x36 Scanner Control App for Android Coming Soon

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AZScanner

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I've been experimenting with my shiny new Galaxy S7 phone and discovered I can connect my BCD436HP to the OTG cable and actually communicate with the scanner - too cool! So, I've decided to write an app for all you x36 owners out there and I am open to suggestions on what you'd like the app to be able to do (within reason, let's not get too crazy people).

The pro's of having such an app are obvious, but there are 2 major con's to consider. 1, You will need to have a phone capable of using OTG cables. Many android phones do not support this and they won't work. 2. If you're lucky enough to have a phone that will work, be prepared for your scanner to suck the life out of your phone's battery, as both models pull power from USB to charge the clock. Ideally you'll need a way to charge the phone while the scanner is connected, such as a wireless charger of some kind or a splitter (which I have not yet tried but will), otherwise it'll be good for an hour or two of use before you have to charge your device. Not my fault, gang - I tried to tell Paul that clock would be trouble. ;)

Bearing that in mind, what would you like the app to do? Right now it acts as a second display for the scanner and that's about it. A feature I'm planning to add (really the whole reason I was interested in writing this app to begin with) is the ability to use the phone to relay GPS coordinates to the scanner for location based scanning, as I like to take road trips and I did not want to spend EVEN MORE money (sorry Paul) on a dedicated GPS unit for the scanner when my phone is already my GPS. I figure there's lots of people like me out there who feel the same way. What else should it do besides the obvious stuff (logging hits, programming favorites, etc)? What feature is your favorite scanner software missing that could be added to this app? (Again, nothing crazy - no requests for P25 control channel decoding on the fly or some such)

It'll come in two flavors, a lite (free) ad based version that does the basics and a paid (feed the starving programmer) edition that will have a few extra features in addition to no ads. I'll need beta testers also, so if you're interested in that stay tuned to this thread for the beta announcement. Beta testers will get the full version of the app on me as a thank you for their time and effort, but I'm nowhere near that stage yet. ;)

So let's hear it - what would you want from the app? I'll incorporate as many suggestions as are feasible.

-AZ
 

AZScanner

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Sneak Peek

Hey Gang,

Thought I'd give you guys an update on the project. For those who like screenshots, a little eye candy is attached. ;)

I've got the scanner controllable via the phone now. You'll operate the app just like you operate the scanner, so there should be very little in the way of a learning curve if you're already used to the radio. A basic set of features are currently in the works:

1. Whenever you access a screen on the scanner where you would enter text, you'll be able to type it rather than scroll the knob - this will be a huge time saver when updating or programming your favorites in the field. I hate alpha tagging things manually... ;)

2. GPS Location Based Scan - When active, the app will update the GPS coordinates in your scanner automatically whenever the latitude or longitude changes from the last setting by a whole degree or more (Only when directly connected, obviously).

3. Scanner Settings Screen - You will be able to turn off or on the scanner's settings and services without having to navigate a bunch of on screen menus. You'll be able to scroll to the setting you want to change and change it very easily from one screen, or just say what you want to change (see below).

4. Voice Commands - Everything you can do onscreen you'll be able to say, for example "Scandroid, system hold" and it will hold on the current system, etc. This will allow for handsfree control of your scanner in cities such as here in Tucson, where an ordinance against fiddling with ANY electronics while behind the wheel was recently passed.

5. Remote Control - This is the big one. Imagine simply pulling up the app, connecting to your scanner and hearing/controlling it from anywhere - perfect for Broadcastify feed operators or folks who would prefer to leave their scanner at home! This will also open the app up for folks who can't use OTG connections to connect directly - if you can keep your scanner tethered to a Windows computer, you'll be able to control it from the app. (I won't be trying to replicate how Siren can talk directly to a 536 over Wi-Fi so please don't expect that - too complicated and that wheel has already been invented anyway).

6. More to be announced, depending on what else I discover I can make these two gadgets do together, and again suggestions are welcome if you don't see a feature you'd like to have.

Still deciding what will be included in the free version versus the paid one, but that's where things stand for now. The list above is subject to change depending on how practical these things turn out to be, but based on my research, all of the above should be easily doable by the app (along with a companion server application that will stream audio and pass data to and from the scanner for remote control). Once I've got most of the list above working reliably on the Android devices I have laying around here, it'll be time for some beta testers. Stay tuned...

-AZ
 

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Would mdc, ge star decoding or two tone be a future idea? Similiar apps exist such as radio id. Just a thought.

With the logs would be cool if the app would create a text log saved to device so one can look at the log on the device rather then scanner all the time.

Since I have one for hobby purposes out of work I'd like the paid version.

Maybe in future a Bluetooth external device can be connected to the 436 which will work with the app wirelessly? Know some have played with third party bluetooth devices on the 436 but haven't looked much into if it would be possible to utilize your app as you can wired to it.
 
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AZScanner

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Nice work ! is there a way to enlarge the fonts ?
Yes, since screen densities vary from device to device, I will need to add some options to move and resize elements if they don't look right with the default settings, so in the released version, you'll be able to make the font bigger and align things manually if needed. I want to keep the keypad layout but I'm honestly not crazy about replicating the whole display of the scanner in the app - that display really takes up a ton of room on screen that could be used for other things so I'm probably going to redesign that portion.

Would mdc, ge star decoding or two tone be a future idea? Similiar apps exist such as radio id. Just a thought.
Honestly, probably not. It would be kinda cool to be able to tune the scanner to a data channel and then snoop on the data but I could also see that being abused and as you said, other apps exist that already can do that. I'll see if it's possible to pass data from the scanner using my app to one of those apps, but that's probably as far as I'd want to go with it.

With the logs would be cool if the app would create a text log saved to device so one can look at the log on the device rather then scanner all the time.
Great suggestion! I'm pretty sure there's a way to read the scanner's internal logs from the remote protocol so as long as that's available then yes, this is an easy one to add.

Maybe in future a Bluetooth external device can be connected to the 436 which will work with the app wirelessly? Know some have played with third party bluetooth devices on the 436 but haven't looked much into if it would be possible to utilize your app as you can wired to it.
That would be great but we have to bear in mind the scanner needs to see power coming in on that USB port also to realize anything is connected, so unless there's a usb to bluetooth adapter that also happens to have a BIG battery pack attached (I don't know - is there?) you'd have to find a way to power both devices. I'm sure it's doable - the question is how feasible is it? If it can be done for less than $100 bucks on Amazon and doesn't look like an octopus, then sure, but if it requires some rube-goldberg hodgepodge of adapters, batteries and cords, forget it. I don't want to walk into a public event with this thing and have security look in my backpack or car and think it's some sort of IED, lol. If there's a way to make the actual connection though, then yes it can be supported - it works like any other serial connection. What would be ideal would be some sort of surface mount component you could add on to the scanner (most of us here are pretty handy with a soldering iron or know someone who is) that the scanner could power and the phone could talk to - but that would require schematics I'm sure only Paul gets to look at. If Uniden ever releases a future model with a bluetooth to serial adapter built in, I'd totally be on board.

I do have one request from Paul or anyone else with a recent set of protocol docs - I'm working off of a very old version 0.17 of the remote protocol spec which I'm sure is VERY outdated and incomplete - anyone got a link to the most current version of the x36 remote command set?

Thanks,
-AZ
 

AZScanner

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garys

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OK, I reread you first post, so my dumb questions were even dumber. My only confusion remains what type of cable I need.

This is pretty cool and will make using the 436HP mobile in rental cars and such much easier.
 
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wr0j

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I am so glad that I ran across this thread.
I have been trying for a week or so just to get the department and channel information to sync with the audio over IP on my Android. I am using ProScan (Which works great) but seems like I need more than the 40 second max metadata delay.
Anyway, I have seven or eight different Android devices here, am retired and willing to help in any way that I can. I can't believe that anyone with a 436 wouldn't buy this.
Good luck and thanks for your work.
John
 

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Glad to hear it. I'll be going on a trip in about two weeks and would love to be able to use this with my 436HP.

A picture or description of the OTG cable you used would be helpful. Thanks.

Hi guys,

Its been a bear of a project but I'm close. As soon as i can get the bugs shaken out itll be a free release on the app store. Could be within the next week or so if all goes well.

Sent from my SM-G930V using Tapatalk
 
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