Recommendations for a Portable Scanner?

Jan 24, 2006
Tallahassee, FL
I'm looking into getting a portable scanner. So far I'm looking at this one:

It seems like a pretty decent scanner. I don't have the resources to deal with an internal scanner which requires a console, etc. I just want something portable and simple, but with the necessary features. Anyone have any recommendations?

I'm not very savy when it comes to HAM radios/Scanners, etc. Any recommendations are welcome, more or less expensive! :D
I own the model of scanner you are considering. It was on sale for $149 in December and I essentially told my wife to buy it as a Christmas gift or I was going to buy it anyway. Needless to say it made her gift choice much easier. The model is easy to use and I've had no problems with it. Sound and signal quality are excellent. You can program in your local Skywarm freqs and push that button to listen. The same button will also get you all the NOAA Wx Radio freqs. It did take me a while to learn how to program the talk IDs for the trunked frequencies. The "signal stalker" control is a nifty function that will pick up any signal in the area. You can also use rechargable batteries in this which over time will save plenty of money. I grabbed an Energizer charger that came with four 2500 mAh (generally the highest amount of charge available) batteries and purchased four more for $10. The charger also can be plugged into the car's cig lighter. The model is not digital which is fine for most areas. A lot of the bigger cities and even some smaller ones are switching to digital. Not usually an issue for chase purposes and most towns in the Plains. I couldn't justify the additional $200-$300 for the digital model. Perhaps those models will fall in price with time like most technology.

If you don't need the gizmo too fast consider waiting for a sale price. I've also seen that model on eBay. Be sure to pick up a copy of "Police Call" at Radio Shack for $20 which will give you a huge pile of freqs. I got the 2005 version for half price - $10.
That's a decent scanner Marc, and would certainly do the job. A lot of users have simply "mounted" them in a cup holder and it's worked out pretty good.

As far as "simple" is concerned though, you'll find that you need to learn quite a bit to do any programming on this item. "service" searches (including NOAA weather) are easy enough though.. but it would be a shame if that's all you used this for... there's simpler and cheaper scanners that will do that part just as well.

I would recommend an an excellent resource for user opinions and reviews.
Thanks for the tips guys! Would you happen to know of anything cheaper that would pick up the Skywarn and WX frequencies just as well as this model? I don't know how much I'm going to use this. I guess I'll have to wait until I can toy around with it and figure out what I'm doing. I mostly want it for listening in on Hams reporting severe weather in the field. I just want that extra edge of information so that I can retreat if in danger, or move to wherever that person is, if they are observing a tornado in a different area. I would probably listen in on police, etc as well though.
Hi again,

I would have said something like this model would have sufficed for your needs:

..until you mentioned that you may want to listen to police etc., in which case the original model you mentioned might be the better choice since it supports trunking (which most police agencies are either using or at least migrating to).

Pretty well any bargain-basement scanner can pick up weather and ham frequencies.. it's other other stuff that adds to the complexity and cost of the unit.
Rumor in the scanner forum is the RS Pro 97 you're looking at may go back on sale the first week of March. Again, there is always eBay. Several of them on there right now including a 169.99 BIN.
Originally posted by Justin Turcotte
Again, there is always eBay.

I got a deal on three scanners (one auction). A Radio Shack Pro-2053 (trunking), Uniden BearCat 7, and a handheld Uniden for $150. I've looked and you can get an older trunking scanner for around $50-$80 sometimes. You might try to find a close HAMfest as well, there's always deals at those.
Hey, Marc theres a hamfest coming up here in Gville the last weekend in April. Id get the $99 one, it has Signal Stalker and I think a Skywarn programmable frequency. You can hit the hamfest for antennas!! :D

Thank you all for the recommendations. I think I'll probably end up going with a cheaper model like some of you suggested. I don't know enought about "radio stuff" to go out and buy a high-functioning scanner right now. Hopefully, as I learn I will though. Thanks for the help! :D
I wanted to let you know that I did decided on a cheaper model. It is the Radio Shack Pro-82 scanner. It had better overall reviews than the Pro 83. Here is the link...

I found a price on ebay that I could not pass up. I love ebay! Anyway, hopefully this scanner will do mostly what I want it to. I don't know what the typical Skywarn frequencies are or the HAM weather reporting frequencies are... any help here? I'm new to this. Anyway I think I will be satisfied. Thanks again for all the help. :)