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How To Use A Uniden Scanner

Updated on July 22, 2011

Uniden NASCAR Scanners can be used for a variety of purposes, from an entertaining hobby to survival. With your Uniden scanner, you can listen to your favorite racing teams at the NASCAR races. You can also listen to the latest weather updates during a hurricane or tornado and keep you and your friends safe during emergency situations. If you are new to using a radio scanner, it can be tough to get the right frequencies and figure out what all the dials on the control panel are for.

Here are tips on how to understand the control panel of your radio scanner and how to use your Uniden scanner.

Your scanner likely has some or all of the following buttons on the control panel:

1- On / Off switch

2- The WX button

3- Number keypad

4- Volume control

5- Squelch button

6- Delay key

7- Lockout key

8- Manual button

9- Scan button

Here is an explanation of what each of these controls will be used for.

1- On / off switch.

This switch controls the power. Remember to turn your scanner off when you aren’t using it, since if it is in the squelch mode and nothing is transmitting it will be quiet and you might not remember that the scanner is even on. Most hand held battery operated scanners can run only 3-4 hours on rechargeable batteries, so save your battery power and turn off the scanner when not in use.

2- The WX button

If you have an older radio scanner, you probably won’t have this button on your scanner. The WX button is used to scan through certain weather related pre-programmed radio frequencies, such as the USNational Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration(NOAA) radio frequency. This channel will give you the latest updates on hurricanes, tornadoes, tropical storms, snowstorms and blizzards, hail storms, microbursts, electrical storms, floods, landslides, fires, oil spills, and other environmental and weather related dangers and natural disasters both on land and in the ocean. This channel also gives information on disaster recovery, reports on injured wildlife, and ongoing disaster cleanup efforts. Using the WX button, you can also find the 24-hour weather alert channels that give you bad weather warnings that have been issued by the National Weather Service. These channels can give you critical information in the event of an emergency or natural disaster, so you should learn how to use them and access this information.

3- Number keypad

If you have an old radio scanner, you may not have a number keypad. Number keypads allow you to enter in a specific radio frequency channel. You can also use the number keypad to enter in a frequency range and search for frequency bands within this range, by using the Limit key. If you have a higher priced Uniden scanner, the scanner will probably save all radio frequency numbers that you have used in the past so that you don’t have to keep typing them into the keypad (or remembering them!). Your Uniden NASCAR scanner comes with many pre programmed channels and also comes with information on locating nearby local frequencies of racing teams and other channels. The amount of frequencies that you can pick up depends on the model you have. Generally speaking, more expensive radio scanners offer a larger number of radio frequency channels. If you intend to use your scanner for racing, you should be fine using a Uniden scanner that picks up about 200 channels, rather than going for higher priced models that pick up 800 or so radio frequency channels. Most racing teams use lower range frequencies, below 450 to 470 MHz radio band (although some also use the 850 to 870 MHz radio frequencies).

4- Volume control

The volume control is used to control the volume on your scanner. You can also attach earphones to the scanner so that you can listen to the scanner in private (or without disturbing other people in the car or in your house or apartment). Remember that if you are going to use your radio scanner for racing, it is very noisy and you will need some headphones that block outside noise or you won’t be able to hear your scanner no matter how high you turn up the volume (not just typical ear bud iPod headphones, which don’t block out any noise, but large, padded headphones that offer noise-blocking protection).

5- Squelch button

If you have used CB radios before, you will be familiar with the squelch button feature. The squelch allows you to mute the annoying static sound that you hear between radio broadcasts. This is particularly helpful if you are listening to radio frequencies that have intermittent broadcasts, and you don’t want a background sound of radio static going on all the time.

6- Delay key

This handy feature will prevent you from missing people’s replies. When you have the delay key engaged, the scanner stays at a frequency for 1-2 seconds after someone has transmitted. If there is a response to this transmission, your scanner will pick up on it and you won’t miss it.

7- Lockout key

If there are certain channels that you don’t want to scan through and listen to, you can lock these channels out of the scan, using the lockout key or other key combinations on your Uniden scanner. You can either temporarily lockout these channels or permanently lock them out. This feature can save you time. Say that your scanner stores 150 radio frequencies that you use when you travel to various locations to see a car race. Using the lockout key, you can lock out the ones you aren’t using rather than adding the right radio frequencies in manually every time you go to a new race or travel to a different location.

8- Manual button

The manual button lets you go through all of the stored radio frequencies to find the one or ones you are looking for. This feature helps you find frequencies you’ve used before but you can’t remember the exact channel or frequency that it was.

9- Scan button

Similar to the scan button on a car radio, a radio scanner scan button allows you to scroll through all of the stations that are transmitting in your area. It will only stop on frequencies that are being used currently, which allows you to skip past stations or channels that you use in different locations.

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