Just a little perspective...

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Drafin

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A friend of mine and I were having a discussion about the cost of video game systems and he had a great point that applies to the scanning hobby as well so I thought I would adapt it and share.

In North Carolina, Viper is in a lot of areas of the state (if not all) as well as other types of systems that take the latest , greatest scanners. I know that there are still services (commercial, milair, etc.) that you can still monitor with an analog scanner but to monitor public safety you pretty much need a digital scanner in most cases.

Scanners that will allow you to monitor public safety (including most of Viper) in North Carolina cost in the neighborhood of $500. That's a lot of money. But is it really? Most people will gladly pay $10 for a ticket to go to the movies. Get drinks and popcorn and bring a date/spouse and you are in the $50 dollar range for an hour and a half of entertainment. Now if you calculate that out for the cost of 10 movies (15 hours of entertainment) you can buy that spiffy new digital scanner. Now let's say you only buy the ticket to the movies for you and a date, skipping the refreshments, that's still $20 bucks. Even at that price you can buy that scanner for less than 40 hours of entertainment in a movie theater.

How many hours in a couple of weeks do you actually listen to the scanner? I know mine is ALWAYS on. I would venture a guess that I have never owned a scanner that had less that 1000 hours on it. I hate to figure up how much time my current lineup of scanners has on it.

Now I know it's all a matter of perspective. Yes, I understand that $500 is still a lot of money but really the entertainment value and staying informed can actually be justified. Well in my mind anyway. :)

Draf
 

kc4wsd

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Excellent point Draf!
I was actually thinking of it in terms of the number of over-priced specialty coffees that my wife is fond of drinking. If I could just scale her intake back a few drinks per week, I'd have another scanner in no time at all!
Truth of it is, I think we're both up way too late at night.

~David C.


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W8RMH

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Money has never been an issue with me as I have been scanning since the late 60s and a scanner was a must have for work purposes.

I've always had at least 1 scanner to monitor my local services, which was usually state of the art. I don't eat out much and certainly don't pay those ridiculous prices at the movies so in reality scanning doesn't cost that much at all.

When I upgrade to a newer scanner I usually sell the old scanner, plus any new accessories I don't need on ebay and get most of the money back. I also shop around to get the best deal. I even sold some old vintage scanners on ebay which were sitting around for years collecting dust.
 

AA6IO

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When you consider that top of the line scanners 15, 20, and even perhaps 25 years ago were selling in the neighborhood of $500, that price is actually is actually very good for the type of scanners now available. I realize that price and value is a matter of personal perspective, but the OP (Drafin) is right. Basically, it is going to cost you at least 500 dollars (more with antennas, other items) to get into the scanning game in most larger areas.
Yes, I know there is the 20 dollar dongle, SDR, Unitrunker, and DSD+. And I play around with these software programs quite a bit. But they are not going to substitute for your higher end digital trunking scanners. Not yet (IMHO) anyway.
We often see posts about how much it is going to cost me to get started in scanning. Well here in Los Angeles (as in probably most larger areas), it is realistically going to cost $500 plus. I know someone is going to come here and talk about the PRO-18 for $79. But realistically, for the most part, the at least $500 layout is probably about right.
That's still cheap compared to what most hams are paying for decent amateur equipment (excluding the Chinese transceivers for 2 meters). Hey, I see people spending probably 50-100 bucks a weekend on beer and booze.
I have spend a lot of money on amateur radio gear and scanners. But if you divide the dollar amount by the number of hours of use/enjoyment, it is still a great bargain. Hey, if you think this is expensive, get into what my cousin does, drag racing.

Steve AA6IO
 

Drafin

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I have spend a lot of money on amateur radio gear and scanners. But if you divide the dollar amount by the number of hours of use/enjoyment, it is still a great bargain. Hey, if you think this is expensive, get into what my cousin does, drag racing.

Steve AA6IO
Yeah, that was my friend's point precisely. You basically have to break it down into a per hour expense and compare it to known "fun events" to see if that new scanner, computer, tablet, or other piece of electronic gear (or any recreational equipment for that matter) is worth the upfront expense. I dare say that I get the most bang for my buck from the scanner or my desktop computer. Even the PC is misleading though, it's a constant,ongoing expense buying new games and software and Steam is just evil...too easy to spend money for that nice shiny new game. :)

Draf
 
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