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Automatic scanning receivers - under construction

Scanning receivers, or simply scanners, are automatic electronically controlled receivers that can be used to search a predetermined set of frequencies (generally identified as channels) or a pre­determined frequency interval (band) for active radio signals. When a signal is detected, scanning is interrupted and the demodulated audio is passed to the speaker.

Scanners were very popular between the 1970s and the early 2000s for interception of the radio traffic of the local police and other services, which is why they are often called police scanners. Many were (are) commercially available from a variety of brands, such as Bearcat (Uniden), Cuna, Handic, Realistic, Yupiteru, Icom and others. But there were also scanners that were especially built for a specific purpose. Note that the possession and/or use of a scanner is subject to law.

Strickly speaking, scanners do not belong on this website, but as some of them have been used for lawful interception of (illegal) radio trafic and in some cases even for radio direction finding, they are listed in this section. The list is far from complete but may be expanded in due course.

Scanners on this website
CIA surveillance receiver SRR-100
Handic 0016 computer scanner
OAR ADF-940 automatic direction finder for 27 MHz band
Dutch intercept receiver for 1st generation car phones
Known brands
  • Alinco
  • AOR
  • Atron
  • Bauer
  • Bearcat
  • Bobcat
  • Cuna
  • Handic
  • Icom
  • JIL
  • Jomaco
  • Midland
  • Puma
  • Realistic
  • Regency
  • SBE Optiscan
  • Scooper
  • Sony
  • Uniden (Bearcat)
  • Yaesu
  • Yupitery

Handic 0016
One of the first digital programmable scanners, was the 0016 of the Swedish company Handic. It was suitable for the VHF-L, VHF-H and UHF bands and had 16 memory positions. It was also capable of scanning a frequency interval.

The 0016 was not only used by scanner freaks, but also by law enforcement agencies like the Dutch Radio Monitoring Service (RCD).

 More information
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The American company OAR built a wide range of radio direction finders that were intended as a navigational aid aboard ships. Special versions, the so-called 9xx-range, were made for locating clandestine radio stations (pirates).

The image on the right shows the ADF-940 which has a built-in 40-channel scanner for the 27 MHz citizens band (CB).

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Kolibrie (hummingbird) was a car phone intercept receiver developed by the Police Signals Service in The Netherlands in the early 1990s. It was intended for intercepting criminal conversations on the early analogue car phone networks.

 More information
Front panel of the Kolibrie, with the unique ID plug

Further information
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Crypto Museum. Created: Saturday 24 December 2016. Last changed: Tuesday, 17 August 2021 - 06:28 CET.
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