• 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

Buying a scanner

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#1
Hello, I feel like I've been researching scanners for so long that I am just becoming more confused. I bought a Bearcat Pro 82 at Radio Shack and found out that it isn't digital and the area I live in is. So I want to exchange it but not sure what I want. I have been looking at the Pro 96 digital scanner but it is $500 and a bit steep. I'd be willing to pay it if I knew it would work for general police/fire scanning. I want something very easy to use as I am not very good at programming or anything fancy. I'm not loyal to any brand but can only return this scanner for a store credit so I want to get something at Radio Shack. If any of you can suggest an easy digital scanner please let me know. Not sure if trunking and digital is the same thing.
 

chrismol1

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#2
you can get radioshack store credit and go online, they have many digital scanners online. You can "ship to store" and use your store credit to get digital.
Trunking and digital is not the same. Trunking hops around and uses a control channel. trunking is so that there can be many users on the same channels, big cities use it to efficiently use more frequency for their operations. MANY transportation places use trunking to have many companies in some cities as sometimes theres not enough frequency allocated in that area for specific purposes so companyes like Well Communications will control over a city the trunking so many users can use it will less frequency used. a little bit of a mess of words yes.
Digital is totally different as its a different mode than the conventional AM or FM. Digital can be used on only one frequency unlike trunking that uses many, and sometimes digital can have trunking too.
At this time now, you can usually see digital scanners are over $300.
http://www.radioshack.com/family/index.jsp?categoryId=2032072&cp=2032052
 
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#3
Thanks for the info. The trunking explanation did make sense to me. I live in Fairfax, VA and this is what it said about it so I assume I need a digital scanner:

http://www.radioreference.com/apps/db/?ctid=2848

Would you suggest I get a digital trunking scanner? I just want something easy where I can turn it on and press a button and not have a lot of technical confusion. hehe I think I have figured out how to add frequencies but that is about it. Maybe the Pro 96 is still the one I should get even though it is $499. Some online prices are cheaper than in store.
 
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#4
Your going to need a Digital capable scanner for your area. The Pro-96 isn't a bad scanner but it is older and the $499 price tag for it is a bit much. There is supposed to be a sale at RS staring tomorrow so you might want to check to see if it is on sale. From time to time they do sell it for $369 or so.
There is no trunking scanner where your really going to just turn it on and have it work. It's going to take some learning, but once you do it's well worth it. Having the programming cable and software does make life much easier. A subscription to this website also make programming much less of a chore.
 
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#5
I called several Radio Shacks and only one told me they might go on sale tomorrow for Father's Day. I would be willing to pay that much for it especially with my trade in. I will just need to learn how to program it. But often I hear sirens and long to be able to turn on my scanner and hear what is going on. I'm going to do something by Monday one way or another. They say after 90 days I might not even get store credit depending on the manager and it's been close to that already.

Thanks for all the info!

p.s. what do you mean about subscribing to this forum? Does it cost and you get more help?
 

chrismol1

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#6
nicdoot said:
I called several Radio Shacks and only one told me they might go on sale tomorrow for Father's Day. I would be willing to pay that much for it especially with my trade in. I will just need to learn how to program it. But often I hear sirens and long to be able to turn on my scanner and hear what is going on. I'm going to do something by Monday one way or another. They say after 90 days I might not even get store credit depending on the manager and it's been close to that already.

Thanks for all the info!

p.s. what do you mean about subscribing to this forum? Does it cost and you get more help?
subscribing to the database
 

jerk

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#7
nicdoot said:
Hello, I feel like I've been researching scanners for so long that I am just becoming more confused. I bought a Bearcat Pro 82 at Radio Shack and found out that it isn't digital and the area I live in is. So I want to exchange it but not sure what I want. I have been looking at the Pro 96 digital scanner but it is $500 and a bit steep. I'd be willing to pay it if I knew it would work for general police/fire scanning. I want something very easy to use as I am not very good at programming or anything fancy. I'm not loyal to any brand but can only return this scanner for a store credit so I want to get something at Radio Shack. If any of you can suggest an easy digital scanner please let me know. Not sure if trunking and digital is the same thing.
You can get a dgigital scanner used here or on ebay. Would be about 300.00 and you could sell pro-82
 

chrismol1

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#8
I have a question
I want to get a reciever either the IC-r5 sport or the VR-500 but the VR-500 doesnt have CTCSS. Do I need CTCSS to recieve my local police if they have a PL of 123 like the database says? I'm trying to test on my GP68 to find out
 
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#9
nicdoot said:
I want something very easy to use as I am not very good at programming or anything fancy. I'm not loyal to any brand but can only return this scanner for a store credit so I want to get something at Radio Shack. If any of you can suggest an easy digital scanner please let me know.
There is no such thing. Period. The learning curve for programming digital scanners these days is very, very steep. Especially for someone who doesn't yet even know the basics of radio systems, like the difference between digital and trunking. It will take you weeks or more to become comfortable with programming this thing. Frustrating, twelve hour days behind the keyboard believing you will never, ever get it.

If just listening to the cops for fun is nor important enough to you to make that kind of commitment, save your money.
 
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#10
Well that's encouraging...

Radio Shack tells me on the phone that they will program it for me but most of the Radio Shacks really won't or don't know how. They tell you to call the 1-800 number in the booklet. One Radio Shack said they would so maybe I can take it there to get a little help.
 

jerk

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#11
chrismoll said:
I have a question
I want to get a reciever either the IC-r5 sport or the VR-500 but the VR-500 doesnt have CTCSS. Do I need CTCSS to recieve my local police if they have a PL of 123 like the database says? I'm trying to test on my GP68 to find out
No you will not need the CTCSS, all that does is separate many users on the same frequency, some local and some distant. You can't hear them and they can't hear you. But they can hear their users.
 
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Fortunately, GA
#12
chrismoll said:
I have a question
I want to get a reciever either the IC-r5 sport or the VR-500 but the VR-500 doesnt have CTCSS. Do I need CTCSS to recieve my local police if they have a PL of 123 like the database says? I'm trying to test on my GP68 to find out
No, you do not need to have ctcss, or, dpl to receive the pd on vhf. Same for uhf.
 
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#13
nicdoot said:
Radio Shack tells me on the phone that they will program it for me but most of the Radio Shacks really won't or don't know how. They tell you to call the 1-800 number in the booklet. One Radio Shack said they would so maybe I can take it there to get a little help.
ScannerMaster.com will program it for you too (so you're not stuck buying a Rat Shack scanner). Problem is, the way the program it is probably not going to be exactly what you want. Heck, for that matter, your systems are probably already programmed from the factory into the Uniden 396 or 996. But again, it won't be all the channels you want, in the order you want, with the channels locked in or out that you want.

So, even with pre-programming, you are still going to face the exact same long, tedious, frustrating learning curve that everyone else faces. There is nothing easy or intuitive about it, even utilising the best software. Again, especially if you are not knowledgeable about how radio systems operate. You will spend less than a day on it before you come here and post a "I just don't get it! Somebody please help me!!!" message. And nobody -- try as they might -- will be able to help you without being there with you. So you'll spend a couple more days trying. Several times you will go looking for the box so you can package the damn thing up and return it, but then go back to the computer and try again. A month after you get it programmed to your temporary liking, you still won't understand half of the features, functions, and settings of the radio.

Again, if scanning whatever it is you want to scan is not just a really serious obsession for you, worth spending over $500 dollars (just to start off with), and countless hours of mind-numbing frustration on understanding and mastering, then I honestly recommend that you save your money and your time. Good luck!
 
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#14
I do appreciate your honesty but it seems a bit negative. I do want to do this for a hobby so to me it is worth the time and money to learn it.
 
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#15
Cool. It's obviously worth it to a lot of people, or we wouldn't all be here, lol! But between this forum and others I am on, we see a LOT of people jump in all gung ho, with both feet, and then immediately get all pissed off when it isn't a quick and easy process. They come to the forums begging for help, and everybody tries, but it doesn't help. Nothing but long, long days of persistence helps. And even then, the bit about just boxing it up and sending it back (or selling it at a loss, which is why you can find them on eBay for $300 sometimes) happens pretty often. You specifically asked us for a quick and easy answer, so that's why I think you need to hear the truth.

Don't take that to mean that we don't want you here, or that we won't do anything we can to help you. If we didn't care, we wouldn't be answering now. Just don't expect any of this to be easy. And again, best of luck!
 
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#16
af5rn said:
It will take you weeks or more to become comfortable with programming this thing. Frustrating, twelve hour days behind the keyboard believing you will never, ever get it.

If just listening to the cops for fun is nor important enough to you to make that kind of commitment, save your money.
Are you truely serious? From the words you write you paint a picture of some poor S.O.B. working hours on end feverously sweating at the brow behind his laptop, attempting relentlessly to program his scanner and failing each time.

It can't possibly be that bad. For analog monitoring, it took me 4 hours to learn how to get a motorola trunk working. This is going from no exposure to radio to getting it working. Digital may be tougher, but how hard can it be? The only extra step is knowing the digital decoding method to use, right?
 
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chrismol1

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#17
Its kinda of a let down when you find out that your area is digital and the only available scanners are around $300. try monitoring your local FD or anything else, maybe the state police?
 
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#18
af5rn said:
There is no such thing. Period. The learning curve for programming digital scanners these days is very, very steep. Especially for someone who doesn't yet even know the basics of radio systems, like the difference between digital and trunking. It will take you weeks or more to become comfortable with programming this thing. Frustrating, twelve hour days behind the keyboard believing you will never, ever get it.

If just listening to the cops for fun is nor important enough to you to make that kind of commitment, save your money.
Oh come on, don't scare the guy. I got a PSR500, downloaded Win500, and used it to program 10 conventional trunking systems of all varieties and 20 digital channels in a single evening...and I have absolutely no technical knowledge of any of these things. One3 evening, and now I've got nearly everything I'd want to monitor programmed in. Sure, it can take "weeks" to understand all the technology, but if you're goal is just to get up and listening, it doesn't require a master's in scanning.

Suzie
 

Dubbin

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#19
af5rn said:
There is no such thing. Period. The learning curve for programming digital scanners these days is very, very steep. Especially for someone who doesn't yet even know the basics of radio systems, like the difference between digital and trunking. It will take you weeks or more to become comfortable with programming this thing. Frustrating, twelve hour days behind the keyboard believing you will never, ever get it.
nicdoot, don't listen to this guy, he has no idea what hes talking about. It is not that hard to figure any of these radios out. Heck even if you do have problems there is always software that can bail you out and have you up and running in no time flat.

Personally I find the Uniden BCD396T much easier to program then the PRO-96.
 
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#20
My thought is the prices have to start coming down as they start making more. I am not one who can afford 500 for a scanner, its a toy I just dont need but I do desire.

To the OP, find something that will work for you, even if its used. OR use your store credit and get one of the 2 radioshack options which will work for you, but are pricey.
 
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