(Topic ID: 272871)

Any Police Scanner Hobbyists Out There?

By GPS

4 years ago


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  • 16 posts
  • 9 Pinsiders participating
  • Latest reply 3 years ago by Tektune
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    #1 4 years ago

    Hello all

    Thinking of purchasing a scanner, specifically the SDS200 from Bearcat/Uniden. Have heard pros and cons but wanted to try and get a better grip on this business if encryption. If the local public service frequencies are all going this way than it doesn’t seem to make much sense to layout $700 or so for a scanner that will not be able to be effectively used in the near future.

    Any thoughts fellas?

    Thank you

    George

    #2 4 years ago

    I had an old Cobra hand held one. Got all the channels before some where blocked.

    Fun stuff listening to police calls, railroad dispatchers, neighbors phones.

    I used to listen to it before I left my business, in case anything was going on in the area that made me think about waiting a bit until the area was safe.

    LTG : )

    #3 4 years ago

    I use "scanner radio" app on my phone, not sure if it leaves out some stuff but seems to work well.
    My local county is lumped into one with police fire and ems.
    I believe this app is running thanks to people that have real scanners at home and upload live audio.

    #4 4 years ago

    Thanks fellas. Been thinking about one of these for years. The new ones are complex little gadgets but need to be to keep up with the technology. Hard to keep up though with encryption and that appears how many are going. Maybe the days of listening to the scanner are numbered!!

    #5 4 years ago
    Quoted from GPS:

    Hard to keep up though with encryption and that appears how many are going.

    I do not understand why they need encryption. What secrets are they trying to hide? Who are they trying to stop from listening? What is their justification?

    #6 4 years ago

    You can buy a 8W baofeng radio for about $40 which even after your area goes encrypted you can still use it as a radio if you get your Amateur radio license. In my area all of the police is now encrypted as of last year. There's one fire dispatch that's not encrypted yet. The only other thing I can listen to is NOAA weather.

    We have a few friends with the baofeng radios and they work pretty well. Much better than anything at that price.

    #7 4 years ago

    I have also thought about getting one many times, I was looking at a handheld, the SDS100 variety. I never got one for a couple reasons: 1..I worked around a lot of homeless people, about 50 % was mental issues and 50% was fried my brain from drugs and dont care about life people. Constant ambulances going off, talked to a fellow in that field and said constant over dosing calls. Theory is if I listened to these low lifes getting free rides all day, I was sure to come home from work all wiled up.

    2..They are expensive, and honestly not essential to my life. I have made purchases before on "toy" stuff before and regretted it right away. If I find a good deal on one, I will pick it up. But $700 and up to hear my tax dollars paying for other peoples health care. I will just skip that headache.

    #8 4 years ago
    Quoted from LukyDuck:

    I do not understand why they need encryption. What secrets are they trying to hide? Who are they trying to stop from listening? What is their justification?

    If they are arranging a swat team or bunch of police to go to a place all at the same time. Do you really want the bad guys to know they are coming, how many are coming, and toys they are bringing ?

    LTG : )

    #9 4 years ago
    Quoted from LTG:

    If they are arranging a swat team or bunch of police to go to a place all at the same time. Do you really want the bad guys to know they are coming, how many are coming, and toys they are bringing ?
    LTG : )

    I would agree with you IF the bad guys listened to them. But they don’t from what I see. When was the last time a police SWAT team was foiled by some criminal listing to a scanner or radio? I think those ideas are grounded in books, movies and television stories more than anything in reality. I bet there are way more hobbyists and media outlets listening than criminals.

    For the military and federal agencies that are going after high value targets, sure. The rest are just dealing with common criminals. Waste of limited funds in my opinion. And then there is all of the time, training and repairs that are far more expensive with encrypted devices. That money could be better spent on other things they are lacking.

    Quoted from LTG:

    I used to listen to it before I left my business, in case anything was going on in the area that made me think about waiting a bit until the area was safe.

    And, you will no longer be able to do this in the future.

    #10 4 years ago

    I used my police scanner(a 20 channel model) quite a bit back in the late 80s to early 90s. It was fun to scan around various frequencies to pick up more than just emergency.

    Later upgraded to a 200+ channel one with auto-scanning capabilities, and just kind of lost interest.

    What's funny is this tiny SDR unit I bought from MicroCenter is a fraction of the price of the scanners, and you can look at wavelengths,etc on your computer.

    #11 4 years ago
    Quoted from LukyDuck:

    And, you will no longer be able to do this in the future.

    I haven't done so in over 20 years. Kind of boring actually. Easier to look out side. Lots of squad cars running around. I can wait. No one around, time to go.

    There was only one time it was funny. I'm there all night recovering a pool table. Call comes in that there is a canoe in Minnehaha creek by highway 7. Someone called the police. Later they called the fire department. Later they decided to call the city engineer and woke him up and got him down there. He in turn called a couple workers and woke them up and got them down there. They decided they needed a city truck so they woke up another person and got him down there. Who decided they needed a trailer to haul the canoe and woke up another person. This just kept getting funnier and funnier as all these people had to go there and many of them woke up in the middle of the night. Over one lone canoe.

    That was like once in 20 years. Not really worth listening to.

    LTG : )

    #12 4 years ago
    Quoted from LTG:

    I haven't done so in over 20 years. Kind of boring actually. Easier to look out side. Lots of squad cars running around. I can wait. No one around, time to go.
    There was only one time it was funny. I'm there all night recovering a pool table. Call comes in that there is a canoe in Minnehaha creek by highway 7. Someone called the police. Later they called the fire department. Later they decided to call the city engineer and woke him up and got him down there. He in turn called a couple workers and woke them up and got them down there. They decided they needed a city truck so they woke up another person and got him down there. Who decided they needed a trailer to haul the canoe and woke up another person. This just kept getting funnier and funnier as all these people had to go there and many of them woke up in the middle of the night. Over one lone canoe.
    That was like once in 20 years. Not really worth listening to.
    LTG : )

    I don’t listen to the emergency frequencies either. But, I will say that when there was a major fire going on near where I lived once, it was nice to be able to upload an app to my phone and listen in on where the fire was headed and what was really going on. In those type of situations it is nice to be able to get real time information. It is a safety and health thing to me.

    I lived overseas in the past and we had to worry about protests, riots and people that wanted to hurt American citizens. It was the same thing there. You needed up to date information for your own safety and know where to go or where to stay away from so you didn’t end up being a victim.

    #13 4 years ago

    All good information. Seeing that encryption does seem to be inevitable, guess I’ll save my money. Thank you fellas. Always enjoy the points of view

    #14 4 years ago
    Quoted from GPS:

    Always enjoy the points of view

    Get a cheap one off of Craigslist and enjoy it while it lasts.

    LTG : )

    #15 4 years ago
    Quoted from LukyDuck:

    I would agree with you IF the bad guys listened to them. But they don’t from what I see. When was the last time a police SWAT team was foiled by some criminal listing to a scanner or radio? I think those ideas are grounded in books, movies and television stories more than anything in reality. I bet there are way more hobbyists and media outlets listening than criminals.
    For the military and federal agencies that are going after high value targets, sure. The rest are just dealing with common criminals. Waste of limited funds in my opinion. And then there is all of the time, training and repairs that are far more expensive with encrypted devices. That money could be better spent on other things they are lacking.

    And, you will no longer be able to do this in the future.

    Quoted from LukyDuck:

    I would agree with you IF the bad guys listened to them. But they don’t from what I see. When was the last time a police SWAT team was foiled by some criminal listing to a scanner or radio? I think those ideas are grounded in books, movies and television stories more than anything in reality. I bet there are way more hobbyists and media outlets listening than criminals.
    For the military and federal agencies that are going after high value targets, sure. The rest are just dealing with common criminals. Waste of limited funds in my opinion. And then there is all of the time, training and repairs that are far more expensive with encrypted devices. That money could be better spent on other things they are lacking.

    And, you will no longer be able to do this in the future.

    The reason for the encryption has nothing to do with hidden information. Stop with this absurd idea or secrecy. It’s a safety concern. Under the current system they can do this already by turning off the mobile in the current system, if they do not want to disseminate any information. The channels will be prudently encrypted due to people using illegal radios or lost municipal ones.

    When you key into the system or talk to be obnoxious it causes the radio traffic to be increased and no one can hear anything but one individual talking. Due to this archaic system, a dispatcher can not override any open key, except in small bursts to let everyone know there is a open key.

    It’s dangerous for any first responder in emergency situations where information needs to be immediate.

    1 week later
    #16 3 years ago

    Wow, lots of diverse ideas here. Check out the Radio Reference web site for information on the public service radio traffic in your geographical location. Most people would probably be fine using a police scanner app on their cellphone, they work pretty well. The Baofeng HTs are an inexpensive approach if you don't plan to use them as a scanner, as they scan slowly and are clumsy to lock out channels. The Uniden SDS200 is a top notch scanner with a big price tag. It will receive P25 digital traffic that a Baofeng or lower end police scanner can't hear. In Michigan most of the public safety comms are on a statewide P25 system. If you do decide to go the high end route with a Uniden P25 capable scanner, expect to spend some time learning the ropes. I understand the high end units can now be loaded from channel data shared on the internet, which can save a great deal of time over programming manually, even when using a computer interface. As far as encryption goes, there are still a lot of comms sent "in the clear", but if they use digital encryption you won't be able to decode them, and it would technically be illegal if you could.

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