that sinking feeling :)

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Greshgore

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Hello all, new to scanners in general and I need a little help. I received a Uniden BCT15X as a Christmas gift. Unfortunately, the person giving this gift is totally oblivious to the switchover to digital and the slow death of analog systems as a result.

I can't bear the thought of telling them it's nothing more than an expensive paperweight, but my lack of success is telling me so.

So, I live in Wexford County MI, using Freescan I have partially successfully programmed local frequencies. However, only one or two entries out of the 50 or so i EZ grabbed show up when i turn the dial, and i get nothing from them but static "clicks" or simply white noise. None of the individual frequencies on RR specifically show as digital, so i'm hoping it's me and not that my radio is SOL.

Can any fellow Michiganders give me a clue on hat to do, or can tell me if Wexford has gone completely digital?
 

N8IAA

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Rather than using the EZ grab feature, why not import the frequencies from RR being that you are a premium subscriber?
This way, you'll make sure that the frequencies are imported correctly.
HTH,
Larry
 

tglendye

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I agree with Larry. You might want to ask this question on Michigan's forum for better answers, but in looking at the database it looks like you have some analog frequencies your scanner will be able to receive.

Wexford appears to have a few talk groups that are digital on the state's system. But with only the 3 different channels that I am seeing on the statewide system and the analog frequencies under the County, I am guessing you can still do some good listening (at least for now) without a digital scanner.
 

Greshgore

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Thank you both for your replies, did as suggested and importing direct from RR did the trick, in that now all the different frequencies are selectable, also made sure that the do not send digital frequencies option was checked so in theory i should be able to receive the ones listed. Now for a very basic question. After reading the user manual and the one at marksscanners, is there a way to tell the BCT15x to scroll continuosly until it hears a transmission? I'll sometimes get it to scan for a few seconds, by turning the dial but it usually stops on the same one or two channels that admittedly have a strong signal, but are just white noise/static. In an area as rural as mine, there are slow days, but somewhere SOMETHING is afoot, and I want in! :)
 

Greshgore

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backed off meaning what exactly, because right now i have it at the lowest setting, not sure where to keep it without risking cutting off any transmissions it might pick up, or maybe the stock antenna might not be enough, even though im only a few miles from several transmission points.
 

scanchs

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backed off meaning what exactly, because right now i have it at the lowest setting, not sure where to keep it without risking cutting off any transmissions it might pick up, or maybe the stock antenna might not be enough, even though im only a few miles from several transmission points.
The correct setting is achieved when the squelch is set just high enough to allow the radio to scan when no signal is present, but no higher. A setting of 1 or 2 is still low enough for you to receive relatively weak signals. You're not going to hurt anything by experimenting with the setting. Good luck! :)

ScanCHS
 

jhutch62

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I had the same problem several years ago when my wife bought me a BC898T scanner, which at the time I thought was top of the line and quite expensive, boy was I in for a rude awakening. I live in Clare County MI, which went digital (MPSCS) in 2007?...I didn't have the heart to tell her that the birthday present she saved up for was now obsolete, at least in my area. Since then I've purchased the Pro-2096 and Pro-106 but I'm happy to say that my BC898T is still in use monitoring Consumers Energy, which broadcasts on the EDACS system.
 

Greshgore

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Yeah, had the scanner searching for over 2 hours now and not a single transmission, so unless the stock antenna is just woefully inadequate, I'm rapidly losing hope.
 

jhutch62

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You may very well have a bad antenna or maybe Wexford County has gone completely digital, I'm not sure. It seems like I remember hearing the Cadillac City Police recently on my scanner, which is on 155.610. Here's an idea, try the Osceola County Sheriff on 158.820 Mhz. It's pretty strong even here in southern Clare County. Or you can try programing your weather band in and see if it receives that. Don't lose hope :)
 

awattam

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I feel I should mention

That the BCT15x is very easy to add a discriminator tap to and using DSD, you can listen to those digital transmissions so what clearly. I am hearing good things about this new DSD plus too.
 

Greshgore

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obviously im nowhere near as technically proficient as many of you, computers are my forte lol, but I thought it was impossible for an analog system to decode digital signals...but with a discriminator I might actually get signal quality good enough to at least be understandable?
 
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According to RR, and your state system, there are 3 TGs for Wexford county. However, the conventional VHF freqs are not "deprecated". So my suggestion would be, if you haven't, is to program in all of the convention VHF freqs. I don't know if that model reacts the same as when encryption comes, in that the (996xt) mutes encryption (so you don't hear it). The model you have may or may not mute P25 transmissions (since it cant decode them), they will come across a "data sound". That will tell you, if they are convention P25 or just not conventional anymore. Sorry if this was already tried, just my (nickle) LOL

Link to your county Wexford County, Michigan (MI) Scanner Frequencies and Radio Frequency Reference

Good Luck. Happy New Year
 

jhutch62

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Sometimes, even if RR still lists conventional (non-digital) frequencies here in Michigan it doesn't necessarily mean they're still working. For instance, here in Clare County Michigan RR still lists Clare 911 dispatch, which was on 460.550 Mhz but in fact our county's E.O.C. group had acquired the tower and repeater for use on the 70 centimeter amateur band years ago. Virtually every conventional frequency with the exception of fire dispatch and the county road commission, have migrated to MPSCS. Clare County, Michigan (MI) Scanner Frequencies and Radio Frequency Reference
 

awattam

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obviously im nowhere near as technically proficient as many of you, computers are my forte lol, but I thought it was impossible for an analog system to decode digital signals...but with a discriminator I might actually get signal quality good enough to at least be understandable?
Yes. I am not that technically savvy either but from experience what the discriminator tap does is to bypass the audio processing side of the scanner and output raw unfiltered data. You will then input this into your computers sound card via the 'line in' and then a program such as DSD (or this new DSD plus) will decode this information and convert it to audio out of your computers speaker. Its not as good as a digital scanner but can be pretty close and depending on your computers capabilities the audio is quite clear.

My BCT15x is on consignment at Ham Radio Outlet right now with a discriminator tap that I added, but if it doesn't sell soon, I am going to retrieve it and see what that new DSD Plus can do.
 

fleef

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I'm sorry the gift donor got you a rather "outdated" machine (welcome to my world - my b-days and Xmas gifts sound a lot like yours) Don't throw out that old scanner. When and if you get the digital one, give this excellent and interesting article to read: Is Your Analog Scanner Really Obsolete? here is a snippet from the article, written by KC8VWM

"Now you will be able to use that inexpensive and obsolete scanner as a cheap radio receiver for decoding ISS PACKET, SSTV, PSK, CW, APRS and many other digital modes commonly used on VHF/ UHF bands. Total equipment investment = $20.00

A radio scanner can provide tactical or battlefield intelligence that is normally unavailable from any other source. In almost all cases it even can even scoop your local news media coverage of events before the public even knows about them. Just program it for common media outlet communications frequencies to see what I mean. For example you will enjoy listening to the media news traffic copters. You will hear more about what's going on from them, than you would on a higher priced - cream of the crop digital police scanner."

that is just part of the article, there is a lot more good info and advice on it including some frequencies you can program into it.

I was considering purchasing a new or used recent model scanner, but I balked at paying 300. and up just for casual listening to police calls. There are old scanners galore for sale used so I picked up a BC172xl for only 10.00 and am having a ball just monitoring non-P25/digital comms. I will always have the newer scanners on my wish list but the analog ones aren't so obsolete as there is still a lot to listen to and things you can do with it. I am happy with mine even though I can't get our local PD or those digital calls. I was thinking of going the discriminator route too but I can find no information at all for this receiver I have, oh well. Either way your scanner is still fun and plus you can practice programming it.
 
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Ronaldski

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A lot of that area is generally analog, granted it will work as of now, but just has no ability to work for you if the areas your in decide on digital.
Im sure it was looked at or they were told what radio would work for your area, so this one would.

=====================
True, thats why we need submissions from users at the local levels. Also the Ole ask and you shall receive, the Clare county was updated!

Sometimes, even if RR still lists conventional (non-digital) frequencies here in Michigan it doesn't necessarily mean they're still working. For instance, here in Clare County Michigan RR still lists Clare 911 dispatch, which was on 460.550 Mhz but in fact our county's E.O.C. group had acquired the tower and repeater for use on the 70 centimeter amateur band years ago. Virtually every conventional frequency with the exception of fire dispatch and the county road commission, have migrated to MPSCS. Clare County, Michigan (MI) Scanner Frequencies and Radio Frequency Reference
 
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