Rangecast FAQ
[FAQ-1156] Supplemental RCHAN file (for programming scanners with non-HTML5 indexed channels)



Sometimes it is wanted to include in the scanner programming a channel that is not in the master nationwide channel database, without going to the effort required to add the channel in the HTML5 system (where, for example, it would need to be tied to a system/group/channel hierarchy). This can be done by adding essential programming information about the channel to a supplemental file that is incorporated into the scanner programming, but outside the scope of the HTML5 player. Such channels will be recorded, but cannot be heard in the HTML5 player (the audio is available through the older Java player, and as a list of transmissions on the status page). This is recommended only when testing reception, and as an interim measure when converting scanner programming from Java-only structure to a format supported by HTML5.


Programming information for all supplemental channels is defined in a file (called an RCHAN file) that is stored on the server. The file has all information about a single channel in one data line, with several fields defining channel properties such as the frequency, PL code, text tag, feed site where the channel shall be received, etc. In addition, for trunked systems, there are additional lines describing the broadcast frequencies to monitor to receive talkgroups.

To add, modify, or remove channels from this supplemental list:


Note: this step is only needed if there is no existing supplemental file you want to edit when making changes. If there is no existing file, or if you want to start fresh without preserving information from the existing file, you may skip this step.

a) On the status page for the hub, select the Programming tab

b) You will see a list of supplemental files in the section titled "Archival Versions". The current supplemental file is the top item in the right column "Java Upload" (the name reflects the fact that the content is directed only to the Java player).

Note: if the current supplemental file was uploaded before 8 January 2017, the "Java Upload" column will be blank, and instead the file will be the top item from before that date in the left column "Active RCHAN".

c) To download the file, right-click the link, and Save As


Open the file from Step 1 in your editor of choice (e.g. Notepad, Editpad, Crimson Editor, etc.) If you elected to start with a fresh file, then instead create a new text document.

To add or remove channels, add or remove RCHAN lines describing these channels in this file. You may also modify the properties of existing channels in this file. An example of the RCHAN file: [alt-example_rchan]

When complete, save the file on your PC.

Note: if you want to remove all channels from the supplemental file, make a blank text document, and inside the file press return once (to make a single blank line). Then save the file consisting of a single empty line, and proceed to the next step.


To upload the supplemental file:

a) log into the status page for the hub

b) go to the Advanced tab

c) click the "control panel" option (left column)

d) then Manage Feed Sites from the upper-right menu

e) near the top of the screen, there will be a button to press to select a file (opens a file explorer view in your browser), and once you have selected your file, press the upload button


The current active RCHAN (what is sent to the scanners) is a composite of two files -- the most recently saved HTML5 RCHAN (created by pressing Save in the HTML5 programmer), and the most recently saved supplementary RCHAN (created by uploading a manually created RCHAN.) Every time a new copy of either source file is saved, a new active RCHAN file is automatically created by combining the most recent version of each source file.

Both the current and all prior versions of these elements (HTML5 and supplementary RCHANs) and the composite (the active RCHAN built from combining the most recent of each of these elements) are available on the status page, Programming tab. Each time either source file is updated, a row is added showing the time, the new file (in the appropriate column - "HTML5 upload" for the HTML5 file, "Java upload" for the supplementary file) and the new composite file ("Active RCHAN" column).

The current RCHAN sent to the scanners is the top item in the "Active RCHAN" column. This is built from the most recent (highest) source file in each of the other two columns.

Note: The supplementary RCHAN is also called the Java RCHAN or Java upload, because it describes additional channels that may be heard in the Java player, but are not included in the HTML5 programming.

Note: the system of maintaining separate HTML5 and Java RCHANs was introduced on 8 January 2017, before this date the active RCHAN was saved directly (in the manner of the supplementary/Java RCHAN).

Rangecast FAQ - ID 1156 - last updated 18 October 2017     Images shown - [block]