Looking to get started: question!

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mjuszczak

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Hi all,

I know nothing about frequencies, but I'm curious. I've been reading threads about the ability to listen to the ISS and space shuttles as they take off if I tune to a certain frequency, truckers on the highway if I tune to another frequency, random people in random portions of the country or world on HAM if I tune to another frequency, and finally, train discussion from engineers if I tune to another frequency as a train is passing by (or if I happen to be on Amtrak).

Is there a single radio receiver I can buy (like a hand held one) that would catch all this cool stuff, or does it require different radios?

This one was recommended to me:

Icom IC-R6 Wideband Receiver. Icom R6 radio

But that seems to be a wideband receiver, which differentiates from a "shortwave" receiver that can hear HAM, correct?

I've been seeing some conflicting information on the 'net: some say you can get a single handheld that will allow you to listen to almost anything, and others that say you need a specific radio to hear world-wide/local HAM radio.

Thanks for any help with this! I'd really like to get into it, even if I need to buy two radios! I'd like a portable device so that I can bring it with me when I go places.
 

zerg901

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In general it seems to me that most scanners sold in the USA will cover 30 to 50 megahertz, 150 to 170, and 450 to 520 megahertz. Many scanners will also cover the 800 Mhz (and the newer 700 Mhz) range. Some scanners cover the aviation bands - 120 Mhz to 137 Mhz - and - 200 mhz to 400 Mhz for military aviation.

Fewer scanners have extended coverage into the lower / shortwave frequencys (for worldwide coverage). Maybe someone else can talk about them - I am not familiar with them.

Hope that helps - Peter Sz
 

N8IAA

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To pick up on what zerg901 has written, most new scanners will monitor from 25-54Mhz, 108-174Mhz, 216-512Mhz, 764-824Mhz, 849-869Mhz, 894-960Mhz, and 1240-1300Mhz. This covers all the ham bands in FM mode: 10m (28-30Mhz), 6m (50-53Mhz), 2m (144-148Mhz), 1 1/4m (220-224Mhz), 73cm (440-448Mhz), 920Mhz, and 1240-1300Mhz. Between all those I just mentioned is CB, VHF lo-band, VHF air, VHF hi-band (public service, railroads, and government), UHF air, UHF public service and government, and most talked about, 764-960Mhz trunking. Some other scanners in the $500 dollar range also include frequencies in the 70Mhz range, and 88-108Mhz FM broadcast band.
You will find that the R6 is a good communications receiver, and not a good scanner. You will be hard pressed to get any shortwave on such a small radio. You certainly will not hear any of the HF ham frequencies (mainly because they use USB and LSB modes to talk in the 3.7-29Mhz range). So, if you are looking to monitor trains, planes, and hams, with a little trunktracking, a good all purpose analog scanner will fit your needs. GRE and GRE made for radio shack scanners will allow you to listen to UHF air comms, the Uniden 346 does not have that range. All the $400-$500 scanners will. Uniden also throws in the 70-108Mhz band. Now, if you wish to listen to trunking, make sure that you go to the radio reference database and look up your state, county, and local cities as to what kind of trunking they do. There is still a lot of analog trunking, but, digital is gaining ground on the trunking scene. If you see FDMA, P-25 for your local system, you will need one of the $400-$500 scanners to monitor.
HTH,
Larry
 

mjuszczak

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Thanks for the reply!

So what will the R6 do for me that the other devices you mention will not? And is it possible to get a handheld device that can pick up HAM, trains/planes, trunking, and government?
 

zerg901

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mjuszczak - I think your basic question at this point is - Are there any handheld scanners that also receive shortwave? I think the answer is "no" but I am not positive. You might try to Google for Jupitera - that might have been a handheld scanner that fits the bill. You could also try going to Bob Grove's website or the Scanner Master website and check around. Peter Sz
 

cpuerror

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There is nothing out there that does absolutely everything in one box. Most people combine a public safety scanner and an HF receiver and that gives very good coverage of what's out there to listen to.

The Icom you mentioned attempts to do everything but isn't going to do anything great. For example, it doesn't support trunking or P25 voice formats. As an HF receiver, you will need an external antenna to listen to most ham broadcasts and chances are this very small radio will be overloaded. Small speakers don't lend themselves to HF audio either.
 
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