TacScanning - Hearing more of what you want to hear and when you want to hear it.

How many times have you listened to your scanner and heard a communication of interest but your scanner resumes scanning and you miss the reply?

The scanner delay function occasionally lets you hear both sides of a communication IF both stations are quick enough with their transmissions. But more often than not, the delay function of your stock scanner is not long enough. When you use computer software to control your scanner, you can increase your delay time, but your scanner winds up sitting on dead air and you miss a lot of other communications. You could sit at your scanner all day and hope to press the manual button quick enough to catch both sides of the communications. Or you could run several scanners and hope you get lucky. It can be frustrating.

With Probe's high speed scanning, your chances of hearing more are better. The "Priority Bank" option in Probe will improve your odds of hearing the traffic in an assigned bank. The "SmartScan" option further improves your odds, but until now, there has not been a function that specifically addresses the dilemma of missing a response - not until "TacScan".

TacScan assigns an active frequency to a priority position in the scanning list for a specified period of time. "When" and "how" the frequency is assigned as a TacScan frequency is based on the settings for TacScan. These settings, like other settings, can be memorized to one of Probe's "Hypersettings". TacScan samples the most recent active frequencies in a something like a priority mode while it's scanning, and if they become active again before a set time expires, the scanner will have a higher probability of returning to that frequency, and thus, you will hear the reply. TacScan, combined with the high speed scanning, bank priority, and SmartScan, provides truly customizable scanning.

With Probe's delay features, you can set up to "delay all" or delay just "flagged" frequencies. You can also use a custom delay on selected frequencies. This helps improve your chances of hearing a reply on important frequencies.

The SmartScan function can be used to narrow down your selection of frequencies when a specific frequency becomes active. This allows you to not only to improve the chances of hearing the reply, but also hearing the communications related to the key frequency.

The "Priority" bank settings let you focus more scanning time on a specific bank. This improves your odds of not missing anything on those important frequencies.

These powerful functions, combined with TacScan and the fast scanning speed of Probe, allow you to hear more of what you want to hear and when you want to hear it.

Here are a few examples to help you understand how TacScan can be configured and how to use this exciting function once you understand its capabilities. Review the "Hints and Tips - Smartscan" in the Probe documentation as well as "Priority" and scanning speed settings to get the most from your Probe configuration. These are starting points and you will want to use and adjust these examples for the way you want to scan.

Example 1 - In this example, we explore TacScan as a means of hearing more consistent communications. From the "Settings" menu, the TacScan function is enabled by setting the first option to "yes", the "Sample Rate" to "6", and "TacScan Time" to "00:01:30" (one and half minutes). The last two options should be set to "yes". When you return to the scanning screen, "TACSCAN" is displayed next to "Status" whenever a frequency assigned to TacScan becomes active. You immediately notice you are following the communications on active frequencies with greater consistency and hearing more of the related replies from those frequencies. This is exactly what you wanted! But let's customize the settings of other functions to help even more.

Example 2 - From the "Settings" menu, set your "Delay All" to "yes", "Delay Time" to "00:01", "Delay Flagged" to "yes", and "Flagged Time" to "00:03" (three seconds). Now go back to the scanning screen and then press "F' to go to the frequency file. Find those frequencies you are most interested in - maybe your local area police and fire or the call channels for your local police, as opposed to informational channels. Edit those frequencies and set the fourth item down, "Delay", to "yes". Repeat this for those frequencies you want to hear the reply from. Next, edit those really important frequencies, maybe seldom heard, but major channels or air emergency frequencies, and set "Delay" to "yes" and the "Custom Delay" to "00:06", then return to the scanning screen. You only want to use this long custom delay on a very few, very important frequencies as it will slow your scanning while that delay is active. Now you are hearing more consistency on all frequencies, but especially on the most important ones without sacrificing excessive delay time on all scanned frequencies.

Example 3 - From the "Settings" menu, set "SmartScan On" to "yes", the "Exclusive Time" to "00:20", and the "Non-Exclusive Time" to "00:02:00" (two minutes). Next, return to the scanning screen and press "F' for the frequency file. Find those frequencies you are most interested in "restricting" your scanning to when one of them becomes active. For example, let's assume your fire department has three channels assigned. When there is a fire dispatch, you want to be sure you hear the simplex communications on the other related channels. Place all these frequencies in a bank by themselves, and set "SmartBank" in the key dispatch frequency record to the bank holding the three frequencies. Also set "Exclusive" to "yes".

You may also have a group of frequencies of less importance that you want to use as "Non-Exclusive" (read the "Hints and Tips - Smartscan" in the Probe documentation for more information on this.) Now you are really targeting the most important frequencies.

Example 4 - From the "Settings" menu, set the "Priority On" to "yes" and the "Priority Bank" to the bank that has your "very local" or most "want to hear" frequencies. Set the "Sample Rate" to "120" and return to the scanning screen. This would be a setting you use for casual scanning where you will scan your whole file but put some priority on your "want to hear" frequencies.

The other option here is to make a separate bank with the very important frequencies and set that as your priority bank with a "Sample Rate" much lower (sample more often) in the range of 5-50 depending on how much you want to concentrate on these frequencies. This will watch those frequencies in your priority bank the main focus of your scanning but will sample the other frequencies in your bank with much less focus.

Additional Notes

Another trick you can use is TacScan's "Trigger on log". You can flag various frequencies for logging and use the log "flagged only" feature in TacScan so only those frequencies that are logged are assigned to TacScan. This trick could also be applied to those frequencies that are logged based on meeting the minimum airtime so those shorter transmissions don't get logged, and as a result, are not assigned to TacScan.

Spend some time scanning with these various settings and adjust them for your personal preferences and best performance. Be careful not to overuse these settings so you don't get to the point where you are only hearing activity on the "weighted" frequencies and little activity from the rest of your file. A good balance is what you are looking for and it will take experimentation. Make sure you have your scanning speed setting as fast as you can (methodically reduce "Speed - Settling Time") to achieve the best scanning speed.

Once you have these settings set up the way you want them, remember to memorize them in your "Hyperbank" settings so they are handy. Now with the power and functions of Probe you can hear more of what you want to hear and when you want to hear it.