Actions

Difference between revisions of "Scanning Q&A"

From The RadioReference Wiki

m (updated categories)
 
(20 intermediate revisions by 5 users not shown)
Line 1: Line 1:
This article can be used to house questions about scanning in general - anything from antennas to laws to coax and more
+
On this page, you'll find a random sampling of questions and answers about scanning and radios.  If you have a question, and find a good answer, please feel free to add both to this page.  Only add questions, though, if you have the answers; if you ''need'' an answer to a question, and it's not on this page already, please try the Radio Reference forums.
  
=== Terminology===
 
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 [[:Category:RR Glossary|Glossary]] article. 
 
 
*'''''''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.
 
****See [[Repeater]], [[Output frequency]], and [[Input frequency]] for further details.
 
***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.
 
  
 
=== General Scanning Questions ===
 
=== General Scanning Questions ===
 
* '''''''Can I bring my scanner on an airplane?'''''''
 
* '''''''Can I bring my scanner on an airplane?'''''''
 
**  Read the [[Scanning on an Airplane]] and [[Scanners and Airport Security]] pages.
 
**  Read the [[Scanning on an Airplane]] and [[Scanners and Airport Security]] pages.
 +
 
* '''''''Is scanning legal? How about in my car?'''''''
 
* '''''''Is scanning legal? How about in my car?'''''''
 
**  Read this informative site on [http://www.afn.org/~afn09444/scanlaws/ scanner laws].
 
**  Read this informative site on [http://www.afn.org/~afn09444/scanlaws/ scanner laws].
 +
 
* '''''''What is the best scanner for me?'''''''
 
* '''''''What is the best scanner for me?'''''''
 
**  See the help provided on the [[Scanner decision | scanner decision]] page.
 
**  See the help provided on the [[Scanner decision | scanner decision]] page.
  
=== Equipment Questions===
+
* '''''''What are the codes and signals I hear public safety personnel using on the radio?'''''''
* '''''''Where can I find information on scanner antennas, filters, mobile mounts, ect.?'''''''
+
**  See our articles about [[10 codes]] and other [[brevity codes]].
**  Return to our main page via the navigation link to the left, go to the bottom and see the 'Antennas and Accessories' category.
 
* '''''''I want to hear more. Will an amplifier help?'''''''
 
**  Before you go looking at amps, make sure that your antenna and feedline are at the best you can afford. A nice high antenna, with the right coax, will hear lots - maybe, at times, too much. In some cases, a good [[Milcom_Receiving_Equipment#Filters|filter]] will be a huge asset. Not all scanners - particularly handhelds - work very well with big outdoor antennas and feedlines. They simply aren't designed to handle that much RF all at once.
 
* '''''''Is the coax that important?'''''''
 
**  They can make the difference between hearing a signal (particularly if you are out in a fringe area) and not hearing well, or at all. The larger the loss, the less signal is received. The general rule is a 3db loss results in a loss of 1/2 the signal. In practical terms, if you are in a strong signal area, this won't mean much - but if you're a long way off, this kind of loss should concern you. These links explain this clearly;
 
** [http://www.strongsignals.net/access/content/co-ax.html Strong Signals Coax Cable]
 
** [http://hamradio.arc.nasa.gov/coaxcableloss.html NASA Coax Cable loss chart]
 
** [http://www.ocarc.ca/coax.htm Coax Line Loss Calculator]
 
* '''''''How do I program my scanner from the PC? How do I find compatible software?'''''''
 
** See our [[Scanner Programming FAQ]] for more information
 
  
=== General Frequencies ===
+
* '''''''What is a signal contour, and how does it affect what I can hear?'''''''
 +
**  See our [[Signal Contour]] article
 +
 
 +
=== Frequency Searches ===
 
If you are searching for specific frequencies in your area, the RR Database is the place to start - but
 
If you are searching for specific frequencies in your area, the RR Database is the place to start - but
at times there may be a better option....
+
sometimes there may be a better option....
* '''''''Where can I find frequencies for the various services, such as Railroads, Aircraft, ect.?'''''''
+
 
 +
* '''''''Where can I find frequencies for the various services, such as Railroads, Aircraft, etc.?'''''''
 
**  Please see our [[:Category:US and Canadian Common Frequencies|US/Canadian Common Frequencies]] article
 
**  Please see our [[:Category:US and Canadian Common Frequencies|US/Canadian Common Frequencies]] article
* '''''''Where can I find frequencies for NASCAR, LPGA, NFL, ect.?'''''''
+
 
 +
* '''''''Where can I find frequencies for NASCAR, LPGA, NFL, etc.?'''''''
 
** See our [[:Category:Sports_Events_and_Organizations|Sports]] frequencies article
 
** See our [[:Category:Sports_Events_and_Organizations|Sports]] frequencies article
* '''''''Im flying into an airport that the RRDB doesnt have. Where can I find frequencies for it?'''''''
+
 
 +
* '''''''I'm flying into an airport that the RRDB doesnt have. Where can I find frequencies for it?'''''''
 
** Go to the popular [http://www.airnav.com Airnav] website
 
** Go to the popular [http://www.airnav.com Airnav] website
* '''''''Im going on a cruise and would like to see if theres activity to be heard. Where can I find frequencies?'''''''
+
 
** See this popular [http://home.earthlink.net/~ecps92/cruise_ships.htm website] by Bill Dunn for cruise ship frequencies
+
* '''''''I'm going on a cruise and would like to see if there's activity to be heard. Where can I find frequencies?'''''''
 +
** See this popular [http://scanmaritime.com CruiseShips] by [mailto:webmaster@scanmaritime.com?Subject=*CruiseShips* Bill Dunn] for cruise ship frequencies
 +
 
 
* '''''''I need to look up a callsign I copied. Where can I find it?'''''''
 
* '''''''I need to look up a callsign I copied. Where can I find it?'''''''
 
* '''''''I need to look up a frequency that isnt in the database. Where might I find it?'''''''
 
* '''''''I need to look up a frequency that isnt in the database. Where might I find it?'''''''
 
** If you have a [http://www.radioreference.com/apps/subscription/ premium subscription], you will be able to use the FCC query tools at the bottom of the [http://www.radioreference.com/apps/db/ database] page
 
** If you have a [http://www.radioreference.com/apps/subscription/ premium subscription], you will be able to use the FCC query tools at the bottom of the [http://www.radioreference.com/apps/db/ database] page
 +
 
* '''''''Where can I find out about military communications in my area?'''''''
 
* '''''''Where can I find out about military communications in my area?'''''''
 
** Check out our [[VHF/UHF Military Monitoring|Milcom]] article
 
** Check out our [[VHF/UHF Military Monitoring|Milcom]] article
 +
 
* '''''''Where can I find out about frequencies used by the US Federal Government?'''''''
 
* '''''''Where can I find out about frequencies used by the US Federal Government?'''''''
 
** Check out our [[:Category:US Federal Government|Federal]] frequencies article
 
** Check out our [[:Category:US Federal Government|Federal]] frequencies article
  
[[Category:FAQ]]
+
 
 +
[[Category:Scanners FAQ]]

Latest revision as of 13:52, 2 February 2016

On this page, you'll find a random sampling of questions and answers about scanning and radios. If you have a question, and find a good answer, please feel free to add both to this page. Only add questions, though, if you have the answers; if you need an answer to a question, and it's not on this page already, please try the Radio Reference forums.


General Scanning Questions

  • ''Is scanning legal? How about in my car?''
  • ''What is the best scanner for me?''
  • ''What are the codes and signals I hear public safety personnel using on the radio?''
  • ''What is a signal contour, and how does it affect what I can hear?''

Frequency Searches

If you are searching for specific frequencies in your area, the RR Database is the place to start - but sometimes there may be a better option....

  • ''Where can I find frequencies for NASCAR, LPGA, NFL, etc.?''
    • See our Sports frequencies article
  • ''I'm flying into an airport that the RRDB doesnt have. Where can I find frequencies for it?''
    • Go to the popular Airnav website
  • ''I'm going on a cruise and would like to see if there's activity to be heard. Where can I find frequencies?''
  • ''I need to look up a callsign I copied. Where can I find it?''
  • ''I need to look up a frequency that isnt in the database. Where might I find it?''
  • ''Where can I find out about military communications in my area?''
  • ''Where can I find out about frequencies used by the US Federal Government?''
    • Check out our Federal frequencies article