BCD396XT: Talk Groups

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jasoyeom

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Since the 396 has a limit of 20 groups with a trunking system I have to limit what groups I want to enter.

Question: When scanning a trunking system in scan mode does the scanner scan all talk groups or does it detect which TG is active? I have got around the limit by entering the sites in three different quick keys and scanning with all groups but was thinking it would probably be better/faster if I only entered groups that are more than likely that I'm going to receive and use search mode in case new tg's come up.
 
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does the scanner scan all talk groups or does it detect which TG is active?
It scans the Control Channel (s) which carries information about which talk groups are in use.

You can always run in "ID Search" mode then lock out the TG's you don't want to monitor.
 

ofd8001

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Bearing in mind that "Groups" are clusters of channels/talkgroups, that means you can spread out the 500 channels/talkgroups over those 20 Groups. (As in all 500 could be in one Group or 25 channels/talkgroups in each of those 20 Groups).

Note: the number of control channel frequencies counts against that 500 channel limit.

(ID Search is what I would do too).
 

rcool101

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Since the 396 has a limit of 20 groups with a trunking system I have to limit what groups I want to enter.

Question: When scanning a trunking system in scan mode does the scanner scan all talk groups or does it detect which TG is active? I have got around the limit by entering the sites in three different quick keys and scanning with all groups but was thinking it would probably be better/faster if I only entered groups that are more than likely that I'm going to receive and use search mode in case new tg's come up.
Think of Groups as Departments. Group 1 can be Police and you can put police TGs in it. Group 2 can be Fire and you could put fire TGs in it....etc....or Group 1 could be a city and you can put that cities TGs in it
 

jasoyeom

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I appreciate everyone's information. I was just reprogramming my scanner and thought it would be better (faster) to only program the talk groups that are actually used in my area rather than the whole system (in case I travel to those locations). I'll probably use the ones in my location and use search mode for any other ones that popup.
 
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That will work. Just remember the ones not programmed will only show as numbers, so you'll need to maybe write down what you hear.
 

jasoyeom

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What software do people use for programming the BCD396XT? Freescan doesn't seem to allow merging groups together or copying talk group id's from one group to another. I'd like to have all the talk groups for travelling but I could narrow them down. In the database their are 35 groups and wonder if some could be combined (like OPP) to fit the limit of the scanner.

I can download all the groups by creating multiple systems and use the same quick keys as someone suggested.
 
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hfxChris

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Freescan doesn't seem to allow merging groups together or copying talk group id's from one group to another
I've never had any issues copying talkgroups (or anything for that matter) from one group to another. Just highlight the talkgroup you want to copy, click on the Edit menu, hit copy, then go into the group you want to copy it into, edit, paste. Freescan also supports the ctrl+c and ctrl+v for copy and paste like any word processor would use.
 

Ronaldski

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I use Freescan, I know people will say its no longer supported but ... it still works! :) FreeScan User Guide - The RadioReference Wiki
ID Search is a poor way to do this honestly. I do have one quickkey with all the state control channel frequencies and set it to ID Search, to find new ones, but thats the 'only one', quickkey 8.

The database when looked at is laid out well on the website where we setup a city with their own group, but it soon can get to more than 20.
Untitled 3.jpg

Here is how I do mine, make some 4 groups or so. rcool101's comment is the correct response above.

I make one group for each, Police, Fire, Medical, Miscellaneous
Im sure some your your groups probably have just one talkgroup or so. Easily done in software is to move any talkgroups that are police related to the Police group, fire ones to fire, ambulance to Medical group. Miscellaneous I put in, say county common, special events, road commission types.
You may have to possibly rename a couple as the alpha tag might be duplicated to say just police so you may have to insert a city's name. Also when doing this you could just put in the city name especially if it's a long name. When it appears on the scanner how I show it, the top row will show on the scanner in my example, goes back-forth, Police, Bay County and back again.
In my example I did make a separate road commission but thats since they have 13 talkgroups.
If you notice I also have a separate 'Bay county Fire' also on quickkey 1 since their fireground channels use the 8TAC non trunked frequencies.

I currently have 81 quickkeys with this setup for MI. Works great.
 
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ofd8001

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With you being a premium subscriber, another option would be to download a CSV file of the system of interest. You can copy from that and paste into the programming software.
 

sallen07

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What software do people use for programming the BCD396XT?
I used Freescan for years, starting when I bought my 396XT. Hey, I'd just spent like $400 on a scanner, and it was ... FREE! The biggest issue with it (other than it's no longer supported, so bugs won't get fixed) is that it only partially supports DMR and doesn't support NXDN at all. But that's not an issue with the 396XT since the scanner doesn't support them either!

But a few years ago I switched to Proscan and have never looked back. I also use some of the Butel products, so my recommendation would be that you download both Proscan and Butel ARC-XT and try them (they both have 30 day trials). If Freescan works for you and you want to stick with it, great. If one of the others is more appealing, you can pay for it and go that direction.

Personally I would suggest Proscan, it's awesome. But try all three (including Freescan) and pick the one that works best for *you*.
 

jasoyeom

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If you have a large system to listen to do you program in every talk group or just ones you are li
I used Freescan for years, starting when I bought my 396XT. Hey, I'd just spent like $400 on a scanner, and it was ... FREE! The biggest issue with it (other than it's no longer supported, so bugs won't get fixed) is that it only partially supports DMR and doesn't support NXDN at all. But that's not an issue with the 396XT since the scanner doesn't support them either!

But a few years ago I switched to Proscan and have never looked back. I also use some of the Butel products, so my recommendation would be that you download both Proscan and Butel ARC-XT and try them (they both have 30 day trials). If Freescan works for you and you want to stick with it, great. If one of the others is more appealing, you can pay for it and go that direction.

Personally I would suggest Proscan, it's awesome. But try all three (including Freescan) and pick the one that works best for *you*.
I bought Proscan which works great for both my 436 and 396 scanners. I was looking at Butel's ArcXT which allows moving things around very nicely.
 

jasoyeom

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I use Freescan, I know people will say its no longer supported but ... it still works! :) FreeScan User Guide - The RadioReference Wiki
ID Search is a poor way to do this honestly. I do have one quickkey with all the state control channel frequencies and set it to ID Search, to find new ones, but thats the 'only one', quickkey 8.

The database when looked at is laid out well on the website where we setup a city with their own group, but it soon can get to more than 20.


Here is how I do mine, make some 4 groups or so. rcool101's comment is the correct response above.

I make one group for each, Police, Fire, Medical, Miscellaneous
Im sure some your your groups probably have just one talkgroup or so. Easily done in software is to move any talkgroups that are police related to the Police group, fire ones to fire, ambulance to Medical group. Miscellaneous I put in, say county common, special events, road commission types.
You may have to possibly rename a couple as the alpha tag might be duplicated to say just police so you may have to insert a city's name. Also when doing this you could just put in the city name especially if it's a long name. When it appears on the scanner how I show it, the top row will show on the scanner in my example, goes back-forth, Police, Bay County and back again.
In my example I did make a separate road commission but thats since they have 13 talkgroups.
If you notice I also have a separate 'Bay county Fire' also on quickkey 1 since their fireground channels use the 8TAC non trunked frequencies.

I currently have 81 quickkeys with this setup for MI. Works great.
Do you have all the talkgroups of the system you listen to or just the ones that you know are active in you area? I don't travel much out of my area but would rather have all the talkgroups just in case one becomes active. I have used Butel's ARC XT to combine several talk group id's into other ones to get by the 20 group limit. I don't assign my groups any quick keys as I don't need to turn any off while scanning.
 

Ronaldski

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I include all of them as some of course will rarely get used but if something happens your ready. 396XT has 25,000 memory so its not an issue.
 

ProScan

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If you have a large system to listen to do you program in every talk group or just ones you are li


I bought Proscan which works great for both my 436 and 396 scanners. I was looking at Butel's ArcXT which allows moving things around very nicely.
Did you know that nodes can be move around very easy in ProScan using the mouse Drag & Drop? Departments & sites can be moved within the same system (for the purpose of reordering) or moved to other systems. Same with channels. Channels can be moved to other departments in the same system or other systems. Also Copy & Paste will duplicate the nodes (favorites, systems, departments, sites, & channels)
 

ofd8001

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I include all of them as some of course will rarely get used but if something happens your ready. 396XT has 25,000 memory so its not an issue.
I too program in all talk groups. The number of talk groups in a system has no effect on scan speed. The number of sites does - more sites, especially those out of range, are detrimental to scan speed (or actually how long it takes to cycle through all sites and get back to something you can receive).

I was thinking that the 396XT has an "Absolute Limit" of 500 channels per trunked system, however. The 25,000 limit is for all systems combined in the scanner.
 

jasoyeom

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Did you know that nodes can be move around very easy in ProScan using the mouse Drag & Drop? Departments & sites can be moved within the same system (for the purpose of reordering) or moved to other systems. Same with channels. Channels can be moved to other departments in the same system or other systems. Also Copy & Paste will duplicate the nodes (favorites, systems, departments, sites, & channels)
Good to know. Thanks! Unfortunately I can't download the Talkgroup description instead of the name (ie OPS15 instead of Norfolk County).
 
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ProScan

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Unfortunately I can't download the Talkgroup description instead of the name (ie OPS15 instead of Norfolk County).
Why not? In ProScan, there's a check box "Channels - Use Description Name Instead Of Display Name". They can also be edited after imported.
 
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