BCD436HP: Sites Scanned During Holds

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I have a Favorites List (FLQK 00) containing one P25 trunking system (SQK 00) with 11 sites (DQKs 01-11). As shown in the attached image, I've got most of these sites set to inactive using the DQKs, since I believe the departments in this particular FL are going to be on one of two sites.

BCD436HP_Site_QKs_Example.jpg

However, when I hold on a specific TGID (such as by pressing CHAN, entering the assigned number tag, and pressing CHAN again) one of two things happens (according to the display, anyhow): either all sites in the system will be scanned regardless of the site quick keys, or the scanner will stop on one of the sites, but not necessarily the one(s) assigned to the active quick keys. Sometimes, the former (scanning all sites) happens for a while and then later it will stop on a (random) site. The only way I can seem to guarantee the correct site is being monitored during a CHAN hold is to also do a SITE hold and manually select the correct site.

I fear that this same behavior is occurring during DEPT hold as well, but since the middle section of the display is locked to showing only the DEPT information during such a hold, I really can't tell.

Can anyone explain this behavior? Am I seeing a bug or do I not understand something properly? The Uniden manual does not seem to discuss the expected behavior in any of these cases.

Thanks in advance for any advice!
 

jonwienke

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When scanning a trunked system, if you hold on a talkgroup, the scanner will continue to look for traffic on that talkgroup on any active site for that system. If you're scanning sites A, B, and C, you will continue to scan A, B, and C after placing any hold other than a Site hold.

I don't recommend using quick keys to toggle sites. It gets complicated quickly, and most people screw it up, and then blame the scanner for their mistakes (generally not assigning keys the way they intended or losing track of what's on and off). Location Control is a much more intuitive way to enable and disable sites.
 
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Your description of the expected behavior is consistent with what I am expecting based on previous responses to other threads although, as I alluded to earlier, it would be nice if the scanner documentation actually stated the same. However, what I have stated is that I am experiencing behavior explicitly different from that which you have described. If I am currently only scanning sites B and E (according to my DQKs and as indicated on the display) but then I hold on a TGID, what I see is that sometimes it will go to site H (not previously being scanned) and stop, but other times it will start scanning all sites A - K, regardless of whether they were active prior to the hold.

Thanks again for any further input.
 

jonwienke

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When the unit is scanning, it will display the site(s) being scanned as it scans them, which is a more accurate way to determine what sites are scanned than viewing quick key status. Configuring quick keys is complex and fiddly, and if you make any mistakes anywhere, they will not behave as expected. This is especially true when mixing keys for departments and sites. It's much easier and more reliable to use location control to toggle sites, and use department keys to toggle departments.
 
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I hope I haven't been unclear, but I am relying on what the display shows in the center section during scanning to determine what sites are being scanned, not the QK status. Please don't take this the wrong way; I appreciate any and all input regarding best practices, but my question/issue is not being addressed. The facts are as follows:

1. The site quick keys are working as expected during scanning. In my example (see prior posts for more detail), I am scanning only two of the 11 sites on my system.

2. When I hold on a TGID the display changes from showing the two sites being scanned in the large center section, to showing the department. At this time, the sites being scanned transition to appear in the small center section instead. The display now indicates that all 11 sites are being scanned, rather than only the two which were being scanned prior to the hold.

3. Sometimes (I haven't been able to determine any pattern) instead of scanning all 11 sites, it will stop on only one seemingly random site and never move again.

I'd like to know whether 2. is correct behavior, or a bug. I don't believe there is any way that 3. can be correct behavior; why would the scanner ever stop indefinitely on one site unless a site hold is in effect? If there are circumstances where this should happen, I'd like to understand them.

I am hoping to get feedback on these questions from someone at Uniden. I am under the impression that this is a valid forum to bring issues to their attention, but I do not know how to appropriately call their attention to this thread. Any input would be welcome with regard to that as well.

Thanks again!
 

AA6IO

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I regularly use Dept QKs 90, 91, 92, ..... to toggle among multiple sites on trunking systems. Been working well for me. If I want to hold on a TG, I usually will use the specific site that is best for that TG, then hold on that TG. Works well for me.
Regards
 
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And when you have 92 disabled, for example, that site is not scanned during the hold? What firmware version are you running? I am on the latest BCD436HP v1.11.20.
 
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I realized last night that the issue of the apparent "indefinite linger" on one site during a hold may be a feedback only problem. That is, it's possible that every time the display is updated (assuming the display is updated on an interval rather than every time the scanned site changes), the same site just happens to be the currently scanned site at that moment.
 

jonwienke

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The display is not updated as fast as the scanner can scan. If you scan a single department full of analog channels, you will see that the display is not updated 80 times per second.
 
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Understood; that's exactly what I realized yesterday. Even if you were scanning ten sites with eight frequencies each, updating the display ten times per second would result in an unintelligible jumble of characters. It would seem to me a better design would be to simply scroll through the names of the sites at a reasonable rate regardless of which frequencies were actually being scanned at that particular second. The bottom line is that it's misleading for the display to even be capable of only showing one site name when in fact multiple sites are being scanned.
 
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I never suggested updating the display that fast; 80 updates per second would be completely absurd. In fact, I suggested that even ten updates per second would make for a useless user interface. My point is that, as a user interface, it should let the user know what's going on. Maybe if we (the users) get lucky, someone at Uniden who cares about the user experience will eventually read this.
 
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This thread has actually now become focused on the less critical of the two topics. For the sake of clarity for any new readers, there are two separate issues being discussed:

1. Inappropriate sites being scanned during holds when they should be disabled by using site Quick Keys. See post 1 for details. I have worked around this by creating multiple favorites lists segregated by site and actually deleting the unwanted sites from each of those lists. In this way, when I hold on a department or TGID within one of the lists, only the appropriate sites are scanned because they are the only ones in that FL. The downside is that if I need to add a site to a particular department, I'll have to re-add the site into the FL, which is considerably less convenient than enabling a QK.

2. The display does not reflect accurately whether any given site is currently being scanned. There is no known work around, so I'll just have to trust that the scanner is scanning what's in the memory even thought the UI may not say so. If this ever turns into a feature request at Uniden, I'd suggest that the display could simply roll through all of the site names it is scanning, perhaps one per .5 second or so, until it locks on to a frequency. At that time, the UI could be updated to reflect the site from which audio is being received. Another suggestion is that the sites should be shown on the small line in the center section during scan mode with a DEPT hold. As it stands, they are invisible during that mode but the locked site does show up when receiving audio.
 

jonwienke

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I never suggested updating the display that fast; 80 updates per second would be completely absurd. In fact, I suggested that even ten updates per second would make for a useless user interface.
Updating the display 80x per second is the only solution that would ensure the display shows what is currently being scanned, as opposed to something scanned a short time previously. None of your suggestions solve the "problem" that the scanner scans faster than the display can update. I would rather have the scanner display alias than kludge a site list display routine that most of the time displays a site that is not actually being scanned at the moment. IMO that "cure" is worse than the problem--the lag time between scan and display would be greater than 100ms on average.

Regarding #1, it's far more likely that your quick keys are misconfigured, or that you don't understand how they actually work, than you have discovered an actual firmware bug. The most important thing to realize is that they are hierarchical, and that you cannot see a department quick key status by looking at the scanner display. For example, if you have a Favorite List QK 5, a System QK 6, and a Department QK of 7, the 7 in the scanner display does NOT reflect the Department QK status, it reflects the status of the Favorite List QK 7. To toggle the Department QK, you cannot just type 7 EYes, you have to type 5.6.7 EYes. If you type 7 EYes, you will toggle the Favorite List with QK 7, not the Department in the FL with QK 5.

If you do not have Favorite List and System QKs assigned for the Favorite List and System the Department falls under, the Department QK will not work.

Uniden BCDx36HP Quick Keys and Number Tags - The RadioReference Wiki
 
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The question of how the display works and should work is a matter of opinion. You've made your point. My point is that given the way it appears to work now, the possibility exists that the display will constantly indicate one site name forever, based on the scan time happening to align with the display update frequency.

I understand the quick keys perfectly, my quick keys are indeed properly configured, and the proof of that is in post #1 along with a picture of the display. If you're not going to bother to read and understand what's already been written, you should probably keep your opinion that others don't understand how things actually work to yourself. It's not helpful, and only serves to cloud the discussion.
 

jonwienke

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The display screenshot proves nothing without seeing your Favorite List settings. And my opinion is based on extensive experience assisting others before you. You wouldn't be the first person thinking there was a bug in the scanner, when the actual problem was a setting in a Favorite list.
 

ofd8001

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As best as I can tell from a 436 scanner, when a channel hold is in effect, the scanner holds on one site.

The local P25 system I monitor consists of a simulcast system (13 sites) and 3 ASR sites in adjacent counties.

When I'm scanning the whole system, the scanner shows it is scanning all four sites. But when I press channel hold the scanner also holds on one site, that being the simulcast site. Those other 3 ASR sites in adjacent counties do not appear to be scanned.

I suspect in most situations, this wouldn't be an issue. However with some elaborate statewide or regional trunked systems, there could be a problem.

That problem could be where a channel hold is initiated and a specific channel is selected via number tagging. The site that is "held" may not be the site the desired channel's TGID is allowed affiliation. So a person may not hear transmissions on the desired channel/TGID because the "wrong" site is being monitored.

Kind of an interesting aside: I'm too far away to receive a control channel for those 3 adjacent county ASR sites. I only receive control channel for the simulcast site here in my home county. I can lock out the Department Quick Key I have assigned for my home county's simulcast site and when scanning, the scanner checks all 3 of those adjacent county ASR sites but NOT my home county site (as it should). But when I initiate a channel hold, then my home site appears to "magically" turn itself back on.

Thus during a channel hold, I'm receiving transmissions on a site I have locked out via Department Quick Key. (This was confirmed by logging software indicating the transmission came in on a voice channel assigned to the site where the Department Quick Key was off.)

What I suspect happens is that when a channel hold occurs, if it isn't receiving a control channel, it will scan all sites until it detects a control channel. This might be how the software is engineered and so we haven't heard from Upman on this because they do want to spill any beans about their software engineering.
 

Ubbe

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Maybe I'm not reading you correct but I think you are confused by the channel label in trunked systems that actually are the talk groups, not frequency channels.

As best as I can tell from a 436 scanner, when a channel hold is in effect, the scanner holds on one site.
No, it holds on to a TG but scans the frequencies you have programmed for the whole system. There is no way to hold on to one specific site.

When I'm scanning the whole system, the scanner shows it is scanning all four sites. But when I press channel hold the scanner also holds on one site, that being the simulcast site. Those other 3 ASR sites in adjacent counties do not appear to be scanned. I'm too far away to receive a control channel for those 3 adjacent county ASR sites. I only receive control channel for the simulcast site here in my home county.
If you are outside the coverage of a control channel then the scanner have no reason to monitor it, there's nothing to receive. The scanner holds on to a talk group when you hold on to a channel and the only control channel in that system it can receive are the simulcast one and will not monitor other frequencies with control channels that are too far away to be received by your scanner.

I can lock out the Department Quick Key I have assigned for my home county's simulcast site and when scanning, the scanner checks all 3 of those adjacent county ASR sites but NOT my home county site (as it should). But when I initiate a channel hold, then my home site appears to "magically" turn itself back on.
Department have nothing to do with sites, it's only a group of talk groups.

You can set a quick key for each site and I believe you have those somehow common with your department/talk group quick keys that confuses you when you turn them on and off. Try deleting the QKs for the sites in your system, there's normally no need for them, and it will become much easier and understandable to you.

/Ubbe
 
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