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Feb 13, 2011

Radio Shack Pro-106 Scanner Review

I recently picked up a Radio Shack Pro-106 Scanner on a trip I took Stateside. Radio Shack no longer exists in Canada so a short trip across the border was needed to pick up one of these scanners. The Pro-106 is manufactured by GRE, as are many of Radio Shack's police scanners. The Radio Shack version has a slightly different external layout and speaker, but the electronics are exactly the same. Here's a link to the manual.

I had heard that these scanners were not the easiest to program, so I opted to also pick up the programming cable and software that Radio Shack sells. There are many software programs that can program this scanner, but two stand out as main contenders: Arc-500 and Win500.  Arc-500 is what came with the cable. I had trouble with it right away. It would not sense my particular USB port needed to program the scanner. I opted for Win500, which I think is a better piece of software anyway.

This scanner is nice! Once you figure out the programming, it is sensitive, fast, and full of features. I especially like the squelch gate sound. That's the sound that you hear at the end of a transmission. On some scanners the tail of a transmission has a loud squawk sound. Those can drive me nuts if they are too obvious. On this scanner, it squawk is non-existent! The sound just stops.  Sweet! The sound overall is very good.  The scanner can go loud and it can go quiet. Yes, sometimes I have to keep things in the background around here.

The keys are nice and firm. You won't be accidentally pressing these. They have a kind of waxy feel to them, not the rubbery feel I was expecting. You can turn off the key-press beep if you like, as I do.

The case is on the cheap side. The belt clip looks like it might not last too long. I'd prefer a little more weight and a little more robustness to the case.

I like that I can program the display and LED lights on a channel by channel basis. Normally you want to run the scanner with no lights on as to save on batteries.  But if a particular channel or talk-group is of interest to you, just program the LED to flash or something like that.  You have a choice of colors!

I seriously recommend this scanner for the serious scanner enthusiast.  It's not cheap, after you throw in separate cables, software, RadioReference subscription... but for someone like me, who listens a lot, this is the model to get.

Check out the Radio Shack Pro-106 Scanner


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