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  • Scanner radios

    Hi folks. I need some advice/suggestions for a police scanner to purchase for my personal vehicle. The scanner will need to pick up the 800 mhz ranges that are allowed by law. I don't need 1,000 channels or 500 memory banks, just a basic mobile scanner unit for my truck. Price range I'm looking for is less than $200 and I don't need the trunked/digital reception. Any suggestions?

  • #2
    Originally posted by wvd1979
    Hi folks. I need some advice/suggestions for a police scanner to purchase for my personal vehicle. The scanner will need to pick up the 800 mhz ranges that are allowed by law. I don't need 1,000 channels or 500 memory banks, just a basic mobile scanner unit for my truck. Price range I'm looking for is less than $200 and I don't need the trunked/digital reception. Any suggestions?
    This is my hobby! Radio Shack doesn't exist in Quebec anymore but they used to sell them. There is also a place called Scanner World. You could check the web site of Uniden/Bearcat. I do have a suggestion. Are you sure what you want to listen to won't in the near future be going trunked/digital? It is happening a lot & fast. You buy a scanner & within a year you need to buy another because they've changed systems.
    I enforce rules and regulations, not laws.
    Security Officers. The 1st First Responders.

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    • #3
      What would you need a police scanner for?

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      • #4
        Check your local laws as well. In MI it is illegal to have a scanner turned on while a vehicle is in motion. you can get a permit for to do so but you have to have a good reason (some patrol companies up there put them in their cars)

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        • #5
          Originally posted by hisownhero
          What would you need a police scanner for?
          It's great for knowing when the police, ems, or fd are headed your way. You know where to look when they are coming so that you can get out of the way. Taking another route to avoid accident traffic jams is another plus. Usually, by the time you hear it on the radio, you're already sitting in it.

          Also, the police will sometimes issue an urgent message for an individual at large that's just committed a violent crime and may be armed. It's good to know where he might be lurking if you are working security at a given site. He may try to hide in a vacant lot or even carjack someone in the area. If a guy comes up to the door, I want to know how suspicious I should be before granting access to the lobby desk to speak with him.

          PS: Try ebay for a good deal.
          Security: Freedom from fear; danger; safe; a feeling of well-being. (Webster's)

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          • #6
            First, you need to make sure that the 800 mhz radio you're trying to listen to isn't encrypted via AES or some other digital encryption. If it is, then its going to cost a lot of money do set up a rig to decrypt on the fly. I'm not sure if decryption is illegal or not, but it is possible even with P25 - but it'll take technical knowledge the average bear doesn't have. Like a distributed computing client and a bunch of PCs running it.

            Anyway, if its a trunking system, you'll need a scanner with Trunking ability. They start at about $400, and go up. Most 800 mhz frequencies are trunked these days.

            If they're actually running iDEN (Nextel) on their radios, its harder to deal with, I think iDEN encrypts data and uses a weird trunking scheme.

            If its not trunking, just get a good used Bearcat off eBay. I used to have a Bearcat scanner.

            In Florida, if you are not a law enforcement agency, you cannot install a scanner that can listen to police frequencies in your vehicle - period. No permits, no nothing, only a LE agency can install one into a police vehicle.
            Some Kind of Commando Leader

            "Every time I see another crazy Florida post, I'm glad I don't work there." ~ Minneapolis Security on Florida Security Law

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            • #7
              All these states w/ laws against vehicle scanners?? But guns are OK. Ridiculous.
              Security: Freedom from fear; danger; safe; a feeling of well-being. (Webster's)

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              • #8
                Guns are fine, as they have many lawful purposes. The reason many states have scanner laws is because either the FOP or the law enforcement agencies lobbied the state to enact laws to "protect the security of police communications."

                In other words, "We do not want it legal for people to listen in on us." This is also why there's a push to P25. This won't stop terrorists or drug lords, I'm afraid, they have signals intelligence units that can decrypt most communications just as easily as our own military can.

                This stops the petty crook and nosy media.
                Some Kind of Commando Leader

                "Every time I see another crazy Florida post, I'm glad I don't work there." ~ Minneapolis Security on Florida Security Law

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                • #9
                  Besides being a hobby I use my scanner as a supervisory tool. My guys are supposed to call me in the middle of the night when something serious happens. (I'm on call until 5 a.m. after finishing my shift at 11 p.m.). If I hear an emergency service going to one of the 3 hotels I can get myself informed as to what is happening.

                  As per legalities.

                  In Canada it is LEGAL to listen to cell phone conversations. (But boring since for one thing they lock on randomly you can not choose who you want to listen to).

                  It is ILLEGAL to listen to cell phone conversations in the US. Most units made in/for the US have blockers built into them but they can be cut out.

                  In Canada it is now ILLEGAL to listen to digital frequencies without a license. No one can tell me what the required license it. We belieeve it is a ham radio operator's license. So now in Montreal I am listening legally to the police & ambulance but illegally to the fire department since they are on a digital system. A police force north of Montreal uses a trunked/digital/encrypted system. I'm told there is no scanner presently being sold that receives encrypted broadcasts.

                  My present radio is a Uniden/Bearcat BCD396T. It cost me $1,000.00 Canadian last year. (I had no way to get to the states & couldn't wait!!)
                  I enforce rules and regulations, not laws.
                  Security Officers. The 1st First Responders.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by N. A. Corbier
                    Guns are fine, as they have many lawful purposes. The reason many states have scanner laws is because either the FOP or the law enforcement agencies lobbied the state to enact laws to "protect the security of police communications."

                    In other words, "We do not want it legal for people to listen in on us." This is also why there's a push to P25. This won't stop terrorists or drug lords, I'm afraid, they have signals intelligence units that can decrypt most communications just as easily as our own military can.

                    This stops the petty crook and nosy media.
                    Connecticut can be conservative on many issues, but thank goodness it's legal here. Criminals are going to use them anyhow since they could care less about any law, so why shouldn’t honest folks be able to do it? That's my viewpoint on the matter.
                    Security: Freedom from fear; danger; safe; a feeling of well-being. (Webster's)

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by HotelSecurity
                      Besides being a hobby I use my scanner as a supervisory tool. My guys are supposed to call me in the middle of the night when something serious happens. (I'm on call until 5 a.m. after finishing my shift at 11 p.m.). If I hear an emergency service going to one of the 3 hotels I can get myself informed as to what is happening.

                      As per legalities.

                      In Canada it is LEGAL to listen to cell phone conversations. (But boring since for one thing they lock on randomly you can not choose who you want to listen to).

                      It is ILLEGAL to listen to cell phone conversations in the US. Most units made in/for the US have blockers built into them but they can be cut out.

                      In Canada it is now ILLEGAL to listen to digital frequencies without a license. No one can tell me what the required license it. We belieeve it is a ham radio operator's license. So now in Montreal I am listening legally to the police & ambulance but illegally to the fire department since they are on a digital system. A police force north of Montreal uses a trunked/digital/encrypted system. I'm told there is no scanner presently being sold that receives encrypted broadcasts.

                      My present radio is a Uniden/Bearcat BCD396T. It cost me $1,000.00 Canadian last year. (I had no way to get to the states & couldn't wait!!)
                      This reminds me of the FCC. GMRS radios require a license, but they don't enforce it. Profanity is banned on citizen's band radios (CB's), but again, they do nothing. Good Grief, don't make laws you can't or won't enforce!!
                      Security: Freedom from fear; danger; safe; a feeling of well-being. (Webster's)

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by GCMC Security
                        Check your local laws as well. In MI it is illegal to have a scanner turned on while a vehicle is in motion. you can get a permit for to do so but you have to have a good reason (some patrol companies up there put them in their cars)
                        Michigan recently changed their scanner law. A citizen can now possess a police scanner in a vehicle.

                        http://www.michigan.gov/documents/0202a_157133_7.pdf

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                        • #13
                          It seems like they should be illegal because if I were a cop and for instance someone hit the silent alarm at a bank, I wouldn't want the bank robber to be able to hear that go out over the radio and possibly shoot the person who hit the button or worse.

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                          • #14
                            Originally posted by hisownhero
                            It seems like they should be illegal because if I were a cop and for instance someone hit the silent alarm at a bank, I wouldn't want the bank robber to be able to hear that go out over the radio and possibly shoot the person who hit the button or worse.
                            In Montreal all alarm calls are given on the car's computer screen, they are not given verbally. Same goes for traffic accidents so that tow trucks don't race each other to the scene like they used to.
                            I enforce rules and regulations, not laws.
                            Security Officers. The 1st First Responders.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by hisownhero
                              It seems like they should be illegal because if I were a cop and for instance someone hit the silent alarm at a bank, I wouldn't want the bank robber to be able to hear that go out over the radio and possibly shoot the person who hit the button or worse.
                              Legal or not, the bank robber can still have one. Do you really think he cares if it's legal? Come on, the guy is robbing a BANK.
                              Security: Freedom from fear; danger; safe; a feeling of well-being. (Webster's)

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