BCD436HP: ZIP Code vs. Geographic Coordinates?

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RFSnoop

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At home, I have set up a favorites list to catch the traffic I am most interested in. However, we spend a lot of time traveling around the country in a camper. For times when we are changing location frequently, what would be the pros and cons of setting location by ZIP Code or entering geographic coordinates? Is there a better solution?
 

KE5MC

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I think either would get the job done, but I find generally ZIP code location more of a challenge to identify than Lat/Long. Quick example is Compass app. on iPhone is one click for Lat/Long. Zip code I think would be Googling in Safari to get the number. On the other hand I don't scan by location and know ZIP code is a featured way to do it. I'm not really sure how using Lat/Long without looking it up. I'm sure someone will come along with details. :cool:
 

N4DJC

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A better solution would be a GPS, use location control and set the range at maybe 5 miles. I would have enjoyed having that option when I was still on the road.
 

KE5MC

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A better solution would be a GPS, use location control and set the range at maybe 5 miles. I would have enjoyed having that option when I was still on the road.
Good point, I was thinking of manual input of ZIP code and applying it to Lat/Long.
 

nessnet

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GPS may take a bit of work to set up (pre trip), but WELL worth it. Once set up, it's hands-off, the radio does it for you.
 

RFSnoop

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No doubt about it, GPS would be the way to go for listening underway. My goal is only to listen to the local scene when camped for a night or, sometimes, several weeks. Obtaining and entering the ZIP Code or geographic coordinates is quick and easy. I just wondered if using one method or the other has predictable benefits?
 

ScubaJungle

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Its very simple to find a zip code - you just open google maps and click on any store/location in the area you want to know. The address and zip code will then show.

I think zip code would give you a wider list of results, because, with coordinates, the range is going off a single point, but with zip code, the range is going off a whole range of coordinates that make up that zip code.

As for what is most effective - I sometimes use zip search when I do not have a programmed list already and want to do a wide search, but when I do, I quickly add any hits to a new FL.
Why? I try to avoid using the full database as much as possible since most trunking systems do not have nearly all of the TGs recorded in the DB, and scanning the full DB, you can only scan on ID scan and not search. So, for many places, scanning the full DB on ID scan, you will miss a lot of stuff.

I usually preprogram any trip routes into a series of FLs, which are categorized by section of the trip. For example, for the first hour, I will be going through two counties, so those two counties' systems/frequencies of interest will go into an FL and everything is on ID Search, then next portion, new FL, etc.

If I cant program a FL ahead of time, I do what I described above - use zip search, save the hits to a FL, then I listen to that FL with ID Search on.
 

KK4JUG

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Unless you're just traveling to the next town over, GPS is the only way to go. I ran through the warranty on my Kia in about 9 months so I travel a lot. I would never NOT use the GPS for long distance traveling.
 

ScubaJungle

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Unless you're just traveling to the next town over, GPS is the only way to go. I ran through the warranty on my Kia in about 9 months so I travel a lot. I would never NOT use the GPS for long distance traveling.
I've been looking for a cheap GPS to pop up so that I could do the cable mod and give the GPS a shot myself. I'm a little bit hesitant due to what I said above though - you seem to have a lot of experience with GPS, do you ever run into issues with ID scan vs search, or notice it at all?
 

hiegtx

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Actually, when you use a zip code for location, the location it generates is approximately the center of that specific zip. There is no way to enter, and use, more than one location at a time; you can save one than one location, giving it a name. But still, even if you saved more than one location, only one at a time can be used.

If you are in an urban area, where zip codes are set for a number of smaller areas, zip would likely be acceptable. But in less populated, rural, areas, one zip code can cover a much larger area, even an entire county or parts of more than one county. In parts of rural west Texas, some counties are larger than the smallest states.
Just ask your smart phone "What zip code am I in".
The smart phone app Global Zip uses the GPS capabilities of your phone to determine your actual location (latitude and longitude, plus the Zip code for that area.
 

kc7rhw

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i have a BCD536Hp and i use the GPS dongle and set the radio to 0.0 i am a truck driver and have used it with no problem
from utah to NY state.no internet need. I bought it for 75 dollars on amzon.best thing i ever did.
as this radio is very hard to manually program
 

hiegtx

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Interesting, I didn't know that but it makes sense. I assumed it just used the whole area, but I see how it doesnt work like that
And to add to the fun, while the Uniden scanners use the actual coordinates for the zip code's center, the GRE/Whistler database scanners (like the WS1088, WS1098, and the two TRX scanners, among others) use, instead, the county the zip code is primarily used for. So, if your zip code was for, say, the northwest corner of your county, location would cover only that county. It would not also include the county (or counties) just across the county line from you, even though parts of those counties may be closer to your location than the eastern & southern portions of your home county.
 

kc7rhw

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well i just use the gps dongle and set the range to o.o. and i can travel the hole usa and never touch the keys unless there is something interesting to hear i travel from utah to ny state on i 80 most places are in the clear.
expect the ny st police
 

KK4JUG

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I've been looking for a cheap GPS to pop up so that I could do the cable mod and give the GPS a shot myself. I'm a little bit hesitant due to what I said above though - you seem to have a lot of experience with GPS, do you ever run into issues with ID scan vs search, or notice it at all?
If there were any issues, they were only momentary because I never noticed them.
 

jonwienke

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ZIP codes are converted to location coordinates by a lookup table that is part of the database. The location coordinates are the approximate geographic center of the service area of the ZIP code. When you manually enter a ZIP code, the range setting is charged to 20 miles to compensate for the imprecision of the method. So manually entering ZIP codes while driving is a really bad idea for two reasons: looking up and entering codes while driving is really unsafe, and setting range that high will make the scanner scan way too much stuff.

GPS is far better in every respect.
 
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