Old scanner getting into the new!!

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KC0NYF

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Hi all here in MN, another MN new guy here, had an old scanner and now I got a new one, so I will be picking your brains here for some help. The old school in me understands the idea of APCO 25. But just don't have a clue how all the programing goes for all of this.

Well tonight I just ordered my BCD396T, This will be my first digital scanner ever...hope I picked the right one.
I have been in HAM radio for a couple years and use to be in law enforcement. Wanted to get back into hearing the radio again.

Well I understand back in the day you would look up in the book and program the frequency into the radio, but with the 800 change here in the city's you need the computer to program the radio and I have been looking at some different software programs to help me with the ease of the old style of scanning to the new.

So in looking at some of the people posting the frequencies the first thing I notice they just have numbers next to them, is it just as easy to just put the numbers in, or from what I see just copy and pasting into the programs on the computer and downloading??

Well these are the things i don't understand, but hope you all can help me with them.

Thanks in advance

Greg
KC0NYF
 

ka3jjz

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Greg, without seeing the frequencies you mention, it sounds like they have a PL - otherwise known as a CTCSS- tone or a DCS tone associated with them. They work exactly the same way they do in our service.

Before I really get going here, anything in blue and/or underlined is a link. This format works in both the forums and our wiki reference.

Terms like the above are pretty well defined in our glossary - no such document is ever complete, in my view, but this is a good start...

http://wiki.radioreference.com/index.php/Category:RR_Glossary

Now as to the 396 - while I don't live in Minnesota, there are a few things that you will likely need...

First off, a basic understanding of DMA - in this architecture there are no banks - you define banks yourself...

http://wiki.radioreference.com/index.php/Uniden_DMA_FAQ

At the bottom of that article are links to the 'Easier to Read' online manuals. The Uniden supplied manual is not very well written, frankly - these are much better. Download the one for the 396.

If your area uses trunking, you will need to understand the basics and how they work. Read the overview section of

http://wiki.radioreference.com/index.php/Trunking

Hand typing and copy/paste is passe :D First things first, though. Most newer PCs don't have serial ports, so you will need a USB converter. Uniden sells them (model USB-1) and other manufacturers do, too. Others can advise on which one works for them - my desktop has 2 serial ports...

Anyway, next you will need a (cheap) premium subscription...

http://www.radioreference.com/apps/subscription/

Finally there are 2 freeware packages that work with the 396-

http://scannow.org/

http://wiki.radioreference.com/index.php/BcTool
(the Yahoo group linked at the bottom has the most recent version of the program)

Finally how to get data. While the 396 has several preprogrammed data banks, things might have changed since the programming was set. So most will jump into the programming side of things. The DMA FAQ mentions sources, but I'll emphasize a couple...

a. Folks can send you a UASD (Uniden Advanced System Director) file for your area. Both of those packages can import them as a data source

b. With your premium subscription you get the ability to download data directly from the database into the editor for your software

You have some reading ahead of you :D 73 Mike
 

KC0NYF

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Eden Prairie Minnesota
Ahh yea the areas I plan on listening to are,

Anoka county dispatch, with car to car in coon rapids and fridley
Minnesota State Patrol
Hennepin County with Eden Prairie, Champlin, Hopkins,Minnetonka, Wayzata, Mound, West Hennepin
Public safety,Excelcisor,

Carver County

Washington County, maple wood

Chicago County

That most of my list Im sure I will add on later but its where I want to start and where I travel around the metro the most.

I will also look up the info you gave me, thank you!

Greg
 

mmtstc

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hey Greg...

I have had my 396 for about 3 years now and it has been one of the best purchases i have ever made. Even though my agnecy is on the 800 mhz system, i still use my mine at work because it allows me to listen to pretty much anything i want.

I had been using the uniden USAD software, but a couple on months ago, i purchased that ARC 396 software and although i was cheap and skeptical, i will never go back. I woul recommend spending the 30 dollars on the software.

I have very similar monitoring needs to yourself so if you choose to go to the ARC software, i can email you my files on the system, otherwise it is pretty basic and easy to pick up the manual programming of the software. I'm a simple ambulance driver and i was able to learn it all from scratch...

good luck and i hope you enjoy your new toy...
 

unclebubba

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I also use the ARC996 software instead of the UASD. One thing that really gets my blood pressure up with the UASD software, is that everytime you click on a button, a new box pops up. It feels like when you set up one system you have 10 different windows open.
ARC is just my preference.
Craig
 

KC0NYF

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Eden Prairie Minnesota
OK i finally got it...have been playing around with it for a while....but I do not understand how to program it :-( ...defiantly not like the old scanners
 

KC0NYF

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I purchased the ARC396 and now my computer will not recognize the scanner...im thinking i may just return my sanner..this is so fustrating
 
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snikliw87

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I purchased the ARC396 and now my computer will not recognize the scanner...im thinking i may just return my sanner..this is so fustrating
Not sure how that software works, but make sure you have the correct COM port selected, and the baud rate is the same on the software and scanner.
 

KC0NYF

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Eden Prairie Minnesota
wow...this is turning into a bad deal
scanner 475.00
serial to usb cable 36.00
ARC396 basic software 30.00
Premium Membership 30.00

Scanner that I can not figure out....lots of fun...:-(
 

KC0NYF

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Eden Prairie Minnesota
Well im getting closer I think? Was finaly able to lisen to some stuff, I edited my list on bc tool, re downloaded my list..now when i go into the area I want to lisen to it just says "finding Ctrl Channel" all the time.
 
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Like snikliw87 said, I suspect you need to figure out which com port your USB programming cable is on, and tell ARC396 which com port to use. Otherwise, I wouldn't give up just yet, it can be a pretty steep learning curve when you're trying to wrap your brain around this digital trunking stuff - especially if you're used to just plugging in a frequency and having it work. Remember, lots of people have the exact same setup you do, and after experiencing initial troubles like you have they got them working.

A trip to the RadioReference wiki may be in order. If you don't know much about how trunked radio systems work, but if you're unfamiliar you may wish to start with http://wiki.radioreference.com/index.php/Trunking_Basics.

Good luck!
 

KC0NYF

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Eden Prairie Minnesota
Thank you all for your help. I was able to get things running..just need to under stand how the whole metro area p25 system works here in MN, its all starting to come back to me but the digital stuff is a whole new beast.

Greg
 
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