-> SCANNER -> FAQS
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
What you will find here is a
collection of Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) and answers relating to
radio based scanners.
What is a scanner?
A scanner (also known as
a police scanner), is simply a radio that picks up public broadcasts usually
via VHF and UHF frequencies, but does not transmit - meaning you can listen
to public radio frequencies with it, but you cannot talk to anyone with
it. A CB (Citizens band) radio is similar in a way because it will
let you listen to certain frequencies and transmit (or talk) as well, but
a scanner and a CB radio uses different frequencies. A CB Radio would
be actually considered closer to a HAM Radio (since they can both receive
and broadcast) - but still, very different due the the freqs they receive
and transmit to as well as the reception area.
What broadcasts does
a scanner pickup?
Depending on the model and
the frequency bands the actual scanner recieves, a scanner will usually
pick up radio broadcasts from police, fire, ambulance, paramedics, public
utility workers, city workers, tow trucks, taxis, weather reports, airports,
businesses, coast guard, lifeguards, prisons, military bases, special events,
and mostly any other broadcast using a two-way radio.
What are freqs?
Freqs are a slang term used
by hobbiests for the word frequencies.
What do I do with a
If you have a newer (most
do) radio, then you would simply key-in the frequency that relates to the
broadcaster you want to listen to. Very old scanners used to use crystals
- which had to be purchasd separately for each frequency that you wanted
How do I find freqs
for my area?
You can look on this page
for some freqs as well as for links to other sites that have listings of
freqs. You can also purchase books that have numerous freqs listed
by area. Or you can simply keep scanning on your own for new freqs
and then share them with others as we are doing here.
What is HAM Radio?
This question is probably
best explained here.
Note that scanner listeners are very different from HAM Operators in that
Ham Operators can transmit and listen worldwide, whereas scanner listeners
can only listen to and are limited to the frequencies and broadcast range
that they can receive (meaning scanner listeners need to be close to the
action - or have a very large antenna). The reception area of a scanner
is really low range. A CB radio has a larger range, but a HAM radio
has worldwide range depending on many factors. It all comes down
to wattage and the antenna.
Can I hear scanner
broadcasts on a CB Radio?
Easy answer is no.
Simply because a CB Radio only receives a certain amount of channels (freqs).
Can A Scanner listener
hear CB Radio broadcasts?
Easy answer is yes.
Beacuse a scanner is only limited to the number of channels it can listen
to at once as well as the range of frequencies it can receive and the size
of the antenna.
Can a HAM Radio Operator
hear CB Radio Broadcasts?
Easy answer is yes.
A HAM Radio Operator can listen to almost any broadcast from almost anywhere
(once again, that depends on the receiver and the size of the antenna as
well as the area the listener has this equipment located in.
Which hobby is the
cheapest way to start out?
Easy answer is a Scanner.
You can pick up many for less than $100 new as well as used and they can
be easily found at retailers, yard sales, and eBay. You do not need
a license to listen and they generally hold their prices when re-selling
the equipment. CB Radio is very limited and you can only talk to
other "CB'ers" - HAM Radio has more options, but also reuires much more
eqipment as well as licensing to operate.
Is there a way to hear
some broadcasts that a scanner can actually receive without before buying
find a friend or a neighbor who already owns one and ask them to let you
listen and play with it with them (most owners are proud to share their
knowledge and show off their toys) - OR - simply find another hobbyiest
who is broadcasting a live feed via the Internet and listen in for a bit!
Keep in mind that you should check the Internet and friends for freqs in
your area as some areas have better coverage thean others. A stop
at a local Radio Shack can always be interesting.
MORE TO BE ADDED SOON...
TO THE SCANNER SECTION