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EDC Police Scanner

Discussion in 'Electronic Devices' started by Wayne H., Apr 18, 2008.

  1. Wayne H.

    Wayne H. Empty Pockets

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    Part of my EDC suite is my Radio Shack Pro-83 Scanner. Its frequency coverage is from 25.0000mhz to 956.0000 mhz so it more than covers everything I need in my area (police/fire/emer. mgt./HAM, etc) to keep me on top of any emergency. It's an excellent middle-of-the-road priced scanner and one thing about it set it apart from the other scanners I looked at. It's very compact and lightweight! It comes with a belt-clip and carrying it around is a breeze. It also has a couple of other features to recommend it. One is a fast two-button touch and you get live National Weather Service broadcasts no matter where you are. This is because you don't have to program any NWS freqs into it as this little scanner will instantaneously locate and lock onto the nearest NWS broadcast frequency. Another plus to the Pro-83 is its "Signal Stalker" feature. Simply pick the frequency range you want (VHF-Hi, UHF-Lo, T-band, whatever) and the Signal Stalker will go hunting for active signals and notify you when its found one. You can even continue your normal everyday scanning while Signal Stalker does its own thing.
    There are plenty of scanners out there of both better and lesser quality than the Pro-83. But if you want a solid, good-capability scanner that's still compact enough for very-comfortable EDC, I recommend the Radio Shack Pro-83. I've seen them priced on eBay at widely varied prices. I've seen everything from $25 for a used one up to $100 for a new one in the box I've no doubt you could easily land a used one in excellent condition for around $50.
     

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  2. parnass

    parnass Loaded Pockets

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    A PRO-83 owner in my scanner club commented that, "I have a Pro-83 which is very much the same model (as the PRO-84) without the NASCAR logo."

    The PRO-84 can be bought on clearance now for $29.97.
     
  3. Wayne H.

    Wayne H. Empty Pockets

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    Just wanted to add that I did check out the Pro-83 on eBay just moments ago because I got a little nervous about whether the "$50" used/excellent condition price I tossed out there on my post was reasonably accurate. Sure enough, there's a Pro-83 on eBay right now that's used and in excellent condition for $55.
    Also, for folks who are interested in checking out the capabilities and price range of these scanners they can go to:
    www.radio-scanner-guide.com
    This site is packed with info on both older and newer model scanners made by both Radio Shack and Uniden.
    --Wayne
     
  4. speedmaster

    speedmaster Loaded Pockets

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    A few years ago I looked into getting a scanner on a lark. I remember reading that many police departments have been moving to digital/encrypted systems that can't be overheard w/ scanners.

    Is that true? What's the latest on that front?
     
  5. Wayne H.

    Wayne H. Empty Pockets

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    If this is happening, it must be one slow process. My little EDC scanner still picks up everything here in central Indiana--including the Indianapolis Metro Police. I've yet to hear of a single main police dispatch freq. being changed over to digital encryption. :shrug:
     
  6. Bob Lindell

    Bob Lindell Loaded Pockets

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    I'd love to get some clarification on this too.
     
  7. Vector_Joe

    Vector_Joe Empty Pockets

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    It really depends on the location. A digital system is a better, more robust system for the public safety agencies to use. The fact that it is harder to listen in on is not necessarily a primary reason for switching. But it definitely costs a lot of money, especially if using a simple repeater system is working adequately. If you go to radioreference.com, you can look up what ps agencies are using which systems.

    Now, you can still listen to a ps agency on a digital or trunked radio system, but it just means that the scanner you need is going to be more expensive.

    Personally, in my area where 4 counties meet, several of the large municipalities and some of the smaller ones are using trunked and/or digital radio systems. Most of the sheriff's dept and smaller police agencies are still using simple repeater systems though and can be listened to on basic scanners. So you need to know what the users in the area are using before choosing the type of scanner.

    I use my ham radio with wideband rx capability to listen myself. The ham radio license can be an asset as I have heard that in some areas/states, it is not legal to listen to a scanner in a vehicle unless you have a ham license (but that is not confirmed).
     
  8. chappel

    chappel Loaded Pockets

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    A few years back when I was more active in ham radio and EMS in rural Minnesota you had to have a 'letter of authorization' from each agency you were monitoring to have a scanner in your car - or a ham radio ticket, which sure made it worth the what - $5? At that time only the state patrol were using digital trunking - as far as I know things haven't changed there. I can see people getting worked up over 'bad guys' being able to monitor the police, but don't ever recall hearing any instances of that actually happening. Maybe only the smart ones that don't get caught?

    I still have my yaesu ft-50r - which had great wide-band receive (although the regular fm radio broadcast frequencies didn't work all that great - but who wants to listen to THAT crap?). They are built well, and let you transmit in addition to just receive (if you spend that $5 and take the basic intro test). I doubt those go for much over $50 on ebay.
     
  9. quokked

    quokked Empty Pockets

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    It's happened down here in Australia
    Our police Agency (Victoria Police)

    switch over to the motorola digital system a few years ago for the Commonwealth Games (kinda like the olympics for ex british colonies)
    and the Police turned on scrambling!!!
    I turned on my Icom IC-R3 after i got back from overseas not knowing this and was like *gee the police are quiet today* after a bit of quick googling i found out why :lolhammer:
     
  10. eyeeatingfish

    eyeeatingfish Empty Pockets

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    Why does anyone need a police scanner?
    Police work often requires a certain amount of security.
     
  11. parnass

    parnass Loaded Pockets

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    :welcome: Welcome to EDC Forums, eyeeatingfish.

    A "police scanner" is a slang term for the more general "scanner radio," which is capable of receiving police, fire, emergency service, business, and marine communications. I can think of several reasons (US) citizens want to have a such a receiver.

    Police agencies use cell phone, Nextel, mobile data terminals, and encryption for communications they want to keep private. However, most police transmissions are of a routine nature. There are thousands of citizens across the country who use these radios to keep aware of happenings in their community, especially during emergencies. You cannot get all the news you need in a timely manner by reading newspapers and listening to broadcasters.
     
  12. Wayne H.

    Wayne H. Empty Pockets

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    O0 Well put, Bob! While I enjoy listening to routine police traffic on my scanner, I put it to far better use. Example: I live in Indiana and it's springtime now and that means lots of severe weather and twisters around here. Monitoring the stormspotters on the HAM freqs keeps me up to the very instant on weather conditions in every location in my county.
    Scanners are an extremely useful tool, indeed, in anyone's personal-security arsenal.
     
  13. jlomein

    jlomein Loaded Pockets

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    Thanks for the heads up on this scanner. I've been using my ham radio (Yaesue VX-2) to scan some local fire depts, etc, but it is incredibly slow at scanning and has terrible battery life. I'm going to try to pick one up, even though all the local police have switched to digital trunk. :thumbsdown:
     
  14. Bob Lindell

    Bob Lindell Loaded Pockets

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    I recently went to www.scannermaster.com and took them up on their offer to recommend a scanner. Very helpful after I provided them with particulars. I put my portable Uniden up for sale here as a result. They were very helpful and professional at answering my questions. I'm now aware that I require a scanner that will receive digital trunk in order to receive state police information - they are the only police who cover the area in which I live.
     
  15. sewer_rat

    sewer_rat Loaded Pockets

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    Uniden BC-246T is my EDC when in the car or at work. It's got Trunktracking and is PC programmable which are pretty much the two necessities in a scanner. When I am going stealthy, it's the ICOM IC-R5 and a hidden earphone. At home, I'm still using the Uniden BC-780XLT but planning an upgrade soon.
     
  16. Tex8746

    Tex8746 Loaded Pockets

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    I use my RS Pro-164 all the time in my truck, I love it! I can get alot of stuff on it to include NWS, EMS, FD, PD, CB, HAM etc. If the zombie invasion ever take's place I will be able to find other survivors, and the zombie's weekness

    :lolhammer:

    Plus I can listen in what is going on out there before going to work, have a heads up on Mass Cal.s and what not (that way I know when to call in sick to work ;D)
     
  17. Organdonor

    Organdonor Empty Pockets

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    The wave of the future is digital... look at the switch happening in January to standard TV signals!

    The big thing about digital is the cost. The CT State Police made the switch a couple of years back after getting tired of the limitations of lo-band VHF. A few local towns that depend on the CSP for police services had to decide whether to continue with the CSP and upgrade their radio systems (a million dollar expense), or split off and create their own departments instead.

    You CAN listen to certain digital broadcasts on digital scanners, but you're out of luck when it's scrambled. I don't believe the CSP's transmissions are scrambled, but it's just a large expense to buy a digital-capable scanner.

    I have a nice RS handheld scanner in addition to my two-ways from my fire deparment. A REALLY nice feature to get on a scanner is alpha-numeric display, so you can program in the names of the departments on their respective frequencies. Makes it easier than remember which department is which based on the channel numbers, which can be a lot!
     
  18. xizzy

    xizzy Empty Pockets

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    Just a curiosity: here in italy we have nine diffrent PS corps, some military and some not. Some of them still uses old-tech radio but lot of them switched to cellphones or encrypted digital modes.

    Bad luck to italian swl!
     
  19. lukem

    lukem Empty Pockets

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    Here in Nashville, the Metro police (also Fire dept. as I recall) are digital with encryption.
    Most of the surrounding communities outside of Davidson county are still analog though, so there's some use for scanners still.

    I use mine to monitor air traffic and in the cases of bad weather I've monitored school bus frequencies to get a feeling for how the roads were.
    I also have one bank set up for the HAM repeaters too, so I can monitor them also. (I have a Ham license too.)
     
  20. ohmygoat

    ohmygoat Empty Pockets

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    Fortunately, I guess budget constraints have kept the local public service radio systems from going digital around here (SF Bay Area), but I think there was (is?) a move to get most, if not all municipalities switched over to a common trunked, digital system at some point in the future. This would allow for inter-agency communications when the inevitable big one ( as in earthquake) hits. As it is now, the two of the major metro areas are analog trunked, Oakland on an Ericsson system and San Francisco on Motorola. Most of the other agencies are on a hodgepodge of VHF and UHF frequencies with a few trunked systems here and there. Also seem to recall CHP was looking into a trunked system, but I would imagine the cost of all those repeaters would be a bundle to provide the same coverage as their current (ancient) VHF Lo system, especially with the varied topography around here. If it all remains analog for the near term, that's fine with me.

    Oh, my everyday scanner is an old RS Pro-92 trunking handheld (with cradle and glass mount antenna in the car) and also use a Pro-2006 at home. Still have an Pro-43 (great because it covered Mil-Air) but it's out of commission with a dead keypad. Where I live, we're still on plain ol' VHF, so I can't really justify a spiffy new scanner.