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Cheap RC Scanner

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Old 07-03-2005, 11:50 AM
  #1  
apteryx
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Default Cheap RC Scanner

Ever wonder what signals are lurking at the field ?

Here is one way to find out. Buy a Bearcat BC60XLT-1 (...these BC60XLT-1s seem to be plentiful and available everywhere), you can get them for around $40 to $50 (sometimes less) on ebay. This is a 30 channel scanner which works pretty well and is set up for the 29Mhz to 54Mhz, 137Mhz to 174Mhz, and 406Mhz to 512Mhz. Doesn't look too useful ....wrong frequencies and not enough channels ?? aaaah !

There is an online site with mods but their info has some errors.

First, make sure it works because you don't want to chase problems you didn't create. Then take the 4 screws out of the back (two are in the battery compartment) and pull the rear cover off. Yes, it does come off.

Remove the top board which is has one connector to the lower board ...it does come apart. Remove the 4 screws holding the shield over the processor. There should be 2 solder pads below pins 1 and 2 of the processor (lower left corner when viewed from the back, count counterclockwise. One pad is wired to pin 2 of the processor. Add a wire jumper across the pads and you now have an 80 channel scanner and one problem is resolved.

These scanners are designed as a USA version with 29Mhz to 54Mhz --OR-- a European version which scans 66Mhz to 88Mhz. You really don't need that battery charger switch in the battery compartment since these scanners run a long time on regular batteries. Look at the first board you removed and you will see a trace from the large resistor to the switch, cut it. Solder a small wire to the trace going to the switch and connect the other end of the wire to pin 1 of the processor on the other board. Be careful to not break the pin off and that you don't bridge to pin 2. That switch now serves to ground pin 1 (check it). Grounded is the European version, Ungrounded is the US Version. The purpose of the switch, which originally shorted out the resistor, was to provide a ~1.5 volt drop to the scanner if your are using alkaline batteries. The resistor is always in the circuit after the mod so nicad batteries should not be used (voltage now too low).

Put the thing back together again.

Now what you have is a scanner you can set for the ten 50Mhz frequencies, AND the fifty 72Mhz frequencies (with channel 11-60 readout), AND the eight 53Mhz frequencies, AND get weather reports, AND you have 12 more to program for whatever, ....75Mhz ?. Pretty cool.

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Old 07-05-2005, 03:00 PM
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Default RE: Cheap RC Scanner

Or, just go to the Tower Hobbies site and buy the brand new Hobbico: http://www.hobbico.com/fieldequip/hcap0340.html $49.99 minus any discount you can muster.

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Old 07-05-2005, 03:08 PM
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Default RE: Cheap RC Scanner

Jim,
I agree with you. I looked at the Bearcat, but the going price on ebay is closer to $60-65 rather than $40 and unless you want to scan other frequencies to listen to police, wx, etc, it's more economical to just get the tower unit.
BRG,
Jon
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Old 07-05-2005, 07:10 PM
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Default RE: Cheap RC Scanner


ORIGINAL: F106A

Jim,
I agree with you. I looked at the Bearcat, but the going price on ebay is closer to $60-65 rather than $40 and unless you want to scan other frequencies to listen to police, wx, etc, it's more economical to just get the tower unit.
BRG,
Jon
Fellows, you are comparing apples to oranges. Both are a fruit but that is where it stops.

If all you are interested in is another transmitter with in 1000 feet (with optional ant.) then by all means get the Hobbico (I have one too). However, the scanner is much more sensitive and will detect another signal much further away. So if you need both, go with the scanner. If not get the Hobbico. Or as I have get both units.
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Old 07-05-2005, 07:14 PM
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Default RE: Cheap RC Scanner

Don't know how good the Tower Hobbies unit is, I'll have to look at the specs. Can you do an antenna down distance check and when your plane receiver can't detect the transmitter signal any more, does the Tower Hobbies scanner still see it ? Sensitivity ....to catch weak signals which may affect you after you are in the air and a good ways off. Selectivity .....to not light up adjacent channels with a strong signal. Overload ......does a strong signal desensitize the receiver for other signals. Can you hear the signal ........ to tell you what it is ....PCM, static. an FM transmitter, etc.

I wanted something which will scan 50Mhz, 53mhz and 72Mhz (and 75Mhz if I want to) ....this does that.

Got another scanner off ebay (for $40 plus $5 postage) and it's a later version which has the UC2345 processor, smaller components, and a new PC board layout. The pins to be modified remain the same ...pin 1 and pin 2. Same type rework. Picture attached.
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Old 07-05-2005, 07:36 PM
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Default RE: Cheap RC Scanner

OK, I looked at the specs of the Tower Hobbies scanner and it looks like something you bring to a flying field to do a quick check to see if anyone lit up a transmitter on/near your frequency. As such, it's a valuable tool for preventing accidents. A regular acanner does so much more .....including allowing you to "park" on your Tx frequency and listen for a period of time for periodic interference.

Dan, you are exactly correct with your apples to oranges comparison.
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Old 07-06-2005, 09:29 AM
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Default RE: Cheap RC Scanner

Here is what you can use the spare 12 channels for .....a very rough
spectrum analyzer.

The filters in the scanner are set so you can not choose a granularity
less than 5Khz. Example; if you have a transmitter on Ch 34 (72.470Mhz)
set the following 72.450, 72.455, 72.460, 72.465, 72.470, 72.475, 72.480,
72.485, 72.490 that's a range of 40Khz. Turn the squelch off and listen
to your transmitter with the Tx antenna down. Using the small scanner
antenna (a longer one would be better), this is what I heard on one of my
NB transmitters:

72.450 background noise
72.455 background noise
72.460 signal but distorted
72.465 good signal
72.470 slightly better signal
72.475 good signal
72.480 signal but distorted
72.485 background noise
72.490 background noise

If the center was shifted 5Khz (or more) it would indicate a bad, off
frequency, crystal.

-------------------------------------
On the scanner discussion in previous notes and since this is a "receiver" it would be best to use a better antenna ....41" or so for 72Mhz to improve sensitivity.
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Old 07-06-2005, 10:05 AM
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Default RE: Cheap RC Scanner


ORIGINAL: iflyj3


ORIGINAL: F106A

Jim,
I agree with you. I looked at the Bearcat, but the going price on ebay is closer to $60-65 rather than $40 and unless you want to scan other frequencies to listen to police, wx, etc, it's more economical to just get the tower unit.
BRG,
Jon
Fellows, you are comparing apples to oranges. Both are a fruit but that is where it stops.

If all you are interested in is another transmitter with in 1000 feet (with optional ant.) then by all means get the Hobbico (I have one too). However, the scanner is much more sensitive and will detect another signal much further away. So if you need both, go with the scanner. If not get the Hobbico. Or as I have get both units.
We are also responding to "Cheap RC Scanner" -- You are correct that a real scanner is more accurate and sensitive, but is NOT CHEAP. If you really want to analyze the airways around your field then a comprehensive Spectrum Analyzer is the way to go. These are typically used by hosts during major RC events.
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Old 07-08-2005, 08:34 PM
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Default RE: Cheap RC Scanner

Here is yet something else you can do with it.........

You can also check for "off frequency" interference by setting "chain search" on the scanner ......say for Chain 1 from 72.00Mhz to 73.00Mhz, Chain 2 from 50.78Mhz to 51.00Mhz, and Chain 3 from 53.00Mhz to 53.90Mhz. This will search those (selectable ...one, two or all three) frequency ranges in 5Khz increments looking for signals.

It's a good idea to get a telescoping antenna for it. I don't know if Uniden offers one but it would definitely further improve sensitivity.

....and I just bought another one off ebay for $35 total (including shipping).
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Old 07-10-2005, 05:07 PM
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Default RE: Cheap RC Scanner

Shameless plug for those who might want more,

[link=http://www.desert-wolfe.com/rcscan]www.desert-wolfe.com/rcscan[/link]

A dedicated RC Scanner that can be used for quick checks at the field as well as more sophisticated checking when the need arises.
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Old 07-11-2005, 07:59 AM
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Default RE: Cheap RC Scanner

Hi,
You must be looking some place on ebay that I haven't found yet. The last scanner I saw, a couple of days ago, went for $62.82. In the last several weeks I've never seen one go for less than $50.
BRG,
Jon
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Old 07-13-2005, 02:29 PM
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Default RE: Cheap RC Scanner

I have on order the 75MHz Hobbico unit. One problem I am anticipating with it is its slow scan speed; it is no good for finding intermittent noise (which we have a lot of at our location--inside a metal building). It sounds like the Uniden would be a better troubleshooting tool, correct?
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Old 07-14-2005, 01:17 PM
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Default RE: Cheap RC Scanner

Well, I think so. You can set the Uniden to search only your desired Tx frequency, say plus or minus 10Khz in 5Khz increments over and over again to look for interference. I believe the search rate is 10/sec. Or you can just set it on your frequency, cut the squelch down and listen to what you hear.
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Old 07-15-2005, 09:55 AM
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Default RE: Cheap RC Scanner

Can the BC80 be modified in a similiar way. It seems BC80s are cheaper on Ebay than BC60s.
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Old 07-15-2005, 10:43 AM
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Default RE: Cheap RC Scanner

If you ever listen to the signals you will see right away what an RC signal is compared to noise or interferance. While the Hobbico unit is great for many modelers a scanner with audio is far superior. I use a Yeasu VX5R which is a little over $200 and the one described here does the same thing for the RC frequencies making it an excellent "CHEAP" scanner.
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Old 07-15-2005, 01:04 PM
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Default RE: Cheap RC Scanner

I've never looked into a BC80XLT, if they look about the same inside and have the same module, I'd try it and see.
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Old 07-15-2005, 06:06 PM
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Default RE: Cheap RC Scanner

By the way, I'm talking about today's very popular BC60XLT-1 scanner. The earlier BC60XLT from 10-15+ ? years ago with the tiny LCD screen and green button which only scans 10 frequencies is a completely different scanner and has a completely different processor which I haven't tried.
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Old 07-21-2005, 09:23 AM
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Default RE: Cheap RC Scanner

Apteryx,

Could you not add another switch to the side of the scanner for the purpose of grounding pin 1? Then you would preserve the ability to use NiCds and the charger plus be able to switch freq. If so, then pin 1 to switch, switch to gnd? Is that correct? By ground you mean negative battery?
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Old 07-21-2005, 07:40 PM
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Default RE: Cheap RC Scanner

Sure you can add another switch to ground pin 1 if you want. By "ground" I mean circuit board common ground.
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Old 08-24-2005, 11:29 AM
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Default RE: Cheap RC Scanner

I have an old Bearcat 100xlt. Does anyone know of a way to hack it to receive 72 mhz? It does not have the same cpu as those shown in this thread. However I did find a little info stating that there was a European version that did the 60-80 mhz.'

Thanks
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Old 08-25-2005, 10:15 PM
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Default RE: Cheap RC Scanner

On the 100XLT, could be convertible if you can find out what they did to make the European model ...or find one of your friends who has a European model or can send you a closeup picture of the board. What is the processor in that one ? Have you taken it apart and given the area around the processor a close look ? see unsoldered pads ?

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Old 08-30-2005, 04:28 PM
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Default RE: Cheap RC Scanner

Good deal I just one a Bearcat BC60 XLT on ebay for $36.00 shipped if it works I will be tickled.
Thanks dude!!
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Old 09-03-2005, 09:12 PM
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Default RE: Cheap RC Scanner

Well I wrecked mine...pin one fell off. However its still got the 80 mod and still seems to function.
You got me hooked and now I see that the Icom R2 can scan all exept for cell frequencies at $125 or therabouts on ebay heck they even have one that doubles as a TV!!!
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Old 09-03-2005, 09:13 PM
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Default RE: Cheap RC Scanner

http://www.charlesriverrc.org/articl...r2quickref.htm
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Old 09-07-2005, 09:23 PM
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Default RE: Cheap RC Scanner

Well I got the ICOM and it does everthing. 72mhz scan no problem plus all others except cell phones.
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