BCT15X: Uniden BCT15X randomly stopped receiving. Help!

EVANTYSEVEN

Member
Joined
Jul 6, 2019
Messages
25
Location
Bolton, Ontario
Hi there.

Last night, while sitting in my van listening to the scanner, it seemed to randomly stop receiving transmissions. My mobile (Baofeng UV-5R) was continuing to receive frequency 412.4625 with CTSS tone 107.2, but my BCT15X was not. I thought perhaps that my antenna got busted, but even when using the antenna provided with the unit, it was not receiving.

Because the unit is only four-ish months old, I got concerned, and frantically started googling what the issue could be. I performed a factory reset, and then reprogrammed in my frequency and settings from memory, and still no avail. I even messed with the squelch settings to see if it would receive - nothing.

What can I do? I'd really like to avoid sending the unit to Uniden as I need the unit here and working ASAP. I will be opening it up and checking for any loose wiring or damage today, but considering how new the unit is, I'm not sure what I'll find. Could really use help/advice here.

Thanks,

Evan
Reaper Roadside
 

EVANTYSEVEN

Member
Joined
Jul 6, 2019
Messages
25
Location
Bolton, Ontario
Did you transmit near the scanner?

That could have done it.
Hi Doctordialtone,

No, I didn't. I don't have anything capable of transmitting to any degree. The Baofeng UV5R is a glorified walkie-talkie that can receive conventional frequencies with low power input. The BCT15X was my first scanner, and it's used solely to listen to OPP frequencies in a roadside assistance vehicle.
 

EVANTYSEVEN

Member
Joined
Jul 6, 2019
Messages
25
Location
Bolton, Ontario
Can you hear NOAA weather or a local FM station?
Hi there

I tried to scan using the FM Broadcast function. Inputted 99.9MHZ FM which usually is a popular radio station in the GTA, 99.9 Virgin Radio. I'm not getting anything. Am I doing something wrong, or is it possible that the antenna connection is busted?
 

K4EET

Member
Joined
Feb 18, 2015
Messages
1,559
Location
Severn, Maryland, USA
<snip> Last night, while sitting in my van listening to the scanner, it seemed to randomly stop receiving transmissions. <snip>
Hmmmmmmm... "seemed" and "randomly" - - Could that mean that your scanner PERIODICALLY (as in every 5 seconds or so) stopped receiving transmissions? That may indicate that Priority Scan, Close Call, etc. might be turned on. Have you checked that?
 

K4EET

Member
Joined
Feb 18, 2015
Messages
1,559
Location
Severn, Maryland, USA
<snip> Last night, while sitting in my van listening to the scanner, it seemed to randomly stop receiving transmissions. <snip>
<snip> I tried to scan using the FM Broadcast function. Inputted 99.9MHZ FM which usually is a popular radio station in the GTA, 99.9 Virgin Radio. I'm not getting anything. <snip>
Evan, is the scanner totally dead, i.e. not receiving anything at all 100% of the time - OR - is the scanner intermittently not receiving transmissions? I am confused by your two statements.
 

kruser

Active Member
Premium Subscriber
Joined
Nov 25, 2007
Messages
4,255
Location
West St Louis Cnty, MO
Hi Doctordialtone,

No, I didn't. I don't have anything capable of transmitting to any degree. The Baofeng UV5R is a glorified walkie-talkie that can receive conventional frequencies with low power input. The BCT15X was my first scanner, and it's used solely to listen to OPP frequencies in a roadside assistance vehicle.
The UV5R IS a transmitter depending on how it's been programmed.
You didn't accidentally depress the PTT button on the side?

If using the UV5R as a receiver only, ALL the channel positions should be programmed as receive only with no TX freq entries.
Even though the UV5R is a 5 watt radio, its antenna in close proximity to the 15X antenna could blow the 15X first stage RF amp transistor. If the 15X and the UV5R were sharing the vehicles antenna through some type of splitter or T, the chances of blowing the 15X RF amp are much greater.
It only takes a millisecond to blow an RF amp transistor in a receiver like the 15X. Faster than you could blink your eye.

If you end up needing to send the 15X in for repair, a blown RF amp transistor is something they would look for even if that's not the problem.
 
Last edited:

EVANTYSEVEN

Member
Joined
Jul 6, 2019
Messages
25
Location
Bolton, Ontario
Alright, let's figure this out.
The UV5R IS a transmitter depending on how it's been programmed.
You didn't accidentally depress the PTT button on the side?

If using the UV5R as a receiver only, ALL the channel positions should be programmed as receive only with no TX freq entries.
Even though the UV5R is a 5 watt radio, its antenna is close proximity to the 15X antenna could blow the 15X first stage RF amp transistor. If the 15X and the UV5R were sharing the vehicles antenna through some type of splitter or T, the chances of blowing the 15X RF amp are much greater.
It only takes a millisecond to blow an RF amp transistor in a receiver like the 15X. Faster than you could blink your eye.

If you end up needing to send the 15X in for repair, a blown RF amp transistor is something they would look for even if that's not the problem.
So, the UV5R is ONLY programmed with a receive with the receive frequency tone, and the transmit frequency tone has never been set. I have never used the PTT key on it unless it was bumped accidentally or something, and they use separate antennas to receive the same frequency (UV5R is turned off when in vehicle and BCT15X is running, and vice versa). As a roadside assistance operator I have no reason to even attempt to transmit on the simplex frequency because no scanners would receive it even at close distance. I have no reason to, and therefor have not (to my knowledge) pressed or held the PTT button.


Hmmmmmmm... "seemed" and "randomly" - - Could that mean that your scanner PERIODICALLY (as in every 5 seconds or so) stopped receiving transmissions? That may indicate that Priority Scan, Close Call, etc. might be turned on. Have you checked that?
So, the scanner was working at the beginning of my shift, and then without any indication, input, or use of another transmission device, my scanner stopped receiving transmissions from Police operators. The only way I found out it wasn't working was when someone called my cellphone and asked why I wasn't on scene, to which point I turned on my UV5R and was receiving transmissions on it without issue. That's where my issue arrived.

Even if it was the PS, CC, or anything else, a factory reset would have fixed that.

Evan, is the scanner totally dead, i.e. not receiving anything at all 100% of the time - OR - is the scanner intermittently not receiving transmissions? I am confused by your two statements.
It was dead 100%, but I was trying to catch an FM frequency to see if my antennas were working, or if the system was totally fried.


I'm concerned that my mobile fried my Scanner but I'm not sure when/why/how. The mobile was not on at all while I was working. Regardless, I bit the bullet earlier and sent my scanner back to Uniden, but if anyone else has any ideas, I'd love to hear them so I don't screw up whatever they send back.
 

kruser

Active Member
Premium Subscriber
Joined
Nov 25, 2007
Messages
4,255
Location
West St Louis Cnty, MO
I will be opening it up and checking for any loose wiring or damage today, but considering how new the unit is, I'm not sure what I'll find. Could really use help/advice here.
Some of the newer Uniden models do have a detachable antenna lead inside the unit. The BNC jack on the rear goes to a short and smaller diameter coaxial cable on these models. The cable is usually about an inch or so long and will have a detachable connector on the end near the PC board that snaps onto a mating connector on the main board. I've personally seen this connection come apart before plus read more than one post where others have found the connector separated. If you find that, simply snap the two back together.

Uniden attempted to prevent this connection from separating with the use of something like hot melt glue. On many Uniden's I've worked on, I've found the hot melt glue they used is no longer sticking to the surface(s) it needed to stick too in order for it to actually hold something together!
They used hot glue a lot on models that use a ribbon cable from the main board to the display. That connection has always been a weak point in their designs. Many have repaired display problems by reseating that ribbon cable connection that runs the display. Don't mess with these ribbon cable connectors though! They are often fragile and easily broken if you don't know how to release them.

I'm not sure if the 15X was a model that had the internal removable antenna connector on the main board but I think it was the 996XT models that did and those and the 15X were all made at the same time so if a 996XT had it, a 15X probably does as well.
It's worth looking at especially if the radio is used in a mobile environment where vibrations from the road could cause the connector to pop apart.
Maybe while inside the radio, reseat all the smaller connectors you see. Pop them apart and back together.
I don't think I'd do this with the wide ribbon cable type connectors though. Some of those can be very fragile and easily broken if you don't know how to release them. Plus, the wide ribbon cables are usually used for things more like the display and keypad and usually would not carry any signals that would shut down RF without you also noticing other major problems.

If you do reseat the connectors inside the radio, make sure you have a backup of your programming first just in case one of the connectors is carrying voltage to retain memory.
 

EVANTYSEVEN

Member
Joined
Jul 6, 2019
Messages
25
Location
Bolton, Ontario
Some of the newer Uniden models do have a detachable antenna lead inside the unit. The BNC jack on the rear goes to a short and smaller diameter coaxial cable on these models. The cable is usually about an inch or so long and will have a detachable connector on the end near the PC board that snaps onto a mating connector on the main board. I've personally seen this connection come apart before plus read more than one post where others have found the connector separated. If you find that, simply snap the two back together.

Uniden attempted to prevent this connection from separating with the use of something like hot melt glue. On many Uniden's I've worked on, I've found the hot melt glue they used is no longer sticking to the surface(s) it needed to stick too in order for it to actually hold something together!
They used hot glue a lot on models that use a ribbon cable from the main board to the display. That connection has always been a weak point in their designs. Many have repaired display problems by reseating that ribbon cable connection that runs the display. Don't mess with these ribbon cable connectors though! They are often fragile and easily broken if you don't know how to release them.

I'm not sure if the 15X was a model that had the internal removable antenna connector on the main board but I think it was the 996XT models that did and those and the 15X were all made at the same time so if a 996XT had it, a 15X probably does as well.
It's worth looking at especially if the radio is used in a mobile environment where vibrations from the road could cause the connector to pop apart.
Maybe while inside the radio, reseat all the smaller connectors you see. Pop them apart and back together.
I don't think I'd do this with the wide ribbon cable type connectors though. Some of those can be very fragile and easily broken if you don't know how to release them. Plus, the wide ribbon cables are usually used for things more like the display and keypad and usually would not carry any signals that would shut down RF without you also noticing other major problems.

If you do reseat the connectors inside the radio, make sure you have a backup of your programming first just in case one of the connectors is carrying voltage to retain memory.

When I opened it up, nothing seemed out of the ordinary. I had my eagle-eyes father who's worked on stuff like this before, and he said he couldn't find a single thing wrong with the circuits or anything. All connectors seemed good too.
 

cmjonesinc

Member
Premium Subscriber
Joined
Apr 25, 2011
Messages
1,054
Is the truck in your profile picture the one the scanner is mounted in? Looks like a lot of antennas. If none are used for transmitting there may be an issue with the scanner itself. If you're not getting anything on a known working frequency with a known good antenna after a reset, I would suspect a radio problem. Any recent shock to the antenna jack or anything else you can think of? The 15X is a pretty solid rig. Kinda surprised to see one fail so soon. If there's no warranty I would pull the cover off and check for damage or poorly seated cables around the antenna jack.
 

EVANTYSEVEN

Member
Joined
Jul 6, 2019
Messages
25
Location
Bolton, Ontario
Is the truck in your profile picture the one the scanner is mounted in? Looks like a lot of antennas. If none are used for transmitting there may be an issue with the scanner itself. If you're not getting anything on a known working frequency with a known good antenna after a reset, I would suspect a radio problem. Any recent shock to the antenna jack or anything else you can think of? The 15X is a pretty solid rig. Kinda surprised to see one fail so soon. If there's no warranty I would pull the cover off and check for damage or poorly seated cables around the antenna jack.
Haha, no, that's my buddy's truck. Ironically enough, he has a bunch of BCT15 and 15Xs. We never use any of them for transmitting, and there was nothing damaged.
 

kb9hgi

Member
Feed Provider
Joined
Jun 17, 2003
Messages
431
Location
IL
turn it on and let it scan does it stop on anything and is there a signal on the signal meter?
 
Top