Is it still worth it?

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CCWTech

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I'm considering buying a scanner. I am in the Salt Lake County Utah market. My main interest would be Police/Fire/EMS.

I am concerned that as upgrades happen channels will be encrypted and I will own a brick. Is it still worth it to buy a scanner or will it be obsolete (due to encryption) in the near future?
 

Gymbag

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You can check the RR database to check out the radio systems in use in your area. Also you might want to ask a moderator to move your question to the Utah page?
 

mmckenna

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I'm considering buying a scanner. I am in the Salt Lake County Utah market. My main interest would be Police/Fire/EMS.

I am concerned that as upgrades happen channels will be encrypted and I will own a brick. Is it still worth it to buy a scanner or will it be obsolete (due to encryption) in the near future?
No consumer scanner is going to decrypt encrypted traffic. If the agencies you want to listen to go to encryption, you will not be able to listen.

Encryption keys are closely guarded things, and even if you purchased an LMR radio, programmed it to receive the system, you are not going to get the keys.

But, don't give up. Not all agencies choose to go encrypted.
 

KB7MIB

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It's rare for fire and EMS to fully encrypt. On a trunked system, there may be a few, or many, encrypted talkgroups for arson investigations, inspections, medic-to-hospital comms, etc, (as there are here in the Phoenix area) but, for the most part, fire/EMS dispatch and tactical (on scene) comms will be in the clear.

John
Peoria, AZ
 

jonwienke

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Encryption is especially problematic in interop situations. When you have multiple agencies using encyryption each with their own key management schemes and rekey cycles, keeping everyone talking to each other is a real headache. DC learned that the hard way a few years ago in the metro tunnel fire incident--the responding agencies couldn't talk to each other because keys had been updated in one agency but not passed on to all interested parties.

There are occasional situations where encryption is appropriate or necessary, but for fire/EMS it's usually more of a drawback than an asset.
 

CCWTech

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Main focus

Main focus would be on Police. Maybe mod can move to Utah so someone in that area may know how soon that will be.
 

NC1

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CCWTech, it's like chasing your own shadow, I feel the same way - so I got my Amateur radio license and an HF rig instead of a new scanner.

When new technologies make my current scanners useless, they will retire to the garage where I can look at them occasionally and remember a time when scanning was a fun and inexpensive hobby.
 

pinballwiz86

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It may be called a police scanner...but it's not limited to just listening to law enforcement/fire/ems!

You can listen to a lot of more!

Airplanes
Taxis
Trains
CB radio
Walkie talkies
Baby monitors
Ham radio
Utilities
FM radio
Military airplanes
Cordless phones
Race cars
Ships

and lots more! So, no. This hobby will never die even if every police agency encrypts.
 

Station51

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worth it ?

I guess that would depend upon if you had an interest in the radio services listed above.
Personally my monitoring has always been POLICE activity.
With encryption gone wild in Southern California the available POLICE systems in my area have been reduced by about 80%
Having said that; I still purchased a Home Patrol II about 6 months ago,
Not pleased with the sound quality, and find that I mostly monitor things that I could hear on a conventional scanner or my Yaesu FT-8800R ( I'm a licensed HAM )
I guess whether it has a value to YOU would be the systems in your area, their proposed changes if any etc.
The majority of unencrypted communications such as FIRE, Business etc can be monitored on an inexpensive scanner.
Good luck !!
 

kf7yn

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Lots of posts from people outside the area so let me chime in since I live in the Salt Lake Metro area. Very little is encrypted here, and not likely to be anytime soon. I would say almost everything you want to hear is on the UCA 800 MHz trunked system. around 95% is analog, a few have digital capability (seldom used) and what is encrypted is mainly Metro Task Force type agencies and Life Flight. I say go ahead and get that scanner, you will enjoy it.
 

CCWTech

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Ok, then...

Is there a decent scanner that will do the Salt Lake City Metro area that won't break the bank? I'd like to not pay more than $200 if possible.
 

CCWTech

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It may be called a police scanner...but it's not limited to just listening to law enforcement/fire/ems!

You can listen to a lot of more!

Airplanes
Taxis
Trains
CB radio
Walkie talkies
Baby monitors
Ham radio
Utilities
FM radio
Military airplanes
Cordless phones
Race cars
Ships

and lots more! So, no. This hobby will never die even if every police agency encrypts.
I appreciate that but my interest is in PD mostly.
 

gldavis

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Is there a decent scanner that will do the Salt Lake City Metro area that won't break the bank? I'd like to not pay more than $200 if possible.
Any of the current trunking scanners on the market will work in the SLC area. If you are looking at an older model, check that is reband capable.
I purchased a Whistler TRX-2 about a month ago, and it has opened a new world of traffic for me. But it is also double your price.
 

kf7yn

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A good choice is the Uniden BCT-15X which is about $155 on Amazon and similarly priced elsewhere. It can easily be programmed with Freescan.
 

bchris

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I agree with kf7yn. The BCT-15X is well worth the price for the Utah area. I actually own 3, plus it's big brother the 996 that does digital, but no encryption. I move them around between multiple cars and house. It is never apparent where the 996 is, as far as what I hear. But the price is literally double.

I would think the big jump for any agency would be from analog to digital. Once using digital, I would think encryption would be a button press away. So, for our area who uses very little digital at this time, a BCT-15x is a very cost effective and therefore lower risk solution. When everyone is digital and encrypted, we're all screwed anyway. But you will definitely get your money's worth out of a BCT15x before then. I use the GPS with all of them for traveling. I also have the handheld versions 346 and 396. I love em all.

Oh, yea... The programming cable for the BCT15x generation is indeed proprietary. Not like patent protected, but much easier to buy than build. It looks like the very newest Uniden models use straight-up USB. Very nice for those buying the newer models. I could not follow your link to verify if it is the right one.
 
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CCWTech

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Cable

Thanks. The one question I still have is about programming...

Is this cable proprietary or just a USB cable? http://amzn.to/2q8LJUu

I'm assuming I need it to use with Freescan software.
 

n0xvz

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It's not a standard USB cable. You'll want it if you're trying to program with Freescan.
 
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