How to Program a Police Scanner

How to Program a Police Scanner

I just want to listen to police in my area, why is this so complicated?

We’re asked this daily, & like all things police scanner related, it depends, which can be frustrating. Programming each police scanner is unique with several variables including:

› Where you live
› What you want to listen to
› Format required in your area
› Police scanner model

This decision tree should help you decide whether you should have your scanner professionally programmed or if you should do on your own. As there is not one ‘correct’ way to program all police scanners, we have videos & guides on each police scanner product page that will show you how to program your specific police scanner as well as how to get frequencies in your area. Before you get that far, there are 2 things to consider that apply to programming all police scanner:

› Who will program your police scanner? (You or a Professional)
› Does your police scanner come with software & frequencies? (Yes/No)

Questions? We’re here to help.


Who Will Program Your Police Scanner?


Professional Police Scanner Programming

Zip Scanners can program any police scanner and take the potential headache out of programming. This will allow you to have your scanner work right out of the box. We can even provide programming if you did not buy a police scanner from us.

Self Police Scanner Programming

If you’re programming your police scanner on your own, there are 2 main things you’ll need to consider:

› Software
› Frequencies


Does Your Police Scanner Come With Software & Frequencies?


Police scanner (hardware) and software (software) work together like other consumer electronics where software operates the hardware. Think of it like:

› Cell Phones –  Android (software) operates Motorola (hardware) phones.
› Computers – Microsoft Windows (software) operates Dell (hardware) computers.

Some phase 1 digital & phase 2 digital police scanners come with software. View the chart below to see if your police scanner comes with software and frequencies.

Scanner Model Software Included Frequencies Included
HomePatrol-2 Sentinel Yes
BCD536HP Sentinel Yes
BCD996P2 No No
BCD325P2 No No
BCD436HP Sentinel Yes
HomePatrol-1 Sentinel Yes
BCT15X No No
BC75XLT No No
BC125AT No No
WS1095 EZ Scan Yes
WS1080 EZ Scan Yes
TRX-1 EZ Scan Yes
TRX-2 EZ Scan Yes
WS1088 EZ Scan Yes
WS1098 EZ Scan Yes
BC365CRS No No
WS1065 No No
WS1040 No No
WS1025 No No
WS1010 No No

Police Scanners With Software & Frequencies

If you have a police scanner with software & frequencies setting up your police scanner is fairly straight forward – view the product page for your police scanner to watch videos on how to program.

Police Scanners Without Software & Frequencies

If you have a police scanner without software and frequencies, you’ll need to choose a source for each. There are some options to buy software and frequencies together.  What software you need varies depending on what police scanner you have. There are several options, but we show the largest on the market.

FreeSCAN Butel ScanCat ScanControl ProScan
Price Free $39.95 $29.95 $9.98 $50.0
PC/MAC PC PC PC PC PC
Download/CD Download Download Download & CD Download & CD Download
HomePatrol-2 Yes Yes
BCD536HP Yes Yes Yes
BCD996P2  Yes Yes Yes Yes
BCD325P2  Yes Yes Yes Yes
BCD436HP Yes Yes Yes
HomePatrol-1 Yes Yes
BCT15X Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
BC75XLT Yes Yes
BC125AT Yes Yes
WS1095 Yes Yes
WS1080 Yes Yes
TRX-1 Yes Yes
TRX-2 Yes Yes
WS1088 Yes Yes
WS1098 Yes Yes
WS1065 Yes Yes
WS1040 Yes Yes
WS1025 Yes Yes
WS1010 Yes Yes

Police Scanner Frequency Options

Frequencies can be entered by hand but, depending on where you live, this may not be realistic. Most police scanner users prefer to purchase a frequency list which they can upload to their scanner using software. There are a several frequency sources to choose from ranging from homemade regional lists that users pass around to professional lists that you can purchase. Below we show some for the larger frequency resources.

Frequency Resource One Time Fee Subscription Download/CD Online/Print Police, Fire & EMS Frequencies Speciality Frequencies Note
Radio Reference $30/year Yes Download Online & Print Yes All View all online
Mr. Scanner $28.95 No CD NA Yes All FCC full list
CitiFreq Free No None Online Yes All View only
Flight Radio $10.00 No Download NA No Air Custom aviation list

Now that you know what is required to program your police scanner, you can either have us do this for you or program on your own. To find instructions on how to program your specific police scanner, visit the product page for your police scanner as there are several links, videos and guides.


What do you think?

Questions? How did you program your police scanner? Any tips? Comment below.


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