Beginner's FAQ.

What is scanning?
Scanning got it's name from scanning receivers used in the early 1970's to scan more than one
frequency at a time. It is important to know, that unlike commercial radio stations, 2 way radio users
are not always talking on their radios. They would never get any work done! So instead of sitting
and waiting for something to happen, a scanner will scan through a list of frequencies and it will stop
on one when there is traffic to be heard. Once the transmission stops, most scanners with resume scanning.

What can I hear?
I started out 15 years ago just thinking I could only hear the police and fire departments on dad's scanner
until I got a Uniden BC-350a scanner for Christmas. I discovered that I could hear aircraft, ships, hospitals,
shipping companies, voice pagers, wireless phones, local news agencies, taxis, and many other things.
I was hooked. Picking up wireless phones is a thing of the past but there is still plenty of other traffic for you
to intercept.

What equipment do I need?
For most areas, a basic Uniden or Radio Shack scanner will suffice. Depending on what all
you want to listen to should determine how many channels you will need to start with. A good place to start
is a 100 channel or higher radio. With just fire and police departments in the area, this will take no time to
fill. I personally have several 1000 channel scanners and they are about half full.

I personally have a mix of hand held scanners, base, and mobile scanners. A base scanner is good if you
are doing most of your listening from home. As well, a mobile scanner is great if you are on the road allot.
If you want to listen in the car, home, in the yard, etc... , a hand held scanner may be what you need.

If you are in Mobile County, you will need a more advanced scanner that does trunking. The City of Mobile,
Mobile County, & City of Pensacola use computerized trunking systems and you will need a trunking capable
scanner to follow these systems. Uniden and Radio Shack both make scanners that will receive these systems.

Do I need a large outside antenna?
Not necessarily. It depends on how far away the radios are you are wanting to hear. You should be able to
hear a base station from 10 miles away with an indoor antenna. If a user is using a hand held radio, you will
need to be within one mile generally to hear it. If the person using a hand held (walkie talkie) and is talking
though a repeater, you can hear them from 10 miles away. Some, you can hear further away than others
because of band conditions, height of tower, and  transmit power used.  Of course, if you use an outside
antenna, you will be able to pick up communications from further distances.

Where can I get frequencies?
This website is here for that purpose. Through the years, I have been hard pressed to find scanning information
on the web for this area. Years later, I have assembled a very accurate database of frequencies for monitors
in the Gulf Coast area. I have several resources I use to obtain my information. I have scanners that do nothing
but search for new frequencies 24/7. Once I can validate who they are, I post the information.

Is there a local club I can join?
ABSOLUTELY! I started an online group called South Alabama Scan last year and we are growing by the week.
We share knowledge and ideas, radio frequencies, and more. You can also buy & sell equipment on our group
list. Check out . You can also subscrube on the main page of this

Can I email you with questions?
Sure. I love to hear from viewers of the site. You can click on the email me link on the left and ask away. If I
can't answer your question, I'll get it to someone who can.