Guide to Scanners
Understanding Scanners
Types of Scanners
Scanner Accessories
Trouble- shooting
Reception Issues
Chasing Birdies
Image Reception
Legal Issues
Scanning Hints
Standard Frequencies
Usage and Intervals
Band Allocation
Frequency Conversion
Additional Resources
Scanner Glossary

 RadioShack Guide to Scanners

Types of Scanners

Scanners are identified by describing the physical type of the scanner and by the scanning method it uses.

Physical Types

The three physical types of scanners are Handheld, Mobile and Desktop. The primary differences between these three types are shown in the table below. Range is dependent on the antenna used, and a handheld scanner can usually be used in a mobile or desktop environment by attaching it to a vehicle-mounted or base-station antenna (see Scanner Antennas and Other Accessories).

  Handheld Scanners Mobile Scanners Desktop Scanners
Primary Usage Personal use Vehicle use Home use
Power Source Battery
AC/DC Jack
DC Power Connections AC Power Connections
Antenna Small Rubber Antenna On-vehicle Antenna Base-station Antenna
Advantages Portability
Small size
Optimized for Vehicle Optimized for Desktop
Disadvantages Shortest Range DC Power only AC Power only

Scanning Methods

The three basic scanning methods are Crystal-controlled, Conventional Programmable and Trunktracking Programmable. The primary differences between these three types are shown in the table below.

  Crystal-controlled Programmable
  Conventional Trunktracking
Cost No longer sold Average Highest
Ease of Use Easiest Average Average
Frequencies Very Limited Average Excellent
Advantages n/a Cost Trunktracking
Limitations No longer sold Cannot trunktrack Can be more expensive

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