Portable Police Scanner

Discussion in 'Ham Radio, SDR & Police Scanner Technology' started by EarDemon, Feb 25, 2017.

  1. When I was a kid, when my grandfather was alive we would spend hours listening to the police scanner. He had a Realistic (which I believe is Radio Shack) table top unit, and it was pretty solid. We were able to listen to freqs assigned to all of the local law enforcement and EMS along with US Border Patrol and reporters from one of the local news stations. Thought about getting back into it

    I went on Amazon and purchased a Uniden Bearcat BC125AT portable and I have had no luck with it. I find it a little confusing on how to use but so far in the three days I’ve had it, I’ve picked up exactly 6 radio transmissions on it and two of them were on the HAM Radio band on my way to work Thursday morning. In scan mode it will just sit on a frequency that has nothing but static until I manually advance it, and then it will pick up some more static until I advance it again. The small amount of stuff that I heard was all static-ey and would drop out if I made the slightest move.

    I looked on Radio Reference and small amount of others reported similar problems but most people agree that for the price it’s a great scanner, I’m just not experiencing that greatness. I did a reset on the radio, I’ve been playing the squelch levels, currently have it set on 3. People have suggested to update the firmware, but the firmware on my radio is 1.04something and the newest one listed on the website is 1.03somthing. One person suggested turning off CTCSS. I have no idea what CTCSS means or is, but I think I disabled that and it makes no difference.

    I can pick up Wx perfectly, so I don’t think my scanner is bad, I just think I have something set wrong, or don’t know how to use it. Looking at the frequencies that agencies in the Buffalo, NY area use, they primarily use freqs that the BC125AT is able to receive, nothing in the 800 MHz band.

    Any thoughts?
  3. Have you programmed it correctly for the frequencies your local agency uses? There is a software program for that particular scanner that make programming it very easy with a computer and USB cable that comes with it.

    Also the static means the squelch is set too high
  4. If you will post your zip code and an idea of what you want to hear I'd be willing to take a stab at creating a scanner configuration with a few agencies for you to try. I have one of those myself and it is one of my staple scanners. Great performance
    Tampa8 likes this.
  5. Turning off the CTCSS codes initially is a good idea, this way you'll get hear the most on a frequency. Have you tried your scanner with a different antenna, such as an outside antenna?

    If you have broadcast FM capability, check that too. The fact that your receive the NOAA channels at least shows that the scanner is working.
  6. I doubt if that cheap of a radio will have CTCSS. What it is is a tone code for "privacy" on a shared frequency. For example, both a county fire ops channel and a local township works use the same freq but will have a different P/L code. So if you program the CTCSS code of the fire ops then you'll only hear the fire ops and not the public works from the township, Like I said, I doubt your radio has that and you have to program them in first to have any. Sounds like you need to adjust the squelch or change antenna if it is interference from a nearby device.
  7. What he said! Get EZ scan and program it. Correction, I scan for the pro 18.
  8. There are also some Police and Fire agencies that can not be scanned because they are encrypted.
  9. That depends on the radios they're using. The Motorola encryption is supposedly broken.