Uniden BCD 396xt

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JGFrick77

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I have had my scanner several years now and still have never programmed it the way I want it. It has always gone through all the police divisions, fire, and ems one by one, so a scan cycle would go on and on. I never figured out quick keys, groups, sites and all the other complications. Now that I am retired I have time to obsess about the scanner and drive the wife crazy.

I have cleared its' memory several times and played with Freescan to put stuff back in. I have read all the manuals, tried over and over to get it right, but come up short.

Questions: Is this scanner outdated for my area? Are there any recommendations for an easier to use/program scanner? Any recommendations for one on one help?

I live in Charlotte, NC 28212 area of Mecklenburg County

Thanks!
 

ofd8001

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As best as I can tell, Charlotte is using a county wide trunked system. It is P25 Phase 1 and shows the talkgroups as being analog. That means your scanner should be able to receive this system.

Charlotte / Mecklenburg County (Motorola) Trunking System, Charlotte, North Carolina - Scanner Frequencies

I'm wondering if you may have not added this system to your scanner. Going through frequencies "one by one" is typical for scanning a conventional system, but not a trunked system.

Trunked systems scan differently. A scanner listens to the control channel for activity and if a channel grant (voice transmission) is there, the scanner will display the talkgroup ID information and listen to audio (assuming the talkgroup, etc. isn't locked out). Trunked systems do not "listen" to each talkgroup for activity and then "do its thing". As such scan time for trunked systems is pretty fast.
 

ka3jjz

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There are several questions that need to be asked in order to be of more assistance. I will leave the NC related stuff to the scannists there, as they know their area better

Your description leaves a great many details out. for example, precisely what is it you are trying to hear? Are you using any other antennas other than the little duckie the radio comes with? You should understand that the antenna and radio comprise a system, and you can't have one work well without the other. Put another way, the antenna is as much a consideration as the scanner. That little antenna is probably good for a mile or two in hilly terrain (maybe less), so a better antenna (and coax to go along with it) may be one solution.

However this is a software forum, so let's start there. If you were to zip up your .996 file using one of the popular utilities (7-zip is freeware, but lots also use WinZip), and attach it, folks can take a look at the setup and see what might be amiss. Are you concentrating on those site(s) that are physically closest to you?

You have to understand the relationships between systems, sites and groups and how quick keys work - this is the key to understanding how DMA works. There are various writeups on this relationship - for example, FreeScan has a good basic description in its user guide on how they work in this software here...

Freescan and Quick Key Processing - The RadioReference Wiki

Did you read anything in the Easier to Read manual? They are all linked at the bottom of this article, which has several links there at the top for people who are just starting out...

Program your DMA Scanner - The RadioReference Wiki

I think it's clear you're going entirely too fast. I would suggest trying to get a couple of conventional systems going and only ONE trunk system as a starting point.. Then as you get more comfortable, add more to your .996 file, making backups as you go (so that if you really hose things up, you can go back to your last 'working' layout). Don't try to do too much at once - many people get easily overwhelmed this way, so you are not alone in this.

Time to step back, take a breath and simplify things first...Mike
 

marksmith

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Anne Arundel County, MD
Please let us know what you want to monitor, so we can provide suggestions.

Sounds like your scanner will receive anything in your area, so it is not out dated until they start constructing TDMA Phase 2 digital. Your 396xt will receive P25 Phase 1 digital, the most complex systems in your area.

Downloading or entering the Mecklenburg County Motorola system should give you a great start, and then deciding what you want to hear on that system.

Mark
WS1095/536/436/996P2/HP1e/HP2e/996XT/325P2/396XT/PRO668/PSR800/PRO652
 

JGFrick77

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Charlotte, NC
I want to monitor the CMPD, the divisions near my home specifically. Charlotte Fire, and ems, again, near my home. I would also like to monitor the local media helicopters.

Thanks for the reply.
 

ofd8001

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Louisville, KY
Piece of cake:

1. Start FreeScan
2. Fire>Import>Radio Reference Trunk
3. Enter your RR premium subscription information in the window that pops-up and click Connect
3. In the Province/State Box, Scroll down to North Carolina, then in the County Box Scroll down to Mecklenburg
4. In the Available Systems, scroll to Charlotte/Mecklenburg County (Motorola) (Mot. Tupe II)
5. Confirm site is checked in left pane. Then select the groups you are interested in monitoring. Unfortunately your model scanner can only accept 20 groups, so you have to make some choices. (There is a way around this, but kind of tricky if you want to import more than that).

Then save the imported information and program it to your scanner.
 

ka3jjz

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Well, almost. You still need to assign a SQK (system quick key; remember that for XT scanners, all trunking is at the site, not system, level) for the site, and unless you use the option to assign a GQK for each group, you need to do this manually

You will undoubtedly have to edit the list of TGs down to fit your needs. There are a few ways to do this - using skip tags, for example, which is defined in the User Guide. I have no idea what divisions would be nearest to your home - that's something a NC scannist can help with, if you don't know this yourself. It doesn't appear that the TGs are all allocated that way.

There are some limits to the number of TGs, groups and systems these scanners can hold. Again, this information can be found in the User Guide

Moving DMA Data to Other Radios in Freescan - The RadioReference Wiki

Mike
 
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