Uniden Advances Scanning with Digital Mobile Radio (DMR)
Demonstrating our commitment to continually enhance the value and relevance of your investment in Uniden products, today we announce the latest upgrades for our flagship BCD436HP and BCD536HP scanners. Now, owners of these scanners can add the ability to monitor and scan Digital Mobile Radio (DMR) systems including MotoTRBO™ Connect Plus and MotoTRBO Capacity Plus systems with a single paid upgrade, making these scanners the indisputable best-in-class solution for monitoring radio systems. Until now, you've either needed to purchase a single-use radio to monitor these systems or kludge together a system using multiple radio dongles plugged into a PC.
DMR is used extensively across the world by businesses, government agencies, amateur radio operators, and individuals worldwide. RadioReference.com, the premier web site for finding radio system information, has over 600 trunked DMR systems and over 4500 DMR conventional channels documented. But, this is just the beginning of the DMR story. The vast majority of DMR systems have never been documented since, up to now, users could not easily monitor them. Based on a quick survey of FCC records, we expect that there are tens- or even hundreds-of-thousands of additional DMR channels to discover.
And discovery will be important. So, we've included some basic tools for discovering DMR channels on your own so that you will be able to quickly supplement the information currently provided by RadioReference.com.
Using the Uniden BCDx36HP radios, upgraded with the DMR upgrade, you can now seamlessly monitor unencrypted channels on the following system types:
- Conventional Analog channels
- Conventional P25 Digital channels
- Motorola Type I and Type II Trunked Radio systems with Analog and Digital (P25) Voice
- EDACS Analog trunked radio systems
- LTR Analog trunked radio systems
- APCO Project 25 Phase I and Phase II Digital Trunked Radio systems
- EDACS trunked radio systems with ProVoice channels (paid ProVoice upgrade required)
- Conventional Digital Mobile Radio (DMR) channels (paid DMR upgrade required)
- MotoTRBO Capacity Plus Trunked Radio Systems (paid DMR upgrade required)
- MotoTRBO Connect Plus Trunked Radio Systems (paid DMR upgrade required)
- MotoTRBO Linked Capacity Plus Systems (paid DMR upgrade required)
- DMR Tier III Trunking (paid DMR upgrade required)
Uniden is the first scanner manufacturer to offer those bolded items, above. Plus, we have even more Uniden exclusive features in these models, including:
- Close Call® RF Capture (Patents #7,046,964B1 and 7,190,937B1)
- Dynamic Memory Architecture
- Location-Based Scanning with GPS Support (Patents #6,192,223B1 and 6,941,120B2)
- Trunked and Conventional Discovery Modes
- WiFi connectivity with iPhone and Android Apps (BCD536HP only)
We have finished the upgrade, and the firmware supporting DMR is now available using the normal firmware update process built into the Sentinel software. While DMR systems are not yet included in the Main Database, we expect to have that completed soon. Until then, we're keeping the DMR Upgrade price at $60.
MotoTRBO is a trademark of Motorola, Inc.
Finding DMR Channels in Your Area
UPDATE: While the below still works, user AggieCon on RadioReference has made a web-based version that is much better. Use it, instead! uniden.info://www.digitalfrequencysearch.com/
To help you find DMR channels in your area, we've made a spreadsheet based on recent FCC data that includes all licensees that indicate on their license that they are using the common emission type for DMR Voice (7K60FXE). You can download it here: EM_Private_Query.zip
.That has two versions of the same spreadsheet; one with macros (.xlsm) and one without (.xlsx). The one with macros is easiest to use, but some people are wary of macro-enabled spreadsheets.
To use the xlsm (macro) version of the spreadsheet,
input your latitude and longitude (both as positive numbers) and how far out you want the data searched from that point (Range, in Miles). Then, press CTRL-SHIFT-U. A list of unique frequencies that match the location and range criterian appears in column K. You can copy/paste that into your scanner software. This version is blindingly fast compared to the lookup method used in the xlsx version of the sheet.
To use the xlsx version of the spreadsheet,
input your latitude and longitude (both as positive numbers) and how far out you want the data searched from that point (Range, in Miles). The right hand column will populate with the first 100 frequencies found. You can extend this list, but automatically generating this takes a lot of processing. We've put the list at 100...really if you need more we recommend you do the following:
- Click the small arrow to the right of Try.
- Scroll down in the list and click on the checkmark next to Blank to deselect blank entries.
- Cut and paste the resulting frequencies into Column K or onto the "Results" tab.
- Highlight everything you pasted, and select Data --> Remove Duplicates to eliminate duplicate frequencies.
That will give you a list of the unique frequencies that meet the location criteria.
Following is a compilation of common questions/answers from the various forums:
- Q:Will my scanner that is not a BCD436HP or BCD536HP get the upgrade?
- A: We will be adding support for some additional models. Watch for an announcement.
- Q:Is a paid upgrade required for each DMR mode?
- A:No. One key enables all DMR modes.
- Q:When will the update be released?
- A:UPDATE: Wereleased the update publically on 7/27/2016. You can now update to the DMR-capable firmware using Sentinel.
- Q:Do I have to pay for a separate upgrade for each scanner I own?
- A:Yes. We have to pay a royalty on each scanner upgraded, as well.
- Q:Will I need a new version of Sentinel?
- A:Yes, a new version of Sentinel has been released along with this update.
- Q:Can I purchase a key from outside the US and Canada?
- A:Uniden's payment processor will only authorized charges associated with cards that have a US or Canadian address. Several scanner dealers have provided a key service in the past, using Western Union or other payment terms. You might check with Ham Station, Scanner Master, or Ham Radio Outlet and see if they can provide this service for you.
- Q:How about other digital modes?
- A:We have only announced support for APCO Project 25 Phase I and II, EDACS ProVoice, and the DMR modes mentioned above. We cannot comment on future product plans in public postings (or private emails or phone calls).
- Q:Will you be able to scan RAS systems?
- Q:Are there any DMR systems in my area?
- A:See EM_Private_Query.zip. This file contains two spreadsheets based on recent FCC data and will create a list of DMR licensed channels in a given area. As an example, I entered my office location and found nearly 1,000 DMR licensed frequencies within a 20-mile radius.
- Q:Will RadioReference include improved support for DMR and MotoTRBO systems?
- A:We cannot speak for RadioReference, but have been advised that some things are in the works. Watch for announcements from them for details.
- Q:How do I perform the upgrade?
- A:The process will be nearly identical to the ProVoice upgrade. See the detailed steps, below, once the upgrade is available.
- Q: Will Uniden be making these upgrades available on models other than the BCDx36HPs?
- A: Uniden does not comment on development plans until they are ready to comment on development plans. The answer right now is neither yes nor no. The answer is that no such upgrade has been announced. This should not be taken to mean that Uniden will not offer such upgrades, nor should it be taken to mean that they will offer such upgrades.
Getting the Upgrade
To get your key, you'll need your scanner's Electronic Serial Number (ESN) and Checksum.
- Power on your scanner.
- Press MENU.
- Scroll to SETTINGS, then press E.
- Scroll to SEE SCANNER INFORMATION, then press E.
- Scroll to FIRMWARE VERSION, then press E.
- Write down the digits following SN in the 3rd line, then the 3-character checksum from the 4th line.
Now, head over to uniden.info://my.uniden.com
and register your scanner, if you have not already done so. When you first register, use your scanner's physical serial number (i.e. 376Z38001234*). Once registered, you will see a link to add an ESN to your scanner below to your registered scanner. Click that link and follow the on-screen prompts to enter the ESN and Checksum you recorded above (we enter the first 5 digits of the ESN for you, you only have to enter the last 9 digits). Then, click the Purchase link to complete your transaction. Your key will be emailed to you, and will also appear next to your registered scanner.
* If you cannot physically access your scanner's serial number, Replace the "260" in your ESN with the letter Z. For example: 37626038001234 = 376Z38001234
Applying the Upgrade
- Download and install the latest version of Sentinel from BCDx36HPSentinel
- Use Sentinel to upgrade the scanner's firmware and database.
- On the scanner, press MENU.
- Select Settings --> Upgrades, then press E.
- Scroll to DMR/MotoTRBO Upgrade, then press E.
- Using the scroll knob to select each digit and the 4 and 6 keys to move left and right, enter each digit in the unlock key (including the hyphens between digit groups). Then, press E.
DMR Reception in Custom or Service Searches
During a search, when the scanner stops on a DMR transmission, the following information will be displayed:
- DMR -- for DMR One-Frequency systems. The scanner will also display the current slot number (S1 or S2) and the received color code.
- CON -- for MotoTRBO Connect Plus systems. The scanner will also display the current slot number (S1 or S2) and the received color code.
- CAP -- for MotoTRBO Capacity Plus systems. The scanner will also display the current slot number (S1 or S2), and the received color code.
- DT3 -- for DMR Tier III Trunked system. The scanner will also display the current slot number (S1 or S2) and the received color code.
Programming and Using DMR and MotoTRBO Systems
There are three different ways to program DMR/MotoTRBO, depending on the type of channel and what you are trying to do.
If you are trying to discover the correct settings for a new system, program the channels as conventional channels:
- MENU -- > Manage Favorites -- > New Favorites List (or scroll to existing list to use and press E)
- Name the Favorites List (if new)
- Review/Edit System
- New System -- > Conventional, then E/Yes to confirm
- Edit Name, if desired.
- Edit Department -- > New Department
- Edit Name, if desired.
- Edit Channel -- > New Channel then input the frequency.
- Set Audio Type -- > Digital Only then set Search (for any Color Code) or Set DMR Color Code and select the code used by the service.
Of course, you can also set any of the other settings (quick keys, number tags, delays, etc), but above is the essential settings to use. Repeat for each channel
During conventional scan, when the scanner stops on a DMR transmission, the following information will be displayed:
- DMR -- for DMR One-Frequency systems. The scanner will also display the current slot number (S1 or S2) and the received color code, if you selected Search when programming the channel.
- CON -- for MotoTRBO Connect Plus systems. The scanner will also display the current slot number (S1 or S2) and the received color code, if you selected Search when programming the channel.
- CAP -- for MotoTRBO Capacity Plus systems. The scanner will also display the current slot number (S1 or S2), the received color code if you selected Search when programming the channel.
- DT3 -- for DMR Tier III Trunked system. The scanner will also display the current slot number (S1 or S2) and the received color code if you selected Search when programming the channel.
Programming a DMR One-Frequency System
If you want to follow and/or alpha tag specific talk group/slot combinations on a DMR frequency, then you must program the frequency as a DMR One Frequency system.
The following is a supplement to the Owner's Manual. It only covers the settings that are unique to a DMR One-Frequency system.
- MENU --> Manage Favorites --> New Favorites List or select existing --> Review/Edit System --> New System --> DMR One Frequency
- Edit Site --> New Site --> Set Frequencies --> New Frequency
- Enter the frequency, then press E.
- If you want to limit reception to only transmissions on a particular color code, select Color Code Option, then Set DMR Color Code and set the color you wish to use.
- Repeat for additional frequencies (rare for DMR One-Frequency Systems).
- Repeatedly press MENU to return to the system menu, then select Edit Department if you wish to program Talk Group/Slot Channels. Otherwise,select Edit Sys Option and set ID Search to On.
- Select New Department --> Edit Channel --> New Channel
- Input the TGID.
- Set TDMA Slot, then select Any for either slot, 1, or 2.
Programming a MotoTRBO Connect Plus, Capacity Plus, XPT, or DMR Tier III System
The following is a supplement to the Owner's Manual. It only covers settings that are unique to DMR Trunked systems.
Program as MotoTRBO.
At the Site level, enter the frequencies. As you enter each frequency, you will be prompted to enter an LCN:
- You must enter the correct LCN. If you do not know the LCN, enter a placeholder LCN, then use LCN finder to determine the correct LCNs.
- Enter a color for each frequency, if desired. Entering the color used by the system for that frequency will help to prevent cochannel interference. It is similar to NAC or CTCSS/DCS.
At the Channel level, enter the Talk Groups into channels as you would other types of trunked systems.
Programming a Simplex DMR Channel
For best results, set the channel to use FM (not NFM) modulation and set the digital threshold to MANUAL 8. Due to the 30 mS signal duty cycle, the hardware is unable to perform at 100% on DMR Simplex signals.
Manually Determining the LCN for DMR Tier III Systems based on DSD+ Logs
DSD+ combines the LCN and Slot together in the style of MotoTRBO Capacity Plus. This combination was coined as LSN. You need to divide the upper number by two.
1899/1900 would be 950
1941/1942 would be 971
1985/1986 would be 993
Using LCN Finder for DMR Trunked Systems
For MotoTRBO Connect Plus and DMR Tier III systems, the LCN finder will help to determine the correct LCN assignments for each frequency.
Note that this function depends on the system having voice traffic. If this is a slow system, it can take a very long time to determine the correct LCNs.
To use LCN finder, select MENU --> Analyze --> EDACS/LTR/DMR LCN Finder. Then, select the system and the site on that system to analyze.
If you abort a session before it completes, you will be given an option to save partial results.
How long it takes to determine all the LCNs depends on how active the system is.
For a Capacity Plus system to find another LCN, there must be at least two simultaneous comms on the system. On a slow system, it could take many hours to determine all the LCNs.
If the control channel signal is lost for more than 10 seconds, the LCN finder will reset.