What Is Simulcast Distortion On Police Scanners Radios?

"Simulcast refers to the process of transmitting the same signal from different tower locations over the same frequency at the same time."

Short Version

Simulcast is a technique in which multiple towers, in different locations, will send out the same signal on identical frequencies at the same time.

Confusing, right? We know!

This is meant to combat reception issues in areas that are widely spread out or highly congested.

However, if these signals are not broadcasted at the exact same time with surgical precision, they can, and will cause interference with your scanner

Meaning you can only hear parts of conversations (or none at all).

Your scanner is working fine, but sometimes, on certain channels, the conversation disappears for a few seconds or even minutes until the signal returns.

Is this you?

Are you in Simulcast Hell?

Then, uhhhh, welcome to the bright and beautiful world of simulcast distortion!


If you’re here—you’re probably ready to throw your scanner out the window, right?

OK, deep breaths.


There is a solution. First, let’s make sure simulcast distortion is actually the issue.

Troubleshooting Your Scanner To Isolate The Issue

Change each of these settings, one at a time, test, rinse and repeat.

These are the immediate troubleshooting steps. If you continue to experience issues, then your area either went encrypted or switched to simulcast towers and the only way to combat simulcast distortion is a new scanner that can handle simulcast.

Pro Tip: How to sell your old scanner.

Best Simulcast Distortion Police Scanners

There are three models we carry that can handle simulcast distortion.

    Areas Affected by Simulcast Distortion

    This is what you really wanna know, right?

    Short Version

    Because the use of simulcast distortion in radio is a decision made by local government, there is no way to know for certain if your area uses simulcast without looking it up (for us to research for you, fill out this form). That being said, as a rule of thumb most large cities and their metro areas use simulcast. 

    We had our people contact simulcast's people. If you reside in Delaware, Connecticut, or Rhode Island, you're one of the lucky ducks who knows for sure - you ARE affected by simulcast.

    Below are some areas* where simulcast distortion is present.

    Alabama AIRS

    • Calhoun
    • Madison
    • Jefferson
    • Talladega
    • Tuscaloosa
    • Montgomery

    Alaska ALMR

    • Anchorage

     Minnesota ARMER

    • Anoka County
    • Benton County
    • Carver County
    • Chisago County
    • Dakota County
    • Dodge County
    • Goodhue County
    • Houston County
    • Hennepin County
    • Meeker County
    • McLeod County
    • Morrison County
    • Nicollet County
    • Olmsted County
    • Ramsey County
    • Rice County
    • Scott County
    • Sherburne County
    • Stearns County
    • St. Louis County
    • Wabasha County
    • Washington County
    • Wright County

    Michigan MPSCS

    • Genesee County
    • Jackson County
    • Kent County
    • Macomb County
    • Midland County
    • Monroe County
    • Ottawa County
    • Saginaw County
    • St. Clair County
    • Washtenaw County

    New Jersey NJICS

    • Atlantic County
    • Bergen County
    • Burlington County
    • Cape May County
    • Mercer County
    • Middlesex County
    • Morris County
    • Ocean County
    • Somerset County
    • Union County

    North Carolina VIPER

    • Cabarrus County
    • Davidson County
    • Gaston County
    • Mecklenburg County
    • Union County
    • Stanly County
    • Wake County


    • Bucks County
    • Dauphin County
    • Franklin County
    • York County

    Texas TxWARN

    • Brazoria County
    • Denton County
    • Galveston County
    • Harris County
    • Montgomery County
    • Smith County

    Have an update? Great! Email Us: zip@zipscanners.com

    Deep Dive Into Simulcast Distortion

    We cover the basics of simulcast distortion & how it relates to police scanners. By the way, we sell scanners! Want to learn the nitty gritty of simulcast distortion? We’ll all be on the same wavelength soon, but dive on in here!