Police Scanners?

Sorry if this has been covered before, but I’m looking for some advice on a good, digital police scanner, that won’t break the bank. Searching online shows me scanners that are pushing $1000. Thanks in advance for the info.

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Like, a scanner to scan documents and such?

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I just down loaded an app to my phone that scans the local emergency channels. I can also select other areas I’m interested in across the country. Free. You might want to explore that before you go big. Oh okay right subject but wrong scanner. Sorry. My bad. Lol.

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Sorry guys…looking for police scanners…original post has been edited.

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So my post is still good. There are phone apps for that. Free.

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@Robert_P Uniden BCD436 is a solid scanner. It’s one generation behind their newest model. That said, it has all of the basic features of the newest model. It scans both analog and digital. The only drawback with Uniden is the required upgrade to scan Provoice and DMR. It does allow for GPS scanning when traveling outside of your “favorite” setup. It also comes with built-in software for online programming. @Michael554 Phone apps are typically 30 seconds behind and are dependent on someone rebroadcasting over the internet. More importantly, you’re limited to typically one channel (main dispatch) without the possibility of listening to a situation that has moved to a different channel. The phone app is beneficial when listening to out of range or out of state radio traffic. I’m 150 miles from Green Bay, WI. The app comes in handy on game day where I can listen to GBPD deal with the drunk and disorderly.

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Go to radioreference.com to find out the frequencies for your area. There will generally be a link to click on to tell you the type of scanner you will need. Most radio systems are digital and sometimes encrypted.

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You can get a scanner radio app for an Android smart phone for free while you are looking over the radio hardware choices.

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Check the app store for your phone. Will save you a ton of money! :slight_smile:

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He’s talking about the ones you can hear police calls and different frequencies.

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I agree with @Marrio. As someone very experienced with public safety radio communications, I have a good amount of experience with police scanners and the Uniden BCD436 is an awesome product at a reasonable cost:

Phone apps may be free, however they do not provide you granular control over what you want to listen to. You are only able to listen to what the feed provider is giving you. For most people, scanner apps suit their monitoring needs. But if you really want to be able to deep dive in monitoring public safety communications, the Uniden scanner is the way to go.

Now, if you want to get really nerdy and are interested in a very low cost option to scan locally using your PC, check out the RTL-SDR (this is probably more advanced that most people want to deal with):

https://www.rtl-sdr.com/rtl-sdr-tutorial-following-trunked-radio-unitrunker/

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I used to love listening to my grandpa’s scanner.

The app is sufficient though!

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My interest started a a kids listening to my grandmother’s two channel Radio Shack special. It’s amazing how things age changed over time from frequency specific crystals to digital to computer/app monitoring.

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Thanks for the info! I’ve also been seeing a lot of reviews that these things are very hard to program, but they mention downloading a database from RadioReference and then connecting to a Windows PC to program…wondering if I am getting in over my head here.

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Most scanner apps on phones are not in real time and crash

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@Shawn31 - 5-0 Radio Police Scanner (the free version) has worked well for me on my iPhone. It seems to be real-time and has never crashed.

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RR database is within the BCD436/536 and the SD100 /200 models. Good stuff as there is no need to pay for a subscription.

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The other issue with phone apps is that they frequently don’t cover smaller towns. I have looked into them for where I am and realized that it wouldn’t work for me.

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broadcastify.com is free and has most of the country covered. It has always been adequate for me. What’s great is that if you hear of something big going on somewhere in the country you can click over to that area’s police and fire dispatch to hear what’s going on. Also, they archive some of the bigger events. I remember listening to the Aurora PD dispatch following the theater mass shooting. The dispatcher who handled that insane event deserves a medal; she was so calm and cool and on top of the hundreds of bits of information she was juggling as units from other cities came in for mutual aid, and as different units left the scene to rush victims to the hospitals, and as the police and fire coordinated their responses.

What you will find disappointing these days is that so much emergency communication is done with written messages sent to/from the Mobile Data Terminal in the emergency vehicle, so you don’t get to hear near the detail of what you used to be able to hear.

In the 1980s, when I was studying for my Criminal Justice degree to become a cop, I had an old radio shack scanner that you had to buy the specific crystals for to listen to your chosen frequencies. I loved that old thing.

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