Listening to the Police Scanner
I’ve recently begun listing to the police scanner on my newly acquired Uniden BCD396XT TrunkTracker IV. I’ve wanted to enhance my prep gear for quite a while with a police scanner, but they were just too expensive for me. Those in my price range were older units that did not receive the newer P-25 digital trunking signals many police departments are now using. I got this unit from a ham friend who was downsizing his shack and made me a great deal. It’s a great little scanner that includes the digital signals and more bells and whistles that I’m still learning.
A police scanner is basically just another type of a radio scanner. These special scanners can give and receive wireless radio signal transmissions and is becoming more and more of a common prepper item.
This scanner comes with a big memory that can hold 25,000 items that can be programmed in up to 99 banks that you toggle on and off as required. For example, I place the East Wichita PD frequencies in one band, the greater Wichita PD frequencies in another, and the Kansas Statewide Interoperable Communication System frequencies in another.
I downloaded a trial version of ARC-XT software from BuTel to program the radio. I’m considering upgrading to ARC-XT-PRO that includes full PC Virtual Control and a very enhanced recorder. Marks’s Scanner website has lots of good information about scanners. The Radio Reference Database will assist you in finding relevant frequencies for your location.
I often have the scanner on while I’m working in my shack. I generally monitor the police band covering my part of Wichita. While most of the traffic is pretty routine: checking vehicle tag numbers, etc., my main interest is in gathering intelligence about what is going on in my city.
With all the growing unrest in cities around the country, I want to have increased situational awareness of activities near me. I especially want to know if there is some threat near my home so I can be better prepared.
Much of the traffic doesn’t mean much to me because I don’t know all the police scanner codes to make sense of it. The problem is that different police departments around the country use different codes. Although you hear certain codes over and over again in the popular media (such as 10-4), in reality there is no standardization of police code. What might mean murder in one department might mean “I’m Taking a break to get a cup of coffee” in another. Fortunately, once you have listened to police scanners for a little while, you start to figure out most of the codes pretty quickly. You can even download scanner codes from the Internet in some areas, but they are not always completely accurate.
If you have never listened to police scanners, you really should. As a citizen of this country, I consider it my duty to be informed about the activities of its government, its law enforcement, and its elected officials. Police scanners are just one of many tools to help me do just that.