Help with picking right scanner.

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N5JMC

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I'm new to this and want to get a scanner. I live in Central Arkansas and was told that a lot of the police are going to digital and that the state police already have and that I need to get one that can pick up A-WIN. What do I need to look for on a scanner to get this? Just any digital scanner or what? Any help would be greatly appreciated.
 

GROCKSHD

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Feb 16, 2005
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Virginia Beach, Virginia
Hello and Welcome to RR. As you stated A-WIN is digital and if you believe that your local public service departments are gonna follow suit it would be your best interest to go ahead and go digital too.
Here is the link to your state frequency database Arkansas Scanner Frequencies and Radio Frequency Reference
And here is a link to more info on Digital scanners. Category:Digital Scanners - The RadioReference Wiki

Do your reasearch on which scanner would best suit your needs. Everyone here has there on opinion on which scanner is the best, easiest, and user friendly. I personally have a Uniden BCD396XT, an couldn't be happier.
Good Luck and happy scanning.
 
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captclint

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Mountaintop, PA
I'm new to this and want to get a scanner. I live in Central Arkansas and was told that a lot of the police are going to digital and that the state police already have and that I need to get one that can pick up A-WIN.
Welcome to RR. There are really only 2 choices and 4 radios(1 HH & 1 Base/mobile for each company) :GRE Radios and Uniden Scanners . RS is customer unfriendly, and very slow to incorporate firmware fixes and improvements. Uniden and GRE make radios for them, and the are both good about firmware updates, but RS delays firmware updates from both. GRE is the most aggressive and slightly better on customer relations. Also see: Digital Scanner Comparison Chart - The RadioReference Wiki

The basic considerations are as follows:


  1. GRE is more sensitive(gets weaker signals), but that very feature makes them prone to overload if in the city or near any type of radio/TV/cell towers. Previously, GRE was better with digital, but I think that difference has been minimized with the latest firmware from Uniden...see how important firmware can be.
  2. Uniden does not overload as much (hence is not as sensitive), and generally has more features, which you will probably appreciate once you are familiar. For example, they skip over encrypted communications, while GRE just hangs on them producing annoying noise. Also has GPS system control (limited value for a Base unit), and Fire Tone outs (limited value IMHO)
  3. You really need software to program and better understand a digital radio. There is an excellent program for Unidens that is free: FreeScan. GRE typically costs $30-$40

You will find diehards in either camp, but I think they all generally agree on the points above, so you need to decide if you are far enough from the radio signals to justify a GRE.
 
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