Easy DIY Scanner for $100

Monitor Fire/Police Radio

Interested in being able to monitor Fire/Police radio channels on the new P25 Phase 2 radio system? We have identified a cost effective way to accomplish this using a Raspberry Pi  3 Model 3+ Linux computer system, with a  RTL-SDR software defined radio receiver and a very simple internal antenna.  The total cost for these components should be approximately $100.00.  The needed items can be purchased via the Internet  (Amazon Prime).  Once you have purchased the items listed in the package below, we can assist you in programming the micro SD memory card, used by the Raspberry Pi.  The configuration will allow you to monitor any unencrypted Police/Fire radio channel operating on the Plano PAWM (Plano, Allen, Wiley, Murphy) radio system you may be interested in.

The Parts

We have assembled a recommended parts list for your convenience. All of the items can be purchased on Amazon so if you have a Prime membership, you can be up and running in less than a week.

Click here for the full list

Price (as of 8/24/18)
RTL-SDR Blog R820T2 RTL2832U 1PPM TCXO SMA Software Defined Radio (Dongle Only) RTL-SDR Software Defined Radio $21.95
CanaKit Raspberry Pi 3 B+ (B Plus) with Premium Clear Case and 2.5A Power Supply Raspberry Pi 3b+, with case and power supply $59.99
Micro-SD card, 32 GB, with adapter $8.87
Scanner antenna $10.99
Portable Bluetooth speaker with aux-in $15.99
3.5 mm audio cable $4.99
Total Cost $122.80

The speaker, audio cable and micro-SD card can be swapped out at your preference, or replaced with items you already have at home.


Once you have the parts, contact Mike Pruden for assistance with configuring the Raspberry Pi to receive and decode the radio transmissions. With this setup, you simply power on the system and start listening!