1 – A Unique Gift That the Family Can Use Together
A desktop model scanner at home can keep everyone listening and occupied together. Gift choices are often predictable from year to year, and some family members are hard to please—let alone surprise. Even though each person has different tastes and age-appropriate needs, a basic scanner provides a fascinating stream of real-time information that rivals the Internet.
There are many types of models and a price range to suit every family budget, with lots of optional accessories to keep building your system. The most basic desktop scanner radio can be programmed to synch with your local county systems so you can tune in to hear police and emergency communications as they are happening. However, before purchasing, ensure that these will work in your area as different areas may require the use of upgraded scanners. For certain areas or more advanced applications, high-end digital scanner radios are recommended. Some of these will come pre-programmed, allowing for greater ease of use and functionality. When you place an order, be sure to list any additional counties you’d like to have available.
2 – You Can Customize Your Choice to Fit Your Family, Your Area, and Your Interest
Here are a few things to check before you make a choice of model:
- What type of radio system do your local county services use? Scanners are built for either conventional analog radio systems, trunking systems, or trunking and digital systems. Requirements vary widely around the country, with more and more major cities as well as far-flung counties using advanced digital radio signals.
- What type of model will serve you and your family best? The three basic categories are a base or desktop scanner, a portable or handheld type (ideal for use in a vehicle), and a mobile/base type that can be used at home or in the car.
- How much reception do you want? In other words, how far out do you want to receive? Most scanners will give you a 10 to 20 mile-range, but every location is different, and a lot depends on topography and local antennas. Be sure to look into mobile scanner antennas, too, if you plan to use it in your car.
- What type of display do you want, that is, numeric radio frequency, or alpha. The alpha, with the name of the source displayed, is certainly easier to read, especially if you plan to listen to many different frequencies. If you only expect to tune in your local police station, it won’t be a problem to read the numeric radio frequency.
3 – Stay Safe: Keep on Top of Local Weather Conditions
A radio scanner lets you listen to police and public safety agencies as they communicate about issues that matter for your family’s safety and comfort. In much of the country, weather conditions directly affect these concerns. If heavy snowfall impacts road accessibility or a blizzard condition creates hazards, you will hear about it as soon as public agencies
do. In tornado-prone areas, imagine the greater peace of mind you’ll feel when you can hear warnings a few moments earlier than you would without a scanner. Program your model to tune into national weather frequencies for a fascinating and useful stream of fast-changing weather information.
4 – Stay Safe: Be Aware of Emergency Activity in Your Area
Stay informed of local events that affect your family and friends, such as police activity, local fires, ambulance dispatches. As you get accustomed to your scanner, you will get to know more about local sources of interest, and with the right model, you can add feeds from other interesting areas all around the world.
Many public safety events, such as bank robberies, may never be reported in traditional news sources, even though they can directly affect your family’s well-being. These are the things that make local and world news, and you can hear about them as they unfold.
5 – Get Lasting Value out of Your Investment
Starting with the simplest, basic scanner, most of the functions described above are accessible. Upgrade to add more capabilities or to fit the demands of your locale. Your investment now will be the beginning of a new, rewarding hobby for you and the whole family. You can gradually build onto your system over time, with accessories and add-ons like additional antennas.
A radio scanner actually enriches your family life in unexpected ways. Kids will get a first-hand understanding of the professionalism and commitment required of emergency workers responding to the scene of an incident. They’ll see how the wider world functions while enjoying the fun of listening to train and air dispatches.
Share the family fun and excitement of tuning in to a “new” medium with all the attraction of the latest video game. Be safer, and make sure everyone is well-informed about the community. You could be setting the scene for a future radio broadcaster, or become the proud parent of a committed public servant who saves lives. Whatever type of scanner system you choose, it’s sure to be an entertaining—and surprising—Christmas gift this year.