Newbie looking for first scanner

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Flask

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Mar 28, 2012
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Hello Everyone
I live in Thunder Bay, Ontario, Canada, and thinking about getting into the hobby of scanners.
I have lurking around here for a while now, an have found that this can be quite a confusing hobby.
It seems like the more I read, the more unsure I am about what to buy.
I would like to listen to all the basic stuff, police, fire departments, ems, maybe planes and trains as well.

Don't mind spending upwards of $500.00, will this get me a good scanner?
I can't seem to find out for sure just what I need to listen to the police, are they digital, trunking or not?
Will any decent digital scanner serve my needs?
Is it possible that the police would be encrypted, and I may not be able to listen to them at all?
Would be nice to be able to get together with someone else that lives in Thunder Bay and sit down for a chat & coffee.

Any help is very much appreciated.

Thanks
 

CanWoodsman

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Jun 9, 2009
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211
Location
Seaforth, On., Canada
Not from the area but you'll want both digital & trunking to keep all your options open.
As for some transmissions being encrypted yes some will be (police) but most will not be.
Most OPP will be readable. Fire, ambulance, planes & trains should be also fine.
 

Gator596

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Sep 4, 2009
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Location
Niagara Region - Canada
Hi Flask - Welcome to RR!
The database has a list of the frequencies and sytems in use around T-Bay. You can find it here: Thunder Bay County, Ontario (ON) Scanner Frequencies and Radio Frequency Reference (all links on RR are blue) Check out the systems that are being used and shop accordingly. For slightly more that $500 you should be able to get set up with a first class scanner and base antenna. You will be able to spend less if you are wanting a portable (walkie-talkie sized) unit.
Good luck and enjoy!
 

Trekker65

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Location
Flower Mound, Texas
Newbie Scanner

For your area in Thunder Bay I did not see any notes on RadioReference database that anything is encryped or digital so you could get by with a fairly inexpensive analog scanner. However, as a beginner that has the funds, I would highly recommend the Uniden HP-1. In the complicated scanner world of today the HP1 makes an easy and less frustrating start for a beginner. The HP1 will include the software to keep your radio frequencies current for your area and if they do go digital there is very little hassel to keep running. The database from RadioReference includes Canada. Just load the database for your area and the radio handles all the rest. No need for complicated programming. I have been scanning for years and have had just about every scanner made, some complicated and some as simple as just turning the set on. I have just recently purchased the HP1 and enjoy it as much as any radio I have had. Another consideration if you want to go with a little less money on the radio and sink a little more money into a outside antenna at a high altitude you just have to consider the Radio Shack Pro 107. It is not digital but your area may not be digital for awhile. You can find great deals on the price with refurbished units or sale prices. Found a second one for myself just this week for $75. The Pro107 has software with it to keep your freq database up to date through RadioReference and can be carried all around Canada and the USA. I am assuming you have a computer to run the software and get on the internet to download current software and firmware updates.
Welcome to the wonderful world of scanning.
 

mikewazowski

Forums Manager/Global DB Admin
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Jun 26, 2001
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11,755
Location
Central Ontario
Stay away from an analog only scanner if you want to listen to the OPP.

I'd recommend something a little more advanced then a Home Patrol or a GRE 900 considering the relatively low number of submissions for the Thunder Bay area that I've seen.

If a change is made, you'll be waiting for somebody else to find it, submit it, RR to enter it, Uniden to add it and you to upgrade your scanner.

Far easier to search out the change and make the change yourself.
 

Trekker65

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Joined
Oct 25, 2008
Messages
53
Location
Flower Mound, Texas
Try the Live Audio Too

Be sure to check out the live audio for your area here on RadioReference.
Thunder Bay City Fire and EMS Live Scanner Audio Feed
See if there is enough excitement there for you or if you want to get a scanner that will search for any and everything in your area and then program it all in to the scanner yourself. Just depends on whether you want to be the frequency detective for your area or just want to use and listen to the known activity for your area. The hobby can be exciting and simple or exciting and very detailed. Finding an elusive service frequency can be as rewarding as homing in on the basic fire/ems/police and hearing the news before the tv channel. The HomePatrol 1 and the Pro 107 have the feature of being able to add new frequencies but are not the best for searching for new activity. However I have used my Pro107 service search and signal stalker features to find many a new transmission. The hobby has a little something for everyone. Next you will probably start thinking about getting your Amateur Radio License (Ham).
 

VE3JSO

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Joined
Mar 3, 2007
Messages
985
Location
sarnia ont
i would recommend the pro 18 or psr 800 or home patrol 1 for the ease of programming for someone that is starting out in this hobby but for some one that has knowledge on the scanners or can pick thing up easy i would recommend the pro 106,197 or psr 500/600
 

Flask

Member
Joined
Mar 28, 2012
Messages
3
Thanks All

Thanks everyone for all the info & help, to bad about the police in Thunder Bay being encrypted that is the main one most of us would like to listen to.
 

Gator596

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Joined
Sep 4, 2009
Messages
484
Location
Niagara Region - Canada
Although encryption is a bummer, don't let it discourage you. You can still get a good idea of what is going on by listening to fire services, taxis, buses, tow trucks, ambulances, etc!
 
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