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Considering a scanner for elderly Father

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niksmess

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We are considering buying an inexpensive scanner for my Father for Christmas. He's never used one, but is pretty inactive, so we are thinking that it might give him something to do and 'talk about', just listening to what goes on in his county. I'm wondering if the Uniden BC355C 800MHz 300-Channel Base Mobile Scanner would be a decent choice (since he's not really expressed an interest, but we think he'd enjoy it) for an 85 year old man, and would it give him what we're looking for, in just picking up things that go on within about a 50 mile radius of him? And, would it be simple enough to program? (he lives in Manistee County, Michigan...it's in the northern part, but not in the upper peninsula) If anyone could give me advice, I'd greatly appreciate it.
 

N8IAA

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It appears that the county could not be monitored by the 355N.
They are on the MI statewide digital system. It requires a scanner that will decode the digital, P-25 system. They are not cheap. You may want to check here in the RR For Sale forum further down the forums pages. I would suggest the Radio Shack Pro-197/106, or the Uniden BCD-396XT.
HTH,
Larry
 

niksmess

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Oh, really? I know nothing about any of it, so I am thankful for your answer. I appreciate it very much.
 

trap5858

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If scanners for public safety are too expensive consider one that will receive air band. There is lots of interesting things on there and if close to a major airport he will not be bored. If near water, the marine band is interesting as well. They both can be monitored on some very basic equipment.
 

KK4TTR

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I just got the Uniden BC355N, and it's good for picking up local hams, air, rail, etc. Should be a good choice. Just learn how to do band and service scans, hold, and temporary lock outs and you should be good to go. It's a lot more fun when you're playing with the buttons :) Good luck!

If you want to listen to P25 digital triple-trunked broadcasts, like statewide emergency responders, you could find an internet broadcast of it. The cost of decoding those systems is high in terms of equipment ($100's) and time (tens of hours), considering you can listen to the without the hassle as a streaming broadcast.

Having said all of that, Uniden Home Patrol is popular, but I have no experience with it and can't make any claims.
 

tglendye

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I would suggest asking this question in the Michigan forum. The local users there will more than likely be able to give you some accurate advice on how much there is to listen to with an analog scanner. There are a few frequencies that appear active in the RadioReference Database that the scanner you are asking about could monitor, but the bulk of the talk will be on the state's digital system.

That being said, I would bet that if those channels do have some activity and you place marine/ coast guard, some ham frequencies, etc. that your father will have enough to listen to and keep his interest.

But I would ask the same question in the Michigan forum, too:)
 

pinballwiz86

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The Uniden BC-125AT will make your dad very happy for Christmas. It's simple to use and inexpensive. Be sure to go to RadioShack and get their telescoping antenna with BNC connector for the scanner. He'll be able to pick up more signals.
 
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