Want a scanner and already know which one?

Whether you're new to scanners or you're purchasing a scanner as a gift, or you wish to purchase a more advanced scanner for yourself, programming a scanner can be a daunting task for all but the most patient and software-literate people. Scanners must be programmed to receive the radio frequencies, and radio systems, in your area. Once programmed scanners are fascinating and fun to use, but it's this initial set-up that takes some work.

To program a new scanner your options are:

1. Purchase a scanner from Scanner Master and program the radio from the front panel keypad. This is OK for basic scanners and even higher-end scanners if you are very familiar with the frequencies used in your area (or in the area the scanner will be used) and if you accept that to program the "alpha tags" (the agency names in text which you can program on mid-range and high-end scanners along with the frequencies), or to program the complex trunking systems, it's going to be a very tedious job.

2. Purchase a scanner from Scanner Master and buy our programming software. Programming software is available for many low-end scanners and all mid-range and high-end scanners. With our programming software (which is offered at a discount when you purchase it with a scanner for an average of $35) and a subscription to RadioReference.com which we also sell for as little as $15 and which provides you with all the frequency and trunking system data, you'll be able to program your scanner yourself far more easily than if you tried to do it by hand. You connect your PC (sorry, no Mac software is available) to the scanner, run the software, auto download data into the software from radioreference.com and program the radio automatically. It's not that difficult but there's still a learning curve to understanding the software and radio systems you're downloading. For some scanners a custom USB cable, also available from Scanner Master, will be required as well.

3. Have Scanner Master program the scanner for you. We will program it before the radio ships to you or to your gift recipient.

Our most popular option is to have Scanner Master Program the scanner for you.

(Note that there are scanners on the market today that come pre-programmed and for some folks this is a wise choice. However, there are some serious pitfalls. First, the only pre-programmed scanner on the market as of today, the PRO-107 which we sell, cannot handle digital transmissions which is the format most newer radio systems use. Secondly, pre-programmed scanners do not have the flexibility and functionality of a standard scanner as far as making changes to the programming and adding frequencies, especially "on-the-fly." You're locked into the manner in which the programming has been set-up for you unless you want to do your own tweaking, which is in effect just like programming. So while pre-programmed scanners are OK, we recommend them mainly for novices who do not wish to be anything more than that.)