Programming the BCD996XT

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louiethegoat

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I have had scanners since the early eighties. Just last week bought a new BCD996XT and butel software , joined radio reference etc. Downloaded all local frequencies, conventional and trunked of interest. For the life of me and countless hours searching online, viewing you tube, reading forums etc., I still can not figure out how EXACTLY what I need to do to hear any of the trunked frequencies of local systems. I really would like to figure this out. Any help would be greatly appreciated as I have tried now for about a week and continue to do so. So far spent $400 and change for the scanner, a few dollars more for software, a few dollars more for Radio Reference etc. sheesh it is getting to be expensive just to have fun listening to local comms. Thanks everyone any help is appreciated, maybe someone out there can provide any useful info I may have missed.
 

captclint

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You said that you downloaded all the conventional and trunking systems for your area. I am assuming it is: Queens County, There are 12 trunking systems in your county. Although you may not be close enough to hear some of them, I would expect that you would be able to hear half of them. Did you download these 12 to you scanner using ARCXT? Having them in the software will not help...you have to download them to the scanner. If you did that, they should be set up correctly and ready to monitor. Did you also download the Talk Groups as well as the frequencies in the trunking system. If you are not sure, put the radio in the IDsearch mode(this is the default, so you should see that flashing on the screen as it scans the trunking systems). If you did not download any trunking systems, I would recommend you look at the 12 and decide on just New York City DOITT and New York City DOITT (UHF) Public Safety first.

Please give is more info about what you did and why you think you need more help with trunking. Yes, I know that everyone should understand trunking and DMA , but your software should have set things up for the most part, without your having to understand all the details.
 
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louiethegoat

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Thank You, captclint for the response. All I did was select the control frequencies on the left and the talk groups on the right on the download box of Radio Reference when using ARCXT (butel) software, imported and saved to scanner. I then press scan and it scans all the systems I have programmed but I have only heard the conventional frequencies and have yet to hear any trunked ones. I am a stones throw away from JFK Airport and I have the frequencies for those trunks programmed as well. Not hearing Nassau County PD , Suffolk COunty PD, NYSP all of which are trunked. Closest trunked is JFK followed by Nassau and then Suffolk. Do the trunked frequencies need to be in close proximity ? and if so, that might be why I can not receive them ? I am new to trunking. And yes , being a long time conventional scanner listener I can get up to speed rather quickly and dont need all the details but this BCD996XT has been something else to figure out. IN other areas I currently own an Alinco DJ-X7T for wideband communications listening and an Alinco DX-R8 for shortwave stations which I enjoy listening to as well both of which have been easier to use when you just want to sit down in your shack and listen. Thank You ! 73's
 
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maalox

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i would try also learning to program some freqs manually also
 
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ka3jjz

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Did you read the Easier to Read manual for the 996XT? It has a lot of information there...

And as for trunking- you haven't said much about what antenna you are using; that have a great bearing on what systems you can or cannot hear. Don't forget about a good grade of coax - if we're talking about 800 mhz (or even 400 mhz) here, coax losses can mean the difference between hearing and not hearing a trunk, particularly if you're on the fringes.

To help you understand trunking, I would go here, and read the links in the overview section - note that one of them is a PDF file by our own UPMan that goes into great detail about how trunking works...

Trunked Radio Systems - The RadioReference Wiki

Remember anything in blue is a link...HTH Mike
 

louiethegoat

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i would try also learning to program some freqs manually also
Thanks maalox programming frequencies in manually is not that difficult. Most people already familiar with scanners usually don't have a problem doing it manually and after learning the specific steps for your individual scanner (each scanner has its own steps to follow) that is pretty much it. I happen to live in an extremely large urban area which has hundreds of frequencies in use at any one time, hence it is much easier to use the software to load the frequencies. I have done it countless times in the past for my previous scanners , so I am familiar with doing so, and it is one PITA.
 

louiethegoat

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Did you read the Easier to Read manual for the 996XT? It has a lot of information there...

And as for trunking- you haven't said much about what antenna you are using; that have a great bearing on what systems you can or cannot hear. Don't forget about a good grade of coax - if we're talking about 800 mhz (or even 400 mhz) here, coax losses can mean the difference between hearing and not hearing a trunk, particularly if you're on the fringes.

To help you understand trunking, I would go here, and read the links in the overview section - note that one of them is a PDF file by our own UPMan that goes into great detail about how trunking works...

Trunked Radio Systems - The RadioReference Wiki

Remember anything in blue is a link...HTH Mike
Thanks ka3jjz for the reply . Yes I have visited that "easier to read" site you linked to. I must say I have to go back to it and read it some more as it is definitely very lengthy. I am not really on the fringe for most of my programmed frequencies as they are pretty much within the 25 mile zone in the county of queens , which is where I live except for maybe some parts of nassau and all of suffolk county. I am currently using the provided telescoping antenna with the BCD996XT. I am going to purchase the "Discone 141" from my local supplier NJ Amateur Radio, Scanner Radios & CB Dealer - Advanced Specialties, Lodi NJ - Yaesu. during the next week or so. I will eagerly go forward as a longtime scanner user to ultimately conquer this new beast ! Scan On !
 

maalox

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Thanks ka3jjz for the reply . Yes I have visited that "easier to read" site you linked to. I must say I have to go back to it and read it some more as it is definitely very lengthy. I am not really on the fringe for most of my programmed frequencies as they are pretty much within the 25 mile zone in the county of queens , which is where I live except for maybe some parts of nassau and all of suffolk county. I am currently using the provided telescoping antenna with the BCD996XT. I am going to purchase the "Discone 141" from my local supplier NJ Amateur Radio, Scanner Radios & CB Dealer - Advanced Specialties, Lodi NJ - Yaesu. during the next week or so. I will eagerly go forward as a longtime scanner user to ultimately conquer this new beast ! Scan On !
hi im in brooklyn i enjoyed the st antenna for years but 2 yrs ago we had heavy winds storm and my antenna fell lol i currently use the aor sa7000 superwideband antenna on my roof its actually wind proof up to 100 miles i read on some form .. happy scanning
 

ka3jjz

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No matter what software you use, you really need to understand how DMA works to use it effectively. This is especially true with trunking, where there are LOTS of new concepts to be learned. At least that's how it was for me....Mike
 

frazpo

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I brought up the idea of integrating zipcode programming into existing 3rd party software to simplify the use of the 396 and 996 in a recent thread. Not because I can not do it, but I understand why some get frustrated at the whole process. He has a good point. You spend $450 on a scanner, then software, then cables, just to listen to some EMS and cop traffic. I basically got shot down in the thread. I realize there are many variables in the programming of these scanners. There is also room for "blanket" settings for those that aren't interested in all the bells and whistles. Maybe a "simple mode" would help
 

davedaver1

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It is not about the software, it is about the difficulty in programming the unit. Feel free to use whatever software you have access to but thanks anyway !
You also said "And yes , being a long time conventional scanner listener I can get up to speed rather quickly and dont need all the details but this BCD996XT has been something else to figure out."

I think you kinda do need all the details. Many folks coming from "bank and channel" to DMA scanners have a bit of a learning curve with it. I sure did! I wondered what I was thinking when I bought my 396XT - it was painful (I've been monitoring since 1970). The 996 and 396 are totally different beasts from the 780 and 785 etc.. And if you're not familiar with trunking, it gets even more annoying to get everything to work.

I think you should master ONE trunk system and one conventional system first and then move onto loading anything and everything you want. Trying to solve trunking, conventional and a new radio memory scheme all at once is a lot. Just sayin'.....

The other thing you can do is find some ARC files to load up and see how things are programmed. This helped me a lot to see how things fit together. I also use FreeScan - I don't really care for the older ARC stuff, but I don't know how it looks for the newer radios.

Once you "get" this radio, it will become a snap and loading it up with stuff will be a lot of fun. Once I "got" my 396XT, I also got a 996XT and love them both.
 

maalox

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davedaver1 is correct we all had to switch over from banks to the dma we all had the same issues that you have now louiethe goat we here to help. you you can even have your scanner programmed by www.scannermaster.com for a small fee. i actually programmed 70% my 996xt by hand
 
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GTR8000

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I'm sure you've already realized this, but citywide conventional frequencies (FDNY, NYPD, etc) are all stored under Manhattan (New York County) in the database, not the outer boroughs.

As far as the trunked systems, those frequencies behave no differently than any other frequency as far as the rules of reception are concerned. In fact, in most cases you need to have better reception on trunked frequencies than you would on conventional analog. While your ears can recover a lot of what is being said on a weak analog frequency, even through static, the same is not true of digital. Your scanner needs to have pretty good reception in order to reliably decode the trunked system control channels, and voice channels to a lesser degree depending on whether the system uses analog or digital voice. The control channels are always digital, however, so there isn't much margin for error when decoding them.

The first thing you really need to do is go through each trunked system in the database that you're trying to listen to. Tune in each frequency in conventional mode, in particular those flagged as control channels (red or blue font), and make sure you have good enough reception to hear the data stream. If you can't hear anything, or reception is weak, you're not going to be able to trunk track that particular system. You'll have to look into a better antenna solution to hopefully pull those weak signals in.
 

louiethegoat

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Thanks to all who replied ! I must say it has been a while since I have been on these forums but I am definitely loving my BCD996XT. After a few weeks got the hang of it and I have been back to my scanner ways. It was a small learning curve but was well worth it. I have been busy listening to my scanner and to my shortwave receiver for quite some time. In addition, I have recently been on the air on my Uniden 980 SSB with the locals trying to catch some DX. 73's and happy scanning !
 
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