Did you know that anyone can listen into a police scanner? Contrary to popular belief, these channels are not protected by special codes. Many people casually tune in to police frequencies to check on mundane things like traffic reports, flight plans or even the weather situation. During emergencies, it police scanners can become a lifeline for people whose loved lines are laying their lives on the line. Police scanners were brought to national attention during the Boston Marathon manhunt. Anyone who tuned in that night saw firsthand the power of what information can do.
Before you download or tune in, remember that police scanners should be used responsibly. In Georgia, possession of a police scanner, even mobile ones is perfectly legal. Some other states require an FCC permit or prohibit the use of scanners in a vehicle (for obvious reasons).
If you want to tune in, one of the best sites you can try out is Broadcastify.com. This is not a radio stream site, it’s a site dedicated to collecting feeds of everything from the neighborhood police scanner to the Coast Guard’s relatively quiet channel. Broadcastify requires no downloads, but it does require that your software be up to date to optimize your listening experience. It’s easy to use, easy to figure out and is absolutely free. The site does get bogged down during times of high traffic, but this happens rarely.
Other sites that make it easy to access feeds include RadioReference.com and ScannerMaster.com. Scanner Masters lists the exact frequencies of the scanners in your area, so it’s often used by hobbyists who have access to physical scanner. Radio Reference, on the other hand, is also a streaming site. The upside is that it is full of useful information for those who want to take the hobby a step further.
If you, for some reason, find the sites above not to your taste, you can try a radio streaming website like Tunein.com. This site is set up for music streaming but the nature of police scanners means that the site can also pick up feeds in Georgia, and anywhere else in the world. The upside of this side is it’s less taxing on a slower Internet connection.
You may also want to check out applications for your phone or tablet like Police Scanner Radio Scanner for Android and 5-0 Police Scanner for Apple. Surprisingly, there are several free apps available. Just download and tune in. It’s easy to find one that fits your preferences too. Most of them are easy to use and can access feeds from around the US and around the world.
Keep in mind though that you may not be able to tune in to the specific county at certain times. Radio signals vary in strength and are affected by outside factors, such as solar flares, bad weather, etc. Sometimes the chatter will go completely silent — but it doesn’t mean that anything’s wrong. It may mean that’s all quiet on the home front, or that a sensitive op is going down. Use your scanner responsibly and happy listening!