Sometimes it can be a long wait when listening for interesting transmissions on your radio scanner especially when monitoring those frequencies with very little activity.
But there is another way…….
Capturing the Audio from your Scanner
By hooking your scanner up to a computer running a software scanner recorder you will end up with a seamless compressed account of all the signals your scanner has received allowing you to go and do other things.
Just take the audio from the scanners headphone socket and plug it straight into the computers microphone socket, a length of headphone wire with a stereo 3.5MM jack plug will work for the vast amount of radio scanners. This setup works better when the headphone output is in stereo but will work with a mono output just with less quality in the finished recorded audio.
There are a couple of free software packages that can be downloaded from the internet and easily found by doing a search for “radio scanner recorder”, the software is pretty basic and you wont need a super computer to run it.
How Scanner Recorders Work
The software works by taking every bit of audio that goes into the microphone socket and continuously adding it to a large sound file by using a VOX (Voice Operated Switch) which will only turn on at a certain level of audio to avoid recording any unwanted sounds to the file.
Take some time to set up the squelch on your scanner to make sure that it only sends out clear transmission audio and the squelch doesn’t break when your next door neighbor turns on a light or your recorded audio is going to be hard to listen to.
This system works best when used with VHF/UHF FM signals as there is less noise and very little chance that the squelch will be broken by interference. Use on the HF bands is possible with a very strong squelch setting to make sure the static doesn’t turn the VOX on but this may cut off a lot of signals.
Flexibility and Broad Limits
Playback can either be listened to on the computer that recorded it of you could export it to a format like MP3 and listen to it while on the go. Because there is no real physical device like a magnetic tape to store the recording you are only limited by the size of the computers hard drive meaning this setup can be left for days capturing all scanner activity.
I have used a scanner recording system on and off for a few years now even setting up a dedicated old 486 computer so it can be left running for long periods. Its a good time saver and if you find yourself spending a lot of time listening to static this solution may be right for you.