Hints and tips on what to look for when buying a police or fire scanner.
With the way technology is gone these days the quailty of the electronic police scanner or receiver is out standing.
Some even come with software so you can connect them up to your computer and this opens a world of possibilitys
Even on a low budget you get features that wouldnt havent been heard of years ago.
Battery life if it is a portable scanner .
And the band of frequenicies it covers and what steps it scans in this is where you need to do your homework .
Police scanner features
what features to look for on the scanner.
1. They have to have squelch feature as most do this keeps the radio silent till it detects a signal above the set threshold also keeps it quiet in scan mode.
Service Banks -lets you search preset frequencies eg.Ham radio,,fire,police,marine makes it easy to locate specific types of transmissions.
Lock-out function-lets you skip over specified channels or frequencies.
Key Lock- so you can lock scanners keys
Priority Channel- you can assign a channel to be scanned at set intervals so you dont miss any important calls.
Hyperscan and Hypersearch- lets you set the steps of the the scan eg search at 50 steps per second and scan at ad scan at eg.25 channels a second.
Monitor Memories -so you can save frequenicies and just scan the ones you like.
2. obviously a scan feature manual as well as automatic
3. programmable so you can set set what frequencies for it to repeat scan.
4. frequency coverage the higher the spec on this the better as the more you will pick up.
5. External output socket for recording.
6. Preprogrammed search bands lets you search local bands more quickly.
7.Channel storage for storing your favourite channels.
8. Channel lock out will stop channels you select from been scanned.
9. Scan delay so lets you hear for a few seconds if it detects transmission before moving on.
10. Duplicate frequency check so you dont store same channel twice.
11. bnc detachable antenna for easy switching from base to mobile Antennas
Police scanner Antennas
To get the most out of your police scanner you need a good antenna and this is where most portable scanners fall down.
It is also important to get the right Antenna to match your equipmment .
Aslo if space is a problem for you in your apartment you can go for a glass mount antenna these are small non intrusive and give good quality reception for the price.
You can install them on your window and they work fantastic.
Scanner books or magazines
When you check the selection of scanner books it becomes pretty clear that a lot of them are out dated with the speed technology has changed .
So thats why in this case magazines are more up to date on whats happening in the scanner world.
Trunk Communication System
Some police forces use a trunk communication system due to the large number of units at work at one time.
You will mostly find this if you live near or in a large City.
153.0000 and 169.0000 mhz you should here both sides of transmission but outside this range would be more difficult.
These systems aren't actually scrambled, but due to high volume of calls, it would be hard of a single scanner unit to keep track of them so while you might be able to hear one end of the converstaion, you won't necessarily be able to hear the other.
Make your own aerial
Some times your budget can be a little tight so in that case you have to improvise.
The main factors of an aerial are 2 seperate planes thats match the frequency of what you are trying to receive.
And also have a resistance around the 75 ohm which you will get from some coax you may already have around your house mark this is basically called a tuned circuit.
you might need to buy your aerial connecton for your scanner as it maybe bnc or pl259 which wont cost too much.
Then solder your center core of your coax to the center pin on your connector solder the outer braid to the body of your connector.
the other end get a connector block strip insert the core in one side and the outer braid on the other.
the connect to lengths of wire 2-5ft long in the opposite side of the block then experiment and see what you can pick up.