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Posted: 4/9/2002 6:12:38 PM EDT
I am considering getting a handheld scanner mostly to listen to at work and on the road just for kicks and to have the NWS band for severe weather around here to either view or dodge tornados as need be. Can anyone reccomend a good model and give me some info on what to look for? Are these things even usefull for alot of the emergency service providers or all they mostly digital and scrambled? How many channels should I need, are there any good auto scanning handhelds available? thanks IAJack
Link Posted: 4/9/2002 6:24:30 PM EDT
I've got a Uniden Bearcat TrunkTracker II BC245XLT. I got the trunking scanner because all the emergency services around me are on trunked radio systems of one kind or another, and this one gets them all. It's got 300 channels and 12 bands and cost me about $270. A lot of cities are going to digital systems, and my scanner will be out of luck once that happens. Of course, Uniden is busy working on digital scanners as we speak.
Link Posted: 4/9/2002 8:39:07 PM EDT
Devote an hour to the owner's manual for any unit before you buy. You will want to check out the trunking scanners, and they are complicated enough to set up. The guys at my local Ham Radio Outlet said they couldn't show how to set up a trunking group, for example, and suggested that I come in the following week when the local scanner customer-guru comes in. Radio Shack, of course, had hardly any product knowledge. Manual was just as complicated. The computer control of the scanner may not be what it's cracked up to be. Check that part out carefully. Also, you have to consider where you're going to get the frequencies from. One model I looked at allowed you to call a number and download them. Problem was, it was a area code 900 number - you PAY. Also the download speed was very slow if I recall. Otherwise, you have to look for a directory or web site for the frequncies, channels, groups codes, etc. You may or may not find what you want for your area. I decided to pass on the Radio Shack model and wait indefinitely on the Uniden.
Link Posted: 4/10/2002 9:35:22 AM EDT
Try to find out the various frequencies in use by: City PD, Sheriff, State Police, Fire Departments, Ambulance, Rescue, Civil Defense, Street, county road, and hiway maintenance(good for blizzards), game wardens, hospitals, med choppers. Try to find out the paging freqs. too in order to hear them do the dispatching. A large part of the time you'll find ancillary frequencies, detectives, swat, narc units, dog catcher, school bus, etc., that are close by the regular frequencies so they only have to carry one radio or not have to have separate radios at the base for every frequency. If you can find a little old lady that listens, she'll probably know them by heart. Another good source is someone who works for the radio company that maintains all the radios. Most of the new ones should cover all the bands up to 800/900 uhf frequencies. When you have a guesstimate on the no. of freq., you'll have a good idea how many channels you'll need as well as the frequency spreads. Then if the no. is close to max on 1 scanner, you can step up to the next one for some leeway. A lot of the bells and whistles never get used and as was said study the manuals to see if you want anything fancy. The portable ones have reception that is basically just as good as the base and mobile units. With the portables, you've got a working unit if the power goes out. With the jacks for power and charging, you can easily rig some batteries to have as a backup supply. If you run into reception problems or a salesman tries to bump you to a better unit for better reception, then you look at external antennas for the house and/or the car. It's gonna be the antenna that will make the difference.
Link Posted: 4/10/2002 9:43:02 AM EDT
I have a AOR AR 8000 and love it. The AOR's are pricey, a bitch to learn how to use but great scanners. [url]http://www.aorusa.com/[/url]
Link Posted: 4/10/2002 9:58:25 AM EDT
I have had good experience with Uniden scanners. Unfortunately, all the LE and Fire/Rescue in my area have swtiched to a Motorola Astro digital trunked system so I'm screwed. Waiting for someone to come out with a digital scanner...
Link Posted: 4/10/2002 10:13:57 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 4/10/2002 10:16:59 AM EDT by platform389]
Originally Posted By Chimborazo: I have had good experience with Uniden scanners. Unfortunately, all the LE and Fire/Rescue in my area have swtiched to a Motorola Astro digital trunked system so I'm screwed. Waiting for someone to come out with a digital scanner...
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Ask and ye shall receive... [url]http://digitaljournalist.org/issue0204/radio.htm[/url] [url]http://www.scannermaster.com/store/01-500361.html[/url] [img]http://www.stopstart.fsnet.co.uk/smilie/biggrin2.gif[/img]
Link Posted: 4/10/2002 10:15:12 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 4/11/2002 2:27:52 AM EDT by mr_wilson]
[b]Also, you have to consider where you're going to get the frequencies from. One model I looked at allowed you to call a number and download them.[/b] There's a book put out every year containing Police and Emergency Service frequencies, I'll pull mine out tonight and see if I can post a contact for getting it (and will edit post) in the morning. My scanner is from Radio Shack about the size of a radio and while I'm not really into it too much, I did manage to get it set to pick-up all the police calls in Houston, including FOX(hielo)and I like to listen on the weekends nights, which are non-stop calls in space-city. Mike PS - Magazine is called [b]POLICE CALL, Radio Guide[/b] and is available by region, revisied and updated every year. It contains frequencies/call letters for: City/County State/Federal Highway Maintenance Paramedics Forestry Aircraft Railroads
Link Posted: 4/10/2002 10:34:54 AM EDT
Originally Posted By platform389: Ask and ye shall receive... [url]http://digitaljournalist.org/issue0204/radio.htm[/url] [url]http://www.scannermaster.com/store/01-500361.html[/url] [img]http://www.stopstart.fsnet.co.uk/smilie/biggrin2.gif[/img]
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Finally!! I really hope it works in my area. I wonder how much the card will cost? Thanks!
Link Posted: 4/13/2002 4:46:55 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 4/13/2002 4:49:53 PM EDT by prk]
Originally Posted By mr_wilson: ...including FOX(hielo)....
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Could you tell us what this is?
PS - Magazine is called [b]POLICE CALL, Radio Guide[/b] and is available by region, revisied and updated every year. It contains frequencies/call letters for: City/County State/Federal Highway Maintenance Paramedics Forestry Aircraft Railroads
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Mike, is this the one that Radio Shack sells? If so, does it have all the details for trunking systems? My understanding is that there are several trunking systems - Motorola I & II, Ericson and one or two others I can't remember, plus this Motorola Astro digital system that Chimborazo mentioned. Frankly, I'm getting confused - I thought the later systems WERE digital, and that was BEFORE this thread. I was at Radio Shack last fall and one of the ew actually well-informed guys told me to hold off buying their frequency book because the new one would be out within a month or two. Also he told me to hold off buying the scanner (I was gonna wait anyway) becuase it was going to have a lower price in the 2002 catalog.
Link Posted: 4/13/2002 7:29:31 PM EDT
Radio Shack sells the book with all the channels in it. It's not always up to date but it will get you in the ballpark. Most of them have a scan function that will let you hunt in steps between channels. Say from 155.000 to 156.000. I have found lots of unpublished freqs this way. Just be sure it will scan in the 400 and 800 ranges and trunking would be nice. Another consideration is the "sport" models so you can pick up aircraft channels. Some of the scanners dont scan in those bands for some reason. Lots of fun and very handy to have around during bad weather. Money well spent IMHO.
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