Completely New to Scanning

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Teebor

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Feb 6, 2010
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Mesa, AZ
Hi everyone,
I just picked up my first scanner today and I'm having trouble getting anything on it. I'm an EMT and I love listening to the radios at work, so I found that here in the Phoenix area there are some live feeds online. I've been tuning into those quite a bit recently and decided that I'd like to try scanning on my own radio.

I got a very inexpensive used scanner. It's a Radio Shack PRO-2026. I've been researching and I know that this is not the kind of scanner that I will be able to pick up local Fire and LE on. Almost all of the departments out here are digital, from what I've read. But I wanted to give analog scanning a shot, to see if I really like it before I drop $400 on a digital scanner.

I'm interested in listening to pretty much anything. I just find the whole process of working radios enjoyable. It's something me and my dad used to do when I was a kid.

I live in an apartment in Mesa, just outside of Phoenix, in a pretty urban part of the city. Will my scanner be able to pick up anything in this area?

Thanks for your help!

Jeff
 

sjlamb

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May 27, 2007
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Lakewood Ranch, Florida 34202
Try some of the frequencies located on the first page of the RR Dayabase for your area: Maricopa County, Arizona (AZ) Scanner Frequencies and Radio Frequency Reference

Your scanner cannot track trunked radio systems or those with the mode being listed as "P25" but, those listed as "FM" or "AM" can be received by the Pro-2026 if they are actually still in use. As you already know, the vast majority of the County's public service communications in your area takes place on the Maricopa County trunked 800 mHz radio system and cannot be received by your present radio.

From the information in the RR Database; it appears that you should be in good shape for listening to the City of Mesa Police and Fire Dept. along with a number of other agencies that appear to still be using conventional analog frequencies.
 
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Teebor

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Feb 6, 2010
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Mesa, AZ
Hi sjlamb, thanks for the advice. I tried out the Mesa FD frequencies and I was able to here a little bit. It's still very distorted. I'm wondering if I should get a new antenna for the scanner. The one it came with is just a normal rubber one, like they have on mobile radios. I currently have the radio on top of my computer tower near the wireless router. This is right by the window. Anything wrong with this set up? I'm wondering if it being that close to the computer would cause any interference.

I must have read the RR listings wrong. It seemed like Mesa public safety was all on the RWC and used digital trunking. But I was able to hear dispatch briefly. Thanks for the tip that I should be able to hear all FM designated channels.

I've been trying to get Southwest Ambulance's frequenices to work, but there's nothing on them. Anyone have current frequencies for them?
 

sjlamb

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I would post questions in the AZ section of the forum for the latest information on Mesa. Your poor reception doesn't sound right to me. First suspect would be the antenna that you are using and the second would be the integrity of the antenna jack on the back of the scanner, where it connect to the main circuit board. Something ain't right but again, I would ask in the AZ forum for opinions from other users in the Mesa area.
 

Teebor

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Mesa, AZ
Hey Steve,
Thanks for the advice. I do think that it's the antenna that is giving my problems. I tuned the radio to weather and found that even that came in with a lot of static. So I was fiddling with it and found that if I hold the antenna, the sound comes in much clearer. Is this indicative of an antenna problem?
 

DPD1

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If you wiggle the antenna at the base and the signal cuts in and out, then there's a loose connection there. You should be able to get NOAA clearly. If it's not the antenna, it might be something in the radio. Unfortunately you never know about used stuff.
 

sjlamb

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Messages
865
Location
Lakewood Ranch, Florida 34202
Hey Steve,
Thanks for the advice. I do think that it's the antenna that is giving my problems. I tuned the radio to weather and found that even that came in with a lot of static. So I was fiddling with it and found that if I hold the antenna, the sound comes in much clearer. Is this indicative of an antenna problem?
The antenna you have described is not the antenna that came with the radio. So..... it's anyone's guess as to what type of antenna it may be and what band(s) it is tuned to receive. I would try to find a basic "back of set" extendable whip antenna that is confirmed to be for scanner use.

Without a proper antenna; you're basically trying to listen to a brick. And... as previously mentioned, if reception is "restored" or intermittent when tuned to NOAA weather when you wiggle the bottom of the antenna where in enters the set, then you definetly have an internal problem inside the radio at the antenna input.
 

N8IAA

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Dec 19, 2002
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6,775
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Fortunately, GA
A couple of suggestions, first, move the scanner away from the tower and the router, AC/DC power adapter included. Second, go to your local RS and get either the magmount scanner antenna, or, at least a telescoping antenna with a BNC elbow connector to attach to your scanner. You will be amazed what a difference:) Unfortunately, most of your county has moved to analog and digital trunked systems. It may be in your best interest to get a newer digital scanner. Oh, and the reason the sound got better when you held the antenna, is because you became the ground plane and made the up the other half of the antenna:) This is why you need to get another antenna to make it easier for your scanner to pick up the transmissions.
HTH,
Larry
 
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Teebor

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Feb 6, 2010
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Location
Mesa, AZ
So I did get a new antenna for the scanner. It's a Radio Shack 20-006 telescoping antenna. The reception is definitely an improvement on the old rubber one, but I'm getting very little reception in the 460 range that I'm wanting. I'm not sure if this is because of the radio, antenna, or apartment building. Should I try a different kind of antenna?

The reception also improved a bit when I moved it away from the router. Thanks again for all the help. I'm having a lot of fun with this thing. Wish there was a little more going on tonight, though!
 

DPD1

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Jul 24, 2005
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You can try sliding the antenna down shorter for UHF stuff, it might work better. But I've never found the telescoping ones to work all that great. The Diamond RH77CA is an all around good hand-held antenna. But if you are inside a structure that just has a lot of blocking qualities or noise, that might be the problem. If it gets a lot better outside, then you know.
 
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