Been away from scanners for years, before I buy another one am I able to listen to police anymore? I know many have gone digital, is there a certain type I would need to get or is it a dying thing? Thanks guys.
Union Co Sheriff and Union PD recently moved their communications to Palmetto 800, the statewide radio system used by many state and local agencies. It is a digital trunked radio system, so it requires a more current scanner to listen. You can look in the Wiki Radio Models section and look for digital trunk trackers for options on scanners that will monitor this type system. The good news is that it's not a P25 Phase II system yet, and the Union County site is not simulcast,so you don't require the most expensive scanners to listen.
Union County Fire and EMS are still VHF analog that can be received by any scanner on the market.
SCHP, DNR, Spartanburg, Laurens and Chester Counties are all mostly on Palmetto 800, with fire departments in all of those counties mostly using VHF analog.
While more and more agencies are employing encryption, there is still a lot to listen to, including law enforcement, in Upstate SC.
In South Carolina, I personally think that it's a worthy investment now to purchase a lower-end digital trunk-tracker and you can have reasonable confidence that "everything" won't go encrypted soon.
It's been mentioned on this forum at times that spme SC State agencies (namely SCHP and SC DNR) will encrypt at some point soon. If those aren't high interest targets for you, then I think your risk is low.
Encryption is generally at the discretion of the local agencies, and typically with the Sheriff. Union County is more likely to have a new sheriff soon, and so that policy could change with a change in sheriffs. Plenty of other SC counties have encrypted some or all of their communications in the last year or two - Richland SO, Greenwood County, Colleton County, Jasper County. So it can happen, but it's not likely imminently. If your definition of "soon" means 5 years, then that's a different story.
I recently upgraded from the BCD436hp to the SDS100 as well. i was concerned about the possibility of ENC but i needed a multi-site capable radio. My reasoning to go ahead and spend the big bucks is the fact that the SDS100 is having trouble staying in stock. the BCD436hp is actually being sold online used for more than I paid for mine new. If everything in SC that i want to hear goes ENC i should be able to sale my scanner for a decent price as there are other states that are not ENC. Now 10+ years from now it might not have any value, but I would have gotten enough use out of the radio for it to be worth the investment. my thoughts any way.