BCD536HP: Programming Help!

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webby52

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I'm not new to programming radios but trunking and scanning is getting the best of me. I have a BCD536HP that is only scanning two favorite lists, one trunk one conventional. I understand that mixed scanning isn't 100% effective but at this point I cannot get the scanner to pickup almost any of the conventional channels.

I've included hpe files.. basically I just want to scan the new Mercer County NJ P25 trunk system and the old VHF conventional. The scanner spends most of its time on the trunk system, every so often the conventional police channel will break thru.

Any help is appreaciated.
 

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ofd8001

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You might try tinkering with the Hold time for the Hopewell Valley system in that Favorites List to see if the scanner spends a little more time on that system.

From the manual:

Set Hold Time – This sets (in seconds) the amount of time the scanner will scan the System before moving on to the next system. All (Unavoided) channels will be scanned at least once regardless of this setting. The scanner moves to the next system after the hold time expires, any current transmission ends, and the channel delay time expires.
 

webby52

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It only seems to lock on priority channels...and before I had it hitting the trunked PD channel and that doesnt work now either.
 

ofd8001

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Would the "lock on priority channels" occur on the Mercer County system or the Hopewell, or both?

Priority scanning is a little different on conventional systems than it is on trunked. On conventional, the scanner "jumps" to the priority channel(s) and briefly stays there to see if a transmission is occuring. How frequently this happens is determined by the "Set Interval" time which is how often the scanner checks for priority channels. You might have a low value set here and that is giving the illusion it is only scanning priority channels. The scanning is probably going through the other channels so fast you don't even notice them being scanned.

For trunked systems, priority scanning isn't so obvious - sort of like it is going on in the background. If a channel grant (a transmission in simple terms) is in place on a priority talkgroup, then the scanner will switch to the priority talkgroup.

I also noticed something you'll need to fix. On the Mercer County p25 system, you have the "North Response 1" set as a priroity channel. However, in the system settings, you have Priority ID Scan Off. That should be On if you want priority scanning for this system.
 

webby52

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Thanks...I see RR is missing two of the control channels for the trunked system. I added them in but I still cant get it to pick up anything even if im locked on the single trunk TG. I had it working on my other 536...I'm going to pull the data off that one and compare the two.

Also when the scanner does pickup audio on a channel (conventionally) the audio "skips" or cuts in and out...is the scanner cutting out the transmission because its looking for other activity?
 

ofd8001

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Also when the scanner does pickup audio on a channel (conventionally) the audio "skips" or cuts in and out...is the scanner cutting out the transmission because its looking for other activity?
Yes.

That's the "trade off" for using conventional channel priority scanning. The scanner periodically "leaves" the received non-priority channel, checks the priority channel for activity and if none is present, returns to that non-priority channel to resume listening. This also happens if you use weather alerting/priority.

It is a little bit of an annoyance. However back in my active fire service days, we used conventional radios with priority scanning and had the same thing.

For priority ID scanning on trunked systems, you do not have that "skipping" or "cutting out". That's because trunked radio systems are completely different creatures than conventional.
 

webby52

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IMHO whats the point of having a priority? Every Uniden scanner I've owned never had that issue. How come the older scanners could check it in the background and still keep the audio on the active channel?
 
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UPMan

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No scanner has been able to check for activity on one channel while receiving another channel without interrupting reception. Our newest scanners have Priority DND. This option suspends priority checks while reception of voice is in progress, and checks for activity on priority channels only in between other transmissions. (Conventional)
 

ofd8001

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IMHO whats the point of having a priority? Every Uniden scanner I've owned never had that issue. How come the older scanners could check it in the background and still keep the audio on the active channel?
I've been in the scanning hobby about as long as there have been scanners. Many different brands and models have found their way to me. Also I've got nearly 40 years in the fire service and have used numerous base, mobile and portable radios with scanning capabilities.

Every scanner and radio is in this same situation: they jump off one channel to briefly listen to another. When this happens, it is more noticeable on some models than others, but you can detect it in all. Much of it depends upon how frequently and quickly a priority channel is "sampled".

Yes it can be a nuisance and one has to decide whether priority scanning is worth the nuisance. Fortunately I've accumulated enough radio equipment. The only priority scanning I do is on trunked systems where the "skipping" doesn't occur.
 

Steve2003

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No scanner has been able to check for activity on one channel while receiving another channel without interrupting reception. Our newest scanners have Priority DND. This option suspends priority checks while reception of voice is in progress, and checks for activity on priority channels only in between other transmissions. (Conventional)
I can't remember the exact terminology for this, but certain P25 systems broadcast when other talkgroups are active within the P25 voice data. I am 99.99% sure I had my PSR-800 jumping to my priority talkgroups mid conversation (without interrupting the current voice call to see if they were active). The system I did this with was the State of Colorado DTRS System.

The only caveat to this feature is the priority talkgroup needs to be active on the same site you are currently receiving a transmission on.

RadioIDs can also be embedded into P25 voice data. I remember reading the release notes on a firmware update that allowed my PSR-800 to pull RadioIDs from the voice data. Before the update it would get the RadioID from the control channel and miss the ID if I tuned in mid-conversation. With the new firmware it rarely missed the ID. I believe the BCDx36HP models pull the RID from the voice data as well as my BCDx36HP rarely misses IDs (you can even tune-in mid conversation and get the ID).
 

UPMan

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That's correct. Motorola, too, puts the system priority channel activity in the subaudible data stream on the voice channels. Caveat for that is that the system admin's idea of what channels are priority must match your own idea for priority to work.
 

AB8E

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P25: NAC170h

Was having trouble receiving transmissions from the local State Police system.
The Discovery search will find NAC170h.....OK??....

When I return to the edit favorites list there's no P25: NAC170h to choose from.
So when I write it back to the scanner it will monitor the freq.
I then change to auto it will find & monitor the freq. but it takes longer to scan & lock on.

What can be changed ??
Or will in need to be added to the Sentinel software drop-down menu ??
Thanks
 

AB8E

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N8ATA I am seeing your comment...
I'm not thinking that would have anything to do with my problem...
Right ??? I don't know the trunking system that well..
 
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