Scanner Programming FAQ

From The RadioReference Wiki

Welcome to the Scanner Programming FAQ. This article is inteded to document many of the common questions regarding programming scanners, cables, software and so forth. Please feel free to add items, new sections or comments as needed. Note that anything in blue is a link.

Scanners that can be programmed

  • Which Scanner Models can be programmed with the PC?

All the models listed on our Popular Software article can at least be connected to a PC and can up/download data. In addition, the recently released GRE PSR-500, PSR-600, PSR-300 and PSR-400 has this capability. Check the indicated links for more information.

  • Can a Radio Shack Scanner be used to log frequencies/record and scan?

In general the answer is no, due to firmware limits. The only exception is the old Pro-2052, which is really a rebadged Uniden scanner in a GRE case. This scanner can log, record and scan with the right software. See the popular software link above for more information

  • I used to program scanners years ago; now Uniden has this DMA technology. What is that all about?

In DMA terminology, there are no such things as banks anymore. Basically, channels are allocated from a pool of memory, the capacity of which is different for each model. It's highly recommended to read UPMan's article, and use a spreadsheet (or other columnar function) to plan how to program one of these scanners. There are also the 'Easier to Read' manuals for each of the DMA scanners, which are a signficant improvement over the Uniden offerings. Start by reading the Uniden DMA FAQ first.

Connecting the scanner to the PC

Most newer PCs these days have no serial ports - you must use a USB cable to make the connection. While there are some dedicated models - Uniden has their USB-1, and certain distributors - such as Scan Control - market their own offerings, other brands may also work. Many problems with using USB connections seem to fall into a few categories;

  • Not having up to date drivers. These are generally available from the manufacturer's website
  • Not allocating an open COM port. Be sure to check in Windows Device Manager to insure that COM port you are attempting to allocate is actually available
  • Bad cables - yes, it does happen.

Software Issues

  • What Software is Available for my scanner (insert make/model)?

Most scanners now have articles on this site. They can be referenced from the main page. They are indexed by manufacturer (in the Forum Specific Topics area) or on the top right, by the type of trunking they do (analog/digital) and their size and form (handheld, mobiles, ect.). Each article has a supporting software section toward the bottom.

  • Where can I get data to program my scanner?

There are numerous sources for data.

  1. Undoubtedly one of the most popular methods is to use the Web Service to download data directly from the RadioReference database. Not all applications have this capability - check our Popular_Software_for_RS/Uniden_Scanners article for a cross reference of available software by model. Note that all software that has the capability to connect to the Web Service are in bold. In addition, a paid subscription is required for access.
  2. Ask on the RadioReference forum for your state if anyone has a file they could share. Be sure to specify which software you are using - not all formats are compatible with one another.
  3. Check to see if any other owners of your scanner have already compiled a file. Join the Yahoo group(s) for your scanner - these are listed in the scanner's article. Again, be specific about what software you are using.
  4. Several websites also host data files for their area. Be sure to take files for the software you are using. Check our Programming Files, United States and Canada articles for a list of such sites.
  5. Check to see if there's a mailing list for your area. In the US, this article lists numerous such lists; for Canadian lists, check here .
  • What if my software cannot connect to the Web Service?

If you have Microsoft Excel or similar, you may be able to use it as an intermediate collection point. Data loaded using this method is saved in a comma selected value (or csv) format that can later be imported, as many programs have this ability. See our Excel Copy/Paste Special to Software article for instructions.

  • Are there any non-Windows software packages for programming scanners/receivers?

Yes there are. See our Scanner/Receiver Software for Non Windows OS article

  • What about Mac-compatible software?

There have been some reports that there are some packages - notably BuTel's - that have been successfully run on Mac PCs running Windows emulators.