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.
Best For Car: Uniden Beartracker
Why It Made The Cut: The Beartracker seamlessly combines a quality CB radio with an impressive police scanner, making it a worthy choice for those who demand both functions.
Specs: Dimensions: 15.1 inches long by 8.6 inches deep by 3.6 inches high Type: Digital
Functions as both a CB and police scanner Built-in GPS automatically adjusts for location Has access to Unidens impressive database of frequencies Can also provide radar detection functions
Cons: More expensive than standard police scanners Doesnt allow you to program frequencies
While it may be pricey, the Uniden Beartrackers additional cost is worth it for those who want to send as well as receive transmissions. It functions as a hybrid scanner with a full 40-channel CB radio. The CB works seamlessly with the scanner, allowing you to switch between the two with the push of a button. While that alone makes it worth the extra price for someone who values both the functions of a scanner and a CB radio, there are other features that make BearCat a great choice.
It comes equipped with a built-in GPS that automatically selects nearby channels from the Uniden database as youre driving, so you dont have to fiddle with knobs as you move from location to location . The BearCat supports trunk tracking and will also broadcast weather alerts from NOAA though its important to note that the Beartracker doesnt support manually entering frequencies.
Best Overall: Uniden Homepatrol Series Digital Handheld Scanner
Why It Made The Cut: An easy-to-use design that automatically populates frequencies coupled with cool additional features make this handheld the best all-around police scanner on the market.
Specs: Dimensions: 9 inches long by 3.8 inches wide by 2.4 inches thick Type: Digital
Uses GPS to automatically find available frequencies Records up to four minutes of broadcasts for playback Automatically searches for new frequencies Allows you to customize alerts
Cons: One of the more expensive police scanners on the market
With a user-friendly design that makes it easy to locate and a host of useful additional features, it’s little wonder why Uniden’s handheld digital scanner is the best you can buy. One of its best features is its ability to make locating frequencies easy. Simply enter the zip code, and it populates the available channels for you from Uniden’s database, eliminating any need to fiddle with dials or buttons. With its GPS receiver, it will also automatically populate available frequencies as you move through different locales, eliminating the need to fiddle with dials while you drive. This model also incorporates Uniden’s Close Call RF Capture feature, which continually scans the area to find frequencies that are in close proximity, such as a conversation between two people using handheld radios.
Recommended Reading: What To Take In College To Become A Police Officer
Shift To New Police Scanners Carries Heavy Price Tag
- Lori Carlson
Free to Local Residents!
Lots of people have gone into the Radio Shack store in Shakopee recently to inquire about digital-compatible police scanners, said store Manager Matthew Fiega. But not many have made a purchase.
Police and fire departments in Scott County this month began installing new digital 800-megahertz-compatible radios.
While emergency communication can still be heard on the old analog system as radios are tested, the county expects to pull the plug by the end of the year. Then, local scanner fans will have a choice to make: pony up several hundred dollars for a new scanner or hear a lot less talk.
With a price tag around $500, many people are waiting, hoping digital scanners will come down.
Like anything when brand new, its expensive, said Charles Jacky, interoperable communications coordinator for the Metropolitan Emergency Services Board.Current analog scanners can be purchased for less than $100.Although most agencies in the metro area have switched to digital radio, Fiega hasnt seen the price shift in the last few years.New models come out in the $500 range, although, as of Monday, an older model could be ordered through Radio Shack for $380. The store sold out of the few digital scanners it had on clearance.
Scanners can also be purchased at Action Radio in Maple Grove.
Most common police scanners wont work, he said. However, there are scanners that do work.
You have to use a computer, pretty much, Fiega said.
Best Portable: Uniden Homepatrol
Why It Made The Cut: With its full-color touchscreen and small size, this digital scanner is one of the easiest to use.
Specs: Dimensions: 6.4 inches long by 4.2 inches wide by 3.8 inches thick Type: Digital
Easy to set up and use Portable size makes it ideal for taking on the road Full-color touch screen makes it easy to navigate Ability to record and playback transmissions
Cons: Expensive Occasional problems with reception
Unidens HomePatrol is one of the pricier police scanners you can purchase for your home, but its design allows you to get so much more out of it than cheaper analog models. Setting up the HomePatrol is simple when compared to other home police scanners. Theres no need to program frequencies or hunt for channels. Simply enter your zip code, and it finds the channels for you using the Uniden database. A range knob allows you to adjust the scanner to pick up transmissions from as little as one mile away up to 30 miles away. In addition to police and emergency services, it also allows you to listen to S.A.M.E weather alerts.
A touch screen with a full-color display makes it easy to see what channel youre listening to and switch from channel to channel. The HomePatrol also gives you functions other scanners dont, most notably the ability to record and playback transmissions via an SD card.
Read Also: How To File A Police Report In Maryland
The Best Police Scanner: A Buyers Guide
With a police scanner, you can keep tabs on all of the latest and most important information in your area. These wireless devices transmit various radio bands at the same time so that you can hear incoming information from police, fire departments, emergency responders, and even weather radios.
If youre going to invest in a police scanner, it stands to reason that you want to purchase a high quality, reliable model. In order to do that, you should take a few important factors into consideration before you buy.
Uniden Bcd996p2 Digital Mobile Scanner
LARGE CHANNEL LIBRARY
This mobile police scanner has over 25,000 channels and a dynamic memory system so you can program the frequencies you prefer to listen to and make them easy to access. Its designed for the hobbyist, with a digital decoding system and a sizable memory bank that can remember your preferences. Its got Close Call RF Capture Technology built in as well as the latest APCO Project 25 Phase II systems for radio capturing. Its got NOAA weather access so you stay up to date on all extreme weather events and the S.A.M.E weather alerts send warnings when there are notable condition changes in your area. Theres also an optional GPS receiver included so you can enjoy location-based scanning in addition to the sophisticated TrunkTracker V technology.
Pros: Sophisticated technology thats easy to use and access, advanced weather monitoring, plenty of channels to choose from.
Cons: The speaker doesnt have the best sound quality.
Also Check: How Can I Be A Police Officer
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.
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.
Don’t Miss: How To Get A Copy Of A Police Report Online
How To Buy A Police Scanner
Scanners give you a live feed of the public safety activity in your area, granted you have the ability to hear police reports, EMS calls, firefighter activity, weather alerts, and more.
Police scanners are one of the best worst-kept secrets in the history of modern technology.
Scanners a powerful means of keeping tabs on all public agencies in your city. They are relatively simple to obtain, use, and set up.
Most people use police scanners to monitor the law enforcement, fire, and EMS activity in their local area, as well as stay up-to-date on severe weather or emergency alerts.
In the olden days of scanning, this was as easy as switching on an analog scanner and waiting for the calls to roll in.
However, as Bob Dylan famously said, things have changed.
Advances in radio technology and digital systems have made finding the right scanner for your area is slightly more complicated than it used to be.
The good news is we’re here to help!
This guide was designed to guide you through picking the best police scanner for your specific area and needs.
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
Recommended Reading: How Do I Get My Police Report Number
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.
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.
Don’t Miss: Can You Call The Police For Online Harassment
Protocol For Account Issue Not Followed Whatsoever
Not following protocol concerning my accountMy device was stolen on 18 JuneIm not sure if theyre going to refund the money I requested a refund because they charged have never been made due to the fact that my phone had been stolen reported stolen and I got an email confirmation that those payments were not going to be taken from my account so I am hoping they do the right thing and issue a refund they canceled it but I dont see the refund this is my problem I received messages that my account would not be able to have a charges including crude on it and what happened it appears is that they were supposed to freeze my Apple Pay and all debit cards that are linked but when I subscription came through for 490. My Phone was supposed to be shut off I reported it stolen and they were his payments for not going to be made with my card until I was able to get a resolution I got my new phone in for five days later and here is a charge for the 490. I requested a refund. Its a mystery my account was looked at. My subscription was cancelled but I have yet to be issued the refund pause this cost me addition consequences. We first webull deposit was rejected due to the error which has lasting effects personally. Im not very happy
Different Types Of Digital Radio Police Scanners
There are two types:
- Base or Mobile scanners: These sit on a tabletop or the car or vehicle dash . You dont carry them around in your hands. They have antennas and a better range compared to their handheld counterparts.
- Handheld scanners: They are small and extremely portable. You can carry them in your pocket, your purse, or in your hand. You can clip them on your belt as well. They dont have great range or clarity as in the base or mobile variants.
Read Also: Can The Police Get Keys Out Of A Locked Car
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.
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.
Also Check: What Age Can You Join The Police Academy
Uniden Bcd436hp Police Scanner Review
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.