Noob question RE: Digital scanning/help with purchase decision.

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ratspawn

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BASIC QUESTION: If you were new to the sport would you invest the extra $$ in a digital capable scanner notwithstanding the fact that, at the present time, the majority of systems in your area are analog.

BACKGROUND: I am new to the site (as evidenced by my post count) and new to the scanning hobby as well. I am wondering if any of you could chime in on your insights as to the “trend” with digital systems. Reason I ask is because I am going to buy a new scanner. It is either going to be a Uniden BCT15X or a BCD996XT. The (major) difference of course being the 996 is capable of decoding digital communications. I travel quite a bit and would be covering a pretty wide area (this will be a mobile rig). I was all set to buy the BCD996XT but as I got to looking at the database it appears that, at this time anyway, most everything I would want to listen to is analog. I live in Reno/Washoe county Nevada and most everything, including Highway Patrol while traveling to Las Vegas, is on a large state-wide networked EDACS system (Nevada Shared Radio Service). So I guess my question is if you were in my shoes, new to the sport and going to invest in equipment one way or the other, would you spend the extra ~$250 for a digital capable scanner? I know nobody can predict the future, and I’m not asking for that. But for you guys that have been at this a while, do you see the trend that every agency is moving toward digital? I really don’t know. And if they wanted to move to digital for a large state-wide networked system such as NSRS, is that something they could/would phase in or would it have to be a “forklift” upgrade of the entire network all at once? (pardon my ignorance) Just looking for a little advice on my purchase decision. $250 is real money for a guy like me, but at the same time I intend for this to be a long term investment. I am a “buy once, cry once” kind of a guy and if you think a digital capable system would put me ahead of the curve I would be inclined to do that. Thank you in advance, and sorry for the verbose nature of this post but I wanted to give you background/my area.
 

mancow

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I would hold out for a digital unit. As you get into it more you will want to start exploring other services. If you end up wanting to monitor Federal stuff you will need digital. Also, it's a safe bet that things will eventually start to convert to digital in your area in the future.

As you said, "buy once cry once" you will be glad you did.
 

ratspawn

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Thank you mancow, for such a quick reply. Exactly the advice I need to push me in the right direction. Freakin' awesome username, by the way.
 

mancow

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thanks

Also, with the newer high end digital units you get extra features. You can search for new talk groups more easily and there are system discovery menus, etc... You just get a lot more for your money.
 

ka3jjz

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rats, I would suggest checking in with our Nevada forum (the link which is always blue is below) and get some local advice. I agree that going digital, due to the fact that you have some Federal agencies in the area that use it, is the way to go, but there are several digital capable radios out there besides the 996XT and local folks would give you some local knowledge and experience

Nevada Radio Discussion Forum - The RadioReference.com Forums

Mike
 

gmclam

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If you are absolutely brand new to the hobby and just want to 'test the waters', you could get yourself a used scanner for less than $100 to monitor most of what you'd like. I actually use a PRO-95 to listen to the EDACS systems when I am in Nevada. Certainly there are other older scanners that will work just as well but won't receive P25 or handle rebanded MOT trunked systems.

If you're the type that jumps in with both feet, then buy the best digital scanner you can find. I am running a PSR-500 for mobile, which is no longer made. You might find one or its RS cousin PRO-106 used out there. For new, you'll most likely have to go with Uniden or Whistler (once they're out).

So another aspect depends on how soon you want to start listening. And the trend is for more systems to move to trunked and/or digital, unless you are only interested in something like monitoring aviation.
 
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