The Unwired Medic

Teaching EMS providers & other public safety pros about using mobile tech to improve their practice, patient care, continuing education, scene safety, general entertainment, & productivity.

Scanner Radio App


Scanner Radio by Gordon EdwardsI like to listen in to what the other agencies are busy doing from time to time. I can’t justify buying my own scanner at no less than $100 for a decent one, so I use an app called Scanner Radio by Gordon Edwards. When I say there are more than a few scanner networks included, I’m under-exaggerating. There are thousands of channels, including some regional NOAA weather radio stations too. The free version has an ad that scrolls through at the bottom once you start listening to a scanner.

I have two favorite buttons from the home screen. One is a “Favorites” button, and the other is the “Near Me” button that checks your local  area and returns a list of what stations are close to you, along with a tally of how many listeners there are at the time. You can also search for a preferred station from the home page. Once you start listening to a feed, you can open the menu (with the menu button) and select “Add to favorites”. Audio pauses when a phone call comes in and is supposed to resume automatically, but I have occasionally had to manually restart the feed. I’ve used the app when we do Paramedic Academy overnight scenarios, as I often get tasked to play firefighter or LEO and I let the local stations feed over the built-in speakers to create additional background noise and confusion on scene or during “report taking” after one of the interns lets their narc bag get stolen. Interns could conceivably listen in to radio reports to the hospitals to see how they should structure their patient reports before heading out to the field.

Working now in Public Health, I have gotten heads up on hazmat responses where we may have to respond to provide support. Most notably, it came in handy when the Reno Air Races crash occurred, and I listened in to the chatter.  It provides a chance to listen to how things are going, so improvements can be suggested, and when you aren’t responsible for being in the middle of the action where it isn’t prudent to be paying attention to anything but the task at hand. There are a couple advantages to having the pro version, which include no ads (which has come to light recently as a HUGE battery waster on Android and presumably other devices as well), and the quick start button on the home page giving you access to jump right to the last feed you were running before you closed the app last.

Even for the free version, I’d give this app an 8/10 for giving a great user interface, and for doing what it should with virtually no hassle. The pro version is just $2.99 on Google Play. It’s available for Android, iOS, and Blackberry. You can easily find both the free and pro versions in your device’s app market and on the Amazon Appstore. Learn more about the app on their Facebook page.

Have you used the app? What are your thoughts on it? Have you used it for anything other than just listening in?

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