A scanner (also referred to as a radio scanner) is a radioreceiver that can automatically tune, or scan, two or more discrete frequencies, stopping when it finds a signal on one of them and then continuing to scan other frequencies when the initial transmission ceases.
The term scanner generally refers to a communications receiver that is primarily intended for monitoring VHF and UHF landmobile radio systems, as opposed to, for instance, a receiver used to monitor international shortwave transmissions.
More often than not, these scanners can also tune to different types of modulation as well (AM, FM, WFM, etc.). Early scanners were slow, bulky, and expensive. Today, modern microprocessors have enabled scanners to store thousands of channels and monitor hundreds of channels per second. Recent models can follow trunked radio systems and decode APCO-P25digital transmissions. Both hand held and desktop models are available. Scanners are often used to monitor police, fire and emergency medical services. Radio scanning serves an important role in the fields of journalism and crime investigation, as well as a hobby for many people around the world.
History and use
Scanners developed from earlier tunable and fixed-frequency radios that received one frequency at a time. Non-broadcast radio systems, such as those used by public safety agencies, do not transmit continuously. With a radio fixed on a single frequency, much time could pass between transmissions, while other frequencies might be active. A scanning radio will sequentially monitor multiple programmed channels, or search between user defined frequency limits. The scanner will stop on an active frequency strong enough to break the radio's squelch setting and resume scanning other frequencies when that activity ceases.
Scanners first became popular and widely available during the heyday of CB radio in the s. The first scanners often had between four and ten channels and required the purchase of a separate crystal for each frequency received. A US patent was issued to Peter W. Pflasterer on June 1,  An early US entry was the Tennelec MCP-1, sold at the January Consumer Electronics Show in Chicago.
Many recent models will allow scanning of the specific DCS or CTCSS code used on a specific frequency should it have multiple users. One memory bank can be assigned to air traffic control, another can be for local marine communications, and yet another for local police frequencies. These can be switched on and off depending on the user's preference. Most scanners have a weather radio band, allowing the listener to tune into weather radio broadcasts from a NOAA transmitter.
Some scanners are equipped with Fire-Tone out. Fire tone out decodes Quick Call type tones and acts as a pager when the correct sequence of tones is detected.
Modern scanners allow hundreds or thousands of frequencies to be entered via a keypad and stored in various 'memory banks' and can scan at a rapid rate due to modern microprocessors.
Active frequencies can be found by searching the internet and frequency reference books or can be discovered through a programmable scanner's search function. An external antenna for a desktop scanner or an extendable antenna for a hand held unit will provide greater performance than the original equipment antennas provided by manufacturers.
Scanners are often used by hobbyists, railfans, siren Enthusiasts, Auto race fans, aviation enthusiasts, off-duty emergency services personnel, and reporters.
Many scanner clubs exist to allow members to share information about frequencies, codes and operations. Most have Internet presence, such as websites, email lists or Web forums.
It is legal to possess a scanner in Australia. It is legal to listen to any transmission that is not classified as telecommunication (i.e. anything not connected to the telephone network).
Possession of a radio scanner is legal. However, article 93 of the Telekommunikationsgesetz prohibits the intentional reception of signals by third parties without authorization from the user.
In Brazil it is legal to have a scanner, but the user should have a ham radio license. Individuals are prohibited from spreading or recording any information obtained.
In Canada, according to the Radiocommunication Act,[dead link] it is completely legal to install, operate or possess a radio apparatus that is capable only of the reception of broadcasting (digital and analogue, but not encrypted data) provided that private information is not passed on or disclosed to any other person(s) or party(s).
A situation that occurred in the Toronto area on 28 June involving York Regional Police officer Constable Garrett Styles was picked up by scanners. On-line streaming of communications between the officer and police dispatch while the fatally injured officer was in urgent need of emergency help were picked up by local media. The tragedy was widely reported before the officer's family was notified. Several media outlets rebroadcast the recorded emergency transmission. A police initiative pressuring the government to create legislation to stop online streaming of scanner captured police communications was announced in April  Although it is currently legal to stream information from a scanner in Canada, using the information for profit is not legal. Some Canadian police forces use encrypted communications which cannot legally be decrypted and streamed onto the Internet. Applications are available permitting anyone with an Internet ready computer or smart phone to access scanner communications that are streamed onto the Internet by private individuals who possess the appropriate scanner and computer equipment.
German law does not prohibit possession of a scanner. However. the Abhörverbot laid down in article 89 of the Telekommunikationsgesetz stipulates that it is only allowed to listen to or otherwise take knowledge of the contents of four classes of transmissions: those intended for the user of the radio receiver, those made by licensed amateur radio operators, those intended for the general public, and those intended for an indefinite group of people. Violation of this provision is punishable by up to two years in prison or a fine.
Until , the Telekommunikationsgesetz only prohibited the act of listening to other classes of transmissions. This was broadened as a response to a decision of the Cologne Administrative Court, which in questioned whether the mere reception and decoding of aircraft transponder signals to display aircraft movements on a screen could be considered listening, as it lacks an acoustic element.
Owning a scanner that is able to intercept the frequencies of law enforcement, is illegal and carries a jail sentence from one to five years. Art. bis Civil Penal Code. 
It is legal to possess, install and operate a scanner in Japan. The radio law prohibits from disclosing or passing on information received to other persons and using the information to gain personal profit. It is illegal to listen to telephone communication and those transmitted using tapping devices. An amateur radio license is required when amateur radio apparatus is used to listen to radio.
In Mexico it is legal to have an unblocked scanner and listen to any radio spectrum frequencies including encrypted and cellular band. According to the Federal Law of General Ways of Communication, individuals are prohibited from spreading any information obtained via the mass media.
In the Netherlands it is legal to listen to any radio spectrum frequency because of the "freedom of information"-doctrine However, if a "special" (i.e., unusual) effort is needed to intercept the information on a frequency (such as decrypting encrypted traffic or using an unauthorized scanner) then it is considered illegal. In , the Dutch Supreme Court ruled that receivers that can solely be used to detect certain frequencies (such as radar detectors) are illegal because they cannot be used to "convey knowledge or thoughts" and thus are not covered by the aforementioned doctrine.
In New Zealand, according to the Radiocommunications Act  it is legal to possess and use a scanner at any time to tune to any private voice radio (not encrypted data) provided that private information is not passed on or disclosed to any other person(s) or party(s).
Possession of a radio scanner is legal in Switzerland. However, it may only be used to listen to public radio traffic like CB radio and amateur radio. In addition to public radio traffic, listening to airband frequencies is also allowed.
In the UK it is not illegal to own or use a scanner except in particular circumstances. For example, particular transmissions or frequencies should only be listened to with authorization  an example of this being UK aviation frequencies, which in many other countries may be publicly listened to (and are even available to be streamed online) but in the UK are restricted.
The legality of radio scanners in the United States varies considerably between jurisdictions, although it is a federal crime to monitor cellular phone calls. Five US states restrict the use of a scanner in an automobile. Although scanners capable of following trunked radio systems and demodulating some digital radio systems such as APCO Project 25 are available, decryption-capable scanners would be a violation of United States law and possibly laws of other countries.
A law passed by the Congress of the United States, under the pressure from cellular telephone interests, prohibited scanners sold after a certain date from receiving frequencies allocated to the Cellular Radio Service. The law was later amended to make it illegal to modify radios to receive those frequencies, and also to sell radios that could be easily modified to do so. This law remains in effect even though no cellular subscribers still use analog technology. There are Canadian and European unblocked versions available, but these are illegal to import into the U.S. Frequencies used by early cordless phones at –MHz, –MHz, and –MHz can be picked up by many scanners. The proliferation of scanners led most cordless phone manufacturers to produce cordless handsets operating on a more secure GHz system using spread-spectrum technology. Certain states in the United States such as New York and Florida, prohibit the use of scanners in a vehicle unless the operator has a radio license issued from the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) (Amateur Radio, etc.) or the operator's job requires the use of a scanner in a vehicle (e.g., police, fire, utilities). Many scanner user manuals include a warning saying that, while it is legal to listen to almost every transmission a scanner can receive, but there are some that persons should not intentionally listen to (such as telephone conversations, pager transmissions, or any scrambled or encrypted transmissions) under the Electronic Communications Privacy Act, and that modifications to do so are illegal.
In some parts of the United States, there are extra penalties for the possession of a scanner during a crime, and some states, such as Michigan, also prohibit the possession of a scanner by a person who has been convicted of a felony in the last five years.
Many people including siren Enthusiasts, aviation enthusiasts, and more use scanner audio or footage and post them online. Older people who are involved in these group (mainly siren enthusiasts) have said that putting siren activation tones in videos is either illegal or dangerous. Their reasoning is that in a very large siren system in Dallas, Texas had been hacked and all of the sirens in Dallas County went off in the middle of the night. According to some siren enthusiasts the hack was done by using a Two-way radio and using a video online using activation tones from Dallas County's dispatch center. The hacker then transmitted the video with tones in it over the dispatch frequency which lead to all of the sirens going off in Dallas. More of these hacks happened in places such as Cincinnati, Ohio, Milwaukee, Wisconsin and other cities. After this many siren enthusiasts stopped putting activation tones in videos so that they wouldn't be used maliciously. A lot of arguments in the siren community have spun up after these hacks. Some enthusiasts began altering or pitch shifting tones so that they don't sound like the real activation tones and some still keep them in there, however they put a disclaimer in the description of the video saying they will not be held responsible for misuse of activation tones. The reason why activation tones are in videos in the first place is to alert the enthusiasts of when said siren is about to go off. With this being in mind, this is what some sources say about putting scanner audio in videos (including tones). Section of the Communications Act States that: No person not being authorized by the sender shall intercept any radio communication and divulge or publish the existence, contents, substance, purport, effect, or meaning of such intercepted communication to any person. 47 U.S.C. § (a). The penalties for violating this section are severe: a fine of not more than $, imprisonment, or both or, where such violation is “willfull" and for purposes of direct or indirect commercial advantage or private financial gain,” a fine of up to $50, and imprisonment of not more than two years for the first such conviction and up to $, and five years for subsequent convictions. In addition, the statute provides for a private civil remedy to any person aggrieved by a violation of this section. The FCC regulations implementing this section more specifically provide that messages originated by “privately-owned non-broadcast stations . . . may be broadcast only upon receipt of prior permission from the non-broadcast licensee.” When people read this, they took it as putting scanner broadcasts online is illegal. This is not true because it only refers to the Interception of broadcasts. Which means it is still legal to put scanner audio in videos but you cannot re-broadcast them over said frequency. Since most Police, Fire, EMS, and Public Safety frequencies are public and publicly available in the FCC Database, you can still put audio in videos no matter what the audio is.
In the United States, Licensed Amateur Radio Operators with a valid FCC License may possess Amateur Radio Transceivers capable of reception beyond the Amateur Radio Bands per an FCC Memorandum & Order known as FCC Docket PR (also known as FCC ).
- ^Patent US - Crystalless scanning radio receiver patents.google.com.
- ^Curtis, Anthony R. (July ). "Computerized scanners". Popular Mechanics. (1): 68– Retrieved 1 June
- ^Kneitel, Tom (). The "Top Secret" registry of U.S. Government radio frequencies. Commack, NY: CRB Research. ISBN.
- ^"§ 93(3) Telekommunikationsgesetz". Retrieved
- ^Radiocommunication Act: An Act respecting radiocommunication in Canada. R.S., , c. R-2, s. 1; , c. 17, s. 2.
- ^Gonczol, David (13 April ). "Police Hope to End Rebroadcasting of Scanners". Ottawa Citizen. Retrieved 14 April
- ^"§ 89 Telekommunikationsgesetz". Retrieved
- ^"§ Telekommunikationsgesetz". Retrieved
- ^"1 L /08, VG Köln, para 10".
- ^"Art. bis codice penale - Installazione di apparecchiature atte ad intercettare od impedire comunicazioni o conversazioni telegrafiche o telefoniche". Brocardi.it. Retrieved 22 September
- ^"Ley de Vías Generales de Comunicación - 73"(PDF).
- ^"Vrije signalen uit de ether - ICTRecht juridisch adviesbureau". Retrieved 22 September
- ^Raad, Parket bij de Hoge (8 April ). "ECLI:NL:PHRBC, voorheen LJN BC, Parket bij de Hoge Raad, /06". Retrieved 22 September
- ^"Radiocommunications Act No (as at 28 September ), Public Act Contents – New Zealand Legislation". www.legislation.govt.nz. Retrieved 22 September
- ^"Frequenznutzungen". BAKOM.
- ^"Archived copy". Archived from the original on Retrieved CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
- ^"Listen to Live ATC (Air Traffic Control) Communications - LiveATC.net". www.liveatc.net. Retrieved 22 September
- ^"The law regarding listening to UK air traffic. - Heathrow Airport Information". 12 April Retrieved 22 September
- ^"Are Police Scanners Legal? Police Scanner Laws in the U.S."www.zipscanners.com. Retrieved 22 September
- ^FCC (). DA Manufacturing Illegal Scanners Includes Scanner Modification. Federal Communications Commission, 10 July Retrieved from http://www.fcc.gov/Bureaus/Engineering_Technology/Public_Notices//datxt.
- ^§ Equipping motor vehicles with radio receiving sets
- ^"Statutes & Constitution :View Statutes: Online Sunshine". www.leg.state.fl.us. Retrieved 22 September
- ^"UB DIGITAL MOBILE TRUNKING SCANNER User Manual Uniden America". Retrieved 25 December
- ^"Michigan Legislature - Section ". legislature.mi.gov. Retrieved 22 September
- ^FCC (). PR Docket In the Matter of Federal Preemption of State and Local Laws Concerning Amateur Operator Use of Transceivers Capable of Reception Beyond Amateur Service Frequency Allocations—Memorandum Opinion and Order. Federal Communications Commission, 3 September Retrieved from http://www.arrl.org/files/file/prpdf.
- ^A partial copy of the Electronic Communications Privacy Act of can be found at http://floridalawfirm.com/privacy.html with the following disclaimer: "This document was originally published by Florida Law Firm in It is no longer current and should not be relied upon for any reason."
The 7 Best Police Scanners of
The BearTracker ’s (view at Amazon) included GPS, CB radio, and noise-canceling microphone make it an excellent choice for truckers or anyone who spends a lot of time on the road. For an inexpensive handheld option, the Uniden Bearcat BCCRS (view at Amazon) is a good model to check out. If you want to try out scanning, test out the free Radio Police Scannerapp.
About Our Trusted Experts
Erika Rawes has been a professional writer for more than 10 years. She's spent the last five writing about consumer technology, including gadgets like police scanners for personal use.
Does Best Buy sell police scanners?
Best Buy does sell police scanners with many brands available like Uniden, Whistler, Midland, Cobra, and the in-house and affordable Insignia brand. You can find options ranging from handheld to bigger base and truck-mounted scanners.
What is the best handheld police scanner?
For a handheld scanner, we're partial to the Uniden Bearcat BC75XLT. It's a handheld scanner that can connect to public safety, military aircraft, and racing scanner channels. It's an analog scanner that can quickly identify police, fire, marine, air, weather, and more. The scanner can handle channels in its memory, or 30 channels in 10 separate banks. It only requires two AA batteries to work, making it a good portable option to take with you on the go.
What is the best digital police scanner?
Our top pick for digital police scanners is the Uniden BCDP2. It comes from a well-known brand with support for both analog scanning and digital transmissions. It can also do location-based scanning and detect nearby transmissions. The scanner supports continuous band coverage from 25MHz to GHz, with 25, dynamically allocated channels. If you want to cover all your bases, it's a great option.
What to Look For in a Police Scanner
Police scanners are available as handheld units, as mobile scanners you install in a vehicle, or as desktop scanners that aren’t portable at all. If you only want to use your police scanner in one location, a desktop scanner or mobile scanner will suit you fine. If you want to have more options, go for a handheld police scanner.
Analog vs. Digital
Your ability to listen in on transmissions from your local police and other agencies hinges on compatibility between their transmitters and your scanner. Digital scanners tend to have the best compatibility, but you’ll get by fine with a less expensive analog police scanner if your local agencies haven’t made the jump to digital yet.
"Using analog or digital would depend on the area you live in. Some provinces and countries are switching to digital, so you would need that depending on where you live." — Whitney Joy Smith, President of Smith Investigation Agency
The other feature that can impact your ability to receive transmissions on a police scanner is trunking. Scanners that don’t support trunking cannot tune in to trunked systems, so this feature is a must-have if your local agencies use trunk lines. Radioreference.com is an excellent resource for finding out if you can receive analog signals in your area.
Do you want a basic scanner or a police scanner with extra bells and whistles? Some scanners may have extra features like an alarm clock, GPS, Wi-Fi, or CB radio functionality.
"The newer police scanners have a built-in GPS to automatically change to different channels as you travel from area to area. This is important as users can filter through channels to get signals nearby or in a specific location elsewhere." Whitney Joy Smith, President of Smith Investigation Agency
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Radio Scanners FAQ "Q & A" Page - Advanced Specialties Inc.
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS ABOUT
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The Information Below will help clear up any Questions you may have on Scanner Frequencies, Radio Models, Reception, Modifications & More.
- WHAT CAN I ACTUALLY "HEAR" ON A RADIO SCANNER?
A - Just some of the Interesting transmissions that can be monitored with scanners include: Police, Fire, Ambulance, Civilian and Military Aircraft, Coast Guard & Boats, Federal agencies, Ham Radio Operators, various state, local & federal agencies, News Media Vans & 'Copters, "Commercial interests" such as Plumbers, landscapers, electric & Water companies, Security officers & others using two-way radios; Also Officials & others at various Sporting events, including Race drivers & pit crews. Some scanners will also receive CB channels, FM & AM radio, shortwave & more!! Each radio model is different, & of course not Every scanner model is capable of receiving all of those mentioned above.
- WHAT ABOUT THE BEARCAT & Whistler "DIGITAL" SCANNERS?
The Digital Scanners released by Uniden and Whistler (The BCDP2, BCDP2, BCDHP, BCDHP Home Patrol II, BearTracker , TRX-1, TRX-2) can pick up Police, Public Service & other 2-way radio Transmissions using the Standard non-encrypted "APCO P" type Digital signal, as well as traditional analog & trunked transmissions , and some are able to do "DMR" "Moto-turbo" Digital too. Non Encrypted APCO Digital is a standard used by Many, (but not all), 2-way radio systems that transmit using the newer "Digital", rather than "normal" Analog method.
Keep in mind, unlike over-the-air Television, there was not any "mandatory" switch over required of two-way radio users to any digital format, they're not "all switching to digital" soon, although every year there are more digital systems to monitor. These Digital scanners Will NOT be able to get any "Encrypted" or scrambled Digital Transmissions, nor Any Type of Digital Cellphone Transmissions, Digital or Spread Spectrum Cordless phones, XRS, XM radio or any other other Digital Transmission formats (none of these are "APCO"), & the Radio can't be "modified" in any way to do so.
If the Digital system to be monitored is an APCO p Digital System, You would need these models. If the system is APCO P25 " Phase II ", You will need to check if the Digital Scanner Model is capable of Phase 2 ( such as BCDHP/BCDHP and TRX-1 / 2). Digital reception mode will Not be needed on "normal" non-digital transmissions used by most 2-way radios today. Digital models all pick up regular analog as well.
- WHAT IS THE "ctcss (PL) & dcs (DPL)" FEATURE, & HOW DOES IT WORK?
A - PL & DPL (ctcss & dcs tone squelch)Enable your scanner (if it has this feature), to select who you want to hear or not hear on a frequency that is shared by more than 1 user or department. Many Police & other Radio users have a "PL Tone" (ctcss), & if you know this tone number, you can enter it into the scanner channel, along with the frequency, & you will only hear THAT department when tuned to that channel, even if other users are on the same Frequency!
- What Is The "P25 NAC" FUNCTION FOUND ON SOME DIGITAL SCANNERS?
A - Much like CTCSS and DCS with analog signals, (see above), P25 Network Access Code (NAC) is used to provide selective squelch operation on conventional P25 digital channels. Uniden's BCDXT, BCDXT and GRE's PSR/ Advanced Digital Scanners will detect the NAC that is being used on a P25 conventional digital channel, and will allow you to program NAC codes to block transmissions that do not have a matching NAC, including analog traffic on the same frequency!
- WHAT IS ALPHA or ALPHANUMERIC DISPLAY?
A - AlphaNumeric Display allows you to enter a "name" for each channel. For example, you could enter "NY POLICE" or "FDNY-1", & when your scanner stops on that channel, you will actually "see" what you are tuned to. Scanners with this feature, (Such as the SC & BCXT), will, of course have limits on the amount of characters you can have in the display, depending on exact model.
- WHAT IS THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN A FREQUENCY, A BAND & A CHANNEL?
A - An example of a "Frequency" would be " Mhz". This may be a local Police Frequency. You can store this frequency in one of your radio's "Channels" for monitoring & scanning (similar to the presets on your car stereo). A "Band" is a range of frequencies, for example, the "VHF-Hi" Band ranges from to Mhz. The more "channels" & "Bands" your scanner has, the more interesting frequencies you can store, scan, search & monitor!
- IS IT LEGAL FOR ME TO HAVE & USE A SCANNER?
A - "Generally Speaking" it is legal to sell, buy & use FCC-approved Radio Scanners in the USA. HOWEVER, Mobile (automotive) use of scanners may possibly be regulated or restricted by certian State or local laws. For example, last time we checked, in New Jersey it's Legal to have a Scanner in your car, EXCEPT during the commission of a Felony or crime. Scanner Use during a crime brings an additional penalty. Other States laws vary, check with your State & local Authorities before attempting mobile use of a Scanner. Also, use of a Scanner, (or most any other item), to "break an existing law" is also usually illegal. Many jurisdictions have laws against tapping or bugging into private conversations without the persons knowledge, & use of a scanner, or any other item to do this may violate that law. NONE of this information should be considered legal advise, check with your local authorities or a lawyer if you need more information on this subject.
- WHAT DOES "CELLULAR BLOCKED" MEAN?
A - "Cell Blocked" means that the older analog USA Cellular phone Frequency reception is "blocked" from being entered into the Radio Scanner. As of April, , an FCC rule required ALL Scanners Sold in the USA to be Cellular frequency Deleted (Blocked) by the Mfgr, & all the Scanners offered in the USA therefore are cell blocked. Even the very Older or Export "unblocked" scanners were/are only capable of hearing the now obsolete old "Analog" cellphones that are no loger sold or in use today. There is No Scanner, new, old, modified or "export", that can hear the current "Digital" Cellphones being sold & used today. The "CDMA", LTE, EVDO or "iDEN" 5G, 4G, 3G, 1x & WiFi Digital cellular systems are not part of any scanner radio's inside circuits or technology. See next Question for additional information.
- CAN SCANNERS BE "MODIFIED" TO PICKUP CELLULAR PHONE OR OTHER FREQUENCIES?
A - No. Some very Older scanner models, built before , were able to be frequency "modified, or Restored" to hear the older obsolete "analog" cell signals as mentioned above. All the Current New scanner models sold in the USA, by law, have the cellular Frequencies Permenently Deleted from their Internal chips, They aren't "hidden" in there, and there isn't any circuits able to decode celleur transmissions in a scanner, so they can't be "restored or modified", & these older modified, or "export" models could receive only the now obsolete "analog" phone signals. ( Older Scanners that could be "modified", were actually being "UN-modified", as they were built with these frequencies, & then "blocked"). Also, Remember, since ALL newer cellphones are iDEN, CDMA, LTE or GSM "Digital", even these older, or export model cellular frequency-capable scanners simply can't "hear" any of the current Digital cellphones, even if tuned to their frequencies.
- WILL A "MORE EXPENSIVE SCANNER" HAVE BETTER RECEPTION OR LESS INTERFERENCE THAN MY CURRENT "$" DOLLAR MODEL?
A - If you want to upgrade your current scanner, Plan on puchasing a "more expensive" scanner primarily for the additional features/channels/modes you will get, not nessessarily to get "better reception". It is quite possible that at a certian specific frequencie(s), even a "cheaper" scanner could actually receive as good, or even better than one costing much more, or vice/versa. The higher end model will give you a Wider frequency coverage, AlphaNumerics, PL & DPL, Trunking, Digital or other features you may want, however. If you do get any reception improvement with a new scanner, consider it an "unexpected" bonus!
- WHAT IS THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN THE SEARCH & THE SCAN FEATURE?
A - "Scan" allows your Radio to run through your preset memory channels, stopping on any channel that is active. "Search" allows you to search a range, or band of frequencies, without entering "specific" channels or individual frequencies. Some scanners allow you to program an upper & lower freq "limit",("limit search") & will then Search all frequencies between them. Other Scanner Radios may allow only searches within Factory Preset Bands,("Band, or Service Search") or both. Some units do Not have any Search features.
- ARE THERE SCANNERS WITH FREQUENCIES ALREADY BUILT-IN?
A - Yes. The Uniden Home Patrol, BCDHP & BCDHP have built-in SD cards containing the entire USA & Canada RadioRef frequency database. They are Capable of both Digital & Trunking, as well as Analog & trunking. You simply select what you want to listen to, from the built-in (updateable) database, & the scanner programs itself to those areas, Frequencies, AlphaNumerics, PL's & all! The Home patrol model even lets you enter a city name or zipcode, & the scanner does the rest. See our Shop OnLine Catalog for more info.
- WHAT IS THE "CLOSE CALL" FEATURE?
A - "Close Call", a feature found on all the current model Bearcat HandHeld Scanners & some base/mobiles, is a built in wireless frequency counter function, & instant signal "grabber". This new feature allows the radio to Instantly auto tune itself to any nearby Radio transmission, without the need to scan, search or know the frequency! It usually works up to a couple of hundred feet, depending on the transmitter.
- WHAT IS THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN A "SCANNER" & A WIDE-FREQ "COMMUNICATIONS SCANNER-RECEIVER"?
A - Although often lumped "in" with & called "Scanners", the Wide Frequency range Communications Receivers, from makers such as Alinco, AOR & Icom, are actually a bit different. They tend to have a very wide continuous frequency range, but most or all of these receivers do not offer the very specific "Police/Public service" monitoring features, such as TrunkTracking or Digital technology, Dynamic System/Bank grouping, fire Page tone-out, close call or Digital P25 APCO reception, found on many Bearcat or Whistler models. They also generally tend to scan a bit slower than a BearCat scanner, & tend to also be different in their programming, features & use. The Uniden Bearcat models are Optimized for Scanning frequencies above 25Mhz, & below Mhz(The Police, Air, Fire, EMS & Marine "Action" Bands), & many of the modes, steps & functions are preset automatically simply when you enter a frequency. Those other Scanning Communications Receivers, however, tend to offer reception below 25Mhz (shortwave & AM broadcast), & sometimes above Mhz, with more limited scanning functions, and may have other advanced modes and other features.
- HOW CAN I GET BETTER RECEPTION ON MY SCANNER?
A - Generally Speaking, the best way to get better reception across a wide range of frequencies is to get a Longer/larger antenna than what you are currently using, & mounted up higher. Trading your 5 inch "rubber duck" for a different brand 5 inch "rubber duck" probably won't make much difference. Go with a 15" rubber duck ( such as an ANLI RDH or Maldol AS ), or better yet mount a scanner antenna on the roof ( such as a Discone in our OnLine Catalog), of your house or car for a more noticeable improvement. Most signals that you will listen to on a Scanner have "Line of Sight" reception qualities.
- WHAT'S THE DIFFERENCE WITH A "RACE or SPORT SCANNER" ?
A - There really is no big differece from "regular" scanners & those labeled "Sport", "NASCAR" or Racing" on the package. It has become very popular for Racing fans to bring Radio Scanners to the Racetrack & Sporting events, to listen to the drivers & Pit crews, so some of the Scanner makers have been using these "Sport" & "Race" type terms on the product & Packaging to appeal to Race fans or Coloring the scanner Red or Yellow. You generally want features such as Freq coverage to Mhz, at least channels and AlphaNumerics for the Best "race" use
- IS THERE A WEBPAGE THAT COMPARES FEATURES OF THE VARIOUS SCANNERS / RECEIVERS?
A - Yes, We've taken care of that! See our Scanner Radios Comparison Page To see a listing of many popular radios, & their major features, differences & frequency coverage!
- WHAT IF THE SCANNER WON'T ACCEPT MY FREQUENCY?
A - There are a couple of possibilities. Some scanners were designed for "6 digit" freqs only, so trying to enter "" might cause it to default to a nearby freq like " In cases like this it is Usually OK to allow the scanner to default to the nearest freq, it should be close enough to receive, in most cases. This is known as the "step Rate" of the scanner. Remember, most scanners will only accept the standard step rates, If you try to enter, say, , the radio will default to the correct , since the FCC does not allocate radio users in a 1kz step, & that would not normally be a vaild user frequency. Some radios have selectable step rates, allowing for great flexibility to enter most frequencies. - The other possibility is that you are trying to enter a frequency the scanner doesn't have the capability to accept at all, such as a cellular phone freq, or other freq band that gives an error.
- IS THERE A SCANNER MADE WITH A BUILT-IN CB RADIO or FRS TRANCEIVER?
A - No. Some Scanners, such as the Uniden BCDXT, BCAT, BCTX & others, will receive the 40 CB channels & FRS, but none will transmit.
- WHERE CAN I FIND THE CORRECT FREQUENCIES TO ENTER INTO MY SCANNER?
A - Frequencies can be found by doing an internet search, using terms such as "Scanner Radio Frequencies for "New Jersey", of course substituting your area in the search..
- CAN I USE NEW HiCAPACITY NICKLE HYDRIDE BATTERIES IN MY SCANNER?
A - Yes! If Your Scanner takes 'AA' sized cells, (such as the Bearcat BCXLT, BCAT or BCDHP, TRX-2), You can safely charge NiMi batteries, & benefit from longer run-time between charges.
- WHAT IS TRUNKTRACKING, & DO I NEED IT IN MY SCANNER?
A - The Trunking, or TrunkTracking feature of the radio is Only used to monitor a special computerized "trunked" radio system. Agencies that are using a Trunked system have a central computer that "handles" multiple frequencies (channels) & Transmitter sites, putting various & multiple different system users/groups on any vacant frequency(s) as needed. A user/group could theoretically be on a different "channel" every time they key the microphone. This multiple frequency "jumping", & multiple different user groups sharing the same channels at different intervals makes it hard or impossible to "follow" conversations, or realize what group is talking, when using a non-trunktracking scanner. Keep in mind, If the signals & channels you monitor are not part of any "Trunked" Radio system, then the scanner's Trunking features would not, & cannot be used for them, & trunk tracking capability gives no additional benifit when monitoring your "regular" channels. Contrary to rumors, "TrunkTracking" has Nothing to do with "radios mounted in cop car's "trunks", nor scrambled or Encrypted signals.
- WHAT IS "REBANDING", & IS MY SCANNER READY FOR IT?
A - The FCC has required "Nextel" to move/swap it's phone frequencies to reduce interference to nearby Public Safety channels in many areas. This may effect a scanner's ability to track certian Mhz Motorola type Trunked Public safety communications. To understand this better:
FIRST, lets look at what rebanding will NOT have any effect on - Rebanding will Not affect any frequencies below Mhz or above Mhz, so listening to police or users on frequencies below Mhz will still be able to be monitored as normal with any scanner. SECOND, Users that do have frequencies in the Mhz band will Only be affected if they are on a Motorola Trunked System. Users on EDACS or LTR trunked systems will still be able to be monitored with all existing trunktracking scanners. THIRD, Users on regular "non-trunked" Mhz channels will also be able to be monitored as normal with current scannners, no effect.
What rebanding WILL effect is users of Motorola Trunked systems on Mhz. Once the channels are rebanded in an area, the current trunking firmware in the scanner will not be able to track the conversations, without a scanner Firmware Upgrade, if available for your model.
Uniden has stated that All current, & some discontinued Uniden Bearcat Trunking Scanners we have offered in our Online Catalog Either already are compatible, or will have firmware updates available for download to the radio, from the Uniden Website. No worries about rebanding with Uniden-Bearcat current model scanners.
- WHAT SCANNERS WILL NOT BE ABLE TO BE UPGRADED FOR REBANDING?
A - The Following Radio/Scanners will NOT be able to be upgraded for rebanding:
1) Some Older, discontinued Bearcat TrunkTracking Scanners, such as the BC, BC, BC, BCD, BC & BCD.
2) - Many former/older "Radio Shack" brand scanners.
3) ALL scanner recivers from Icom, Yaesu, Alinco, Kenwood, AOR, Yupiteru & others, since none of these brands have ever produced a radio capable of monitoring Trunked radio systems anyway.
- WHAT SHOULD ONE "WATCH OUT FOR" WHEN ORDERING / BUYING SCANNER RADIO EQUIPMENT?
A - There are some things to avoid, that may be unknown to a person "new" to the Scanning Hobby.
--* First, remember that, Regardless of mail order Advertizing gimmics, Scanners are NOT "Cop car Detectors" or "Radar Detectors" ect. There is Not, & Never has been a Scanner that can simply "sense" whenever a Police trooper is nearby!
--* First time inexperienced buyers may want to get what they currently need in terms of features, & upgrade to more elaborate models if & when they feel they need those extra features, & have a better understanding of the hobby. This can avoid the "overcomplicated" feeling of getting a product loaded with seldom used functions that make it harder to use & understand.
--*WATCH OUT, & Stay Away from the Numerous Radio Dealers that have "Unlisted", "Unknown", or High shipping charges when doing internet or Mail order. It's very easy for some dealers to "advertize" a $ "sale" on an item that really sells for $ elsewhere, when they Actually charge you $ "delivered" for that "supposed $" dollar item!
It's Truly Amazing how many Internet dealers expect their "customers" to actually "Purchase, Check out, & enter Credit Card info" without ever knowing exactly what the extra shipping/hdlg charges will be!!
--*Be Careful also, when looking thru other Online Retailers webpages. While Every Single One of the Scanners, & radio equipment items we offer Are Brand New, with Full USA Warranty, NO exceptions, you may see many "other" Online dealers actually selling refurbished, "Factory renewed", "B", "Like New" and "Grey Market" export & no-warranty items, all mixed on the same page! This put up a big "Red Flag" warning in our book!!
Other "Red Flags" to watch out for are no Storefront address, strange hours, no phone number, just a "PO box", "PayPal Only" for payments, & "Fine Print" shipping Terms that tell you to wait for "days" before even requesting common sense information such as your order's tracking number! We here at Advanced Specialties Inc are an Established & Respected Radio Dealer, We ship items daily, & just some of our customers included The US Goverment & Military, Major Network News, Movie & TV production Companies, Police & Fire Departments, US Marshalls, FBI, NYC and Ambulance Departments, and regular hobbyists worldwide!!
Remember ,In this day & age, it is easy for even a teenager with a "PayPal" account to whip up a colorful website & try & take people's money!!
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Police Scanners You Might Be Interested In
We have picked out a few scanner you might be interested in.
#1 UNIDEN SDS
This is by far the best police scanner on the market.
You can read more about it at ~ CLICK HERE
- True I/Q Receiver, Trunk Tracker X
- Direct Ethernet Connectivity for Streaming and Control
- Complete USA/Canada Radio Database
- Location Control for Simple Operation
- 3. 5 Customizable Color Display
The Uniden Bearcat SDS is the most Advanced Digital trucking scanner. Frequency Range of Mhz, , , and MHz. True I/Q receiver technology, which provides unsurpassed digital performance! Features include: True I/Q Receiver, Trunk Tracker X, Direct Ethernet Connectivity for Streaming and Control, PL/DPL/NAC, Complete USA/Canada Radio Database Built in with Alphanumeric, Frequencies, , and more, with free lifetime updates, Location Control , 3. 5 Customizable Color Display. The SDS includes APCO P25 Phase I and II, Motorola, EDACS, and LTR Trucking, Air band, Marine Weather and Analog! With Optional paid downloadable upgrades and/or Optional software from the Mfg.s websitem, it can also do Capacity + and Connect +, DMR Tier III, XPT, Single-Channel DMR, NXDN and and EDACS . Free Uniden Sentinel Software keeps the SDS database and firmware up to deludes AC adapter, 12Vdc Power Cables, USB cable, 8 Gb MicroSD card, BNC telescopic antenna Mounting bracket and printed owners manual.
You can read more about it at ~ CLICK HERE
#2 Uniden BCDHP
- The BCDHP continues Unidens tradition of leading innovation. Home Patrol Programming makes it the easiest-to-program mobile professional scanner weve ever made.
- Plus, the Wi-Fi feature lets you use the exclusive Uniden Siren App on your smartphone or tablet to access your scanner from anywhere in your home or vehicle.
- The HP digital Trunk Tracker V is the first full mobile/desktop unit that requires no user programming. Simply turn it on, enter your zip code and Trunk Tracker V does the rest.
- This user friendly digital scanner will immediately begin receiving communications systems used by Public Safety, Police, Fire, EMS, Ambulance, Aircraft, Military, Weather, and more.
- This functionality is made possible by combining the rich radio system database from Radio Reference with Unidens patented radio system selection methods to correctly identify and monitor only nearby systems in the USA and Canada.
- Scan by location allows you to set your location(s) by zip/postal code or GPS coordinates
Scan Mode, Nothing to Scan 1. Make sure you Set Your Location to scan the Database. 2. Make sure Favorites Lists are enabled in Set Scan Selection. 3. Make sure Service Types are enabled for the Channels you want to hear. 4. Make sure you have locations programed if Use Location Control is On. 5. Make sure longitude and latitude are N and W (for N America). 6. Make sure Systems/Departments/Channels are not Avoided. 7. Make sure Favorites List/System quick key is enabled. 8. (Search with Scan) Make sure Troubleshooting Search with Scan is enabled in Select Lists to Monitor and the Search for Menu and for the Custom Search. With Scanning Interrupted 1. Turn off Priority Scan. Change Priority Interval. 2. Turn off Close Call Priority. 3. Turn off Weather Priority. 4. Set Channel Delay longer. 5. Set positive Channel Delay. All Channels Out of Range 1. Increase your range. 2. Turn Location Control off for the Favorites List.. Backlit Keypad & LCD. Simple-to-use Sentinel PC Software keep your scanner’s database and firmware up to date
More information on it at CLICK HERE
#3 Uniden BCDP2
Uniden BCDP2 Digital Mobile TrunkTracker V Scanner, 25, Dynamically Allocated Channels, Close Call RF Capture Technology, 4-Line Alpha display, Base/Mobile Design, Phase 2, Location-Based Scanning
More information at CLICK HERE
- Unidens BCDP2 Digital Base/Mobile Scanner is a full-featured design with the serious hobbyist in mind. With an advanced digital decoding system and large memory bank, the Bearcat BCDP2 scanner is an extremely powerful and useful Public Safety scanner.
- The BCDP2 comes equipped with Uniden exclusive features like Advanced Dynamic Memory System, Close Call RF Capture Technology, and GPS compatibility. It includes support for digital systems, including the latest APCO Project 25 Phase II systems.
- Stay safe and informed with state of the art NOAA weather access and S.A.M.E. weather alerts that warn you of severe conditions in your area.
- This mobile scanner radio offers 25, channels an advanced dynamic memory system, TrunkTracker V technology, and more. Enjoy location-based scanning and location alerts by connecting the BCDP2 to an optional GPS receiver so you can stay informed when you’re on the go.
- Included in the Box: BCDP2 Scanner, AC Power Adapter, Vehicle Accessory Power Cord, Three-Wire Harness, Mounting Bracket and Hardware, Antenna, Owner’s Manual, APP Form, FREQ Form, other printed materials, and USB Cable.
- NOTE:Kindly refer to the user manual provided as a PDF manual in the product description section
More information at CLICK HERE
#6 Whistler WS Desktop Digital Scanner
More information at CLICK HERE
- Menu Driven Programming with Context Sensitive Help Each menu item provides a few lines of help text that provide assistance with programming and using the scanner
- Scan List-functionality allows you to arrange, group and scan objects according to your preference. Memory Backup Frequencies remain stored in memory for an extended time even without batteries.
- Free-Form Memory Organization Allocation of memory dynamically and efficiently as it is needed. This differs from low cost and older scanners that had memory organized in rigid and wasteful memory banks
- Skywarn Storm Spotter Function Instant access to frequencies used by storm spotter networks. Multi-System Trunking.
- Digital AGC Instantly compensates for low user audio levels that are common on digital systems
- Scans most common trunked radio system signaling formats, including Motorola, EDACS, LTR and P25 trunked radio networks. Both talkgroup and individual call monitoring are supported
More information at CLICK HERE
#7 Uniden Bearcat BCAT
Uniden Bearcat BCAT
- Listen in and stay informed, this sophisticated scanner has alpha-tagged channels in a convenient compact design with loads of features. Close Call RF capture technology instantly tunes to signals from nearby transmitters and the Do Not Disturb Mode prevents Close Call checks during a transmission.
- Listen to Over 40, Frequencies, you can listen to both civilian and military bands, including Police, Ambulance, Fire, Weather, Marine, Aircraft, Railroad, Civil Air, Amateur radio services, and Racing events.
- Search More Efficiently with Alpha-Tagged Channels Finding the channel you want to listen to is easy, with channels divided into 10 storage banks. Organize your channels by department, location, area of interest, or any other way you prefer. Alpha Tagging lets you assign names to your channels, so you can keep track of who you are listening to.
- Lightweight, Portable Design, take this Bearcat handheld radio scanner with you on the road, or on outings. It packs plenty of features, the orange backlight display is easy to read, even in low light conditions.
- Get started listening right away with convenient Pre-sets for the most popular searches. Frequencies are preset in ten separate Police, Fire/Emergency, Ham, Marine, Railroad, Civil Air, Military Air, CB Radio, FRS/GMRS/MURS, and Racing search bands. This makes it easy to find channels that interest you.
More information at ~ CLICK HERE
Other Scanners Below
If you have information on this, you can contact us at [email protected]
We will keep you anonymous.
If you do not want to contact the police directly, you can contact us and we will relay your information to the proper agencies if needed, and keep you anonymous. https://rockfordscanner.com/contact-us/
Disclaimer: As you know the local police have encrypted, have not released any information, etc
They rarely ever do release information to the public, since encrypting. So do not expect any updates.
The information that is posted was provided to us via various sources. So we can not guarantee the accuracy of this article.
We can only provide you the information that IS provided to us. If police and/or officials do release information, we will try to update this.
If you know of any corrections or errors, please contact us.
This is for entertainment purposes only.
Sale used for radio scanners
- Start learning your scanner by focusing on the basics like tracking road conditions and traffic in your area.
- When you come across a preferred frequency, be sure to input it into your police scanner for easier access later.
- Keep a physical copy of your chosen frequencies to save you time and effort in the event of a system crash.
- If you have a base model, make sure that you use a power bar or voltage regulator to prevent electrical issues.
- Investigate the radios used by your local police and fire departments to avoid any problems with compatibility — especially if you’re getting a handheld scanner.
- Aim for dual-band scanners, models that are able to access both analog and digital frequencies.
- Given its uses in emergencies, make sure you always have access to a charging station or an extra battery.
- Keep the scanner dry, avoid impact, and let it breathe to prevent damage to the circuitry due to overheating.
Q: Will police scanners become obsolete?
Though there has been an uptick in digital apps used instead of police scanners, it is definitely not obsolete. In fact, because these online sources are implicated in unlawful activity, police departments are encrypting frequencies. This makes scanning more relevant than ever.
Q: Can digital scanners pick up police frequencies?
Regardless of whether your local police use an analog or digital system, a digital scanner will be able to access the frequency. Most modern police scanners rely on digital technology, so it is not difficult to find an effective option. The Uniden BCDHP HomePatrol Series is an example of tech that will work for both types of signals.
Q: Why is the police scanner public?
Police retain the right to withhold information that can impact an ongoing investigation; which, in the past, led to encrypted frequencies (i.e. private and inaccessible to the public). However, when different emergency departments tried to coordinate, these encrypted channels proved to be a risk. Most remain public to ensure open access during a time of crisis.
Q: Do police use UHF or VHF?
Police departments transmit and receive on UHF bandwidths. While it is legal to listen to public transmissions in this range, you cannot transmit without a license. This is to ensure that the channel remains secure and open for essential communications.
Q: Are police scanners legal?
According to the Communications Act of , the US airwaves are public property. Owning a scanner that receives these transmissions is perfectly legal.
Q: What are alpha tags?
Alpha tags are alphanumeric symbols used to identify agencies and channels. They’re a more convenient way to store agencies, frequencies, and talk groups in the database.
Q: I live in the suburbs. Do I need a scanner with high sensitivity?
Scanners need a line of sight to send and receive transmissions. In urban areas as well as in mountains and forests, that line of sight is obstructed. You’ll need high sensitivity to pick up weak frequencies in these conditions.
Now that you know the ins and outs of finding the best police scanners, you can stay up-to-date on all things local. We named the Uniden BCDHP HomePatrol Series as our top pick for its high compatibility ratings and close capture tech. If you’re looking for something more affordable, our value pick, the Uniden BC75XLT Channel Handheld Scanner might suit your needs with its high efficiency and impressive range.
Everyone can benefit from the unrivaled access to info police scanners offer. Do you have some experience surfing the radio waves? Share your wisdom in the comments below. Happy scanning!
Uniden’s Home Patrol 2 can receive just about anything short of Kenwood Nexedge or encrypted digital, which covers about 95% of what is being used today for EMS radio. Databases from Radioreference can be downloaded directly to it, and you can use multiple databases if you travel to other locations. This receiver performs really well, and it’s the first Uniden I have owned that has good, un-muffled audio similar to the better analog Electra/Bearcats of yesteryear. My locale (Erie PA) is still analog, but is supposed to be upgrading to P25 PH2 digital this year.
Pix of Uniden HP2 in front of the first Electra/Bearcat BC Business Monitor and the last Electra/Bearcat, a BC
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Scanning police and emergency frequencies is a popular hobby. And for professionals like police and firefighters, these radio scanners are the red blood cells that pass important communications throughout their respective departments. Plus, there’s nothing wrong with knowing what is going on in your local area.
There are two types of police scanners: handheld and base models. Handheld models are small enough that you can carry them with you just about anywhere you go. They are even small enough to toss into the glove department in your car. But most times, these portable models can be more pricey and have limited frequency range.
Base models on the other hand are much larger. Some are made to be mounted in your car while others are made for home use. Because these models have stronger antennas, base models get better reception and are more powerful than handheld, but you obviously give up portability.
Why Should You Get a Police Scanner
The best police scanners allow you to stay in the know by scanning multiple radio frequencies quickly and letting you listen in on what’s called the “action bands”. However, these tools have applications beyond listening to police communications. Scanners receive transmissions from police, fire departments, air traffic controls, railroads, racing events, the Coast Guard and other services that rely on two-way radio communications. There is a lot you can pick up when you use the right radio scanner.
Staying updated on the happenings with the police in your local area is a smart idea. But police scanners also give you the inside scoop on local events before it hits the news. When police are reporting to a potential disaster or dangerous situation, it’ll hit their scanners before anywhere else. If you’re listening in, you can be the first to avoid those areas. That’s news that’s even faster than Twitter!
Updates on weather and road conditions can be incredibly helpful. Sometimes a storm can roll in so quickly that you won’t even realize it until you are in the middle of it. And that can turn into a real disaster if you live in an area with tornados or other natural disasters. You’ll also hear accident reports over the scanner that can alert you to steer clear of a certain highway or street, so you don’t get stuck in traffic.
How To Choose a Police Scanner
When choosing a radio scanner, you should consider what features you want, how much you want to spend and whether the scanner is designed for beginners or experienced radio operators. For instance, do you want a desktop or handheld unit? Do you want to plug in your zip code and start listening, or do you want a more sophisticated unit? There are also both digital and analog models available today.
To help you choose the best police scanner for your needs, we’ve put together a SPY Guide to help. Below are the best police scanners for everyone from advanced users to first-time scanners.
1. Uniden BCDHP Digital Handheld Police Scanner
This handheld police tracker is easily portable and boasts a number of excellent features including a Close Call RF Capture feature, GPS connectivity, an extra-large, easy-to-read display and radio system analysis. Its very simple to program and easy to operate — all it takes is turning it on and entering your zip code to enable TrunkTracker V to work its magic. Its able to pick up signals from across town to across the street, and will keep you updated on the latest local updates that pertain to you and your safety. The scanner also includes an instant replay function so you can skip back and replay pertinent pieces of information, and you can set up custom alerts so your scanner can alert you when a specific event happens like a close call hit, emergency alert or other update.
Pros: Convenient handheld design, plenty of features, customized alerts and instant replay.
Cons: The design is not waterproof.
2. Uniden BEARTRACKER Hybrid Police Scanner
BEST HYBRID MODEL
This hybrid model scanner from Uniden does it all and more, with a CB radio, police scanner, fire, ambulance and BearTracker warning system built in with 40 different channels and a 7-color display. It alerts you when any sort of public safety transmission is issued and the built-in GPS enables you to select local channels from their nationwide database. The scanner operates seamlessly alongside the CB radio so you can press a button and instantly connect to local police and fire stations. It also has an ergonomically-designed, noise-cancelling microphone so your transmissions to and from tractor-trailers, for example, come through crystal clear.
Pros: Hybrid model has an expanded range of features and capabilities, ergonomic noise-cancelling radio makes crystal-clear transmissions.
Cons: The LED display may be difficult to read during the day.
3. Whistler WS Police Scanner
ANALOG DESKTOP MODEL
Looking for a police scanner for the bunker in your basement or one for your nightstand? The Whistler WS is an analog model that gives users complete control over scanning the airways. You can dial this police scanner in to be incredibly efficient by using the lock-out feature which omits any frequencies that are dead air. You can also set priority channels, which will jump back to the channel and check it every two seconds. But if you really want to go deep into the programming, you can use your PC to help program scan, and even backup your data.
Pros: Small, compact design thats perfect for keeping on your desk, easy to set priority channels and can hook up to your PC for deeper scanning.
Cons: Antennae may have trouble picking up a signal in your area, depending on where you live.
4. Uniden BCCRS Police Scanner
BEST NIGHTSTAND MODEL
This police scanner can do a little bit of everything. It has channels in 10 banks to scan police, EMS, and local weather. But it also has an FM radio for when you want to tune into your favorite sports radio or news radio program. And we all know the early bird gets the worm, so you can program the alarm clock to wake you up for the day so you can get to scanning the airways. It’s simple to control with big buttons and the display makes it easy to read even in low lighting.
Pros: Has police, EMS and weather channels in addition to FM radio so you can switch back and forth between pleasure and purpose.
Cons: The aesthetic design leaves something to be desired.
5. Uniden BCN Police Scanner
BEST BEGINNER DESKTOP UNIT
The Uniden BCN base mobile scanner is a great model for beginner police scanner users to get their feet wet. Like premium handheld models from Uniden, this radio scanner has Close Call RF technology to pull and receive surrounding signals automatically as it scans channels per second. This technology keeps users in the know with the happenings in the local area. Customers can effortlessly tune into their areas action bands, where police, ambulance, fire, utilities and weather broadcasts take place. The memory bank can store up to frequencies to call upon your favorites quickly. However, this radio scanner wont be able to listen to digital radio stations (or trunked radio networks). The Uniden BCN comes with an assortment of power options including an automotive power plug so you can stay informed even when you’re on the road. This police scanner is simple to use and inexpensive, making it a great fit for first-time users.
Pros: Excellent choice for beginners, can scan channels per second and its easy to users for tune to their local area only.
Cons: Cant listen to digital (or trunked) radio networks.
6. Whistler WS Desktop Digital Scanner
EASTY TO USE
This digital police scanner from Whistler makes it super easy to group your stations according to your preference and cycle between them seamlessly. It has a memory backup so frequencies can be stored in the device for extended periods of time even without batteries, and the memory organization is much more efficient than with lower scanners. Its got a Skywarn storm spotter built in so you can easy access to frequencies related to extreme weather, and the multi-system trunking makes it easy to tune into the stations you want and tune out the ones you dont. It also has a digital AGC thats got the capacity to make up for low audio levels on behalf of the user.
Pros: Very easy to customize your listening experience on the device through frequency memory and station grouping.
Cons: The buttons on the menu are small.
7. Uniden BCDP2 Digital Mobile Scanner
LARGE CHANNEL LIBRARY
This mobile police scanner has over 25, channels and a dynamic memory system so you can program the frequencies you prefer to listen to and make them easy to access. Its designed for the hobbyist, with a digital decoding system and a sizable memory bank that can remember your preferences. Its got Close Call RF Capture Technology built in as well as the latest APCO Project 25 Phase II systems for radio capturing. Its got NOAA weather access so you stay up to date on all extreme weather events and the S.A.M.E weather alerts send warnings when there are notable condition changes in your area. Theres also an optional GPS receiver included so you can enjoy location-based scanning in addition to the sophisticated TrunkTracker V technology.
Pros: Sophisticated technology thats easy to use and access, advanced weather monitoring, plenty of channels to choose from.
Cons: The speaker doesnt have the best sound quality.
8. Radio Police Scanner App
BEST POLICE SCANNING APP
You can turn your smartphone into a full-blown police scanner thanks to the Radio Police Scanner app. This provides you with a feed of “active alerts” that’s a collection of on-going activity and breaking news. You can narrow the feed down to county and get only local happenings in your area. When you want to listen in on feeds, you do so by emailing yourself a link from the app and then opening it up on a laptop or desktop. This is a great way to stay informed without having to buy an additional piece of equipment. Phones and apps are pretty incredible what they can achieve these days.
Pros: Doesnt require purchasing a police scanner, easy to use on your smartphone, can localize your newsfeed.
Cons: Requires regular updates.
Radio Police Scanner App
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