What to get

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green737

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I have been looking at getting a portable scanner for the car with my rebate check in may I have no clue what to get or what i am looking at all I know is that i do not want to spend an arm and leg. on my base scanner i have about twenty freq all ready program so i am not looking for a lot of extra space but some so i can add on in the future so if you can help me and maybe guide me in the right direction It would be greatly appreciated
 

djeplett

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Howdy, green737.

It will help us if you could tell us where you are located and what agencies you'd like to monitor. Some locations in Wisconsin you don't really need an expensive radio to hear all there is to hear. Some locations require a more advanced trunking capable radio and some locations even require a digital modulation capable radio. (Or you can't even monitor it at all sometimes :( )

So let us know where you are and who you want to listen to and we should be able to steer you in the right direction.

Dave in New London, Waupaca County
 

green737

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what I am listening to

the agencies I have in there are Green Lake -Berlin Ripon Med flights like theda and flight for life Marquette county's point to point and looking to add outagamie and and winnebago and fond du lac When I get a portable one those are the main ones I work with and Have in there
 

djeplett

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OK, from what I see you don't have much in any of the counties you mentioned that require digital modulation or trunking. So the good news is you can go very cheap.

Right now, Radio Shack has a deal for a PRO-84 handheld with headphones for $49.97. It has 200 channels and service searches which means you can tell it to scan for common police or fire frequencies when you are somewhere that you don't know what frequency the police or fire departments might be on.

The downside of a radio like this is it doesn't have "alpha tags". A radio with "alpha tags" would not only display the frequency but also a short text description for each channel, so you don't have to remember what agency uses that frequency. Radio Shack has the PRO-137 now for $179.99 and it has 1000 channels plus alpha tagging and "signal stalker" which will lock on to close transmissions and show you what frequency they are on.

There are used alpha tagging capable scanners available here on Radio Reference in the "Equipment For Sale" area, or on eBay. I personally use a Radio Shack PRO-97 which is 1000 channels with alpha tagging and squelch tone decode. You can find these on eBay from time to time under $120.

I bought an old PRO-75 scanner off of eBay for my son back in December for $40 including shipping. It doesn't have alpha tagging, but it does have 200 channels. So like most things, the more you spend the more toys you get.

Check out the Wiki here on Radio Reference and you can see a lot of info on the other common scanner models and feel free to ask opinons. As the saying goes... everybody has one!
 

green737

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wondering

I was also thinking is the thing they call digital should consider buying a scanner with digital I think I might go with the pro -97 what you have it looks like a good one to go with have you had any problems with it ?
 

djeplett

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The only problem I have is more of an annoyance. If the agency you're trying to monitor uses a digital coded squelch the PRO-97 has an annoying habit of losing the digital code every two seconds and you miss parts of words. It sounds almost exactly like you have the radio's priority channel turned on. The stronger the signal the less likely it will happen.

I don't like the squelch and volume knob sizes as it is easy to try to turn the radio volume down and to accidentally turn the squelch down too far and it opens. There is a fix for this in that you can buy differently sized knobs, but I have learned to live with that as well.

Other than those annoyances it has been the best $149 I ever spent. (I was lucky enough to catch it when it was on sale.)
 

Karl_KS9E

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Another possible issue: Rebanding

The bargain basement scanner you buy today (especially if it is off the used market) likely will not handle rebanding. Since the systems mentioned are not currently trunked, it may be less of an issue. Once public saftey moves to the narrow spaced channel standards and some are even moved to 700 MHz, newer equipment capable of handling those frequencies and modes will be required. A little thought and planning today will prevent buyer remorse in the future. :)
 

green737

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been thinking

I was up most of the night looking and comparing scanners i think I will go with the pro 97 I like the alpha tagging option a lot it means i dont have to try to guess in what units I am listening to and I have been looking at car mounts for it too
 

djeplett

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Karl is right with the rebanding issue potetially being a problem. However, in order to get a radio that will be immune to that issue you'd need to spend over twice as much.

I think for the time being you'll be happy and when rebanding occurs and if it affects any agencies you monitor you can always use the 97 for monitoring other things and get a newer radio...

That's my plan, anyway. :D
 
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