Types of scanners

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Hello I was wondering what the best type of scanner is for my area. I live in West Linn Oregon and I want to be able to have a scanner that can listen to my cities police department. But i'm not sure what you call the type of scanner that can listen to what I think are called talk groups. From what I've researched, my local police department uses: 56912. It would be great if someone could tell me the type of scanner that is able to listen to that.
Thank you so much for your help.
 

sparklehorse

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56912 is actually West Linn PD Administration. An admin channel is usually a non-emergency channel officers can use to talk to the front desk at the precinct, or some other administrative person or persons. You might occasionally hear something interesting on that talk group, but more often it will be pretty boring internal or office business. Your West Linn city police are dispatched on the same talk group as the Lake Oswego Police. It is 57776, Lake Oswego PD Law 1 (LOCOM). Currently you only need an analog trunk tracking scanner to listen, so you have a lot of options available as far as scanners go. Even older ones can work, provided they can be firmware updated to support re-banding. The caveat is that in the not so distant future Clackamas and Washington counties will be switching over to a new P25 digital system, so if you buy an analog scanner it may only work for a few months to a few years depending on when the switchover actually takes place.
Hope that helps.

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sparklehorse

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Wow, those are old. According to the Wiki the Pro-93 does not support re-banding, but the Pro-92 MIGHT:

Radio Shack Scanners - The RadioReference Wiki

I'm not familiar with the Pro-92. The Wiki footnote for it says "A version of this scanner is rebanding compatible, but cannot be modified (i.e. PRO-92 with the original firmware)". I have no idea what that means, so I could not recommend that model. If you're set on a Radio Shack handheld I'd stick to a Pro-106 or newer trunk tracking scanner.

On the Uniden side, I'd stick to a BC246T or newer trunk tracker:

Uniden Scanners - The RadioReference Wiki

As I mentioned previously, any of these older, analog models isn't going to work for too long. How long before they switch over to the digital system is anyone's guess. It could be next week, it could be three years from now. They've already been working on it for quite some time, so I would lean toward sooner rather than later.

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Scanner

OK. so just making sure if i were to buy a radio shack pro-164, I could be able to use/access talk groups, right? Because doesn't every trunked scanner use talk groups?
Thanks so much for your help.
 

DickH

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OK. so just making sure if i were to buy a radio shack pro-164, I could be able to use/access talk groups, right? Because doesn't every trunked scanner use talk groups?
Thanks so much for your help.
The PRO-164 can be re-banded, but ONLY using software.
A PRO-162 is re-bandable using its menus. This group (free to join) has detailed re-banding info. for the PRO-162. The PRO-160 is the desk top version of the PRO-162.
https://groups.yahoo.com/neo/groups/PRO-160-162
 

pinballwiz86

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so what does rebanding mean. also can all trunked scanners scan talkgroups?
Some years ago public safety had to use a narrower signal due to an FCC mandate. So, you need to get a more current scanner.

Yes, the purpose of a trunking scanner is to scan talk groups on a trunked system. If you're a bit tight on money, check out an older scanner like the Uniden 396XT. They pop up on e-bay all the time.
 

DickH

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Some years ago public safety had to use a narrower signal due to an FCC mandate. ...
Narrowbanding and re-banding have nothing to do with each other.
Re-banding is the re-allocation of 800MHz frequencies to alleviate RF overloading caused by SMR/Nextel systems. Only some (most) Motorola systems are affected. Portland is not affected, Clackamas is.
 

sparklehorse

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so what does rebanding mean. also can all trunked scanners scan talkgroups?
All trunked scanners are designed to scan talkgroups, but scanners older than about 2009 vintage typically contain the old instructions for doing this. Many of the trunked radio systems that have been re-banded in the last 6 or 8 years are using a new frequency plan that the old trunking scanners don't understand. This means these older radios can't follow a given Talkgroup properly as the system instructs it to use different frequencies. In the case of Clackamas, the older radios will actually still track it properly most of the time, but will miss about 20% of transmissions due to the radio not understanding what frequency to switch to. To put it another way, you could say the re-banded frequency plan for Clackamas is 80% old school, and 20% new school. Newer scanners understand this new "game plan" and track these systems properly out of the box. But as mentioned, some of the old scanners can be updated with the new, rebanded game plan by updating their firmware using a computer.

Full dose of information here:

Rebanding - The RadioReference Wiki

Hope that helps.
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