Tuesday, April 23, 2024

How Much Is A Digital Police Scanner

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Uniden Bc355n800 Police Scanner

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The Uniden BC355N800 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 100 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 300 frequencies to call upon your favorites quickly. However, this radio scanner wont be able to listen to digital radio stations . The Uniden BC355N800 comes with an assortment of power options including an automotive power plug so you can stay informed even when youre 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 100 channels per second and its easy to users for tune to their local area only.

Cons: Cant listen to digital radio networks.

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  • No equipment necessary

  • It actually works

  • In-app purchasing

While the focus of scanners is almost always concentrated on the utilitarian design of the handheld and car-ready hardware, theres a new and most formidable entry in the market. The 5-0 Radio Police Scanner app, which has millions of downloads. Users can listen to feeds in the background, including police/EMS/fire and military codes, as well as both aircraft and train feeds.

Theres even international coverage where available, so the scanner app can detect your location and determine relevant feeds youll want to follow. Currently free in both the Apple Store and Google Play, theres also a pro option that offers 50,000 more feeds.

The BearTracker 885s 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 BC365CRS is a good model to check out. If you want to try out scanning, test out the free 5-0 Radio Police Scannerapp.

Best Budget: Uniden Bc365crs

  • Somewhat old school

The Uniden BC365CRS is a 500 Channel Scanner that also serves as an alarm clock, an AM/FM radio, and FM broadcast radio, and a weather alert device. It includes 500 channels in 10 Banks, so you can search police and fire bands, as well as aircraft, amateur radio, and marine transmissions.

The BC365CRS takes three AA batteries, and it includes an antenna and AC adapter in the package. This is designed as a tabletop scanner, so its not the best option to take with you on the go.

The reception will depend somewhat on your geographic area and the type of transmissions youre attempting to receive. Most users say they receive clear audio with police, fire, weather, and radio transmissions, but this is a basic, analog, non-trunking scanner, so it may not be able to pick up transmissions from some agencies. Its best to check the compatibility against the local agencies in your area.

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Why You Need A Scanner

So why would you actually need to have a police scanner? First off, you can hear first-hand about local emergencies in your area, including natural disasters, break-ins, criminal manhunts, accidents on the freeway, and crimes in action. Additionally, youll always have the inside scoop regarding weather conditions and road conditions, and traffic, which can be very useful especially if you spend most of your day on the road commuting.

Best Portable Police Scanner

Uniden Bearcat SDS200 Police Scanner

Our Rating:

Use this model to quickly access channels for police, ambulance, fire, public safety, weather, military, and aircrafts. Its both analog and digital capable, and comes with a desk stand, flex antenna for improved reception and range, and a USB cable. The simple setup is a huge selling point for beginners, especially considering many competing models can be very complicated to use. For this model, all you have to do is enter a zip code and the scanner will take care of the rest, giving you instant access to a variety of local channels.

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Best Car Police Scanner

Our Rating:

This model offers a total of nine thousand channels, complete with location-based scanning, which works by automatically choosing channels based on your location. Out of the box, this model comes pre-programmed with emergency channels chosen for every state. It also offers ten channel group quick keys per system, and continuous band coverage, wherever you go.

Everything You Wanted To Know About Digital Police Scanners And More

At KPA, we continue getting phone calls from journalists all around the state with questions about the nationwide conversion from conventional analog public safety communications to the more modern digital public safety systems. The conversion, which is at different stages from city to city across Kentucky, can be confusing, to say the least. We all know that listening to the scanner is a valuable tool for news gathering but these days that tool is changing, or in some cases, going silent at least for a time.

In one city recently, local police, fire and EMS were converting to digital but when the local newspaper asked for the frequencies it should begin monitoring, authorities refused to divulge them. An open records request was made and the information finally handed over.

But such information is already public record at the federal level. All police, fire, EMS and other public safety radio systems in use all across the U.S. are licensed by the Federal Communications Commission. As such, the FCC website has a large database showing all public safety radio frequencies in use nationwide on its fcc.gov website. However, the FCCs website is not very user friendly and finding that info can be difficult.

Also shown are military frequencies and a host of others. Too many to mention.


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Best For Home: Uniden Homepatrol

  • Doesn’t include a power adapter

With an easy to rest stand, the Uniden HomePatrol-2 digital scanner with a pre-programmed database is a highly functional scanner thats perfect for any room in the house. Including specialized features such as quick record and playback, the Uniden is a highly recommended digital scanner that can be up and running in minutes. Theres no programming needed herejust enter your zip code and HomePatrol-2 will load all the recognized police, fire, and EMS channels in the surrounding area. It includes channel information for the US and Canada from radioreference.com.

Weighing just over a pound, the HomePatrol-2 is easy to tote around. Additionally, the inclusion of a touch screen was an industry first with the HomePatrol-2. Uniden also includes rechargeable batteries that last between five to six hours. It comes with a USB charging cord that you can connect to a standard USB power brick.

Uniden Bcd436hp Police Scanner Review

Cheap Digital Trunked Scanning Using SDR for the Absolute Beginner

The Uniden BCD436HP is a hi-tech piece of gadget that you can purchase to scan police bands. It works out of the box. You dont even have to program this police scanner. Entering your zip code is enough to start scanning.

Uniden BCD436HP digital police scanner includes some of the most advanced technologies related to scanning. For instance, it includes Discover Modes, Radio System Analysis, Close Call RF Capture , GPS connectivity, etc.

I was pleasantly surprised to find that it can scan 85 channels in a single second! Thats quite some speed, dont you think so? It can scan Police bands, EMS, Ambulance, Public Safety, Weather, Military, Aircraft, and much more. It works both in the US and in Canada.

In case you happen to be an advanced user, you can program the scanner to give alerts under different conditions. For instance, you can get alerts for a tone-out hit, a close-call hit, or whenever you receive a unit ID. The scanner is smart enough to let you set different tone patterns, different colors , different flash patterns , and 15 volume settings.

There are two specific features of this handheld police scanner that I like the most. First is the S.A.M.E. Weather Alert, and the second is the Close Call RF Capture Technology.

The Close Call RF Capture Technology, on the other hand, will detect and tune to nearby transmissions. This will happen even if the frequency is not programmed into any channel.


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Best Handheld Police Scanner: Whistler Trx

The Whistler TRX-1 packs all the features of high-end base digital police scanners into a handheld unit.

This model is pre-programmed with access to a nationwide database of frequencies, and it’s possible to store up to 200 lists or groups of preferred frequencies. It also features an additional list specifically dedicated to transmissions from Skywarn, a network of over 350,000 volunteers that track weather conditions. Whistler offers database updates through its website, and you can manually input frequencies as needed.

What’s more, you can set custom alarms to notify you whenever a frequency becomes active. For example, the LED can display a flash of red and blue light whenever the scanner picks up police transmissions. With the alarm clock function, the unit will turn on and starts scanning at a specific time each day.

Digital Trunking Police Scanner Buyers Guide

Well, you wont go wrong with any of the scanners we reviewed above depending on your needs, but it doesnt hurt to understand some of the important factors to look for as well.

A scanners most important feature would be to support all types of channels and communication systems, especially as more and more local public services have been upgrading to advanced digital trunked systems.

A good scanner would not only allow you to listen to your local police, but also other emergency and public services.

The programming is another factor you need to consider. Beginners need to avoid scanners with complex programming requirements like the plague, as they can be incredibly hard to program and set up. Our top police scanner on this list the Uniden BCD436HP is both easy to program and use, and boasts solid functionality with a great overall performance.

The Uniden BEARTRACKER 885, the last option on our list, is a unique option too that offers the combined functionality of a CB radio and a police scanner, albeit it isnt an advanced scanner like the Uniden options we reviewed.

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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, weve put together a SPY Guide to help. Below are the best police scanners for everyone from advanced users to first-time scanners.

Buying Guide For Best Police Scanners

Uniden Bearcat SDS200 Police Scanner

During the CB radio craze of the 1970s, another electronic gadget also gained significant popularity: the police radio scanner.

Private citizens could now use a tabletop receiver with special tuning crystals to pick up local police, fire, and ambulance calls. Users could also eavesdrop on the chatter at air traffic control centres and emergency weather channels.

Modern digital police scanners no longer require tuning crystals to pick up these remote conversations. Today, you can use a police scanner to listen in on thousands of different channels, any of which could be broadcasting action at any time.

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Uniden Sds200 Mobile Digital Trunking Scanner

In the easy-to-use radio scanner department, this model from Uniden is on top. With its seamless, user-friendly features, youre definitely up for a fast start.

Technology updates can be quite scary for beginners, so Uniden made it easy for its users to operate this sleek radio with basic scanner knowledge. Turn it on and play it straight away. Yeah, as easy as that. But if youd like something more with this radio, you can explore and update its features to maximize many of its advanced services.

The reception it provides is noticeably clear, devoid of the usual hissings we hear with vocal transmissions. And the sound is adequate for a clear understanding of whats said on the line. Neither too loud nor too shallow.

I also take particular interest in this brands practical features. Its my way of gauging the makers. If you dont get the basic things right, what more the relatively advanced features. But so far, it does not disappoint.

The display is spot clean, both in appearance and functionality. Mine has worked for more than two years now, without fading. Thankfully, my scanner didnt suffer the same fate as other brands whose displays readily faltered.

Plus, you get to control what appears on display. The controls are also easy to operate and are quite fluid theres no need to force anything to work.

  • The price is a bit higher.
  • The learning curve for advanced features operation

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 BCD436HP HomePatrol Series is an example of tech that will work for both types of signals.

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What Is Radio Encryption

Encryption is simply scrambling the radio transmission so that it cannot be heard, the transmission is then encoded with an encryption key, encryption keys are programmed on radios, matching encryption keys will encrypt the message and the audio will be put back together if the encryption is correct.

The concept of radio encryption is similar to house keys.

Radios that dont have the correct encryptions keys will hear the transmission as garbled up.

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Uniden Bc365crs 500 Police Scanner

Whistler TRX-1 vs Whistler WS1088 | Compare Police Scanners


This police scanner can do a little bit of everything. It has 500 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. Its simple to control with big buttons and the display makes it easy to read even in low lighting.

Pros: Has 500 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.

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What To Look For When Buying A Radio Scanner

If you want to get real-time feed about public safety happenings in your area, then a radio scanner is what you need.

But which one? Out in the markets are a plethora of radio types and brands, all claiming to be top-notch. However, buying a radio scanner is not just about choosing the device with the most A-list features. Rather, the more critical factor to consider is compatibility.

The thing about scanners is they require a particular system and frequencies for them to work. And if the radio system and signals in your area do not meet these requisites, then you are up for a huge disappointment.

To explain further, an analog radio scanner user can enjoy a wide range of frequencies in a state where most radio owners use an analog system. But this very same scanner may be rendered worthless in states where everyones upgraded to digital radio. And in terms of frequencies, your scanner should support the available frequency range in your area, too, or else youd be like in a radio-quiet zone with no one to listen.

Other than these, there are still a few more factors to consider when buying a radio scanner to avoid buyers remorse.

The following are the things you need to know.

Scanner Format: Analog Vs. Digital

Weve already discussed the two radio scanner formats briefly. But theres more to know, and familiarizing the specs and the differences between these two radio systems is a crucial factor in buying the right device.





Uniden Bcd436hp 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.

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