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Sacramento Valley Area Discussion - Local area specific discussion for Sacramento County and its outlying areas such as San Joaquin and Stanislaus Counties.

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  #1 (permalink)  
Old 09-19-2018, 4:09 PM
   
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Default Purchasing a new scanner

Hi Everyone,

I am looking for some advice on purchasing a scanner. My dad had a scanner when I was a kid and I thought I'd like to purchase and use one now that he is gone. Sort of a nostalgia thing.

I purchased a scanner from a guy on Craigslist only to find out it wasn't capable of receiving Sacramento PD or much more than the fire traffic. It's my fault for not doing my research and that's why I'm here.

What handheld scanner does everyone recommend that I purchase? I have read a lot about the SDS 100 and don't mind spending that kind of money if it's worth it. It would also be nice to use one of the GPS antennas when traveling in our camper. Thanks in advance for any advice/knowledge you might have for me. This forum has been helpful already!
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Old 09-19-2018, 7:28 PM
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https://forums.radioreference.com/ne...started-forum/

Were I in your shoes, I'd head on over to the forum above, for new users. This RR website is just chock full of folks who have been scanning for 25 to 50 years. My first "scanner" was a tune able VHF radio, from Kuhn Radio Electronics in Cincinnati, circa 1966, pictured in my avatar.

There may be a lot of analog comms that you can monitor in your area with the scanner you've already got, I don't know, but that's half the fun of snooping around with the radio, isn't it? Different areas in your county will yield different comms, particularly if you can drive around, scanner in hand hooked up to your car/truck's 12 volt system, through a cigarette lighter outlet or hard wired through the fuse panel.

If at all possible, I'd find a way to get an outdoor antenna [discones are great] mounted as high [and as discretely!] as possible at your apartment/home; listen to what IS available in Sact'o currently with what you've got, not so much what can't, with what you haven't got...

Just my $.03 worth...adjusted for inflation
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Old 09-20-2018, 9:28 AM
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I have a Whistler TRX-1 portable and love it. I have had it for several years now. It comes with a very sturdy case, has good audio and is phase 1 & 2 P25 capable. Whistler also has a great website for updating firmware and frequency/talk group data. While I haven't programmed in systems for your area, it does work great here in the Bay Area.
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Old 09-20-2018, 10:03 AM
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For the price, Id recommend the BCD436HP. If price isnt an issue, Id recommend the SDS100. I have both and use both daily.


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Old 09-20-2018, 10:56 AM
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Smile Sacramento area scanning

You must have purchased a scanner that is not even capable of (analog) "trunk tracking". I've got some fairly old scanners that I'm still able to use monitoring in the Sacramento area.

If money is no object, then you definitely want a scanner capable of receiving P25 Phase II. While no one (LE) immediately local is broadcasting in that format, they will be before we know it.
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Old 09-20-2018, 11:56 AM
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The two scanner makers today (true scanners for public safety) are Uniden and Whistler. Other companies make radios that can do some things a scanner can, but have limits.

Of my current scanners I have a Uniden BCD436HP, it is handheld and runs off 3 AA batteries (you can use rechargeable ones) and may be computer programmed with Uniden's free software. One downside to the Uniden scanners is protocols like DMR or NXDN are pay for add on capability.

I also have a Whistler TRX-1, also handheld and uses 4 AA batteries. Also programmable through supplied software. DMR and NXDN are built in.

If you have a specific system you want to monitor, Unication has a 'pager' capable of receiving conventional and P25 systems. As a receiver, they blow both Uniden and Whistler away. It is just very limited on protocols it currently receives. AND it is NOT a scanner. You are limited to listening to one system at a time. The Unication pagers were designed for professional users who require only one or two systems.

Of the three, I love my Unication G5 for monitoring the department of the area I am currently located (e.g., change while driving). Next is my Uniden 436, think I like the way I can program systems into it over the Whistler method.

Each radio will run several hundred dollars (though as Uniden has recently released their SDS100), you may find good deals on the 436. Given your locale, I would recommend either the Uniden or Whistler models. Something that receives P25 is almost a must. DMR and LTR are gaining in popularity so a radio that receives those as well.

One thing to keep an eye on though, more and more departments are beginning to encrypt their transmissions. Uniden and Whistler have the ability to mute the noise if they find it. If you are in Sacramento area, I didn't see too many encrypted channels.
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Old 09-20-2018, 1:57 PM
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Alternatively, a subscription to RadioReference will permit you to stream various feeds that others provide on Broadcastify. Sacramento County California Live Audio Feeds

Whether at home or other areas when traveling, that may be a suitable alternative. It is $30 for 360 days. The comparison is about 10 years worth of listening for less than the price of a scanner. While you avoid having to program or worry about loss of device or it functioning, you might not get a stream of something you want to hear. It is worth considering.
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Old 09-20-2018, 2:05 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by vagrant View Post
Alternatively, a subscription to RadioReference will permit you to stream various feeds that others provide on Broadcastify. Sacramento County California Live Audio Feeds

Whether at home or other areas when traveling, that may be a suitable alternative. It is $30 for 360 days. The comparison is about 10 years worth of listening for less than the price of a scanner. While you avoid having to program or worry about loss of device or it functioning, you might not get a stream of something you want to hear. It is worth considering.
You do not need a subscription to listen to the live feeds. The only thing you need a premium subscription is to download from the database to you're scanner thru various of the software packages for the scanners and to have access to the live feed audio archives. Again you do not need a subscription to listen to any of the feeds.
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Old 09-20-2018, 2:20 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mule1075 View Post
You do not need a subscription to listen to the live feeds. The only thing you need a premium subscription is to download from the database to you're scanner thru various of the software packages for the scanners and to have access to the live feed audio archives. Again you do not need a subscription to listen to any of the feeds.
Even better!

I use the database, so I pay for the subscription and thought the feed access was included with the cost.
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Old 09-20-2018, 3:10 PM
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I run two Uniden BCD536HP desktop/mobile, and one BCD436HP portable hand-held scanners and am 100% satisfied with them! While some claim they have issues with certain simulcast systems, I haven't experienced any problems at all.

Others claim Uniden's brand new SDS100 hand-held scanners have overcome the simulcast issues, but that's not been the case 100% of the time. Other issues have turned up with the SDS100 as well. Most have been resolved with firmware updates, some have not.

The only Whistler I owned was was the WS1098, which I think was their best ever, was discontinued for some unknown reason. If you can still find them, they command a premium price. The newer TRX series have a couple of short comings as well.

One of the important considerations is the software and functionality available. ProSCAN supports Uniden brands only. I think it adds tremendous additional features and functionality which make the choice a no-brainer!

Take a little time to go though the threads and read up prior to buying. Most importantly, try to find actual users in your area that are monitoring the same systems you plan to and ask them for their feedback before making a decision.
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