Boy, have scanners changed!

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DCS

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I have recently dusted my scanners off and fired them up only to find out nothing is the same as it was even from just several years ago.

I remember the time when you had to physically plug in a crystal to "program" your 10 channel scanner.

Ah the good old days, I miss all those little flashing red lights.

I guess I will have to do my research and upgrade.
 

james1095

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I don't think anyone has made a crystal controlled scanner in 30 years, so they must have been collecting dust for a while. I do still have the Electra Bearcat III that was originally my grandmother's and it still picks up a few things. I love the chasing red lights and when it does pick something up, the sound quality is exceptional. Obsolete to say the least, but I wouldn't part with it. It's that very scanner that alerted my family to the eruption of Mt St. Helens as it happened.

IMO the golden age of scanning was the late 80s through the early 90s. A lot of stuff has gone to trunked systems and some areas are now digital but there is still a lot to be heard on the analog bands. I have a couple of newer trunk tracking scanners but my favorites for day to day use are still the Realistic Pro-2004 and Pro-2006. Designed back in the 80s, they are built like tanks, easily modifiable, full service manuals with schematics are available, and they will still hold their own against most modern units. Everyone with a serious interest in scanning should own one of those, and you can pick up a nice example of either for <$100 on ebay any day of the week.
 
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trunkerman63

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You're in the same shape I was in. It hasn't been long since I posted a thread "Over My Head" and typed out similar sentiments.

Now I'm the proud owner of a GRE 600 Digital Scanner! Several of the guys here like Hiegtx (Steve) talked me into buying myself that great rig for myself for Christmas! I'm still learning a lot, but I can guarantee if you decide to cross the road, folks like Steve and others here will help you in all ways possible. Now, after Steve helping me so very much both in person and by email, I feel confident I can make some changes to the radio from the software on the computer! Like my first computer, I was "Dohh!" But like a computer, you will learn this stuff and enjoy it once you do. All the best.
 

DCS

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I don't think anyone has made a crystal controlled scanner in 30 years, so they must have been collecting dust for a while..
No, no, those scanners are long gone (wished I still had them though just for the heck of it), All my scanners now are analog trunk trackers. Guess I will be going digital as soon as I learn something about them.
 

loumaag

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I was reading this with some interest and remembered that in the closet in my "shack" I still have a Lafayette HA-155 that I used to use to monitor New Orleans PD back in the late 1960's. Worked out quite nicely since they were using 2 dispatch channels, an information channel (NCIC, etc.), a "utility" channel, a Tactical channel and a detective channel. NOPD even called the channels by the letters "A - F" which was pretty convenient for that particular radio. Of course it didn't scan, but then I am not sure there was anything that did back then. ;)
 

nyemt774

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DCS, you are soo correct. Those red-lites and crystals are long since gone. Only finding some crystals on ebay and only certain frequencies. Now you have scanners with 30,000 plus channels which require you to have a computer to program them to do them ANY justice. Gone are the days of entering a frequency manually. The easiest scanner now to really plug and play is the HP-1. Enter in your zip-code and away you go. BUT, it will set you back easily $400-$500. Good luck in your search!!!
 

nueces162

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Good luck DCS on making the transition to these new fangled scanners. I can remember further back than the crystal scanners. Back in the early 60's radio makers had VHF capabilities in some of their "multi-band" radios . The department you wanted to monitor had to be talking so you could find them in on the dial, you had to correct for drift all the time, and you got one frequency. It was easy in Texas though cause most of the state was on VHF-lo or what we called "180-260" - 37.180 and 37.260 and DPS was state wide on 45.850. Still have the first real scanner we ever got for my dad too, a Realistic Pro-7 from Radio Shack with the yellow lights that chased across the front, you could see one of them in the opening titles of the old TV show "SWAT." We had to update to a Bearcat III later on when Corpus Christi PD went to UHF in the 70's.
 

zzdiesel

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I avoided Trunking scanners back in the 90's & early 2000's like the plague. My first one to play with was a RS Pro-2055. I almost threw it out the windows several times. Once you learn it and learn the software; it's like riding a bike.
 

Para078

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. It was easy in Texas though cause most of the state was on VHF-lo or what we called "180-260" - 37.180 and 37.260 and DPS was state wide on 45.850.
Back then we had true interopability. Almost everyone had 180 and 260 in their radios and some monitored DPS with another radio or scanner. DPS was on 42.9 for base and they talked to the base and car to car on 42.740. I had my scanner at work one night and blew a troopers mind when he checked 10-42 with Sulphur Springs and after they answered him I answered on 260. Don't think I ever told him how I heard him.
 

nueces162

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DPS was on 42.9 for base and they talked to the base and car to car on 42.740.

That's right, I had the freqs mixed up. You are right, iIn a lot of ways 180-260 was inter-op at its best. On nights the "skip" was rolling I could sit at the edge of town and listen to departments and units from all over the state. I remember those old GE low band radios we had in the units well. The early ones were called "coffin boxes" with the transmitter on one side of the trunk and the receiver on the other. They used a dynamotor to generate enough amps to power the transmitter and at night when you keyed up they still pulled so much power the headlights would almost go out. When my department went to a high band repeater in the 70's I felt we were missing something, no listening to the whole state any more except on the intercity freqs but it just was not the same.
 

N5AMS

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wow going back i remeber visiting my dad in sulphur louisiana when i was in early high school and the sheriff office was still on vhf had 3 channels 2 for dispatch and 1 for talk now they are on a trunk system
 
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