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This article can be used to house questions about scanning in general - anything from antennas to laws to coax and more
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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. 
 
 
* '''''''What is this rebanding I keep hearing about? Will my scanner still work after this happens?'''''''
 
**The answer to this is pretty involved, see the excellent special topic [[Rebanding]] article.
 
 
=== Equipment Questions===
 
* '''''''I am trying to monitor a trunked system in my area. I have a (insert model) and all I hear is noise. What's wrong?'''''''
 
**You may be listening to the data on the [[Control channel]] as audio.  The system must be programmed as a [[Trunking Basics|trunked]] system.  Your scanner must support trunked system monitoring.  See [[:Category:Trunking_Scanners|this category page]] to see the scanners that can monitor trunked systems.
 
**The system may be transmitting digitally-encoded audio.. Check the [http://www.radioreference.com/modules.php?name=RR database] for your area to be certain. The only scanners on the market that can receive ''non-encrypted'' digitally-encoded audio are those listed on [[:Category:Digital_Scanners|this category page]].
 
* '''''''Where can I find information on scanner antennas, filters, mobile mounts, ect.?'''''''
 
**  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?'''''''
 
* '''''''Where can I find downloadable files/data for my scanner and area?'''''''
 
** See our [[Scanner Programming FAQ]] for more information
 
* '''''''How do I connect my line out/headphone/speaker to the soundcard on my PC? How do I find compatible software?'''''''
 
* '''''''I've connected my scanner to the soundcard on my PC. Why dont I hear any audio?'''''''
 
* '''''''I want to record and log audio from my scanner. What do I need to make this happen?'''''''
 
** See our [[Connecting Radios to Soundcards]] article. There are a series of links at the bottom of the article for various types of soundcard-driven software as well as scanner software that has the capability to log and record. Note that most Radio Shack scanners cannot perform this function - it's not possible since it's a function not provided for in the firmware. You can use a package such as RecAll or ScanCorder to record audio while sitting on a single channel. The old [[Pro-2052]] is the lone exception.
 
  
 
=== 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.
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* '''''''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].
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* '''''''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.
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* '''''''What are the codes and signals I hear public safety personnel using on the radio?'''''''
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**  See our articles about [[10 codes]] and other [[brevity codes]].
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* '''''''What is a signal contour, and how does it affect what I can hear?'''''''
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**  See our [[Signal Contour]] article
  
 
=== Frequency Searches ===
 
=== 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
 
sometimes 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.?'''''''
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* '''''''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.?'''''''
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* '''''''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?'''''''
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* '''''''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?'''''''
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** See this popular [http://home.earthlink.net/~ecps92/cruise_ships.htm website] by Bill Dunn for cruise ship frequencies
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* '''''''I'm going on a cruise and would like to see if there's activity to be heard. Where can I find frequencies?'''''''
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** See this popular [http://scanmaritime.com CruiseShips] by [mailto:webmaster@scanmaritime.com?Subject=*CruiseShips* Bill Dunn] for cruise ship frequencies
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* '''''''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
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* '''''''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
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* '''''''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]]
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[[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