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How to Listen To Live Radio Communications Online

Updated on March 23, 2016
Ramkitten2000 profile image

I've been an active Search & Rescue volunteer since 2007 with the Coconino County Sheriff's SAR Team in northern Arizona.


Find Scanners Around the Globe on "Radio Reference"

Being an addicted -- or maybe I should say enthusiastic -- Search and Rescue volunteer, I like to listen to our county's SAR frequencies to find out what's going on before our team actually gets called out for a mission ... not to mention eavesdrop on what else is happening with law enforcement in the area. In addition to the Sheriff's department radio traffic, I can listen to the action in nearby Grand Canyon National Park and with the Arizona Department of Public Safety, Flagstaff Police, Fire and EMS.

And all of this I can do online while working on my blogs and websites, "tweeting" on Twitter, writing articles such as this, working on my business, or simply staring into space and shmoozing with my dog. The source of these live audio feeds is

Radio Reference is "the world's largest radio communication's data provider, featuring a complete frequency database, trunked radio system information and FCC license data." Live audio feeds are available in the United States, Canada, Mexico, Australia, Israel and Chile. Registration and access is free, though there are advanced features available to Premium subscribers. I use the free service, and it's more than enough for me.

Listen to CB radio online here: Live Police, Fire, EMS, Aircraft and Rail Scanners

Do You Listen In? - A visitor poll

Do you listen to a scanner? (Online or an actual scanner)

See results

Find a Scanner Audio Feed Near You

Visit RadioReference's Live Audio Feed Online (called Broadcastify) and click on your state or country, then keep narrowing it down to your area.

Headphones For Your Private Listening Pleasure - Don't bother anyone else with your scanner or CB radio addiction

Well, I should speak for myself. Not that I'm addicted, but I do like to listen in quite a bit, and I don't want to force my habit on anyone else. A pair of comfortable, economical but high-quality headphones is all it takes.

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Sennheiser HD-201 Lightweight Over Ear Headphones (Discontinued by Manufacturer)
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Or Go Wireless - So you can move around more while you listen in

Sony Infrared Wireless Stereo Headphone System
Sony Infrared Wireless Stereo Headphone System
The MDR-IF240RK wireless stereo headphone system features 30mm drive units for deep bass, up to 30 hours of battery life on a single charge, and a transmission range up to 24 feet. Go Infrared: Infrared transmission works by sending out infrared light signals from the transmitter to the headphones. Infrared signals are resistant to external noise and interference, but the headphones must be within line of sight of the transmitter--the signal can't pass through walls, furniture, or other obstacles.
Scanner code
Scanner code | Source

Understanding What You Hear On The Scanner

Learn the codes

Numeric codes have often been used in radio communication, particularly by law enforcement and in CB transmissions, as replacements for common words or phrases.

Created to help reduce the amount of speech over the radio, the first set of "10-codes" was published by the Association of Public-Safety Communications Officials (APCO) in 1940 and later expanded by the APCO in 1974.

There is, however, no universal set of 10-codes, and their meanings can vary between jurisdictions. This is why, in 2005, the United States Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) began discouraging the use of these and other codes, and the U.S. Department of Homeland Security also plans to do away with 10-codes.

The following is a list of one set of 10-code meanings, which may or may not be identical to all of those used (or that were used, as the case may be) in your area.

A Note About Scanner Codes

Due to new Homeland Security requirements, law enforcement and EMS are moving away from the use of many (actually, most) radio codes and will be using plain text for most radio traffic.

Radio 10 Codes
Radio 10 Codes | Source

CB Radio 10 Codes

Learn the scanner language

The majority of these 10 codes I never hear. Those I hear used frequently I've noted with a double asterisk (**).

10-0 Use Caution

10-1 You are being received poorly**

10-2 You are being received clearly

10-3 Stop Transmitting

10-4 O.K.**

10-5Relay Message

10-6 Busy with Call

10-7 Out of service (completely)**

10-7A Out of service at home

10-7B Out of service - personal

10-7C Out of service (court)

10-7od Out of service - off duty

10-8 In service/available for assignment**

10-8OT In service (over time)

10-9 Repeat last transmission**

10-10 Off duty

10-10A Off duty at home

10-11 Identify this frequency

10-12 Visitors are present (be discrete)**

10-13 Advise weather and road conditions

10-14 Citizen holding suspect

10-15 Prisoner in custody

10-16 Pick up prisoner

10-17 Request for gasoline

10-18 Equipment exchange

10-19 Return/returning to the station**

10-20 Location?**

10-21 Telephone:______** (I often hear this as just "21" without the 10.)

10-21a Advise home that I will return at ______

10-21b Phone your home

10-21r Phone radio dispatch

10-22 Disregard the last assignment**

10-22c Leave area if all secure

10-23 Standby

10-24 Request car-to-car transmission

10-25 Do you have contact with _______?

10-26 Clear

10-27 Driver's license check**

10-28 Vehicle registration request**

10-29 Check wants/warrants.[vehicle] (PIN,SVS)

10-29a Check wants/warrants [subject] (PIN)

10-29c Check complete [subject]

10-29f The subject is wanted for a felony

10-29h Caution - severe hazard potential

10-29r Check wants/record [subject PIN,CJIC)

10-29m The subject is wanted for a misdemeanor

10-29v The vehicle wanted in connection with a crime

10-30 Does not conform to regulations

10-32 Drowning

10-33 Alarm sounding

10-34 Assist at office

10-35 Time check

10-36 Confidential information

10-37 Identify the operator

10-39 Can ______ come to the radio?

10-40 Is ______ available for a telephone call?

10-42 Check on the welfare of/at ______

10-43 Call a doctor

10-45 What is the condition of the patient?

10-45A Condition of patient is good

10-45B Condition of patient is serious

10-45C Condition of patient is critical

10-45D Patient is deceased

10-46 Sick person [ambulance en route]

10-48 Ambulance transfer call

10-49 Proceed to/En route to ______

10-50 under influence of narcotics/Take a report

10-51 Subject is drunk

10-52 Resuscitator is needed

10-53 Person down

10-54 Possible dead body

10-55 Coroner's case

10-56 Suicide

10-56A Suicide attempt

10-57 Firearm discharged

10-58 Garbage complaint

10-59 Security check./Malicious mischief

10-60 Lock out

10-61 Miscellaneous public service

10-62 Meet a citizen

10-62A Take a report from a citizen

10-62B Civil standby

10-63 Prepare to copy

10-64 Found property

10-65 Missing person

10-66 Suspicious person

10-67 Person calling for help.

10-68 Call for police made via telephone

10-70 Prowler

10-71 Shooting

10-72 Knifing

10-73 How do you receive?

10-79 Bomb threat

10-80 Explosion

10-86 Any traffic?

10-87 Meet the officer at ______

10-88 Fill with the officer/Assume your post

10-91 Animal

10-91a Stray

10-91b Noisy animal

10-91c Injured animal

10-91d Dead animal

10-91e Animal bite

10-91g Animal pickup

10-91h Stray horse

10-91j Pickup/collect ______

10-91LLeash law violation

10-91V Vicious animal

10-95 Pedestrian/ Requesting an I.D./Tech unit

10-96 Out of vehicle-ped. send backup

10-97 Arrived at the scene**

10-98 Available for assignment**

10-99 Open police garage door

10-100 Civil disturbance - Mutual aid standby

10-101 Civil disturbance - Mutual aid request

10-102 Cruelty to animals

10-103 Disturbance

10-103F Disturbance by fight

10-103M Disturbance by mental person

10-106 Obscenity

10-107 Suspicious person

See more lists of 10-code definitions on Wikipedia and

Radio 11 Codes
Radio 11 Codes

11 Codes

In addition to 10 codes, some organizations and municipalities use other codes. The California Highway Patrol, for one, uses "eleven-codes" such as these:

11-10 Take a report.

11-24 Abandoned automobile

11-25 Traffic hazard

11-26 Abandoned bicycle

11-27 10-27 with the driver being held

11-28 10-28 with the driver being held

11-40 Advise if an ambulance is needed

11-41 An ambulance is needed

11-42 No ambulance is needed

11-48 Furnish transportation

11-51 Escort

11-52 Funeral detail

11-54 Suspicious vehicle

11-55 Officer is being followed by automobile

11-56 Officer is being followed by auto containing dangerous persons

11-57 An unidentified auto appeared at the scene of the assignment

11-58 Radio traffic is being monitored. Phone all non-routine messages

11-59 Give intensive attention to high hazard/business areas

11-60 Attack in a high hazard area

11-65 Signal light is out

11-66 Defective traffic light

11-71 Fire

11-78 Aircraft accident

11-79 Accident - ambulance dispatched

11-80 Accident - major injuries

11-81 Accident - minor injuries

11-82 Accident - no injuries

11-83 Accident - no details

11-84 Direct traffic

11-85 Tow truck required

11-94 Pedestrian stop

11-95 Routine traffic stop

11-96 Checking a suspicious vehicle

11-97 Time/security check on patrol vehicles

11-98 Meet: _______

11-99 Officer needs help

900 Series Radio Codes

In addition to 10 codes, you may also hear some 900 codes over the scanner, and we use code 901 in Search & Rescue.

900 Bomb threat

901 Deceased person

902 Sudden death

903 Attempted suicide

904 Fire

904A Automobile fire

904B Building fire

904G Grass fire

909 Traffic problem; police needed

910 Can handle this detail

925 Suspicious vehicle

932 Turn on _______ mobile relay at _______

933 Turn off mobile relay

949 Burning inspection at _______

950 Control burn in progress/about to begin/ended

951 Need fire investigator

952 Report on conditions

953 Investigate smoke

953A Investigate gas

954 Off the air at the scene of the fire

955 Fire is under control

956 Assignment not finished

957 Delayed response of __ minutes

980 Restrict calls to emergency only

981 Resume normal traffic

1000 Plane crash

3000 Road block

There's also a list of 900 codes and 10 codes at Notice the differences between those definitions and those above.

Other Radio Codes

Code 1 Do so at your convenience

Code 2 Urgent

Code 3 Emergency/lights and siren

Code 4 No further assistance is needed (We use this code in Search & Rescue to mean that we're OK.)

Code 5 Stakeout

Code 6 Responding from a long distance

Code 7 Mealtime

Code 8 Request cover/backup

Code 9 Set up a roadblock

Code 10 Bomb threat

Code 12 Notify news media

Code 20 Officer needs assistance

Code 22 Restricted radio traffic

Code 30 Officer needs HELP - EMERGENCY!

Code 33 Mobile emergency - clear this radio channel.

Code 43 TAC forces committed

Phonetic Alphabet
Phonetic Alphabet | Source

Learn The Phonetic Alphabet

A is for Adam ... and so on

Over the radio, some letters can sound a lot alike, such as D, E, B and C. This is why the phonetic alphabet was developed. There are two common versions, one for law enforcement and the other for the military. This is the phonetic alphabet used by law enforcement:

A - Adam

B - Boy

C - Charles

D - David

E - Edward

F - Frank

G - George

H - Henry

I - Ida

J - John

K - King

L - Lincoln

M - Mary

N - Nora

O - Ocean

P - Paul

Q - Queen

R - Robert

S - Sam

T - Tom

U - Union

V - Victor

W - William

X - X-ray

Y - Yellow

Z - Zebra

So IF I ever got pulled over by a police officer (which hopefully will never happen), my name would be called in as "David-Edward-Boy-Robert-Adam" and last name, "Lincoln-Adam-Union-Mary-Adam-Nora."

© 2009 Deb Kingsbury

Comments And Questions About Listening To Scanner Traffic Welcome - Do you listen in???

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    • profile image

      Randell Carman 

      2 months ago

      Thanks, that is very useful info! On the topic of radio communications, I came across a site that provides 2-way radio signal boosters that may help reduce static we hear all the time on such radios that catch signals from far away:

    • Kristen Howe profile image

      Kristen Howe 

      3 years ago from Northeast Ohio

      This is pretty cool to do. I never thought of it. I'm going to check it out and use it for novel research before my first ride-along this weekend. Thx for sharing this lens.

    • flinnie lm profile image

      Gloria Freeman 

      6 years ago from Alabama USA

      I have never heard a scanner, it sound interesting.

    • writerkath profile image


      6 years ago

      I have never heard a scanner, but I'll bet it's pretty interesting to listen in!

    • Diana Wenzel profile image

      Renaissance Woman 

      6 years ago from Colorado

      It is interesting to listen to law enforcement action unfold (and sometimes heartbreaking). When I worked for the National Park Service, we used some 10 code and had a strict radio communication protocol to follow. All of this was driven home on the day one of my colleagues died. Very intense when it's a life and death situation. I can understand why you like to follow the scanner action. It would be extremely helpful as you prepare to enter a search and rescue mission.

    • profile image


      6 years ago

      very nice.

    • GregoryMoore profile image

      Gregory Moore 

      7 years ago from Louisville, KY

      It is pretty cool to listen to the action as it unfolds. It is addictive.

    • profile image


      7 years ago

      Several family members still listen to scanners, I stopped several years ago - it was getting addictive...

    • Cynthia Haltom profile image

      Cynthia Haltom 

      7 years ago from Diamondhead

      I didn't realize people listened to scanners. Thanks for sharing.

    • mariacarbonara profile image


      7 years ago

      @SecondHandJoe LM: Wireless headphones while gardening! That's an awesome idea never though of that. Amazon here i come!

    • SecondHandJoe LM profile image

      SecondHandJoe LM 

      8 years ago

      I own those Sony wireless headphones and wear them when I cut grass! Awesome clarity! Thanks for another great lens.

    • profile image


      8 years ago

      The important thing to remember is from place to place and even from agency to agency that the codes will differ. This is an excellent lens for any scanner buff. I work in a 911 center and love listening to other places on RadioReference and seeing the differences.

    • profile image

      seeker2011 lm 

      8 years ago

      I listen to internet radio foreign countires to becme familiar with their language. People listen to opera, why not scanner traffic. There are those that listen to aircraft traffic via scanners. Each to his own.

    • profile image


      8 years ago

      Radio is outstandingly useful in cases of emergency. Most home radio's can be powered from a something like a car battery and use relatively small amounts of power. In an emergency situation a power outage can mean radio is the only reliable means of communication. Cellphones depend on more than just their internal batteries; they also rely on the network of cellphone towers. Trinidad Radio

    • profile image


      8 years ago

      Many -approach radio providers require you to purchase a license from the FCC. The CB radio service is not one in all them. The FCC does have some guidelines that you need to observe though. You can find the foundations tucked into the working handbook of your radio. You may also obtain them on the Internet. The foundations are easy to learn and are organized as an inventory of widespread questions. They include technical guidelines about radios and antennas as well as what you'll be able to and might't do on the air.

    • profile image


      9 years ago

      Nice Research!!!

    • heehaw lm profile image

      heehaw lm 

      9 years ago

      very extraordinary, it is fun to listen them talking

    • profile image


      9 years ago

      A very interesting read - thank you!

    • profile image


      9 years ago

      Wow nice Work, this Squidoo Lens is a Very Interesting Read!!!

    • RuthCoffee profile image

      Ruth Coffee 

      9 years ago from Zionsville, Indiana

      ooooh, very interesting. You know I'm really glad there a people like you who respond well in an emergency though. I can stay calm, but my palms sweat, my heart races, and my brain freezes. Outwardly, I may look calm, but inside, I'm pretty useless. Thanks to these cops and others like them.

    • MargoPArrowsmith profile image


      9 years ago

      Well, its interesting

    • profile image

      Michey LM 

      9 years ago

      Very informative, love it!

      Regards Michey

    • JenOfChicago LM profile image

      JenOfChicago LM 

      10 years ago

      Came back to give you a Squidangel blessing!

    • Holley Web profile image

      Holley Web 

      10 years ago

      Now, that is great info! I tuned in to my local police scanner and it was truly enlightening! Thank you! 5*s

    • JenOfChicago LM profile image

      JenOfChicago LM 

      10 years ago

      This is a great resource, thank you for the code information!

    • tandemonimom lm profile image

      tandemonimom lm 

      10 years ago

      My experience with scanner radio is limited to Smokey and the Bandit. 10-4 good buddy! ;-)


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