SCANNING: Why Quality & Purpose Matters in a Handheld Unit

If you think the scanning ability of a cheap HT like the Baofeng UV-5R is good enough to capture SIGINT around you, you are severely mistaken.

Being able to hear those around you has obvious advantages and can be a force multiplier, but if your scanner is too slow to capture short transmissions you will never know they were there. This is one reason for always keeping your own TX short and sweet in a SHTF scenario.

It also goes to show that a dedicated handheld scanner in the field is worth the extra weight. Even though a good HT like the Yaesu FT-70DR shown in the demo is very capable as a scanner.

The BearCat 125XT shown in the demo has the added benefit of CLOSE CALL which makes it well worth the $80.00 I spent on it and the need to pack one more piece of gear in the field.

Not only does CLOSE CALL lock onto any received TX within range much faster than a HAM HT, but it identifies the Freq being used and its CTSS all at once.

Below is a short demonstration of a dedicated scanner (Uniden Bearcat 125XT), Japanese (FT-70DR), Chinese (TYT-UVF1) and a Chinese (Retevis RT-6) all in scan mode with all the same programmed channels.

BearCaesu / FT-70DR / TYT-UVF1 / Retevis RT-6

The ability to capture SIGINT around you becomes obvious through this simple demonstration. Note that the TX is only a foot away from the antennas so RX de-sensitivity will show up even more at normal operating ranges.


The Yaesu does pretty good, but if you want to know what signals are around you… get a dedicated scanner!

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