Keep An Eye On The Cops: The Best Police Scanner Apps
Whether youre following protests or just wondering why theres a helicopter hovering over your neighborhood, police scanner apps help you stay informed on what the cops are up to.
During the recent George Floyd protests, police scanner app downloads have skyrocketed. If you’re hoping to avoid a confrontation with local law enforcement while peacefully protesting or you just want to know what’s going on in your areawhat’s that siren for? Why is there a police helicopter hovering over my neighborhood?A police scanner app can help out. As an added perk, most of these mobile apps can play fire department and weather radio, too.
These radio-scanning apps save you from buying a pricey hardware scanner: You can simply install an iPhone app or Android app on your smartphone. Both app stores are well stocked with options. Some are free, but there are features in some that make them worth paying forthe last thing you want is a video ad right when you’re trying to get crucial info. If you just want to sit at home or in a café and watch police activity, there are several scanner apps available on the app stores for macOS and Windows. You could also simply point your web browser to Broadcastify, which is the feed source for many of these apps.
Police Scanner: Best for Clear Interface and Walkie-Talkie Feature
Q: How Do I Program A Police Scanner
Each model is going to have different ways to program it. Some will rely on a direct input interface in other words, you program it using the buttons and push pads installed on the device. Some more advanced models will ask that you install software onto a laptop or PC then hook the radio up with a cable and program it via your computer. Either way, most scanners should come with decent documentation that explains the process in a clear and concise fashion.
Whistler Ws1010 Analog Radio Scanner Review
This is one of the best police scanners that you can get. The WS1010 police scanner is completely analog and offers a lot of interesting features include NOAA S.A.M.E. alert and Skywarn feature.
With 200 channel memory that can be stored in 10 separate storage banks, this small handheld gadget can set a priority channel that it will check every 2 seconds even when scanning for other frequencies.
If you want, you can program it using your computer. You can update the database, take a backup, or program the scanner directly through your PC.
As far as powering options are concerned, you can power it up using the included AC adapter or using rechargeable batteries or non-rechargeable dry cells.
The sound quality of the device is pretty impressive, but you can make it better using the squelch control knob on the top that can eliminate static. It comes with a backlit screen with good contrast that allows for easy readability.
The device is equipped with a one-touch search option that will allow you to access air, traffic, police, marine, ham, and weather frequencies.
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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.
Best Police Scanner Antenna In 2021
Now -a- days police scanners are widely in use..! and also if you want handy information about whats going around then you must install the police scanners..!! The police scanners help you get the information about literally anything going around. It may be the aircrafts the radioactivity signals, the railroads are the military signals..!! But most of you are unaware that Police scanners have antennas too ..!! and it is really very essential that these antennas are purchased with proper guidance so that you get the best police scanner antenna out of it!! Thats why I am here with this article which will help you to get the perfect antenna for your police scanners..!! This article includes especially four types of police scanner antennas namely the antennas which are best police scanner antenna for outdoor usage, antennas which are suitable for indoor usage, antennas which are worthy + affordable and also the antennas used for police scanner radios..!! So lets check out the products and you will find the perfect antenna by going through the article..!!
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Digital Police Scanner Range
The range of your police scanner is another important feature to consider. If youre only trying to pick up transmissions in your neighborhood, you wont need a scanner with a particularly long range. However, if you travel often and need to cover more ground, youll want a scanner that can pick up transmissions from miles away.
Uniden Bcd436hp Handheld Scanner
Exceptional convenience is the key asset of this Uniden home patrol digital scanner. It is easy to navigate your way around this handheld scanner. Find out more of its unique features that would be up to your liking.
Uniden is one of the most innovative brands of radio scanners out there. Im impressed by how they came up with a scanner that could integrate close-call radio frequency capture, high-quality GPS connection, and a hi-fi system probe, all in one huge display. These features are truly life-saving.
So, whats a close-call radio frequency? I like this feature because it offers optimum convenience due to its ability to detect nearby radio transmissions. The close-call feature eliminates the hassles of manual tuning as it instantly captures signals within your specified radius, making your work faster and more convenient.
Looking for frequencies in any location wont be as tedious as it was back then. Thanks to its GPS connectivity and efficient receiver structure analysis. With these features, your scanner knows your exact location and will begin scanning all frequencies listed in the area.
Some of its practical features include nine tone patterns to choose from, alerting when you receive a channel ID, a close call hit or when the scanner tones out, 15 levels of volume settings, seven display colors, and three flash patterns.
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Is It Legal To Own A Police Scanner
Yes, owning a police scanner is legal. However, certain activities are not allowed using a police scanner. Those include:
- Listening to police communications to help a criminal escape.
- Listening to police or security communications to help a crime take place.
- Listening to cell phone communications and encrypted communications.
So, despite police scanners being legal, there can be a set of rules governing their usage. Make sure that you check the rules present in your state.
Q: Why Is The Police Scanner Public
Police retain the right to withhold information that can impact an ongoing investigation which, in the past, led to encrypted frequencies . However, when different emergency departments tried to coordinate, these encrypted channels proved to be a risk. Most remain public to ensure open access during a time of crisis.
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Police Scanner Buyers Guide
Prior to buying a police scanner, our review team strongly recommends figuring out what exactly you want out of your device. Does your police scanner need to be portable? Do you need digital or analog capabilities? These are just a couple of the questions that need to be answered for you to find a police scanner that fulfills your needs.
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.
Did you know that you can use RTL SDR dongle to listen to police radio conversations? Learn RTL SDR here
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Best Analog: Uniden Bearcat Bc75xlt Handheld Scanner
Has close call RF technology
Weaker reception in some areas
Featuring the ability to connect to public safety, military aircraft, and racing scanner channels, Unidens BC75XLT is a terrific choice for analog scanner fans. The built-in search functionality is second-to-none, and it quickly identifies channels for police, fire, marine, air, weather, and more, which makes the BC75XLT a very much pickup-and-go analog scanner.
You can save 300 channels into the scanners memory or 30 channels total in 10 separate banks. This makes it easy to scan for current transmissions on each stored channel. Additionally, the inclusion of Close Call RF capture technology assists the BC75XLT in identifying and detecting nearby transmissions, even if they arent pre-programmed into a channel. Powered by two AA batteries, the BC75XLT is both lightweight and designed to fit in the hand. Overall, it has good reception as long as youre in a strong signal area.
Uniden Bc125at Handheld Police Scanner Review
The Uniden BC125AT handheld police scanner is one of the most sophisticated scanners you can buy. This model also includes the Uniden-specific Close Call RF capture technology. Whats interesting is the Do Dont Disturb mode that will stop all close call checks during any transmission.
There are 500 Alpha-Tagged Channels, which are divided into 10 storage banks, making it way easier to find the channels that you want to listen to frequently.
In total, this gadget works with more than 40,000 frequencies so that you can listen to many bands that include the police band, the military, civilian, aircraft, railroad, civil air, racing, and amateur radio services, bands. Of course, you will get access to weather bands as well.
The unit doesnt require programming to use because you can use the handheld scanner straight out of the box using the presets for the common searches. That doesnt mean you cannot program it. It comes with a USB cable that you can use for programming it using your computer. The programming software is available for free on the internet.
The device comes with a multi-functional rotary knob that you can use for controlling the volume, scroll through channel banks, and adjusting squelch.
The sound quality of the scanner is decent, and it can remove static. The backlit screen is also easy to ready. The unit is very lightweight and allows for easy portability.
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Q: What Is A Police Scanner
A police scanner is a type of radio that is optimized to pick up radio frequencies most used by law enforcement and other emergency services. As communication systems have evolved, so too have Police scanners, and you can now pick up models that are compatible with a range of systems and across multiple frequencies including analog and digital frequencies.
Best Digital: Uniden Bcd996p2
Some features require paid upgrades
There arent that many brands in the police scanner game , but Uniden is a major player in the world of scanners. Meant as a one-stop-shop for analog scanning and digital transmissions, the Uniden BCD99P2 is one of the better scanners out there. Whatever your needs, the BCD99P2 most likely has you covered, even if it does so in a fairly large package.
The BCD99P2 is capable of location-based scanning, and it can detect nearby radio transmissions. The TrunkTracker V scanner also offers continuous band coverage spanning 25 MHz to 1.3 GHz. Factor in 25,000 different dynamically allocated channels, and youll have enough options to cover all your local systems, recalled via the intuitive internal memory of the unit. It all comes in a compact 11 x 3.75 x 8.5-inch unit with a bright display and easy-to-navigate controls.
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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.
Police Scanner Buying Guide
Tracking local events with police scanners has been a popular hobby for many years. Beyond the entertainment and gossip you can get out of such a device, a police scanner can be an invaluable security tool. By tuning into the frequencies of your local emergency services, you can keep one step ahead of crime incidents, traffic accidents, fires and severe weather events even before news outlets report them.
Its worth noting that some of these devices have a steep learning curve. Even seasoned users sometimes face complications, especially when they purchase a new model. If youve never used one before, it may take some trial and error to program and maximize its detection capabilities in your area.
Also, you should know that most of the programming software for scanners is made for Windows. So, if you dont own a computer with a Windows operating system , programming or updating the police scanner might prove to be difficult.
There are, however, professionals who will program the scanner for you , based on your location. In addition to independent scanner radio programming services, the scanner manufacturer Uniden will program a scanner at a cost of $40 to $100.
These are the main factors to take into account when shopping for a police scanner:
Model type. There are two types of police scanners: base and handheld.
Base models usually cost $300 or more and are meant to be used mainly in home settings. Some can also be mounted in vehicles.
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A Great Way To Stay Informed And Up To Date
- University of Maryland
Our editors independently research, test, and recommend the bestproducts youcan learn more about ourreview process here.We may receive commissions on purchases made from our chosen links.
The best police scanners are easy to set up and use, providing clear audio quality on a broad range of frequencies.
For most people, we think our best budget pick, the Uniden BC365CRS is the one you should just buy.
Police scanners let you stay on top of local events and ahead of the curve in several potentially dangerous situations. You can also use a police scanner to stay abreast of local news before it’s reported on television, you can get weather alerts and find out about an impending natural disaster, or you can tune into amateur radio channels. The best police scanners can also serve as an alternative to a standalone CB radio or radar detector, so read on to see your options.
Hybrid CB radio and trunk-tracking scanner
Although its one of the pricier options on this list, the Uniden Beartracker 885 is a full-featured CB radio and digital trunk tracking police scanner. It has GPS included, so it can automatically select nearby channels from its database . You dont have to do any sort of complex programming while you drive, as the scanner does the work for you. It provides weather alerts, PA functionality, and more, and you can easily read the LCD.
Why Should You Buy A Handheld Police Scanner
When we think about hand help police scanner the first thing hits our mind is why handheld? Why not a desktop scanner. The most important reason is portability. Although we have discussed best police scanner for the car in another article which is kind of portable. But they dont give you the same freedom as handheld scanners. You can go to a place where a vehicle cant go and still scan for frequencies. There are many other points too like power consumptions, flexibility, etc which makes the handheld scanner popular.
Although the handheld scanners are not as powerful as the base or car mounted scanners, the portability and flexibility is something which makes it a better choice. If you need something strong most handheld scanners will not meet your requirements. In that case, you should focus on strong and highly capable handheld scanners. Most handheld scanners will satisfy your frequency coverage needs. The sensitivity and selectivity are where it cant compete with base scanners. There are always some extra accessories which will increase the sensitivity and selectivity of your scanner.
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Best Portable Police Scanner
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.
Whistler Ws1025 Analog Scanner
The Whistler WS1025 Analog Desktop Scanner is something I can highly recommend. I have been using it for a while, and have been totally satisfied with its performance. It has first-rate features that I find very convenient to use, like programming and directly creating backup data from my PC. I can easily tune in to new channels and save them for quick browsing later.
I also find the lock-out feature advantageous that way, I can avoid connecting to reserved frequencies like military or other confidential operations during scanning. Speaking of scanning, the two-second delay is a good detail for me. This allows me to hear if the scanned frequency will have replies before the device moves to the next one.
The Weather and hazard detection or alerts work well, and I considered it a very dependable feature, especially if Im on the road. It allows me to be ahead of all the happenings in my area and makes me feel safe. This is especially useful when my phone is dead or out of coverage.
I love the Priority Channel feature because it enables me to check one channel every two seconds while scanning ensuring that I can monitor events within my area while still maintaining situational awareness.
- Easy to program and create a backup file
- Lock-out function skips unwanted channels or frequencies
- Scan delay feature avoids missing replies
- Keeps you ahead and updated with necessary information
- Weak radio signals from moving units
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