Part 2: Scanner Style

Beyond choosing a model that is compatible with your local agency’s technology you will also have to consider the style of scanner: base, mobile, or handheld (portable). You’ll want to choose a model that will accommodate how and where you plan on using your scanner. For example, if you are purchasing a scanner to listen to Nascar races you wouldn’t want a base unit since you will likely not have access to a 110v power supply at the track. Some models, such as the HomePatrol-1 and HomePatrol-2, can function as a combination of any of the three main types:

  • Base

    • These are units that are designed to be stationary and draw their power from a 110v power supply (wall outlet). If these units have a battery feature it is typically meant for very brief interruption from a constant power source, such as a power surge or flicker. Some mobile and portable units come equipped with a 110v power supply to be used as a base unit as well.
    • Example:  BC345CRSBC365CRSBCT15XWS1025BC355NWS1065WS1098BCD996P2BCD536HPHomePatrol-1HomePatrol-2
  • Mobile

    • A mobile unit is primarily in a vehicle and is typically mounted with a bracket or din sleeve. Mobile units can be powered via an included 12v adapter (cigarette lighter plug) or by hardwiring the unit directly to the vehicle’s battery power. Before purchasing a mobile unit for vehicle use it is recommended to check with your local government’s documentation for any laws or regulations prohibiting the possession or use of scanning equipment in a vehicle.
    • Example: BC355NBCT15XWS1065WS1098BCD996P2BCD536HPHomePatrol-1HomePatrol-2
  • Handheld/Portable

    • Handheld or portable units are compact radios that can be carried easily on your person and powered via battery pack or standard alkaline/Ni-Cad batteries. These types of scanners are perfect for use at events such as Nascar races and air shows, as temporary mobile units, or when a smaller form factor is desired.
    • Example: BC75XLTBC125ATWS1010WS1040WS1088BCD325P2BCD436HPHomePatrol-1HomePatrol-2

After you have discovered which type of scanner technology will be needed for your scanning purposes and have chosen a scanner style the only thing left to do is browse the models. But how do you know which one does what? What do the model numbers mean? Don’t worry—we’ll cover that in the final part of this guide.