Need advice on scanner purchase

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bill30955

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Hello Forum; I live in Montgomery County PA. Conshohocken Boro.(zip 19428) I am interested in listening to local police, fire and EMS in addition to PA turnpike, PA state police and also aviation frequencies. My last scanner was a Radio Shack 200 channel programmable scanner that I used for 20 years and it always served my purposes. Now with all the new technologies in these new scaners and the trunking of frequencies et al, I just do not know what type of scanner to purchase for the basic listening that I want to do.
I definitely want a table top scanner, not a portable one. Price is a factor but not the final determinant.. As long as I can listen to the above mentioned frequencies, I would be satisfied. I would prefer a scanner that I could enter the frequencies myself within the bands that I would have access to.I do not want to puchase a scanner with tons of features that I know that I will never use. GPS for instance. Looking online for scanners to purchase seems very confusing since much of the terminology has changed. Any advice would be greatly appreciated. Thanks.
 

trap5858

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Your best bet right now would be a Uniden 996XT. It will handle all the current local traffic. Uniden recently came out with a new series and I have no doubt they are excellent radios there are still some bugs to be worked out. PA state police cannot be monitored using technology available today. You can still catch some of the turnpike cars though.
 

bill30955

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OK. Thanks for your help on this. I did see that particular scanner mentioned when I was browsing around for suitable scanners. I used to be able to pick up the PA state police on my old Realistic PRO-2021(?). But as long as I can get the local police,fire and EMS traffic and aviation that would be OK. thanks again.
 

rrbum

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Things have changed...

Hey friend, just a word of advice. If you do get one of the newer (last 10 years or so) unidens, which are great scanners, be prepared to have to do a bit of learning. Gone are the days of banks and channels and now is a time of something called dynamically allocated channel memory. It is a whole nother way of scanning. Do not be intimidated though, many feel it is a better way for scanners to operate. (although I don't see it as any better)
A wonderful resource is marksscanners.com where Mark has taken the time and effort to provide a wealth of great info in layman's terms for many models of scanners.
Bottom line, be prepared to be amazed at how much things have changed since you last had a brand new scanner to mess with.
Decide if you need a digital or an analog for your area. If the future is a consideration then digital is where you want to invest. It boils down to whether or not you need to go digital now, or if you really can hold off until who you want to monitor goes digital and then buy a hopefully state of the art scanner.
Also make sure the agencies you wish to monitor have not gone encrypted. The trend these days is to encrypt everything from undercover ops to dog catchers. Truly a sad time for us old timers.
 

bill30955

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Conshohocken PA
Appreciate the help

Thanks guys for your help. I guess I've been on the sidelines for too long and this technology has passed me by. It seems like scanners have become similar to computers. As soon as you know the answer, someone changes the question. So I must decide precisely what I am interested in and purchase that scanner specifically for that single purpose or go for the all-in-one, top of the line, latest technology scanner. I will think it through and make a decision real soon. But, thanks again for the help.
 

trap5858

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If you get the 396XT there is excellent programming software called freescan that will make setting up the scanner much easier. Don't let the technology scare you off but as the other reply indicated there is a learning curve. There are lots of people on this forum that can help you.
 

CoolBlue87GT

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bill30955 , You might take a look at the Uniden HomePatrol , it's a very easy scanner to setup & use.

I've had one for awhile, have not grown out of it yet. To program, simply enter your zip code. - that's it !
It has some features such as built in recorder, you can select your favorate channel , or record them all overnight, in the morning you can review what happened while you were in dreamland. It records just the actual transmissions, skipping the dead air. You can review 8 hours in 10 minutes.

One more feature I like with this radio, you don't need to purchase software to program or maintain. Unden has free software callled HomePatrol Sentinel. It will allow you to update the database and firmware straight from Uniden.

The cost I've seen as low as $404. <-- That's 100 off retail cost. Without doing a commercial for the retailer I work for, when these are on sale, with a new store charge card, 10% is taken off the cost. The card gives the option to spread the cost over 1 year without interest and no additional costs, no yearly fees. You never need to use the card again. It's a win - win situation.

Good luck with your search, this is one of many good scanners on the market.
 

bill30955

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Conshohocken PA
Thanks, Cool Blue

I scoped out some prices for the Uniden Home Patrol scanner. They vary widely. From 991.00 down to 349.00(refurbished on Ebay). Is refurbished a good option? I don't mind going the extra 100.00 if refurbished is to be avoided. But it sounds like this scanner is what I am looking for right now. Below is the link to the stores and prices I found when I Googled this scanner. Which one is your store?

https://www.google.com/shopping/pro...5uNJ-qisQTz94GwCg&ved=0CE8Q6SQ&prds=scoring:p


Thanks for your help.
 

kh11

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I would avoid the Home Patrol in Montco, as there are plans for the county system to be upgraded in the future, and the HP-1 doesn't handle the latest P25 versions.

A GRE/Whistler PSR-800 will work, or you could also look at either of the two new Uniden models.
 

bill30955

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Conshohocken PA
Guess I should just wait

With all the changes coming in my location, it would seem that I should just wait and then buy a state of the art scanner. I really didn't think it would be this complicated finding a decent scanner for my purposes: local EMS broadcasts and aviation. I just may look for an aviation scanner in the meantime. Thanks.
 

trap5858

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It seems that like computers state of the art exists for about 5 minutes. The technology is changing and systems are constantly being upgraded. Unfortunately scanner technology lags behind. For the current Montco system either the home patrol or the 396xt are fine. By waiting you will miss out on a lot of action.
 
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