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New User / Getting Started Forum The place for new users to discuss how to get started, and generally feel safe from the rest of the rabid technical community. If you just got your first scanner, this forum is for you.

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Old 12-29-2012, 11:02 PM
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Default How to buy an unblocked radio?

Hi,
I'm looking to buy an aor 8200 or an icom ic-r20. If I am going to be spending that kind of money I would prefer to have a unblocked unit for future resale value. Besides ebay, has anyone had any luck buying a govt model from an online retailer such as gigaarys, or grove? Do they check if you buy it online? It seems like its as easy as just placing the order and paying with paypal. Has anyone bought one this way? Thanks
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Old 12-29-2012, 11:15 PM
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Originally Posted by Onetechyguy View Post
Hi,
I'm looking to buy an aor 8200 or an icom ic-r20. If I am going to be spending that kind of money I would prefer to have a unblocked unit for future resale value. Besides ebay, has anyone had any luck buying a govt model from an online retailer such as gigaarys, or grove? Do they check if you buy it online? It seems like its as easy as just placing the order and paying with paypal. Has anyone bought one this way? Thanks
unless you have a government purchase order, your SOL.

people dont seem to understand that having an unblocked unit allows you to scan the cell phone band which phones don't even use anymore. so its really a big waste to buy one IMHO.
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Old 12-30-2012, 12:13 AM
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people dont seem to understand that having an unblocked unit allows you to scan the cell phone band which phones don't even use anymore. so its really a big waste to buy one IMHO.
I have to agree. Buying an unblocked scanner now days is like buying an HDTV and paying extra for one that'll also pick up the old analog TV stations. Just because it has the extra capability doesn't indicate that it'll actually pick up anything beyond what the unblocked ones do.
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Old 12-30-2012, 12:44 AM
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I would agree with both KA 371 and n5ims. The cell phone issue is digital now and you cannot monitor it like you used to.
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Old 12-30-2012, 1:29 AM
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Not necessarily a waste. With rebanding on 800 MHz and everything getting shifted around in 700 MHz, who knows exactly what will end up in the old lower cell band segment 10 years from now. The only question is will it still be analog or will it be digital? I'm guessing both, so it wouldn't hurt to keep a modified Pro-2005/2006/2026 on hand.
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Old 12-30-2012, 1:53 PM
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Not necessarily a waste. With rebanding on 800 MHz and everything getting shifted around in 700 MHz, who knows exactly what will end up in the old lower cell band segment 10 years from now. The only question is will it still be analog or will it be digital? I'm guessing both, so it wouldn't hurt to keep a modified Pro-2005/2006/2026 on hand.
OK, a waste for the next ten years, minimum.
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Old 12-30-2012, 2:03 PM
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You can purchase a service monitor. They're not blocked. They're not cheap, though.
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Old 12-30-2012, 2:37 PM
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Originally Posted by bryan_herbert View Post
Not necessarily a waste. With rebanding on 800 MHz and everything getting shifted around in 700 MHz, who knows exactly what will end up in the old lower cell band segment 10 years from now. The only question is will it still be analog or will it be digital? I'm guessing both, so it wouldn't hurt to keep a modified Pro-2005/2006/2026 on hand.
I keep a Pro 2006 on hand...not to monitor the no longer operational Cellular AMPS...but
for Aviation/MilAir/Railroad monitoring as that is where it shines...

As others have said the no longer used 800Mhz AMPS band is an "RF Graveyard"...and if anything does eventually move into that range it sure as heck not gonna be analog...it will be digital modulation of some type...so buying a "full coverage" scanner/receiver is not the same type of wise investment it was 10-15 years ago.

But to each their own.
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Old 12-30-2012, 3:27 PM
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Regardless of which band they're on or going to be on cell phones use a digital format no scanner can decode. That rather makes the question moot. When it comes to those super duper DC to light receive everything radios even if you had a permit to purchase one you could buy a car for that price and you can't take your girlfriend on a date in a radio.
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Old 12-30-2012, 4:16 PM
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Someone will be using those frequencies and it won't take 10 yrs for them to start. In fact it might very well be public service.

As for the TV picking up analog signals, what about all those millions of folks who have VHS tapes of their kid's birthday, school programs and whatever? Yeah, I know, spend bucks converting them to digital and then when the next big, golly-gee - whizz-bang comes out, spend it again.
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Old 12-30-2012, 4:30 PM
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One problem I run into is some companies block more than the cell phone bands due to lack of spectrum knowledge or hardware limitations. Personally I wold go for unblocked whenever possible and there are plenty out there on the used market.
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Old 12-30-2012, 4:36 PM
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I'm not sure what is causing people to say that the 800 MHz cellular band is a graveyard, but that is simply untrue. That piece of spectrum is VERY heavily used. The analog AMPS system is no longer used, but the frequencies are used for GSM and CDMA digital systems. Older technology used on 800 MHz will eventually be replaced with newer on those same frequencies. The cellular companies have no intention of giving up that spectrum for anything.

All that said, there's little to no reason for an unblocked receiver. There's nothing "listenable" now, and there's nothing planned for the foreseeable future. In the U.S., an unblocked receiver is an interesting novelty, with no practical purpose.
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Old 12-30-2012, 4:42 PM
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Someone will be using those frequencies and it won't take 10 yrs for them to start. In fact it might very well be public service.

As for the TV picking up analog signals, what about all those millions of folks who have VHS tapes of their kid's birthday, school programs and whatever? Yeah, I know, spend bucks converting them to digital and then when the next big, golly-gee - whizz-bang comes out, spend it again.
The old AMPS range is very much in use today. I think it is 2G (or EDGE) data that is transmitted in that range. It is maybe four very wide chunks of digital data. Nearly 5 MHz wide per chunk. You can see it on a spectrum analyzer. Just no analog signals these days and the old control channels near the middle of the band are gone of course.

edit: What zz0468 said is maybe what it is used for. I just know there are at least four very wide bandwidth signals that occupy the range.

Last edited by kruser; 12-30-2012 at 4:45 PM..
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Old 12-30-2012, 5:54 PM
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Some unblocked radio receivers cover a very wide frequency range and in more modulation modes so it's not totally a waste to acquire such a receiver.
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Old 12-30-2012, 9:33 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kb2vxa View Post
Regardless of which band they're on or going to be on cell phones use a digital format no scanner can decode. That rather makes the question moot. When it comes to those super duper DC to light receive everything radios even if you had a permit to purchase one you could buy a car for that price and you can't take your girlfriend on a date in a radio.
That might be a good pickup line--"Hey baby, You wanna ride the IFR or the Agilent tonite" ??
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Old 12-31-2012, 3:18 AM
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I have an AOR 2300 unblocked version we purchased at work (state government), and I can tell you that I've never heard anything there of any use to me. There isn't any analog stuff in that range.

We purchased from Grove and I talked to them about what they needed from us to purchase an unblocked unit. I explained my needs and the lady on the phone said that was enough, as long as it was purchased on the work P.O.

I'll agree with the others, I wouldn't waste the extra few hundred bucks to do it again.
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Old 01-01-2013, 10:50 AM
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Some unblocked radio receivers cover a very wide frequency range and in more modulation modes so it's not totally a waste to acquire such a receiver.
More modulation modes, as in AM, and SSB... neither of which will ever be heard on 870-896 MHz.
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Old 01-02-2013, 11:26 AM
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Thanks for the help guys,

Another question, does anyone have experience ordering an export model from the UK? I was thinking about ordering from radioworld in the uk. I ordered years back from bandercom and the yupi arrived without a problem. They don't seem like they are in business anymore though.
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