Basic Scanner Questions

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mbs2016

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Feb 8, 2017
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Hi All!
My stepdad is elderly and has always enjoyed sitting and listening to the local activities on his scanner. The scanner he had no longer works so he now has a Whistler WS1010 handheld radio scanner and asked me for help in programming it. A few things to note...

1) He is now legally blind and can't see enough to show me what the buttons or settings on the scanner are for.
2) I know nothing about scanners. His brother searched and purchased the Whistler online and then handed him the box without helping him program it or help him learn to use it (since he can't see it).
3) During a recent visit, I read the instructions and programmed a few of the frequencies that he wanted but I'm not sure it's correct.
4) He and my mother live in another state and are 100% technology free and have NO capability, knowledge or understanding of how to operate anything other than their microwave, TVs, and landline phones...nor do they have the desire to.
5) All he wants to do is listen to the local channels for the fire/ambulance dispatch, city/county workers (public works), airports, and sheriff's department. He doesn't want to get into anything beyond listening.

My question for the group here is:
Is the Whistler WS1010 a good scanner for what he wants to use it for? If not, can you suggest a basic, simple, as close to a ready-to-use scanner as can be that would be a better fit for just listening?

I appreciate your input!

Thanks!
Amy
 

jonwienke

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Jul 18, 2014
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PA
It depends.

If the local stuff is some flavor of digital or trunked, then you may not be able to get away with a simpler scanner.

Once programmed, the scanner doesn't need much fiddling unless frequencies change. Depending on location, you may need to make monthly updates, or no changes for years.

We need to know what town your parents live in to know what would need to be programmed into the scanner. With that info, it's possible someone could give you a programming file you could load into the scanner for them. Or you could possibly make the file on a laptop, and update the scanner for them when you visit.
 

Dog

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Jun 3, 2003
Messages
252
Location
Oklahoma
Hi All!
My stepdad is elderly and has always enjoyed sitting and listening to the local activities on his scanner. The scanner he had no longer works so he now has a Whistler WS1010 handheld radio scanner and asked me for help in programming it. A few things to note...

1) He is now legally blind and can't see enough to show me what the buttons or settings on the scanner are for.
2) I know nothing about scanners. His brother searched and purchased the Whistler online and then handed him the box without helping him program it or help him learn to use it (since he can't see it).
3) During a recent visit, I read the instructions and programmed a few of the frequencies that he wanted but I'm not sure it's correct.
4) He and my mother live in another state and are 100% technology free and have NO capability, knowledge or understanding of how to operate anything other than their microwave, TVs, and landline phones...nor do they have the desire to.
5) All he wants to do is listen to the local channels for the fire/ambulance dispatch, city/county workers (public works), airports, and sheriff's department. He doesn't want to get into anything beyond listening.

My question for the group here is:
Is the Whistler WS1010 a good scanner for what he wants to use it for? If not, can you suggest a basic, simple, as close to a ready-to-use scanner as can be that would be a better fit for just listening?

I appreciate your input!

Thanks!
Amy
Can you post a location? (Where the scanner will be used.) That would help everyone help you better.
 

hiegtx

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6,363
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Dallas, TX
The scanner would be used in Sheboygan County, Wisconsin.
Looking at your county in the database, Sheboygan County, Wisconsin (WI) Scanner Frequencies and Radio Frequency Reference , it appears that the scanner you have, the WS1010, will be of very limited reception in your area.

Your WS1010 is an analog scanner, capable of receiving non-digital transmissions in the Vhf & Uhf bands. Your county, and some of the cities, have a small number of frequencies that are within the range your scanner can handle. However, it appears that much of the county and city departments are on a trunked radio system, Sheboygan County Public Safety Trunking System, Sheboygan, Wisconsin - Scanner Frequencies

The WS1010 is not capable of tracking this type of system, and also does not cover the frequencies used, which are in the 800MHHz band (the highest the scanner receives is 512MHz). Also, it appears that the county and cities may be migrating to a new, digital, system, Sheboygan County (P25) Trunking System, Various, Wisconsin - Scanner Frequencies
That system is also one the WS1010 cannot receive, both because it is digital, and because it also uses frequencies (800MHz) that the scanner cannot receive. Unfortunately, your options with the scanner you have are limited to some of the conventional frequencies listed on the county database page. However, many of these may only be backups to the trunked system. You may want to have your thread moved to the Wisconsin State Forum, to get information on what you may be able to hear, given the limitations of the scanner. To do that, click on the red triangle in the upper right corner of one of your posts, to 'report the thread'. There, you can request that the thread be moved, if you so desire.
 

mbs2016

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Feb 8, 2017
Messages
3
Thanks for all the info!!

Can you recommend a scanner that would be better for that area?? One that's easy to set up and use?? As I said, my stepdad only just likes to listen and he is legally blind so I would like to find something that he can hold on to and easily find the buttons to turn it on & off and change volume and channels.
 

hiegtx

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Location
Dallas, TX
Thanks for all the info!!

Can you recommend a scanner that would be better for that area?? One that's easy to set up and use?? As I said, my stepdad only just likes to listen and he is legally blind so I would like to find something that he can hold on to and easily find the buttons to turn it on & off and change volume and channels.
To get the majority of what is in use in your county, you would need a digital scanner, unless you can confirm that there is enough activity on the conventional channels to interest him. In some areas, the local agencies, especially fire department, will simulcast specific channels from the trunked system on their older conventional channels. However, other agencies only keep them as a backup, so unless there is a problem with the trunked system, you would hear nothing on the older frequencies.

For a digital scanner, at present everything digital for public safety in the area, is either P25 Phase I trunked systems, or a few conventional P25 (digital) channels. The easiest to use would be a Home Patrol-1, but as he is legally blind, that may not work for him. While it has a nice, large, multi-color display, it is mostly controlled by a touchscreen. The only easy to find buttons would be the volume control bar and the power button.

Probably a better choice would be something like the Whistler WS1065 (base/mobile, to set on a desktop) or WS1040 if a handheld is preferred. In the Uniden lineup, either the BCD996P2 (a base/mobile) or the BCD325P2, a handheld, would fill the bill for the area. The previous models of those, the BCD996XT and BCD396XT, would also work, but are both discontinued. However, you may be able to find a gently used, good condition, unit in the classifieds here on the site, on eBay, and other places online, as well as a local pawn shop or even a garage/yard sale.

There is free software, FreeSCAN, for the Uniden models, but none for the Whistler radios (the only programs for them are paid software packages, though they do have a 30 day free trial period). Programming by software would be an advantageous to you, as once you have the programming file set up, you can save it on your pc, then download it to his scanner, should there be some sort of thing that erased or deleted the programming.
 

gonefishn1

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Jun 22, 2016
Messages
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Location
Clark County Nevada
You should go all in and get the Uniden BCD536HP. Just enter your ZIP code and it scans all your local frequencies in the RRDB. Very easy to run the scanner.
 

sparklehorse

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Portland, Oregon
Often people who are legally blind have some remaining vision. If that describes your stepdad, and he can read things if he gets extremely close, then the HP-1 or HP-2 might be the best choice. Besides being relatively easy to use, I think the touch screen on those models would be easier for him to read than most other scanners.

.
 
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