Monday, February 20, 2012

UBCD396XT - FreeScan Basic Software Instructions

Here is a quick guide to get you up and going using FreeSCAN Software.

For the more 'experienced user' a more advanced and in depth instruction manual on the operation of FREEScan can also be found here.

Please remember - the FREEScan software was originally developed for the US range of scanners.. please remember this when making any adjustments. The service search settings for example are very different on the US scanner than the Australian models...
The instructions I have written cover the basics only, but should be enough to get you up and going without to much trouble.
DONT FORGET - Make sure you save your files or any changes you make!
Spending hours putting in data and then losing it all can be quite frustrating.

*If you are going to use the supplied Serial Cable and don't have a serial port on your computer, you will have to purchase a Serial to USB CABLE
These cables can be purchased from most electrical retailers from around $25-$30 each - Of course the same thing can also be sourced from Ebay - simply search 'USB TO SERIAL CABLE'.

FreeSCAN can be downloaded from this link.
Click on
Once downloaded - open the software.
Put your mouse cursor over 'Scanner'... a small drop down menu will appear.
Then left click on 'Control Scanner'
A small box will open with the title 'Virtual Control'.
Left click in COM Port Setup.
Another box will open with the title COM Port Settings.
Left click on Start Auto.
The software will now try to detect your scanner - this may take a few minutes.
Once found another box will open up confirming the scanner has been found.
As shown in the picture below......
In some instances the software will not locate the UBCD396XT - you simply need to lower the 'Baud Rate' in the scanner.
I have had better success with the FreeSCAN software by setting the UBCD396XT Serial Port to 57600 bps.
This can be done as follows:
Push Menu
Highlight Settings.
Push YES.
In 'Settings Menu', highlight Set Serial Port.
Push YES.
In Set Serial Port Menu, highlight 57600 bps.
Push Yes.
Once done - push SCAN.
The Serial Port 'Baud rate' has now been changed to 57600 bps.
If everything works correctly you will get a small screen appear to confirm the scanner has been found.
As shown below.

Left click on OK.

Previous 'Com Port Settings' Menu will be displayed again.

Left click on Close.
Main Software Menu page will be displayed again.

Place you mouse cursor over 'Scanner' and then left click on Download Programming

FreeSCAN - Read From Scanner Menu will now appear...

Left click on Queue System List. This will then let the software access the database stored in the scanner as shown below.

For this example I have used the default setting on the UBCDD396XT - this includes ALL the original Factory DATA and Systems.

Don't worry too much about the Errors 54 showing in the example above - this can be avoided by removing the ticks in the two boxes - 'Get Custom Search Ranges' and 'Get Scanner Settings' boxes...before you actually download from the scanner..)

Left click on Start Download
Once download is completed - screen will appear as shown below.

If you notice to the left of the 'scanner picture' the display reads Errors 40.
This is because FreeScan does not totally recognise the Australian Verison of the US Version BCD396XT - it cant understand some of the settings and throws a 'wobbly', these are recognised as Errors.
The Errors are in fact US settings inc Band Plan, Custom seraches and Service seraches etc...
Don't Panic as these Errors wont effect what we are doing....

As I mentioned previously, to avoid the errors message - simply don't tick the 'Get Scanner Search Ranges' and 'Get Scanner Settings' box during uploading or downloading.

Click on the Close Tab.
Screen will then display the downloaded data base from the scanner as shown below - the data shown is from a 'Brand New' UBCD396XT and includes all the pre-set factory data as supplied by Uniden Australia.

At this point you can now modify - add - delete - or simply review all your data and settings.
There is a help Menu on the FreeScan Software if you 'run into trouble'.
You can also add talkgroup IDs and Names etc...

Important - It is strongly recommended that you save any files BEFORE you modify them!
I would suggest that you save the original Uniden file as soon as you download it - of course you can simply re-install it on the scanner by holding done the HOLD 2 and 9 Button while powering up the scanner, but saving the file on the computer is also handy so you can have a play with the data base and make 'mods' without having to upload the original file everytime you make a mistake.
Once your FreeScan file has been modified put your cursor over Scanner and then click on Upload Programming in the drop down menu.. as shown below.

A new screen will now open with the Title 'Send To Scanner' as shown below.

Now at this point for an example I only want to upload the SA GRN MOT system back to my scanner.
As I live in SA - I have no use for the other systems.
If you look closely at the picture above I have only 'ticked' the SA GRN MOT system in the Systems To Upload Box.
I would also suggest ticking the 'Erase All Systems & Settings' Box.
This will remove ALL the other systems on the scanner during the 'upload' leaving only the SA GRN MOT system once completed.

Important - I would also recommend only ticking the 'Send System Quick Key Status' and the 'Automatically Resume Scanning' Box.
To avoid any 'errors' again. Remember the software is US based.!

Once your selection has been confirmed - click on Start Upload.
Upload will take anywhere between a few seconds to a few minutes depending on how much data is being uploaded to the scanner.
Once completed screen will display a GREEN 'Tick' as shown below.

If the upload has been successful you will also notice there will be no Errors.
The software will also let you know the number of Systems, Groups and channels loaded into the scanner.

Once finished left click on the Close Tab.

Data has now been transferred back to the scanner - scanner should have automatically resumed scanning.

If not - Push The SCAN button.
As I only loaded the SA GRN MOT system back onto my scanner - this will be the only system the scanner will monitor.

If you have any trouble getting the scanner to actually start scanning with the new update - turn it off an on.. sometimes this seems to 're-boot' the scanner!

Due to the time it takes to create each individual 'Blog' on this site , I simply don't have the time to cover all the features of FreeSCAN.
I would suggest you simply 'play' with the software to get a better understanding of how it works.
I am more than happy to answer questions, but please be patient as finding time is the hardest part!
These instructions are to help the novice gain a better understanding of how to use and set up your scanner. While every effort is made to keep the instructions as simple and easy to understand as possible, sometimes mistakes are made. If you have any questions or advice regarding the instructions I have provided, please feel free to e-mail me at  and I will update these instructions ASAP.

Updated 15th July 2012

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