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Common Conventional Programming Questions


On the Radio Reference Database, there are some terms used that may be unfamiliar to the new scanner user and some data that you don’t need. Most of the time, if you mouse over the column heading in the database, you will get the answer to your question. If this doesn't work, please see our Glossary article. Some common terms include:

  • What is CTCSS?
  • What is DCS?
  • What is Simplex?
  • What is Duplex?
  • What is a Repeater?
  • What is SAME?
  • What is an input frequency and an output frequency?


  • ''I see two frequencies for the agency I want to monitor, which one do I put in my scanner?''
    • This would indicate one of two things in the RR Database.
      • If the channel is listed with a R in the Type column, then just program one in the Frequency column.
      • If the channel is listed with a B or BM in the Type column, then you really need to program both, as this would indicate this is a Duplex channel, where normally the base station will be on the frequency designated in the Frequency column and the mobile will be on the frequency in the Input column.
  • ''There is a column called Tone and it has funny numbers in it, do I need to worry about this?''
    • It all depends. What those are, are CTCSS and DCS values. If your scanner can accept them it will reduce outside interference from what you are interested in hearing. This means the agency you are programming uses that tone (or code) to limit reception/interference from other agencies that may be licensed on that frequency. Some scanners cannot use these tones and some agencies do not use them either. It really comes down to a personal choice on your part.
  • ''I sometimes hear a loud buzzing sound which locks up my scanner. What is this and how can I get around this problem?''
  • ''What is a non-standard pair of UHF frequencies?''


  • ''I see some frequencies listed in the database as P25. Can any scanner receive these formats?''
    • P25 is often used as an abbreviation for the APCO Project 25 standard. There are numerous scanners and applications that can copy this mode, and even older scanners can be modified so external software can decode them. See the APCO Project 25 article for a full discussion. It should be noted that all these scanners can also receive standard analog transmissions and trunks.


  • ''I see some frequencies listed in the database as DMR. Can any scanner receive these formats?''
    • There are now several scanners that can copy this mode (with a firmware upgrade), and even older scanners can be modified so external software can decode them. See the Monitoring DMR topic of the DMR article for a complete list.


  • ''I see several frequencies in the database marked NXDN. Can any scanner receive these formats?''
    • While no scanner can currently copy this mode (without modifications and the use of external software), there is one receiver - the AOR DV1 - that can copy this mode if the frequency in question is conventional in nature. Reportedly, Whistler's upcoming TRX-1 and TRX-2 will copy this mode with a firmware upgrade.


  • ''How can I copy frequencies I see in the wiki into my scanner? Do I use the web service for this?''

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