Friday, June 02, 2006

800 MHz Rebanding and Uniden Scanners

Just a reminder that the rebanding of the 800 MHz is now underway. Not every scanner will be able to follow an analog Motorola trunk system after it has been rebanded. So what scanner is in your pocket and how will it handle rebanding?

For those who own a Uniden trunk tracker here is the last official word from the good folks at Uniden. So far NO word from the Radio Shack/GRE crowd. This is all I have on hand right now. So please, no emails asking me about your specific scanner. You have what I have.

800 MHz Rebanding Impact on Uniden Scanners
March 21, 2005 (Updated by author on Jun 1, 2006 with the latest two scanners released by Uniden.)

Background Information
Beginning in the late 1990’s, the FCC and industry began studying interference problems on public safety communications systems in the 800 MHz band. The root cause of most of the reported issues was interference from high-powered business radio systems on channels adjacent to relatively low-powered public safety radio systems.

In early February 2005, the FCC issued a Report and Order directing that certain actions be taken to reduce or eliminate the conditions that have resulted in this interference. These actions include:

· Moving current non-public safety licensees out of the 806-809/851-854 MHz band.

· Moving public safety licensees into the 806-809/851-854 MHz band.

· Changing the current 800 MHz channel plan.

The relocation of licensees should help to isolate critical public safety bands away from interference-creating services, but will require that users reprogram their scanner with the new frequencies.

The change to the 800 MHz channel plan will have the greatest effect on scanner operation. Most scanners use this channel plan to determine the voice channel frequency for Motorola Analog or mixed systems. Users with scanners that rely on this channel plan will need to reflash their scanner in order for it to continue to properly track Motorola Analog or mixed systems. Scanners that cannot be reflashed will need to be replaced.

These two changes (relocating licensees and changing the channel plan) are together referred to as “Rebanding.”

More information on Rebanding can be found at and from the links on that site.

Impact on Scanning Receivers
Rebanding is a mixed blessing for scanner users. The same interference sources that have affected public safety users have also affected the use of scanners, sometimes to a greater degree. Rebanding should greatly improve scanner operation for the same reason that public safety radio operation will improve: less interference from unwanted sources.

However, as rebanding occurs on a system, scanners will need to be replaced, reflashed, or reprogrammed in order to continue to track the trunked systems in the 800 MHz band. The following table summarizes this impact on Uniden’s current product line.

Model Motorola APCO 25 Motorola Analog/Mixed EDACS LTR
BCD996T Reprogrammed Reflashed Reprogrammed Reprogrammed
BCD396D Reprogrammed Reflashed Reprogrammed Reprogrammed
BC330T Reprogrammed Reflashed Reprogrammed Reprogrammed
BC246T N/A Reflashed Reprogrammed Reprogrammed
BC296D Reprogrammed Reflashed Reprogrammed Reprogrammed
BC796D Reprogrammed Reflashed Reprogrammed Reprogrammed
BC898T N/A Reflashed Reprogrammed Reprogrammed
BCT8 N/A Reflashed Reprogrammed Reprogrammed
Older Uniden
Models N/A Replaced Reprogrammed Reprogrammed

End users will be able to reflash the indicated models using a PC cable and a software download from Uniden’s web site. All future Uniden trunktracking models are expected to either incorporate the Rebanding requirements or be flash upgradeable to do so.

The first public safety systems could be rebanded as early as April 2006. Uniden’s goal is to have a firmware update available for each compatible model by this time, but final testing and release of the update will depend on the actual implementation of these changes. Uniden plans to announce firmware updates for each model as they become available.

This statement is based on the current rebanding plan, as accepted by FCC and industry. Future changes to this plan could affect Uniden’s response or its ability to respond. Nothing in this statement should be construed as any type of promise or warranty. Uniden reserves the right to make changes to its rebanding response policy at any time.