Posts: 1037
Joined: Fri Dec 31, 1999 4:49 pm

Atc Scanner

Wed May 03, 2000 3:01 pm

Can anyone recommend a reasonably priced handheld scanner to listen to atc at the airport? Thanks,
Posts: 1008
Joined: Fri Nov 05, 1999 11:28 am

RE: Atc Scanner

Wed May 03, 2000 3:08 pm

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).

Posts: 1398
Joined: Thu Feb 03, 2000 3:45 pm

Go Digital!

Wed May 03, 2000 3:39 pm

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.

Posts: 1008
Joined: Fri Nov 05, 1999 11:28 am

Digital Scanner's

Wed May 03, 2000 6:15 pm

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??

Posts: 545
Joined: Wed May 03, 2000 6:43 pm

RE: Atc Scanner

Wed May 03, 2000 7:03 pm

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 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
Posts: 1008
Joined: Fri Nov 05, 1999 11:28 am

RE: Atc Scanner

Wed May 03, 2000 7:17 pm

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.

Posts: 4727
Joined: Sat Dec 04, 1999 1:58 am

RE: Atc Scanner

Wed May 03, 2000 9:00 pm

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.
Posts: 4722
Joined: Wed May 19, 1999 10:42 pm

RE: Atc Scanner

Wed May 03, 2000 11:56 pm

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.

BWIADCA - Nikon D100
Posts: 598
Joined: Tue Oct 19, 1999 4:26 am

RE: Atc Scanner

Thu May 04, 2000 9:34 am

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.
Posts: 564
Joined: Sat Mar 11, 2000 12:33 pm

RE: Atc Scanner

Thu May 04, 2000 9:43 am

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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