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Minnesota Radio Discussion Forum Forum for discussing Radio Information in the State of Minnesota.

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  #1 (permalink)  
Old 04-19-2013, 1:39 AM
   
Join Date: Apr 2013
Posts: 3
Default What scanner do you recommend?

Hello all,

Thank you to everyone who provides the source audio for the various online scanner feeds.

I usually visit this scanner site when I hear a lot of emergency vehicle sirens outside. Unfortunately, many of the feeds I find are simply doing frequency scans (for a particular agency) instead of following a specific talk group (so you end up with all sorts of fragmented conversations). Most scanners can probably only simultaneously follow one talk group (I'm assuming?) so the frequency scan is probably an attempt to minimize dead air that is streamed to the web?

I've toyed with the idea of buying a scanner, but I'm not really sure what the best option would be. I suspect most agencies are using digital only transceivers so anything analog would be out? Those using digital are probably using trunked radio? Which scanners support that? How many agencies encrypt their communications? Do any of the scanners allow one to enter a decryption code (e.g. if I'm a member of an agency that encrypts, can the scanner decode the signal for me if I give it the correct key?)

Are there any other technology changes on the near horizon that would render a scanner purchased today useless tomorrow (e.g. introduction of some new wireless protocol?) Is there such a thing as a firmware update to keep the system operational?

Are there any scanners that can be connected to/controlled by a computer interface?

Looking forward to your advice,
CR
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Old 04-21-2013, 11:00 AM
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Join Date: Nov 2010
Location: Faribault County, MN
Posts: 271
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Uniden BCD996XT.

It can be controlled w/ a free d/l program called "Freescan".

BCD996XT will receive ARMER digital P25 and conventional analog. I have two of these scanners and am pleased w/ the results. I bought my first scanner, R/S Pro-2004 in 1988, it is still usable today. I doubt the world will up-end and the BCD996XT become useless in a year or so.
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Old 04-21-2013, 11:54 AM
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If you want the above scanner in a hand held form factor rather than desktop get the BCD396XT. Both will do what you described.
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Old 04-23-2013, 10:16 PM
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I agree! I had four Radio Shack scanners before upgrading to a Uniden. Side by side I was receiving much better reception and P25 decoding from the Uniden over the Pro-106 and Pro-2096. After I bought the BCD396XT I needed another so I purchased the BCD996XT.

Others will swear by the GRE/Radio Shack scanners but with the ARMER system I have had better luck with Uniden.

Hope this helps!

- James
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Old 04-24-2013, 11:03 PM
   
Join Date: Apr 2013
Posts: 3
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Thanks to everyone who responded. It sounds like the BCD996XT would be the unit to purchase.

Ugh, I just read a thread on here about police agencies wanting to lock down their transmissions using the excuse that "smart phones allow bad guys to listen in via scanner streams." Not sure how that is any different than bad guys listening in with a scanner?

Anyways, I'm thinking I may just invest in a new amateur radio. Right now I only have a 2m HT. Would be nice to have some equipment for HF.

Thanks again.
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Old 04-25-2013, 9:02 AM
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I wouldnt really worry about them locking it down any time soon here. its likely cost prohibitive. it seems a couple times a year here theres always a thread of people getting worried about encryption coming and it hasnt yet. I wont believe it till it happens.
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