Newbie needs advice for GTA

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rockblock

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Newbie needs advice for Analog vs.Digital in GTA

Hello,

I am just getting into this hobby and I was looking for some advise as to the type of scanner I should be purchasing to be able to get some action within the GTA (from Oshawa to Burlington and Downtown to Newmarket).

I understand that a lot of agencies are switching to Digital and that would be the way to go - but the price difference between an analog capable scanner and a digital one is ~ $200, so my question is: if I buy an economical analog trunking scanner (i.e. GRE PSR-310/700, Radio Shack PRO-107, Uniden BC-246T), will I be able to hear sufficient analog activity from Police/Fire/EMS/Media over the next 12 months (and then I can upgrade), or will I really need to bite the bullet and go digital (i.e. GRE PSR-500, Radio Shack PRO-106, UNIDEN BCD-396T).

I see most of OPP frequencies are listed under "Motorola Type II SmartZone" with PL /CSQ tones, with very few listed as DPL/NAC tones, as well as not many under Project 25 - but I'm not sure how current these are...

Obviously, given today's recession, I would like to start in cost-effective analog way, but if I'm not going to be able to listen to any action, will this have been a waste of money and be better off waiting a few more months until I can afford the extra coin for a digital scanner?

Any suggestions/recommendations would be greatly appreciated.

Thank you kindly.
 
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EJB

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Hi.If I was just starting out I would have to make a few important decisions. Right now, just about all of the municipities are using analog systems while the OPP are on a mixed use P25/analog system and broadcast digital P25. There has been a good deal of chatter that the municipalities are going to switch to new P25 technologies that only the GRE PSR800 scanner can decode but the time frame for switchover is unknown. There is also talk that these systems will be majority encrypted and no one will be able to scan them. So you have to decide how much $ you have to spare. TorontoKris here sells scanners for fair prices and will even explain how to use and program for you. Other members here have the scanners you mentioned and might offer them up to you. The Home Patrol 1 and the PSR800 offer databases that make it easy for you to listen while some of the other scanners take a bit getting used to and you have to program them with a computer. I have owned and used most of the scanners you listed and I monitor the GTA with the before mentioned HP1.
 

torontokris

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For Toronto area if you dont need OPP (or GO Transit) right now then yes an analog scanner will work just fine. Youll get Toronto York Peel Halton Hamilton Police Fire + EMS. Durham Fire and EMS (no scanner can listen to Durham police).

Sounds like save your cash and get a used bc246 or gre psr-310.
If you have no idea how to program the psr-700 / pro-107 are great choices as they are pro-programmed.

You may need to upgrade in a couple years, but it wont be next week or next month.
My advice if your on a budget go with the analog.
 

rockblock

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Thx for your prompt response !

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So you have to decide how much $ you have to spare. TorontoKris here sells scanners for fair prices and will even explain how to use and program for you. Other members here have the scanners you mentioned and might offer them up to you.
I wasn't planning on spending too much, I would even consider a used scanner to get me started - I'll try to contact TorontoKris...

The Home Patrol 1 and the PSR800 offer databases that make it easy for you to listen while some of the other scanners take a bit getting used to and you have to program them with a computer. I have owned and used most of the scanners you listed and I monitor the GTA with the before mentioned HP1.
So if I say, kick it off with an analog trunking scanner (i.e. PSR-700 that is supposed to have US/CAN db on SD) I won't get bored over the next 1 year?...and maybe in 1 year, there will be a verdict as to how much has shifted over to digital in GTA, and if those will be encrypted or not (I guess it's no point in paying double for a digital scanner to find you can't listen to stuff because they're encrypted)...

Maybe that's the approach I need to take and save some money for now...

... while the OPP are on a mixed use P25/analog system and broadcast digital P25
What would you say the ratio right now is between analog/digital for OPP?...50/50?

Thx again for your feedback !
 

rockblock

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Thank you for your quick feedback !

Durham Fire and EMS (no scanner can listen to Durham police).
Is this because the signal is encrypted?

Sounds like save your cash and get a used bc246 or gre psr-310.
If you have no idea how to program the psr-700 / pro-107 are great choices as they are pro-programmed.

You may need to upgrade in a couple years, but it wont be next week or next month.
My advice if your on a budget go with the analog.
Perfect...thanks for the advise, I think that's how I'll go...I]ll be looking for a used unit or, if I can't find one, I've seen a new PSR-700 goes for around $185-200 shipped on eBay (looks quite appealing, is not that big and is also supposed to have US/CAN db on SD.

Once again, thanks for your prompt response !
 

torontokris

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in basic terms durham police use cell phones... I believe Telus i-den, and they cant be heard on any scanner.

That will change in the future (like 2 years) as Durham switches from Telus to P25 Motorola in the future but thats a topic for another thread.

The SD card database scanners are good choices if you cant program. The 246 if you can find one for $100-$150 is a good deal as well but you need to program them.
 

mikewazowski

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I see most of OPP frequencies are listed under "Motorola Type II SmartZone" with PL /CSQ tones, with very few listed as DPL/NAC tones, as well as not many under Project 25 - but I'm not sure how current these are....
Here's the system you should be looking at:

Bell Fleetnet - Ontario Provincial Government Zone 1 Trunking System, Southwest Zone, Ontario - Scanner Frequencies

You'll notice that the OPP talkgroups are all marked with a D which means digital. In this case, the OPP are using Project 25 (P25) digital.

These are trunking talkgroups and do not have CSQ, CTCSS or DCS tones associated with them in any way. There are NAC codes associated with them but they don't mean anything to scanner listeners.

Obviously, given today's recession, I would like to start in cost-effective analog way, but if I'm not going to be able to listen to any action, will this have been a waste of money and be better off waiting a few more months until I can afford the extra coin for a digital scanner?.
It depends how badly you want to listen to the OPP.

99% of the OPP's communications are in digital.

There are low power analog repeaters which are installed in each patrol car as well as some areas where the OPP do foot patrols but they are limited range and not always in use.

If monitoring the OPP isn't a big deal to you, then an analog scanner will do for most of the other police agencies out there.
 

EJB

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Thx for your prompt response !



I wasn't planning on spending too much, I would even consider a used scanner to get me started - I'll try to contact TorontoKris...



So if I say, kick it off with an analog trunking scanner (i.e. PSR-700 that is supposed to have US/CAN db on SD) I won't get bored over the next 1 year?...and maybe in 1 year, there will be a verdict as to how much has shifted over to digital in GTA, and if those will be encrypted or not (I guess it's no point in paying double for a digital scanner to find you can't listen to stuff because they're encrypted)...

Maybe that's the approach I need to take and save some money for now...


What would you say the ratio right now is between analog/digital for OPP?...50/50?

Thx again for your feedback !
The Bell Fleetnet system is mixed analog and P24, The area is extremely busy and there is a good deal of traffic in both formats; the OPP, MTO Enforcement units and the MNR units are digital while every EMS provider in the area (save Toronto, on the Toronto Public Safety system), the MTO road crews are analog.

If the PSR700 is an analog only scanner you might be better off spending a few more bucks and get the P25 PSR800.
 

VE3RADIO

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In my opinion I would spend a little extra and buy a used digital scanner.. if you look around you can find them cheap enough.. maybe 300.. I have seen some Radio Shack digital scanners for 250-275 even (Pro 106) and that is a nice radio. OPP is very fun to listen to but are P25.. GO Transit is also P25. Depending on where in the GTA you live you may also be able to hear Rochester and Buffalo Police.. Rochester is P25, Buffalo is analog. Niagara Falls Fire is P25 and comes across the lake very well..

As for the 107. I remember a rumor that it did not have the Canada database.. can anyone confirm?
 

torontokris

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Good thinking WZ1, if I remember from when I had one in 2009 it did NOT include the Canadian database, nor did it include the Canada Bandplan which was needed for proper VHF fleetnet trunking (but it wasnt sold or marketed in Canada so there may not have been a need for it).


Toronto York Peel police and fire could be entered via the software without a problem (but not York Peel emsdue to them being on Fleetnet and the bandplan being wrong)

They may have changed the database since I had one in the early days when it came out but I cant confirm that.



In my opinion I would spend a little extra and buy a used digital scanner.. if you look around you can find them cheap enough.. maybe 300.. I have seen some Radio Shack digital scanners for 250-275 even (Pro 106) and that is a nice radio. OPP is very fun to listen to but are P25.. GO Transit is also P25. Depending on where in the GTA you live you may also be able to hear Rochester and Buffalo Police.. Rochester is P25, Buffalo is analog. Niagara Falls Fire is P25 and comes across the lake very well..

As for the 107. I remember a rumor that it did not have the Canada database.. can anyone confirm?
 

rockblock

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Depending on where in the GTA you live you may also be able to hear Rochester and Buffalo Police.. Rochester is P25, Buffalo is analog. Niagara Falls Fire is P25 and comes across the lake very well..
Durham region, east end - will I be able to pick up both Rochester/Buffalo w/Digital?
 

rockblock

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If the PSR700 is an analog only scanner you might be better off spending a few more bucks and get the P25 PSR800.
Yes, but the PSR800 is $250 more expensive than the PSR700 and I haven't seen any used ones...same goes for the PSR500...maybe I should then just wait for XMas and try and save some extra coin...maybe prices will also come down...shame, cause I really love the PSR700
 

VE3JSO

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hey if you or have family who travels to the states you can aways try and get them to check radio shack they have good sales for the scanners like the pro 107 i scan witch is the shack version of psr 700 or the new pro 18 digital i scan scanner
 

EJB

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Dude. Its so worth it to go digital. I'd suggest you make an effort to buy any of the digital capable scanners. If you commute you'll want the OPP cause they police the highways. You'll also be able to monitor GO. The buses frequently mention gridlock and alternate routes. If you buy a analog only scanner buy an older one a used one maybe. You will see then that you will want the digital capabilities. There are all sorts of "benefits" to digital that I won't mention publicly.
 

EJB

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PM me if you want more help.
 

torontokris

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There is a used psr-500 for $275 in the for sale section, but its in the US. (link at the botom).

I have a used gre psr-800 but wont be cheap... $400. Note they come with NOTHING scanner antenna usb cable and belt clip. Least the 500 comes with a home/wall adapter.

Maybe its a good sign that there isnt that many used GRE 500/800 around... means that the owners like them.

The newer GRE's are great radios once you get use to them and the "object" instead of bank thinking.

GRE PSR-500 antennas and box - RadioReference Classifieds



Yes, but the PSR800 is $250 more expensive than the PSR700 and I haven't seen any used ones...same goes for the PSR500...maybe I should then just wait for XMas and try and save some extra coin...maybe prices will also come down...shame, cause I really love the PSR700
 

rockblock

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There is a used psr-500 for $275 in the for sale section, but its in the US. (link at the botom).
Yes I've seen that one, waiting to see if shipping to Canada is available

Maybe its a good sign that there isnt that many used GRE 500/800 around... means that the owners like them.
The newer GRE's are great radios once you get use to them and the "object" instead of bank thinking.
Well, it doesn't make much difference to me since I haven't used any yet - so either one would be new to me
 
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