Monday, September 21, 2009

Scanners - Programming

Suppose you just purchased a scanner. What now? You have to program it. It's not difficult and it only takes an hour or so to get things set up right.

As I mentioned, I use a Uniden BC72XLT scanner. My comments on programming will reflect this, but I believe most scanners have a similar setup.

Scanners have a number of channels, which are each assigned a frequency to monitor. My Bearcat has 100 channels. Most scanners group these channels into "banks" to help you organize them. The Bearcat has 10 banks of 10 channels each. I have five banks set up: CN running, CN maintenance, CP running, CP maintenance, and end-of-train devices.

Programming the channels is pretty easy. You set the unit into programming mode, select the channel, and set the frequency. Simple as that!

The detail:
1. Press the Hold key.
2. Enter the channel number you want to program.
3. Press the Func key.
4. Press the E/Pgm key. Note the PGM in the top left of the display. The current frequency will be displayed, which should be 000.000 for an empty channel.
5. Type in the frequency, using the numbers and the period key.
6. Press the E key to finish.
7. You can then press E again to move to the next channel.
8. Repeat steps 5-7 as necessary.

It helps to have the channels all planned out before you start programming. That way, you can enter them one after the other.

On my Bearcat, it has "priority" channels (1 per bank) that get scanned more often than the other channels. You want to put the more interesting channels there. I have put the train channels for CN and CP in those slots, but I am thinking of changing it so the Winnipeg CN RTC is in the priority channel. I find myself listening to that channel more than any other.

The big problem with programming your scanner is: what frequencies should I monitor? That's the subject of the next post in the series.

Introduction to scanners


Unknown said...

My (old) scanner is very different, lol. If you are curious, this is how mine works:

1. Press "MANUAL" to leave scanning mode.
2. Press "MANUAL" until you find the channel you want to program.
3. Type in the frequency. Press "ENTER" when done.

And that's pretty much it. Very basic. This one only has a two-digit display, and 10 channels. To see what frequency is programmed to a channel, you have to press "REVIEW FREQ/CH", and it will show it one digit at a time. There is also a switch titled "LOCK" with the positions "IN" and "OUT".

Canadian Train Geek said...

Nice, Taylor - elsewhere you said it was a Realistic Pro-41.