Who doesn’t like looking at other peoples radio equipment?, I certainly do and Facebook tends to be my social network of choice with the few scanner related groups I follow serving up a daily selection of other peoples radio collections.

The one thing you’ll notice when looking at enough pictures of radio hobbyists listening dens, is a vast majority have at least one Radio Shack/Realistic model nestling among all the newer radio scanner gear.

Realistic Pro-2020 Radio Scanner

Realistic Pro-2020 Radio Scanner (picture courtesy of the RigPix.com website)

Whether these have been with the scanner user a long time, were bought as a cheap entry level radio to run alongside all the other trunking and ham radio spec kit or part of a radio collecting obsession, doesn’t really matter because they’re there all the same.

Simpler Radio Scanners for a Simpler Time

When all the good stuff was sent in the clear and any serious attempt at mass encryption was well into the future, these simple (and cheap to buy secondhand)  scanners were real gems. Duplex radio channels were well documented and getting both sides of a conversation was easily done with a good receiving location.

Still Got their Uses?

So the police and other EMS is out of reach (totally in the UK with the USA quickly catching up) and much of the PMR is moving over to collective trunking systems, but these little scanners still have their place. Monitoring a bunch of spot frequencies is well suited to an addition basic scanner, where its just a case of switching on and pressing one button.

A typical use for me is having one set up on all the VHF/UHF ham calling frequencies. Given the right day and time, I’ll find a nice bit of activity on these channels (while leaving my full mode scanners free for other stuff).

The funny thing is that even though I’ve had more Radio Shack scanners in my stable than I can remember, I don’t own any at the moment!. This is mainly due to a massive cull during the last house move, but I’m sure to find a nice model in the various radio rallies I visit throughout the summer months 🙂

The Trunking Curve

I get regular emails from users who fall into a real mess when trying to get to grips with a new type trunking scanner (and it sometimes doesn’t help that they’ve used the more basic types before).

The new technology has great advantages and is needed to deal with today’s new radio networks, but can be one massive learning curve.

There’s no doubt that newer scanner tech gives a lot more for us to play (and deal) with but with producers like the Whistler Group still including the simpler scanners in their range, these basic models will hopefully still be around for many years to come (even if it just an easy way for new users to get into the hobby without going crazy over a new all singing, all dancing trunking scanner).

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