Scanner Help

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Hey everyone, i'm new here. I found this site searching for high quality scanners that are able to pick up police channels. I tried using radio ref to add channels to an older scanner for the Philadelphia area, but i don't hear anything. My friend who is more knowledgable told me they are "trunked" and that i would need to spend a little more money to buy a more modern, better quality scanner that has that capablity. I just don't want to spend the money and not be able to listen in because of some type of encryption. I was looking at the Uniden SDS200 or BCT15X Trunk Tracker. If it has trunk tracker, will it beable to break through and listen in? Thanks in advance?
 

Reconrider

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What are are you wanting to monitor. The sds100/200 and trx1/2 are kind of a ”do it all” scanner but you pay a premium for it. If money isn’t an issue, look up them and see which one you like better. I have both and the trx is easier to program on the device as well as the program. But I like the ads for screen size and the color display
 

chief21

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The "Philadelphia area" is a big place, with lots of individual agencies and jurisdictions, all of which could have their own radio systems. A trunk-tracker scanner will allow you to listen to most trunked radio systems, but no scanner can monitor encrypted channels or talk groups.
The RadioReference listings for the Philadelphia (city) trunked radio system indicate that many of the PPD and PFD talk groups are encrypted but many others are not.

Here is a link to the RR page for Philadelphia County. The trunked radio systems are listed at the bottom. Surrounding counties can be found in the Pennsylvania frequency database pages.

 

fredva

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There are different flavors of trunking, such as analog, digital, and digital simulcast. If you are wanting to monitor the city of Philadelphia, the city uses a digital simulcast trunking system. Only the Uniden SDS-100 & SDS-200, and Unication pagers are designed to be fully compatible with digital simulcast systems. Those and the more expensive two-way radios used by the police officers, firefighters, EMS workers, and others on the system. Other scanners may work under the right conditions, such as being in a "sweet spot" location, but they weren't really designed for digital simulcast systems.

As others have said, the specific jurisdictions you are interested in matter.
 

fredva

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Software Defined Radio is also an option to get clear reception on simulcast systems, but there is a bit of a learning curve. IT experience is helpful if you go down that route.
 

marksmith

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In case you are not aware, the BC15x cannot receive digital at all. Digital equivalent is BCD996p2.

That will receive anything that is not encrypted.

If trying to monitor a simulcast network, get the SDS radios.
 

rgchristy

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Before you buy a scanner, please make sure that you will be able to listen to Philadelphia. I live in Delaware County and cannot listen to them, due to being out of range. Unless you are inside the city, it may be difficult to hear them. I would post where you are in or out of city and see if anyone on here, that is near you, can listen to them.
 

policefreak

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So I program scanners for the Philadelphia area. The BC15X is an analog only scanner and will NOT decode Philadelphia P25 digital. I would say between the Whistler TRX scanners and the Uniden SDS scanners the Unidens handle better in Philadelphia. I have no affiliation with any scanner company, that's just what I observe. The SDS scanners are probably the best scanners we have seen out right now for handling city of Philadelphia. Now if you want Montgomery County or Delaware County maybe you want to have a closer look at the Whistler TRX series. But those TRX scanners generally handle Philadelphia, Bucks, Gloucester and Camden Counties poorly.
 

WB9YBM

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I've noticed over the last few months many PD are going encrypted which limits what we can hear on the scanners, plus taxicab services are going with computer dispatching. I'm not sure what all is left to monitor...
 

Whiskey3JMC

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FreeSpeech, where are you located? To reiterate what others above me have said, you'll be unable to get a pick up on the Philly P25 if you are more than a few miles from the city limit regardless of antenna used. 800mhz systems don't propagate as far as VHF & UHF, varying terrain is also a major factor around here. I lose the system while traveling westbound on 76 when I hit about Conshohocken area. Camden, Gloucester, Bucks, Chester & Berks systems suffer greatly from simulcast distortion so if you have any intentions on monitoring any of those systems, the SDS series Unidens will be the best. If you just want to pick up Philly and nothing else then at the minimum I'd recommend a 996XT or P2. However if it is within your budget, definitely go for the SDS100 or 200.
 

Whiskey3JMC

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I just don't want to spend the money and not be able to listen in because of some type of encryption
Encryption isn't a major factor in the city as primary ops are in the clear. If you have a look at the RR database page here, only the talkgroups listed as mode "DE" are encrypted full time meaning no scanner can decode them
 

trap5858

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If you have the funds to buy an SDS 100 or 200- do it, you bypass all of the others in line and go straight to the head of the class. Yes there is a steep learning curve but you will likely have the last scanner you may ever have to buy. As others have said, unless you are within the city limits or very close by listening to Philly will be a challenge. As you can see there are a lot of people on these boards willing to help. Good luck
 

hvytrucker

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I have used a handful of older scanners like RS Pro-106, Uniden 396T to name a few to listen to Philadelphia's P25 Phase I digital system and they did a very good job too but there is a plan in the works for Philadelphia to be switching over to P25 Phase II soon. So if you plan on listening to Phila PD & FD in the future you should look into a radio that will be able to pick up P25 Phase II...
 

Bob1955

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Hey everyone, i'm new here. I found this site searching for high quality scanners that are able to pick up police channels. I tried using radio ref to add channels to an older scanner for the Philadelphia area, but i don't hear anything. My friend who is more knowledgable told me they are "trunked" and that i would need to spend a little more money to buy a more modern, better quality scanner that has that capablity. I just don't want to spend the money and not be able to listen in because of some type of encryption. I was looking at the Uniden SDS200 or BCT15X Trunk Tracker. If it has trunk tracker, will it beable to break through and listen in? Thanks in advance?
FreeSpeechlW1776, I don't feel you need to spend $649.95/$699.95 for SDS-100/SDS-200. I would try out a Bearcat BCD-996P2 as it is priced MUCH lower then the above Beartcat scanners. Stay away from Whistler. Call Bearcat Warehouse in Maryland and explain your situation and see what Paul there recommends. Their number is 877-568-7226 and hope this helps you out.
 
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hvytrucker

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I have no secret source or inside information, I am only going by what I've read in the forums and what other people are posting. Just merely saying that if I was to make a big purchase for a new scanner that I would want something that wouldn't be outdated any time soon.

Many moons ago that happened to me when Philly went from conv to P25. Just weeks before the transition I bought a new scanner and within a month it was useless to monitor Philly PD & FD.
 

rgchristy

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Here's an update to my listening capability. I live approximately within a 7-8 mile radius of Center City. I recently purchased a BCD436HP. I can now listen to Philly without any problem. I use either a Remtronix 820S or a cheap Tram mini-mag mount antenna that I stick outside the window and attach it to our front metal railing. Reception is fine either way.

I just assumed that I was unable to receive Philly, because of the distance from Center City. My TRX-1 and PSR800 cannot lock on any of the control channels. I tried dropping the Data Decode to 10 and still got nothing, so I tried the tune mode and discovered this. Side by side, using the same antennas, only the 436 picks up Philly. I even tried an attic mounted 800 MHz yagi antenna on the Whistler, without success. I wish that I knew why, but it looks like my future purchases will be Uniden. I don't know if anyone has the same scanners and can duplicate what I'm experiencing. I was under the impression that listening to Philly was a location issue, so now I'm not so sure.

Before you buy a scanner, please make sure that you will be able to listen to Philadelphia. I live in Delaware County and cannot listen to them, due to being out of range. Unless you are inside the city, it may be difficult to hear them. I would post where you are in or out of city and see if anyone on here, that is near you, can listen to them.
 

tvengr

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Whistler scanners do a poor job of receiving simulcast systems, such as Philadelphia. The Uniden SDS100 and SDS200 will do even better that the BCD436HP. The SDS scanners are the only ones specifically designed to receive simulcast systems.
 
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