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Cactus521

the best scanner around 200 dollars

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I'm looking for a com freq scanner around 200 dollars that will allow me to pick up the airplane traffic around my area. Do they all have headphone jacks as well? Just want to find out which one is the best brand.Is this one good?Icom IC-A6 Sport COM TransceiverThanks

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I still have an old Radio Shack scanner that's going on thirteen years old--picks up all the air traffic in and around KPHX. I know I paid far less than $200 for it, and I am sure scanners have become much better.Also another thing I enjoy is listening to position reports on my SW receiver in SSB. Even in Phoenix, with just the whip Ant., it's not uncommon for me to pick up some foreign sounding pilot nearling Iceland or the Azores. Best listening time is usually about 8-10PM, when Transatlantic flights are nearing the midpoint of their journey over the pond. I use a RS DX 390 with a mod to the circuitboard I applied that turns off muting when I am scanning for traffic.-John

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Thanks, I wasn't sure about Radio Shack but if it lasts 13+ years, thats pretty good.I found the PRO-97 on sale for 140 at radio shack, I will go there today after work. sweet!Thanks John

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Donny AKA ShalomarFly 2 ROCKS!!!That would Be 8-10 pm where?Merry Christmas and a Survivable New Year Oops--sorry, I hit "edit" vs. reply JC. I've restored your orginal post

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"That would Be 8-10 pm where?"Phoenix time--so about 10-12Midnight East Coast time in the winter, 11-1 in the summer (we don't observe Daylight Savings Time in the summer--we'd rather give it away to offload some of the heat) :)

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well I picked up a radio shack scanner. But I am a little disappointed. Should I have gotten the digital ones with trunking?I cannot pick up any centers, I can pick up a tower and approach freq but thats it. I don't hear the tower replying. What am I doing wrong?

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Hi Big Al; Probably doing nothing wrong. VHF COM is "Line of sight" as a general rule, so if you're not ina line of site situation with ground antennas for ATC facilities, youmight hear the aircraft but won't hear the ATC. ATC COM antennas are not normally located at very great heights...as opposed to say TV transmission towers, as the folks they are talkingto are usually 1500ft AGL, or better. That darned "Earth Curvature" thing kinda gets in the way.x( Denny

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I recently did a search of ALL local stores, from Best Buy to Radio Shack, to Google, looking for a portable AM/FM,SSB, Short Wave Receiver etc... that would pick up avaition frequencies. I also wanted a Digital Readout so I could quickly change frequency when ATC and the aircraft did. So far ICOM is the only one I found and that had transmit as well. Google ICOM. Here is the problem I found. AirCom (VHF)frequencies run from 118.0 thru 135.975 Mhz. Marine frequencies (VHF) run from 156.0 through 162.0 Mhz. I believe the "Total" VHF Spectrum is from 30 through 300 Mhz. None of the radios I found have those frequencies if you look at the specs, even though some "claimed" to have "avaition" chanels. Only ICOM has a handheld. I wonder if a Licence is required for a "Tranceiver". I wonder if this apparent lack of avaition Frequencies in New radios is a result of 9/11. Maybe someone else knows more. SPOFF

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Thanks for the info Denny. Do you happen to know of a model of a portable receiver that I can use that has a good and powerful antenna?

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>Thanks for the info Denny. Do you happen to know of a model>of a portable receiver that I can use that has a good and>powerful antenna? Alex; Years and years since I messed with this but the problem is notyour reciever or antenna....rather it is your altitude,or RELATIVEaltitude. When I was in Civil Air Patrol we used a 19" hunk of clothes hangerwith fine copper wire wrapped around the base of it...just to makegood contact...and shoved it into the antenna jack on top of an old2 meter transciever. We could talk over 30 miles ground to air with5 watts of power...sometimes lots farther, but it depended on thealtitude of the plane we were talking to. The best 2 meter antenna I had experience with was called a "colinear". I built it with a piece of 1x2 pine, some standoff insulators and aluminum clothsline wire. If you do not have line of sight with the transmitting antenna youwill not be able to get a decent signal on any of the VHF freq's. HF freq's say around 10 meter wavelength generate a "Ground Wave"and so the line of sight deal doesn't hold true. Also HF will "skip"or bounce off the heavyside layer of the ionosphere if conditionsare right allowing the type of reception John refered to...especiallyon Single Side Band as he described. Just as you can't pick up a VOR 20 mi distant when your plane issitting on the runway, but can when you're airborne at sufficientaltitude, the same will hold true with COM channels as most "Center"freq's are using repeaters at VOR locations. You'll be able to hear lots of aircraft talking but not ATC unlessyou live awfully close to the facility....or the repeater. If you want to listen to real time ATC try www.liveatc.net Hope this helps Denny

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"Here is the problem I found. AirCom (VHF)frequencies run from 118.0 thru 135.975 Mhz. Marine frequencies (VHF) run from 156.0 through 162.0 Mhz. I believe the "Total" VHF Spectrum is from 30 through 300 Mhz. None of the radios I found have those frequencies if you look at the specs, even though some "claimed" to have "avaition" chanels. Only ICOM has a handheld. I wonder if a Licence is required for a "Tranceiver"."Most shortwave radios that advertise picking up aviation signals are referring to pickup of HF SSB signals--the type that are used over the oceans since the standard VHF freqs as already mentioned are "line of site", which means that an oceanic aircraft can't communicate with ATC using that method. The HF SSB freqs extend for thousands of miles if conditions are right--I pick up Atlantic traffic all the time and have "hit" aircraft comms even just off the coast of England. To scan the VHF freqs you need a scanner--very few SW radios (if any) tune those freqs and those that do aren't the best for that type of listening. You need a scanner for that--something that can cycle through the dozens of active freqs (if you include tower, Approach Control and the Centers) in most areas.-John

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Thanks for the info Denny. Very interesting. I love that website but have noticed later at night they go on a repeat, so cal seems to have a loop every 30 mins it starts over and I hear nothing new. I can sit up on the roof of my apt building and listen to lax approach and tower, hearing the airplanes just fine usually, because, like you said, I have a good line of sight to them. Since I can't bring my computer up to the roof I love being able to sit and listen to the traffic.

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JohnCi: I think I missed your post while reading posts after mine. Today I was out Christmas shopping and "Wandered" into a Radio Shack. AGAIN: I was looking for an AM/FM/SSB "RADIO" that had avaition frequencies. Still no luck. HOWEVER: As a last resort I used the word "Scanner" while talking with the nice young man who asked if he could help me.VOILA: Radio Shack has a Few scanners that pick up "Avaition" frequencies...both desk type and handhelds. In the store they had TWO..maybe THREE "Handhelds" that fit the bill... AND... I think they also pick up AM/FM Broadcast which would be a nice bonus..since I want to replace an old AM/FM/SW Radio from 1978. Check out Radio Shack.com/Scanners. By the way, the first one that caught my eye was $99. They go up from there. ..Up to $499. Take your pick. I stopped by my local FBO to inquire about licences...For the ICOM "Tranceiver". It seems...a licence is not required. FAR/AIM may provide further info. Best Regards To All. SPOFF

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I got this free software,http://www.starrsoft.com/freeware/win95/default.asp to update my Radioshack Pro 95 to pick up military aviation.:-) You need this cable,http://www.pro96.com/

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I bought the Radio Shack PRO-97 handheld scanner on Saturday. On Sale for $150. (MSRP $220.) I wanted Avaition Frequencies AND AM/FM "Broadcast" reception. The specs said it had AM/FM "Mode". The guy in the store said it had AM/FM. Well, it does have AM/FM "Mode." But it ain't your regular AM/FM. I can't tune in FM 105 Golden Oldies, or listen to RUSH on AM. This scanner is "Triple Trunking". I guess that's cool if you want 1000 chanels..which this scanner has. I could care less what the Police or Fire Depts are doing. No problem. I don't have to listen. I want Aviation. SO: I got in my car on Sunday and drove around near certain airports in my area to see what I could hear. I live about 20 miles from KPVD. Except for a few trees, I am "Line of Sight", on high ground, (at home) to KPVD Tower. Nothing. OK: I understand..no one transmitting..no reception. I drove up TO KPYM, an uncontrolled airport. 300 yards from the active, in the parking lot, the plane doing touch and goes was "broken", or "static." I moved over to another section of the parking lot and reception is fine.I took the Scanner back to Radio Shack today for a refund. They were Very Nice. No problem. OH WELL:

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"I drove up TO KPYM, an uncontrolled airport. 300 yards from the active, in the parking lot, the plane doing touch and goes was "broken", or "static." I moved over to another section of the parking lot and reception is fine."That can happen with scanners. They are sensitive to the environment around them. Even the most minor RF interference can cause issues. You may get more of that if you drive close to an airport. I pick up the tower at Sky Harbor which is 18 miles due east of my home. I also pick up Glendale and Goodyear. My R/S scanner is almost 13 years old, so I know newer ones can pull in the reception. In fact, Radio Shack used to sell (don't know if they still do) an old handheld transistor radio type unit with a rotary dial--very low tech. I could grab most aircraft comms with that thing and Napa Tower. I suspect RF interference was causing some type of problem in your case.-John

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You need an FCC operators permit to transmit on airband frequencies. A person a few years ago got life in prison for attempted murder. He decided to vector the planes pretending to be ATC.I know no one here would try that, but dont even get yourself in the same boat by transmitting.Also, If you guys want better reception get an outdoor antenna. The scanner has nothing to do iwth the quality; I have a cheapo radio shack scanner I bought a few years back. With an outdoor antenna though I can pick up ATC from about 30 miles away and airplanes almost 300 miles away.

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do I have to buy an adapter to get the antenna on my scanner?

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