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Uniden BCT15X BearTracker Scanner User Manual

Uniden BCT15X BearTracker Scanner-feaured image

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Uniden BCT15X BearTracker ScannerUniden BCT15X BearTracker Scanner-pro image

About Uniden 
Uniden America Corporation, the North American subsidiary of Japan-based Uniden Corporation, manufactures and markets wireless consumer electronic products including home security and video security systems, Bearcat® scanners, FRS/GMRS radios, marine radios, radar detectors, dash cams, and other wireless personal communications products. Based in Irving, Texas, Uniden sells its products through retailers and distributors throughout North, Central, and South America.

Table of Contents


GeneralUniden BCT15X BearTracker Scanner User Manual-fig 1

Uniden BCT15X BearTracker Scanner User Manual-fig 2
Uniden BCT15X BearTracker Scanner User Manual-fig3
Uniden BCT15X BearTracker Scanner User Manual-fig 4
Uniden BCT15X BearTracker Scanner User Manual-fig 5

Special Functions

Band Scope Function

  • Frequency Span 0.2 MHz To 500 MHz
  • Frequency Step 5 kHz To 100 kHz


  • 0-3500.0Hz , 0.1Hz Step Programmable

WX Alert

  • 1050 Hz Tone System
  • NWR-SAME System (Warning / Watch / Advisory)

Supported trunking systems

  • Motorola Systems: Type I, II, II/I (hybrid)
  • EDACS Systems: FM, NFM, and SCAT
  • LTR Systems

Dynamic memory allocation capacity

  • Systems: 500 max
  • Groups: 20 per system
  • Site: 1000 max (All) 256 per system
  • Channels: 9000 max (21120 memory blocks)
  • Channels per Trunked System: 500 max

Heterodyne System

  • 1st IF: 380.7 to 380.8 MHz / 265.5 to 265.6 MHz
  • 2nd IF: 10.8 MHz
  • 3rd IF: 450 kHz

Included With Your Scanner

  • Scanner
  • AC Adapter
  • Vehicle Accessory Power Cord
  • Three-Wire Harness
  • Mounting Bracket and Hardware
  • Antenna
  • Serial Programming Cable
  • O/M on CD ROM
  • Other Printed Materials
  • Mounting Sleeve and keys (Optional for BCT15X; Included with BCD996XT)

Uniden BCT15X BearTracker Scanner User Manual-fig 6
Uniden BCT15X BearTracker Scanner User Manual-fig 7

Setting Up Your Scanner

These guidelines will help you install and set up your new scanner:

The scanner can be placed on a convenient surface in your home as a base station, and connected to a standard outlet that supplies 120VAC, 60Hz. You must use either the supplied antenna or an electrically correct outdoor antenna, properly and safely mounted at your chosen site. The scanner is also designed to accommodate either DIN-E or ISO-DIN automotive mounting configurations using a DIN-E sleeve and keys, (Part Number DIN-0001, BCD996XT: Included; BCT15X: Optional).

The unit can also be placed above, beneath, or in the dash of your vehicle using the supplied bracket and mounting hardware.

  • If your scanner receives interference or electrical noise, move the scanner or its antenna away from the source.
  • To improve the scanner’s reception, use an optional external antenna designed for multi-band coverage. (You can purchase this type of antenna at a local electronics store). If the optional antenna has no cable, use 50Ω coaxial cable for lead-in. A mating plug might be necessary for the optional antennas.
  • Use an optional stereo earphone or stereo headset with proper impedance (32 Ω) for private listening. Read the precautions at General Precautions.
  • Do not use the scanner in high-moisture environments such as the kitchen or bathroom.
  • Avoid placing the scanner in direct sunlight or near heating elements or vents.

Power Related Issues

Important: To prevent memory from being corrupted, do not unplug the AC adapter during the time the memory is accessed for programming or auto store.


  • If when you connect the AC adapter the [VOL] /Power Switch is ON, the scanner may not power on. Should this occur, simply turn the control OFF, then ON again.
  • If the scanner loses power (as when you turn off your car’s ignition with the scanner’s power switch on), it can lose some system settings such as display color and backlight. To ensure that such settings persist, either change the setting using the scanner’s menu or power the scanner off and then back on using the power switch after making such settings changes.

Base Station

This is the simplest approach to let you get started quickly. Decide on a location that is convenient to a nearby wall outlet, has desk space to let you complete your programming worksheets, and will safely allow the indoor antenna to be extended, or near a window to use an outdoor antenna.Uniden BCT15X BearTracker Scanner User Manual-fig 8

To secure the radio to a surface, using the mounting bracket, follow the steps below:

  1. Attach the four protective mounting feet to the mounting bracket when you casually use the scanner on a flat surface. Should you desire to permanently mount the scanner, remove the feet and use wood screws through the bracket as described in Steps 2 and 3?
  2. Use the bracket as a template to mark positions for the two mounting screws.
  3. At the marked positions, drill holes slightly smaller than the screws.
  4. Align the bracket with the threaded holes on the sides of the radio case so the bracket is beneath the radio. Secure the bracket using the two threaded knobs. Never overtighten the knobs.

Once the radio is positioned, connect it to a source of AC power using the supplied 13.8V, 750 mA AC adapter. Insert the barrel of the AC adapter to the jack on the rear, upper right side of the radio marked. Insert the connector of the supplied indoor telescoping antenna into the BNC Antenna Connector and apply moderate pressure to secure it.

Setting Up an Audio Recording Device or Computer Recording

It is best if you plan when you initiate the basic setup of the scanner if you include the components to record incoming reception. You need an audio recording device that can be controlled by a Voice Operated module (VOX) either externally or from within the unit and the correct connecting cable. The REC (record) jack on the rear apron provides a constant-level audio output which is not affected by the setting of the volume control. Use a mono or stereo cable that ends in a 3.5mm plug for the scanner. The recorder might have its requirements as to the proper plug. Check the recorder’s instructions to be sure. Connect the cable to an external or internal VOX control so that the recorder operates when audio is present.

You can also connect the cable to the appropriate input jack on your PC so that with controlling software, you can record to your hard disk. For the function to operate, you must set the channel to record. You must also set the system’s record option to either All Channel, which will record all channels regardless of any channel’s setting, or Marked Channel which only lets recording occur if you have selected record for that channel. Which you choose will depend on various factors.

Vehicle Installation

You can mount your scanner in your vehicle, using either the supplied bracket or the optional DIN-E sleeve.

Mounting Using the Bracket
With the bracket removed from the radio, use the holes in the bracket as a template to initially mark the location you plan to use in your vehicle. Be certain of what might be behind the mounting surface before making any holes, be it above, or below, or in front of your dash, armrest console, or other location. If you drill carelessly, expensive damage can result. If in doubt, consult your vehicle dealer’s service department or a qualified professional installer.

Important: AVOID AIRBAG DEPLOYMENT ZONES. Ignoring this installation concern may result in bodily harm and the inability of the airbag to perform properly.Uniden BCT15X BearTracker Scanner User Manual-fig 9

  1. Using appropriate screws or other hardware, secure the bracket.
  2. Insert the scanner and insert the bracket knobs to lock the scanner in position.
  3. Attach the Cigarette Lighter Power Cord to the rear of the scanner and plug the adapter end into a dash-mounted 12V DC socket.
  4. Attach a suitable mounted mobile antenna to the antenna jack on the back of the scanner.

Mounting Using the DIN-E Sleeve (Option for BCT15X)

If you are unsure about how to install your scanner in your vehicle using the optional DIN-E sleeve, consult your automobile manufacturer, dealer, or a qualified installer. Before installing, confirm that your scanner fits in the desired mounting area and you have all the necessary materials to complete the task. Your scanner requires a 2 x 7-1/8 x 5-5/16 inch (50 x 180 x 135 mm) mounting area. Allow an additional 2-3/8 inch (60mm) space behind the unit for connectors and wires.

To purchase the DIN-E sleeve and included Removal Keys, visit http://www.unidendirect.com/ and order part number, DIN-0001.

  1. Remove the bracket if it is attached.
  2. Remove the four Philips screws from four small tabs on the rear of the case that secure the outer metal case and pull off the case (toward the rear) with care.
  3. Install the DIN sleeve into the opening in your dashboard, lip-facing
  4. Push out the top and bottom tabs to hold the sleeve firmly in place.
  5. Before inserting the scanner in the sleeve, attach the cable from the previously mounted antenna. Attach the DC Power leads. RED goes to a positive (+)connection on your fuse block while BLACK connects to the vehicle’s chassis ground (-).
  6. Connect the ORANGE lead to one side of the headlamp switch so that when you activate the headlights, the scanner’s LCD changes intensity. Be sure all the connections are routed away from any potentially pinching or slicing sheet metal.
  7. Slowly slide the scanner into the sleeve until it locks in place.
  8. To remove the unit, fully insert the removal keys into each slot on the left and right edges of the front panel. Carefully slide the radio from the sleeve.

Note: If you plan to connect a GPS unit or external speaker at a later time, expect to remove the unit for ease of making those connections.

Removing the Scanner from the DIN-E Sleeve

If you plan to connect other devices or wires to the radio, such as a GPS unit, at a later time, you should plan to remove the scanner from the DIN-E sleeve. This is easily done using the provided Removal Keys that come with the optional DIN-E sleeve. Refer to the illustration that follows, showing the Removal Keys. Fully insert both Removal Keys into the slots on the left and the right edges of the radio’s dress panel. You cannot remove the radio with only one key. Press in fully, and do not twist the keys. The radio will unlock from the sleeve making withdrawal from the sleeve possible. Store the keys in a safe place for future use.Uniden BCT15X BearTracker Scanner User Manual-fig 11

Mounting Using ISO Technique

Some vehicles can take advantage of another approach to mounting a radio in a vehicle, called the ISO technique. However, this technique requires a very detailed and thorough knowledge of the technique. Therefore, we strongly suggest that if you have any doubt about your experience and abilities, please consult with a professional installer who is familiar with the ISO approach to radio installation.

To begin the process, it is first necessary to remove the scanner’s outer metal sleeve from the inner chassis. Unthread the four screws in the rear of the unit. Slide the cover toward the rear and off. Once the sleeve is removed, you will see threaded, metric machine screw holes on either side of the chassis cabinet. Uniden does not supply these screws. Their diameter, length, and screw type should be chosen by a qualified installer based on the internal vehicle bracket which will be used in securing the scanner chassis. Once the original radio is removed from the vehicle dash and the fit of the scanner is correct, be sure to connect all the power, audio, antenna, and any other cables or wires, to the scanner before the scanner is secured.

The following illustration is a typical example of the ISO technique and the general side mounting screw holes often encountered. It does not represent the Uniden scanner or your vehicle’s mounting bracket. Only a professional installer will be able to determine the best and correct approach.Uniden BCT15X BearTracker Scanner User Manual-fig 12

Removing the Display Sticker

Before you use the scanner for the first time, remove the protective plastic film over the display.

Connecting an Optional Antenna

The scanner’s BNC connector makes it easy to connect a variety of optional antennas, including an external mobile antenna or outdoor base station antenna.

Note: Always use 50-ohm, RG-58, or RG-8, BNC terminated coaxial cable to connect an outdoor antenna. If the antenna is over 50 feet from the scanner, use an RG-8 low-loss dielectric coaxial cable. Cable loss increases with higher frequency.

Connecting an Earphone/Headphone

For private listening, you can plug a 1/8-inch (3.5 mm) mini-plug earphone or headphones (not supplied) into the headphone jack on the front of your scanner. This automatically disconnects the internal speaker. See the Earphone Warning for important information about using an earphone/headphones.

WARNING! Never connect anything other than the recommended amplified extension speaker to the scanner’s headphone jack. Damage to the scanner might occur.

Connecting an Extension Speaker

In a noisy area, an optional amplified extension speaker, positioned in the right place, might provide more comfortable listening. Plug the speaker cable’s 1/8-inch (3.5-mm) mini-plug into your scanner’s back panel Ext. Sp. Jack.

WARNING! Never connect any part of the headphone jack to the antenna jack or connect the radio to an installation where the antenna and audio connection are grounded. This might also damage the scanner.

To determine whether the information on this page applies to your scanner, see the tags at the bottom of the page.

Compatible GPS receivers

You can connect your scanner to any GPS receiver that meets the following criteria:

  • Outputs NMEA-0183 v3.01-compliant location data
  • Outputs both the Global Positioning System Fix ( GGA ) and Recommended Minimum Specific GNSS ( RMC ) data sentences
  • Provides a serial data (RS-232) connection

Configuring your scanner

  1. Go to the Settings menu and select Set Serial Port.
  2. Select Set Baud Rate.
  3. Select Set Rear Port.
  4. Select 4800 bps for the baud rate.

Connecting the receiverUniden BCT15X BearTracker Scanner User Manual-fig 13

  1. Plug your GPS receiver’s RS232 cable directly into the DB9 connector on the back of the scanner.
  2. When the scanner recognizes the GPS input, it displays a confirmation message and shows the GPS icon on the display.
  3. If the GPS receiver does not have a lock on the satellites, the scanner displays Searching for Satellite.


If you can’t get the scanner to recognize the GPS receiver:

  • Check the receiver’s baud rate. Most compatible GPS receivers use a baud rate of 4800 bps, but your receiver may be using a non-standard baud rate. Set the scanner’s baud rate to match the GPS receiver’s.
  • Check the receiver’s output mode. Some receivers have proprietary signaling modes that are not NMEA-compliant, but you can usually set them to use an NMEA-compliant mode.

If the scanner recognizes the GPS receiver but doesn’t lockout systems as you expected:  Make sure the GPS receiver has a lock on the satellites.

  • Check the location configuration for the sites and channel groups in the system.
    1. For each site or channel group, go to the Set LocationInfo
    2. Check the range, latitude, and longitude settings to make sure they are correct.
    3. Make sure the Set GPS Enable option is set to Yes.

Please note that these pages are meant as general instructions. While most of the information here applies to all scanners, some options may not be available on certain scanner models. Model-specific options are indicated in the text.

Digital scanners only

General scanning information

Please note that these pages are meant as general instructions. While most of the information here applies to all scanners, some options may not be available on certain scanner models. Model-specific options are indicated in the text.

This guide is optimized for the following web browsers:

If you have difficulty viewing this guide in your current browser, please try downloading one of the browsers listed.

Assigning an SNT

  • SNTs can range from 0 to 999.
  • Systems can have the same SNT, but you will get a warning when you create multiples. (This includes SNTs assigned to the Close Call Hits system or any search ranges.)

To a system :

  1. Open the Program System
  2. Select the system you want to assign the number tag to.
  3. Select Edit Sys Option, then select Set Number Tag.
  4. Enter the number tag you want to use for this system.

To the Close Call Hits system :

  1. Open the Close Call
  2. Select Hits with Scan, then select Set Number Tag.
  3. Enter the number tag you want to use for the Close Call Hits system.

To a service search range :

  1. Open the Search for…
  2. Select Edit Service, then select the service search range you want to assign the number tag to.
  3. Select Search with Scan, then select Set Number Tag.
  4. Enter the number tag you want to use for this search range.

To a custom search range :

  1. Open the Search for…
  2. Select Edit Custom, then select the custom search range you want to assign the number tag to.
  3. Select Search with Scan, then select Set Number Tag.
  4. Enter the number tag you want to use for this custom search range.

Assigning a CHNT

  • You can assign CHNTs to channels even if the system does not have an assigned SNT. However, without an SNT, you can only navigate to these channels from within that system itself.
  • CHNTs can be duplicated within their system, but you will see a warning when you create multiples.  CHNTs can range from 0 to 999.
    1. Open the Program System
    2. Select the system containing the channel you want to assign the number tag to.
    3. Select Edit Group, then select the channel group you want.
    4. Select Edit Channel, then select the channel you want to assign the number tag to.
    5. Select Set Number Tag.
    6. Enter the number tag you want to use for this channel.

Programming Search Keys

  1. Open the Search for…
  2. Select Set Search Key, then select the search key you want to program.
  3. Select the search range you want to assign to this Search Key. Choose one of the pre-programmed service search ranges, one of the 10 custom search ranges, a Tone-Out search, or a Band Scope search.

Using Search Keys

  • To start the search assigned to a Search Key, FUNCTION + tap that Search Key. For example, to start the search assigned to Search Key 2, FUNCTION + tap 2 . (You can’t use the Search Keys when the scanner is in Scan mode or GPS mode.)
  • If the Search Key you select starts a Tone-Out search, the scanner switches to Tone-Out mode and searches the most recently used Tone-Out channel (out of the 10 available). If you want to search for a different Tone-Out channel, use the SELECT-VOLUMESQUELCH knob on handheld models or the SCROLL /
  • FUNCTIONknob on mobile models to select the Tone-Out channel you want to use

To use Locationbased Scanning with a particular system, you will need to program your scanner with the geographic coordinates you want to use for each site or channel group. You can also program your scanner to alert you when you approach particular locations.

Programming a location for a site

Each system site can have separate location information.

  1. Open the Program System
  2. Select the system you want to program for location-based scanning.
  3. Select Edit Site, then select the first site you want to assign a location to.
  4. Select the Set LocationInfo menu and enter the latitude, longitude, and range for this site.
  5. Change the Set GPS Enable field to On.
  6. Go back to the Edit Site menu and repeat these steps with any other sites you want to program for this system.

Programming a location for a channel group

Each channel group in a system can have separate location information.

  1. Open the Program System
  2. Select the system you want to program for location-based scanning.
  3. Select Edit Group, then select the first channel group you want to assign a location to.
  4. Select the Set LocationInfo menu and enter the latitude, longitude, and range for this site.
  5. Change the Set GPS Enable field to On.
  6. Go back to the Edit Group menu and repeat these steps with any other sites you want to program for this system.

Remember: You have to turn on Set GPS Enable before the location information can affect that site or channel group.

Programming general locations

You can program general locations (i.e., locations that are not associated with a site or channel group). There are three types of general locations:

  • points of interest ( POI )
  • intersections ( Dangerous Xing )
  • roads ( Dangerous Road )

You can program the scanner to alert you when you come within a designated distance of that location.

Edit an existing location

  1. Open the Program Location
  2. Select the type of location you want to edit; the scanner lists the existing locations of that type in alphabetical order.
  3. Select the location you want to edit, then change any of the location settings you want.

Your scanner can trigger alerts for several different events. The table below shows the different alerts and how to program them:Uniden BCT15X BearTracker Scanner User Manual-fig 14

Uniden BCT15X BearTracker Scanner User Manual-fig 15

Initializing Memory

Follow these steps to initialize the scanner’s memory:

  1. Turn off the scanner.
  2. Simultaneously press 2, 9, and HOLD.
  3. While continuing to press these buttons, turn on the scanner.

The scanner displays “All Memory Clear / Please Wait” for about 20 seconds while the memory is cleared. Then, the scanner displays “Restore Preprogram List? / Yes=” E” / No=”.” ” To restore the factory preset programming, press “E”, otherwise, to leave the memory cleared press “.”. The BCT15X comes preprogrammed with many of the channels used by local police, department of transportation, and highway patrol agencies, organized by state. You can also assign a state to the systems you program so that they can be included in State-byState scanning.

Selecting your State

To select your state, tap FUNCTION (the scroll knob) then tap the Volume control. Rotate the scroll knob to select your state, then press E to make your selection. The scanner unlocks any systems you have set to the selected state, locks out systems that are set to a different state, and uses the current state preprogrammed data during state-by-state scanning.

Using the Built-In State-by-State Agencies

To use the built-in State-by-State agencies, repeatedly tap DOT/POL/PRI and (Bear Paw)/HP/ALT until the desired agency type’s icon shows in the bottom row of the display:

BearTracker Warning System

The BearTracker Warning System (BWS) alerts you to nearby public safety radioactivity. This can give you an advanced warning of police activity and other hazards when you are driving.

The earliest BWS implementations primarily monitored the frequencies used by mobile radio extenders — radio units installed in patrol cars that extended the range of the officer’s handheld radio. BWS has been extended to now include the “input” frequencies used by public safety agencies in your state. These frequencies are typically only receivable when you are up to 2 miles from the unit transmitting. Because the frequencies used vary from location to location, we’ve set up the scanner so that all you need to do is select what state you are in. From that point, BWS will use frequencies most often used in your state to alert you to nearby activity.

Selecting your State

To select the frequencies for your state, tap FUNC (the scroll knob) then the Volume knob. Use the scroll knob to select your state or Canadian province, then press E (or tap the scroll knob) to use your selection.

Turning on the BearTracker Warning System

To turn on the BearTracker Warning System, repeatedly press the (Bear Paw)/HP/ALT button until BT is displayed in the bottom line of the display.

When BWS is turned on, you will notice received audio cutting out about every 2 seconds as the scanner checks for public safety radioactivity. If the scanner detects such activity, it alerts you using the alert you set in the Set Bear Tracker menus.

Muting BearTracker Alerts

To temporarily mute BWS alerts, tap the Squelch knob during an alert. Alerts will be muted until you tap Squelch again The different shortcut keys have different functions. For more details about each, click the heading.

Quick Keys

  • Quick keys let you enable and disable systems and channel groups (disabled systems and channel groups are ignored during scans).
  • You must be in Scan mode to use Quick Keys.
  • System Quick Keys (SQKs) let you enable or disable systems, sites, or search ranges: just enter the SQK from the number pad. For two-digit SQKs, first press ./no then enter the two-digit SQK number.
  • Group Quick Keys (GQKs) let you enable or disable channel groups inside the current system: Tap FUNCTION, then enter the GQK from the number pad.

Startup Keys

  • Startup Keys lets you lock and unlock several systems, sites, and search ranges all at the same time.
  • When you activate a Startup Key, the scanner unlocks all systems, sites, and search ranges that are assigned to that same Startup Key; the scanner also locks all systems, sites, and search ranges that are assigned to a different Startup Key.
  • To activate a Startup Key, press & hold the number key while you power the scanner on.

Search Keys

  • Search Keys let you quickly start one of 3 programmed searches.
  • To start the search assigned to a Search Key, FUNCTION + tap that Search Key

FAQS About Uniden BCT15X BearTracker Scanner

How do I program frequencies into the scanner?

To program frequencies, turn on the scanner and navigate to the menu. Select the “Program” option and enter the frequency using the keypad. Save the programmed frequency to a channel for quick access.

What is BearTracker technology, and how does it work?

BearTracker technology allows the scanner to monitor both analog and digital trunked systems, providing comprehensive coverage of emergency services. It automatically tracks public safety transmissions, enhancing situational awareness.

Can I update the firmware on the BCT15X scanner?

Yes, firmware updates are available for the BCT15X. Visit the official Uniden website to download the latest firmware and follow the provided instructions for updating your scanner.

How can I enable Close Call RF Capture feature?

To enable Close Call RF Capture, press the “FUNC” button and then the “CLOSE CALL” button. The scanner will start capturing and displaying close-by signals. Adjust settings in the menu for a customized experience.

What is the maximum number of channels the BCT15X can store?

The BCT15X can store up to 9,000 channels in 500 programmable system configurations. This allows users to organize and manage a vast array of frequencies for different monitoring needs.

How do I set up and use the TrunkTracker III technology?

TrunkTracker III is easy to set up. Simply program trunking frequencies into the scanner, and the TrunkTracker III technology will automatically follow conversations on trunked radio systems.

Can I connect an external speaker to the BCT15X scanner?

Yes, the BCT15X has an external speaker jack. You can connect an external speaker to improve audio output and customize your listening experience.

What types of power sources are compatible with the BCT15X?

The BCT15X can be powered using the included AC adapter or by connecting it to a DC power source using the supplied power cord. Additionally, it is compatible with rechargeable batteries for portable use.

How do I set up and use the Weather Alert feature?

To activate Weather Alert, navigate to the menu, select “Weather,” and turn on the alert function. The scanner will monitor NOAA weather frequencies, providing automatic alerts for severe weather conditions.

Can I lock out unwanted channels during scanning?

Yes, the BCT15X allows you to lock out unwanted channels to streamline scanning. While scanning, press the “L/O” button to lock out the displayed channel, preventing it from being scanned until manually unlocked.

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