Scanner Recommendation for WI

OBeerWANKenobi

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Would you scanner pro's out there be willing to help me out and recommend a scanner for Wisconsin that won't break my budget too badly?

I've been using the scanner app but it doesn't work so well in my area as the data coverage is spotty. I don't listen to it too much at home but I like to when driving and I've witnessed @GTO_04 's scanner being proven quite useful. LOL

I'd like something portable that I can carry with me but I'll probably be mounting it and leaving it in my vehicle most of the time.

I'd like it to be decently future proof. Something I can use for a while until I decide to get a better or more expensive unit.

I'd also like one that's not too difficult to program. Scanners with a way to program them via computer instead of the unit would be a plus in my book.

Bluetooth audio would be a plus if that's available but just a nicety. Extra points if it could display what frequency is coming in on my car's entertainment system over bluetooth like ScannerApp does.

I think that's pretty much it.

I really don't know a lot about scanners yet but I'd like to get one to play with and learn but one that will be useful for a long time.

Thanks!
 

dchemist

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Budget?

Digital Trunking Scanners are ALL hard to learn. Understanding digital trunking in general will help you learn your scanner.

Probably one of the more popular portable scanners is the Uniden BCD436HP. They don't have Bluetooth but you could plug a Bluetooth transmitter into the audio out although it would broadcast any info other than audio. I've got this scanner and have been relatively happy with it. Prices should be in the $300-500 dollar range for lightly used to new. I can't really answer about any other options.



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InsipidMonkey

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The Whistler WS1080/Radio Shack Pro-668/GRE PSR-800 series scanners are a cheaper alternative to the Unidens, and are plenty capable (P25 Phase 2 digital, free DMR upgrade), and can be found on eBay for <$200. I find the Whistler software a bit more intuitive to use than the Uniden software as well. I have both, and don't really have a preference one way or the other. I typically use my 436HP when driving as I have the built-in GPS mod (see sig) which automatically switches what is being monitored based on my location. The Whistler takes several button presses and some menu navigation to turn different scan sets on and off, while the Unidens can do it with two button presses.

With pretty much all digital trunking scanners you're going to use software to program them, although most also have an easy setup mode where you just enter a location or ZIP code and pick which service types you want to monitor. Regardless, your best source of info is going to be RadioReference to make sure you're up to date with the frequencies/talk groups/etc being used. Both the Whistler and Uniden software will download a full database update from RR once a week so you can keep everything current.
 

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Spend some time on radio reference. They have some great Wiki info pages. Lots to read and learn
First thing to do is check to see if what you want to hear is Encrypted. They will list that under mode. If it has an "E" its encrypted and your out of luck.

Main Page - The RadioReference Wiki
 

surprisinguy

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Though I bought my 486 new on eBay I did purchase it during one of their "sales" and saved about $65. I immediately sent it off for the gps mod mentioned above and also the battery mod. This was also discounted for whatever reason the person doing the mod stated. SO it was another $120 BUT this was the best $120 I spent as I'm able to run the scanner while it charges. When I travel it automatically switches regions and loads appropriately.
 

OBeerWANKenobi

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Thanks for your advice so far guys!

Not much encryption in WI except in very limited cases. From what I understand, they go to encryption in specific instances like using the name of a minor.

I'm extremely interested in having GPS automatically change my frequencies when I'm traveling. Is that only available as a mod or do some scanners come stock with it?
 
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dchemist

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I've got the Uniden GPS puck and it's a mess of damn wires. I just PM'd @surprisinguy about the mods. I think I'm going to send mine in and sell the puck. The guy doing the mods, jonwienke on RR forum, said he was getting GPS lock from inside a safe in his basement. If it will do that, it should be fine sitting in my Ram Mount.

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Vancity23

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I was interested in that too but everything went digital and scrambled or encrypted and for now cannot be monitored...
 

InsipidMonkey

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The guy doing the mods, jonwienke on RR forum, said he was getting GPS lock from inside a safe in his basement. If it will do that, it should be fine sitting in my Ram Mount
Unfortunately, he's out of commision for 12-18 months :( A quick google of his name will tell you why. He did post pretty good instructions though, so if you're handy (or can find someone who is(, it should be pretty easy to do.
 

dchemist

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Holy Crap!!! No wonder it said gone camping in his profile! FWIW, this NFA crap is ridiculous but this right here is why I won't violate it.

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surprisinguy

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Whoa!! Didnt know about that. Guess I got mine just in time
 

GTO_04

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Would you scanner pro's out there be willing to help me out and recommend a scanner for Wisconsin that won't break my budget too badly?

I've been using the scanner app but it doesn't work so well in my area as the data coverage is spotty. I don't listen to it too much at home but I like to when driving and I've witnessed @GTO_04 's scanner being proven quite useful. LOL

I'd like something portable that I can carry with me but I'll probably be mounting it and leaving it in my vehicle most of the time.

I'd like it to be decently future proof. Something I can use for a while until I decide to get a better or more expensive unit.

I'd also like one that's not too difficult to program. Scanners with a way to program them via computer instead of the unit would be a plus in my book.

Bluetooth audio would be a plus if that's available but just a nicety. Extra points if it could display what frequency is coming in on my car's entertainment system over bluetooth like ScannerApp does.

I think that's pretty much it.

I really don't know a lot about scanners yet but I'd like to get one to play with and learn but one that will be useful for a long time.

Thanks!
Do you need have the capability to monitor the Dane County (DaneCom) system? If you do, it is Phase II so you will need a Phase II compatible scanner.

GTO_04
 
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johnboy00

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Unfortunately, he's out of commision for 12-18 months :( A quick google of his name will tell you why. He did post pretty good instructions though, so if you're handy (or can find someone who is(, it should be pretty easy to do.
Can you post a link to the instructions?
 

InsipidMonkey

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dchemist

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I'm not competent enough to try these on my own. If someone has done or does these mods themselves, shoot me a PM and I'll happily pay you for your services if you're interested.

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OBeerWANKenobi

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Yeah, all of the info is in this thread. Here is a relevant post to the 436 GPS mod: Internal GPS Mod Tech Support/Q&A - Page 10 - The RadioReference.com Forums
So it looks like page 10 starting with post #186 is where the details start?
I'll have to read it more carefully when I'm not at worked. Some photo sharing stuff is blocked.

--- DOUBLEPOST MERGED ---

I just wanted to update everyone that I bought a used Uniden BCD436HP from @InsipidMonkey . He was great to deal with, upfront about his scanner and installed options and shipped quickly so I could get it by this weekend. I wouldn't hesitate to buy from him again.

I've been playing with the 436HP for about 24 hours now and I think it's pretty much perfect for my needs. Initially it's very easy to program using your ZIP code or GPS coordinates. After you get the hang of it you can dig into the sentinel software and create favorite lists. I haven't brushed the surface yet but it's working pretty well so far. Close call is awesome too!
 

GTO_04

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So it looks like page 10 starting with post #186 is where the details start?
I'll have to read it more carefully when I'm not at worked. Some photo sharing stuff is blocked.

--- DOUBLEPOST MERGED ---

I just wanted to update everyone that I bought a used Uniden BCD436HP from @InsipidMonkey . He was great to deal with, upfront about his scanner and installed options and shipped quickly so I could get it by this weekend. I wouldn't hesitate to buy from him again.

I've been playing with the 436HP for about 24 hours now and I think it's pretty much perfect for my needs. Initially it's very easy to program using your ZIP code or GPS coordinates. After you get the hang of it you can dig into the sentinel software and create favorite lists. I haven't brushed the surface yet but it's working pretty well so far. Close call is awesome too!
I like the Sentinel Software (the 436 and the SDS-100 both use it) compared to other scanner software. I took a quick glance at the instructions, downloaded the software and had my SDS-100 programmed for my specific agencies in a half-hour. Just remember they use the term "avoid" instead of "lockout."

GTO_04
 

OBeerWANKenobi

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Trying to figure out a good mount at he moment...... Might try to print this tomorrow.
97814
 
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