Is there such a Scanner?

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Please forgive my ignorance on this, but I'm still realitively new to the scanning world. Ok... I know this is probably a dumb thought but, here's my delima. I live in a fairly rural part of Iowa. I use an outdoor antenna that I have about 25 feet off the ground. I know that frequencies start to over lap every 50 miles approximately and I'm picking up transmissions from about 75 miles from my location that I've been able to identify so far. Here's what got me to thinking about this... the other night I heard my local dispatch call back to an officer to check on him cause his mic got accidentally keyed and it showed her his ID. Which got me to thinking... Is there such a scanner, software or combination of both that allows you to program a frequency and (like the officers radio did at dispatch) show which department, town or anything of the like for that transmission? I'm fiding it very difficult to be able to Identify the transmissions based on peoples voices. I have learned our local dispatch and some of the officers but the other towns don't say this is happyville, ia in such and such county. I've been googling addresses that get called in for things like EMS trying to get an idea of where they might be coming from but then it's just a guessing game from there to which town might be the main for that area or what not. Any thoughts short of buying a crapier antenna so I don't pick up as much would be greatly appreciated. Thanks for your time.

I'm currently using a radio shack Pro-82 handheld scanner that I have attactched to the outside antenna.
 

GTR8000

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Generally speaking, the lower the frequency, the further the radio waves travel, especially over flat, rural terrain with very little in the way to slow those waves down. I'm guessing you've already figured that out, and have noticed you hear Low Band 33-50 MHz from 75 - 100 miles away or more. Not to say VHF or UHF can't travel a good distance also, but Low Band is notorious for being heard at great distances.

Now, the question is, what can you do about it? Well, you certainly don't want to downgrade your antenna, because you still want to capture as many low powered local transmissions as possible. What you can do is take a look at the database for the counties/agencies you listen to, and see if they use a PL or DPL on those frequencies, which will be listed under the Tone column. If you do happen to see PL or DPL in use, you may be in luck. Nearly all modern mid to high range scanners have the ability to set a PL or DPL on the frequency, which when set will only open the squelch when it detects the proper PL or DPL in use. All other users near and far that aren't using the PL or DPL of the agency you want to listen to, the scanner will ignore.

If most of the agencies you listen to use PL or DPL, you may want to consider investing in a new scanner that features PL/DPL capabilities.

(PL/DPL are actually Motorola terms/trademarks, the generic terms are CTCSS and DCS, which you will notice under the features of quite a few scanners.)
 
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Hi Chauffeur6,

Thank you very much for your reply. That really helps me out. I have seen that feature listed on some new scanners that I've looked at but never knew what it was used for. I'll do some checking to see if that might be somethign I could take advantage of around here. Lets hope. Yeah the frequencies that I've been picking up on is in the 150's and 160's for the most part. I'm also getting a few in the mid 400's too but those seem to be dropping off at about 40-50 miles miles from my location and needless to say the 400's that I'm getting that far away is all disp. stuff, nothing in the field. Alright then, thanks again and have a great evening!
 

MaxMan1986

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Chauffeur6 provided some valid information, but it seems to me that he didn't answer the original question. If I'm reading the original post correctly, dragon_slayer79 is looking for a way to identify the transmissions he hears. However, Chauffeur6 provided information on blocking out transmissions that one doesn't want to hear.

dragon_slayer79, it seems to me that what you need is a scanner that provides the capability to program a text identifier for each frequency that you program. There are plenty of scanners available with this feature.

Good luck!
 

GTR8000

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His chief complaint was that his scanner was picking up too much, and he was having trouble identifying what/who he was hearing from distant stations. The key was his statement "Any thoughts short of buying a crappier antenna so I don't pick up as much would be greatly appreciated" which was why I recommended he look into a scanner with PL/DPL functionality. A scanner with alpha tags is not going to help him ID distant stations, nor do I think he's having an issue with ID'ing the local stuff he has programmed in his scanner already. In fact, a scanner with PL/DPL capability as I suggested will help him ID some of those distant stations if they use a PL/DPL when the scanner displays them. Since he is a premium member, he can then search the database for the displayed frequency/PL/DPL combination to better narrow down who he is hearing out there.

The formal answer to his question about a scanner/software displaying the ID of the transmitting radios is: Yes, there are ways to decode MDC ID's. However, if the radios in question aren't programmed to transmit an ID, it's of no value. Also, you need a list of what those ID's correspond to, otherwise they're useless. MDC ID "42A5" is not going to help you figure out what radio is transmitting unless you have a list to compare it to. So no, there is no scanner/software that can absolutely show precisely who is transmitting for each and every transmission you hear out there. Much of the information you get out of a scanner depends upon the radios/systems you listen to.
 
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MaxMan1986

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One of the funny things about internet forums is that two people can read the same post and interpret it completely differently. I thought the key question in the post was this:

Is there such a scanner, software or combination of both that allows you to program a frequency and (like the officers radio did at dispatch) show which department, town or anything of the like for that transmission?
If that is the main concern, a scanner with alpha tags will do the job perfectly.

Chauffer6, this is not to say your interpretation of his post is incorrect. I think it may be that our different interpretations stem from the fact that dragon_slayer79 isn't completely sure of what he's looking for - he mentioned that he's relatively new to scanner monitoring and I get the impression that he's not fully aware of the features that different scanners provide. We've already taken a step in the right direction by providing some information on that, and we'll be able to provide more information once he clarifies what he wants.
 

GTR8000

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Max, I hear what you're saying, but if you take his post in its totality, I believe he's under the impression that every radio out there transmits a unique ID that he would like to be able to "see" on his scanner in order to figure out who he is hearing, i.e. local stuff or some distant stations sharing the same frequencies. His mention of using Google to try to narrow down unfamiliar locations he is hearing from distant transmissions on the same frequencies his local agencies use is what I believe to be the biggest clue as to what he is really asking.

Alpha tags in that case would be totally irrelevant. He already has the frequencies he wants to listen to programmed in the scanner, so when the scanner stops on a particular frequency I think it's safe to assume he already knows what agency that frequency is assigned to. All an alpha tag does at that point is make it a little easier to quickly ID the frequency the scanner stops on, especially if you have hundreds of frequencies programmed. It certainly doesn't help you figure out who else is using that same frequency 75 miles away, especially if your scanner has no PL/DPL capability to help narrow it down.

And again, as far as "unit designators" or MDC decoding or whatever else you want to call it, that only works in certain cases. Most of those ID's are in hex anyway, so as I said previously you'd need an established list to make any sense of them. "5A01" might be the MDC ID for "ABC Town ALS Ambulance 1", but how would anyone know that without having or creating their own list ahead of time?

The answer to his question is that no device exists that can definitively tell you what state/county/town/unit you're hearing. Even the entirety of the RR database doesn't cover a fraction of all the millions of users out there. It may get the frequencies and PL/DPL for a good bulk of the agencies out there, but as far as individual users? Clearly not. Only recently have some users around here been trying to create lists of radio ID's on their local trunked systems, which is a whole other ball of wax than MDC on conventional frequencies.

Maybe the OP will post again and clarify based on our speculation of his posts.
 
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Hi everybody,

Thanks for taking the time to try and answer my appearently vague question. :) Chautteur6 has done a good job in helping me understand how things kind of work. Thats not to say that MaxMan and Judas are wrong, because they to have valid answers to my question. It is funny how things on the internet can be taken completely different ways and in this case both be right. I do under stand that if you know the freq. you want to use and who it belongs to Alpha tags are helpful for IDing channels without having to memorize every single freq. Which would be really nice. I did some checking for the area around me and PL/DPL is used only on about 30% of the channels. So a new scanner would help with those but not all or even most.

When I originally posted I had the mindset of "is there a scanner that could ID a radio by similar means like the officers radio IDed him to disp." not necessarily individual radios, but by groups (ie. police, fire, EMS etc.) but by the post so far I think I gather this is a pipe dream. Sure would be nice if we all could sit down around a table over coffee and discuss scanners and scanning. I obviously have a lot to learn about what is and isn't possible with scanning and it's limitations.

Chauffeur6 had mentioned that a lot of ID's are in HEX and without a list that would be worthless to decode if I understoof that correctly. Is these list something a person can get a hold of, or is it one of those top secret things that nobody knows anything about?

I'll start checking in on this more often to keep things rolling here. I usually haven't gotten many responses on forums outside of RR that I've used in the past, so I wasn't expecting such a fast response on here. It's a nice change of pace. Thanks agian for everybodys time and help.
 

N8IAA

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Dragon_slayer79, welcome to the forums. An inexpensive way to distinguish between the different cities and counties, is, to use a scanner with Alphatags and CTCSS/DCS capabilities. This allows you to program frequencies multiple times and knowing who is transmitting. As far as the MDC 1200 being received on the scanner itself, no it can't. If it is trunked and digital, all the newer digital scanners (RS Pro-106/197, GRE PSR-500/600 and the Uniden 396XT/996XT) will allow you to see not only the TGID, but the individual radio id's. Pro96com, a freeware program for decoding digital signals will do this on the PC.
HTH,
Larry
 
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Hi Larry and thanks for the welcome.

Thanks for the input. I'll save that Pro96com name for possible future use. Around here virtually everything is still conventional with a few systems that are trunked like the power company which I don't think I'd listen to even if I could. Might be fun after sever weather, but out of that time period I can't imagine there stuff being all that exciting. :) I have been seriously considering the Uniden Bearcat BCT15x scanner, but I'm not fully sure that it's my best option. I know it's not digital, but like I said there isn't much digital around my area yet. Secondly the price difference between conventional and digital is huge still and cost prohibitive for me. Thanks again for your input.
Jeremiah
 
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