Scanner recommendation for the wife

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#1
I'm looking at buying a scanner here in the next few months and am a bit overwhelmed by all the choices out there. At this point, I am looking for a scanner that would be the easiest to operate/use/program and can receive most of what would be pertinent to the East Valley (Queen Creek). I would prefer to have something semi-portable (the Homepatrol series would be fine) instead of a desktop or base type unit. Budget could support something all the way up to a SDS100, if that ends up being the best scanner for my needs. The reason it needs to be super easy to use/program/operate, is that it will be for my wife who is not very good at technical things. What advice can you all give me? Thanks in advance!
 

bgav

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#2
I'd go with the HP2 unless you really needed the SDS100 to monitor Phase II LSM simulcast systems. The touch screen and simplicity of the Home Patrol series is second to none.
 

lou9155

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#3
are you gonna leave her in the dark and make her learn how to use/program it herself?...thats not nice...sounds like youve never owned a scanner yourself. you really should educate yourself first so if she has any question you can help her out...BTW homepatrol is not a particular style scanner..it covers many models base/handheld....not trying to harsh on your thread
 
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#4
I'm looking at buying a scanner here in the next few months and am a bit overwhelmed by all the choices out there. At this point, I am looking for a scanner that would be the easiest to operate/use/program and can receive most of what would be pertinent to the East Valley (Queen Creek). I would prefer to have something semi-portable (the Homepatrol series would be fine) instead of a desktop or base type unit. Budget could support something all the way up to a SDS100, if that ends up being the best scanner for my needs. The reason it needs to be super easy to use/program/operate, is that it will be for my wife who is not very good at technical things. What advice can you all give me? Thanks in advance!
For where you are located i would say the sds100 would be you're best bet. I believe some of you're location there are systems that use LSM. Hopefully somebody will chime in who is local and offer you more helpful advice. As you have seen already some of the time people will offer no helpful advice whatsoever.
 

questnz

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#5
Definitively not SDS100 at this stage, be sensible. It is a complex piece of engineering and require lots of knowledge and patience to work out bits of pieces. Don't buy Ferrari if you never get out of first or second gear. Something more user friendly like already mentioned HP2 maybe good choice. Don't forget good antenna for mobile use. Good luck
 
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#6
Definitively not SDS100 at this stage, be sensible. It is a complex piece of engineering and require lots of knowledge and patience to work out bits of pieces. Don't buy Ferrari if you never get out of first or second gear. Something more user friendly like already mentioned HP2 maybe good choice. Don't forget good antenna for mobile use. Good luck
Two of the major systems the OP will more than likely want to listen to are simulcast systems. So the sds100 might be the only solution.
 
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#8
are you gonna leave her in the dark and make her learn how to use/program it herself?...thats not nice...sounds like youve never owned a scanner yourself. you really should educate yourself first so if she has any question you can help her out...BTW homepatrol is not a particular style scanner..it covers many models base/handheld....not trying to harsh on your thread
This would be my first scanner and I am techie, so no, I wouldn't leave her in the dark, but the easier it is for her to operate, the better, so she won't get frustrated with it. I do know the Homepatrol does cover many different models, but I would likely go for the HP2, being it is the newest, if I were to go that route. As I understand it, the HP2 allows you to enter a zip code and it will then will load/show you what is appropriate to that area, which sounds pretty easy to me, but since I haven't owned one, I am not so sure if it really is that easy.
 

bgav

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#9
This would be my first scanner and I am techie, so no, I wouldn't leave her in the dark, but the easier it is for her to operate, the better, so she won't get frustrated with it. I do know the Homepatrol does cover many different models, but I would likely go for the HP2, being it is the newest, if I were to go that route. As I understand it, the HP2 allows you to enter a zip code and it will then will load/show you what is appropriate to that area, which sounds pretty easy to me, but since I haven't owned one, I am not so sure if it really is that easy.
Yes, it is that easy. Select location (ZIP code), select range, select service types you want to monitor, you're done unless you want to create favorites lists to organize your monitoring into a more traditional "banks" analogy.

Here's a copy of the HP-2 manual which I would recommend looking at:

http://www.uniden.info/download/ompdf/HOMEPATROL-2om.pdf
 
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#10
For where you are located i would say the sds100 would be you're best bet. I believe some of you're location there are systems that use LSM. Hopefully somebody will chime in who is local and offer you more helpful advice. As you have seen already some of the time people will offer no helpful advice whatsoever.
Can you inform me as to what systems are Simulcast in my area? Or where I can find that info? From what I understand, monitoring Simulcast systems can be difficult, even with the SDS100, depending on where you are. I know the Unication G4/G5 seems to do the Simulcast very well, but doesn't really do anything else and you would need an additional scanner to get everything else. I may not even care about Simulcast capability, depending on who is using that in my area.
 
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#13
Can you inform me as to what systems are Simulcast in my area? Or where I can find that info? From what I understand, monitoring Simulcast systems can be difficult, even with the SDS100, depending on where you are. I know the Unication G4/G5 seems to do the Simulcast very well, but doesn't really do anything else and you would need an additional scanner to get everything else. I may not even care about Simulcast capability, depending on who is using that in my area.
These are some of the p-25 systems you might be interested in.Also check the database for any analog you might be interesting.
https://www.radioreference.com/apps/db/?sid=2082
https://www.radioreference.com/apps/db/?sid=2508
https://www.radioreference.com/apps/db/?sid=9073
https://www.radioreference.com/apps/db/?sid=3759
 

lou9155

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#14
any of the uniden database models are self intuitive with good menus...if she can use an ipad/iphone she will be ok...try to get an outdoor antenna...if she cant hear anything exciting it wont be fun for her..my wife enjoys scanner listening when we are mobile...so that a good thing....BTW dont go near whistler scanners!
 
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#15
I did have a local Ham here recommend the Grecom PSR-800 as a solid and cost effective scanner that will do most of what I want, even thought they aren't made anymore. Does anybody have any comments on this scanner as being a worthwhile (i.e. easy to use) candidate? Looks like I could pick up a used one for around $300 or so, but like I mentioned, I would be willing to buy a SDS100 if that would be the best choice for our needs.
 

bgav

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#16
I did have a local Ham here recommend the Grecom PSR-800 as a solid and cost effective scanner that will do most of what I want, even thought they aren't made anymore. Does anybody have any comments on this scanner as being a worthwhile (i.e. easy to use) candidate? Looks like I could pick up a used one for around $300 or so, but like I mentioned, I would be willing to buy a SDS100 if that would be the best choice for our needs.
I have one as well (see signature :p) and I recently had it upgraded by Whistler. It's solid scanner, very easy to use as well but not as simple as the HP-2.

I also have a BCD436HP and the user interface/menu is not as simple to use (side menu button, control knob to scroll & push to select) as the HomePatrol 1/2's touch screen user interface with on-screen buttons for the menu and settings. With the BCD436HP it's really designed to use two hands to navigate the menu (hold scanner in left hand and use control knob with right hand), while the HP2 only needs one finger.
 
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#17
I have one as well (see signature :p) and I recently had it upgraded by Whistler. It's solid scanner, very easy to use as well but not as simple as the HP-2.

I also have a BCD436HP and the user interface/menu is not as simple to use (side menu button, control knob to scroll & push to select) as the HomePatrol 1/2's touch screen user interface with on-screen buttons for the menu and settings. With the BCD436HP it's really designed to use two hands to navigate the menu (hold scanner in left hand and use control knob with right hand), while the HP2 only needs one finger.
Based on that info, I am definitely leaning towards the HP-2 - simple is good for the wifey! Does the HP-2 do Simulcast? I am still not even sure how to determine what is done in Simulcast around here or if it is even that important at this time. Can you point me in the right direction on how to figure this out?

I also like that the HP-2 is semi-portable so that she could take it with her if she wanted to. It really doesn't matter to me that it is not a traditional handheld as I don't think she would use it in that way, but I could definitely see her taking it outside on the patio, maybe in the car and obviously around the house, so I think it would be ideal.
 

bgav

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#18
Based on that info, I am definitely leaning towards the HP-2 - simple is good for the wifey! Does the HP-2 do Simulcast? I am still not even sure how to determine what is done in Simulcast around here or if it is even that important at this time. Can you point me in the right direction on how to figure this out?

I also like that the HP-2 is semi-portable so that she could take it with her if she wanted to. It really doesn't matter to me that it is not a traditional handheld as I don't think she would use it in that way, but I could definitely see her taking it outside on the patio, maybe in the car and obviously around the house, so I think it would be ideal.
I'd recommend checking in with other members in the Arizona subforum and let them know what you plan on monitoring.

With the desk stand, the viewing angle is excellent and you're much less likely to knock it over than a handheld. It's great around the house moving from room to room.
 
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#19
The TOPAZ Regional Wireless Cooperative, which is used by Mesa PD, Gilbert PD, and Apache Junction PD, as well as the Mesa Fire & Medical Regional Dispatch Center (which serves Mesa, Gilbert, Queen Creek, Superstition (Apache Junction and surrounding areas), and Rio Verde FD's) is simulcast (they have 2 standalone sites, but you won't hear much unencrypted comms on them, and only the FD dispatcher side 99% of the time). Mesa Fire & Medical also has analog conventional VHF channels for larger fires.

The Maricopa County Sheriff's Office patrols Queen Creek, Sun Lakes, the Salt River recreational area, the recreational lakes, and unincorporated areas. The current Maricopa County radio system is not simulcast, but the future one being built out right now will be.

The Pinal County Sheriff is fully encrypted on the new Pinal County radio system.

Rural/Metro FD, Inc is analog conventional VHF, and covers county islands in the East Valley, as well as Fountain Hills, and the San Tan Valley area of Pinal County East and South of Queen Creek.

DPS is analog conventional UHF on the I-10, US 60 and AZ 202 freeways.

ADOT is on the AZWINS system, which is not simulcast. (This includes the Enforcement and Compliance Division officers who deal with commercial vehicles, and the ALERT emergency traffic control response unit that shuts down the freeways for DPS when needed. Maricopa County DOT has a similar unit known as REACT on the Maricopa County radio system. They are not the CB radio REACT group.)

The Ft. McDowell Indian Community FD uses the TOPAZ RWC on a seperate channel than what Mesa uses. The PD is encrypted.

The Salt River Indian Community FD is on the Salt River radio system. They're Phase II, but not simulcast I don't think. The Salt River PD is encrypted.

The Gila River Indian Community FD is on the Gila River radio system. They're Phase I, but not simulcast. The PD is encrypted.

Most of the rest of the Valley is on the Phoenix Regional Wireless Cooperative, which is mostly simulcast. This includes Scottsdale, Paradise Valley, Tempe, and Chandler PD's, plus the Phoenix FD Regional Dispatch Center. (Scottsdale, Paradise Valley, Tempe, Guadalupe, Chandler, Sun Lakes FD's, plus Phoenix and most of the West Valley PD's and FD's.) The PFDRDC also has analog conventional VHF channels for fire and hazmat calls.

I think that covers it.

John
Peoria
 
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#20
The TOPAZ Regional Wireless Cooperative, which is used by Mesa PD, Gilbert PD, and Apache Junction PD, as well as the Mesa Fire & Medical Regional Dispatch Center (which serves Mesa, Gilbert, Queen Creek, Superstition (Apache Junction and surrounding areas), and Rio Verde FD's) is simulcast (they have 2 standalone sites, but you won't hear much unencrypted comms on them, and only the FD dispatcher side 99% of the time). Mesa Fire & Medical also has analog conventional VHF channels for larger fires.

The Maricopa County Sheriff's Office patrols Queen Creek, Sun Lakes, the Salt River recreational area, the recreational lakes, and unincorporated areas. The current Maricopa County radio system is not simulcast, but the future one being built out right now will be.

The Pinal County Sheriff is fully encrypted on the new Pinal County radio system.

Rural/Metro FD, Inc is analog conventional VHF, and covers county islands in the East Valley, as well as Fountain Hills, and the San Tan Valley area of Pinal County East and South of Queen Creek.

DPS is analog conventional UHF on the I-10, US 60 and AZ 202 freeways.

ADOT is on the AZWINS system, which is not simulcast. (This includes the Enforcement and Compliance Division officers who deal with commercial vehicles, and the ALERT emergency traffic control response unit that shuts down the freeways for DPS when needed. Maricopa County DOT has a similar unit known as REACT on the Maricopa County radio system. They are not the CB radio REACT group.)

The Ft. McDowell Indian Community FD uses the TOPAZ RWC on a seperate channel than what Mesa uses. The PD is encrypted.

The Salt River Indian Community FD is on the Salt River radio system. They're Phase II, but not simulcast I don't think. The Salt River PD is encrypted.

The Gila River Indian Community FD is on the Gila River radio system. They're Phase I, but not simulcast. The PD is encrypted.

Most of the rest of the Valley is on the Phoenix Regional Wireless Cooperative, which is mostly simulcast. This includes Scottsdale, Paradise Valley, Tempe, and Chandler PD's, plus the Phoenix FD Regional Dispatch Center. (Scottsdale, Paradise Valley, Tempe, Guadalupe, Chandler, Sun Lakes FD's, plus Phoenix and most of the West Valley PD's and FD's.) The PFDRDC also has analog conventional VHF channels for fire and hazmat calls.

I think that covers it.

John
Peoria
Thank you for the explanation. Looks like a lot of what I want to monitor is simulcast. Any idea on how the HP-2 would perform based on the fact that I am mostly interested in getting what is going on with the Chandler and Mesa PDs as well as MCSO in Queen Creek - not to mention all the other agencies on simulcast? Geez, maybe I should consider the SDS100 or a Unication......
 
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