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Author Topic: Hand held scanner  (Read 1834 times)

Posts: 214


« on: November 22, 2002, 08:29:55 AM »

I am considering adding a hand held scanner to my communications set-up. I started off the week knowing virtually nothing about them, and have progressed very little. Most of the write-ups talk about listening to airplanes and race cars. For our purposes, what functions/options are must have, nice to have, no need for? I've even heard some recommendations to wait until '03 when the new "digital" scanners come out. What is that all about?

Posts: 527

« Reply #1 on: November 23, 2002, 08:02:35 AM »

If you are using a transceiver in proximity to your
scanner expect to lose the scanner when you transmit.
If you can find an inexpensive dual band HT you can
reduce this occurance, but not eliminate it.
Otherwise, this is a great idea, if legal in your
 73 - Tim

Posts: 241

« Reply #2 on: November 27, 2002, 08:34:34 AM »

Radio shack has the pro-95 on sale, $100 off regular price. 1000 channels, alpha, trunk tracking.

Digital scanners are going to cost you big bugs. The uniden digitial has a base price near $400, plus another $300 for apco25 module.

Posts: 5

« Reply #3 on: November 27, 2002, 06:40:01 PM »

The most important thing about purchasing a scanner is to know what is in your area, system wise.

In other words- do any of the public service agencies in your area use trunked radio?  If so, what type?  (There are several types of Motorola systems plus EDACS, etc.)  You also need to know what frequencies they are using for the trunked system- 400 MHz, 800 MHz, etc.

As far as standard comms are concerned- how big an area do you live in and how many "departments" do you want to tune in?  I live in a county with 53 municipalities- one of the largest number in NJ- but my county is smaller than some cities in larger states.  As a result, I only use about half of my 1000 channels in my scanner.

Digital- well, from some skimming the scanning message boards, it appears that digital will be an option on some new models of analog/trunking scanners.  You purchase the basic scanner then add a digital board as an option (which effectively doubles the price of the scanner).  Again- great thing if anyone you are interested in listening to is going to utilize digital transmissions- it ain't cheap for a municipality to install a trunking OR digital system.  And there are still plenty of bugs.  Additionally, I believe the first crop of digital scanners will only be able to handle 3600 baud systems, not 9600 baud.  Again, you have to know what is in use in your area before committing the money, IMO.

Take my comments on digital scanning with a grain of salt and please, if I'm wrong, someone correct me...

... and, one last comment on digital- if the dept. doing the transmitting decides that they want to encrypt the transmissions, you're out of luck- no way to decode their encryption with current technology.

If you are involved with ARES/RACES in your area and have any kind of "in" with the departments you want to tune in, you can probably find out frequencies and system types from them.  You may also want to post a message on some of the scanner groups on Yahoo Groups or similar email lists where someone can point you in the right direction for your area.

Additionally, check out some of the following web sites for more definitive information:

Scanning is a fun part of the radio hobby and will add both more enjoyment to amateur radio, and more value to ARES/RACES/Skywarn emergency communications.

Good luck and 73!
Marlo Montanaro- KA2IRQ
Monmouth County ARES-RACES-Skywarn

Posts: 12

« Reply #4 on: December 02, 2002, 12:42:06 PM »

  Having done some public service work using HTs and handheld scanners, one of the biggest headaches is hearing the radio in the first place.  When you are in the middle of a noisy situation, the audio from a handheld scanner is likely to be drowned out- headphones or a good quality earpiece is a definite must.  
  Of course, there are many other considerations- batteries, antennas (who wants to be stuck in the back with a duckie that eventually breaks?), programming and so forth.

  To that end, to help you do some research on what's available out there now, check out:

  Here you can see (and in some cases, order reprints) various reviews of handheld scanners- heck, some of them are right here on Eham.  
  If you go below this section, you will find mailing lists devoted to various radios, along with a link for software that can program those that are PC addressible.  Mailing lists like these are invaluable for finding information on a radio- who better to tell you about a radio than one who owns one?

  Finally, here's a very good site for Mass. freqs and news items...

  You might find out more about Mass's plans for digital here.  

  73s and good luck with your research...Mike

Posts: 410


« Reply #5 on: December 24, 2002, 01:52:02 AM »

My first question is: Do your served agencies use trunked radios?

If they do then you are stuck with some type of scanner. If they don't, I would look quite closely at the Yaesu VX-7R. It has over 400 memory positions (I think it is 450) that can be set up in 18 banks. This allows you to scan only the portion you want. It also allows transmit on Ham frequencies, thus is multi functional.

If you don't need trunked and only need one hundred to one hundred fifty frequencies then look at the Yaesu VX-5R with 220 memory positions (also about $150 less at only $200 now).

If you can get by with about fifty frequencies then look long and hard at the Icom W32A with dual band xmit and V/V V/U or U/U capability (listen to the served agency on one channel and talk on another).

Served agencies tend to get very "concerned" with people that arrive with two or three radios blairing. One radio that allows you to listen where you need to and transmit where you are allowed to keeps them much more comfortable.

Have fun.

Posts: 97


« Reply #6 on: September 09, 2003, 12:05:45 PM »

I haven't examined the details of the scanning function, but the Kenwood TH-F6A also has this ability.

I am not currently aware of the number of memory channels, banks, or scanning options, but a quick check at should help you.

Jim kc0lpv
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