Returning to scanning after absence of 25+ years

Status
Not open for further replies.

Bushwack

Member
Joined
Mar 27, 2005
Messages
12
Location
Los Angeles
My last scanner was an 8 crystal Radio Shack (I think it was a Pro-9 but could be mistaken). Would like to get back into scanning and would like assurance/confirmation/opinions that the Uniden 396XT is the right choice (would prefer to use a Uniden scanner). I'd like to monitor police and fire within Los Angeles city, county and respected departments of Beverly Hills, Santa Monica, Culver City (and on occasion Rancho Mirage and Palm Springs).

Of what research I've done thus far, the 396XT may be overkill (which is OK with me). But I'm confused what other items I may need for programming (software, cables, batteries, frequency guides, etc).

Thanks for your help.
 

scannerboy01

Member
Joined
Apr 1, 2010
Messages
261
Location
Alberta, Canada
Hi, Bushwack:)
You would be set to scan if you do get the 396XT. It would be good because I noticed that one of the police departments is doing P25 digital(which is a feature of the 396XT) testing so it would be good if you get a digital scanner that way if the police or other departments go digital, you would be prepared.
Happy Scanning:D
 

Rt169Radio

Member
Premium Subscriber
Joined
Aug 24, 2011
Messages
2,790
Location
CT
The Uniden BCD396XT scanner is a good choice.For batteries I would recommend Duracell AA NiMH rechargeable batteries.If you don't want to program the scanner by hand,I recommend using the programing software FreeScan.

If your pc has a USB port you could use the Uniden USB cable to program your scanner.For a frequency guide you could use the RR database.
 
Last edited:

trap5858

Member
Premium Subscriber
Joined
Feb 22, 2003
Messages
672
Location
Doylestown PA
Welcome back to scanning. As the others have stated, the 396XT is a very good scanner. You don't need a much more than what comes with the radio to get going. Freescan is excellent software and like the name says- it is free. Having a premium subscription to Radio Reference will make your life a whole lot easier. The only other items to consider would be upgrading your antenna especially if you are scanning 800 mhz. and also a soft case for it. The case makes it slightly more bulky but worth the price of the protection.

Good luck and enjoy
 

Bushwack

Member
Joined
Mar 27, 2005
Messages
12
Location
Los Angeles
Thanks all for the help and feedback. Ordered my Uniden 396XT, USB cable, La Crosse BC1000 battery charger (I figure I'll need it) and mailed in (PayPal is evil) my one year membership today. Looking forward to getting knee deep once again!
 

trap5858

Member
Premium Subscriber
Joined
Feb 22, 2003
Messages
672
Location
Doylestown PA
Just holler if you need help- there are so many dedicated and knowledgeable scanner people on this board who will offer sound advice.
 

Bushwack

Member
Joined
Mar 27, 2005
Messages
12
Location
Los Angeles
Just holler if you need help- there are so many dedicated and knowledgeable scanner people on this board who will offer sound advice.
HELP!!

I've set aside the entire afternoon (and realizing I'll need to set aside much more time) learning what the 396XT can do and I am overwhelmed! While I expect I'll learn more 'on the go' and just familiarize myself with the scanners capabilities, I'm at a point where I want to program the darn thing and get an initial return on my investment.

What I can't figure out (so far) is, using Freescan and the database, how do I download various frequencies into the scanner? For example, if I want to download the frequencies for police and fire for Beverly Hills, CA and input into the scanner,..., and why can't I just jump back in time 25 years ago and by crystals for the frequencies I want to monitor?!?! Life was much simpler then! :)

Seriously though, this hobby involves a lot more set-up time then it once did. Just need to invest the time in the set-up to derive the benefits.
 

captclint

Mentor
Premium Subscriber
Joined
Dec 31, 2005
Messages
2,449
Location
Mountaintop, PA
IN Freescan, file, Import RR conventional. Fill in your user name on RR and PW and connect. then select your state and county and select or unselect the various agencies you want to scan, and hit import. This will set up the various systems in Freescan. Then you need to select Scanner, control, can comport setup, auto. This should find the comport(of course you have to have the scanner connected to your PC 1st. Once you have established connection, Select Scanner, Upload,. All the defaults should work, BUT deselect send system quick keys after your 1st upload.

If there are trunking systems in your county, log back on and select Import, RR Trunking
 
Last edited:

N2JDS

Member
Joined
Dec 20, 2007
Messages
375
Location
St. Peters, Mo
Just think, you would have needed to save 20 dollars every year you were "Out of the game" just to have enough money to buy one today. Today you have to be a "programmer" so to speak. But once you go through it a few times, it will get easier. First learn the basics to start enjoying, then dig deeper into what else that puppy can do. I too started with a pill box of crystals, that I swapped out on a 4 channel scanner, surprised I did not wear them out. Some I did wear off the ink, so had to color code them.
 

Bushwack

Member
Joined
Mar 27, 2005
Messages
12
Location
Los Angeles
IN Freescan, file, Import RR conventional. Fill in your user name on RR and PW and connect. then select your state and county and select or unselect the various agencies you want to scan, and hit import. This will set up the various systems in Freescan. Then you need to select Scanner, control, can comport setup, auto. This should find the comport(of course you have to have the scanner connected to your PC 1st. Once you have established connection, Select Scanner, Upload,. All the defaults should work, BUT deselect send system quick keys after your 1st upload.

If there are trunking systems in your county, log back on and select Import, RR Trunking
Success -thanks for the help...but you knew another question would arise.

I was able to download all 13 frequencies for the Beverly Hills PD and FD - I just haven't been able to scan them yet! The scanner wants to first scan all the pre-programmed frequencies first (oh my!).

Now..using the manual that came with the 396XT (not well written for the beginner), I can't find where I can lock out all per-programmed channels (I have no interest to monitor frequencies in Alaska, Delaware, etc) and just listen to what I downloaded. And the information I found here (much more helpful - (Easier to Read BCD396XT Digital Scanner Manual) doesn't coincide with the options available to me on the scanner.

So...how do I lock out a bank of frequencies and just be able to listen to what I downloaded (programmed). My gut tells me I'm just missing a simple process (probably due to frustration).

Thanks.
 

captclint

Mentor
Premium Subscriber
Joined
Dec 31, 2005
Messages
2,449
Location
Mountaintop, PA
There is a key stroke combination that erases them all, but equally easy is that red line at the top of the upload screen that says: erase all systems and settings. If you upload your frequencies again with that selected, presto... all gone and your frequencies will have been uploaded to a clean slate.
 

Bushwack

Member
Joined
Mar 27, 2005
Messages
12
Location
Los Angeles
There is a key stroke combination that erases them all, but equally easy is that red line at the top of the upload screen that says: erase all systems and settings. If you upload your frequencies again with that selected, presto... all gone and your frequencies will have been uploaded to a clean slate.
Thanks again! But I would like to keep them in the system (as reference) until I get comfortable with the scanner. Still concerned why, after reading the pathetic Uniden manual and the referencing the link I previously posted, I can't lock out these pre-programmed frequencies (ether as a site or a group).
 

N8IAA

Member
Joined
Dec 19, 2002
Messages
6,775
Location
Fortunately, GA
First thing I did with my 396XT was to initialize the scanner to clear out the preloaded systems and frequencies. What Uniden loads into these scanners is at least two plus years old and not really worth monitoring. The advise to click on that option (erase and replace) when uploading what you want to scan is saves having multiple sets of frequencies in the scanner. It took me months to figure out how the DMA works. I trully like using it. The closest GRE scanner I have to it is my PSR-800. If only it was more like the 396, it would go more places with me:)
HTH,
Larry
 

Bushwack

Member
Joined
Mar 27, 2005
Messages
12
Location
Los Angeles
First thing I did with my 396XT was to initialize the scanner to clear out the preloaded systems and frequencies. What Uniden loads into these scanners is at least two plus years old and not really worth monitoring. The advise to click on that option (erase and replace) when uploading what you want to scan is saves having multiple sets of frequencies in the scanner. It took me months to figure out how the DMA works. I trully like using it. The closest GRE scanner I have to it is my PSR-800. If only it was more like the 396, it would go more places with me:)
HTH,
Larry
Thanks - I did just that. Possibly out of frustration or the realization that I would never have use for those pre-loaded systems. Now with the frequencies I uploaded, I'll learn more about the scanner before going to the next level(s).

As an old newbie, I'm overwhelmed with the assistance and information available for this hobby.
 
Status
Not open for further replies.
Top