This page is devoted to the scanner hobby. There is a little bit of everything to be heard on a scanner. Police chases, firefighters in action, the latest weather reports, aircraft both civil and military, trains, the list is almost endless. However, before we go any farther I would like to make a standard disclaimer and inform you of a few regulations:
There are strict Federal laws governing this activity. Any modifications that may be listed on this page are for informational purposes only. I WILL NOT be held responsible if you are caught doing something you shouldn't be with your scanner. The data was obtained from other sources and is only being presented here for the entertainment of the viewers.
It is a Federal crime to:
Reveal to any other person, not a party to the transmissions, the contents of those transmissions. In other words, keep it to yourself.
Use any information heard to aid in committing a crime.
Use any information heard for personal gain.
Intercept Remote radio-tv broadcast pickups.
Intercept and decode scrambled, encrypted or coded transmissions.
Mobile telephone conversations of ANY type. This has been extended to include cordless phones of the type used at home.
There has been Congressional legislation in the past few years that makes it illegal to construct or modify a receiver capable of scanning the 869-894 MHz range (cellular phones). It is also illegal to import such a receiver. It is my personal opinion that this is another example of the bonehead laws our government passes since it is practically un-enforcable due to the large quantity of scanners on the market that can be modified. In a nutshell, the law is a paper tiger.
Your state, county or the city you live in may have regulations governing the use of scanners. It is your responsibility to check and see what these are.
If you hear something interesting, such
as a 5-alarm fire at a downtown high-rise, don't go downtown to
"sight-see". You will only be in the way and may even
be arrested for interfering with a public safety official who
is trying to perform his/her duty (obstruction of justice for
I apologize for all that but it is necessary in order to protect me and to inform you of the law. As the old saying goes,"Ignorance of the law is no excuse."
What you hear is based on your preference. This also dictates what type of scanner to buy. There are several makes and models to choose from. Some are basic scanners covering just a few frequencies to the large tabletop models that can cost over $1000. I use Radio Shack scanners. I have 2 handhelds and a tabletop model that I don't use anymore sionce it doesn't cover 800 MHz. Ahh, what's this 800 MHz stuff? Well, in many of the larger cities, the city services have or are in the process of switching to 800 MHz. There are also a multitude of businesses here as well. 800 MHz is "special" because this is where the trunked systems are. Trunking is a way of allowing multiple users to use the same frequencies without them 'stepping' on each other. A typical trunked system can have as few as 5 frequencies and as many as 20 or more. The only drawback is that it is hard to follow a conversation since everybody from the mayor on down to the dogcatcher is using the same frequencies if you are trying to listen to your city. But it can be done, especially now that Uniden has come out with the TrunkTracker. This scanner will listen for the data channels (see trunking description page) and allow you to group the fire department, police department etc., into different banks. Then you can select which bank you want to listen to. Very nice but as far as I know, it only works on Motorola systems, much to their chagrin from what I understand. I don't understand why they are upset but apparently they are.
Below are some links to pages that have frequencies, information concerning scanners, such as Brand xyz is better than brand abc and so forth. There may be some pages that show you how to modify or tweak your scanner. See above disclaimer and also remember that modifying your scanner will usually void the warranty. There is also a link or two to pages that deal with CB's. Also check out the newsgroup:
There is a wealth of information to be found there as well. You may have a question and chances are your question will be answered there.
Okay, here's the links:
Ben Saladino,KC5IRJ, has a page devoted to scanning here in the DFW area.
KC5KTO has a page not only devoted to scanning but also to Radio Shack scanners. Here you will find modifications to several models of Radio Shack scanners.
Here is a page devoted to Trunked Radio Systems (TRS).
Need a searchable frequency database? Percon Corp. has a searchable database. You can search using callsigns, frequency, by city/state, type of service. It's pretty thorough.
Here is a site that is dedicated to CB radios. (I know CB's
have nothing to do with scanners but this is the only place I
could think of to put it!)
This page ©1998, Cliff Mullican
Last updated on 29 Dec 98