Newbie with questions

springer9861

Member
Joined
Oct 26, 2020
Messages
12
Location
Ross county Ohio
Newbie here and I have been doing some reading on what scanner would work best for me. I live in Ross county East of Chillicothe. Would like to listen to anything in my area. This would be my first scanner so I have no experience in programming them but willing to learn. I read that some people say buy the best. Been looking at the sds100 but not sure I need all that. I’ve been reading about digital, analog, P25. It very overwhelming for a first timer wanting to get started. Just looking for some advice from some experienced scanners on what not to do. If you were in the market for your first scanner and knew then what you know now, what would you have done differently. Thanks for any and all comments..
 

marksmith

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Anne Arundel County, MD
You live in a state using a multiple site statewide digital system in addition to some other systems.

The SDS100 and 200 were built to handle not only simulcast issues but multiple site systems.

While you may well be able to get away with a radio that will possibly handle what you want to hear in your particular location, this radio assures that you can, and with greater sensitivity to distant digital systems than any other radio out there.
 

K4EET

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Feb 18, 2015
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Severn, Maryland, USA
Hi @springer9861, and Welcome to Radio Reference! At this point in time, do you have any idea of what you think you want to try to listen to with a scanner? Be as specific as you can be. The reason that I ask is this... If for example, you only wanted to monitor the aircraft band or perhaps a local airport's control tower frequency, then you may not need a Uniden SDS100/SDS200 scanner. While the Uniden SDS100/SDS200 scanners are clearly top-notch in reception characteristics for handling multi-site 800 MHz simulcast systems and the like, they are not required to monitor State Police roaming around on an antiquated 39 MHz VHF Low system. It is all in what you want to listen for... Cheers! Dave
 

chief21

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Summer - Western NC; Winter - Tampa Bay FL
If you're just getting started and not sure what you might be interested in hearing, it might make sense for you to pick up a used basic scanner for experimenting. Once you get more familiar with the hobby, you will be better able to determine which type of scanner you might need to advance your interests.
 

WB9YBM

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May 6, 2019
Messages
550
Location
Niles, IL
Newbie here and I have been doing some reading on what scanner would work best for me. I live in Ross county East of Chillicothe. Would like to listen to anything in my area. This would be my first scanner so I have no experience in programming them but willing to learn. I read that some people say buy the best. Been looking at the sds100 but not sure I need all that. I’ve been reading about digital, analog, P25. It very overwhelming for a first timer wanting to get started. Just looking for some advice from some experienced scanners on what not to do. If you were in the market for your first scanner and knew then what you know now, what would you have done differently. Thanks for any and all comments..
I've had good luck with Uniden / Bearcat, both portables and base stations. Rough guess: my portable's about thirty years old, needed fixing only once--relatively recently and it's still supported by the manufacturer, and the cost was reasonable. When I scanned (no pun intended) on what new equipment Uniden / Bearcat's developed, there were some nice new units that caught my attention (the only thing that stopped me from upgrading is that I'm a cheapskate that won't upgrade until my original unit dies :).)
 
Joined
Apr 18, 2009
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CT
I'm a cheapskate that won't upgrade until my original unit dies
That's fantastic, but technology keeps changing and if your scanner is more than 10 years old, you'll be missing out on some things.
(Example: Trunking, Phase I, Phase II, TDMA)

The OP is apparently aware of this.
 

WB9YBM

Active Member
Joined
May 6, 2019
Messages
550
Location
Niles, IL
That's fantastic, but technology keeps changing and if your scanner is more than 10 years old, you'll be missing out on some things.
(Example: Trunking, Phase I, Phase II, TDMA)

The OP is apparently aware of this.
There's "keeping up" and then there's "going over-board". There's so much new stuff coming out and so fast, it's almost impossible to keep up--is keeping up with everything even necessary especially if we've found our niche? Personally, I've never had the urge to re-create NASA Launch Command...:)
 

hiegtx

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May 8, 2004
Messages
7,756
Location
Dallas, TX
Newbie here and I have been doing some reading on what scanner would work best for me. I live in Ross county East of Chillicothe. Would like to listen to anything in my area. This would be my first scanner so I have no experience in programming them but willing to learn. I read that some people say buy the best. Been looking at the sds100 but not sure I need all that. I’ve been reading about digital, analog, P25. It very overwhelming for a first timer wanting to get started. Just looking for some advice from some experienced scanners on what not to do. If you were in the market for your first scanner and knew then what you know now, what would you have done differently. Thanks for any and all comments..
For your home county, Ross, many of the public safety agencies are using MARCS-IP. As wtp has already noted, your city PD, Chillicothe, is using encryption part of the time. One of the Sheriff's department talkgroups is also encrypted (a Tactical channel), but dispatch is not shown to be encrypted.

You would need, at a minimum, a scanner capable of receiving P25 Phase I trunked systems. Your specfiic county, as well as the ones immediately surrounding you, do not show to be using simulcast sites, but several, including Ross, have more than one MARCS site in their counties.

While Simulcast is not in use in your county, it is being used in a couple counties west of you, such as Clinton and Hamilton counties. If you intend to take your scanner with you when in another area, whether on business, or just visiting friends or family members, you're all but certain to encounter simulcast systems (especially in a major urban area), and quite possibly some of those systems will be using P25 Phase II instead of Phase I (like what is currently used in Ross). I would suggest that you consider getting a P25 Phase II capable scanner, instead of one that can only handle Phase I. If travel to other major cities is likely (and you intend to be able to take your scanner), then the SDS100 or SDS200 will better handle what you may run into.
 

springer9861

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Joined
Oct 26, 2020
Messages
12
Location
Ross county Ohio
Thanks everybody for the info. I think I’m going to start with a used scanner. If I were to start looking for a used scanner to start with. Can anyone recommend one ? I really don’t want to just listen to police/ sheriff . I would just like to listen to anything that’s out there. I would like to just have a cheaper unit than the sds100 to start with Plus the wife wasn’t onboard with spending $650 for one. Again thanks to everyone for your imput.
 

hiegtx

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Dallas, TX
Thanks everybody for the info. I think I’m going to start with a used scanner. If I were to start looking for a used scanner to start with. Can anyone recommend one ? I really don’t want to just listen to police/ sheriff . I would just like to listen to anything that’s out there. I would like to just have a cheaper unit than the sds100 to start with Plus the wife wasn’t onboard with spending $650 for one. Again thanks to everyone for your imput.
As noted earlier, your county, as well as the ones immediately adjacent to your's (excepting Pike & Vinton) use the statewide MARCS-IP trunked system. So you need a digital trunking scanner that can handle a P25 Phase I system. Presuming you want a handheld (I say that since you mentioned the SDS100, which is handheld), there are a number of scanners that can do what you need. The Whistler WS1040 is a handheld; it was also sold by RadioShack as the Pro-651, That will do the P25 Phase I as well as the conventional channels used by public safety agencies in your immediate vicinity. Brand new, that is in the $250 to $300 price range. If you, instead, would consider a good condition previously owned scanner, and are patient, you may be able to find one in the $200 range, or maybe less. Whistler, periodically, has "scratch & dent" units, and/or refurbished scanners that, at times, have been under $200. Keep an eye on the classifieds here on RadioReference; sometimes you can find a bargain there. Also consider checking pawn shops, estate sales, and thrift shops that occasionally will have a good buy. You can, of course, also find these on eBay & other online sites. A Whistler WS1080 would also do what you want, and also adds P25 Phase II capability, though pricing will be more than the WS1040. The PSR500 & RadioShack Pro-106 are essentially the same scanner, and were made by GRE, before they went out of business around 2012. Whistler later bought their "intellectual property" and started selling essentially the same scanner as the WS1040. In the Uniden line, look for a BCD396XT. That's a digital scanner, capable of P25 Phase I, and can do multiple sites, which you may well need in your area. The BCD396T would handle P25 Ohase I, but cannot do multi-site, so that would rule it out if I were looking for a similar scanner for your area. I would personally shy away from the PSR500 & Pro-106. Those models, while functionally the same as the WS1040/Pro-651, are much older. As the units age, some components may start to fail, or the scanner may drift off frequency,
 

wa8pyr

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Sep 22, 2002
Messages
5,195
Location
Ohio
Thanks everybody for the info. I think I’m going to start with a used scanner. If I were to start looking for a used scanner to start with. Can anyone recommend one ? I really don’t want to just listen to police/ sheriff . I would just like to listen to anything that’s out there. I would like to just have a cheaper unit than the sds100 to start with Plus the wife wasn’t onboard with spending $650 for one. Again thanks to everyone for your imput.
Where you are in Ross County a relatively inexpensive model will suit you just fine. There's no need whatsoever to jump into the deep end with an SDS100 or SDS200; while they're great radios, both are massive overkill as a first scanner for where you are. I'd recommend trying the WS1065 desktop and/or WS1040 handheld scanner for starters. Both are made by Whistler and are well suited for what you want to do.

The Uniden Home Patrol 1 or 2 would also be a pretty reasonable first scanner, especially since all you need to do is program your zip code and let the internal database populate the radio for you.

Earlier versions of the Whistler scanners (the GRE PSR500 and PSR600, as well as the Radio Shack Pro106 or Pro197) can be found on eBay for quite reasonable prices. The Home Patrol models tend to be a bit more expensive even when used, so the Whistler/GRE/Radio Shack versions would probably be a better bet as a starter if you're on a budget.

Any of these would be a perfect scanner to get started with; if you get your feet wet and decide you want to take the plunge with an SDS100 or SDS200, you'll be in a better position to make an informed decision.
 

Nasby

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Apr 4, 2004
Messages
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Location
Ohio
I'll second the recommendation for the WS1040 or WS1065 (or the earlier Radio Shack versions).

They perform flawlessly on non-simulcast MARCS sites like Ross County and they are very affordable.

I also think that these scanners sound MUCH better than the Uniden models because they have a true, working AGC function that keeps the audio levels evened out.

They can be a bit challenging to program, but there's lots of help out there (Wiki, forums, Youtube videos, etc.) to get you going.

Good luck!
 
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