I have been using the Police Radio App now for about a month. Before this app I was using and continue to use the ActionScanner app and I will compare the two. I have to say it never occurred to me that Apps such as this would appear on the iPhone and iPad devices. I am a long time Radio Scanner user and have quite a collection of radios at my disposal. I don’t see myself getting rid of my Radios any time soon, but the the Radio Apps provide some interesting new capabilities that were not easily available before.
For those who don’t know about Scanner Radios they allow you to listen to the Police, Fire, Ambulances and many others (Not Cell Phone Users). Each radio may have hundreds or thousands of channels that have to be programmed with the frequency that you wan to listen to. So you have to find the frequencies, program them into the Radio and then you can listen to that frequency. If you have thousands of the these frequencies this can be quite tedious as you can imagine. There are portable walkie-talkie like versions of these Radios and there are desk top version and versions for your car.
So the Police Radio Scanner apps provide much of the same functionality for your iDevice. This allows you to unobtrusively take your scanner with you just by having your iDevice with you. With earphones no one would be the wiser that you are listening to a scanner !!!!!
In some ways these scanner apps are much easier to use then the scanner radios. For instance you don’t have to know anything about frequencies. You are provided a list of available channels that have an English description of what they are and you just select what you want to listen to. This is where the first limitation occurs. The Police Radio doesn’t scan as it only allows you to listen to one channel at a time. This is opposed to real Radios that allow you to scan up to thousands of channels per second. The ActionScanner actually provides scanning capability although very limited. You get four banks of channels that contain up to four different channels. And when you select a particular bank ActionScanner does scan all four channels in that bank. Again that is in comparison to thousands of channels that a typical Radio scanner might be scanning.
But the Radio Scanner Apps have a capability that most real Radio Scanners don’t have. Your Radio scanner has to be able to HEAR the radio channel in order for you to listen to it. This means that at most the Radio Transmitter has to be within 100 miles or so of your location. The Radio APPS listen over the Internet to radio channels. This means that you can be in San Jose and listen to the Hawaii 5.0 or Atlanta Fire or New York Rescue. This is a very cool NEW capability. So I see these apps as supplements to most Radio Scanner hobbyists probably not a replacement. But for those new to the Radio Scanning hobby these apps could be an entry into the hobby. This also means that you are at the mercy of the audio stream provider as to what channels are available and if they are working or not.
So lets get down to details. ActionScanner allows you to scan multiple channels so this is a big plus. For a Radio Scanner enthusiast this works more like what they are used to. I have had this app crash a lot so that is check mark against it. Also many times the channel I want to listen to is not available for some reason. It doesn’t say why so that is another check mark against it. ActionScanner is available in the app store for$1.99. There is not a specific version for the iPad. I give this app 2 loopyfroggers.
Police Radio doesn’t allow scanning so that in my opinion is a check mark against it but for many people this might not be a problem. But I have never had the app crash and when I want to listen to one of my favorite channels it always seems to be available. So those are check marks for it. This app is $1.99 for the iPhone version and $2.99 for the iPad version (which I didn’t review here). I give this app three loopyfroggers.