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.
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.
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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The Best Police Scanner Of 2020 Whistler Trx
For an overall high-quality device that can keep track of miscellaneous frequencies, go for the Whistler TRX-1. This portable handheld scanner is the best all-around device, whether youre using it for personal purposes, inside a vehicle, or in public. It provides weather alerts, object-oriented capabilities, search modes, micro-SD compatibility, and more.
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Why Did My Old Scanner Quit Working
Do you miss hearing whats going on around you? You may have noticed that your old analog scanner with crystals stopped working awhile back and even the digital scanners that replaced them seem to have stopped working. Why did this happen? Through the late 1980s, police and first responders began the migration to the 800MHz bands and then by the early 2000s, the APCO-25 system was implemented, effectively blocking most scanners from translating transmissions.
Throughout the years, scanner manufacturers have scrambled to keep up with the various digital voice modulation techniques and the expense of accessing patented digital voice compression technology. Some advanced digital compression technology remains inaccessible via any commercially available method , but we have finally breached the point where hobbyists can once again purchase a scanner capable of keeping listeners informed about what is going on with our local police, fire departments, weather emergencies, and other essential information.
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Uniden Homepatrol 2 Color Touchscreen Simple Program Digital Scanner
The first option on our list of the best digital police scanners comes from Uniden, a very reputable manufacturer of a variety of communication and other technological devices, including HAM radios, CB radios, two-way radios, and walkie talkies. All of the devices they offer are outfitted with the latest technology and are durably constructed, including their HomePatrol 2 Color Touchscreen Simple Program Digital Scanner.
This digital police scanner was designed with ease of use in mind. Unlike a lot of other police scanners that are on the market, this device is incredibly easy to operate all you have to do is input the name of your city or your zip code and the unit will automatically load all of the frequencies, trunking systems, alpha tags, and sub-audible tones for your area.
You can also use it to stay current with the latest information anywhere you may be traveling to by adding a GPS receiver, the scanner will automatically tune itself to the location. The fact that its outfitted with a color touch screen makes it even easier to use! There arent any awkward or confusing dials to figure out all of the information you need is clearly visible on the screen, and you simply have to touch it to change the settings. Other notable features include weather alerts, quick record and playback, and instant replay.
What We Like About It
Reasons to Complain
- A few users said that the units they received were defective
What Customers Are Saying
Featuring over 10,500 customer reviews on Amazon, the Cobra RAD 480i is one of the most well-reviewed police scanners in the industry. An overwhelming majority of reviewers 84 percent rate this scanner 4 stars or higher. A total of 69 percent of reviewers rate this police scanner 5 out 5 stars.
Individual reviews marvel at how far a distance this scanner works and note the dependability of the Cobra RAD 480is alerts. A large number of reviewers mention the scanners connectivity to a USB cable and the scanners overall compact design.
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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.
Other Important Factors To Consider
I specifically do not name a specific model as the greatest police scanner for sale on the market right now. This is because everyone does not have the same need. Here are some other things that you should consider when youre planning to buy a scanner.
What is the Best Police Scanner?
You can scour online for digital police scanner reviews, and they will come up with different options. I cannot advise a single scanner because people have different needs and requirements. You have to look at your application and your budget before I can even begin to suggest any model.
Who Is This For?
Radio frequencies are typically used by government and civilian agencies for fast and reliable local communication. Police, fire, EMS, aviation, and military services are some of the most prominent radio users.
A scanner is used to monitor these frequencies to be updated in local events. This is especially true for journalists and investigators, as well as private security firms. These devices help a person or an organization increase their situational awareness by keeping track of radio transmissions.
Radio scanning is also a popular hobby and lets people communicate with different communities via wireless radio signal networks. The NOAA and some state governments also use these networks to transmit weather and other relevant warnings.
How Does It Work?
This technology has allowed people to monitor multiple channels at once, without the need for multiple radio devices.
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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.
Uniden Bcd436hp Homepatrol Series Digital Handheld Scanner
If youre interested in a handheld digital police scanner, the Uniden BCD436HP HomePatrol Series Digital Handheld Scanner is a great option to consider. As mentioned, Uniden is a well-known manufacturer of a variety of communication and tracking devices, including car GPS, , and motorcycle GPS devices among other high quality products, so you know you can be sure that the BCD436HP handheld digital police scanner is durable and reliable.
This digital police scanner features both USA-based and Canadian-based radio databases, so you can use it in either country to receive up to the minute news and information. Outfitted with an enhanced dynamic memory, you can control the size of your banks so that you can save as much space as possible. It also offers both narrowband reception and location-based scanning, so youll always get the latest breaking news.
With SAME weather alerts, you can stay current with the latest news and weather information in your area and make plans as necessary when a storm is in the forecast. This device features TrunkTracker V, which allows you to tune in to a range of trunked systems.
What We Like About It
- SAME weather alerts allow you stay current with the weather in your area
- Enhanced dynamic memory controls the bank size to conserve space
- Features Close Call RF Capture Technology
- TrunkTracker, which allows you to tune into various trunked systems
- GPS compatible
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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.
Uniden Bearcat Police Radio Scanners There Are 14 Products
Shop the full line of Uniden Bearcat Police Scanner Radios. Expert Uniden Programming, free lifetime support, no hassle returns.
Sell Us Your Old Scanner For a New One!Once you place your order you will receive an email with instructions on how to return your scanner. You will NOT receive your credit until we receive your scanner.
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What Are Todays Most Popular Digital Police Scanners Models
There are many digital police scanners items accessible today for men and women seeking quality and reliability. Every digital police scanners model follows the same essential premise. But they appeal to various users.Its no secret that certain products appeal to specific populations. What if you could see which products were the most popular across all consumers? You can, and weve got the list. Check out our collection of products that appear to appeal to all ages, genders, and locations.
What Are Trunking Systems
Trunking systems allow you to listen to a large number of agencies using just two or three radio frequencies. This design is meant for congested circumstances. Typically a trunking radio system is commonly used in urban areas and has the ability to pick up conventional signals. However a conventional radio system is unable to pick up a tracking signal
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Uniden Sr30c Portable Police Radio Scanner Review
With a conveniently compact design that more or less matches the design of BC125AT, the Uniden SR30C is packed with some advanced features. It supports 500 channels divided into 10 storage banks that allow for quick search and easy access.
The unit is equipped with Close Call RF Capture that allows instant tuning to signals coming from nearby transmissions. However, you can always use the Do Not Disturb function to prevent close call checks during transmissions.
The unit doesnt have a big display, but it a backlit display for clear readability. You can dim the display if you want. The powering options include AA batteries. You can use the non-rechargeable one for longer battery life, or you can opt for NiMH rechargeable batteries.
What I liked about this unit is that you can charge the batteries even when the unit is actively scanning for transmissions. Thats something you wont find in BC125AT.
The scanner comes with a flexible antenna with a BNC connector. So, you can change the antenna to improve reception. The audio quality is not so great, but it is decent enough and can remove static using the squelch technology.
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.
A Great Way To Stay Informed And Up To Date
- University of Maryland
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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.