Best scanner for UK newbie?

Talk about radio and non radio stuff in here, a place for Genral Chit Chat

Best scanner for UK newbie?

Postby Privateer » Thu Nov 29, 2018 2:49 pm

Hi,

I'm looking for a Christmas present for my wife who likes watching planes at airports. I'm thinking that it'd be nice to listen to the local radio activity around the airport as we watch the planes.

If we had a scanner, it might be used for scanning:
Civil and possibly military airfields in the UK
Summer country fairs and shows (listening to the radios of the organisers)
General local area for taxis etc.
As I'm new to scanning we might want to scan other stuff so a large range of frequencies as possible would be useful.

What should I be looking for in a scanner, in addition to the following:
I'd like to be able to pre-program the scanner - although we only have Macs and not PCs
In new areas just get the unit to search for all local radio and record the frequency with the option of manually naming the frequency via the unit. Is this "Close Call"?
In known areas be able to set a priority to listen to one frequency over another.

Doing a quick search, the Uniden UBC-125XLT Handheld Scanner seems a good scanner. Is this the case or would you recommend another one?

Is there any idiot's guide to scanning (URL or book) that you would recommend?

If the UBC-125XLT were to meet our needs, how easy is it to program with a Mac, is it a case of transferring files such as .csv ones?

Many thanks,
Privateer
 
Posts: 2
Joined: Wed Nov 28, 2018 5:17 pm

Re: Best scanner for UK newbie?

Postby m0lsx » Thu Nov 29, 2018 3:08 pm

You may find the 125 is a little too complex to use, if you are not use to scanners. But it is a good radio. A VERY good radio for the money. But you will need to be prepared to spend some time getting to know it., as it is probably going to be a steep learning curve.
Buy a database from Kimmy JS19 via http://ukscanningdirectory.co.uk/
Or do Google search of this forum via http://www.google.com/cse/home?cx=partner-pub-6291336405621919:2662881632
73 De Alan (M0LSX.)
http://www.qrz.com/db/M0LSX"
User avatar
m0lsx
 
Posts: 6025
Joined: Wed Nov 21, 2012 9:14 pm
Location: Norwich. TG21.

Re: Best scanner for UK newbie?

Postby Minus1 » Thu Nov 29, 2018 4:42 pm

Bear in mind that many VHF air transmissions are 8.33 kHz and this will increase rapidly until virtually all are.
The UBC125XLT does NOT properly handle 8.33 KkHz.
It does not show the correct channel numbers, which confuses people endlessly; and cannot distinguish between adjacent 8.33 kHz channels, so you get three transmissions at once if you are the wrong place.

Scanner manufacturers have been really lax in developing a proper 8.33 kHz scanner. Given that 8.33 has been mandatory above FL245 in Europe since 1999!

To distinguish 8.33 kHz channels you need either a scanner with narrow AM capability (e.g. Icom R30, or AOR-DV1, or AOR-DV10) which are more expensive.
Though these don't show the correct channel number either.

Alternative is a professional VHF airband transceiver which does the channels properly.
You just need to be careful not to transmit unless you have the appropriate licence (some radios can have the transmit facility disabled in the menus).
I reserve the right to ignore people who have made no attempt to the read the manual, and expect others to do it for them.
User avatar
Minus1
 
Posts: 838
Joined: Fri Jun 05, 2015 8:17 am
Location: West Midlands

Re: Best scanner for UK newbie?

Postby Davie Boy » Thu Nov 29, 2018 4:49 pm

If it's just the airband your after... Uniden scanners do a very good job and you have a good choice of models... remember if you want civil and military coverage your scanner needs to cover the following...

civil air... 108-137 MHz (VHF)

military air.. 230-400 MHz (UHF)
User avatar
Davie Boy
 
Posts: 164
Joined: Sun Nov 01, 2015 9:16 pm
Location: Nottingham

Re: Best scanner for UK newbie?

Postby Scan125 » Thu Nov 29, 2018 5:15 pm

Minus1 wrote:Bear in mind that many VHF air transmissions are 8.33 kHz and this will increase rapidly until virtually all are.
The UBC125XLT does NOT properly handle 8.33 KkHz.
It does not show the correct channel numbers, which confuses people endlessly; and cannot distinguish between adjacent 8.33 kHz channels, so you get three transmissions at once if you are the wrong place.


The old 8.33 nugget.

Channel numbers? Why do you say channel numbers. Marine band has international channel numbers. Airband has always been frequency based and originally on 25kHz steps. So the for aircraft radio kit you would dial the frequency. The 8.33 sub divide screwed this direct frequency relationship up. AIrcraft kit was modified to tune to a absolute 8.33 interval by using the existing unused digits on the previous 25kHz steps.

The UBC125XLT almost gets if fully right by doing what aircraft kit does. You dial a called ATC frequency and the scanner corrects the dialled frequency to the absolute real frequency. The difference between an aircraft kit radio settings/display and the 125XLT is that the scanner shows the real frequency and not the dialled frequency. This has all be covered at great lengths elsewhere.

Is it confusing YES.

Interesting your comment about the 125XLT not being able to discriminate between adjacent 8.33 steps. I've not experienced this myself and not seen it mentioned on any other forums. I'll have to investigate this further.


On the point of the Icom R30, AOR-DV1, etc. not showing the correct channel number is because there are no official channel designations just ATC called frequencies that when set on the aircraft radio kit either land exactly on a real 25kHz value or get adjusted to the relevant actual 8.33 step value.

I'm not sure where this channel terminology suddenly came from in forums but suspect it was a layman's way of trying to understand and explain the functioning of the 25kHz step spilt into 8.33 steps (actually 8.333333333333333333333333333333333.....)
User avatar
Scan125
 
Posts: 247
Joined: Thu May 01, 2014 5:02 pm
Location: Southampton, UK

Re: Best scanner for UK newbie?

Postby Frequency Hopper » Thu Nov 29, 2018 9:52 pm

If you are only interested in airband then I agree with Davie Boy, Unidens are good just be sure they cover the range. Most Unidens cover the airband but some only cover the Civil (VHF) airband. Most cover both.

If you want local transmissions you will get most taxis. Interesting users such as Shopwatch, Security, Council and similar have mostly switched to DMR. You can hear them but you will need a DMR capable scanner for those. Uniden have DMR scanners as do AOR and Whistler.
User avatar
Frequency Hopper
 
Posts: 320
Joined: Sat Jun 15, 2013 10:16 pm

Re: Best scanner for UK newbie?

Postby Minus1 » Fri Nov 30, 2018 9:55 am

The confusion with 8.33 kHz comes about because channels are not properly explained to anyone.

Eurocontrol:
https://www.eurocontrol.int/sites/defau ... 0table.pdf

"118.005" is a channel. It's number is 118.005.
I prefer to write 118:005 because it indicates that it is not a decimal number, but is effectively the 5th channel in the 188 MHz band. There is no 4th or 6th channel. The next one is the 10th.
Channels are not numbered in increments of one unit as happens in bands like the marine band, they go in jumps of 5 or 10 (if you regard a 25 kHz freq as a channel too) or 15 (if you ignore the 25 kHz ones).

I still think whoever decided that 8.33 was a good idea should be quietly taken out the back and shot; but it's what we are lumbered with.

Some examples of adjacent 8.33 channels that are indistinguisable on most scanners - if you are in the relevant area - are:

127.09166 AMn 127.090 EGFA West Wales / Aberporth Radar
127.1 AMn 127.105 EGTT London ATC Daventry 28

134.25 AMn 134.255 EGTT London Upper
134.25833 AMn 134.26 EISN Shannon ATC Upper
I reserve the right to ignore people who have made no attempt to the read the manual, and expect others to do it for them.
User avatar
Minus1
 
Posts: 838
Joined: Fri Jun 05, 2015 8:17 am
Location: West Midlands

Re: Best scanner for UK newbie?

Postby Blackjack56 » Fri Nov 30, 2018 10:37 am

I would say buy her the Uniden 125 it's a VERY good scanner for the money, i agree with the comment that it could be a bit daunting for a beginner but don't worry too much about that as there are some very good tutorials on youtube. Also there is a feature called"close call"which you can set up to capture any nearby frequencies in your area(within the limits of preset bands which you can turn on and off)you can have this running in the background and still listen to your preset frequencies.Hope this helps,happy hunting!.
Blackjack56
 
Posts: 2
Joined: Sun Apr 15, 2018 1:34 pm

Re: Best scanner for UK newbie?

Postby Scan125 » Fri Nov 30, 2018 1:00 pm

Thanks Minus1

I can now see a little bit more clearly where the concept of a "channel" has come from and yes some people need shooting.

From the site you referenced:

-------------------------------
Frequency/channel tables
Normally in aviation (e.g. in radio telephony), the frequency in use is identified by the actual frequency. For the use of 8.33 kHz channel spaced communications, the frequency identification is replaced by a channel which uses a number (similar to the identification of a frequency) mapped to the actual frequency in use. The channel/frequency identification to be used for identifying frequencies with a channel spacing of 8.33 kHz is as shown in the “Related links” section.
-------------------------------

So in essence they have muddied the waters by mixing MHz and the concept of a channel to supposedly explain the inter 25kHz splits into 8.33kHz. To add more confusion to the already messed up situation airport charts for pilots document approach, departure, etc as nnn.xyz MHz.

Personally I think they would have been much better off in saying and explaining "that to accommodate the increase in the number of designated frequencies that can be used the 25kHz frequency spacing is being reduced to 8.333333kHz spacing thus giving us and extra 3 frequencies we can use". "As your radio equipment frequency dials do not have the required resolution to set frequencies on an 8.333333kHz step then we will call/use the nearest frequency dial settings to any given 8.33333333kHz step increment and your radio equipment will make the necessary adjustments to ensure the correct frequency is used."

I've said before pilots don't care/give a monkey about the finer details. They just want to set a value on their radio kit and expect to find someone at the other end. Till the 8.33333 they always set an absolute frequency and as far as they are concerned 118.010 MHz is 118.010 MHz. They never had channels so why the hell introduce the terminology which they actually ignore.
User avatar
Scan125
 
Posts: 247
Joined: Thu May 01, 2014 5:02 pm
Location: Southampton, UK

Re: Best scanner for UK newbie?

Postby Privateer » Fri Nov 30, 2018 1:12 pm

Hi all,

Wow, thank you to everybody for all of the replies and to each and every one of you for taking the time to help a newbie! :thumbup:

I think that I will buy my wife the Uniden UBC-125XLT as it's a reasonable price and the close call function sounds useful. In addition, as mentioned, there are a lot of YouTube videos for the Uniden UBC-125XLT.

We sometimes go to Jersey (Channel Islands) for a holiday and the Jersey Airshow is often on at the same time that we're there. It would be great to go to a viewpoint at the airfield and watch the Red Arrows arrive and depart the island as well as watch their display whilst listening to their radio communications during the display.

I know that there is a Windows program called Scan125 Control Program for programming and integrating the Uniden UBC-125XLT but unfortunately, my wife and I use Macs. Is there any way of keeping a file (text or .csv) on the Mac to update and then transfer via USB cable to the UBC-125XLT for updating the frequencies their labels/names/descriptions?

Many thanks,
Privateer
 
Posts: 2
Joined: Wed Nov 28, 2018 5:17 pm

Next

Return to General Discussion

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 1 guest