lot more before i ask these questions. i appreciate everyones time and help

a quick opnion- whats the best handheld scanner then? the more i think of it, i do want one that can pick up regular am/fm radio. i want a scanner that will receive everything or close to it. i know the pro96 does a lot, but i now hear it wont do the 700mhz part of digital? whatever it means, im sure someday ill come in need of it. as is always my luck...
 

hiegtx

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sublime40 said:
thank you, i need to read a lot more before i ask these questions. i appreciate everyones time and help

a quick opnion- whats the best handheld scanner then? the more i think of it, i do want one that can pick up regular am/fm radio. i want a scanner that will receive everything or close to it. i know the pro96 does a lot, but i now hear it wont do the 700mhz part of digital? whatever it means, im sure someday ill come in need of it. as is always my luck...
700mhz is a segment of radio spectrum that used to be allocated to the upper portion of Uhf-tv. As the Uhf stations are moved out (many of those channels were never assigned anyway), the cleared area is being made available for two-way radio communications. Most, if not all, of those using these frequencies may be digital, probably trunked.

As Lou mentioned, your Pro-96 willl not trunk-track those frequencies, It can be 'opened up' to receive them, using software (WIN96), but it will not trunk-track there. I believe you mentioned you are in Illinois? A number of the sites for your state's STARCOM21 digital system use 700mhz control frequencies. The only two scanners available at this time that will trunk track 700mhz digital are Unidens: the BCD396T (handheld) and the BCD996T base/mobile.Of the two, if a base/mobile is acceptable, go with the 996. It handles a multi-site system in a much more efficient manner than the 396. In the 396, you'd need to set each site within range up in a separate system. You cannot combine sites in the same manner that you can with the Pro-96. (There is a partial work around, but that's for another thread.) If you are not really interested in STARCOM21 for now, and no one else you want to scan uses 700mhz (or plans to as far as you can tell), then you may want to hold what you've got.

The 396 will monitor standard FM radio, & Vhf-tv audio, if that's still an interest for you. The only handheld scanner I'm aware of (that's also a trunk tracker) that will monitor am & fm radio, and tv audio, is the Uniden BR330T. However, it is not digital,
 
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sublime40

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hiegtx- THANK YOU. that clears up a lot for me. now i see why nobody can give a clear-cut best handheld. i think ill just keep this one, as the 396 also has its drawbacks. i also hear the 396 doesnt have as good of reception, and to me performance always comes before bells and whistles.

I would guess then everyone here is still waiting for a perfect scanner to be made. im sure it will come, they need to wait a few years for all of this digital stuff to iron out.

i still want to get whatever digital channels that i can to work, but i need to read up more. i have no idea how to enter in the digital stuff still, i havent had time to get into it. the basic channels are sure enough fun though, i probably would have been satisfied with an analog scanner.
 

loumaag

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sublime40 said:
... i have no idea how to enter in the digital stuff still, i havent had time to get into it. the basic channels are sure enough fun though, i probably would have been satisfied with an analog scanner.
There is no difference in digital channels or analog channels. The frequencies are the same. Just the modulation is different. They (digital and analog) are set up the same way. Don't get into the mind-set that there is something magical about "digital".

As for the BCD396T having drawbacks, yes there are some, just as there are with the Pro-96 (I own both); however, I would consider not being able to trunk track a system I wanted to monitor (like the STARCOM21 system) as a pretty big drawback for the 96. Maybe that is why I own 4 digital scanners. :lol:
 

sublime40

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ive finally absorbed some knowledge on trunking. its actually seems like a common sense idea when radio freq's get all used up, but still the technology behind it seems amazing.

so i understand now that the pro-96 doesnt follow our certain state's system only because it wasnt specifically designed to. why wouldnt this be upgradeable though? doenst the 96 allow firmware flashing?


also, if the scanner cant fully track the starcom-21 system, what is the best way to hear anything? is it just tune the scanner to a few of the channels that migh be bieng used, and thats it? wouldnt that mean the converstations would be broken up because the radio cannot follow the directions given?
 
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