Which scanner should I use ...?

General questions on scanning from 30 to 3000Mhz. Not sure what you can receive in your area? Here's the place to ask!

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colin
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Which scanner should I use ...?

Post by colin » Sat Feb 21, 2015 9:31 pm

OK, so I live in the bush, but travel metro on a regular basis, and not afraid of PC's, Raspberry Pi's or ARM's.

I'm currently using SDR-Radio and a RTL dongle to broadcast the Northam shire (Bobakine Hill) DFES channel 329 and 5 of the simplex channels. SDR-Radio allows 6 VFO's. (Going to change a simplex for Air Intel one day :-)

So, is there anything that a nice scanner (and I assume that the UBCD396XT is a nice scanner - I have only ever used Uniden, and RTL-SDR) can do that an in-car PC cannot?

Currently I have a UBC355XLT in my car, and can't key frequencies in on demand - this is these scanner I want to upgrade.

I believe that I can build a mini-itx car PC for around the $500 mark, and it will do more than just scan. A mini6410 for less, and a Pi for even less.

Please, any comments, thoughts, pit holes, or "I've done ...."

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Re: Which scanner should I use ...?

Post by yorky » Sat Feb 21, 2015 9:41 pm

Originally I had the idea of running multiple SDR's on a PC but never really tried. Power to the unit/power when cranking the car, and sound out are the main considerations. The 396XT I think can enter in a frequency on demand. Maybe.

Considering the cost of a new scanner its almost the same price to run a PC, although the headaches when things don't work oy vey ](*,) and not portable. Heat in cars with a PC is also an issue in summer.
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colin
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Re: Which scanner should I use ...?

Post by colin » Sat Feb 21, 2015 9:59 pm

Hi Yorky,

There now exists a dc-dc power supply with the smarts to survive cold cranking and shutdown / sleep the pc - http://www.mini-box.com/M2-ATX-160w-Int ... wer-Supply.

Still waiting for someone to solve the WA Sun problem - that's why I'm considering the ARM11 or RPi, not the same grunt though. Some of the mini-itx apparently run cool enough to not need a fan, but I expect they don't run as fast as an I7

Was thinking of replacing the AM/FM/ CD thing that is currently only used as line in from said scanner, and modifying the wiring harness to suit. I can use an SDR for when I need to listen to the cricket :-)

If I go down the RPi path, they will be small dedicated machines, and might look something like a mini blade server in a single din unit :-) To much geek?

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Re: Which scanner should I use ...?

Post by yorky » Sat Feb 21, 2015 10:08 pm

Yes true the DC-DC supplies are available, never used one myself though. There is a product (appears to be this one http://www.mini-box.com/picoUPS-120-12V ... tegory=981 ) that also integrates a small backup battery circuit, that you just hook a small SLA battery into if it dies during crank.

The WA Sun Problem pee's me off big time. I absolutely hate leaving my car in the sun in anything over 30-35C. Can not be good for some components/batteries with no airflow.

And never enough geek. Neverrrrr!!!
"VKI, NJ050 will you be attending the job?"
"Negative VKI, my desk is bolted to the floor".
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kylep
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Re: Which scanner should I use ...?

Post by kylep » Sun Feb 22, 2015 6:22 pm

Will be following this with interest. Have had a play with SDR on an old windows tower I have here, attempting to scan the GRN here in Sydney (P25 trunked). Haven't had a lot of success but haven't spent a lot of time on it yet. Also have a Raspberry Pi here that is doing nothing currently that I need to put to good use and this purpose or as a media box are probably the most likely.

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Re: Which scanner should I use ...?

Post by robbage » Mon Feb 23, 2015 5:47 pm

colin wrote:I believe that I can build a mini-itx car PC for around the $500 mark
I built a mini-itx home PC for x-mas for $240 not counting the kb with touchpad (connects to the big-screen TV). That box would be overkill for a car PC but would do the job. It can run from a laptop car charger. Lots of cheap touch screen HDMI displays available now too - the hardest decision is screen size. 10" might be a bit big for the dashboard.

Then there's the NUC and the Brix. You can get a basic Brix for $155 locally. Add RAM and HDD. Not sure if that box could keep up with SDR Sharp or a Linux SDR but I think it should...

The Mini-Box PSUs work well. I have the PicoPSU 160 running a Via EN-15000 on my desk and an old 60w board they don't sell any more running an old Via Epia 800 IPCop box. Then there's this little itx case which includes a 60w PSU I got for $70.

I've also tried a couple of 1.6GHz dual core netbooks. They struggle with SDR Sharp under Windows 7 but might be OK under Linux SDR. It also solves the car dropout problem when starting the engine. A decent dual core 2.2GHz net/notebook with HDMI out would be interesting to try.

The RPi 2 is looking pretty good though.
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Re: Which scanner should I use ...?

Post by matth2004 » Mon Feb 23, 2015 6:07 pm

Running an R pi model B here and it's working well on raspbian, rtl-sdr and multimon-ng. Just using a NooElec RTL-SDR dongle that I got for about $10
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