scanner common questions:
If you are using a radio shack scanner, you can get too much
signal and the radio cant handle that. Reduce the signal,
the radio off the outdoor antenna, put on the included antenna.
Turn on the attenuator example
2) Do a test, when its getting something or a good one - NOAA
weather, push slightly
in on the antenna connector, if the signal improves, you have
hopefully just a cracked solder joint. Fix is to open the
scanner up and remelt the solder. Portables
take more abuse and
in my opinion the BNC connector - the push in
and twist type, is more prone to that than the SMA connector - the
screw on type - newer unidens use this.
The other possible thing is after many years the two little
connections you see on the antenna connector if you remove the
antenna may have separated,
more prone to that if you remove-install
the antenna a lot. Try as much I can, no easy fix on the separated
connectors. I replaced the connector.
3) Adjust the squelch as you may have
accidentally made the radio less sensitive by applying a higher
This only applies to non digital frequencies, digital frequencies doesnt apply.
4) Check to see if you have accidentally turned on the
attenuator or the global attenuator - Global is for Radio shack
radios, letters GA appears on the display
5) If you listen to Saginaw/Midland/Genesee/Flint/Lapeer
They are simulcast systems and many others have commented to me as well about reception.
That is, multiple towers transmit
the same frequency signal, so the radio gets confused on the
strong-weak signals picking up from multiple towers.
There are several tweaks I set to minimize any garbling of audio for Unidens, Radio Shacks and GRE brand which I utilize.
Try turning on the
attenuator or the global attenuator - Global is for Radio shack radios.
Lower the antenna so to try and get only one tower.
Honestly there are no perfect settings to 100 % alleviate garbled
Four towers putting out the same frequency and the audio gets
Uniden put out a firmware update for models 396XT, Home Patrol, and the 996XT that went a long way to help make these systems
more listenable now ! :) All the newer Unden models have this update included.
Simulcast distortion examples - First and Second one. More
Apply any firmware updates.
6) Reposition the radio, even sideways
7) If you have another antenna, try that.
8) Accidentally locked out frequencies?
9) Does it work while just outside the house? Possibly your in a
weak signal area and the higher digital 800 frequencies don't go
through walls as well,
that does even include tree leaves.
10) If not a good signal, are you using the all band stock antenna?
If so, the Radio
Shack 800 MHz antenna does dramatically increase the signal
for 800 MHz -
the digital band as I can attest on my radios. Be advised
due to it being an 800 MHz antenna, it
will lower the reception especially in the 150's and
It may also make the simulcast garbling worse mentioned in #5 as it will likely pull in another tower or so.
11) Take a qtip with isopropyl alcohol
and remove the antenna on the radio and swab the antenna all
around the silver ground connector & where the antenna connects.
* If you try this, DON'T apply pressure to the
connector as you don't want to spread the contacts apart !
It did help a lot for me anyways, the connectors, mainly the silver
ground contacts were quite dirty and limited the reception.
If your within say a 1/2 mile or less of a cellphone tower, that can
ruin reception on digital big time. You would have to get a directional
antenna pointed towards the
911 tower or more than likely you'll need to get a filter.
Why did my 911 services switch to digital? Generally its because of
the narrow banding mandate of January 1, 2013.
Many decided to just switch to
MPSCS digital to have the interoperability with other agencies.
2) Will digital
scanners receive non digital (analog) frequencies? Yes they do.
3) Can I just upgrade my existing analog radio?
No. There is no circuitry
inside the analog scanners to decode the digital transmissions,
You'll need to get a digital scanner.
4) Will my scanner work on digital?
A) If it can't get the 800 MHz frequencies - it wont decode 911
B) If you paid less than $250 brand new - It wont decode 911
C) If you paid at least $250 brand new and it says trunktracker IV or P25, it will decode 911 digital.
D) If your radio models are any of these, it will decode 911 digital;
Radio Shack Pro 96, 2096, 197, 106, 18, 651, 652, 668
Uniden 296D, 796D, 396T, 996T, 396XT,
996XT, Home Patrol 1 & 2, 325P2, 436HP, 536HP
Whistler WS1040, WS1065, WS1080, WS1088, WS1095, WS1098, TRX-1, TRX-2
GRE PSR 500,
GRE PSR 600, GRE PSR 800
E) Check these two links to find out if yours can do so, check to
see if it says it can do P25, if it can, it will decode 911 digital.
Radio Shack: http://wiki.radioreference.com/index.php/Radio_Shack_Scanners
F) One guarantee I will have for you is that the digitals are a
MAJOR change over the analog scanners to program.
Assuming you get one, you'll see that and it will be 'very
confusing' on how to program them.