What handheld scanner would be my best option?

Status
Not open for further replies.

Scanner_Rider

Member
Joined
Nov 22, 2012
Messages
48
Location
Morgan County, Alabama near Somerville
In my area until this year all the main frequencies I monitor are the same that they were in the 1970s when I bought crystals to plug into my 8 channel Realistic base scanner which I still use in my living room although I acquired a Radio Shack Pro-82 about 10 years ago and use it as a bedside and vehicle scanner.

This year however, a few of the nearby municipal PDs and some of the EMS have opted out of the county dispatch and operational frequencies in favor of 800 Mhz .

In looking at the few handhelds I found online, some say they are analog, some digital, some trunking, others dual trunking and some triple trunking . The most expensive is only about $500 which I could handle out of my savings.

What I am trying to figure out is which handheld would be most feasible to be able to receive the 150 Mhz county sheriff and local PD, 153 state, 450 VFD and the 800mhz maybe digital maybe not that the other agencies are switching to.

I would also like your opinions of which model would be the best choice for bnc antenna swap out from house base antenna to rubber antenna when in use in the vehicle and gets at least six hours of battery time off of the house charger as we use them in mobile mode as part of our rural community watch.

I did go to the nearest RS store and when I asked the floor sales rep and she tried to sell me one they had that was only a model number or so above my ancient Pro-82 they had on clearance sale for $90 but did not cover above 512 MHz range, so I figured she knew even less than I did about this analog/digital and trunking .

So is there a handheld that could cover the 29 to 800 or so bands old school analog/ possible digital and trunking, be as easy to program manually as my old pro 82 and be easy to move from the base antenna to the vehicle ?

Is trunking like a radio transmission version of multiplexing signals to multiple phone extensions or phone and computer at different frequencies over one phone line?

My apologies at all the questions but I am almost 15 years retired out of the electronics manufacturing sector and still can use a crystal controlled base scanner to listen to about half of the agencies in my area so I haven't studied the advancements that much in the last couple decades.
 

ranger821

Member
Premium Subscriber
Joined
Jun 10, 2006
Messages
644
Location
Fort Walton Beach, Florida
In looking at the guide here on Radio ref. your area has some digital, some analog, and some trunked frequencies. So a digital handheld would be the ticket. My digital is a Pro 197 but it is a base unit. Have heard good reports on the pro 106 and the 996xt. Your best bet is to look at the frequency list for your county here on RR and see what freq's are in your area then match it to one of the digital handhelds that are available.
 

Halfpint

Member
Joined
Apr 4, 2004
Messages
949
Location
Slightly NE of the People's Republic of Firestone
Hmmmmm...

Right now the only RS HandHeld scanner that would currently come close to what it appears you need would be the PRO 106, though given your need for being able to run for 8 or more hours, I would recommend that you get at least one spare black battery carrier and charge your rechargeables with an external charger. (Running the yellow carrier *and* trying to charge batteries in/with the scanner can be asking for trouble *and* the charger circuit in the scanner does a lousy job. You can still use the yellow carrier with externally charged batteries but not with disposable batteries because *if* you use a auto adapter cord to power the scanner the scanner *will* try to charge the disposables and *that* is basically a `no no'. WAN GRIN!)

Having said all that *if* you can wait for a little longer to get that new scanner there are some new scanners from WHISTLER coming out under both the WHISTLER name *and* Radio Shack that might actually do what you want and also be less likely be to become obsolete as quickly as the PRO 106 will. Unfortunately no matter how you `go' be prepared for some `sticker shock' as the newer scanners that can handle the various `flavours' of `Digital / Digital Trunking' are expensive. And *if* things around keep changing you have the possibility of having to eventually deal with P25II trunking. (Yeah, I know that it may seem bewildering seeing all these new `tech-no-gollies' bandered about but, unfortunately, they are most likely to rear their ugly head sooner that one would like and if you are up-grading it'll pay in the long run. I can sympathize with you a bit as I also worked in the electronics `field' for quite few years myself and since I retired trying to keep up with some of the changes, and costs of those changes, has been a real PITA. In my case, fortunately, the family farm is still, somewhat, been able to defray/ease `most' of the `sticker shock'.)
 

radchuck03

Member
Premium Subscriber
Joined
Aug 22, 2010
Messages
19
I would recommend a digital scanner such as the Pro 106, Uniden 396XT, or the Radio Shack Pro 18 or GRE PSR 800. The last two are no longer in production as GRE went bankrupt some time ago. Whistler group has acquired it from what I understand. You can still purchase any of these scanners on ebay as there are always people looking to sell theirs. But, be prepared, they are pricey even on ebay. The lowest I have seen on the P25 phase 1 & 2 handheld models are running at least 280 on up. Another catch, is a learning curve. Patience learning these units is of the utmost virtue. It took me months to learn how to program my Pro 106. Quicker with my RS. Pro 18, and PSR 800 because they are pre-programmed by the manufacturer. Hope this helps my friend!
 

awattam

Member
Joined
Jan 21, 2008
Messages
269
Location
Nashua NH
Just for clarity. the PRO-106 is now called the PR0-651 and is selling at Radio Shack for $399. Ham Radio Outlet has the Whistler version of the same scanner the WS1040 for the same price. $399 is a great price in my opinion.
 

oracavon

Member
Joined
Apr 24, 2010
Messages
395
Location
Somewhere out west
Also, Whistler is just about to release their new model WS1080, which is their version of the old GRE PSR-800 & the old RS PRO-18. So if you decide on that model, you'd probably be better off buying a new one with a new warranty from a company that's still in business (i.e., Whistler). Dealers are expecting to have it in stock sometime next month.
 

Scanner_Rider

Member
Joined
Nov 22, 2012
Messages
48
Location
Morgan County, Alabama near Somerville
Thanks for the info y'all provided. I will keep it all in mind as I look for scanner upgrades.

A community watch in rural farm land areas is hard enough but even harder as services disappear from the established bands. As I told one of our deputies, when I am driving the boundaries of my and my neighbors pastures keeping an eye out for dope heads putting our livestock at risk making their drugs and leaving the toxic wastes behind, I like to know how far off they are to come do their job if needed and if there is a LEA / EMS situation already in progress on one of the narrow roadways in our area , none of us in our community watching our properties during low patrol times want to add to the traffic congestion.
 

pinballwiz86

Member
Premium Subscriber
Joined
Jan 15, 2013
Messages
1,488
Location
Missouri
I've had good luck with the Uniden 396XT. If you don't need digital but you do need 800 mhz analog trunking, check out the 346XTC. Great scanner(s).
 

RDGDigital

Member
Joined
Mar 27, 2012
Messages
391
Location
MD - Eastern Shore
Just for clarity. the PRO-106 is now called the PR0-651 and is selling at Radio Shack for $399. Ham Radio Outlet has the Whistler version of the same scanner the WS1040 for the same price. $399 is a great price in my opinion.
I just want to remind anyone thinking of buying one of these that the Whistler WS1040 comes with the programming cable and power supply, both of which you have to pay extra for when purchasing the PRO-651 from Radio Shack.
 

Scanner_Rider

Member
Joined
Nov 22, 2012
Messages
48
Location
Morgan County, Alabama near Somerville
I found out tonight that I don't have to buy a new scanner just yet as most all of our agencies are staying with their existing frequencies. The reason the smaller PDs have left the county dispatch is because of congestion and they are using the PTT feature of their cellphones as their primary radio comms for their small departments and only seldom use the county frequency.
 
Status
Not open for further replies.
Top