ARCXT: San Bernardino County Fire - In over my head already

Joined
Jun 9, 2020
Messages
61
Location
Murrieta, CA
I do a lot of hiking in the San Bernardino Mountains. Up until now I've had my handheld scanner and I've been listening to Forestry as well as calfire and the search-and-rescue channels. My scanner is digital Phase 2 BCD325P2 and I also purchased a 996P2. I know they're nothing newest but they're what I could afford. I'm also going for my ham license and I have to watch my retirement money. I didn't think I would get sucked into this scanning to the extent that I have been. I tried programming the Riverside County Sheriff's department and everything was garbled.

I just want to hear the fire department. I've heard police calls for a very long time. I want to program it for the San Bernardino Mountains. I don't know where to start. I'm using Arc XT by beutel that was recommended to me. When I look at the trunking frequencies I don't know what to pick. I see a list of different locations that are quite a ways away from where I'm going to be in the mountains.

I don't know the area fairly well because my family has a cabin up there. I know Bertha Peak is in Big Bear Lake. I know onyx Peak comes up Highway 38 and services that Corridor. I do some hiking in that area. But then I see mountains simulcast. So do I program all three sets or just the simulcast one? I know there are others like strawberry Peak that I don't see on the list. And Keller Peak where I'm going camping this weekend. I found them by looking on the Wiki page. But I don't see the ability to program for Keller or strawberry. Only Bertha Peak and Onyx Peak are listed with mountain simulcast.

The bottom line is I'm lost. I don't even know where to start! My only experience programming was ICIS and that was easy.

I'm looking at the programming information here:


I'm looking at different information on the Wiki page here:


I wonder if someone could give me a helping hand. My portable scanner is digital as well so whatever I learn for the 996 P2 I guess works on the handheld as well. Up until now I could listen to their VHF Channel 7 and I could hear most of the calls.

If I sign up for the programming service will it know what I need? Will it basically just plug the numbers in but I still have to know which ones to tell it? Totally lost.
 

bb911

Member
Joined
Sep 30, 2006
Messages
237
Location
Southern California
I'm a bit confused, what can you receive now? And what are you trying to receive? It sounds like you're all set up for USFS and Cal Fire. On incidents (wildland fires for example), you don't have to worry very much about County FD because they will be on the Cal Fire and USFS freqs on VHF Hi. At least their overhead will be. Also, almost every sq. in. of the SBNF gets responses from all 3 agencies and often others.

Riverside Co and San Bernardino Co Sheriff Depts. are both encrypted so they are out.

Re: Arc XT by beutel. I've used Win 97, Chirp, and RT Systems software, but I'm not at all familiar with that one.

PS- Don't just put in the Forest Net for the USFS. The input and/or UHF links can sometimes be heard much better in an area then the repeater outputs.
 
Joined
Jun 9, 2020
Messages
61
Location
Murrieta, CA
Butel Software. It's a partner program to this site. One can set up a feed from their scanner directly to RadioReference from it. ARC XT software for Uniden BCD996P2 BCD346XT BC346XTC BCD396XT BC346XT BCD996XT BCT15XT BCD325P2 BCD996 P25 models scanner free demo

I apologize if I didn't make it clear that I want to program the trunking channels for the San Bernardino Mountains. I linked to the trunking pages and asked which one I program for the mountains. I don't really care about the city stuff. I'm not really a tree hugger but I enjoy hiking. I'm trying to get in shape so that I can try the Pacific Crest Trail before I get too old to do it.

When there are fires going on in the San Bernardino County area I can only hear a limited radio traffic on V7. Sometimes they refer to V6 and I can hear it but scratchy. These are VHF I guess Mutual Aid channels so that calfire and Forest Service can join them. San Bernardino County is on 700/800. They dispatch on 2CMD1 but then when units go on scene they're told to go to 2TAC5. If they're doing a hoist out like I'm familiar with down in Forest Falls the helicopter talks to the ground Crews on 2EMS1. Sometimes on calcord which I can hear.

I'm not programmed for the trunking. That's the issue. Only certain radio traffic comes over the VHF Mutual Aid channels. As it stands when they go on scene I always hear them say that they're switching to tac. I don't know who's tac. But I do know that County Fire conducts a lot of their radio communications on their trunking system. Only the Incident Commander or agency representative if they're in unified command seems to be on the 7. As a retired cop I'm familiar with unified command as well as agency Representatives.

I do know that whenever there's a brush fire or a car fire County Fire, Cal Fire, and Forestry all respond. I think that's great! I don't know if we have anything like that down here in Elsinore. Thanks for letting me know why I can't hear Riverside SO. Not that I really want to.
 

Enjoi19

Member
Premium Subscriber
Joined
Mar 17, 2020
Messages
135
Location
Ontario, Canada
@HappilyRetired it looks like a lot of the sites in that system are simulcast, including the mountain one. The garbled mess you are hearing is likely simulcast distortion. In this case it is a hardware problem, not your programming. The only scanners that properly handle simulcast are the SDS100/200. The page I linked there has some tips you can attempt to use to mitigate the issue, but there's no guarantee other than using the SDS100/200.

1598373399791.png
 

Chris0516

Member
Joined
Feb 22, 2020
Messages
206
Location
Pittsboro, North Carolina
I do a lot of hiking in the San Bernardino Mountains. Up until now I've had my handheld scanner and I've been listening to Forestry as well as calfire and the search-and-rescue channels. My scanner is digital Phase 2 BCD325P2 and I also purchased a 996P2. I know they're nothing newest but they're what I could afford. I'm also going for my ham license and I have to watch my retirement money. I didn't think I would get sucked into this scanning to the extent that I have been. I tried programming the Riverside County Sheriff's department and everything was garbled. I just want to hear the fire department. I've heard police calls for a very long time. I want to program it for the San Bernardino Mountains. I don't know where to start. I'm using Arc XT by beutel that was recommended to me. When I look at the trunking frequencies I don't know what to pick. I see a list of different locations that are quite a ways away from where I'm going to be in the mountains. I don't know the area fairly well because my family has a cabin up there. I know Bertha Peak is in Big Bear Lake. I know onyx Peak comes up Highway 38 and services that Corridor. I do some hiking in that area. But then I see mountains simulcast. So do I program all three sets or just the simulcast one? I know there are others like strawberry Peak that I don't see on the list. And Keller Peak where I'm going camping this weekend. I found them by looking on the Wiki page. But I don't see the ability to program for Keller or strawberry. Only Bertha Peak and Onyx Peak are listed with mountain simulcast. The bottom line is I'm lost. I don't even know where to start! My only experience programming was ICIS and that was easy. I'm looking at the programming information here: I'm looking at different information on the Wiki page here: I wonder if someone could give me a helping hand. My portable scanner is digital as well so whatever I learn for the 996 P2 I guess works on the handheld as well. Up until now I could listen to their VHF Channel 7 and I could hear most of the calls. If I sign up for the programming service will it know what I need? Will it basically just plug the numbers in but I still have to know which ones to tell it? Totally lost.

@HappilyRetired it looks like a lot of the sites in that system are simulcast, including the mountain one. The garbled mess you are hearing is likely simulcast distortion. In this case it is a hardware problem, not your programming. The only scanners that properly handle simulcast are the SDS100/200. The page I linked there has some tips you can attempt to use to mitigate the issue, but there's no guarantee other than using the SDS100/200.

View attachment 90466
HappilyRetired, While I have ProScan. Instead of ARC-XT. I do have the 325p2. Expense was also a concern for me. I also noticed. That I can't get Simulcast. But, I am satisfied with what I can get after adding a telescopic antenna(two international airports, five regional airports, three ARTCCs', and seven counties. If do think of upgrading to another scanner. It would be the SDS100. But, Before I would even think about purchasing the SDS100. I am thinking about upgrading my 325p2 w/ DMR or NXDN. The cost of the upgrade to the scanner. Is only $75. The cost of upgrading to the SDS100 is $649. The SDS100 does not come w/ DMR, or NXDN, either.
 
Last edited:
Joined
Jun 9, 2020
Messages
61
Location
Murrieta, CA
Thank you except the simulcast systems that you have underlined are not the same systems. Different control channels and channels. I think I have answered the mountain simulcast question by exploring this site a little bit more. I clicked on the link that took me to a map that tells me that the simulcast site incorporates Heaps, Keller, San Sevaine, Skyland, Strawberry, and the Twin Peaks Sheriff's Office. I don't know where a couple of them are located but I guess they feed into the simulcasts channel. So I guess that's what I need to program. I can hear the mountain simulcast using a Diamond discone. I can really hear calfire quite well now and they're the fire agency around me. The same with the Cleveland National Forest and Idyllwild.
 
Joined
Jun 9, 2020
Messages
61
Location
Murrieta, CA
HappilyRetired, While I have ProScan. Instead of ARC-XT. I do have the 325p2. Expense was also a concern for me.
I downloaded ProScan but I'm not really sure what to do with it. It looks like it's more designed to stream or something to this site. The Butel software was what was recommended to buy. I don't know the difference. I sure appreciate all the help you guys are giving me though.
 

Chris0516

Member
Joined
Feb 22, 2020
Messages
206
Location
Pittsboro, North Carolina
I downloaded ProScan but I'm not really sure what to do with it. It looks like it's more designed to stream or something to this site. The Butel software was what was recommended to buy. I don't know the difference. I sure appreciate all the help you guys are giving me though.
I bought(registered) ProScan. Because, After looking at videos' n' pics of Butel, and ARC-XT. ProScan is better organized IMHO. Streaming is not its' sole, or major purpose.
 

ProScan

Software Provider
Premium Subscriber
Joined
Jul 2, 2006
Messages
4,575
Location
Ontario, Calif.
I downloaded ProScan but I'm not really sure what to do with it. It looks like it's more designed to stream or something to this site. The Butel software was what was recommended to buy. I don't know the difference. I sure appreciate all the help you guys are giving me though.
Actually ProScan main feature is the database. You will need Sentinel to update the scanner firmware and edit the profile.

ProScan has extra capabilities that I don't believe Sentinel has such as:
  • Multiple Favorites on the same tree which makes it easy to Copy & Paste and Drag & Drop systems
  • Find Duplicates
  • Find & Replace
  • Import directly from RRDB. RadioReference subscription required
  • Import Win Clipboard or from a RR web page. No RadioReference subscription required
  • Versatile Sorting options
  • Google Maps showing all the systems with circles or rectangles
  • Export nicely formatted web page showing any or all (user selectable) the FQK's, SQK's, Number Tags, and systems
  • Copy & Paste and Drag & Drop nodes to other systems and other ProScan instances
  • SDS200 FTP Read & Write using the Ethernet connection.
 
Joined
Jun 9, 2020
Messages
61
Location
Murrieta, CA
I'm a bit confused, what can you receive now? And what are you trying to receive? It sounds like you're all set up for USFS and Cal Fire. On incidents (wildland fires for example), you don't have to worry very much about County FD because they will be on the Cal Fire and USFS freqs on VHF Hi. At least their overhead will be. Also, almost every sq. in. of the SBNF gets responses from all 3 agencies and often others.
&

I'm not quite sure about what you just posted. There was a fire this week and Forestry, calfire, and County Fire were all there. They were working on V7. I don't have trunking set up yet so I can only hear the stuff that jumps into V7 which is incomplete. But what I did hear was the County Fire dispatcher telling their units that if it was Forest service's fire they would use the forest service frequencies. But if it was the County's fire they would use the County's frequencies. Apparently some units with the forest service have radios and can talk directly to County on their trunked system. Calfire I have heard have walkie talkies since they are stationed at County Fire Stations all along what's it called The Rim? They respond in tandem to most calls. I was talking to CHP and they actually have trunking radios in their patrol cars. He said it lets him talk to the snow plows as well as the sheriff. I guess that's keeping it simple.

Don't they make a radio did covers both of the radio bands? I'm sure it cost a few extra bucks but this is confusing as all hell! All of our radio is it LAPD had the capability of switching over 2 LA County, Mutual Aid channels, and most of the city police department's. It wasn't uncommon during a Pursuit that went on for a while that are helicopter would have to pull out for fuel and counties helicopter would jump in and handle it. Or depending on where it was at another agency that had a helicopter would jump in and handle it like Pasadena. The point is is we could all talk to each other. This really sounds like a cluster something or another. And then you got this hodgepodge thing of ICIS. Cities are cobbling themselves together into wide-area radio system that County and LAPD or not in. I guess this is why I don't want to learn too much. It sounds actually fascinating but it's making my head hurt already.
Actually ProScan main feature is the database. You will need Sentinel to update the scanner firmware and edit the profile.

ProScan has extra capabilities that I don't believe Sentinel has such as:
  • Multiple Favorites on the same tree which makes it easy to Copy & Paste and Drag & Drop systems
  • Find Duplicates
  • Find & Replace
  • Import directly from RRDB. RadioReference subscription required
  • Import Win Clipboard or from a RR web page. No RadioReference subscription required
  • Versatile Sorting options
  • Google Maps showing all the systems with circles or rectangles
  • Export nicely formatted web page showing any or all (user selectable) the FQK's, SQK's, Number Tags, and systems
  • Copy & Paste and Drag & Drop nodes to other systems and other ProScan instances
  • SDS200 FTP Read & Write using the Ethernet connection.
WOW! This may be something to aspire to but for now it's a bit over my head. I don't even know what Sentinel is. Do I need it? What if I do want to feed this site although there's already a mountain feed.
 
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