How Can You Listen To Police Frequencies
You can listen to police frequencies simply by programming your scanner. You just need to look for the specific frequency or frequencies that you want to listen to in your local area. For that, you just need to use the internet, directories, or the retailers database.
If you have all your frequencies listed, simply program those frequencies in your scanner with the steps weve discussed above. Once thats done, you can now listen to communications across your state in frequencies like fire, EMS, and aviation.
To make your listening experience smooth and static-free, make sure you also got a proper antenna installed in your scanner. Your scanners factory antenna might not do the job, so weve also listed the best police scanner antennas for you.
If you dont want to use a scanner or if you dont have a scanner right now, there are also many websites that feature live audio. Its probably not real-time, as there might be a lag between the signal reception, conversion to web audio, and live uploading which the server might limit if there are too many requests.
Whats The Best Scanner Equipped With The Zip Code Scan Feature
I recommend the Uniden Home Patrol- Simple Program Digital Scanner, which allows you to simply enter in your zip code and the device will automatically scan for local frequencies. This is a very beginner-friendly model that offers excellent range and clarity, easy setup, and plenty of other features that will help to keep you up to date with local events as they happen.
Scanner 911 Runner Up Best Overall
- Built-in equalizer with amplifier effects
- Includes a list of ten codes to understand the action nearby
- Searches for scanners in every city or county
- You can listen in the background while using other apps on the phone,
- Lock screen controls and headset buttons
When it comes to reliable performance, Scanner 911 comes out on the prime ranks. It launches quickly and smoothly to show you a menu offering feeds, recording capabilities, popular channels, and other features youd want from the best police scanners.
Out of many radio scanner apps on Playstore and Appstore, Scanner 911 ranks as the best police scanner app of 2020. Thats an obvious edge, and its mainly because of the value and user experience it provides.
So in case you were wondering which is the best police scanner app according to Playstore and Appstore, its Scanner 911.
Beyond the basics, this is well designed. It offers police codes within a given stream and shows the popularity of each radio feed within your county. Users can also customize their skin to increase readability or visual appeal. Plus, it comes with Material Design and equalizer.
However, our favorite feature is the Scanner 911s map integration. Once you open up a stream, your iPhone reveals a map that shows the feeds coverage area. In our tests, this feature is one thats easy to use.
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Tricks To Get The Most Out Of Your Police Scanner
Alright. So you have your hands on an awesome new police scanner. What next? Well, we have a couple of tips and tricks to share with you that we are 100% positive will help you to get the most out of your nifty new police scanner. You will be diving into some awesome police conversations in next-to-no time at all.
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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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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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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Position The Antenna Well
While there is fancy tech on the market that will allow you to position your radio antenna to ensure the best audio quality when you are listening to your police radio scanner, you dont really need it. Just make sure you follow these rules:
- Position your radio antenna as high up as possible
- Make sure that there are no obstacles in the way.
- Make sure there are no electronics nearby that could influence the radio antenna
If you do this, then we can 100% guarantee that listening to your police radio scanner will be a much better experience. Yes. We know that police radio broadcasts tend to be pretty strong as it is, but surely you want to get the best audio quality when you are listening in on those broadcasts, right?
Buying Guide For Best Police Scanners
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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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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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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Editors Pick: Uniden Bcd996p2 Digital Scanner
The Uniden BCD996P2 is ideal for anyone interested in taking up radio scanning as a serious hobby. Priced at around $400, it offers pretty much everything top-of-the-line models do at a lower price.
It can pick up both analog and digital signals but, unlike the BCD536HP, its not pre-programmed so youll need to input frequencies manually. This may seem complex for a beginner, but scanner enthusiasts say this process can actually prove enjoyable for people who are truly interested in mastering their new hobby.
The BCD996P2 can detect certain nearby transmissions on its own without programming however, the range isnt always consistent and the signals must be extremely strong in order to be picked up.
The BCD996P2 has enough memory to store up to 25,000 channels, along with number tags that allow you to quickly switch between frequencies without going through them one by one . You can assign number tags to service searches or custom search ranges youve created as well.
Other useful features include National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration alerts, a list of priority channels that you want to scan continuously while listening to other transmissions, a key lock to prevent unwanted modifications, 100 quick keys for your customized scanning parameters and alerts for specific channels with different tone and volume patterns.
Update Your Channel List
Not a lot of people know this , but most police forces will change the radio frequencies that they use several times per year. This means that out of the box, your police scanner may not be able to find any channels in the local area.
Not to worry. Most decent police scanners nowadays will have an SD card built into them that will allow you to up the channel list. Your radio manufacturer will likely have software that allows you to do this.
If your radio scanner doesnt have an updateable channel list, then there is still no need to panic. You can use a site like RadioReference.com to find the current frequencies for your local area. You will just have to manually program them in, which shouldnt be too difficult.
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Can You Get In Trouble Listening To Police Frequencies
In the United States, different jurisdictions have different laws. Police scanners are generally allowed, but the use of a scanner to search for frequencies is restricted in five states if youre on an automobile.
If youre in another country, you will have different laws about police scanners as well. For example, in Canada, its legal to install and use any kind of radio that can receive the broadcast except for private information. In Australia, if a transmission is not telecommunication, you can have a scanner and listen to every channel in your local area.
For your safety, please check your state laws to know specific information. However, know that its always a federal crime to listen to phone calls, regardless of what area youre in.
If you dont have a physical scanner, you can also use a smartphone app that acts as a normal scanner. Read our comparison of the best ones here:
Uniden Bc365crs 500 Police Scanner
BEST NIGHTSTAND MODEL
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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How About Police Scanner Apps
Tuning in on the frequencies used by law enforcement agencies can be done easily with a phone, and there are existing police scanners apps with the sole purpose of accessing a public feed. The legality of such apps is, again, subject to state police scanners laws. In some cases, its even riskier to be caught with an app on your phone. Even if it wasnt used in the furtherance of a crime, this could still be contested if evidence is lacking. The result could be another penalty. Alternatively, though, police scanning can be done online too .
Police Scanner Laws Conclusion
If you did not have the patience to read all the info regards police scanner laws and restrictions, then heres a quick summary: the use of police scanners is legal. Its only prohibited and illegal while driving or committing a crime. Other than that, its allowed by law.
Its still best to consult with state laws, but there shouldnt be anything to keep you from diving into the hobby. Just use the airwaves with integrity and perhaps a little curiosity and you will be fine.
Why Should You Get A Police Scanner
The best police scanners allow you to stay in the know by scanning multiple radio frequencies quickly and letting you listen in on whats called the action bands. However, these tools have applications beyond listening to police communications. Scanners receive transmissions from police, fire departments, air traffic controls, railroads, racing events, the Coast Guard and other services that rely on two-way radio communications. There is a lot you can pick up when you use the right radio scanner.
Staying updated on the happenings with the police in your local area is a smart idea. But police scanners also give you the inside scoop on local events before it hits the news. When police are reporting to a potential disaster or dangerous situation, itll hit their scanners before anywhere else. If youre listening in, you can be the first to avoid those areas. Thats news thats even faster than Twitter!
Updates on weather and road conditions can be incredibly helpful. Sometimes a storm can roll in so quickly that you wont even realize it until you are in the middle of it. And that can turn into a real disaster if you live in an area with tornados or other natural disasters. Youll also hear accident reports over the scanner that can alert you to steer clear of a certain highway or street, so you dont get stuck in traffic.
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What Frequencies Do Scanners Use
A scanner radio uses several frequencies, and as mentioned, a common way to find them is by using a local directory. Here are some common ones:
- 46: This is the inter-department emergency frequency for communications by both local and state forces.
- 160: This frequency is open to all departments, facilitating inter-department emergency communication in times of search and rescue operations.
- 475: This is a more common frequency where many emergency communications of state and local officers happen.
There are many other frequencies especially depending on which area you live in. For instance, youll find many sets of frequencies in the state of Alabama. If you want to listen to Dallas County frequencies, you can tune in to:
- 80000: The sheriff dispatch, RM-type with WPUF523 license. Its the Dallas SO 1.
- 50000: The Fire VFD dispatch, RM-type with KNAU435 license. Its the line of the Dallas County Fire Department.
- Similarly, there are three more for Dallas County, and three more for Selma.
As you can see, each frequency has a license and many have tones as well (like 110.9 PL for the Dallas SO 1. These are all mostly FM or FMN.
Note that police scanners are devices that scan and not impose audio on airwaves themselves. That makes it tricky to say what scanner frequencies do law enforcement officers use because theyre simply listening in.
If youre interested to know about object-oriented scanning and which models use it, see a short discussion on our Whistler TRX-1 review.
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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