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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. Please note: Posts are only moved from this forum by OP's request only.

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Old 01-05-2018, 10:07 PM
Join Date: Jan 2018
Location: Los Angeles County
Posts: 1
Question Do I need a trunking scanner?

I have fond memories of listening to my grandma's police scanner with her back in the early '90s, and thanks to Broadcastify I've gotten hooked. I'm ready to buy a scanner of my own, but after reading some of the wiki and looking up my area in the database I'm confused on what features I actually need in a scanner.

I want to hear my local police, fire/ems, and highway patrol, which for me is Los Angeles County Sheriff dispatch 6, LA County Fire Blue 6, and CHP Southern division Orange 3. I didn't see anything about trunking for those agencies in the database, so is a basic scanner like the Whistler 1010 all I need?
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Old 01-16-2018, 10:22 AM
  Amateur Radio Operator
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Join Date: Nov 2017
Posts: 9

Just skimming over your database, it looks like on the trunking side of things you have just about every type of system out there. It looks to me like most of the fire dept. stuff is on conventional while a lot of law enforcement stuff is on digital trunk, much like many other areas. Many of the modern trunking scanners (Pro-668, WS1080, etc) have support for most, if not all the major systems. Find a list of the supported systems for each scanner and match that up to what your county uses. Make sure it matches even down to the phase/tier level. There are significant differences between phases/tiers. Finally, be wary of older cheap used "trunking scanners". Many of these come from the early days of trunking (I think it was a Motorola protocol) where there was a digital control channel with analog talk channels. These are still useful for conventional FM, but aren't the proper trunking system. Many people will try to trick people into thinking these are what you need and charge high prices for them. Not all trunking scanners are created equally. Most systems used today are full digital. Unfortunately, you are going to pay quite a bit for the right one, possibly $300-500. At one point, I think there was a online scanner store that you could enter your county and it would tell you which scanners would work for you. I can't remember which one it was though. Sorry this is kinda vague, but I have never dealt with an area of this scale, nor have I dealt with a lot of these systems. You might also head over to the SDR forum. There are a lot of people who have successfully taken a couple of cheap ($20-25 ea.) SDR receivers and listened to digital trunking through their computer. I have been trying to do it myself, but have been kinda hitting my head against the wall on that.
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Old 01-16-2018, 11:52 AM
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Join Date: Mar 2004
Location: Northeast PA
Posts: 1,817

ScannerMaster is the reseller that provides a location-specific answer to the "What scanners work in my area?" question at this URL-
View and Compare Your Police Scanner Options | Scanner Master
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Old 01-16-2018, 1:03 PM
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Amateur Radio Operator
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Join Date: May 2007
Location: Cerritos, CA (LA County)
Posts: 1,431

I am in Cerritos. If indeed all you want to hear is LA County Sheriff/fire and CHP, then a Whistler 1010 would be OK. But you will not have access to so many of the digital radio comms like LAPD, 800 Mhz, or any trunking sites. Whistler 1010 also has no alpha tags. You may want to look at the Uniden BC125AT.
However, if you enjoy scanning and live in Southern California, you will most certainly want to upgrade eventually (probably sooner than later) to a digital trunking scanner that will allow you to monitor the wide, and I mean extensive, range of radio communication going on in Southern California.
Steve AA6IO - ARRL and W5YI VE
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