Old scanner owner needs advice!!

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oldscanner49

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I have owned scanners for 35 years, so I suppose all you experts know what's coming!

I need to move into the trunking era, but all this talk of talkgroup ID's, systems, fleetmaps, etc, etc, makes my brain freeze! I don't want to become an expert on that stuff, I just want to listen and enjoy.

I am very good with computers, so maybe that will be an advantage. Here is what I need advice on.

I am thinking of buying the BCT15, with the ARC15 Basic software. Will this allow me to go on RadioReference.com and just "drag & drop", so to speak, all my local and state frequencies into my scanner, without my having to learn all sorts of complicated scanner programming? Do I need some other type of software, or is the ARC15 sufficient?

I don't want to spend too much money on the scanner. There aren't that many frequencies in my area, Elkhart County, IN, so I think the scanner is the right one for me, but I really need the easiest way to load it up! I do hope I don't have to buy a digital scanner!

I know you can pay to have it programmed, but I assume that as soon as some new frequency comes along, or another agency goes trunking, I would have to pay again.

I won't be lurking here for several days, so if anyone has questions for me, just leave them and I will check back in a couple days. I will treasure any advice all you can give me!!
 
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ka3jjz

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You might want to do some homework in the Indiana forum - I know the SAFE-T system is digital, so the BCT15 won't work for that.

Trunking is a very important concept, and you don't need to completely understand all the technical jargon to understand the basics of what is going on. Our wiki has a trunking article with links to several articles that can get you started. I would concentrate at first on the basics, then work your way up to the type of systems in your area. There's a pretty decent article by UPMan on the subject.

Before I go throwing links around - they are indicated with underlines and/or in blue both here and in our wiki. For example our trunking wiki article is here...

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

Now to the subject of scanners - if you want to get digital, it isn't cheap, sad to say. These are the models of digital trunktrackers currently on the market (and a couple recently discontinued ones)

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

Although the ARC programs are pretty much the champs for Uniden (and to an extent, the GRE) scanners, at least the Unidens are supported by 2 freeware programs; FreeScan and BCTool. If you wish to check out BCTool be sure to get the latest and greatest from the Yahoo group, not the website...

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

http://scannow.org/

Each of these packages are supported; via a Yahoo group (BCTool) or its own dedicated forum (FreeScan). If you decide to check either of these programs out be sure to ask questions on these forums as their authors are on these groups frequently. In addition if you get a premium subscription (quite cheap) you can connect to the database and download data directly into the software editor. This is true for each of these 2 programs as well as the BuTel offerings.

73 Mike
 
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oldscanner49

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Thanks for the info. Although I do like the look of the above mentioned scanner, it seems it will not work for me. Do you have any suggestions for economical(!) digital base model scanners? I do like the Bearcat, but if there are better brands out there I would give them a look.

I suppose with software they are all about the same difficulty to operate?

Would appreciate all suggestions anyone can offer!
 

hoser147

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Pretty much in the digital world economical =used. Although the Radio Shack models are cheaper on sale than the GRE or Unidens and you can find some good ones one here in the for sale forums. It really depends on whether or not you want a base or portable. As far as programing them, software is the way to go.............Hoser
 

brent30

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There is no such thing as a cheap digital scanner. If you have a Radio Shack in your area I would recommend going with the pro-96 (handheld) or pro 2096 (base), radio Shack will clone your scanner to theirs (if they have one which most do) to all of your local freqs, but if you need to add extra Win96 isnt too hard to operate. I have no experiance with anyother brands or programming software. GRE is another brand along with uniden but all are around the same price. I got my pro 96's here on RR and I paid 250 for one and 270 for the other. they are alot cheaper if you buy them used.
 

ka3jjz

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If at all possible, do NOT let RS folks program your scanner. They will use Scancat Lite Plus and there have been several instances where a well meaning store clerk has otherwise screwed things up.

Instead, as the poster below notes, get Win96 from Starrsoft (with a USB-serial cable, as most newer PCs don't have serial ports) and a premium subscription, so you can download data from the databases. Alternately go to your state's forum and ask if someone has a p96 (the file extensiion Win96 uses) file for your area. It's also possible someone has a file in the Win96 Yahoo group, or in the Yahoo group that covers scanning for your state.

73 Mike

[edit] Here's the wiki article that lists many such Yahoo forums - far from complete, to be sure, but it's a good start...(anything in blue or underlined is a link)

http://wiki.radioreference.com/index.php/US_Scanning_Mailing_Lists
 
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oldscanner49

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Thanks guys for all the info. I do have a RS here, but not sure if they have a scanner set up. I assume Win96 is the software I need.

Was hoping to be able to afford the Bearcat scanners, they look so cool, but nowdays money talks, LOUD!

Do the RS scanners have an alphanumeric display so it will show who is talking? I have gotten used to learning the numbers over the years, but may be too old to learn a whole new set!

Please continue to add info if you think of anything that will help! Every little bit helps! Thanks!!
 

N1508J

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Hello son!

Thanks guys for all the info. I do have a RS here, but not sure if they have a scanner set up. I assume Win96 is the software I need.

Was hoping to be able to afford the Bearcat scanners, they look so cool, but nowdays money talks, LOUD!

Do the RS scanners have an alphanumeric display so it will show who is talking? I have gotten used to learning the numbers over the years, but may be too old to learn a whole new set!

Please continue to add info if you think of anything that will help! Every little bit helps! Thanks!!

Greeting from an old fart!:cool:

Lookie here, I just turned 90 a couple months ago. If I can get my fist around this digital krap you can too! Yeah, took me a little while reading and screwing around with the 996 but after rubbing my eyeballs on the manual and watching the readout things started adding up. You and I cut our teeth on tunable tube type radee-o's that these youn'ens ain't never seen. They think an old monitor is a Regency xtal controlled single channel transitor-eyezed! Betcha they never took the top off a crystal and either put a pencil mark on the quartz or used an eraser to change the frequency!!!!

Anyway, you take you time like I did and all that talkgroup tripe and such will fall right into place IF you don't allow yourself to get frustrated. Getcha self a nice digital radio and ARC programming and consult RR. Later you'll find you can program that beast with the front panel buttons just for kicks when a new talk group or conventional freq pops up......no kidding! :wink:
 
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