December 20, 2015

On-Scene, On a Budget

You're driving down the road, and see a group using radios.

  • What frequency are they on?

  • Can you hear them?

  • What are they saying?

I've talked about scanners that have the function known as (depending on brand) Close Call, Signal Sweeper, or Signal Stalker.

If you have visual contact on the group, one of these will do the job for you.  Provided they aren't using some digital or other esoteric mode.

If they are running P25, then you need a Digital Trunktracker, and I've heard too many of you whine about how they cost $400+.  Any other digital mode, and you're out of luck unless you want to take a try at wrangling some of the RTL-SDR software.  Caveat: It's a lot harder than programming a Chinese HT.

Cancel the Cable/Satellite TV service, and pawn that widescreen TV.   You don't need it.  In four months, you'll be able to afford one.

In the meantine, here are the two cheapest Close Call/Signal Sweeper handheld scanners on the market.

One is a Whistler, one is a Uniden.  Doesn't matter which one you buy.  They also make good cheap bubba detectors for those of you who haven't bought an Icom R-6.

Consider these two scanners to be the Baofengs of near-field signal interception, just with a better build quality.

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