What is a Scanner?
There are several terms which are sometimes used instead of the word scanner some of which are “Receivers” “Communication Receivers” so it’s only fair to assume a scanners does exactly that – Receive.
A scanner is a radio capable of receiving radio transmitions for example when someone talks on a two-way radio a scanner is able to “Receive” that transmition however it is not capable of being able to transmit back.
How does a Scanner work?
Basically the user programs a frequency for the user they want to listen to, a common one is your local law enforcement agency e.g. Queensland Police Service, You would go to Aussiescanners or ACMA Search and search for the frequency for your area for example 468.2750 for Logan area in Queensland, Australia. You program the frequency (numbers) into your scanner and when they make a transmition you will be able to receive the conversation.
The term “Scanner” refers to how the radio works, you would program some frequencies for the agencies you wish to listen to and your scanner will scan through the frequencies until it picks up someone talking and then stop until the transmition (Conversation) has ended.
Is scanning legal?
Scanning in Australia is completely legal however there are certain rules you must abide by, for example if you hear something on your scanner you “Can’t act on the information” e.g. if you hear an accident it would be illegal for you to get in your car and drive down there to have a look as you are acting on information you heard on the scanner. You must not pass any information you have heard onto other people e.g. phone numbers, names, addresses etc. And it must not be used unlawfully e.g. to commit/assist in a crime.
What sort of scanner do I need and where do I get one?
The types of scanners are endless there are a lot of different brands and functions which you can get in a scanner but narrowing it down there are two different types, there is a handheld type which can be carried around or is good if you want to take it with you to different locations. Or there is a base scanner which is more of a permanent install e.g. on your desk or installed in your car.
When starting out it is recommended you get a basic scanner for example a Uniden 92xlt or something from Unidens 'EZI' Range these range from around 120-250$
You can buy a scanner from your local electronics store e.g. Dick Smiths, Tandy or online from Prestige Communications or other online stores. Ebay is a good place to buy cheap radio gear or second hand radios.
Some Common Scanning Terms:
Frequency – The number allocated to that radio equipment, agency or repeater
Repeater – Used to extend the range of a transmition by the signal being sent to a “repater” generally situated on a hill of some time and transmitted again over a larger distance.
Encrypted - A type of radio protocol that offers extra security to its users. Note: No scanner can decode encryption especially Brisbane Police