Scanners Still Useful?

lugnuts

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Where is the best please to learn how to use the scanner? I have a uniden sds100 and can use some serious help. I live in NJ
radioreference.com is the best place for scanner info but it can be difficult to understand some of what they are talking about. it takes time to get the scanner figured out. I have moved away from the scanners you have to program yourself to the Uniden's that have the full database on them and use GPS or zip code.
 

v1fan

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Yes it is definitely worth it. It works very well for laser traps that use multiple chase cars. You can hear them calling out distance as they point out speeders to the chase cars. They are great for air enforcement too. They won't be helpful for air enforcement in FL because FHP is encrypted. Most State Police and Highway Patrols are not encrypted on the dispatch channels. WSP (WI) is in the clear and mostly on VHF so they work VERY well for WSP air enforcement.

Encryption is not as common as we are led to believe. If you are in Florida there is a lot of encryption there, but that does not apply to most states.

Make scanning a hobby and listen at home too. You will learn their habits and when special enforcement campaigns are in effect. And you will hear about organized laser traps before you even leave the house. You will also know where the wrecks and traffic jams are. Scanner activity is FAR superior to TV and radio news traffic reports. There is too much lag time for the news traffic reports. In the winter, you will learn where the worst road conditions are so you can avoid them. This is very helpful IME.

For me a scanner is much more useful than Waze. I do not find scanner apps to be very useful. The feed provider may not be monitoring the talkgroups that are of interest to you. And there is often a considerable delay with scanner apps.

GTO_04
So I know that there does not exist a consumer grade scanner that can recieve the FL statewide system (Also in parts of PA I understand) but does it actually have an encription control plane? Really just curious...
 

Fixxxer0

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@mbmb just one of many examples of my travels with the scanner.

Unit performing a traffic stop 60 miles away.

What app is that saying "police reported 30 minutes ago 1.5mi ahead i95 sb" it's sounds like a way not detailed waze.
 

jfire72

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What app is that saying "police reported 30 minutes ago 1.5mi ahead i95 sb" it's sounds like a way not detailed waze.
That is JBV1, or at least the voice sounds like it.

I run a scanner still, and have for around 3 decades. The tech has changed and made it easier to program one with each new radio they come out with. So long as you have a computer, most modern scanners can have thier database downloaded from the internet. I have used Uniden since my early days, and I have 4 currently that I can switch between.

I usually run a SDS 100 when I leave my home area/county and the radio changes to the local whatever the PD/FD is as I drive because I have a GPS hooked up to it. It is really easy to use once you get over the learning curve, and one big plus is they carry the entire Radio Reference database on the radio now. I normally just listen to police only while driving, listening to anything else can get pretty busy and usually I don't need to hear a local EMS/Fire call while I'm on the highway.

The downside to using a scanner is a lot of departments either have gone to digital or have encrypted thier transmissions altogether. My local sheriff's department went encrypted about 5 years ago, and without one of thier radios, no one can hear them anymore.

There can be some small confusion with encryption and departments going digital. To simplify, someone running perhaps an older analog scanner will notice they don't hear anything anymore. This could just mean their department went digital, and now you need a digital scanner. The best way to find out what you want to hear, and if you can hear it at all, is to look it up on Radio Reference. Most departments are still up and running on the older analog radio systems, but more and more are going digital. There are of course those that have gone encrypted, and sadly if they have, there is no way to listen.

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Fixxxer0

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That is JBV1, or at least the voice sounds like it.

I run a scanner still, and have for around 3 decades. The tech has changed and made it easier to program one with each new radio they come out with. So long as you have a computer, most modern scanners can have thier database downloaded from the internet. I have used Uniden since my early days, and I have 4 currently that I can switch between.

I usually run a SDS 100 when I leave my home area/county and the radio changes to the local whatever the PD/FD is as I drive because I have a GPS hooked up to it. It is really easy to use once you get over the learning curve, and one big plus is they carry the entire Radio Reference database on the radio now. I normally just listen to police only while driving, listening to anything else can get pretty busy and usually I don't need to hear a local EMS/Fire call while I'm on the highway.

The downside to using a scanner is a lot of departments either have gone to digital or have encrypted thier transmissions altogether. My local sheriff's department went encrypted about 5 years ago, and without one of thier radios, no one can hear them anymore.

There can be some small confusion with encryption and departments going digital. To simplify, someone running perhaps an older analog scanner will notice they don't hear anything anymore. This could just mean their department went digital, and now you need a digital scanner. The best way to find out what you want to hear, and if you can hear it at all, is to look it up on Radio Reference. Most departments are still up and running on the older analog radio systems, but more and more are going digital. There are of course those that have gone encrypted, and sadly if they have, there is no way to listen.

Sent from my SM-F916U using Tapatalk
Do any of these handhelds have GPS built in? a quick googling showed a lot of the unidens needing an external antenna.

i have an older scanner i programmed manually from radioreference and a ham license so i can technically drive around with one, despite silly NY laws
 

GTO_04

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So I know that there does not exist a consumer grade scanner that can recieve the FL statewide system (Also in parts of PA I understand) but does it actually have an encription control plane? Really just curious...
FHP is encrypted. AFAIK PA is at least partially encrypted. They are in the process of switching from the Open Sky system to a P25 system. There may be some radio traffic on the older VHF frequencies but I am not following them closely.

GTO_04
 

V1Jake

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Do any of these handhelds have GPS built in? a quick googling showed a lot of the unidens needing an external antenna.

i have an older scanner i programmed manually from radioreference and a ham license so i can technically drive around with one, despite silly NY laws

I keep a printout of a NY court case regarding using a scanner in a vehicle that is driven by a HAM operator just in case. My car does have HAM plates so that helps a bit with having two antennas on the trunk.
 
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mikeoxlong

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So I know that there does not exist a consumer grade scanner that can recieve the FL statewide system (Also in parts of PA I understand) but does it actually have an encription control plane? Really just curious...
If I understand your question correctly the answer is no, the control plane is not encrypted only the voice traffic. You can use several different programs to watch the traffic on the network.
 

jfire72

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Do any of these handhelds have GPS built in? a quick googling showed a lot of the unidens needing an external antenna.

i have an older scanner i programmed manually from radioreference and a ham license so i can technically drive around with one, despite silly NY laws
The Uniden's need an external GPS that plugs into the radio. Most of these look like little hockey picks, and just need a to be out in the open somewhere inside your vehicle. Regarding other brands, I don't remember seeing one that had one built in. I tend to be a Uniden fan boy with scanners, so it is quite possible I may have missed one that does.

I too have a Ham License, and while it is "technically" legal for us to operate while in a motor vehicle, I always assume if I'm pulled over by a LEO for them not to know that. I do carry my ARRL/FCC License in my wallet, although that probably doesn't help in that situation. I will more than likely just turn my scanner off and put it out of view to avoid any issue if I do get pulled over. Like @V1Jake pointed out, it might be a good idea to carry a printout of our legality if you will, while running a radio and or scanner in a vehicle.

Locally, I have several counties programmed into my Icom 5100, and use the left side for Ham, and the right side for Police/Fire. At least in the case of the 5100, and a Yaesu I run indoors, they have dual receive capabilities, which is a great way to listen the way I have it setup. So if I need to, I can turn the radio off in the vehicle and not have to worry about hiding it. If I were pulled over and they asked about it I can say it is just for Amature Radio, and/or I'm a Skywarn operator (or local storm watcher if they have no clue) and leave it at that. Where I am I can listen to all departments except for the State Police as they are totally digital, and of course anything encrypted as I wouldn't be able to that hear anyway. Running this way frees up some space while I'm in my home area, and when I take a trip out of the home area I grab my scanner.


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CobawLT2010

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By me special ops is encrypted that is all... Normal day to day is not... I just never can get over the price of a scanner though... Especially when you can usually listen to a trunked system with a $15-$25 SDR and a computer with the right software... Though having two or more is better...

People confuse digital / trunking with encryption...
 

LinuxD

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By me special ops is encrypted that is all... Normal day to day is not... I just never can get over the price of a scanner though... Especially when you can usually listen to a trunked system with a $15-$25 SDR and a computer with the right software... Though having two or more is better...

People confuse digital / trunking with encryption...
Back when I lived in Arkansas there were various encryption methods in use, by LEO one being speech inversion. Super easy to decrypt (and totally illegal to do so) by jacking in a scanner to an old DOS based computer I have and firing up the appropriate software.

Another time I was listening to their Street crimes tactical channel and one half the conversation was encrypted, the other half in the total clear. By listening to them call out the vehicles leaving or stopping at the place they were staking out and the road names I google mapped exactly where they were and could tell by the description of what the cop was seeing where hell he was most likely sitting at.

It was tempting to call and have a pizza delivered to them in their squad car :)
 

v1fan

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FHP is encrypted. AFAIK PA is at least partially encrypted. They are in the process of switching from the Open Sky system to a P25 system. There may be some radio traffic on the older VHF frequencies but I am not following them closely.

GTO_04
Thanks, at least with a move to P25 there is a chance.
 

LinuxD

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I just bought a BCD436HP and the upgraded GPS antenna.. Any of y'all got any tips or useful links?. Receiver will be here saturday, gps antenna mid week next week.

TIA.
 

jfire72

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I just bought a BCD436HP and the upgraded GPS antenna.. Any of y'all got any tips or useful links?. Receiver will be here saturday, gps antenna mid week next week.

TIA.
I'm not sure if linking to another website it allowed here or not so I'll just try and describe what to Google.

If you search for Mark's Scanners you should see his site in the 1st URL listed. He has made guides for some of the newer scanners to try and make it a little easier to figure them out. Just find your 436HP in the list of scanners. That is a great scanner BTW, I have one in my collection.

Aside from that, on your PC or Mac, download a program called Sentinal from Uniden. You'll need this program to update the radio's firmware, as well as this is the easiest way to get the updated Radio Reference database onto the scanner.

Playing around with the radio I hate to say is the easiest way to learn how to use it. There are several threads over on the Radio Reference forums, however without actually messing with it, the jargon can get pretty confusing to be honest.

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LinuxD

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I'm not sure if linking to another website it allowed here or not so I'll just try and describe what to Google.

If you search for Mark's Scanners you should see his site in the 1st URL listed. He has made guides for some of the newer scanners to try and make it a little easier to figure them out. Just find your 436HP in the list of scanners. That is a great scanner BTW, I have one in my collection.

Aside from that, on your PC or Mac, download a program called Sentinal from Uniden. You'll need this program to update the radio's firmware, as well as this is the easiest way to get the updated Radio Reference database onto the scanner.

Playing around with the radio I hate to say is the easiest way to learn how to use it. There are several threads over on the Radio Reference forums, however without actually messing with it, the jargon can get pretty confusing to be honest.

Sent from my SM-F916U using Tapatalk
I am certainly now newb to scanners as I have been using them since the days you had to order crystals for specific frequencies and there was even a model I had that you broke off teeth on aluminum "combs" and plugged into places on the back to get the freq's you wanted.. allllllll the way up to my current computer programmable digital scanner but it won't do phase 2 systems which my local PD uses. I decided to update and the 436 seems to be pretty popular here. Thanks for the pointers! I think my other digital scanner will be relegated to amatuer radio usage and I can finally retire my 20 yr old analog scanner or use it with my SDR for geekery.
 

jfire72

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I think my other digital scanner will be relegated to amatuer radio usage and I can finally retire my 20 yr old analog scanner or use it with my SDR for geekery.

I've got a couple of my older digital scanners hooked up to my computer through a program. Without sounding too geeky here, I'll just say I've got them both on the internet where I can hear them anywhere just using an app on my cellphone. There is always a life for older gear beyond what it was originally intended for.

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V1Jake

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@LinuxD I'm jealous...enjoy it!

One day I'll upgrade and get an SDS100
 

protias

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Back when I lived in Arkansas there were various encryption methods in use, by LEO one being speech inversion. Super easy to decrypt (and totally illegal to do so) by jacking in a scanner to an old DOS based computer I have and firing up the appropriate software.

Another time I was listening to their Street crimes tactical channel and one half the conversation was encrypted, the other half in the total clear. By listening to them call out the vehicles leaving or stopping at the place they were staking out and the road names I google mapped exactly where they were and could tell by the description of what the cop was seeing where hell he was most likely sitting at.

It was tempting to call and have a pizza delivered to them in their squad car :)
Not you or anyone else would have done such a thing. ;)
 

LinuxD

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@LinuxD I'm jealous...enjoy it!

One day I'll upgrade and get an SDS100
I was gonna order that one but it wasn't available on the big "A" so I went with the 436
 

surprisinguy

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search for your scanner on youtube - plenty of how-to videos on setup etc, explaining most of the features.
Enjoy your new scanner!
 

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