Programming my new scanner

hornjt

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Nov 29, 2006
Messages
23
Location
Trinity, TX
I have had issues in programming my BCD436HD and thought I would write about the issues I have some may learn or some might be able tell me a better way to do the programming. This will be an introduction with additional posts that will go over some of the issues I have had and do have in figuring out how to setup the scanner.
As I have said I have a BCD436HD and I have replaced the SDcard that came with the scanner with a 32GB SDcard for the storage of the recordings. I have a subscription to RadioReference.com which is where I get my frequency information. I am mostly using Sentinel to program the scanner, have played around with ProScan, thinking about purchasing that but trying to figure out the scanner before I get into using some of things that ProScan does.
I live in a small Texas city that that is in Trinity county and mostly interested in the Police, Fire, and Medic type frequencies, in addition to Rail Road frequencies. A UP line runs through town so I hear the train as it approaches from the south coming into town and continues on up the line. There is not a lot of traffic on the line so I do not hear a lot of that traffic, but plan on going down to North Houston area to listen to traffic there.
My favorites are setup currently (I have tried different ways to organize them, some of the Youtube videos and podcast have given me some ideas) based on County they are in with type (county - Fire). Then for the State wide sites I am putting TX - DPS and for National putting US - RR.
Some of the frequencies use the Texas Wide Area Radio Network and trying to figure out how to setup the sites in the scanner. I have selected the sites, placed them in the Favorites, which also adds other sites that for that Favorite I do not want it to scan in those favorites Trying to determine which ones can be removed (like those with the county listed, as long as they are not within "ear shot") but still be able to listen to the departments I want to. I'm thinking maybe checking the frequencies that the sites use, but we will see.

I will look forward for any guidance that you would like to provide, and any examples of how others set theirs up.
 

ofd8001

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Joined
Feb 6, 2004
Messages
7,104
Location
Louisville, KY
Several ways you can deal with distant sites on a statewide trunking system.

The easiest thing to do is turn Location Control to On in the Favorites List Options tab. That way the scanner has an idea where you are from the zip code entry and can use that to turn off the sites that are too far away. This makes the scanner to all the thinking for you. (If you travel, simply change the zip code to the destination and the scanner will make adjustments.) I recommend this method. You paid for that functionality - may as well get your money's worth.

Another way is to use Site/Department Quick Keys for all the sites. Those sites close to home (30 miles or so) should be on Site/Department Quick Key "A" and the others on Site/Department Quick Key "B". While at home, turn off Site/Department Quick Key "B". To set this up, it takes a little work because you have to "know" which sites are close enough and which are too far. An error could result in missing something until you modify the Quick Key assignments.

The last way, and I discourage it, is to either Avoid the distant sites, or delete them from the programming. Again a mistake with Avoiding/deleting something close by means a lot of effort to repair.
 

hiegtx

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Joined
May 8, 2004
Messages
8,191
Location
Dallas, TX
I have had issues in programming my BCD436HD and thought I would write about the issues I have some may learn or some might be able tell me a better way to do the programming. This will be an introduction with additional posts that will go over some of the issues I have had and do have in figuring out how to setup the scanner.
As I have said I have a BCD436HD and I have replaced the SDcard that came with the scanner with a 32GB SDcard for the storage of the recordings. I have a subscription to RadioReference.com which is where I get my frequency information. I am mostly using Sentinel to program the scanner, have played around with ProScan, thinking about purchasing that but trying to figure out the scanner before I get into using some of things that ProScan does.
I live in a small Texas city that that is in Trinity county and mostly interested in the Police, Fire, and Medic type frequencies, in addition to Rail Road frequencies. A UP line runs through town so I hear the train as it approaches from the south coming into town and continues on up the line. There is not a lot of traffic on the line so I do not hear a lot of that traffic, but plan on going down to North Houston area to listen to traffic there.
My favorites are setup currently (I have tried different ways to organize them, some of the Youtube videos and podcast have given me some ideas) based on County they are in with type (county - Fire). Then for the State wide sites I am putting TX - DPS and for National putting US - RR.
Some of the frequencies use the Texas Wide Area Radio Network and trying to figure out how to setup the sites in the scanner. I have selected the sites, placed them in the Favorites, which also adds other sites that for that Favorite I do not want it to scan in those favorites Trying to determine which ones can be removed (like those with the county listed, as long as they are not within "ear shot") but still be able to listen to the departments I want to. I'm thinking maybe checking the frequencies that the sites use, but we will see.

I will look forward for any guidance that you would like to provide, and any examples of how others set theirs up.
First off, there is no 'right' or 'wrong' way to organize your Favorites. Set them up in a manner that you prefer, and don't pay attention to someone else that might be griping that 'you did it wrong'.
You're in Trinity County.

I presume that the regional system that you are listening to is TxWARN.
(There is no true 'statewide system' here in Texas, but there are several large regional ones, like TxWARN in your area, and GATRRS in the Austin area.)

TxWARN, as you know, is a very large system. It covers multiple counties in the Houston Metro area, Southeast Texas, and some here in North Texas, including Smith County (Tyler) and Gregg County (Longview).

If you appended the TxWARN system to a Favorites list, you got a lot of agencies and sites that are well out of range. For the cities & counties that are out of range, and don't interest you, you can remove them from a Favorites List easily, using their names for reference. The sites can be harder to determine what to keep & what not to. In a few cases, you'll see the city name, which you can determine if you want to keep, or remove it. But some of the sites have names that do not match up to what you expect. But there is a workaround that you can use to help you identify them.

Open the TxWARN page in the database.
You'll see the list of sites in the top part of the page,
1599886977773.png
Try this:
Click on the County name on the column header for the sites.

That will sort the sites by the name of the county where they are located. See this partial screenshot on how it looks after being sorted.
1599887190083.png
That makes it easier to verify which county they are in. Obviously, a lot of them will be well out of range unless you are traveling around the state. I would narrow the sites down to ones in your county, and perhaps your adjoining county. That's the only ones you can reasonably expect to hear from your home location. You can, instead, use location & range to turn off everything that is not close to you, which some people prefer. I prefer to just get rid of the out of area departments and sites instead. But if you plan on traveling around, taking your scanner, and also adding a GPS unit, then leave the extra sites and let location (via the GPS) take care of what is active.

Instead of the National Railroad list, you might, instead, use the Texas Railroad list. Which will have the frequencies used here in Texas, along with the name used by the railroad for that segment.
Here is the page in the database:

In Sentinel, if you go to the main database, and open up Triniy, or any other Texas County, you will find that list under the Statewide folder.
1599887671342.png
If you <right><click> on it, you can append that to your Favorites list, or create a new list just for Rail.

Another 'statewide' system that I like to include is for the Medevac copters. I pare down the statewide list to include just the ones in my region. But they can be interesting if there is some sort of incident, like a serious traffic accident, with multiple patients that need to be flown to a trauma center.

For Texas DPS, I include the statewide listings in a system. Those frequencies are used and reused across the state, so if you have those, you're covered. But first (in the DPS system in my Favorites lists), I include the regional dispatch channels in my area, Dallas/Fort Worth. In your area, those would be listed under Region II, DPS Houston. In many cases, you are more likely to hear the DPS troopers in the field on the frequencies for the Sheriff's Department of the county where they are stationed. There are also quite a few talkgroups on TxWARN for DPS, but, again, in many cases you'll simply here them on the same frequencies or talkgroups that your county S.O. uses.
 

hornjt

Member
Premium Subscriber
Joined
Nov 29, 2006
Messages
23
Location
Trinity, TX
Several ways you can deal with distant sites on a statewide trunking system.

The easiest thing to do is turn Location Control to On in the Favorites List Options tab. That way the scanner has an idea where you are from the zip code entry and can use that to turn off the sites that are too far away. This makes the scanner to all the thinking for you. (If you travel, simply change the zip code to the destination and the scanner will make adjustments.) I recommend this method. You paid for that functionality - may as well get your money's worth.

Another way is to use Site/Department Quick Keys for all the sites. Those sites close to home (30 miles or so) should be on Site/Department Quick Key "A" and the others on Site/Department Quick Key "B". While at home, turn off Site/Department Quick Key "B". To set this up, it takes a little work because you have to "know" which sites are close enough and which are too far. An error could result in missing something until you modify the Quick Key assignments.

The last way, and I discourage it, is to either Avoid the distant sites, or delete them from the programming. Again a mistake with Avoiding/deleting something close by means a lot of effort to repair.
Thank you ofd8001 for the suggestions.
For the Location Control, I have set it on all my Favorites except for my "US" favorites which are national (CB, RR) which I would like to catch anytime I can.
First off, there is no 'right' or 'wrong' way to organize your Favorites. Set them up in a manner that you prefer, and don't pay attention to someone else that might be griping that 'you did it wrong'.
You're in Trinity County.

I presume that the regional system that you are listening to is TxWARN.
(There is no true 'statewide system' here in Texas, but there are several large regional ones, like TxWARN in your area, and GATRRS in the Austin area.)

TxWARN, as you know, is a very large system. It covers multiple counties in the Houston Metro area, Southeast Texas, and some here in North Texas, including Smith County (Tyler) and Gregg County (Longview).

If you appended the TxWARN system to a Favorites list, you got a lot of agencies and sites that are well out of range. For the cities & counties that are out of range, and don't interest you, you can remove them from a Favorites List easily, using their names for reference. The sites can be harder to determine what to keep & what not to. In a few cases, you'll see the city name, which you can determine if you want to keep, or remove it. But some of the sites have names that do not match up to what you expect. But there is a workaround that you can use to help you identify them.

Open the TxWARN page in the database.
You'll see the list of sites in the top part of the page,
View attachment 91245
Try this:
Click on the County name on the column header for the sites.

That will sort the sites by the name of the county where they are located. See this partial screenshot on how it looks after being sorted.
View attachment 91246
That makes it easier to verify which county they are in. Obviously, a lot of them will be well out of range unless you are traveling around the state. I would narrow the sites down to ones in your county, and perhaps your adjoining county. That's the only ones you can reasonably expect to hear from your home location. You can, instead, use location & range to turn off everything that is not close to you, which some people prefer. I prefer to just get rid of the out of area departments and sites instead. But if you plan on traveling around, taking your scanner, and also adding a GPS unit, then leave the extra sites and let location (via the GPS) take care of what is active.

Instead of the National Railroad list, you might, instead, use the Texas Railroad list. Which will have the frequencies used here in Texas, along with the name used by the railroad for that segment.
Here is the page in the database:

In Sentinel, if you go to the main database, and open up Triniy, or any other Texas County, you will find that list under the Statewide folder.
View attachment 91247
If you <right><click> on it, you can append that to your Favorites list, or create a new list just for Rail.

Another 'statewide' system that I like to include is for the Medevac copters. I pare down the statewide list to include just the ones in my region. But they can be interesting if there is some sort of incident, like a serious traffic accident, with multiple patients that need to be flown to a trauma center.

For Texas DPS, I include the statewide listings in a system. Those frequencies are used and reused across the state, so if you have those, you're covered. But first (in the DPS system in my Favorites lists), I include the regional dispatch channels in my area, Dallas/Fort Worth. In your area, those would be listed under Region II, DPS Houston. In many cases, you are more likely to hear the DPS troopers in the field on the frequencies for the Sheriff's Department of the county where they are stationed. There are also quite a few talkgroups on TxWARN for DPS, but, again, in many cases you'll simply here them on the same frequencies or talkgroups that your county S.O. uses.
Thank you hiegtx for the information. That gives me a lot to look into and helps tremendously.

I appreciate the information and the time you have given. Hope at some point I can pass on the assistants to others in the future.
 

hornjt

Member
Premium Subscriber
Joined
Nov 29, 2006
Messages
23
Location
Trinity, TX
I recently added NXDN upgrade to my BCD436HP and was wondering if I need to do anything different to hear NXDN frequencies?
 

ofd8001

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Joined
Feb 6, 2004
Messages
7,104
Location
Louisville, KY
Nope. Well, you might have omitted or Avoided NXDN frequencies previously because they were either noisy or you thought you couldn't use them. In that case you'll have to add or unAvoid them.
 
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