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How To Listen To Local Police Radio

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If youre looking for another experiment to try with RTL-SDR on your Android device, then go ahead and launch Avare ADSB. ADSB is the communication standard used by aircraft to tell pilots where other aircraft are in the sky, but you can still pick it up from the ground with a good antenna or live near an airport. The program should prompt to open when you plug in your RTL-SDR device. Go ahead and launch the application, and you should see a screen that states it is receiving packages. If you do not see this message, or Failed to open device, Then try restarting Avare ADSB or unplugging and plugging back in your RTL-SDR adapter. This should get the program running.

Once its running, you should see an option for Data and Map buttons on the screen. The Data panel lists all the planes in your area that the device detects along with their longitude and latitude. If you have an internet connection, then click Map to open a Google Maps overlay with this information. You should get a detailed map of each plane your antenna can detect. The information updates every few seconds, letting you watch as planes enter and exit nearby airspace. This is mostly just a fun way to visualize what RTL-SDR can do with data information over radio, and is one of many things you can do with RTL-SDR.

When Did Police Radio Encryption Begin

Police radio encryption began after the 9/11 incident, as police around the states felt that the officers safety was being compromised on open radio, so they encrypted their radios to hide senstive information from tom dick and harry.

Different states have different laws regarding police radio encryptions.

Back in the days, the police used to have analogue radios, and if you wanted to listen in, you had to go buy a radio that can tune into the frequency, that is how you can listen to police radio.

But now, they have changed the system from analogue to digital and you can tap into it with an app and an internet connection, you can tune in from anywhere around the world.

With ease of access to police radio transmissions, came problems that came from misinformation which spread rumors and also put officers lives at risk, hence the need for encryptions

However, some channels are left open as these are backups, tactical, car-to car use or for communicating with the general public.

Live Online Police Scanner Websites

As I mentioned above there are some site out there that are charging people to listen to scanners when it is available for free. One o f the best service that I know of that allow you to listen to police traffic for free is radio reference. At Radio Reference you can simply scroll down to your desired state, and then select the city of the department you want to listen in on. The scanners are clear as day without any interruption and static.

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What Else Can I Do

While weve shown two very unique things you can do with an RTL-SDR adapter, there are a host of other ways you can use such equipment including:

  • Tune into local radio: As we said before SDRTouch is compatible with the FM band used by local radio stations. Unfortunately youll need a piece of equipment called an upconverter if you want to tune into local AM radio stations.
  • Receive weather alerts: If you live in the U.S. or Canada, then you can use Android applications like SDRWeather, which will tune into the U.S. Governments NOAA weather system to give you weather updates and alert you if a weather advisory takes place.
  • Listen to shortwave radio: To do this youll need something called an upconverter, which you can buy for about $50. An upconverter tunes frequencies below 25MHz up so you can pick them up with your RTL-SDR adapter. Below 25MHz you can pickup all sorts of stations including AM radio, other amateur radio operators, and even government radio stations.
  • Receive satellite data: You cant do this on Android, but the RTL-SDR website has a guide on receiving NOAA satellite images using RTL-SDR and the right kind of antenna.
  • And so much more: Check out the RTL-SDR website for a list of other things people have done with their RTL-SDR devices. Bear in mind some of these things may require licenses and more technical know-how to achieve.

Feel free to let us know if you discover any interesting things we should add that people can do with their RTL-SDR adapters.

How Do I Switch Through Channels

3 Websites to Listen to Police Scanner Radio Broadcasts

To switch channels, press the menu button. The up and down arrows can then be adjusted to find the desired channel. To eliminate confusion, keep in mind that programmed channels will have a CH- next to the channel number.

On the other hand, if youre trying to scan, press the VFO/MR setting and press 7. The display on the device will change color to red and a green light will flash to denote that its scanning. To stop scanning, press the VFO/MR setting and the device will start to operate again.

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Use The App Interface

You can find local channels when going through the apps interface. Once youve loaded the app, youll see a few listening options. Most police scanners can organize channels into broad categories, such as Fire, EMS, Police. In these categories, you will find frequencies for your citys emergency response service. Check our frequencies page for more info.

  • If there are location services in the app, it will detect it automatically. For some programs, youll be asked to provide a zip code or other information like the name of your city or a country.
  • Some police scanners allow you to save your most frequent channels to make custom feeds that you can cycle through at will.

Trunking Police Scanning With Sdrtrunk

There was a time when it was easy to eavesdrop on police and other service radio networks. Police scanners fans can hear live police, fire, and ambulance calls. However, it isnt as easy as it used to be because nearly all radios now are trunked. That means conversations might jump from channel to channel. However, P25 can unscramble trunked radio calls intercepted by a cheap SDR dongle and let you listen in. shows you how to set it up for Windows or Linux and you can see the video below.

Trunking radio makes sense. In the old days, you might have a dozen channels for different purposes. But most channels would be empty most of the time. With trunking radio, a radios computer is set to be in a talk group and a control channel sorts out what channel the talk group should use at any given time. That means that one channel might have several transmissions in a row from different talk groups and one talk group might hop to a new channel on each transmission.

P25 is the APCO Project 25 standard used for public service trunking radios. You can, of course, get commercial equipment to monitor these radios, too, but what fun is that?

With everyone spending more time at home these days, radio monitoring is a great way to live vicariously. Not the first time weve seen an SDR dongle scanner, of course. Just watch out for kiddy toys.

  • At least the UKs trucked radio should be encrypted.

    Is this because the P25 radios have a confusing UI that theyre transmitting in plain?

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    Scanner Radio: Get Alerts When Something Big Is Happening

    • Get alerts when a certain number of people are listening to a police scanner of your choice.

    • Get alerts when Broadcastify reveals that there’s an alert on the scanner.

    • The police scanner can turn off automatically with a sleep timer.

    • Police codes are included but they’re not local to the feed.

    • Runs on mobile devices only .

    One thing that sets the Scanner Radio app apart from the other police scanners in this list is that you can set up mobile alerts to get notified when lots of people are listening to a specific feed, which usually indicates increased activity on the scanner.

    Feeds in this police radio app can be browsed by ones near you, the top 50, location, and source .

    The Scanner Radio app runs on Android and iOS devices:

    • Feed archives and no ads are only available through a premium account.

    • Shortcodes used by police are not displayed in the app.

    More than 6,500 live audio streams are available at Broadcastify, with feeds not only from police radios but also public safety, aircraft, rail, and marine live audio streams.

    Live broadcasts are categorized into sections like Top 50 Live Audio Feeds, Latest 50 Feed Additions, and Official Feeds so that you can easily navigate to what you might be looking for. There’s also a Browse by Location page to find local police scanners.

    Broadcastify also includes these features:

    • Uses have the opportunity to broadcast their own stream.
    • There are several ways to listen, like through iTunes, a phone, or your web browser.

    Upgrade To Broadcastify For Even More Options

    Listen to police radio online

    Broadcastify is the main platform Police Scanner Radio & Fire uses to source its content, but the full-fledged app is also worth a look. For $2.99, you get an ad-free listening experience with even more channels, as well as aviation, weather and amateur broadcasters.

    And yes, you can still subscribe to push-notifications just like with the free app.

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    To Encrypt Or Not To Encrypt Is The Question

    Before encryption, media companies used to listen in on the radio for situations that may arise and which may need their attention.

    Media companies used to assign a person to listen in and if a good situation arises, they can cover it.

    Radio enthusiasts also listen in on the channels, some enthusiast even helped the cops solve crimes by providing infos to them, but all these came to an end when encryption came.

    Broadcastify Best Radio Scanner App Overall


    • Compatible with desktop and mobile
    • Tracks police frequencies
    • Global Feed Catalog

    Broadcastify has a huge collection of channels that are sorted based on the users county and metro locale. The channels are stable, especially the ones that focus on EMS and fire services. Based on our tests, this is among the most decent EMS scanners today.

    The application has a nice appearance design-wise. We found the interface appealing and intuitive, making it easy to use.

    Broadcastify also has a website, meaning that you can listen to police scans on your desktop computer. You can also download it on your iPad if you want to free your smartphone for more tasks.

    With this app, you can discover over 6,000 streams. This includes local feeds from police radios, aircraft, public safety, rail, and marine live audio. Like most apps on this list, Broadcastify gives you many signal options available for listening.

    When we tried out this scanner app, the way the broadcasts are organized is intuitive and easy to understand. Youll find sections such as Official Feeds, Latest Feed Additions, and Top 50 Live Audio Feeds. To make it even easier, the app also has a Browse By Location feature so you can listen to the police in your area.

    When it comes to the price, this app has free and pro version options, where the latter offers no ads and feed archives. We do recommend starting with the free version of Broadcastify first and upgrade once you think the perks are worth paying extra.

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    How To View Your Frequencies

    There are some good frequencies to help program your UV-5R, which includes 146.520, and 446.000. These are simplex calling frequencies, which means they are monitored by local radio operators for simplex operation.

    One conversation that starts on a simplex frequency is moved up and down to another through the frequency band when others call it. You will need a license to help transmit those frequencies. But in our tests, we found that simplex frequencies can receive and transmit better than MURS and FRS bands.

    Hint: You will have to change your settings on your Baofeng to make 5K increments once youre programming frequencies. First press the menu button then find the item 1STEP. Then you can adjust it back to 5K.

    Thoughts On Sdr As A Police And Fire Radio Scanner

    Scanner Radio allows you to listen to live audio from over ...
  • Starbucksays:

    This is really amazing, if your area is on a P25 digital trunk system. Ive been enjoying the city of Cincinnatis P25 digital as a source of great entertainment. Having a 2nd tuner dedicated for the control frequency really helps this setup in terms of responsiveness. Disable UAC and run as admin for all programs involved if issues arrise.

  • That depends on if the radios have all that programmed in. Not all of the xtl and APX radios on LWIN have everything programmed in. Bossier Parish for example have APX series radios and they ONLY have bossier parish and city talkgroups. no state police. Only city units have city talkgroups, etc even though the radios are dual band or quad band radios they waste a lot of money on them by not setting them up to be compatable and this is largely due to Shreveport Communications being greedy asswipes. They talked Shrevport and caddo parish in to renewing their 800MHz analog license a couple years ago instead of letting them go onto LWIN becaus ethey would have lost sole business with the parish.

  • This post was worth reading just to find out about SDR# I guess its time to break out the tuner again and try it.

    In the video, is the channel automatically going to the signal with the peak level, or is the user manually switching channels?

    I wish somebody would come up with a GNU or free version of Virtual Audio Cable, though. Id kinda like to actually use the fancy audio subsystem on my new laptop in Windows .

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    States That Restrict Police Scanner Use While Driving

    The image above highlights the U.S. states where there are restrictions surrounding the use of a scanner while driving.

    Below is a link to each States statute.

    While there is nuance appended to these laws, and some states such as Minnesota and Florida authorize use with a permit or a HAM radio license, they all have the same bottom line:

    You cannot use a police scanner while operating a motor vehicle.

    These laws were enacted to prevent users from listening to police communications with the intent to circumvent speed traps.

    Most of these laws were intended for fuzz busters,” but they also apply to scanners.

    Please note that police scanner apps are also covered by most of these statues. However, because scanner apps have fairly recently entered the public sphere, and there is pending litigation in several states, these laws will change as precedent case law is constituted.

    The Best Police Scanner Apps For Ios And Android

    You dont have to be a crime reporter or a private eye in an old noir film to use a police scanner, nor must you splurge on a stand-alone device just to get the inside scoop. The right smartphone app will allow you to eavesdrop with ease and stay informed about whatevers going down in your neighborhood, including arrests, emergencies, and current road conditions. Weve rounded up some of the best police scanner apps for both platforms.

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    Listen To Police Scanner Live Over The Internet

    If you are looking for a place to listen to live police scanners for your area then youve landed on the right web page. Right here on this webpage we are going to give you the best method of listening to police scanners online for your area absolutely free.

    Dont get misled by gimmicky websites out there who are tryng to profit off a service that is available for free over the internet. The great thing about online police scanners is that you can listen in on any police agency anywhere in the country. You dont even have to be in the same city or state to listen to police scanners across the country.

    For instance, you can be in miami and still be able to listen to police traffic live over the internet from agencies far away as Arizona or New York. This is only made possible by online police scanners.

    How To Hear Police Scanner Online

    08/07/2017 Listen to the Police Scanner on Your Phone

    If you are looking for a website where you can sit down and listen to police radio traffic live as it happens, then youve landed on the right web page. However you must understand that online police scanners are becoming increasingly popular among the public. If there are too many people listening in all at once the server may crash.

    However with the growing demand for live radio transmission over the internet comes better technology. There are a couple websites out there that constantly rate high as being the best police scanner available online.

    Dont make the mistake of paying for police scanners online because they are available for free. Heres our list of the very best websites to listen in on police radio traffic.

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    Best Police Scanner Ios Apps In 2021

    If youre wanting to keep tabs on whats going on in your community, then you might want to download a police scanner applications to your iPhone and/or iPad. A police scanner iOS apps will use local radio waves or even an audio stream to peg into the local frequency that law enforcement and dispatch is using.

    Its perfectly legal to do this as well these radio waves are available for public listening. If theres something really bad happening, law enforcement will switch to a private channel this is generally a rarity, but its usually to avoid giving away their location or a location theyre headed to in order to stop a criminal.

    But, if you want to get on listening to the publicly available information, be sure to check out our list. Weve got the top 7 best police scanner iOS apps in 2020 listed!

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