Monday, February 3, 2014

HOW TO PROGRAM A UNIDEN UBCD396XT

Updated 16/09/2016

Hello and welcome back..... I've had my Uniden UBCD396XT for about 8 months now and the first thing I will say is that..... It takes a bit to program.
But, once you get your head around how it works its pretty simple....Let me explain

Forget what you know about programing scanners, because this scanner is different.
No more do you have channel numbers into banks...gone
 Instead think of your new scanner as a Database, similar to a computer database with Folders (SYS) and Sub-Folders (GRP), that's how its programed....

For example, I want to program a bank for airports around my area to scan, so around me I have Sydney, Richmond, Bankstown and Camden... (I live in Springwood, NSW)

So I would create a main bank (SYS) and call it 'NSW AIRPORTS', then I would start with Sydney airport, so I would create a sub-folder (GRP) inside the (SYS) folder I just created and call it 'Sydney Airport'....
After I entered in all the frequencies for Sydney airport, I would go back out to the main folder (NSW AIRPORTS) and create another sub-folder (GRP) and call that one 'Raaf Richmond' and so on....

First thing I will say before programing is to 'Reset' your scanner.... Why?
Because it comes with pre-programed control frequencies for every state and every tower (you only need 2 -4 control frequencies for your area), It even has frequencies for New Zealand.... That's just confusing.

So lets start with a clean slate...

To reset your Uniden UBCD396XT (& T)
1 . Turn off your scanner
2 . hold down the following keys
3 .    2, 9, HOLD
4 . turn on while pressing these 3 buttons

It will ask if you want to preload the systems, I say No

You still have the banks of Marine, Air, Police etc, just not all the other crap
 

THE EASY WAY OR THE HARD WAY.....

I will start with the EASY WAY.....

 Download a program called Freescan  (Download Here)
Open the program when finished download

******PROGRAMING FOR GRN (Government Radio Network) *******
*************************************************************

UPDATE = PROGRAM YOUR SCANNER IN 15min CLICK HERE
25/11/2016


Now I am going to program my scanner for GRN so I click on the the blue tab in the Freescan software called "NEW SYS", (next to printer icon)

A new window will open called 'New System' with options, for GRN we need to click 'P25 Standard (Digital XT)....
Before you click "Create System" (see below) you need to give it a name in the 'New System Name' box like "GRN NSW".. I named mine GRN GLENBROOK... Now click 'Create System'

                                                                            Pic 1
Hint = I name my master file in capitals (eg - GRN GLENBROOK) and smaller sub folders in standard... It looks better on the scanner and is easyer to work with...

It will now create 2 folders (see Pic 2 below), a main folder (Named GRN GLENBROOK)  and 2 sub folders
1 - Site 1
2 - TGID Group 1

Click on the (P25S) GRN GLENBROOK label and a new page will open.
Here you can set your delay time (i've set mine to 2)
You can tick the - use Motorola end code to on (I have), from what I understand it tells the scanner that the call has ended and to continue and not hang on....
Also tick 'Enable Digital / Analogue AGC' (Audio Gain Control).... depending on the signal, this turns the volume of the scanner up and down...
In regards to the AGC, when scanning banks, the GRN bank is heaps louder than, say, an aircraft bank...the idea behind the AGC is that the radio boosts the softer radio audio and softens the louder audio.... Works sometimes, but be careful not to have the audio up too loud, I have read in forums that the speakers in these radios can burn out (audio is too loud for the unit)....  

                                                                 Pic 2

Now go back to the left hand side menu and click (P25S) Site 1
Click on 'Site 1' and a page will open.
This is where we name our Site Location and enter the tower base frequencies closest to you.
Under 'Name' where it says Site 1, you can enter something like Glenbrook Twr or whatever is closest to you.
Then go to 'Quick Key' and select a number that you want as a bank... Mine is bank 2, so when i am scanning and i press the number 2 button, it will turn off or on Bank 2 which is my GRN Glenbrook.
Do the same for 'Startup Key' (same number)

Now to program the control channels in (what makes the magic happen)

Find the control frequencies for your area.... CLICK HERE to search for the closest tower....

Mine is Glenbrook so the control frequencies are 416.4875 and 417.4875 (make sure you write down ALL the control frequencies for that base, there may be only 1 or might be 4)

Click on TRUNK FREQUENCIES (see below) and enter the control frequencies using the green + button
                                                        Pic 3
The Control Frequencies basically tells the radio to decode the voice input and the rest is nothing short of a technical wizardry

 Next Step

The APCO Band Plan page works by itself, as the radio connects to the GRN tower it will send and receive the plan so it remembers for next time
(UPDATE) Or sometimes it doesn't (as i found out)... Enter the setup below if it fails to set bandplan automatically.

 FREQUENCY(Mhz)     SPACING (Khz)
851.00625                       6.25
762.00625                       6.25
851.0125                         12.5
762.00625                       12.5
412.47500                       6.25
420.00000                       6.25

(NOTE) If you try to enter the frequencies manually, the software will tell you that the 762mhz frequencies are out of band, just click OK.


If you want to enter more than one Tower Base (eg, Kurrajong Heights) do the following...

In the left side menu click on the main folder (P25S GRN GLENBROOK).. It will highlight blue.
Then click on the 'New Site' (see pic below) and you will get a new site called 'Site 2'
Just rename from site 2 to whatever you want, make sure you repeat the process of entering the same bank number (2) and enter the new control frequencies for that particular site.. Done

Entering TGID codes (ID Codes)

Under the menu on the left hand side is the TGID Group 1 (see Pic 2).. this is for entering radio ID Codes for say, Ambulance. (see pic below)
                                                                    Pic 4

I used the 'EZ-Grab' function, getting my information from Radio Reference website and the copy and import method for the codes into Freescan... if done right should look like the above pic.
The main reason you would add these codes is that when your scanner finds a transmission from say.. Ambulance service, your radio will know the code it has just received (eg, code 10301 belongs to Air Ambulance) rather than just a number on your radio and you wondering... "I Wonder Who That Is'
You can have multiple code groups but is limited to about 3-4... (limited No to enter)

(Getting Technical)  FOR GRN ID TALKGROUPS CLICK HERE
 What are GRN ID Talkgroups?

Sometimes, while on GRN you just want to listen to, say, Rural Fire and Fire / Rescue so you would create a folder called a 'Talkgroup' with just the ID codes of interest from Rural Fire and Fire/Rescue... The above link shows you how.

Time to save your work to your Scanner

Plug your scanner into your computer with the control cable that should have came with your radio....

SEE the icon in the photo above where it says Site setup / Trunk Frequencies, there is 3 little icons of a scanner, one with a blue arrow up, one down and the end one for 'Virtual Control'
If you hover your mouse over these little icons it it will say "Upload to scanner".... while your radio is still connected to your computer, click on this 'upload to scanner icon'

You should see a window open that looks like the photo below


Make sure your GRN GLENBROOK (or whatever you named your site) is ticked and click on 'START UPLOAD'

If it comes up with an error (cannot upload) try changing the COM rate down, sometimes this helps if you have an older computer...

When its finished click CLOSE

THAT'S IT :)

Unplug you radio from your computer and press scan on the scanner, if it beeps and says 'Nothing to scan' press the No2 button (or what ever the number you chose for that particular bank) and if your signal is strong enough it should start to decode and display GRN

Now save your work by clicking on the blue floppy disc icon next to the printer icon..... save it somewhere on your computer for next time (desktop maybe?)


**** PROGRAMING FOR CONVENTIONAL FREQUENCIES ******
***********************************************************

Programing the Uniden UBCD396XT is similar to the GRN way except that you select Conventional instead of P25.. Here's how

Click on the the blue tab in the Freescan software called "NEW SYS", (next to printer icon)

A new window will open called 'New System' with options, we now click CONVENTIONAL (see below)

Before you click "Create System" you need to give it a name in the 'New System Name' box like eg .. "AIR FIELDS"..Now click 'Create System'

It will now only create one folder called 'Group 1'

Under 'Name' you can change the folder to say 'Raaf Richmond' (or whatever you want) and also set the quick key number (ive set mine to 3... GRN is 2 and Air Fields is 3) so when you are scanning and you select 3, it will turn bank 3 (Airfields) on and off
Now, select the green + button and enter the name and frequency you wish to scan, repeating the process of the green + every time you want to add a new frequency
OR
If you have access to a list that you can copy and import, then use the 'EZ-Grab' function.
Save you heaps of time.

If you want to add Another bank then, while your in, say,  'AIR FIELDS' folder (click to highlight blue) and select from the top menu 'New GRP' (see below)
                                                                    Pic 5

It will make a new folder called 'Group 2', just rename and follow the steps above to enter in your frequencies.
Before you save to your scanner, press the 'NSW AIRFIELDS' (or whatever you called yours) and select a few settings like 'Quick Key, Startup Key' ... these should be set at say 3 (bank 3)

Also tick 'Enable Analogue/ Digital AGC' (Audio Gain Control).... depending on the signal, this turns the volume of the scanner up and down...
In regards to the AGC, when scanning banks, some banks are heaps lower than say, a GRN bank...the idea behind the AGC is that the radio boosts the softer radio audio and softens the louder audio.... Works sometimes, but be careful not to have the audio up too loud, I have read in forums that the speakers in these radios can burn out (audio is too loud for the unit)....  

 Now Save Your Work to your Scanner

Plug your scanner into your computer with the control cable that should have came with your radio....

SEE the icon in the photo above (Pic 5) where it says Conventional System, there is 3 little icons of a scanner, one with a blue arrow up, one down and the end one for 'Virtual Control'
If you hover your mouse over these little icons it it will say "Upload to scanner".... while your radio is still connected to your computer, click on this 'upload to scanner icon'

You should see a window open that looks like the photo below
Make sure your 'NSW AIRFIELDS' (or whatever you named your site) is ticked and click on 'START UPLOAD'

If it comes up with an error (cannot upload) try changing the COM rate down, sometimes this helps if you have an older computer...

When its finished click CLOSE

THAT'S IT :)

Unplug you radio from your computer and press scan on the scanner, if it beeps and says 'Nothing to scan' press the No3 button (or what ever the number you chose for that particular bank) and if your signal is strong enough you will hear the wonderful world of Aircraft Scanning or Marine or ......

Now save your work by clicking on the blue floppy disc icon next to the printer icon..... save it somewhere on your computer for next time (desktop maybe?)


***** THE HARD WAY *********************************
******************************************************

This would be for people who don't have access to a computer... etc



Turn your radio on

Press the button on the left side of the radio (bottom button) called 'Menu'

Highlight the 'Program System' using the top rotary knob and press E-yes button (bottom lower right)

Using the rotary knob on the top, turn until 'New System' is highlighted, Press the E-yes button to select

Using the rotary control select 'P25' or Conventional and press E-yes button
If P25 ... select 'Standard Trunk'

Confirm Yes = E .... press this to activate
Processing' will show for a few seconds

Select 'Edit name' and enter a name for the site, keep turning the rotary button on the top to select the letter and press 6> to move to the next position... when finished press E-yes button to save , (This is the SYS folder), maybe call it GLENBROOK GRN (If a P25 setting) or AIR FIELDS (if Conventional setting) or something similar ... Its a System folder so name in BOLD

Scroll to 'Edit System Options' and click E-yes button

Select 'Number Tag' (press Eyes) and enter a number, this will switch to bank on and off during scanning...
Go to 'Set Audio AGC (Audio Gain Control) and set to on by scrolling with top knob and E-yes button to set

Press the button on the side of the unit, 'Menu' to step back to the main menu....

Scroll to 'Edit Site' and select 'New Site' (This is the Sub-folder (use lowercase))

Edit name like you did previously but call this site something like Glenbrook Tower (using lower case words looks better on your scanner and is easy to work with)

Scroll to 'Set Quick Key' and enter a number (Same as the number tag so it wont get confusing.. (eg Number 2)
Scroll to 'Startup Key' and enter the same number (eg..number 2)

If setting P25 GRN - Scroll to 'Set Frequencies" and enter the control frequencies of the closest tower in your area (Make sure you enter ALL control Tower frequencies for that site - Control frequencies are in BLUE and RED)   FOR NSW CONTROL TOWER FREQUENCIES CLICK HERE  

Scroll to 'Set Hold Time' for 2 seconds

Now press the MENU Side Button several times to exit and it should start to scan, if it says "Nothing to scan" press the number button assoc with your site details (Mine is bank 2) and it should now work...

If working with Conventional Frequencies then repeat the above process for extra banks

Hope this helps

ENJOY

PLEASE, Don't forget to shout me a coffee (see link top right corner).. Any amount big or small is much appreciated and it keeps this site happening :)

UPDATE ****** Download NSW GRN database for free HERE = http://scanradionsw.blogspot.com.au/2016/07/download-nsw-grn-file.html

Copyright 2015 - Michael Bailey (NSW Radio & Communications / ScanRadioNSW)

#Program uniden
#uniden
#ubcd396xt

8 comments:

  1. Hi Michael,
    I have tried all of the above but my scanner still doesn't program so i'm doing some thing wrong is there any where a can take it to have it programmed I live in Emu Plains.
    Regards Ken

    ReplyDelete
  2. Hi Ken
    thanks to responding to my post..
    I added some more information on the above post, mostly resetting the radio before programming and not pre-loading the systems (It just looks a mess and has no function)
    a few questions -
    Is your scanner a UBCD396T or XT ?
    Laptop or Desktop?
    When you plug your radio into your computer, does it connect (make a noise when connecting a USB device/ ding sound from the computer) ?
    Are you plugging into a computer or programming the radio by hand (the hard way :)) ?
    Thanks again
    If you still have problems contact me at =
    michael-bailey1708@hotmail.com
    Regards
    Michael Bailey

    ReplyDelete
  3. hey Ken when I go on vic regional police it wont scan wants me to change name if u press scan it goes elsewhere any suggestions

    ReplyDelete
  4. Hi Michael, This is a great tutorial. I have followed it successfully to program my 396XT recently. Thanks for your efforts it putting it together. It seemed to make a big difference doing the full device reset first. Also lining up the "bank" keys, quick keys and startup keys to align. Then you don't confuse yourself anywhere near as much :-) About time I shouted you another cup of coffee!

    ReplyDelete
  5. Hi Michael, I have had scanners since I was 13, over 40 years. Started with old receivers and so on. I can not get my head around the uniden UBCD39XT. While trying to follow some instructions on the net I wiped everything off the scanner, now I have nothing except close call. I have tried to connect to my computer and nothing happens. I have put this down to 2 things old age or I am an idiot. can you help me please

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. hi Videoruss, your half way there.. Clearing the scanner is the first step.. The second is getting the computer to talk to your radio.
      Plug your radio into your computer and turn it on (radio) then open freescan. 3rd across the top of freescan menu is 'scanner' click this.Click 'Control scanner', then click 'Com Port Setup' then click 'start auto'.. you will see the program scan your ports on your computer. If you get the message 'freescan could not establish connection'.keep trying, even unplugging the radio then plugging it back in. hopefully it will connect and you can then program your radio..
      if your still having problems, email me at = michael-bailey1708@hotmail.com
      if you live around Penrith, Blue Mountains or Campbelltown.. i run a service where i can program your radio for you 'fully' for $50
      hope this helps

      Delete
  6. Hi Michael thank you so much for your post, I just revieved my UBCD396XT and I reckon you saved me weeks of frustration.

    Next question, you wouldn't have an instruction to setup the Motorola Smartnet Pty Ltd AAP Building 2 system?

    Cheers
    Maurice

    ReplyDelete
  7. Sorry correction, looking to setup Motorola Type IIi Hybrid sytems.

    ReplyDelete