New Here! Need Help! Joliet

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bsj7315

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I am new too this... Last time I had a scanner it took crystals. I want to buy a new one(today) but am not sure what to buy and where to pick up the frequency's. I live around Caton Farm Rd and County Line Rd in Joliet. Any suggestions on what to buy and where to obtain this informaition?
 

bigt512

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as for where to get the info. This is the right place or you can look at the Carma Chicago web page. as for what to buy. A lot of that depends on what you want to listen to. Most of the state police units are using digital, and i know Joliet was still on their old trunked system ( well at least as far as the ones at Chicagolandspeedway a couple of weeks a go) maybe someone else can give you better info
 

RADIOGUY2002

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Needed

You proabily better offer to get a digital scanner, but their quite expensive. I have 396T up for sale that can help ya out. Or you check the fs sale forms here, same ya some money. But, like the gentlemen said above me we need to know what you like to listen to. Joilet pd is on a trunked system, so I would suggest at least a trunktracker to follow it. The rest of the stuff in the area you be able to follow pretty well with a trunktracker of some type. However, with a migration to digital booming down on us, you might choose that route instead. But, your best resources for frequencies and guides are here and CARMA.
 

ERICMYERS

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welcome

I live in the same area, bsj7315. Search my old posts, and ones from RoninJoliet on this forum for some relevant information to scanning this area. You don't need digital unless you want to listen to Plainfield PD, Illinois State Police, etc on Starcom. Digital scanners and digital signals are pretty challenging, and you have just a few choices there.

Joliet, shorewood, channahon, bolingbrook, naperville, kendall county, will county, all can be heard on a conventional trunk tracker (non-digital). My 2055 is a good example of a 200 dollar unit to do that which you can buy at radioshack. Joliet is very active, and a lot of fun to listen to. If you're south of Caton Farm, Joliet PD West (dispatch 3) patrols the area, but there's a lot more action in Central and East usually. Frankly, now that I have gotten Plainfield PD to come in clearly on my 20-176 antenna this week, it's disappointing that there isn't much interesting action to listen to, but I've crossed the technological hurdle.

whatever you do, get the software and cable to program your new scanner. It's so worth the 50 bucks, as programming by hand is technically possible, but in my opinion, completely unrealistic in this area....we have so much good stuff to listen to. You'll also want a premium subscription to RR database so that you can get the data into your scanner easily.

Welcome!
 

bsj7315

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Thank you for all the valuable info!! I did not know that you could subscribe to a service to program your scanner how does one go about that?
 

ERICMYERS

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Vendors like scannermaster, a sponsor of RR actually will program your scanner for a small fee if you buy from them. I bought my 996 from them and I highly recommend ScannerMaster. I also bought my ARC996 software and programming cable from them at the same time.

If you buy one from Radio Shack, they'll load up 'some' local stuff, but that's not really what you want...more like a tease.

RadioReference has a database (list of frequencies) that you can look at for free and theoretically, you could write all the information down and key it into a scanner. You can also subscribe to Radioreference and, using software and a cable to your scanner, upload data to your computer and scanner in bulk, formatted correctly, completely....this how most of us do it.

The way this works these days (I've been doing this for about 20 years) is a lot different than before. If you're tech averse, seriously consider buying from scannermaster and paying for the hometown programmming. If you're OK with tech, commercial software like Winxx from Starsoft is OK on the GRE's (Radio Shack), and ARCxx from Butel will pull data directly from RadioReference Database if you have a premium subscription. Other scanner folks will share their 'profiles' (programming files that can be put in or pulled out of a modern scanner) Make no mistake, programming these things can be a pretty big learning curve, but the software makes it a lot easier, and there is a lot of information available. In a few hours, most people can learn enough to be up and scanning. The fine details part of the hobby take more learning time.

Welcome to the hobby....don't get overwhelmed. lots of folks can help you.
 

GlennGlenn

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Vendors like scannermaster, a sponsor of RR actually will program your scanner for a small fee if you buy from them. I bought my 996 from them and I highly recommend ScannerMaster. I also bought my ARC996 software and programming cable from them at the same time.

If you buy one from Radio Shack, they'll load up 'some' local stuff, but that's not really what you want...more like a tease.

RadioReference has a database (list of frequencies) that you can look at for free and theoretically, you could write all the information down and key it into a scanner. You can also subscribe to Radioreference and, using software and a cable to your scanner, upload data to your computer and scanner in bulk, formatted correctly, completely....this how most of us do it.

The way this works these days (I've been doing this for about 20 years) is a lot different than before. If you're tech averse, seriously consider buying from scannermaster and paying for the hometown programmming. If you're OK with tech, commercial software like Winxx from Starsoft is OK on the GRE's (Radio Shack), and ARCxx from Butel will pull data directly from RadioReference Database if you have a premium subscription. Other scanner folks will share their 'profiles' (programming files that can be put in or pulled out of a modern scanner) Make no mistake, programming these things can be a pretty big learning curve, but the software makes it a lot easier, and there is a lot of information available. In a few hours, most people can learn enough to be up and scanning. The fine details part of the hobby take more learning time.

Welcome to the hobby....don't get overwhelmed. lots of folks can help you.
Not to Hijack a thread, BUT as a newbie too, i am looking for advice on WHAT to buy. I want a digital, since that seems to be the wave to the future and am looking for ISP, Northern Cook and Lake Counties Sheriff and also aircraft. Its down to a GRE or Uniden?/ Any thoughts?? I am in Mundelein IL (Lake County) and from what I understand, all the burbs are going digital up there??? Correct me if I am wrong, as I am new to this stuff?? Now, ask me about radar detectors and I'll tell you what you want to know!!!
 

RADIOGUY2002

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No hijack

You did not hijack the thread, its the right place. But its a hit or miss by opeartor wheater you chose uniden over gre. I have been a uniden man all my life, however I'm not impressed with the audio quality and loss on the 396T, some others will swear by them. As far as the 996T I love it, so take it for what is worth.
 

GlennGlenn

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You did not hijack the thread, its the right place. But its a hit or miss by opeartor wheater you chose uniden over gre. I have been a uniden man all my life, however I'm not impressed with the audio quality and loss on the 396T, some others will swear by them. As far as the 996T I love it, so take it for what is worth.
Thanks Ryan. How well do the new units capture the IL SP and others on digital trunks??? I am torn between the GRE and the Uniden (I own an original Beartracker BCT -2 from years ago) and loved the unit, BUT it dont work now that we have all of this rebanding etc etc. Where would you buy from if you were in the market for a digital unit right now???
 

ERICMYERS

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It's not just the radio, it's the antenna setup, your location relative to the towers you want to hear, etc. Uniden/GRE or Ford/Chevy....to me it's not 'brand' as much as it is other aspects like features and support. Both are good brands, pricing at the digital level is the same. You can't really go wrong either way, IMO.
 

N9JIG

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Not to Hijack a thread, BUT as a newbie too, i am looking for advice on WHAT to buy. I want a digital, since that seems to be the wave to the future and am looking for ISP, Northern Cook and Lake Counties Sheriff and also aircraft. Its down to a GRE or Uniden?/ Any thoughts?? I am in Mundelein IL (Lake County) and from what I understand, all the burbs are going digital up there??? Correct me if I am wrong, as I am new to this stuff?? Now, ask me about radar detectors and I'll tell you what you want to know!!!
There is no reason to get a digital scanner in the Mundelein area if you are only interested in local activities such as Lake County Sheriff, Mndelein PD & FD etc. The only digital activity in the area is the State Police (and other state agencies) on the StarCom21 system, NWCD (BG, AH etc.) a bit south of you and soon the McHenry County Sheriff. There are no plans for LCS, MPD or MFD to switch to digital.

That said, you will want a digital scanner if you want to listen to the State and others listed above or travel to areas that digital is in use.

If you do want digital then you have 3 basic choices: GRE, Uniden and Radio Shack.
Each makes digital scanners that can handle the StarCom sites in northern Cook, Lake and McHenry Counties, (The RS scanners can not handle 700 MHz. sites such as the ones in south Cook). Download the manuals for each and see which one seems right for you.

The basic consensus from most people is that the GRE has better audio and digital decode on the local sites (due to simulcast issues) but the Unidens are easier to program for many. The Radio Shack are easiest to program but are limited to 10 banks, while the others have a different memory management system that allows many more systems to be programmed.
 

RADIOGUY2002

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Choices....

Lake Counties Sheriff -Edacs, if at all make sure you get a trunktracker if you do not chose a true digital scanner such as the 996t, 396T or the GRE Version. With rebanding considered beither ver gre/uniden will support it, maj. of people support the better audio for the gre -500/600 version. But, its your 500.00 dollars so do not let us make the choice for you, take a look at the specs and pdf files and compare like rich said.
 

ERICMYERS

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I meant to get this point out earlier.....it's a simple thing that can be taken for granted by experienced users, and an iimportant issue for new scannists thinking of buying a modern scanner.

Make it a point to get a scanner with alpha-tagging. Cheaper scanners can receive and trunk most of what we all listen to, but it's a lot more fun to scan trunked systems or multiple systems at the same time with a scanner that says in english what group it is that you are hearing than just seeing talk group id's or frequencies. This is one reason to consider something like the RS2055 (relatively low cost, available everywhere, good performance) over something barely 40 bucks less that doesn't do alpha.
Eric
 

swstow

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if your looking for a good basic scanner without a lot of toys, my money is on the GRE
good scanner,good sound and easy to program with the right software
 

GlennGlenn

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if your looking for a good basic scanner without a lot of toys, my money is on the GRE
good scanner,good sound and easy to program with the right software
quite often.


Thanks for all the info, I've narrowed it down. Well, given that, Its going to be digital so I will either get the Uniden 996 or the GRE 600. Now the question is, where to buy it from who offers "service after the sale?" Many of the forum regulars say the 600 is easier to update and in fact scanners-direct says this:"

GRE-600, Just Like Uniden BCD996T, Many More Features, Much Easier To Program, Less Cost!!!"

I dont know if thats true or not???
 

ERICMYERS

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'easier' is totally a relative thing. From scratch, neither one is 'easy'. Any modern scanner has a learning curve, and the more complex the scanner, the bigger the curve. There is a lot of information about programming on RR forums and the wiki's and other sites like CARMA that will help you. You will have to learn the scanner's controls, the software you use to program with, the nuances of all the settings for the different types of systems. Read the manual, read the forums, then try it. Ask for help when you get stuck.

I think I had 5 or 6 builds of my programming for the 996 over the course of a month or so before I was happy with the programming, and I still find ways to adjust the programming to make it work better for how I like to scan.

Personally, I think that programming these things is one of the most interesting parts of the hobby. If you don't like that part, get the thing preprogrammed from your vendor or you'll be pretty upset with your new toy. Just learning how to use a 996 that is already programmed takes more time than you might think.

these are really cool, really high tech toys and to get the most out of them takes a little effort.

I'll say again, that I was REALLY pleased with Scannermaster's service, and I'm willing to pay a few bucks more with a reliable vendor with knowledgeable staff. I'm sure that there are other good vendors, but I have no experience beyond RadioShack (convenient, but devoid of any intelligence) and Scannermaster. As far as what to buy, buy what you like....if you become a true scannist, you'll buy another sooner than you think and you can get 'the other one' then!

Radioshack scanners are made by GRE, and they do have better sound than Unidens in my experience. For me, that's basically irrelevant, because nearly all of my listening is through headphones to avoid annoying my wife!!
 

RoninJoliet

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Eric, would you conclude that the new tower in Plainfield on the water tower has helped your coverage of PLFD PD on T113 or caused more multi-path problems.... Ron in Joliet: Uniden396,898,245,246,GRE500, RS2096/PRO96...ScannerMaster Tri-Band (2), RS-Groundplane-25-1.3 (3), FT50 Ham H/H....
 

ERICMYERS

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Frankly, Ron, I think it helped me a lot. I couldn't receive PPD reliably at all in recent months, and the rest of Starcom was hit or miss save for the tollway and District5 that I could grab from the Dupage site. Will County 113 was basically useless for me. I'd all but given up and just spent time scanning Joliet and WESCOM. I'd left the 996 on the RS 800 rubberduck because it's really good for Joliet (and that's the most interesting to listen to usually) but it doesn't pull in Starcom well at all certainly not at the distance of Dupage site. Then I started messing around with antenna testing again when I read that silly thread about the telescoping antenna that comes with the radio, ended up back on the 20-176, and I get PPD and the rest of Starcom on Will County site really well now.
 

RoninJoliet

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Yes, i went over to Kendall county today past the water tower and heard PLFD with no drop-outs and the CC was solid...I set there ID1001 on manual which was solid and no drop out but other IDs from D2 and CHi-D15 were dropping out, thats wierd...Multi-path is a curse on scanners....Ron in Joliet
 
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