Scanner for my Father. 200$ max budget..possible?

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jarablue

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Dec 23, 2011
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Boxborough, MA
Hi everyone. My Father is turning 76 this July and he love listening to the local police, fire, emt. He had a old scanner that is no longer working. I have a max budget of 200$ What I would like to do is get him something that is not junk. Nothing fancy at all though either. He likes listening to whatever is local and then branching to outward towns from there. National stuff would be pretty neat if possible. The only thing is the scanner would have to be foolproof. He has no idea how to use them. His dementia is getting worse so being able to use the volume and maybe adjusting the squelch is all he could do. Everything would have to be on auto. I am thinking of just setting it up to scan everything and pick up whatever comes in. Use or new, it doesn't matter.

200$ is what I have to spend. I'd like it to be something he can carry around if need be. He lives in Worcester, MA 01605. Anything that can pick up national/local emergencies, weather and the regular stuff would be a plus. It's replaces his TV at night pretty much :)

If I could get it programmed that would be great but I know getting that done would eat into the 200$. Any easy way to do it?

Ok thanks for the help....from both of us!
 

bama9999

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Scanner Master has the BC346XTC that is in your price range, and should work great. For an added fee they'll program it for you, or you can do it yourself with the included cable and the FreeSCAN program and a membership here at RR. You can also program it by hand, but it is quite a bit more difficult that way, especially for trunked systems. This scanner will work for the city of Worcester, on both of it's conventional and EDACS trunking systems.

Uniden Bearcat BC346XTC Police Scanner Radio | ScannerMaster.com

You mentioned your father's worsening dementia, and one feature of this scanner is that you can lock the keyboard with a couple of keystrokes, so it would make it more difficult for him to accidently change the settings once you get them set. I'm not familiar enough with the radio the previous poster mentioned to know if you can do that with it or not, but that particular radio seems like it might be a bit too complicated for your father.

You can find this scanner for less on Ebay, but you'll need to be a bit more careful about who you purchase from on there. Hope this helps.
 

jarablue

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Boxborough, MA
Scanner Master has the BC346XTC that is in your price range, and should work great. For an added fee they'll program it for you, or you can do it yourself with the included cable and the FreeSCAN program and a membership here at RR. You can also program it by hand, but it is quite a bit more difficult that way, especially for trunked systems. This scanner will work for the city of Worcester, on both of it's conventional and EDACS trunking systems.

Uniden Bearcat BC346XTC Police Scanner Radio | ScannerMaster.com

You mentioned your father's worsening dementia, and one feature of this scanner is that you can lock the keyboard with a couple of keystrokes, so it would make it more difficult for him to accidently change the settings once you get them set. I'm not familiar enough with the radio the previous poster mentioned to know if you can do that with it or not, but that particular radio seems like it might be a bit too complicated for your father.

You can find this scanner for less on Ebay, but you'll need to be a bit more careful about who you purchase from on there. Hope this helps.
Looking at ebay now to see if I can find a deal. That scanner looks good. I'd like to program it with Worcester county. Do you think it would work with other counties? Or would they be to far away? I'd like for him to hear a lot of chatter. The way his old one was set up was he had a bunch of channels programmed and the scanner would just constantly scan all the channels that were programmed. Today's scanners still work that way right? That USB-1 cable is 26.95!!! Is there another cable I can buy or would it be better to just use the included serial cable and buy a serial to usb adapter for it to use on my desktop? I think getting the subscription here and using the Free Scan program would be best. I know programming these things can be complicated. Is the Free Scan program easy to use? I would definitely lock out the settings, that would be a life saver as he loves to pick it up and walk around with it.

Ok thanks again :)
 

bama9999

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Looking at ebay now to see if I can find a deal. That scanner looks good. I'd like to program it with Worcester county. Do you think it would work with other counties? Or would they be to far away? I'd like for him to hear a lot of chatter. The way his old one was set up was he had a bunch of channels programmed and the scanner would just constantly scan all the channels that were programmed. Today's scanners still work that way right? That USB-1 cable is 26.95!!! Is there another cable I can buy or would it be better to just use the included serial cable and buy a serial to usb adapter for it to use on my desktop? I think getting the subscription here and using the Free Scan program would be best. I know programming these things can be complicated. Is the Free Scan program easy to use? I would definitely lock out the settings, that would be a life saver as he loves to pick it up and walk around with it.

Ok thanks again :)
As long as any of the agencies aren't using digital, you should be good to go with that scanner. I have the BCT15XT, which is pretty much just the mobile/base version of that scanner and I use a usb adapter with the serial cable for programming, and it works great. I find FreeSCAN to be quite easy to use, but if you try it and have trouble with it, you could send me a message here on RR saying exactly what areas you wanted programmed for him to listen to, and I would be happy to program a file and email it to you, so all you'd have to do then is just upload it to the scanner.

As far as how far away it would receive, well that involves a lot of variables, such as location, antenna, interference, etc... but on average, the 346XT that I had received great, was quite sensitive as well as selective. Really, just an all around great non-digital scanner.
 

AZScanner

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If it were me in your place (and your dad has Wi-Fi), I'd get him this instead: Grace Digital, Inc GDIIRN1941 - Best Buy

You can set it up with all the RR feeds for your area and all he has to do is turn it on and listen. He'd even be able to hear the digital stuff on it if someone's hosting a digital scanner. An added plus of this model is the old-timey nostalgic look. I bet he'd love it.

I'm thinking of getting one for my future in-laws. They love listening to the scanner when I come over to visit, but a BC436HP is way beyond their budget and technical know-how to use and their city is Phase II digital so they can't use any old analog scanner. With one of these though and the plethora of online feeds in their area, they'd be set.

-AZ
 

RobKB1FJR

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Worcester police can be very busy. they have 2 dispatch channels. F1 East and F2 West. Since he is in 01605 that's pretty much on WPD F1 East.

People with dementia at times can get overwhelmed and frusterated. Plus Worcester is very busy.

I can make a custom file for you and program the scanner for free if your in the Worcester area. I can just throw it all in one bank.

I wouldn't bother listening to EMS in Worcester. Worcester EMS is a great agency but they are extremely busy.

Here is what I would program in:

Worcester Police F1 East
Worcester Fire F1 Admin
Worcester Fire F5 Dispatch
Worcester Fire OPS A Fireground
Worcester Fire OPS B Fireground


I omitted some talk around/ misc police and fire overflow Talk groups. To the casual listener those Talkgroups are just chat.

The fire overflow talk groups are usually used for training and would be used for overflow (when both Fire A and B are tied up) but that rarely happens.

I omitted Fire OPS C because it is mostly EMS First Responder Calls and Minor fire calls usually involving one engine or false alarms.

I've been listening to Worcester since EDACS scanners came out in I think in 2002ish.

As far as Worcester Getting a radio system replacement EDACS end of life and parts supply supposedly end in 2020. That's at least 5 more years of listening to Worcester.

There has been no formal talk that I know of for a replacement for Worcester EDACS. My guess is that the city is more concerned with funding police officer and fire fighters. The Worcester EDACS radio system generally works fairly well.
 

wbswetnam

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About ten years ago my 88 year old grandmother told me she was interested in listening to the local police and fire (someone else in the nursing home had a police scanner and she wanted one too) so I got her a used Bearcat 145XL on eBay. It cost only $25 + shipping and it was extremely simple to operate... It didn't have any frequency display, just channel numbers (1 - 16) were displayed, with on/off/volume and a squelch control. I told her to be sure not to touch any of the operational buttons, and to make sure she didn't confuse the squelch with the on/off/volume knob, I set the squelch to the optimum position and I superglued it in place. All she needed to do was turn it on and see which channels lighted up. I programmed in a minimal number of channels, just local sheriff dispatch, ambulance dispatch and city / county fire. I really tried to keep its operation as simple as possible. She enjoyed it; often I'd come visit her and she had it going on the living room table. When she died two years later I gave it to another senior citizen there in the nursing home.
 

jarablue

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Boxborough, MA
Thanks for the replies everyone. Really helpful!

AZScanner - He doesn't have any internet access at all. I'd hate to get a cable model going and have to pay Charter monthly. Though that would be really neat and I know he'd like it. So many more options going the internet route.

RobKB1FJR - I may take you up on that. Is there anything else that can be programmed in? Maybe weather and emergency alert channels?

wbswetnam - I am going to definitely lock out the settings from him. Simple is good in this case.

Soundman - I just sent him a message. I hope I can buy it from him :) thanks for that link.

Now that I have been looking at scanners, I bought the Scanner Radio Pro app for my cell phone. How much more robust is that app then the standalone scanner? I always thought standalone scanners vs apps were that the standalones could pick up a ton more channels and had way more features plus dedicated hardware. I am thinking of buying myself one of these now lol. I would definitely geek out with it.
 

bama9999

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Thanks for the replies everyone. Really helpful!

AZScanner - He doesn't have any internet access at all. I'd hate to get a cable model going and have to pay Charter monthly. Though that would be really neat and I know he'd like it. So many more options going the internet route.

RobKB1FJR - I may take you up on that. Is there anything else that can be programmed in? Maybe weather and emergency alert channels?

wbswetnam - I am going to definitely lock out the settings from him. Simple is good in this case.

Soundman - I just sent him a message. I hope I can buy it from him :) thanks for that link.

Now that I have been looking at scanners, I bought the Scanner Radio Pro app for my cell phone. How much more robust is that app then the standalone scanner? I always thought standalone scanners vs apps were that the standalones could pick up a ton more channels and had way more features plus dedicated hardware. I am thinking of buying myself one of these now lol. I would definitely geek out with it.
Yes, a standalone scanner is much more preferable than an app. With your own scanner, you can choose what to listen to, but with an app your stuck with whatever the feed provider chooses to stream. The apps can be handy and certainly have their place, but there's really no comparison between an app and an actual scanner.
 

RobKB1FJR

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I can program in a Massachusetts emergency management talk group that announces weather events and large fires, calls for mutual aid. Weather is easy to program but depending on what model you get not as easily as pushing the wx button.
 

pinballwiz86

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Those are nice scanners, but the area the OP is interested in for their father uses an EDACS trunking system.
Yes, I saw that post up there. It's an option for the OP to look at the BC125AT as well. With the caveat that it doesn't do trunking.
 
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