Should I get a police scanner with military band?greenspun.com : LUSENET : TimeBomb 2000 (Y2000) : One Thread
There is one listed by C.Crane for $389, holy cow. My main concern is being able to reach my parents if all hell breaks loose and I have to drive over there. I had heard that the military will block certain roads, and maybe a radio like that would be informative during the crisis time. Strategically, I think an area between myself and my parents may be a trouble spot, and therefore, sealed off. (My husband doesn't favor preemptively camping with in-laws.)
Can I get anything affordable with police, military, shortwave, AM, FM alltogether?
what is the best basic police scanner for the least money?
-- mabel (email@example.com), February 18, 1999
I would be interested too, but are emergency services using digital encryption yet? I don't want to pay $400 to listen to digital noise.
-- Anonymous99 (Anonymous99@anonymous.com), February 18, 1999.
You can find scanners for a lot less than $400! I bought a Bearcat 800MHz trunk-tracker handheld model (BC235XLT) on sale. It works on either rechargable NiCad batteries or on house current (with adapter) and cost me under $200 including S/H. I figure it'll come in handy not just to find out what the military is up to, but if there are riots I'm sure that all of the state and local cops are going to be discussing them as well.
I don't know how to make links; here are some URL's to check out:
-- Melinda Gierisch (firstname.lastname@example.org), February 18, 1999.
Yes, definitely buy a scanner. I have TrunkTrackers from Uniden and Radio Shack as well. I think the Uniden worked out a little less than the Radio Shack; they're both basically the same. One thing to keep in mind, the four batteries are in those plastic wrap things, i.e., you can't use regular AAs. I've got three sets of the 4-packs (two in scanners, one in the charging cradle). Even if your area emergency services don't use the 800 frequencies yet, go ahead and buy the TrunkTracker in case your area changes to 800 in the future. Scanners are invaluable--could be they might be banned at some point, so hurry and buy one.
-- Old Git (email@example.com), February 18, 1999.
Almost forgot--most scanners can pick up cordless phones, so be careful what you say!
-- Old Git (firstname.lastname@example.org), February 18, 1999.
Go by your closest Radio Shack outlet and find out what 'public service' frequencies and modes of communication are in use in your area. If you live in a small town or in the country things will likely be simpler, in a metro area they'll be more complicated, using 'trunked' 800mhz equipment etc. You need to buy equipment capable of covering the frequence ranges and modes in use in your area if you want to be as informed as possible.
I recently bought a 30- channel programmable handheld scanner that covers up through 512mhz with instant weather channels, in a pawn shop for $20. It is in near-new condition and works fine for my area. However it came with no manual etc. so it helps to know a bit about how they work to take advantage of bargains like this.
It's not likely you'll find a single radio that will cover all you want to listen to. A decent multiband portable (AM, FM, shortwave with single sideband, like a Grundig or Sony) and a capable handheld programmable scanner for your area is about as basic as you can get. Be prepared to spend some time and effort learning to get good use out of the equipment you buy as well. You don't just turn this stuff on and listen as with commercial broadcast radio- you have to learn where the material of interest to you is located on the radio spectrum. There are several web sites that cover aspects of SWLing (shortwave listening) and scanning, and some good catalogs on line too like Bob Grove's or Universal Radio's if you want to look at them.
-- nemo (email@example.com), February 18, 1999.
http://www.trunkscanner.com has a lot of info
-- Online2Much (firstname.lastname@example.org), February 18, 1999.
Geauga County ia about as rural as they come and they are up on 800. Something to do with being the primary destination county from Lake, with Perry sitting at the north end of Lake County. (Perry is a fairly new nuke plant)
-- Chuck, night driver (email@example.com), February 18, 1999.
I am under the impression that the one that Crane sells (the fancy one) has the ability to follow the transmissions that hop frequencies. In an urban area this could be very useful, as I believe that many urban areas use that feature to communicate, instead of transmitting in the clear.
Correct, or not?
-- Bill (firstname.lastname@example.org), February 19, 1999.
"I am under the impression that the one that Crane sells (the fancy one) has the ability to follow the transmissions that hop frequencies. In an urban area this could be very useful, as I believe that many urban areas use that feature to communicate, instead of transmitting in the clear."
Sort of correct. The feature you describe is called spread spectrum, and sounds like noise to a conventional receiver. If your receiver has the same algorithm as the transceivers you want to monitor, fine, but if it doesn't, all you will hear is noise. If the transceivers you want to monitor change their algorithms, you're SOL again. The algorithm is similar in function to a computer program that tells the radio how to "hop" among frequencies.
It's kind of like trying to dance a waltz with a partner that is dancing a tango. Each of you may be flawless in your individual performances, but you're so far out of step with each other that you're not getting anywhere.
-- LP (email@example.com), February 20, 1999.