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Choosing the Right Radio Scanner

A radio scanner, otherwise known as a police scanner, is an ideal device for people who are interested in staying updated. The scanner covers a wider range of radio transmissions compared to the average radio. It makes it possible and easy for people to listen to transmissions from their agencies such as traffic, weather reports, police, the fire department, security, and ambulances. If you would like to listen to matters regarding any of the agencies that use police scanners then you may need to get one for yourself, or even as a gift for a close one.

What steps should I take when buying a handheld police scanner?

  • Find out which agencies you are interested in - These may include the police, weather service, hospital emergencies, or air control. Your scanner should be able to scan all these frequencies and find your channel of interest. Some agencies, however, have moved to more digital software models which may be costlier.
  • Identify the number and type of frequencies in your area - RadioShack offers a frequency directory that may be of great help. You may also google to find the list.

What features should I look out for when purchasing a RadioShack scanner?

  • The number of channels - The digital RadioShack 200-channel scanner can scan a wide variety of channels, including priority channels. You will need to insert the channel number which will be scanned and committed to the channel memory.
  • Portable or base unit - A handheld scanner is useful if you want to carry it around and monitor events such as sports. Handheld scanners, however, are more expensive than the base units.
  • Frequency range - Make sure that your scanner can locate what you are interested in over the frequency range in your area.
  • Programming - Make sure that your scanner is easy to programme. Some come preprogrammed and are more user-friendly. Programmable scanners will need you to enter frequencies in either fixed increments while a few more digital ones will allow scanning down to a single kilohertz.
  • Bandwidth - RadioShack handheld 200-channel scanners tune automatically to a narrow bandwidth for FM channels on all frequencies except on AM aviation bands.

What are some of the basic controls on the RadioShack 220-channel scanner?

  • Attenuator - Though not found in the analog models, this software control is important in reducing scanner sensitivity, especially for those in urban centers. This lessens the effect of interference by other strong signals.
  • Audio squelch - When your digital handheld radio scanner locates a channel with no audio, it pauses for a few seconds then continues scanning. This is enabled by the audio squelch software.
  • Priority channel - This is given preference, and the scanner automatically tunes to it whether there is a signal on other channels or not.