Wednesday, 31 May 2017

UBCD436PT - More Thoughts and Experiences

I have now had my UBCD436PT for a few weeks. Some more thoughts and my experiences:
-  I am still a big fan of its performance on the 800MHz trunking band.
- The VHF / UHF performance is not great. I have now been able to test it in a wider range of locations and it is still not as good at picking up signals, especially in the 70-80MHz band.
- The VHF airband is an exception to the above, it preforms very well in this band.
- I have made great use of discovery mode, it now runs in this mode whenever I am not activity using it for listening.
- Battery life is good.
- Build quality is excellent.
- The Uniden software works well and I am understanding this well.
- The display and back lighting options work well, I often having it running beside my bed and can easily read it.
- The LED alert light is great and after some careful programming I am finding this very useful.
- The system / dept / chan keys are very useful, once you understand how to best use them.

Using the Recorder Feature to Confirm Frequency Usage

In my local area we have a few frequencies which are owned and operated by a two way rental company that then shared these frequencies between multiple users, using different CTCSS tones. This makes confirming who is using the frequency harder then simply being able to look up the user on the ACMA database.

Since purchasing the UBCD436PT, I have found that the recorder feature is excellent for this sort of thing, it not only records the audio but also the frequency, CTCSS tones and other information. Below is a short video of this in use, I have created a new system (called Logging System) on the UBCD436PT and then added the frequencies in question in to this. I can then leave the UBCD436PT recording and then come back later to review these loggings.

Based on my recordings over the past few weeks I have confirmed the following:

485.25MHz / 141.3Hz = Bus Company
485.25MHz / 167.9Hz = Gravel /landscaping supplies
485.25MHz / 173.8Hz = Security

488.55MHz / 123Hz = Cement Company (Hanson?)
488.55MHz / 151.4Hz = Courier 

Over time I will continue to record these frequencies and add extra information as I come across it.

Saturday, 27 May 2017

Low Profile Lunch Box Radio Scanner Carry Case - May 2017

Over the years, while involved in the radio scanning / amateur radio / ultralight DXing hobbies, I have used a number of different bags and cases for carrying my radios and associated bits and pieces. Some of these bags and cases have worked very well, others have not for various reasons. 

I have again returned to my love of portable operation, this has meant finding a suitable carry case or bag for my radios to undertaken these activities in parks and other locations while keeping a low profile.

Based on my experience in the past, I decided to move away from a soft bag like I have used recently and started looking around for a hard case. This needed to be big enough to hold my UBCD436PT scanner, aerials, chargers, cords, ear phones and spare batteries but I didn't want to go to a "Pelican" type case due to cost and sizing options, plus they scream "expensive stuff inside", much like camera bags do. I needed to go for something that looked cheap and not valuable but which still provided a good level of protection.

Recently I was at our local Kmart store, they had put a heap of "back to school" items on clearance, including an $8 lunch box, down to $1, for that price I grabbed one as I liked the size of this and the only thing lacking was a way to keep my radio protected. I had an idea of a way to do this. On my home I called past Bunnings and grabbed some foam wrap, red cloth tape and a small piece of metal I could use as a divider.

A few nights later I spent some time in the shed setting this up. The first step was to cut the foam sheeting to go around the metal divider I then used some double sided tape to mount the foam to the case and then wrapped it in the red cloth tape. I then bent the ends of the divider and bolted this to each end of the case.  I then spent some time sorting my various radio scanning accessories and setting up space in the case for them all.

Overall for less than $5 and an hour of my time, I have a case which provides a good level of protection to my UBCD436PT radio scanner, it looks about as "low profile" as you could get and it was cheap. Nobody would pick it from the outside as anything other than a lunch box, just how I like it. 

Thursday, 25 May 2017

UBCD436PT - Scanner Stand

They say "necessity is the mother of invention". I have been moving my UBCD436PT around the house a fair bit of late as I have been doing various things, I had a mobile phone type holder which I have used in the past with my UBC126AT but found this was not heavy enough to hold the larger UBCD436PT and stop it from falling over. I was recently at Bunnings and found some metal plates which I thought I could use to make a stand.

I bent the top plate until I got the angle correct for my radio (this would vary for different radios due to size and weight), cut out a section for the belt clip to sit in and wrapped it in tape and then attached the top and bottom parts with some small bolts. Total build time was about 15 minutes.

Over the past few days I have been using this, it allows me to use my scanner at the correct angle. While this was designed for a radio scanner the same idea could be used for almost any handheld radio with a belt clip.

UBCD436PT - Using the Recorder Feature with Close Call

Below is a short video of me using the recorder feature with Close Call on the UBCD436PT for unattended logging. This was done about a week ago on rubbish day when I knew that the truck drivers would be active using their radios. Please note that as this is recording hits on the input frequency of 158.8375MHz which is the repeater output frequency of 163.4375MHz.

Wednesday, 17 May 2017

UBCD436PT - First Thoughts

Recently I was lucky enough to purchase a Uniden UBCD436PT. Below is a link to the Uniden webpage about it:

It has been many years since I have owned a trunk tracking scanner so it has been a big learning curve to get back in to using a high end scanner like this.

I am planning on documenting my progress with this, what I like / don't like and any issues I come across as a reference source for anybody who has one of these or is thinking of getting one.

My focus to this point has been on getting it programmed how I want, working out some of the advanced features and getting my head around the "Sentinel" programming software.

After two weeks of use, these are my first thoughts:
- It works very well for trunk tracking, it can "hear" very well in the 800MHz band and will decode EDACS control channels at very low signal levels. I mostly listen to the West Launceston and Mt Barrow sites which both cover where I live well.
- The VHF / UHF performance is not great, my UBC126AT out preforms it for general VHF / UHF scanning. I have tested this on it's own standard aerial (which is junk and useless), an after market VHF/ UHF whip and also a couple of different external aerials. In all cases it falls short of what my UBC126AT can receive.
- It has so many features and different modes of operation. I have become a big of discovery mode (as can be seen below) which I often leaving it running in for periods of times while I am at work or busy, coming back later to review the results.