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Atc Scanner  
User currently offlineBen88 From United States of America, joined Dec 1999, 1093 posts, RR: 2
Posted (16 years 3 weeks 5 days 5 hours ago) and read 2138 times:

Can anyone recommend a reasonably priced handheld scanner to listen to atc at the airport? Thanks,

9 replies: All unread, jump to last
User currently offlineB727-200 From Australia, joined Nov 1999, 1051 posts, RR: 2
Reply 1, posted (16 years 3 weeks 5 days 5 hours ago) and read 2054 times:

Radioshack make a very affordable, analogue scanner which retails in Australia for about A$45 (should be about US$25). Since Radioshack is a US company I would imagine they would stock these there also (or similar).


User currently offlineN949WP From Hong Kong, joined Feb 2000, 1437 posts, RR: 1
Reply 2, posted (16 years 3 weeks 5 days 5 hours ago) and read 2050 times:

I'd recommend a scanner with digital tuning if possible.

With ATC frequencies often bunched together tightly, you'll be hard-pressed to home-in on the exact frequency with the old-fashioned tuning dials on analog scanners. Besides, if no one is transmitting at that moment, you won't even know if you've got the right frequency.

On the other hand, you can precisely tune a digital scanner to any frequency of your choice, regardless of how tightly-packed are the ATC frequencies and whether or not anyone is transmitting at that instance.


User currently offlineB727-200 From Australia, joined Nov 1999, 1051 posts, RR: 2
Reply 3, posted (16 years 3 weeks 5 days 2 hours ago) and read 2042 times:

If anyone can find a reasonably priced digital scanner, please let me know. As a comparison, I have found that a basic digital scanner will cost roughly 6-7 times that of the analogue one mentioned above.

Heck, if I was not saving for nuptials, I would get a digital scanner myself. I have had a ball with the old scanner, but the thought of having presets and stuff is great. You are right, moving from frequency to frequency can be tricky on the analogue ones.

Wonder if I can request one for a wedding present??


User currently offlineBodobodo From Canada, joined May 2000, 553 posts, RR: 10
Reply 4, posted (16 years 3 weeks 5 days 1 hour ago) and read 2045 times:

Check out the following site for the most comprehensive scanner information and reviews that I have found. It was the most useful site when I was looking for a scanner.


There is currently a very good deal on a scanner which Sony is discontinuing (the Sony scanner ICFSC1) at the following URL:


Otherwise check into the following scanners. You shouldn't be disappointed in any of them:

Relm HS200 (what I use to listen to ATC...excellent scanner although now harder to find)
Uniden Bearcat 245XLT
Uniden Sportcat 180 or 200
many others

One key thing, however, is to make sure that you also buy a better antenna than the standard one that comes with the scanner. The standard one will be find if you are at the airport but won't be great farther out. I live about 20-25 miles from Dorval Airport in Montreal and most of the time I can hear the tower, ground, and apron controllers and pretty much anything that is in the air using the combination of a Relm HS200 with the Radio Shack 20-006 antenna.

The Strongsignals.net site also has a classified section (under Community-->For Sale board) which is where I bought my Relm HS200 and my Icom ICR2.

If you're reading reviews... the key frequency range of interest for ATC is 108 to 137 kHz.

Hope that helps

User currently offlineB727-200 From Australia, joined Nov 1999, 1051 posts, RR: 2
Reply 5, posted (16 years 3 weeks 5 days 1 hour ago) and read 2031 times:

Good point on the antenna. I have a flexible extension that slots over the top of the original chrome-plated telescopic antenna. Otherwise you would need to be at the airport perimeter to pick up everything.


User currently offlineGoingboeing From United States of America, joined Dec 1999, 4875 posts, RR: 15
Reply 6, posted (16 years 3 weeks 4 days 23 hours ago) and read 2028 times:

Radio shack carries a pretty nice unit for around US$200. It's digital and also has UHF public service band, which can pick up some ground op's at the airport. It has a small whip antennae, and I live about 50 miles from MCI but I can hear the aircraft on approach from home (I just can't hear the ground controllers). It scans the frequencies you select pretty quickly, so you can usually follow a plane being passed from approach to tower with no problem at all.

User currently offlineLindy From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 7, posted (16 years 3 weeks 4 days 20 hours ago) and read 2015 times:

I bought my scanner in Radioshack for $99,. I can listening everyhing, including police, fire dept. marines and of course air. when I'm at the airport I can get ground ops as well, but from my home I can listening only approach for BWI IAD DCA.
This is digital one.


User currently offlineExnonrev From United States of America, joined Oct 1999, 621 posts, RR: 3
Reply 8, posted (16 years 3 weeks 4 days 11 hours ago) and read 1998 times:

As already mentioned, a programmable digital scanner is the only way to go. Radio Shack and Uniden have several handheld models in the $100-$150 range that do a fine job at the airport. Once you get more than a mile or two away, you'll need an external antenna. (this is also true of the expensive models)

Be wary of the least expensive models. A few of them don't have the 118-136 MHz band you're buying the radio for in the first place.

If you want to go all out, try to find a used Radio Shack PRO-43. This one was made from '92-'95 and is considered an all-time classic by scanner enthusiasts. What makes the -43 good for aviation enhusiasts is its coverage of the 225-400 MHz UHF military aircraft band. They originally listed for $350. I got mine on closeout at RS in '95 for $280. Five years after they were discontinued they still fetch $200+ due to their popularity. Worth every penny if you can find somebody willing to part with one.

User currently offlineKALB From United States of America, joined Mar 2000, 573 posts, RR: 0
Reply 9, posted (16 years 3 weeks 4 days 11 hours ago) and read 1987 times:

I have a scanner/receiver (hand held) from Sporty's Pilot Shop. It was given to me as a gift, but I believe it costs $150.00 (US) plus shipping. I listen to Boston Center and Albany Approach with no difficulty. It also receives military frequencies. Its fun to have..."USairways 1062, descend and maintain 12,000...Albany altimeter is 30.35".

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