What Is Simulcast Distortion On Police Scanners?

“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? 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!

Is this you? Are you in simulcast hell?

Your scanner is working fine but sometimes, on certain channels, the conversation disappears for a few seconds or even minutes until you finally get it again later.

Then, ugh, welcome to the super fantastic 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

 What Is Simulcast Distortion On Police Scanners?

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

Squelch: Turn all the way up, then all the way down.

Location: Test elsewhere.

Channel Isolation: Only scan the channel you’re having an issue with, turn off all others.

Double Check Frequencies: Make sure 1 channel is 100% in scanner correctly.

Update Scanner Software: It’s free!

This is the low hanging fruit.

Issue still there?

Then you have a simulcast problem and the only solution 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.

Unication Pagers

Uniden SDS100

Uniden SDS200

Areas Affected by Simulcast Distortion

Areas Where Police Scanners Are Affected by Simulcast Distortion

Helpful, right?

Short Version

There is no ‘easy’ if/then way to tell if simulcast affects your area (fun!).

Below are areas we’ve sold folks scanners where simulcast distortion was an issue.

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

North Carolina


Bucks County

York County


Have an update? Great! Email Us: [email protected]

Deep Dive Into Simulcast Distortion

police scanner simulcast distortion research

We cover the basics of simulcast distortion & how it relates to police scanners. BTW – we sell scanners🙂

Want to learn the nitty gritty of simulcast distortion?

You’ll be talking QPSK in no time (or a lot of time) but dive on in below:

Radio Reference Wiki – digital simulcast distortion

Radio Reference Wiki – simulcast