Radios that don’t just receive AM and FM…

Posted on March 12th, 2006 in Opinion by Julian Edgar

But having said that, in addition to normal AM/FM radios in the house and car, I have two other radios. One is a Uniden 200 channel scanner that I use to listen to local emergency services – police, fire, ambulance – and also the local trains. I don’t switch it on all that often but if there’s an emergency – and I live in a bushfire-prone area – or I feel like an interesting hour or so, I’ll turn the knobs and let it automatically scan through its two hundred selected frequencies.

The Uniden came from a local secondhand store – I think it was about AUD$100 – and luckily enough, it came fully programmed. (It’s usually pretty easy to find a bunch of relevant frequencies by doing a web search. The pain is punching them all in.) I don’t know what model the Uniden is (and working out how to use it was initially a little difficult) because most of the writing seems to have rubbed off the main body of the radio. Until recently I also didn’t have much idea of how good or bad it was. Despite living in a valley at the top of some hills, the local services come through loud and clearly from a radius of about 50 kilometres – and that’s just using the standard rubber ducky aerial. But whether another radio would be much better or worse, without trying one, I didn’t know.