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Friday, October 25, 2013

Melbourne Metro Radio System

UBCD396XT - Setting Up Melbourne Metro Radio System.
Setting up the UBCD396XT to follow the current Melbourne Metro Radio (MMR) System is relatively easy - when you know how....

Skip this step if your confident, but it is suggested that you remove all pre-set factory systems before commencing - although not necessary, it may make setting up this system easier for the novice!
A 'clean slate' will make it easier to set up and as the pre-loaded data is outdated and it should be removed anyway.
I have covered this in another section called

UBCD396XT - First Time - Removing Unwanted Systems


The first things we need to do is find the relevant frequencies we need to program the scanner for your area.

Here is a list of the current Melbourne Metro Radio System Control Channels.
Write them down or print off this page.


 I would also advise to use the standard antenna supplied with the scanner - do not use an external antenna when first setting up you scanner for any Digital System.
The stock antenna will find the best control channel and strongest for your area! A larger antenna may cause the scanner to lock onto a weaker control channel and cause headaches!
Often the case is people follow all the rules then find they can't hear anything because the larger antenna has actually locked onto a distant or weaker control channel.....


Turn the Scanner On


-MENU- will be displayed at the top of the screen, with Program System highlighted. As shown below.

Push YES

Select System  will be displayed at the top of the screen
New System should be highlighted.
If New System is not highlighted - use the rotarty dial and turn it clockwise until New System is Highlighted.

Push Yes

Select System Type will be at the top of the screen.
P25 should be highlighted.
If P25 is not highlighted - use the rotarty dial and turn it clockwise unitl P25 is Highlighted.
As shown below.

Push Yes
P25 will be displayed at the top of the screen
Standard Trunk should be highlighted as shown below.

Push YES
The screen will now change and the following message will appear 'Confirm?' as shown below....

Confirm your selection by pushing YES

The Screen will then display System 1 at the top of the screen and Edit Name will be highlighted.
The same as the picture below.

It is recommended that you change the name of the System to one that can easily be recognised should you wish to edit it at a later date.
I would suggest changing it to MELB METRO.
While Edit Name is highlighted - push YES

Screen will now change and let you open the 'editing' menu to change the name of the system as shown below.

Screen will now look like the one above - at this point we want to enter new text and give the System a Name.

Lets call the new System - MELB METRO
To enter new Text - push the '.NO' button twice, this will clear the screen ready to enter new text.

To enter the 'text' - rotate the dial clockwise/anticlockwise and you will see letters/number/symbols appear under the cursor...  rotate the dial until capital 'M' appears.
Then push the 6 button to move the cursor to the right...
Rotate the dial clockwise again until capital 'E' appears..
Then push the '6' button again to move the cursor to the right.
Repeat the process until MELB METRO has been entered.

Once the words MELB METRO has been completed - Push YES

If you make a mistake - you can push the '.NO' button once or simply push the '4' button to go back to the previous entry.
If you push the '.NO' button twice it will remove ALL the text and you will have to start again.

After you have pushed the YES button the screen will quickly display 'Processing Please Wait' and then return to the previous screen and Edit Name will be highlighted again.

You should have MELB METRO written across the top of the screen.

At this point here you have created the beginnings of a 'System' that is now called 'MELB METRO'.

To enter the frequencies we need to do one more thing - that is create a 'Site'.

A site contains the relevant frequencies for the County/Region.
The System is like a main folder - sites are similar to 'sub folders' inside the main folder..
The System may be know as 'MELB METRO', its 'sub folders' or 'sites' are created so you can put in different locations. - for this example I am calling the site 'CBD REGION'.
In the 'CBD REGION' site I will put in ALL the relevant frequencies (Control Channels) for the 'CBD REGION' towers.

Setting up a 'Site'.

While the screen is still displaying the words MELB METRO on the top of the display,

Turn the rotary dial - turn it clockwise until Edit Site is highlighted.

Once Edit Site has been highlighted - push YES

Select Site will be written at the top of the screen with New Site highlighted as shown in the picture below.
Push YES

The screen will then change let you edit the Site Name as shown below.

Push YES
The screen will then go to the Edit Name Menu where you can now give the Site a Name as shown below.

Lets call the new Site - 'CBD REGION' .

To remove the pre-set text - push the '.NO' button twice. This will clear the screen ready for you to enter the new Text.

Use the same method as before when you entered the words MELB METRO, but this time enter CBD REGION

Once the Text has been entered and completed - Push YES
the screen will return to the previous Menu with 'CBD REGION' written across the top of the screen.
I would recommend allocating a Quick Key to the Site so you can turn it on or off.
While CBD REGION is displayed on the top of the screen, scroll the dial clockwise until SET QUICK KEY is highlighted.
Push YES.
Now select a number to allocate the site to a keypad number..
Use number 1.
Highlight 1 and push YES.

The screen will revert back to previous one with CBD REGION at the top of the display.

Using the rotary dial - turn clockwise until Set Frequencies is highlighted.

Once Set Frequencies is highlighted - Push YES

The screen will now display Sel Frequency at the top of the screen and New Frequency wil be highlighted as shown below in the picture below.

To enter a new frequency - Push YES

The screen will now change to let you input the frequency.
As shown below.
At this point you can type in your first frequency.418.3750

Once you have 'keyed' in the required frequency - Push YES

The screen will then display the entered frequency and give you some options including 'Locking out'  and 'Deleting' the frequency.
As shown below.

(Photo below is for reference only - your screen should say 418.3750)
At this point we have no reason to select either of these options so using the rotary dial - turn it clockwise until New Frequency is highlighted as shown below.

Once New Frequency is highlighted - Push YES

Repeat the process again and key in the second frequency 419.0000

Once you have 'keyed' in the second frequency - Push YES

The screen will then display the entered frequency again and give you the same options as before.
You will have to repeat this process over and over again until ALL frequencies listed above are entered!!
Repeat the process again by scrolling down to New Frequency again and entering more Frequencies.

This will take anywhere from a few minutes to half an hour, depending on your personal level of patience!

Once ALL frequencies are entered and you are happy with the results and the  frequencies you have entered are correct - Push the SCAN button.

The scanner will now start scanning...

You should also see at the bottom of the screen beside the small letters SO:, the number 1.
This means the System you have created (Melb Metro) is active.

Hint /Tip
For those clever enough to notice, at the top right of the display, there should be a small bar graph.
When the signal is at full strength it will show around 5 bars..
If these bars are not showing or are very limited, you may have a weak signal.

Setting the P25 waiting time.

If you do not set this the scanner wont operate correctly and may miss entire conversations or replies.

Push Menu

-MENU- will be displayed at the top of the screen.
Program System will be highlighted.
Using the Dial - turn it clockwise until Srch/CloCall Opt is highlighted.
As shown below.

Push YES

A new Menu will open up on the screen with the title Srch/CloCall Opt written at the top of the screen.
Freq Lockouts will be highlighted.
Using the dial - turn it clockwise until P25 Waiting Time is highlighted as shown below.

Push Yes
P25 Waiting time will be displayed at the top of the screen.
Using the dial - turn it clockwise unitl 400 ms is highlighted as shown below.

Push Yes
Screen will revert back to previous MENU.
At this point the scanner is ready to go.
If all the frequencies required (Control Channels ONLY) have been entered and the P25 Waiting time is set correctly - the scanner should work perfect.
At this stage - Push the SCAN button again and the scanner should start scanning for the MELB METRO System in your area.

Make sure that the screen says ID SEARCH!!! It will not work if ID SCAN is displayed. Default is ID SEARCH.

Please note!
The instructions I have given are as 'Basic' as possible without trying to cause too much confusion.
In doing so I have left out some extra options including how to create a 'Group' and how to store Talkgroup IDS in a group.
This will be covered later.
I am simlpy trying to get your new scanner up and running so it does not seem like an expensive paperweight.

If you don't hear anything straight away - don't give up.
Do a few basic checks.
Look at the small Bar graph on the top right hand side of the screen - does it have full signal.?
Double check your frequencies again.. are they entered correctly - one number out can cause problems!
Do you have Close Call activated - One would think not if your only a novice!
Double check your P25 waiting time.

If your still having trouble send me an e-mail and I will try and resolve the problem and put the 'cure' up on this Blog page.

Uniden UBCD396XT - Whats In the Box.

Uniden UBCD396XT - Whats In the Box.
Looking at purchasing a new Uniden UBCD396XT Digital Scanner? 
Here's a quick look at what to expect when you open the box and what it all means.

1 x UBCD396XT Scanner
1 x Antenna
1 x AC Power Adaptor
3 x Rechargeable Batteries (2300 mAh)
1 X Data Transfer Cable (Serial Port)
1x Wrist Strap
1 x Belt Clip
1 X BNC/SMA Adaptor
1 x Owners Manual (CD Rom)
1 x Printed Quick Start Guide

The Power supply for these scanners is a 'switching type' power supply.
The same type as used on the US Version - BCD396XT.

A closer picture of the power supply below
INPUT 110-240 Volts-50/60Hz 300mA
OUTPUT 6 V - 800mA
Centre pin - Positive

Don't Expect a detailed manual to hold in your hands - the manual is on a disc and can be printed off if required, just make sure you have plenty of ink!

To attach the supplied antenna, simply screw it onto the SMA connection located on top of the scanner as shown below.

If you wish to use an antenna with a BNC fitting - use the supplied SMA/BNC adaptor.

Screw the adaptor onto the top of the scanner and this will then let you attach a BNC type antenna as shown in the picture below.
(Ideal for applications where an external antenna may be required)

One item that seems to always get broken within minutes of using is the belt clip.
Make sure that you attach the belt clip upside down and twist it up to lock in.
Forcing it on the incorrect way - will break the retaining clip.!

Slide the belt clip down over the metal bollard
 Rotate the belt clip Clockwise

Align belt clip in vertical position and it will now lock into position.
Reverse the process to remove the belt clip.

The Battery Compartment holds the 3 supplied 2300mAh batteries.
You can use normal AA batteries but remember to slide the small switch to the left if using normal non- rechargeable batteries. 
A few common sense tips - most of you should already be aware of...
Warning! DO NOT try to charge non rechargeable batteries! 

Do not store batteries for prolonged periods inside the scanner.
If the scanner is not to be used and will be stored - make sure batteries are removed from the compartment.

The serial number - what it means?

Each scanner manufactured has a serial number - this indicates the Model and the build date.
Serial Number '28000977' shown in the picture below breaks down to:
2=the year made - 2102
8=the month made - August
000977=number 977

I would suggest recording your serial number for security and insurance.

The Keypad is well laid out and quite easy to use - even with large fingers!

Uniden Australia load each scanner with a basic data base to get you up and scanning straight away but in some instances this data may be incorrect or out of date and simply not relevant for your location any more.  As this information can change all the time it is the up to the end user (customer) to ensure that the information being used is correct.
Information on frequencies used in your location can be found by searching the Australian Communications and Media Authority Web page.

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Buying a UBCD396XT - What to ask?

Buying a UBCD396XT - What to ask?

Are you considering buying a UBCD396XT?

Here are a couple quick things to take into consideration before you buy one.

If your buying a UBCD396XT to listen to Police - be aware that most Police in Australia use Encryption on their voice transmissions, meaning you CAN NOT hear them.
However, in certain regional areas of Australia some Police are still transmitting on an Analogue frequency, but this may all change in the future as most Police forces are pushing for TOTAL digital encryption on all their radio equipment.
If your unsure of what is available in your area, please feel free to write and ask.

If your planning on using your UBCD396XT with your computer - you will require a serial port connection on your computer - similar to the picture shown below.
The cable supplied with the UBCD396XT scanner is to suit a serial port connection only!
(Most older desktops will have a serial port connection on the back)

If you do not have a serial port connection available on your computer you will require the purchase of a serial to USB conversion cable - $10-$30 from your local electrical supplier or on-line. (Ebay etc)

One end goes into the USB port on your computer and the other end joins to the supplied Uniden cable.
Most USB to Serial cables will require the installation of a 'driver' to make them work.

There is plenty of software available on the internet to use with these scanners, the best I have found is FREEScan .  
This is a FREE download and requires no payment. 

To download FREEScan - click on the link below.

When using any computer software, some basic knowledge of computers would be an advantage!

If your planning on putting the scanner in the car, It is advised to buy a 'powered external speaker'...
The external earphone jack does not amplify the volume and adding a simple $25 external CB speaker will do nothing to add to the sound quality over road noise.
A powered speaker will amplify the sound and give much better sound quality.
Diamond P1010
I have used Diamond P1010 speakers with great success - giving excellent audio quality and a major boost to the handhelds volume output!
With a RRP of $499 there are plenty of retailers currently selling the UBCD396XT scanner well below the recommended retail price.....
Remember just because a retailer has it cheap - does not always mean the best deal. 
Make sure your retailer has at the least, some sort of electronics background.
Comes in handy if they have to solve a problem.

Happy Scanning.

Saturday, May 4, 2013

UBCD396XT - First Time - Removing Unwanted Systems

UBCD396XT - First Time - Removing Unwanted Systems
The UBCD396XT comes pre-installed with data from Uniden to get you up and running straight out of the box, but some of this data is out dated and useless in most areas.
You will notice the first time you switch the scanner on and push the Scan button it will start scanning all the pre-loaded Systems... problem is that the scanner contains data for each state of Australia and New Zealand.
This means that if you live n Tasmania - the pre-loaded NSW system is of no use to you at all... so the scanner has to go through all the NSW data and the other states before it returns to the Tasmanian data.
You need to remove the System that has no relevance to your area.
This not only makes the Scanner do its job quicker - it also stops the scanner from picking up transmissions in your area and showing them under a different System (State) name.

For example the NSW System may have 413.3750 in its data base and the SA System may also have 413.3750 in its database.. problem is that the NSW System may be allocated in the scanners database, before the SA System.. as the scanner goes through the data, someone in SA (Where I live) may talk on 413.3750 but it will appear as NSW on the screen..  that's why it's good to remove the unwanted pre-installed data before you start using the scanner.

Its easy enough to do and will save you a lot of headaches!
Depending on where you live - only remove the Systems that are of no relevance to you - as I live in SA I want to remove everything but the SA data.

Turn the scanner ON.

Menu will be displayed at the top of the screen.

Program System will be highlighted as shown below....

Push YES

Select System will be written at the top of the screen.

ACT-Public will be highlighted.
Scanner has the following Systems Pre-installed.
ACT- Public
NSW Public
NT Public
NZ Public
QLD Public
SA Public
TAS Public
VIC Public
WA Public
NEW SYSTEM (this is for NEW Data to be entered-will cover this one later)

To remove the SYSTEM that you don't require, use the dial and rotate it clockwise or anticlockwise and Highlight the SYSTEM you wish to delete.

Lets delete NZ Public. (No offence to New Zealanders)
but as you can understand NZ Public has no relevance here in Australia - so lets delete it!

Highlight NZ Public.

Push YES

NZ Public will be displayed at the top of the screen.

Use the dial and rotate it clockwise unitl Delete System is highlighted.

Push YES

Confirm Delete will appear on the screen asking you YES or NO.

Push YES

Processing Please Wait will appear on the screen. Depending on the size of the System you are removing this may take a few seconds up to a Minute for larger ones like the NSW GRN MOT.

The screen will then revert to the previous MENU Screen.

Program System will again be highlighted as shown below....

Push YES

Now you can select another SYSTEM to delete using the same method as before.

Once the all the Systems that are no longer relevant have been removed and the screen returns to the Main Menu screen where we started - Push the SCAN button.

The scanner will now start scanning the remaining system relevant to your area.

The data base that is pre-loaded into the new UBCD396XT was 'carried over' from the older UBCD396T model and may still contain out dated data. Removing a System may not resolve all problems.
It is known that the Pre-installed NSW-GRN MOT database is out dated and is now using a different system all together now (Apco25) I have also been told that most of the Tasmanian data is also useless.
I did however find that the SA-GRN MOT data base was correct and up only requires entry of a couple more updated frequencies to make it work perfect.

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Custom Search - A Good Starting Point




One of the great things about scanning is finding new frequencies that are not listed on any websites or registered with the ACMA.
Searching for new frequencies is a bit like fishing! You cast the net and see what it finds.

With the UBCD396XT it makes finding new frequencies easy and with 10 different search options you won't miss a thing!

For some of you who have used the older style scanners you would be familiar with the 'Limit Search' option.
You could set the scanner to search between two designated frequencies.
For example - if you wanted to search for activity between 70.00 Mhz and 80.00 Mhz you simply entered the two frequencies and the scanner would search between the two - usually with the pre set 'Step' size and 'Modulation' that was factory configured with the scanner.. not giving you too many options!

Now until told differently the scanner would keep searching all day long between these two designated frequencies until someone talked.

The scanner would then stop on that frequency while there was a voice transmission, perhaps giving you just enough time for you to reach for a pen to write down the frequency being used. You could then make a list of all the ones you found and then enter them into the scanners memory at a later stage.
Step size means the allocated space between each frequency.
For example 70.0000Mhz with a 10kHz Step would mean that the next frequency would be as follows:
70.0100 then 70.0200 then 70.0300 then 70.0400 then 70.0500 - get the picture?
If you set the Step Size to a higher setting like 20 kHz, the space between the frequencies would be wider.
Setting a wider or bigger step size means the scanner will zip through the two pre-set frequency ranges quicker but may miss a transmission if its broadcast on the 10Khz step size..
Don't be too concerned about this at the moment as the UBCD396XT has the step size automatically covered. It's more for the 'PRO' user who wishes to 'tweak' the search for a specific reason.
Modulation means the type of band that the transmission can be heard on. Simply put - your good old radio that you may listen to the Saturday footy on has two Modulations - FM and AM.
The UBCD396XT has also got this covered as the pre set Modulation will correspond with the bands you wish to search - again, only the 'PRO' user would want to modify it.
The UBCD396XT will cover the following Modulations - AM,NFM,FM,WFM and FMB.
The UBCD396XT is a very clever scanner - not only will it let you search 10 different 'Limit Searches' it will also let you put them into a pre-configured System for 'scanning' at a later date.
You can also configure the scanner to include the selected 'Limit Searches' with its normal scanning!
Just for the record - 'Limit Search' actually is called 'Custom Search' on the UBCD396XT.
From this point on it will be referred to a 'Custom Search'.


Lets set up a 'Custom Search'!

The UBCD396XT has already got the UHF 80 Channel CB Radio frequencies pre-installed, but for this example I will set up a 'Custom Search' using the same frequency range. I will use these frequencies as an example as they are all used Australia wide and should produce results pretty quickly once the search has commenced.

The range we will search between will be 476.4250 and 477.4125.

Turn the scanner ON.

Push the MENU button on the left hand side of the scanner.

Using the dial on the top of right hand side of the scanner - turn it clockwise unitl Search for... is highlighted.

Push YES

Search For will be displayed at the top of the screen.

Using the dial rotate it clockwise until Edit Custom is highlighted.

Push YES

Select Custom is now displayed on top of the screen.

Custom 1 should be highlighted.

Push YES

Custom 1 will be displayed on the top of the screen.

Edit Name will be highlighted.
I won't go into detail about how to change the name as I have already covered this in another section.
Obviously giving the 'Custom Search' a name will make it easier to reference at a later date - if you are going to change the name I might suggest simply calling it UHF 80CH. If you give it a name this will also display on the screen if you link it to the scanners normal 'scanning' procedure... more on this later.

Using the dial, rotate it clockwise until Edit Search Limit is highlighted.

Push YES

Set Lower Limit will be displayed on the top of the screen.
At this point here you can now type in your new 'Lower' frequency.
Type in 476.4250 and push YES.

The screen wil now display Set Upper Limit.
repeat the process and type in 477.4125 and push YES.

The screen will revert back to the previous menu with Custom 1 written at the top of the screen (If you changed the text previously it might display UHF 80CH as I suggested?)

Push the MENU button Once.
The screen will revert back to the previous menu with Select Custom at the top of the screen.
Push Menu again.
The screen will revert back to the previous menu with Search For at the top of the screen.
Rotate the dial anti clockwise (moving the highlightup) and highlight Custom Search.
Push YES.
The scanner will now start searching between the two frequencies we just entered.
If you look along the bottom of the screen you will see the following numbers:
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 0
These numbers represent the active 'Custom Searches' currently in operation.
To deactivate the ones not required simply push the corresponding number on the key pad.
As we are only interested in searching the one we just created we should deactivate the others as follows:
Push the following kepad numbers - 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 0, this will now only leave 1 on the bottom of the screen.

The scanner is now doing a 'Custom Search' between  476.4250 and 477.4125.
If you changed the name in the previous menu settings to UHF 80CH as I suggested, this will be displayed at the top of the screen, instead of Custom 1.
Provided you have someone in your area using a UHF CB, you should hear something within a few minutes.

When you hear an active frequency push the HOLD button to stay on that frequency.
To initiate the search again - push HOLD again and the scanner will search the range again.
If you push the Scan button the scanner will go back into scan mode and you will have to go back to Custom Search via the menu again - repeating the steps as discussed previously.

Now that you have mastered the 'Custom Search' you can change all 10 pre-installed searches with your own search ranges!


Remember! To activate your 'Custom Searches', push Menu.
Scroll the dial clockwise to Search For, push YES.
Scroll the dial clockwise to Custom Search, push YES.
This will start the search.
To deactivate a particular search push the corresponding keypad number.
To re-instate the particular search - repeat the process and use the keypad again.
If you hear a voice - push HOLD! To start the search again - Push HOLD again.

To go back to scanning your pre-programmed systems - push SCAN.

I will talk about saving the found frequencies and 'linking' the custom searches to your normal 'scanning' in another chapter.