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New mobile CB / Scanner User Advice *Road Trip*

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kconner5

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Jun 6, 2014
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Hi all!

This seems like an extremely informative forum. I do apologize in advance if my questions are answered in other places, I did as much searching around the internet as I could but am still extremely confused but eager to learn!

First things first, I am taking a cross country road trip in about a months time. I am leaving from my hometown of New Canaan, CT in Fairfield County and heading to San Francisco and then back.

Ideally I'd love to have a mobile CB and a digital trunking scanner to monitor traffic, speed traps, as well as staying entertained on the trip. I have a MINI Cooper (the big one the Countryman) and will be wiring everything up best I can inside the car.

Let's talk equipment. I've ordered a Uniden BCD396XT Digital Scanner and a Midland 75-822 mobile CB. I have not purchased any antenna's yet but I figured I at least need one for the CB. I'm looking for nothing obnoxious on the top of my car so I was thinking of running a magnetic mount Wilson 36" with an 18 foot Coax (which I hear is the proper way to do it). Is there any way I can use a FLAT COAX cable? I want to run the cable through the headliner up through the rear sunroof, which only tilts and never slides and it would be great if I didn't have a cable running on my roof.

My next question would be programming everything. Pretty sure I can figure out how to tune the antenna for SWR's etc but the scanner I'm extremely confused on. Is there any way I can just keep it on scan for the police channels and call it a day? Do I have to program each frequency I will be in across the whole united states? What's the best way of going about this? The unit says it has GPS scanning capability, so if I plug in a GPS receiver will it only scan areas around where I am automatically?

Thanks everyone for your help in advance. Looking forward to learning about this new exciting hobby!

Kyle
 

krokus

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The 396 does not have the entire US database, but the GPS will enable you to only listen to the things you have programmed in your vicinity. The 436 has the entire database.

As for listening to just police activity, you could use the service search option, but there are some severe limitations on that functionality. The allocations of certain frequencies being used just for the various services were eliminated, so any local government function can use the frequencies. In addition, a lot of law enforcement radio traffic has been moved onto trunked systems, which the service search will not monitor.

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krokus

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Have you made sure it is legal to have a scanner in your car, in the areas you will be driving through?

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kconner5

Member
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Jun 6, 2014
Messages
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So what is probably best, if I'm understanding correctly, is to plan my route out first, and then create groups of all the frequencies I would need to listen to and program them into the unit?

From what I understand about the legality of this is it's a pretty gray area. I heard if you do get stopped, having a HAM radio operating license helps so I was planning on getting that (plus it opens up the pathway to continuing this hobby). But also, if I don't have an external antenna on my car for the scanner then I can either just shut off the scanner and put it away if I am stopped, correct?

Thanks again!
Kyle
 

ofd8001

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Feb 6, 2004
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Location
Louisville, KY
Depending upon how far you'll be traveling, you may have a pretty good chore on programming ahead of you. Fortunately there is software available that can reduce the work involved. If you become a premium subscriber, you can use the software to download the correct data to program your scanner.

GPS based scanning for trips is almost as essential as the scanner in my view. I've done a fair amount of time on the road and using the GPS/scanner to turn things on and off is a great thing.

Doing a police service search might not be all-inclusive. Many locations have gone to trunked systems, which throws conventional frequency service searches out the window.

You'd definitely want to consider an outside antenna for your scanner too. Portable scanners don't do too well in cars while in rural areas.

Lastly do some research on mobile scanner legalities. A number of states prohibit them. Many of these states have certain exemptions that you'll have to research. Generally speaking, a ham ticket usually is one of the exemptions.
 
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