Thursday, July 16, 2015

Uniden BC396XT Trunk Tracker IV Scanner

I've been wanting to get a better picture of radio activity in my locale, and have a way to pick up official transmissions in the event of an emergency, so I bought a Uniden BC396XT Trunk Tracker IV scanner from Amazon.

(My Icom 7200 is peeking in from the left, and my Motorola Talkabout FRS/GMRS radios on the top right.)

In order to more easily program it, I downloaded Freescan and upgraded my account at to a 180-day Premium one. A Premium account allows you to configure Freescan to directly download from the Radio Reference database, and then upload it to your scanner.

The user interface of the scanner isn't what I'd call intuitive. However, I was able to program it with Freescan and have managed to pick up transmissions from a local fire/EMS group, police, SEPTA, and a couple hams conversing on the W3EOC UHF repeater. All this was using the stock rubber duck antenna while sitting in my house. An external scanner antenna is on my to-buy list.

Learning how to maximize the value I get from this scanner will take awhile, but I think it'll be a valuable addition to my radio capabilities.


J P said...

i've had one of these receivers for awhile and its great with Freescan.
One thing to do is set up the hotkeys for the stuff you want to scan. you can quickly access 19 different groups and turn them on and off individually in any combination.

What I do is have one that is "all the really local stuff i want to scan" which is programed as hotkey "1".
Then i program individual types of agencies (police, fire, medical, county services, railroad, etc.) as separate keys "2->n".

So if i just turn the scanner on, i hit 1 and just listen to that. Then i'll "turn on" another agency using a hotkey.

I keep a couple of distinct memory loads as seperate files for travel and switch them using Freescan when going somewhere.

Dave Markowitz said...

Cool, thanks for the tips.