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I L:::: Selecting a Scanner
Our Pick YAESU’s LATEST SCANNING RECEIVERS Scanners are much different from other consumer-level radios----or even shortwave radios, for that matter. If you're looking to buy your first scanner radio, you probably feel a bit confused and overwhelmed by the features and specifications of the models you're considering! As with most consumer items, there is no one "best" scanner radio for everyone. A smal top-pocket hand-held wil suit many applications or you can easily spend over $2000 for a
scanner capable of high performance over a broad frequency range in a variety of modes.
General Considerations The first thing you need to consider about any scanner is what frequency ranges you're
The excitement of monitoring
interested in monitoring. In New Zealand, this is particularly important as our BandPlan and use of frequencies is not Long Wave to Microwave is here
Carry the world with you!
the same as that of many overseas. Many cheaper scanners simply do not cover the more important and popular channels for the keen NZ sticky-beaker. Portable scanners have become popular recently. Some are smal enough to 100 kHz to 1300MHz
fit into a shirt pocket and let you fol ow the action at sporting events, exhibitions, shows, accident scenes, etc. All mode : FM, Wide-FM,
However, a portable scanner wil usual y cost more than a home (or "base") unit of comparable features and perform-ance. Many avid scanner fans have both a home scanner and a portable unit. Scanners also differ in the number of USB, LSB, CW, and AM
channels you can program in them. Some low cost scanners only have a couple of dozen channels available, while Huge memory :
some deluxe scanners have 1000 or more channels you can program. The best advice here is to buy a scanner with more channels than you think you wil need, as you'l probably run across interesting new frequencies you want to 1091 Channels!
monitor. Although, we usual y pre-programme many of the most popular channels into our scanners, it is stil impor-tant that you understand how new frequencies can be programmed into a scanner. Some scanners wil let you enter new frequencies only in specific increments, such as at 5 kHz intervals. Others force you to use the standard spacing between channels commonly used on a given band. More advanced scanners let you enter frequencies down to a single kilohertz. A scanner that tunes only in fixed increments means you may miss hearing some interesting things. Despite its incredible compact size the VR5000
Most scanners automatical y tune narrow band (that is, deviation of 5 kHz or less) FM on al frequencies except for covers 100kHz to 2600Mhz in all modes, LSB,
the 108 to 136 and 225 to 400 MHz aviation bands, where AM is used. Some scanners al ow you to receive wide USB, and both Narrow and Wide AM & FM,
band FM (deviation of 10 kHz or more) as wel . This wil let you monitor the FM broadcast band, television audio, and
with auto-mode selection.
some satel ite transmissions. A few scanners let you receive SSB as wel , but SSB is seldom used above 30 MHz Plus innumerable features for the Purist :
outside the ham radio bands, and even there narrow band FM heavily dominates. For most listening, a scanner that Dual Receive 2 VFOs enable simultaneous recep-
tunes narrow band FM (and AM on the aviation bands) should be more than adequate. Scanner Features and Controls
PreSet SW BC Stations and a world map display-
Here are explanations for features and controls commonly found on scanners: ing the location and frequency of the most popular Attenuator. This reduces the sensitivity of a scanner in order to reduce images and other effects of strong signals.
Autoload. This automatical y stores new frequencies found during a search into the scanner's memories.
Bank. This is a way of dividing a scanner's channels into smal er, manageable blocks for specific purposes.
UTC/Local Clock will display the local time in any
Delay. This determines how long a scanner pauses on a channel for another transmission before resuming scanning.
Hold. This lets you stop scanning on a channel so you can monitor it continuously.
Alarm, Sleep, On/Off Timer is programmable.
Lockout. This causes the scanner to skip over a channel during its scanning sequence.
Real Time Spectrum Scope to quickly locate band
Priority channel. When a signal is present on a priority channel, the scanner switches to it regardless of whether
signals are present on other channels being scanned. 2000 Versatile Memories in up to 100 groups that
Search. With this, the scanner tunes through a range and stops when an active frequency is found. This is very
Multiple DC source: 2xAA, Nicad pack or 12V handy for finding new stations and users Graphic Memory Display to gauge activity levels
Squelch. This silences the scanner's audio until a signal of a certain strength is received.

Understanding Specifications The importance of the specifications indicating a scanner's performances largely
Digital Signal Processing (option) that includes
Squelch key for monitoring weak signals. depends on where you live. If you live in a city selectivity (the ability to reject interfering signals) is important because BandPass, Noise Reduction, Notch and Peak of the large number of radio signals found in urban areas. If you live in a rural area with few stations, then greater 12ch/sec scan and search rate of over 1000 mems sensitivity (the ability to detect weak radio signals) wil be more important. Sensitivity is measured in microvolts, Computer Interface for control and cloning
abbreviated mV. and produce intel igible audio from. Selectivity is measured in kHz for a certain level of interference And much, much more
Preferential scanning of “flagged channels.” rejection. This rejection is measured in decibels (dB), usual y at 50 dB. A "50 dB" rejection means an interfering RF Tuned front-end for outstanding rejection Smart search with Automatic write-to Memory signal is reduced to a level 100,000 times weaker than its actual strength. If a scanner has a selectivity specification 20dB attenuator pad, IF noise Blanker, Smart Adjustable tuning steps to suit NZ Band-plans of "40 kHz at 50 dB," this means signals 40 kHz or more away from the signal you want to hear are reduced in Searches, Priority operation, Dual watch, Memory 20dB Front-End Att + variable RF squelch strength 100,000 times. If you live in a rural area, good sensitivity is more important than good selectivity. With fewer Skip and Sort, 10.7MHz IF output, Audio tone Power timers and adjustable battery-saves stations to hear, you need to be able to catch weak signals and don't have to worry as much about interference. In an control, 2 antenna ports, S-Meter All mode urban area, the opposite is true; your main concern is in rejecting interference from stations on adjacent channels, not Extensive menus for personal customization catching weak signals. In a rural area, narrow band FM selectivity of 40 kHz at 50 dB wil usual y be adequate, while in an urban environment you wil usual y need selectivity of 30 kHz at 50 dB or better. Signals can also "mix" in a scanner's internal circuits, producing false signals known as images. Images are an unavoidable by-product of a scanner's circuitry, but the better scanners can reject most of these phantom signals and reduce their strength. Image rejection is how this is measured, and a good scanner should have image rejection of 50 dB or greater. While there (Full Specs and Brochures are available) are some exceptions, as a general rule you do get what you pay for in scanner performance. More expensive
models wil have better sensitivity, selectivity, and image rejection than less expensive units.

Source: http://www.comcentre.co.nz/FAQ/Selecting_Scanner.pdf

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