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Explain Police Scanners and the like

Discussion in 'Audio & Video' started by oofy15354, Nov 3, 2009.

  1. Nov 3, 2009 at 5:40 PM
    #1
    oofy15354

    oofy15354 [OP] Proud Tundra *****

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    I really have no idea what these are and I plan on sounding like a complete n00b in describing this stuff so bear with me.

    First off, can anyone explain what a CB radio is and how it is different from a police scanner? My friends truck has a police/fire scanner with a microphone in his truck. is this a CB radio? I want to be able to pick up the police frequencies and talk to him in one unit.

    Basically, what am I looking for here and any suggestion on what to buy (cheap, basic, reliable)
     
  2. Nov 3, 2009 at 5:48 PM
    #2
    msaniac

    msaniac Well-Known Member

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    Subscribed... Interested in this too
     
  3. Nov 3, 2009 at 5:51 PM
    #3
    JimBeam

    JimBeam BECAUSE INTERNETS!! Moderator

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    check your local laws concerning having a police scanner in your vehicle
     
  4. Nov 3, 2009 at 5:57 PM
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    Brunes

    Brunes abides.

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    Police scanners use different freqs than CB...CB is in the 27mHz range. Police scanners are ranged above that. And newer freqs are being put in UHF bands with encrypted communication capabilities.

    In some places it's required you have a FCC operators license to even own one....Check carefully before you get one to just screw around with a buddy....Get a CB for that.
     
  5. Nov 3, 2009 at 5:59 PM
    #5
    fletch aka

    fletch aka www.BeLikeBrit.org

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    After you check your laws, research on line or check out a RadioShack. We have one for the home and my iPhone has an apps for a police scanner.
     
  6. Nov 3, 2009 at 6:03 PM
    #6
    xodeuce

    xodeuce mmmmmmbourbon.

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    Firstly, you've described a few different things, so for clarity's sake let's define a few things.

    CB Radio - Requires no licensing to use. Provides AM radio communications in the HF frequency space. The FCC has allocated a certain portion of the HF space for people to use without having to be a licensed operator.

    Scanner - This device is a receiver (RX) only, and cannot legally transmit on any frequency. Scanners typically cover VHF and UHF and will tune in everything from FM radio to police, fire, ambulance, etc. etc.

    Then you mentioned that he had a radio that was a scanner that tuned in police and fire, but it had a microphone. You may have been describing an amateur radio that covers the 2M and 70cm bands. These frequencies are in the 146mhz and 440mhz ranges respectively, and require federal licensing from the FCC to transmit on. Even with a license, you cannot legally transmit outside of the allocated band plan. The reason I say this, is typically a scanner would not have a microphone, but just a speaker because it is an RX only device, not a transceiver.

    Ham radio in the 2M and 70cm frequencies is typically FM, and is usable over a pretty good distance using repeaters. You can also talk on simplex just like you can with a CB.

    Your question of how is CB different than a Police scanner has a couple of answers. First, it's a different frequency entirely. In our area LEO radio is around 155 mhz FM if memory serves me correctly. I have a 2M ham rig that will pick up those frequencies, but it absolutely will not transmit on them. CB is in the 27 mhz space and is AM, so it's a different mode and frequency all together. It's also possible to legally transmit CB without a license, whereas you cannot ever legally transmit on LEO frequencies.

    That may all be terribly confusing, if it is ask some more questions and I'll try to clarify.
     
  7. Nov 3, 2009 at 6:09 PM
    #7
    fletch aka

    fletch aka www.BeLikeBrit.org

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  8. Nov 3, 2009 at 6:11 PM
    #8
    JimBeam

    JimBeam BECAUSE INTERNETS!! Moderator

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    good post!

    :thumbsup:
     
  9. Nov 3, 2009 at 6:13 PM
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    fletch aka

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    That post is what made me pull up a chair and grab some popcorn.:p
     
  10. Nov 3, 2009 at 6:15 PM
    #10
    HondaGM

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  11. Nov 3, 2009 at 6:17 PM
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    krimson

    krimson Nothin

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    My friend brings a handheld police scanner with him when we go off roading in places that are illegal and its pretty funny to listen to what cops are talking about.
     
  12. Nov 3, 2009 at 6:28 PM
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    xodeuce

    xodeuce mmmmmmbourbon.

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    I just re-read my post above, and should mention.

    Ham Radio is a synonym for Amateur Radio. So, a "ham rig" is an amateur radio rig capable of operating within the frequencies and modes granted by the FCC to licensed Amateur Radio operators. I could just see a question coming, "What's a ham rig?"

    Edit: Also, what frequencies are you listening to when you say that it's funny to listen to what Police talk about? From what I've heard on the air around where I live, there's not much to police radio other than official business. I'm not saying you're mistaken, but it could be that you're listening to ham radio operators. Sure way of knowing is if the transmissions are ID'd every 10 minutes with a format KA4TSB (or similar, 2 letters:number:2 letters, etc.) Ham radio call signs identify the operator, and all operators are required to identify themselves every 10 minutes while transmitting.
     
  13. Nov 3, 2009 at 6:30 PM
    #13
    oofy15354

    oofy15354 [OP] Proud Tundra *****

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    legality is not a major concern for me. his truck was bought from his uncle who was a fireman so im sure he was licensed to have it. also, i dont even plan on talking on the emergency frequencies, just listen on our off road jaunts.

    so what am i looking at for something to listen to the emergency frequencies and be able to call over to my buddy (on a different channel)?
    is there one thing that can do this?
     
  14. Nov 3, 2009 at 6:32 PM
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    testedone

    testedone Speak English..it's America

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    cq...cq... :) de....
     
  15. Nov 3, 2009 at 6:39 PM
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    xodeuce

    xodeuce mmmmmmbourbon.

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    If you want to listen on police, talk on CB, you're talking about a REALLY specialized all mode all frequency ham radio. I'm not sure if the amateur rigs will even TX on HF in the CB AM space or not. I know some with extended RX will RX them, but that doesn't help you. I'd say you're looking at a 2 box solution. A CB, and a scanner. That also doesn't require licensing exams and such, depending on scanner legality in your area.

    Edit: This is also assuming that your buddy has CB and not amateur radio. If it's amateur radio, you would just need a single box, and it requires a license to operate that's relatively easy to obtain.
     
  16. Nov 3, 2009 at 6:43 PM
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    rhoppas

    rhoppas Land of Oz

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    I wonder if the microphone was for a PA speaker? These are quite common on CB radios and maybe other radio types.
     
  17. Nov 3, 2009 at 6:45 PM
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    xodeuce

    xodeuce mmmmmmbourbon.

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    73!
     
  18. Nov 3, 2009 at 6:49 PM
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    xodeuce

    xodeuce mmmmmmbourbon.

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    Another thing worth mentioning. If you want to RX on VHF/UHF and TX / RX on CB, more than likely you'll need 2 antennae if you're going with something mounted to the truck. CB wavelengths are really long compared to VHF, so it requires a physically (electrically) longer antenna.
     
  19. Nov 3, 2009 at 7:00 PM
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    JimBeam

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    any particular reason why legality is not a major concern
     
  20. Nov 3, 2009 at 7:00 PM
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    oofy15354

    oofy15354 [OP] Proud Tundra *****

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    true he does have a PA. he also has 6 floor mounted boxes of various things and i do believe the microphone thing (wire mounted walkie talkie thing. wtf is that called?) is on a separate one than the scanner

    so whatever, ill use a cell phone to talk.

    SO what can you guys recommend for a scanner that will pick up those emergency frequencies? all i want is a cheap no-frills device here

    you sir, just blew my mind

    were both pretty good friends with the police so no ones gonna care if we have them. they know he has one and haven't said anything whether its legal or not
     
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