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What are the best Digital Trunking Scanners on the market today? There’s a wide range of brands, with different features and capabilities available. Knowing which is right for you can be difficult.
You will clearly want something that will pick up on the objects you are interested in. Other important factors include reception and audio quality, programmability, and ease of use.
To help you in your search we have selected 5 top-rated Digital Trunking Scanners across a range of price points and design.
For our findings at a glance, just head to the table below. For a detailed review of each of our picks keep on reading.
Top 5 Best Digital Trunking Scanner
Uniden BCD436HP HomePatrol Series Digital Handheld Scanner. TrunkTracker V, Simple Programming, S.A.M.E. Emergency/Weather Alert, Covers USA and Canada
Whistler WS1065 Desktop Digital Scanner,Black
Radio Shack PRO-652 Digital Triple-Trunking Desktop Radio Scanner by RadioShack
Uniden SDS200 Advanced X Base/Mobile Digital Trunking Scanner, Incorporates The Latest True I/Q Receiver Technology, Best Digital Decode Performance in The Industry
Uniden HomePatrol-2 Color Touchscreen Simple Program Digital Scanner, TrunkTracker V and S,A,M,E, Emergency/Weather Alert, APCO P25 Phase 1 and 2! Covers USA and Canada, Quick Record and Playback
Our top pick handheld scanner for 2020 is the Uniden BCD436HP HomePatrol. With the onus being on ease of use, as well as a competitive affordability factor, this really is a highly recommended scanner.
Featuring Uniden‘s exclusive Close Call RF Capture feature, along with convenient GPS Connectivity, simply enter your zip code and let the TrunkTracker V do the rest.
The extra-large display makes reading important data nice and easy; add that to the Radio System Analysis and Discover Mode operation and you have a scanner a beginner can pick up and run with.
Users can immediately begin receiving communications used by a wide range of public safety services, including the Police, Fire service, EMS, and Ambulance. Other, harder to incept signals are also possible, allowing you to listen in on Aircraft and Military bandwidths too.
With a scan speed of 85 channels per second, you will quickly find signals of interest to you.
Uniden pitches it as the most advanced scanner available that can fit in the palm of your hand. And they are not far wrong.
Combine all the features listed above, along with the fact the inbuilt, patented radio system selection allows you to identify and monitor only nearby systems in the USA and Canada, and you have a versatile scanner that will certainly cover the demands of the average enthusiast.
Other options include a very useful instant replay; a feature that provides playback of up to 240 seconds (4 minutes) of the most recent transmissions.
You can also set up custom alerts. This means that you can set the unit to alert when a particular Channel or Unit ID begins. Be notified when a Close Call hit or an ID is transmitted with an Emergency Alert and be there to listen in.
The range of alerts you can program is impressive. Select from 9 different tone patterns, 15 volume settings, 7 colors, and 3 flash patterns. The customization of these features is nothing short of top-notch.
The first of the desktop digital trunking scanner in our top 5 review roundup comes from Whistler.
These guys know what they are doing when it comes to digital scanners, with a number of high-quality products on the market right now.
So does the Whistler WS1065 hold up? Let’s take a look at some of the features.
First off, we have the inbuilt, Menu Driven Programming with Context Sensitive Help. This really is a leap forward when it comes to ease of use and intuitive assistance.
With this, each menu item provides a few lines of help text. Desktop scanners are notoriously difficult to get to grips with for the beginner, there are just so many options.
And while the context-sensitive help doesn’t remove the myriad variables available, they do offer a way of getting to grips with them all a lot faster.
The Scan List-functionality is another feature that aids in the overall ease of use. Now you can arrange, group, and scan objects according to your preference.
Other features that demonstrate the high level of technical sophistication of the unit include the Free-Form Memory Organization (memory will efficiently adjust to the demands of the user), Digital AGC (that automatically compensates for low audio levels), and of course, Multi-System Trunking.
The latter ensures that scanning of Motorola, EDACS, LTR, and P25 trunked radio networks can be carried out with reliable ease.
In total, the WS1065 can store up to 1,800 frequencies. That’s a market-leading amount for a unit at this price point.
Furthermore, the virtual Scanner mode stores 21 various scanner configurations. When added together across all potential objects you have the capability for a total storage capacity of over 38,000 scannable objects.
Finally, for weather spotters, the Whistler WS1065 has a built-in Skywarn Storm Spotter Function. This allows the user to easily access frequencies used by storm spotter networks.
System Requirements: Only for use on Windows Operating System
Once again Uniden claim a top product prize in our 2020 scanner review round up. This time it is in the category of Best Destop Unit.
Let’s take a look at the features that made it our preferred choice this year.
Firstly, there is the Advanced Frequency Range that allows 25-512Mhz, 758-824, 849-869, 895-960, and 1240-1300MHz to be scanned.
Then you have the True I/Q receiver technology that ensures reliable digital performance no matter the strength of the signal.
The unit has the full USA/Canada Radio Database built-in with alphanumeric frequencies. Not only that, but purchase this unit from an official supplier and you can enjoy free lifetime updates on this frequency list.
PL/DPL/NAC are all supported of course. The unit also has Location Control for high specific location-based usage.
3. 5″ Customizable Color Display makes things easy to operate. Add that to the fact the scanner can tap into APCO P25 Phase I and II, Motorola, EDACS, and LTR Trunking, and you have a unit that really does deliver.
What to scan Airband, Marine Weather, and Analog signals? Great, you are covered with the SDS200.
Another excellent feature is the Direct Ethernet Connectivity for Streaming and Control. Not only does that offer sophisticated user control, with Optional paid downloadable upgrades you can increase the capability of the system for Capacity + and Connect +, DMR Tier III, XPT, Single-Channel DMR, NXDN 4800 and 9600, and EDACS use.
Finally, for overall peace of mind, free Uniden Sentinel Software updates will keep the SDS200 database and firmware current for the lifetime of the unit.
In the Package
Deludes AC adapter
12Vdc Power Cables
8 Gb MicroSD card
BNC telescopic antenna
Printed owner’s manual
Pros of the Uniden SDS200 Advanced X Base/Mobile Digital Trunking Scanner
True I/Q Receiver, Trunk Tracker X
Direct Ethernet Connectivity for Streaming and Control
Complete USA/Canada Radio Database
Location Control for Simple Operation
3. 5″ Customizable Color Display
Free lifetime updates
Can’t be programmed using Apple Macs
When it comes to top quality features, superior user control and wide scanning options there is very little that can beat the Uniden SDS200 desktop scanner.
Add all of this to the ethernet connectivity and update capabilities and you have a unit that will grow as your needs develop.
An easy choice for our number one desktop scanner in 2020.
5. Uniden HomePatrol-2 Color Touchscreen Simple Program Digital Scanner
The final unit in our top 5 is the Uniden HomePatrol-2. As one of the most popular Digital Police scanners on the market, it had to be reviewed.
As with the top pick handheld unit from Uniden, this will allow the beginner user to quickly locate Public Safety, Police, Fire, Ambulance, Aircraft, and Military objects.
Just enter your zip code and begin.
A similar technological ability is at play here. The unit can receive all unencrypted, non-proprietary radio systems in order to provide the user with superior listening ability.
The usual suspects are included of course (APCO-25 Phase I and Phase II digital, Motorola, EDACS, LTR, conventional analog and P25 digital channels), making for an extremely versatile system.
What differs here most is the context in which the scanner can be used. Built in a way that it can be dashed mounted, if you want to drive around while listening to objects, you can with the HomePatrol2.
It comes with a Vehicle Mount and can be easily connected to your car speakers. GPS location provides accurate positioning as you drive.
It covers both USA and Canadain territories and can be powered via USB or batteries, again making it an excellent choice for patrol style used.
It also has an easy touch screen interface, again important if being used while on the road.
In the Package
4 x AA NiMH Rechargeable Batteries
SMA to BNC Adapter
AC or DC power adapter is NOT included.
Pros of the Uniden HomePatrol-2 Color Touchscreen scanner
Excellent for in-vehicle, patrol use
Receives all unencrypted, non-proprietary radio systems
Tracks APCO-25 Phase I and Phase II digital, Motorola, EDACS, LTR, conventional analog and P25 digital channels
USB or battery-powered
Full USA and Canadain use
Audio is not as good as other premium scanners
Doesn’t work with Apple Macs
Uniden has come up trumps again, this time in the category of patrol style vehicle-use scanning. Easily connect this up and enjoy scanner capabilities as you drive.
Everything is setup to this end. So if this describes the way you wish to use your scanner after purchase, this is the unit to buy.