First Timer - Be Gentle

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n00b

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Hey there, folks. I am interested in getting started in listening to scanners, and thought this would be a good place to get some recommendations on scanners. I'm certainly not looking for anything fancy, just police/fire and weather, if possible. I do live close to a military base, so if would be possible to pick up anything from there, that would be awesome, but that seems like it may be more fancy than I'm willing to pay for. :) Speaking of which, I'd like to spend about 50, if that's possible, but certainly no more than 100.

I don't know if it matters, but I live in Johnson County, Indiana.

Also, I live in the shadow of a cell phone tower. Will that hurt my reception?

Like the name says, I'm a total n00b when it comes to this. My dad had a scanner when I was a kid, and I loved listening to it. With the tornadoes recently and the flooding today, it's got me thinking of picking up a scanner of my own.

I just found your forum, so I apologize if these are stupid questions.

Thanks a lot.
 

DPD1

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Looking at the info for your county on the site... Unless I missed something, luckily for you it looks like most of the services around you are still using plain old analog. So good news is that's the cheapest scanner. Bad news is you'll be hard pressed to find a new one for $50. Other bad news is that the mil stuff is usually going to be one of the more expensive radios. I would check out something like the uniden 72xlt... Basic, easy and good starter radio.

Dave
www.DPDProductions.com
Antennas & Accessories for the RF Professional & Radio Hobbyist
 

n2mdk

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Welcome to the forum and website.
Looking at the database for your area http://www.radioreference.com/apps/db/?ctid=733 for now a regular conventional scanner should do. The cell phone tower might cause some problems but looking at the frequencies being used there I think you will be alright.
You should be able to find something in your price range that will work for you. You can get the above mentioned 72XLT from http://www.unidendirect.com/itemdetail.cfm?item=B-BC72XLT&tabid=1
For $70. It's a like new but they are fine coming from the manufacturer. The 92 is $90 http://www.unidendirect.com/itemdetail.cfm?r=n20080601&item=BC92XLT&tabid=1
 
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ka3jjz

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Bowie, Md.
Expensive for milair? I think not. The BCT15 can be had for around USD150 or USD200, as can the old but still available used BC780. The PRO-97 and 2055 can be found for around the same prices.

When you compare that to the cost of a digital trunktracker, that's pretty cheap. Granted, not USD100 - save some money for a newer scanner, you will do better in the end.

73 Mike
 

af5rn

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Good news is that you apparently don't need digital, giving you a much greater selection of radios to choose from at a much lower price. Also, you don't need low-band reception where you are, so that gives you a better choice of antennae to select from.

Bad news is that you definitely do need a trunking scanner for most of what you'll probably want to listen to. Of course that depends on exactly where you live (yes, it is the most important piece of information), and exactly what your interests are. For example, some of us only listen to fire and don't care about cops. Some of us are just the opposite. Some only listen to planes and trains. That and your location will figure into deciding exactly what you need.

The cellphone tower may or may not affect your reception, but as long as it is only a cellphone tower, it should not.

Here's the listing for your county... http://www.radioreference.com/apps/db/?ctid=733 The "Indiana Project Hoosier SAFE-T" trunk system listed is where most of the action seems to be, but there are apparently still a lot of things to be heard on the 400mhz conventional systems too, which is great!

Between Uniden and Radio Shack, there are quite a few options. Some mobile, some desktops, some handhelds. Depends on where you want to do your listening, but if weather is an interest, then I'd definitely go for a handheld that can operate on batteries. It's a little less convenient to use than a desktop or mobile, but at least it works when the storms knock your power out!

Get one that covers the 800mhz band and does trunking. Get one that allows you to tag your channels with an alphanumeric name instead of just the frequency number. Everything else is relative and subjective. Just remember, the more expensive a scanner is, the more complicated it probably is, and the learning curve can be huge. I wouldn't spend much over $200 for whatever you get.

Good luck!
 
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DaveNF2G

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When I saw ka3jjz in the thread, I thought he had already recommended the Wiki, but not so. :)

RadioReference has its very own Wiki that is packed with scanning info of all sorts. It will be very helpful for you to start browsing there.
 

n2mdk

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After looking things over you might need a trunking scanner. It's best to ask in the IN regional forum and see just how much traffic is still carried on the conventional frequencies.
 

hfxChris

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After looking things over you might need a trunking scanner. It's best to ask in the IN regional forum and see just how much traffic is still carried on the conventional frequencies.
Not only that, but they might be able to give a better idea on the future of the system; there could be rumors around that your system may be moving to the 700MHz band, or some users may be moving to digital communications, in either case requiring a more expensive radio...Would be a shame to buy a $150-200 trunking scanner, only to realize in 6 months time you now need a $500 scanner :)
 

jerk

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You need a trunking scanner, a digital is highly recommended.
Johnson County is slim to none on VHF except for fire paging. Depends on what you want to monitor. And the analog groups have been testing digital. Don't know what that means yet, except there is a possbile switch coming up in the future for them. Everything else in on Safe-T system. State, DNR, State DOT, Emergency management etc.

ISP is on this system as well, so is Columbus, parts of it anyways.
But I don't monitor those parts... best to ask your questions in the Indiana forum.
I recommend a used digital scanner if you can't afford the high price of a new one, otherwise go for the new either GRE 500/600 or a Uniden 396/996.
 

n00b

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Hey, thanks for your replies. I'll repost this in the Indiana forum and see what they say!

There are a lot of stuff that you guys are talking about that is making my head spin, so I'm going to delve into the Wiki in the next few days. Thanks for pointing that out. There's so much info I don't really know where to start learning!

One more question: is there a good place to buy used scanners, aside from the eBays/Craigslists of the world? Any place offline?

Thanks again.
 

af5rn

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One more question: is there a good place to buy used scanners, aside from the eBays/Craigslists of the world? Any place offline?
Someone is always selling one here. They go blow over $500 bucks on a radio, then remember that they don't even know how they are making their rent this month, so suddenly their priorities change drastically, lol. But I have yet to see anyone selling one here for a decent price. Most still want more than you can get it for new. Scanning is rapidly becoming a rich man's hobby.

You can also camp out at www.unidendirect.com and hope they have a sudden glut of returned radios that they are selling reconditioned for a good price. That seems to be rare though.
 
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DaveNF2G

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People who sell used electronics don't seem to be aware of the rule of thumb which says that a piece of equipment depreciates by about 50% when you take it out of the store, and again by about 50% of the remaining value when you take it out of the box.

I can't understand why people buy scanners, decide they don't like them, and then don't simply return them to the purchase place for a refund.
 

af5rn

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N. Tex / S. Fla
People who sell used electronics don't seem to be aware of the rule of thumb which says that a piece of equipment depreciates by about 50% when you take it out of the store, and again by about 50% of the remaining value when you take it out of the box.
Yeah. Fortunately for them, the buyers don't seem to be aware of it either! :lol:
 

sound_efex

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Caldwell Co. KY
a good place to buy used scanners

Some pretty good deals can be made at pawn shops. You can sometimes negotiate the price lower. As an added bonus (because these are used radios from the local area or nearby) many local frequencies are pre-loaded.
 
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