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Scanner Reviews 

These pages review different types of scanners and how they are suited to railscanning. If you want your favorite scanner listed here, write a review, snap a photo, and send it to me. 

Realistic Pro-29
The Pro-29. Radio Shack's list price is $249.00. It has everything a novice or pro railroad scanner needs. 60 channels (you can store up to 60 frequencies in its memories), nice LCD display with good backlight, and coverage up to 800 MHz (with the usual "Uniden" holes, including blocked cell phone). It also brags a nice fast scanning rate. Its easy to use, and pretty rugged too. A second-hand Pro-29 was my second scanner - and I never had any problems with it. I ended up selling it to help fund my new TrunkTracker, a decision I regret to this day. The Pro-29 is a Uniden-made scanner. 

Uniden Bearcat BC235XLT
Uniden Bearcat BC245XLT
Even though most hobbyists purchase the 235 or 245 for following Trunked radio systems (such as Police, fire and public service radio), the Bearcat line of scanners before and up to the TrunkTrackers have proven to be excellent conventional scanners.  They reject intermod better than any other scanner I've seen, and have really good scan speeds. They aren't as flexible as more expensive scanners (The 235 lacks an attenuator, used for filtering interference - the 245 has such a feature), but are rather easy to use.  The Realistic version of this scanner is the Pro-90. Most Radio Shack scanners with the 'Realistic' name are made by Uniden, with a few exceptions. Think of it as the "President's Choice" of electronics equipment.

The 235 has officially been discontinued by Uniden - so best of luck finding one new. That's why I didn't post a 'new' price for it - I couldn't find one!
Icom IC-R2
The field performance of the R2 isn't nearly as good as Uniden scanners - the scan speed is slow and is prone to quite a bit of intermod (specifically on 161.025 MHz), and you can only scan one bank of frequencies at a time. A real drag.
However, the R2 is tiny compared to the larger Uniden units, and can easily fit into any camera bag or pocket. The little beast is also rugged - I've dropped it onto the tracks off of the bridge at Bayview jct. and other than a bit of a scratch on the back, it was no worse for wear. Unlike most Unidens, the thing runs on regular batteries - two AA's to be exact (rechargeable cells are a wise investment) As well, unlike Uniden scanners, Icom radios are full coverage - meaning absolutely no holes between its 5 KHz and 1.3 GHz coverage. You can listen into some cell phones or the radio between trains. Nice! Be warned, the R2 isn't for beginners - it takes a bit of work to memorize how it works (not a lot of buttons on it), so there are a lot of multiple keypresses to memorize and learn. The R2 is not a railroad scanner by any means - but its better than nothing!
Uniden Sportcat SC180B
Uniden Sportcat SC200
In my opinion, *the* best radio for railroad scanning! A little pricey, but definitley the best choice. Unidens have always been excellent at scannig the railroad band, and with *alpha tags* and a blistering 100 channels/sec scan rate, this radio's a clear winner.

The 180B and 200 are pretty much the same radio - except the 200 has 200 channels over the 180B's 100, and the 200's got tone squelch features. As well, the 180B's yellow and the 200 has blue parts. If you want a good radio strictly for railroad scanning, then the 180B's my clear choice.