• Effective immediately we will be deleting, without notice, any negative threads or posts that deal with the use of encryption and streaming of scanner audio.

    We've noticed a huge increase in rants and negative posts that revolve around agencies going to encryption due to the broadcasting of scanner audio on the internet. It's now worn out and continues to be the same recycled rants. These rants hijack the threads and derail the conversation. They no longer have a place anywhere on this forum other than in the designated threads in the Rants forum in the Tavern.

    If you violate these guidelines your post will be deleted without notice and an infraction will be issued. We are not against discussion of this issue. You just need to do it in the right place. For example:
    https://forums.radioreference.com/rants/224104-official-thread-live-audio-feeds-scanners-wait-encryption.html

Airspy or SDRplay

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CODEXFLATLINE

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#1
Greetings all. I'm looking to scan just the UHF medcom frequencies 462.95 MHz to 463.175 MHz & 467.95 MHz to 468.175 MHz on my laptop. Do I have to program all the frequencies in like I hear some people do on some type of scan program and let the SDR just scan those particular frequencies & nothing in between or should I just let the SDR sweep the two separate spectrums at one time & how would I do that? Which is best for UHF Airspy or SDRplay? Sorry for all the questions, I'm really new to SDR.
 
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#3
If your intention is that specific, to monitor just a handful of frequencies at most, then spending $100+ on something to do it is a waste of money in my opinion - I'm not saying you can't do it because it's your money but I think you'd be much better suited just getting one of the "cheap USB TV tuners" aka RTL sticks for $10-25 that can do exactly the same thing when coupled with any of the freely available SDR applications/programs out there (SDR#/SDRSharp, HDSDR, SDR-Radio/SDR-Console, etc). While from a purely technical standpoint you might get better actual reception performance from Airspy or SDRplay (and I mean that in terms of SNR, sensitivity, and other various aspects because they are technically better reception hardware).

Again I'd consider it a waste of money to buy hardware that's so much more vastly capable whereas you could spend a mere portion of that for one of the RTL-based sticks and then use some of that "extra cash" towards getting a good/great antenna for reception, USB extension cables (to get the RTL stick away from potential interference and direct mounting on the antenna if so desired).

With one of those RTL sticks and SDR# you can use the Frequency Manager Suite plugin to "scan" frequencies you program in. It won't and never will work exactly like an actual physical scanner will do but it's about as close as you're going to get when using such hardware.

After you "get your SDR feet wet," so to speak and get a solid grasp on how things work you will probably discover you're interested in monitoring other things, even moving towards decoding the digital formats like P25, DMR, NXDN, as well as monitoring trunked (not conventional) systems and whatever else might come along in the future and at that point you can then see about getting better hardware that can make such monitoring easier. The reason I say that is because the RTL sticks have a limited "window" of usable bandwidth (about 2.4 MHz wide) and some systems have frequencies that are spread across chunk a wider bandwidth like 5 MHz or even 9-10 MHz. It's possible to "chain" multiple RTL sticks to cover that kind of swath but that's when you start considering the better hardware like Airspy or SDRplay to handle things because they offer wider bandwidth by default.

But my suggestion stands: get one of the less expensive RTL based sticks - my recommendation is still one of these and it comes with two somewhat useful antennas to get you started that will work fine for those UHF frequencies you're looking to monitor. If you can afford it, get two of them just in case you might decide to start monitoring trunked systems or just want more capabilities - they're not extremely expensive so it's not going to break the bank basically. They also have the same stick without the antennas for $20.95 but I strongly suggest getting the one with the antennas so you can get started right away if so desired.

As for the software side of things, that'll be the ones I mentioned above and there are plenty more but SDR# aka SDRSharp is by far the most popular and most widely used with a large number of plugins to extend the capabilities so that's my suggestion on your starting point. After you get the basics down of using the software with the stick(s) then you can branch out and try others because they do tend to work pretty much the same but with different layouts and designs and functionality.

If you've got questions that's what a forum like this exists for and there's a ton of information already present here about the RTL-based hardware, SDR applications/programs of all kinds, and how to get everything working but you're always welcome to ask more, obviously.

Hope this helps...

(and by your post count you're new around here so, welcome to RadioReference...) :D
 
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CODEXFLATLINE

Completely Banned for the Greater Good
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#4
SDR

Wow, quite a mouthful Br0adband, thanks for your informative reply, you're right, my plan is overkill & all I need for UHF medcom is a simple scanner. I tried SDR with a rtl stick for the spectrum waterfall effect, couldn't make it work, too much downloading drivers & software, zip filing, tweaking, etc. My end run is really wideband HF to 1.2 GHz monitoring using both SDR & knob & switch box receivers. Actually it is said that the Funcube Pro+ is the best out of the box SDR because all the necessary drivers are already installed & the applicable software is easily downloadable with minimal tweaking, I can deal with the well known minuscule bandwidth until I'm ready to progress to maybe the Airspy or SDRplay. Again, thanks for the welcome.
 
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