paul, i admit defeat ...
- ... i've been a gadget guy for decades now. i'm the one people call on to program their casio watches that have 955 functions and two buttons and they've lost the manual. i built (helped build anyway) the first pc from a kit (altair 8800). i used to hack dos. i laugh while re-compiling my linux kernel. i have, if not mastered, am able to operate most everything imaginable as far as firmware and software and user interface goes.
but with the bearcat scanners i admit defeat. i currently own at least a dozen, maybe more, radios and none put the fear into me like having to use the keyboard on the 396xt. well, maybe the yaesu vx7 a little bit--the 'quick' guide for it is about 75 pages long!
i've never been able to use the 396xt for more than the time between reading the instructions and my memory of reading them and what keys to press collapses. let me say i have no problems whatsoever programming the 396xt with any of the software out there. i have about 60 systems programmed, but when it comes to touching the keyboard, i'm ashamed to admit i own a $600 scanner and i'm reduced to pressing '1' and '2' to toggle between my home and work systems and i'm terrified of hitting the /function/ key accidentally at night and attempting anything else due to invariably getting it locked in a mode i can't for the life of me recover from.
i mean, the very paradigm of the scan mode being on all the time instead of waiting for me to press a /scan/ button gets me off on the wrong foot to begin with.
anyway, today i wanted to test my wouxun uv6x on our work channel of 467.925 since i was able to receive but my transmissions were not coming through. i simply wanted to determine if i was transmitting because we use tsq (tone on both send and receive) and that was the likely culprit and all the radios here at work are locked and in tsq mode, so i can't use one of them to test w/o tone.
so i hit the /hold/ button on the 396xt and type in my frequency: 467.925. the 396 does say /direct entry/ which is the most helpful it ever gets and i am grateful. but then i hit the 'E(yes)' key to finish the input of the frequency. the 396xt, instead of taking my input and displaying the frequency very unhelpfully prompts: 'quick freq save?'.
well, no. if i wanted to save the frequency i'd want a /save/ key so i could have control over it. just enter the frequency i typed in and if i want to save it somewhere i'll figure that out later. i have no idea where it wants to save this frequency or whether having it saved will come back and bite me in the ass later--that sort of thing happens constantly. so i'm lost. i can either hit 'E(yes)' and let it take me into an uncharted menu tree from which i can't get out of, or i can hit '.(no)' to cancel.
but i lie, hitting 'no' doesn't cancel anything. it takes me into a different menu tree that i never asked for, don't want, and don't know how to back out of. i have to resort to hitting the /.no/ key again to (hopefully) get out of this menu without changing anything.
and now i'm back at /direct entry/ and my frequency is there, but it's not yet 'live' as there's still a cursor block on top of it.
i haven't yet figured it out. i had to resort to the close call feature (and don't get me started on that prompt for 'hit any key ...').
[later note: it appears hitting /hold/ button again after entering the frequency might do it. but the radio unhelpfully displays /quick search/. i don't want a quick search, i want it to stay on the frequency i typed in.]
luckily the close call feature alone is worth the price of the radio. i used to have 3 bulky boxes costing about $1500 in total just to clumsily try to have that feature.
i hate to say it paul, but for me i just can't see how the 396xt user interface could be any less intuitive. perhaps being a lifelong radioman and computer technician has instilled me certain ideas about how such things should interact with the user and i'm just incapable of learning a new paradigm despite owning every single scrap of documentation available on how to interact with this box. the best thing i can say about the user interface is that i'm sure the radio shack scanners were worse.
- Very cool idea. Thinking outside the box is sometimes productive. Kind of like listening in on an older analog trunking system on a non trunk tracker scanner. Just throw in the frequencies and listen. And to find out you get, for the most part, better/farther reception. Cool.
From: chris451 <chris451@...>
Sent: Sunday, August 25, 2013 4:31 PM
Subject: Re: [BCD396XT] Fringe trunking (notrunk)
Just for fun I put in all the talk channels of a P25 system, then lock
out the control channel.
Programmed it as a conventional.
In the fringe (distant zone) I find I can pick up most traffic this way
due to the fact the trunk channel
will not decode in the fringe, but the P25 will. Perhaps that is
because there is error correction on the
speech coding and it decodes great, and there is minimal or no error
correction on the control channel.
Also when using a dicriminator tap and a conventional scanner with the
software decoding, now the
trunk radio performs as well as just "Notrunking" the talk channels, in
areas where the control channel is not locked in
(system ID will not display when holding on control channel)
How fun as it greatly multiplies the coverage (as long as you dont mind
getting everything rather than just interesting channels).
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