Smallest Portable Computer for Recording Scanner Audio

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Gilligan

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I typically use my laptop connected to my BC246T along w/ the free 246T audio recorder program to record audio during the day. It logs either scan banks or searches and separates the audio into wave files that are labelled with the particulars for each transmission, namely the frequency & tone or talkgroup ID, the date, and the time of the transmission. At the end of the day, I can sort everything by freq & tone or TG and play through it. This is useful for trying to ID new frequencies and trunked systems.

However, one problem I've found is that when I go to a location where I want to record audio in the car, either if I'm visiting an area or want to leave a car somewhere for a day or two, I have no way to power a laptop for that long. I have considered getting a 24AH battery and hooking it up to the scanner and laptop, which would probably work, however I'm not crazy about the idea of leaving it unattended in a car. I don't have a problem leaving the laptop in there, but I am a bit leary of leaving a very powerful battery hooked up for so long completely unattended.

I'm wondering if anyone knows of a small portable computer that would have, as a bare minimum of requirements, Windows operating system (98/XP/etc), a USB port, and an audio input. I thought about one of those small computers that are only the size of a book, but I have no convenient way of hooking up a monitor to them when I arrive at the test site. And it is necessary to get things set up on-site in order to lockout sources of interference, data, etc.

I could get a small portable VOX-recorder (digital) and use it w/ the scanner, which would be very simple, but then I can't record more than one channel at a time because there's really no way of knowing which channel I'm listening to when I play back the recordings.

Real-life example: Setting up a computer/scanner recording arrangement on a hill or in a shopping center in order to capture everything within a search range or in a scan bank, then leaving it run for a day or two.

Sometimes it's just easier to move a car to another location that has better reception or a desired location than to sit for hours and listen. And recording has the advantage of being able to (1) track more frequencies w/o having to pause the scanner constantly and (2) play back what is heard to distinguish what cannot be understood the first time through.

Thanks for any and all input.
 

Arizona_Scanner

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I would say get a Walmart netbook and call it good. $200 or so. When you say you would have "no way to hook up a monitor" are you talking about a computer monitor (19", 22" etc.)? If so, then there are USB to VGA adapters that would solve that. Having an audio input on such a cheap computer would require a USB adapter too.

If you are really serious about doing this, I would suggest saving a few more pennies, and getting a used PSR-800 off of ebay for around $400 and that would be the perfect solution, all in one unit, and it could run for a week off a car battery with the display turned off.

Good luck, and please post what your end solution ends up being.
 

Gilligan

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If you are really serious about doing this, I would suggest saving a few more pennies, and getting a used PSR-800 off of ebay for around $400 and that would be the perfect solution, all in one unit, and it could run for a week off a car battery with the display turned off.

Good luck, and please post what your end solution ends up being.
I honestly had no idea that the PSR-800 recorded so much audio. After doing a bit of research, I found that a regular 2 GB SD card can store like 44 hours of audio, with larger sizes available. I wish the same capability was found in Uniden's next upgrade, as I am much more favorable toward Uniden's feature-rich scanners.

So now I'll ask this question: Would anyone be able to record a short clip of the recording-playback feature on a PSR-800 and post it to youtube or something? I looked but didn't see anything showing off that capability. Also, for anyone who currently owns a PSR-800, do you feel limited by not having much immediate control over your scanner? I go frequency hunting as a hobby, and so I like to have instant control of my scanner.
 

hiegtx

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I honestly had no idea that the PSR-800 recorded so much audio. After doing a bit of research, I found that a regular 2 GB SD card can store like 44 hours of audio, with larger sizes available. I wish the same capability was found in Uniden's next upgrade, as I am much more favorable toward Uniden's feature-rich scanners.
The Home Patrol 1 also does recording, I swapped the 2gb card for an 8 (could have gone bigger, but did not feel the need). I could easily record several days worth of traffic on the card, without bumping any limitation.

I haven't noticed anyone saying they went to a bigger card on the PSR-800m but then I could easily have missed that comment.

Edit to add:
Just noticed this thread in the GRE Forum:
http://forums.radioreference.com/gre-scanners/224944-psr-800-record-feature.html

One member using a 16gn card, which theoretically could allpw for several hundred hours of recording.
 
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Gilligan

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The more I read about this scanner, the more I love it...

I did indeed find that one of the youtube walk-thrus demonstrates the record/playback feature. I think the only things missing at this point are fire tone-out and STAT trunking modes (as opposed to ROAM).

I am definitely interested in learning more about this radio. It seems like it would solve a lot of difficulties for me in getting to enjoy the radio hobby these days.
 

W2PMX

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I am a bit leary of leaving a very powerful battery hooked up for so long completely unattended.
You already have a 60AH or 75AH battery sitting in your car unattended. The only problem with the 24AH battery you add (assuming it's under the hood - NEVER run a lead acid battery in an enclosed space, unless you're into large explosions) is that you can completely discharge the battery and keep the load on it, ruining the battery. RVs often have 2 batteries, one for the vehicle (lights, starter, etc.) and one for the living quarters (lights, fridge, TV, etc.) There are even 'things' you can buy (devices would be a good word, I guess) that allow you to hook the second battery up to the vehicle's electrical system, so that it gets charged by the vehicle, but you don't use the vehicle's battery when you run something from the second battery. (They're basically large diodes.)
 

markbajek

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I'd second the HP1 for just for ease of capturing traffic and recording it, overnight in hotels on location whatever..., it needs a better antenna but other wise if the radio system is in there it does a halfway decent job of snagging traffic.

Although mine just deep sixed it in a smoking mess...with a white screen of death that is completely blank.

It's an easyway to capture traffic, not the easiest radio to dump an individual set of freqs into without software though..
 

Arizona_Scanner

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I have a 4GB card in my 800 and have like 4000 audio files on it at the moment, and am not even using a gig of space. I set EVERYTHING to record, at all times, that way I can always go back and listen to anything I want, from a moment ago, or days ago. I can go for weeks on 4GB, so a 32GB card would be good for months I would say, on average. The GRE radios are widely known to be superior for decoding P25 traffic, and that is worth noting if that is part of your interest.

As far as audio quality, it is really quite good. When I listen to a recording on my radio, it sounds EXACTLY as good as it did originally. I import files to my computer, and do all sorts of things too.

For weak signals, I leave the squelch open sometimes, recording the whole time. Then, I import the file, convert to WAV file, open it in cool edit pro, and in about five or ten minutes I can delete out all of the white noise (visually on screen), and then have one continuous (and much shorter) audio file with just the "red meat".

I LOVE my PSR-800. For those who understand it's features, it is a thing of beauty.
 

NWI_Scanner_Guy

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I have a 4GB card in my 800 and have like 4000 audio files on it at the moment, and am not even using a gig of space. I set EVERYTHING to record, at all times, that way I can always go back and listen to anything I want, from a moment ago, or days ago. I can go for weeks on 4GB, so a 32GB card would be good for months I would say, on average. The GRE radios are widely known to be superior for decoding P25 traffic, and that is worth noting if that is part of your interest.

As far as audio quality, it is really quite good. When I listen to a recording on my radio, it sounds EXACTLY as good as it did originally. I import files to my computer, and do all sorts of things too.

For weak signals, I leave the squelch open sometimes, recording the whole time. Then, I import the file, convert to WAV file, open it in cool edit pro, and in about five or ten minutes I can delete out all of the white noise (visually on screen), and then have one continuous (and much shorter) audio file with just the "red meat".

I LOVE my PSR-800. For those who understand it's features, it is a thing of beauty.
I'll second that. I'm learning more about mine every day (even after having it for about 6 weeks now) and I'm liking it better and better each day.

The recording feature was one of the main reasons I purchased mine. Although I don't record everything, I do record all local PD and FD transmissions, and then about every day or two, dump the files onto my PC, and sort out by locality and department.
 
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