What is a scanner?

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What is a scanner?

Postby m0lsx » Fri Jun 23, 2017 5:25 pm

What is & is not a scanner is not a definitive definition in dictionary terms. But in general usage among scanner enthusiasts, it means a radio capable of scanning several hundred channels per minute. The Uniden UBC 125XLT for example scans 90 channels per second. While a Baofeng UV-5R is probably not even capable of half of that speed per minute.
The reason speed is important is because most radio communication is short & irregular in it's activity. So we need to have many many channels programmed to hear something.
Basically a scanner is a receiver designed not to free tune across radio spectrum. But to scan many hundreds of channels per minute. A receiver is something that may have a scanning capability, but scanning is not it's primary purpose. And a transceiver is a radio that both transmits & receives. A transceiver may be able to scan through a few programmed channels per minute, but in general it frequency coverage is limited in comparison to a scanner & it's speed is very slow in comparison too.
Any other views comments?
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Re: What is a scanner?

Postby jimh » Wed Jun 28, 2017 7:24 pm

As odd as it might sound, for me the thing the makes a 'Scanner' as we know it today isn't just its ability to rapidly scan many channels across a wide frequency range but also its ability to SEARCH parts of the radio spectrum. Most transceivers can scan but not search. My first receivers could only be manually tuned to a single frequency, and couldn't scan nor search. Until the addition of new features quite recently, a so-called top of the range Whistler TRX1 couldn't even search parts of the spectrum easily: for me it was good at scanning, but not a great 'Scanner'.

To add to your 'reasons it's important' I would add the ability to discover and track down [new] radio signals. For me that is a key part of the hobby. Not everything conforms to a published frequency chart, has been published by someone else, or stays the same: someone has to find the signal in the first place.
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