Do you really need the latest scanner to monitor

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7designs

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New to scanner monitoring. Do you really need the latest scanner to monitor VHF/UHF or is the updated models just to keep up with police/fire/etc. ?

While it would be nice to get everything I have to justify the cost if the latest scanners only get me fire/police over an older model. I have been monitoring SW for a while now but would like to expand.
 

kg4ojj

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Really depends on where you are listening from. From your callsign, I assume you are in South Carolina.

In some states, you'd have to have a digital scanner to receive the newest radio modes used by public safety agencies. In others, or in that same state, many agencies remain on good-old analog VHF or UHF. A scanner with crystals might work.

What excites you about scanning? For me, as a kid, it was "where's the fire engine going?" So, I started with public safety scanning and then, many years later, got into amateur radio. For others, listening above 30MHz is an extension of their hobby.

Research the database for your area (e.g., home, work, frequent travel spots) and the statewide systems. If they are digital, you'll need a digital scanner to listen to them. There is other stuff out there to listen to besides public safety. Many scanner listeners have dedicated scanners for aviation, both civilian and military.

I see from your signature link that you like DX. There are DX elements to VHF and UHF that are associated with weather fronts, etc. From Georgia, I have snagged a few California Highway Patrol dispatches (6 & 10 meters was hot that night, too) and they use low-band VHF around 39 MHz.

A fair price for an analog scanner (new) is $150. The Wiki has a list of popular models. Ask anyone here about their favorite scanner brand and you get the old ham-style "Yaesu vs. Icom" comparisons. If you go digital, it'll be $300-500, depending on the bells and whistles. Don't forget to budget (for some scanners - not all) $30-50 for programming software. You can program a new scanner by hand, but it'll get on your nerves quickly and delay your entry into listening.... Check the Classified Ad section for a good deal on a used scanner - if there's one for your needs.

Have fun with this part of the hobby. Oh, please update your profile to include your city and state - that way we can better help you in the future.

73,
 

7designs

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Upstate SC, near Charlotte
Yes, some more info would be helpful.

I am a ham, I do a lot on 2 meter. I also like SW. I primarily want a scanner to expand my frequency range.
I really am not interested in public safety scanning, but it would not be bad to receive, just not high on my list.

I would like to try to monitor some satellites, aircraft, etc. Really just explore what is out there on VHF/UHF that I don't get on a 2 meter rig.

Looking at the database there is a lot of local public safety that is not digital in the area and my budget tops out at $200 but would like to stay under so I have some for antenna and cabling as well.
So can an older model scanner running in the $50 to $100 dollar range do what I need(Or is there a new with warranty one in that range).

I know I really haven't answered what I want to monitor, but it is because I really just want to explore what is out there. I can just say for sure police/fire is not on the list but would be a nice bonus.

Here is what is in my area as far a s public safety:
York County, South Carolina (SC) Scanner Frequencies and Radio Frequency Reference
Thanks for the responses, hope that helps.
 

KJ6HCB

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From what you said, Id recommend the Uniden BC780XLT. Great for MILAIR receiving as well as VHF/UHF and can do some 800Mhz as well. They can be had for around $100 or just a bit more used. Same with the BCT15...$125-150 range. Both of these radios are mobile/base setups and can be computer programmed which allows you to really get the most out of the unit.
 

kg4ojj

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To listen to York County public safety, you would need a digital scanner. However, the county fire department appears to rebroadcast on VHF analog. But, you said you didn't care so much.....

Aviation scanning is a good example where almost any scanner will do. I'm sure you could find a gently used one for little money. I have one that's been packed away, until a recent military exercise in my area. I pulled it out to listen to the warbirds and have reinstalled it in the hamshack as my aviation scanner. Satellite reception is all about the antenna (likely circular polarized) and a handheld ham radio will work as the receiver. Nothing special, unless the orbiting bird uses narrow FM, and many scanners can do that mode (versus normal FM, such as 2M; but not wide FM).

I suggest you find a good scanner.....handheld or base that fits your budget now. Learn to program it, via computer or manually, and start to enjoy other aspects of the radio spectrum. If in years to come you want to listen to York County public safety then save your dollars and buy a digital scanner. I have had good success with the RadioShack and GRE brands of scanners. Many folks have a RadioShack nearby, so there's a good way to compare prices. Of course, you can compare prices online or even browse the Wiki here and see the various models.

No one streams the York County public safety, but there are other South Carolina counties on the RR Audio stream website: South Carolina Live Police, Fire, and EMS Scanners on RadioReference.com
That's a free solution.....I will occasionally listen to other agencies, especially if the scanner is quiet locally.
 

eagleswings01

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I use a Grecom PSR-310 to monitor civilian and military aircraft - it is a fantastic scanner for $150!
 

jonny290

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Start out with a $100 analog scanner. Then, since you KNOW that we all can't have just one radio, later on you can buy a digital unit and keep your first one for scanning just rail or air or whatever service (it'd be a good thing to program satellite downlinks into and keep on scan hooked to a 1/4 wave outside).
 

Arizona_Scanner

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From what you said, Id recommend the Uniden BC780XLT. Great for MILAIR receiving as well as VHF/UHF and can do some 800Mhz as well. They can be had for around $100 or just a bit more used. Same with the BCT15...$125-150 range. Both of these radios are mobile/base setups and can be computer programmed which allows you to really get the most out of the unit.
I think your advice above is right on the money. The BC780XLT is probably the best analog scanner ever made, and I've pretty much owned them all including the PRO-2006. The 780 bests it by being more modern with more features, including alpha tagging, and you cannot top the 780 for milair which I do quite a bit of. Mine was like $140 on ebay and worth every single penny. A tip for those who buy one...the tiny volume / power knob is known to break over time, so I suggest doing what I do and leaving the power knob on to your chosen volume, and then having the thing plugged into a switched circuit, saving the strain of turning it on each time which is what eventually makes the know break.

On the original question...how important is it to you to monitor your local digital systems? To me it is crucial, but to some it might not matter. Assuming an analog scanner is all you need....
 

7designs

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Upstate SC, near Charlotte
I think your advice above is right on the money. The BC780XLT is probably the best analog scanner ever made, and I've pretty much owned them all including the PRO-2006. The 780 bests it by being more modern with more features, including alpha tagging, and you cannot top the 780 for milair which I do quite a bit of. Mine was like $140 on ebay and worth every single penny. A tip for those who buy one...the tiny volume / power knob is known to break over time, so I suggest doing what I do and leaving the power knob on to your chosen volume, and then having the thing plugged into a switched circuit, saving the strain of turning it on each time which is what eventually makes the know break.

On the original question...how important is it to you to monitor your local digital systems? To me it is crucial, but to some it might not matter. Assuming an analog scanner is all you need....
No, digital, police, fire is of no interest at this time.
 

Rt169Radio

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ScannerWayne

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7designs,

My County and City Public Safety systems are switching over to a digital mode (Pro-Voice) that I won't be able to monitor. So while this change is taking place, I started looking at other things to listen to. I began with Civil Air. I found and programmed all the local Airports and many airfields. Mostly boring, but on occasion something intersting does pop up

Since I'm close to the Gulf Of Mexico I did the Maritime freqs next.

I have several industrial chemical plants in the area and they can be very entertaining to listen to when things are not going well.

Mall Security? It's a hoot.

Local colleges? Weekends are the best time to listen. Especially at night.

As you can probably tell, I could go on and on about all the things you can find to listen too. How do you find them? Well,thjis is a good place to start, but here is a more direct way.

Go to the FCC Data Base Gen Menue Search Engine. Do a Frequency Search for your entire county and copy it over to a suitable media. It will probably be a very large file, mine has over 7000 licenses and go through it at your leisure. You will be surprised at what you find. I get a new copy once a year and usually while watching TV in the evening peruse it.

RR has a port to it with several nice features. While it may take some time to go through it all, I think you'll get an idea of what can be heard in your area and what things might interest you.

Good luck.

Wayne...
 
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