The Uniden/Bearcat BC796D is a base/mobile scanner which is excellent for monitoring the new Westmoreland County digital radio system. Its strong points include great audio, a large, easy to read digital display, factory supplied programming software, and more consistent decoding of the digital data (none of the annoying digital noise interrupting voice signalswhich has been noted on the Radio Shack units). Its negatives include having each scan bank limited to a maximum of 100 programmed alpha-numeric talkgroups. The BC796D also lacks the ability to decode the control channel data and feed it into a computer for analysis.


As sold by Uniden, the BC796D includes basic programming software so that you can directly upload frequency and talkgroup information to the radio. The radio has a standard 9-pin serial connector on the rear panel for interfacing with your Windows PC. However, the cable is not supplied. You can purchase a standard 9-pin serial cable with male connector at one end and female connector at the other at many computer supply stores. (If you are using a notebook computer or other new computer which is not equipped with a serial port, you will need a USB-to-serial adapter to allow you to use your notebook's USB port. One can be purchased from Sewell Direct for about $18.00.)

DON'T WANT TO PROGRAM ALL THE DATA YOURSELF? JUST DOWNLOAD OUR PREPROGRAMMED DATA (INCLUDING ALL UPDATED TALKGROUPS AND FREQUENCIES!!!) Just click here for the BC796D data download!!! If you are using Internet Explorer, you will save the file to your disk. If using Mozilla Firefox, the file opens as a text file in your browser, so "save as" the file as a text file under the name west800.ssd. Then start up your Uniden/Bearcat software, click on the Database function, then open the west800.ssd file, and click on "write all banks to scanner." WARNING: WHEN YOU UPLOAD THIS DATA TO YOUR RADIO, YOU WILL OVERWRITE ANYTHING YOU HAVE PROGRAMMED IN YOUR RADIO. BACKUP YOUR DATA BEFORE YOU UPLOAD THIS DATA TO YOUR BC796D.


Bank 1 is programmed with the three alternating control channel frequencies for the North-East Zone;

Bank 2 is programmed with the three alternating control channel frequencies for the South-West Zone;

Bank 3 is programmed with the Talkaround frequencies along with various analog FM public safety channels which are still in primary use in the County, such as EMS frequencies and state police, Greensburg, North Huntingdon and Murrysville Police, etc.

Banks 4 through 10 are left blank.


To date, over 120 talkgroups have been identified. Since the 796D will only store 100 talkgroup alpha-numeric identifiers per scan bank, we have included the 100 most used talkgroups identically in banks 1 and 2. The only groups eliminated from our 796D download file are District 3 Police (since Greensburg isn't using the new system); District 8 Police (since this groups are reserved for future use); and District 7 Police Admin (since we had to lop off one more group ID, and District 7 (Monessen) dispatching hasn't been implemented yet.

NOTE: WHEN SCANNING THESE TRUNKED BANKS, BE SURE TO HAVE THE SCANNER IN THE "SEARCH ID" MODE, NOT THE "SCAN ID" MODE. In Search ID mode, the radio receives all talkgroups beyond the 100 stored in memory. When a non-stored ID is received, the radio will let you hear the transmission and will display the numeric talkgroup ID. In Scan ID mode, the radio ONLY receives those 100 talkgroups programmed into memory; all others are skipped.

Send questions, comments or suggestions to use at COMMENTS2007 [at] pa2600 [dot] com.

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