Race Scanning Basics
Race Scanning Questions
What do I need to know about "race scanning"?
There are a lot of things you need to know about race scanning
before you get involved too deep. There is no quick and easy answer
to explain everything at once. Many people jump into it without
knowing what scanner to purchase, what headset and what accessories
you are really going to need. Our purpose for writing these pages
is to educate you to the sport of race scanning, explain what is
available, why you need certain things and how you do it. You can
buy your way in slowly a piece at a time or you can jump right to
the premium equipment in the beginning.
Please read everything that follows so you will fully
understand where you can go and what you can expect at different
levels of expense. You can spend as little or as much as you wish.
The results are greatly different but everybody has a budget limit.
What do you want to hear at a race?
Some fans just want to listen to the radio broadcast or the
television audio while sitting in the stands watching the race.
Others want to hear all their favorite drivers, spotters, race officials
and etc. while conversing with their race buddies that are sitting
next to them or are in the infield. You can have it all!!! The late
Banjo Matthews had a sign in his race shop: "Banjo's, where
money buys speed - How fast do you want to go!!"
What equipment do I need to go "race scanning"?
Headsets protect your hearing - good noise reducing headsets
are first and foremost if you want to hear what's going on in racing
for very long. Extreme noise has many bad side effects on your life
in addition to going deaf. You should never attend a race without
sufficient hearing protection and it is cruel to subject children
to racing noise without hearing protection that is sufficient to
protect and preserve their hearing.
Purchase comfortable headsets. There is nothing more
miserable than a headsets that hurts. Over-the-head type headsets
are the most popular and usually the most comfortable. Behind-the-head
style headsets like crew members once wore, "clamp" on
your head and do not have any practical tension adjustment. Hats
with full brims require headsets like the B-T-H style. O-T-H styles
work great with caps.
Noise reduction ratings are measured in "dba"
and the higher the number the quieter the headset. A one number
increase is about 15% quieter. Weight is another critical factor
in selecting headsets - lighter is better. Our complete line of
Solution Headsets is the broadest in all of racing - from the Solution
I in OTH and BTH to racing's only folding model - the Solution III.
Highest quality headsets sold to race fans!
AM/FM Stereo Headsets
A new addition to our headset line is the noise reduction
am/fm stereo headset. This headset is available as a radio headset
or with our "scanner input" it turns into a dual purpose
sports headset. Great to use at the races with your scanner so you
can monitor the am/fm race broadcast and listen to your scanner.
When the scanner is talking you don't hear the am/fm radio and the
transition between the two is seamless. At other times just use
them while mowing the yard or at a football game.
Intercom systems are now common in the stands. Race buddies
and many couples like to talk during the race and it is nearly impossible
to scream over the roar of race engines. Our "FAN-LINK"
selection of intercoms is the largest selection in the industry.
We offer the first "WIRELESS FAN-LINK"
using low-cost family two-way radios so you can talk to your buddy
but you don't have to be sitting together (up to a mile apart is
not uncommon) and our latest entry is the "UNLIMITED"
FAN-LINK where you can link 2 people together or up to an unlimited
number of fans together (all must be linked together with cables)
each headset can have its own scanner or share with the person linked
to you. Just added to our "Unlimited" line is the G-T-B
(Goes to Background) where the scanner volume is reduced when someone
is talking on the intercom!
Almost any scanner will work "ok" in racing but there
are a few that will make the experience much, much easier and more
enjoyable. We only recommend scanners with at least 200 channels,
sub-audible tones (to eliminate bleedover & unwanted reception)
and 800-900mhz coverage. Visit our website (www.racescanners.com)
for current recommended scanners. Don't overlook demo and used equipment
when making a selection if funds are tight.
Scanners that cover 29 to 956mhz are preferred since
they cover all series of racing in the U.S. But those that only
go up to 512mhz will handle all current NASCAR teams. However there
are other considerations in choosing scanners that may be much more
important. Please read the next section very carefully before making
Note: All UNIDEN scanners built after 8/90
have the audio reduced through the
headphone jack and will not drive headsets used in racing with a
sufficient amount of volume. They must be modified internally to
increase the volume to a sufficient level. We sell volume modified
scanners and offer the modifications to those that have unmodified
Basic Scanner Layout Planning
Before you start thinking about entering frequencies in a scanner,
you should take a few moments to plan how you are going to layout
your scanners frequencies. Most fans choose to use the channel numbers
to correspond to the car numbers i.e. Use channel 3 for car #3 and
etc. Now the problems begin.
Scanners under 100 Channels
Scanners with 10, 30 or 50 channels present a real challenge.
You just have to mark up your list with where you put certain cars
and officials. Some can correspond to channel numbers.
Scanners with 100 Channels
This is the first level of scanners that can give you channel
numbers that equal car numbers. However you can only enter the primary
channel of all cars in a race plus officials, TV, radio broadcast
and the "alternate" frequency of some cars that shift
between primary and alternates often (we mark them with a "b"
on our frequency lists). This will normally fill up the 100 channels.
If the unit has an "alphanumeric" display you can write
in "alt car #18 or MRN" on any blank channel so you can
identify who is talking.
Scanners with 200 Channels or More
Now you have the freedom to utilize primary, alternates, radio,
TV and any other special frequencies that you desire. This is where
you can program in two separate series of racecars or put the "primary"
in the channel that matches the car number and the "alternate"
on the same number in the next 100 channels i.e. Use channel 20
for the primary and channel 120 for the alternate frequency. Using
alpha tags in alphanumeric display scanners make it very easy to
understand exactly who you are monitoring.
Computer Programmable Scanners
PC programmable scanners with tone codes are the latest in high-tech
scanning and the very best in reception for racing use. They are
downloadable from our website with frequencies and driver names. You can also setup your own programs and mix and match
series to suit your racing schedules or other custom configurations.
With alphanumeric displays you have great flexibility in identifying
things, but remember in order to find anything in a scanner you
must know it's channel number.
What else do I need to do it right?
The little accessories you could use - such things as a
case for the scanner to keep it from getting scratched up and banged
around. A leg strap to hold your scanner and prevent dropping it.
The "race antenna" is the little 2" long antenna
that you use in the stands to keep down the strength of the incoming
signal so it will not bleedover on the next channel. Splitters are
small cables that allow multiple headsets to be used on a scanner.
Since scanners are equipped with one headphone jack (plug in) you
have to use the splitter to add more headsets.
Keep your stuff together - above all, keep your scanning
equipment together and protect it from damage (scratches and etc.).
Bags for carrying items into tracks are in question at many tracks
due to terrorism considerations. You should contact the track you
are attending to get specifications for bags. We sell clear tote bags that are approved for all tracks.
Spare batteries and chargers - scanners that use "AA"
batteries are the most versatile of all. They can use any "AA"
batteries available - from cheap flashlight batteries to the exotic
rechargeable NIMH and super high output alkalines. Dedicated rechargeable
battery packs are more trouble since they have to be recharged before
you leave home for a race and often during the weekend. The new
NIMH units take longer to charge but they run twice as long and
do not develop a "memory." You should keep a spare "charged"
battery for every piece of equipment that you will need at a race.
Need more information on race scanning
or products used in race scanning? Contact us today for answers. We are the pros!
"Serving the race fan is our only business since 1987"
Everything you ever wanted to know but didn't know who to ask?