Give Bearcat Scanners as Holiday Gifts

2Are you looking for a last minute holiday gift for those difficult people on your list? Why not consider getting them a Whistler or Bearcat scanner as a gift? These radio scanners are the perfect gift for anyone who likes to listen to local police and fire communications. Even though 90 %+ of people use scanners primarily for these purposes, they are also beneficial for monitoring traffic patterns, construction delays, accidents, and other communications over the local public broadcast channels.

How Difficult Is It to Program Bearcat Scanners?

Programming radio scanners is not difficult for most people with some technical background, or if you select user-friendly Uniden Bearcat models, like the BCD536HP or BCD436HP. Another option many people choose is to have police scanners preprogrammed for their locations before they are shipped. When your gift recipients open their holiday gifts, their radio scanners are ready to go. All they have to do is either plug the scanner into an AC outlet, or, if it is a portable Bearcat model, make sure the batteries are fully charged.

What Types of Frequencies Can You Listen to with Bearcat Scanners?

Bearcat scanners monitor a wide range of scanner frequencies from numerous agencies in your area. It is possible to listen to police, fire, railroad, public works, forest rangers, railroad, air traffic, general mobile radio service (GMRS), family radio service (FRS), and car racing. Most basic scanner radios pick up all of these analog transmissions.

Do keep in mind, in certain locations some frequencies may be transmitted over analog trunking or digital systems. If you want to be able to also monitor these transmissions, you need to look at Bearcat scanner radio models with trunking and digital capabilities. It is highly recommended you search our free database for your location to see what types of systems are used in your area, or the location where the scanner is going to be used the most, before ordering police scanners for holiday gifts or for yourself.

What Sorts of Transmissions Can I Hear over Bearcat Scanners?

Radio scanners have a set range of operation. It is possible to extend this range by installing an external antenna. Within the normal range of operation you can hear communications from dispatch centers, police, fire, and emergency medical responders, construction workers, GMRS and FRS radio transmissions, and more, depending on where you live and your distance from the transmission towers. If you have a portable scanner and use this in your vehicle, your range of operation is based on current location. As you drive through town, the types of communications you hear may change if you pick up new transmission towers or go out of range of current towers.

For further assistance in selecting the best Bearcat scanners to give as holiday gifts, feel free to contact us now at 1-800-SCANNER (1-800-722-6637), and speak to one of our friendly, helpful, and knowledgeable scanner experts.


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2014 Holiday Shopping Tips

It’s that time of the year again for finding the right gift for that special loved one. How about a scanner? Here are 4 things you should keep in mind when buying a scanner.

1. What type of scanner would be the best?
Give us a call, and speak to one of our scanner experts at 1-800-722-6637
Monday – Friday 10AM – 4PM or send us an email.

2. Deciding Base/mobile vs Portable?
Base/Mobile Scanners are normally kept in one location, either in the car or home. Desktop scanners are for home or office use only. Portable Scanners are great for someone that wants to use the scanner everywhere they go (out and about or from room to room in the home, etc.).

3. Scanner programming options:
We strongly recommend our software or our HomeTown Programming option when you buy a scanner. The HomePatrol Series Scanners are pre-programmed for the nation although we still recommend our Set-up and Optimize service. With these services the scanner will be ready to use right out of the box! Programming typically takes 5 to 10 business days and possibly more as it gets closer to the holidays.

4. Accessories
Make sure they have everything they might need or want when they receive their new scanner! A carry case, computer cable, software, mobile antenna and so on. With each scanner on our website you can make your own package and when you buy accessories with the scanner there are added discounts.

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Select a Scanner Based on the Scanner Frequencies Used in Your City

Scanner RadioAny time you are looking at purchasing a new scanner, you need to make sure the scanner is compatible with the scanner frequencies in your area. Otherwise, you will be limited in the number of different channels you are able to monitor. The three radio frequencies used are digital, analog conventional, and analog trunking. Each type of scanner radio, whether it is a portable handheld unit, one installed in your vehicle, or one used in the comfort of your own home, picks up specific frequencies. Just like there are three radio frequencies, there are three kinds of police scanner radios designed to pick up the various radio frequencies.

It is important to first find out what frequencies various agencies utilize in your area for communications. There are several online resources available to help you determine what scanner frequencies are used. One of the easiest to use is on our sister site, Simply click on “Choose a Scanner,” and enter in the range and your zip code, to see what scanner models are recommended for your location. We highly recommend using this resource before you purchase your new police scanner radio. It is free to access this information, and it provides an overview of what the various agencies use for their communications and which type of scanner is best. Since radio systems do sometimes change ahead of what is posted publicly on the website, you may wish to call and double check with your dealer for the latest information about the radio systems in your area.

Now that you have a better understanding of what scanner radio frequencies are used in your home town, it is time to start shopping for a new police scanner. To help you select the best scanner radio, look at the frequencies the scanner receives. Analog conventional scanners only monitor basic analog signals on FM and AM systems. These types of scanners allow you to listen to communications by police, fire, aviation, marine, railroad, amateur radio, racing, and FRS/GMRS transmissions. Keep in mind, if local law enforcement and fire agencies use either analog trunking or digital systems, you will not be able to monitor their communications.

An analog trunking scanner picks up both conventional and trunking analog transmissions, but not digital transmissions. Trunking is a widely used communications system, in both large and small communities, as it allows multiple agencies to share the same trunking system. Transmissions jump from one channel to the next and often each agency has its own talk groups assigned to specific trunking frequencies. Most scanner radios allow you to manually program talk groups and frequencies so you are able to hear communications for the agencies you want to monitor.

A digital scanner is a radio scanner capable of monitoring all three types of scanner frequencies. It can be used to listen to analog, analog trunking, and digital communications. Digital scanners provide the most flexibility, especially if you like traveling or have a job where you are on the road most of the time and want to enjoy listening to your scanner. With more and more agencies moving to digital transmissions, you may want to invest in a digital scanner, now, and be ready when systems are upgraded in your city.

For more information or further assistance in selecting the best scanner radio, contact us directly by calling 1-800-SCANNER (1-800-722-6637).


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The Uniden BCD536HP and BCD436HP Are User Friendly Scanners

There are all different levels of users in the scanner community, ranging from new hobbyists, to long time scanner enthusiasts, to professionals using scanners as part of their jobs. Finding the right scanner to fit your skill level with the features you want is essential in order to be able to get the most out of your scanner. The Uniden BCD536HP and BCD436HP are two scanner models that are ideal for users of all skill sets and include a wide range of features to make owning and using a scanner radio fun and enjoyable, such as:

Scanner Radio

  • TrunkTracker V Support: Monitor LTR, X2-TDMA, Motorola, APCO Project 25 Phase I and Phase II, and EDACS trunked radio systems.
  • Multiple Frequency Coverage: Monitor the scanner frequencies used by numerous agencies, like police, fire, public works, university security, forest rangers, and more.
  • Simple Programming: Choose from several flexible channel selection options, like GPS, zip code, or service types, and select your locations and the frequencies you want to hear. The BCD536HP and BCD436HP radio scanners automatically program the channels based on these selections.
  • Auto Update Using a GPS: By plugging a GPS into the scanner, radio frequencies are automatically updated as you move from one location to another. This feature is ideal for those who listen to their scanner in their vehicle while traveling.
  • Easy Scanning: The scanners allow you to select from your favorites lists, the main frequency scanner database, or custom combinations of these to monitor transmissions.
  • Sentinel Software: Install the software on your laptop or desktop computer, and plug the scanner into any USB port any time you want to update the firmware or the scanner database, as well as edit, manage, and create your favorites lists.
  • Front Panel Programmable: Both Uniden scanner models allow users to program their scanners using the front panel, without being complex or complicated.
  • Selectable Scan Control: Scan radio frequencies by pushing the channel hold, dedicated system, or department buttons, or use the quick key access to use your favorite lists.
  • Remote Access: The BCD536HP includes Wi-Fi access, so you can monitor and control your scanner from anywhere in your home using your smartphone or tablet. The Wi-Fi access feature gives you full control of your scanner radio over an Internet connection while you are away from home. You can even configure the Wi-Fi settings as a remote access point, if the scanner is installed in your car, and use your mobile device to control and listen to the scanner in your vehicle.

Who Uses Uniden BCD536HP and BCD436HP Scanners?

The types of people who use the BCD536HP and BCD436HP scanners include law enforcement radio systems technicians, police officers, firefighters, emergency medical technicians, news agencies, hobbyists, homemakers, truck drivers, and other people from a variety of backgrounds and professions. Anyone can own and operate a scanner radio to monitor what is going on in their community or while they travel around the country. People use their Uniden scanners to monitor traffic conditions, road closures, weather alerts, accidents, fires, and crimes in their community.

For more information about Uniden BCD536Hp and BCD436HP scanner radios, feel free to contact us at 1-800-SCANNER (1-800-722-6637).

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Radio Scanner versus Online Police Scanner

Radio Scanner

People have various ways for listening to scanner frequencies. They could purchase their own personal radio scanner or use an online police scanner radio. There are several differences between these listening methods. Deciding which one is best for what depends on the frequencies you want to listen to and monitor. Most online scanner applications only monitor a single government agency, such as the Boston Police. If you want to listen and monitor emergency services or fire frequencies, you have to download and install another application. Further, you might be limited to only running one application at a time, so, if you want to listen to multiple channels, you have to open and close each application to switch frequencies.

With a radio scanner, you do not have to worry about these issues. Instead, you can configure your scanner to monitor and scan the frequencies you want to listen to, or set it to one specific channel. There is no software to download, install, or update. An online police scanner requires maintaining an active Internet connection in order to listen to channels. If your Internet connection goes down, you cannot listen to an online scanner. When you use a radio police scanner, you do not require an active Internet connection. The device operates using either AC power, or batteries, to monitor scanner frequencies.

Another major difference between a radio scanner and an online police scanner is the number of channels you can monitor. With an actual police scanner, you are able to monitor your local area in far greater depth, compared to an online scanner. You have access to more channels, like public works, railroads, college campus police, taxis, and several other agencies not available with online scanner applications. However, keep in mind, actual radio scanners do have limitations on the distance they are capable of picking up frequencies, depending on the model of scanner you use. Without an outdoor antenna, physical scanners ranges are between 10 and 30 miles. If you do not want to install an antenna and want to hear frequencies farther away, then an online application would be more appropriate.

Scanner monitoring laws and regulations vary, from state to state. Some states do allow people to use portable radio scanners in their vehicles and other locations whenever they are not at home or work. It is your responsibility to review the laws in your area in regards to where you are allowed to use actual scanner radios and online scanner applications. Taking the time to review these regulations prevents you from using the wrong type of police scanner or scanner application. It hardly needs mentioning that regardless of whether you use a police scanner radio or an online application, it is against the law to use a scanner or monitoring device during the commission of a crime.

For more information about police scanner radios, or assistance in selecting the best unit for your location, contact us today by calling 1-800-SCANNER (1-800-722-6637).

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Is It Illegal to Listen to Live Police Scanner Audio Feeds?

Scanner radioOne common question people have about police scanners is whether it is against the law to listen to live police scanner audio feeds. It is not illegal to monitor police audio feeds and police scanner frequencies with radio scanners from the privacy of your own home or business. However, each state sets its own laws in regards to monitoring police radio frequencies with portable scanner radios and using online police scanner apps on smartphones. If you intend to listen to these transmissions, it is your responsibility to check with your local government agencies to find out more about the laws and regulations in your area.

Why Do People Listen to Live Police Scanner Audio Feeds?

People monitor police scanner frequencies and listen to live police scanner audio feeds for various reasons. For instance, reporters and journalists rely upon these transmissions to learn about potential news stories they feel should be shared with the general public. Off duty police officers, volunteer firefighters, and other emergency responders listen to scanner chatter to know exactly what is going on, especially during emergencies, to determine whether they need to report for duty, such as during a major power outage. In addition, people use a police radio scanner to find out about accidents and traffic congestion, so they can avoid these areas and take alternate routes.

What Information Is Shared over Police Scanner Frequencies?

The information communicated over police scanner frequencies is normally limited to specific details between the dispatcher and the responding agency. For instance, if there is traffic accident, the dispatcher normally alerts police, fire, and ambulance services. Upon arrival at the scene, the responding agencies may communicate whether anyone is injured and if towing services are needed. However, more sensitive information, such as the names of those involved in the accident and extent of injuries, are communicated through other secure channels, rather than publically broadcasted over live scanner audio feeds.

How to Select the Best Police Scanner

Finding the top police scanner to use to monitor and listen to scanner communications largely depends on how and where you want to use the scanner. If you are going to be using the scanner radio at home or your business, or your local laws allow you to install it in your vehicle, a base or mobile scanner is a good choice. On the other hand, if you want a scanner to use for emergencies, or your local laws allow you to carry a scanner radio with you wherever you go, then you should consider a portable scanner. The key to selecting the best scanner is not getting distracted by the features or number of channels offered on a particular model, but ensuring the model you select is capable of picking up the radio frequencies used by your local fire, police, and other government agencies.

For further assistance in selecting an appropriate scanner compatible with the radio frequencies in your area, contact us today at 1-800-SCANNER (1-800-722-6637).

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Journalists Monitor Police Scanner Frequencies for News Stories

Police ScannerDid you ever wonder how journalists and news agencies learn about breaking stories as they occur? Many newsworthy stories are obtained by journalists monitoring police scanner frequencies using scanner radios. They might learn about a fire at a local apartment complex, a break-in at a local business, or some other type of emergency. Police, fire, public works, and other government services use radio frequencies as a means of communications. These radio frequencies are normally not blocked, so anyone with a radio scanner can access the communications between dispatchers and the responding agencies.

Journalists listening to police scanner frequencies do need to confirm their stories for accuracy before releasing the information to the general public. Not all information is openly shared between dispatchers, police, fire, and other responders over police scanners. More sensitive details about the situation are typically communicated over other secure devices, such as inboard computers and cell phones.

For example, a journalist hears fire and ambulance services were dispatched to the home of the mayor. Unless other details are shared over the scanner radio, they have no other information to report until they can follow up on the story. The only information they could share on the evening news or in the local paper is that emergency responders were dispatched to the mayor’s home. Journalists need to be careful to avoid elaborating further on the story until they have obtained all of the facts.

Is It Beneficial for Journalists to Share Information from Police Scanner Frequencies?

There is some debate as to whether the information obtained from police scanner frequencies should be shared with the general public by journalists. Most local government agencies do not mind if communications are shared with the general public, as long as they are reported correctly without any conjecture. What they expect from journalists, as well as from others using police scanners in their homes, is to be responsible with the information obtained from scanner frequencies. Thanks to modern technologies and the Internet, information is shared at a faster speed today than it was in the past. Journalists and others can post status updates on Facebook, Twitter, and other social media sites, as well as news web pages. Since information is easier to share, accurate reporting is essential in order to avoid creating wide-spread panic in local communities.

In addition to reporting on news pieces, journalists can use scanner radios to report details about weather emergencies, such as major snow storms, tropical storms, severe thunderstorms, and hurricanes. Sharing details about weather emergencies is beneficial for local government agencies. Journalists are able to assist police, fire, and other emergency responders in getting people off of streets, informing them to stay at home or go to their local shelters, as well as to share updates about the weather emergency.

If you are a journalist or want to monitor police frequencies at home, contact us to order your scanner or scanner package today, by calling 1-800-SCANNER (1-800-722-6637).

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