(Chicago) I need help purchasing a scanner

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bigirish83

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I live in Chicago in the 16th district police area.
Don't laugh but I am using a ten channel, crystal scanner i got from my grandfather. It only picks up the park district!

I would like to be able to at least hear police/fire.

I am extremely confused on purchasing a scanner.
Do i go analog or digital?
Trunking? What type?
Is Chicago doing an upgrade which would make a new scanner obsolete?

Any input and feedback would be deeply appreciated!

Thanks
 

JnglMassiv

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Chicago / 016
At this time, if your listening is limited to City of Chicago public safety dispatch, you might be best off simply buying a used bare-bones model. Anything digitally-tuned (IOW, no crystals or hand-tuning) will cover CPD dispatch and citywides (UHF T-band) as well as Fire and EMS (VHF & UHF, respectively). Add Ispern and maybe a couple more channels and any old 30+ channel scanner will work.

Illinois State Police, many suburbs, aircraft, airports, trunked, P25, etc...require a more advanced scanner but if I were only interested in those systems you mentioned, I'd not be able justify spending over $50 on a radio.

I am a strong advocate of believing absolutely nothing when it comes to anticipated radio system rollout schedules. Unless the system is imminent, buy based on what is working now. This is particularly true if your intrests are narrow and an inexpensive radio suits your actual requirements. Eventually, the city will migrate to more sophisticated radio systems but the timetable is anyone's guess.

-jngl
...also in 16
 

bigirish83

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Chicago
At this time, if your listening is limited to City of Chicago public safety dispatch, you might be best off simply buying a used bare-bones model. Anything digitally-tuned (IOW, no crystals or hand-tuning) will cover CPD dispatch and citywides (UHF T-band) as well as Fire and EMS (VHF & UHF, respectively). Add Ispern and maybe a couple more channels and any old 30+ channel scanner will work.

Illinois State Police, many suburbs, aircraft, airports, trunked, P25, etc...require a more advanced scanner but if I were only interested in those systems you mentioned, I'd not be able justify spending over $50 on a radio.

I am a strong advocate of believing absolutely nothing when it comes to anticipated radio system rollout schedules. Unless the system is imminent, buy based on what is working now. This is particularly true if your intrests are narrow and an inexpensive radio suits your actual requirements. Eventually, the city will migrate to more sophisticated radio systems but the timetable is anyone's guess.

-jngl
...also in 16
I'd really like to go with something mobile/base. I live in 16 and work downtown it would be nice for the drive.
I was also told that you can't hear any of the good stuff because they use nextels.
I am so new to this it is pathetic!
 

JnglMassiv

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Joined
Mar 2, 2004
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856
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Chicago / 016
I'd really like to go with something mobile/base. I live in 16 and work downtown it would be nice for the drive.
I was also told that you can't hear any of the good stuff because they use nextels.
I am so new to this it is pathetic!
Ya, your advantage is that anything will work. Now, you have to source a scanner. You can buy new at BestBuy or Radio Shack. Used scanners can be found on Craigslist, ebay, here on radioreference, pawnshops, hamfests...

Personally, I find handhelds much more versatile. It's not to hard to imagine times you want to grab the radio and go. You're driving back from work and hear some great action..Then you get home and, what? Sit in the car until conclusion? Strictly personal preference, though.

It's true that the formerly active trunked system had a lot of cool listening and that it's become awfully quiet lately. Nextels are, in part, to blame.
 

werinshades

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Jan 21, 2002
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Chicago , IL
I live in Chicago in the 16th district police area.
Don't laugh but I am using a ten channel, crystal scanner i got from my grandfather. It only picks up the park district!

I would like to be able to at least hear police/fire.

I am extremely confused on purchasing a scanner.
Do i go analog or digital?
Trunking? What type?
Is Chicago doing an upgrade which would make a new scanner obsolete?

Any input and feedback would be deeply appreciated!

Thanks

I'd suggest going Digital. CFD will probably be Digital by years end based upon the frequent testing going on now. CPD will be following suit and i'd bet we'll be hearing testing sometime in 2009. The Radio Shack Pro 2096, Uniden BCD996T sounds like what you're looking for. You'll be spending $500 but then you won't be looking to buy another one for awhile. If you have any interest in the State Police, you may want to go with the 996 as it has 700Mhz. capabilities. The Trunking System you heard about is probably the Organized Crime Division's (Narcotics, Gang Investigation, Vice Section) Trunking system. It was some great listening about 6 months ago, but Nextels have been issued to the teams and it's their primary source of communication with the Trunking system being utilized as back up.
 
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