New scanner recommendations

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Homemade

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I'm looking at purchasing a new scanner for my father in law. Possible two more for me and my brother in law. We are all involved in the fire industry (retired chief, current chief, and captain). They both have scanners and were told they won't work the with the new p25 digital 800 system we just went live with.

I'm looking for 3 scanners for Christmas for our system. I would like to scan police, fire, ems, and Dpw. I would also like there to be a budget of $200 per unit.

Any suggestions
 

W8RMH

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Well $200 digital scanners may possibly be found used, but expect a lot more for new or Phase 2 capable units, if that is what your area is using.

Price wise this is the best time of year to get some good deals. You need to determine exactly what type of system you will need to monitor and if you want handheld or desktop/mobile units.
 
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br0adband

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As noted above, you need to find out precisely if your local systems you want to monitor are using P25 Phase I or Phase II - Phase II is newer obviously and you'll "pay for the privilege" basically to be able to monitor it effectively with a handheld or mobile/vehicle scanner. It's entirely possible to find P25 Phase I capable hardware used for $200, sure, but Phase II kinda bumps the price a bit because there's a limited number of scanners that can decode it and they're top of the line so getting one used will still be pricey.

I myself just found a Radio Shack Pro-668 P25 Phase I and Phase II capable scanner at a pawn shop $180 (I put it on layaway so I don't actually have possession of it just yet) - since Radio Shack is for the most part no longer what it used to be a lot of the Pro-668 models were dumped at about half their original pricing and sometimes even less when the stores officially closed in 2015 but of course they're not totally dead just yet. If you look on eBay you may find one or more for $200-300. I know you're expecting to keep it at the $200 price point and you might be able to do that for one but finding 3 of them at that price point is unrealistic at this moment unless someone has 3 to dump at one time.

I doubt you'll find any GRE (now out of business officially) or Whistler scanners at that price range and certainly there won't be any Uniden models for P25 Phase I and Phase II support for anywhere near $200, that's just how it goes these days.

Of course, if the systems are strictly P25 Phase I then you can look at other scanners that could be less costly like one of the older Uniden 396T/396XT models that are quite capable for that purpose - they may not provide the same level of audio decoding quality newer hardware can but they'd get the job done. Also older GRE models and potentially used Whistler hardware comes to mind as well (yes I do tend to focus on handhelds more than mobile/vehicle versions so their counterparts would work just as well).

Also keep the older Radio Shack models in mind like the Pro-96 (there's one listed in the RR Classified section presently by member Paco-Jerte - he (or she, I have no idea) seems to go through a lot of scanners quite often so maybe he (or she) is doing it as a side business, I don't know, might be a good idea to check with that member and see if he (or she) would work out a deal for some digital capable scanners, only one way to find out for sure. iirc at one point that member had a bunch of the Pro-668 models when Radio Shack put 'em on clearance/close-out last year so, it's worth taking a shot to see what that person might have at this time.

Basically you don't have much choice but to look at used hardware depending on the needs, and you can roughly expect to be paying just a bit more than $200 per unit but that's how it goes.

Good luck with the search...

(a quick glance at the Sheboygan WI info does show the city/county system is now P25 Phase I so that's where to start looking... the system apparently went live only a few days ago which is probably what prompted this thread to begin with)
 

N8IAA

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I'm looking at purchasing a new scanner for my father in law. Possible two more for me and my brother in law. We are all involved in the fire industry (retired chief, current chief, and captain). They both have scanners and were told they won't work the with the new p25 digital 800 system we just went live with.

I'm looking for 3 scanners for Christmas for our system. I would like to scan police, fire, ems, and Dpw. I would also like there to be a budget of $200 per unit.

Any suggestions
Phase I for your P-25 system. Maybe you could find something, but not at $200 a unit. You didn't say handheld or base. Any of the older GRE/RS scanners, Uniden x96XT scanners should work quite well on your new system. Just so you know, your PD primary for Sheboygan is 'E'ncrypted. Everything else is in the clear.
Larry
 

ofd8001

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There are lots of options, but as noted above anything new that will deal with digital (which you got) is going to be pricey.

If your new system is a simulcast system, the x96 scanners can be touchy. There isn't a lot of information posted on your new system to say for certain that it is.

I too am an old fire guy and if you are like me and take a scanner on trips, one of the Home Patrol line scanners may be good. The HP1/2 models are pretty easy to use and less costly. The x36 HP scanners are a little more complicated but have more features at a higher cost.

If you look around this forum, you'll see how some folks have gotten surplus radios such as Motorola XT3000 from eBay for use as scanners. A lot of hoops may have to be cleared, such as getting them re-flashed and programmed by someone fairly skilled at that. (Generally old and new fire chiefs usually have a friend or two around in the radio shop that might be helpful.) Some of our local fire guys have done this and found it less costly than scanners.

The downside is that you can scan about 12 channels at a time rather than the multitude with scanners.

Back when I was doing the fire chief thing, our fire department set up a Broadcastify feed. We used a "regular" system radio connected to a computer, so the audio is pristine as it gets. So that might be an option. Its good to allow the community to keep up with major incidents and the members also found it beneficial.

Lastly, with the system being new, the database probably will need to be polished up as talkgroups become clarified. Anything you do would be most appreciated. (I'm a little selfish here as my family does a reunion up there and as mentioned above, a scanner is part of travel gear).
 
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gonefishn1

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What ever scanner you land on, you should give PROSCAN software a try. Its a free download.
PROSCAN works great for loading and controlling your scanner from a PC.
 

Nasby

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What ever scanner you land on, you should give PROSCAN software a try. Its a free download.
PROSCAN works great for loading and controlling your scanner from a PC.
But only for Uniden scanners.
 

Homemade

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This is the info i got from radio referance.com. I thought i seen somewhere that we were going p25 phase 2 but i cant tell you what the smart net system is. I would like to look into a base model. I also realized that after some searching models, my $200 budget is a little cheep but its what i can afford with the rest of Christmas shopping. I think this will end up being a "ill put money toward a new scanner" situation. I kind of like the look of the home patrol 1 and 2. Will the HP-1 work with my system?


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Homemade

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And thanks for the replys and not harping on me for not using the search feature, or wanting everything for free. I been on some other fourms where the members can just get nasty, slamming the new guys.


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hiegtx

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This is the info i got from radio referance.com. I thought i seen somewhere that we were going p25 phase 2 but i cant tell you what the smart net system is. I would like to look into a base model. I also realized that after some searching models, my $200 budget is a little cheep but its what i can afford with the rest of Christmas shopping. I think this will end up being a "ill put money toward a new scanner" situation. I kind of like the look of the home patrol 1 and 2. Will the HP-1 work with my system?


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I suspect that the move will be to this system, once full testing and deployment is done:
Sheboygan County (P25) Trunking System, Various, Wisconsin - Scanner Frequencies

As long as there are no plans to eventually migrate that system to Phase II, the HP-1 will work on it. Your statewide system, WISCOM, is also P25 Phase I.
 
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