One of the first things that anyone visiting my house notices is that I have a police scanner on the kitchen counter. I like the ability to listen to the news before it is reported as well as to find out “why are the police parked in the neighborhood”. I just stumbled across two services that enable you to listen to live police and fire feeds to your iPhone or BlackBerry.
The web site that hosts the feeds is called. They have a searchable map where you can click and locate the feeds that area available in your area. The feeds themselves are provided by volunteers who connect their personal radios to the Internet and re-broadcast the audio. There’s no fee to register or listen to these streams.
One of the reasons I think online broadcasts of police scanners is an interesting idea is many local police (including the Connecticut State Police and my town police) are both trunked (sharing and shifting amongst multiple frequencies) and have converted to a digital signal called APCO-25.
This new signal format can’t be received by most older (aka cheaper) scanners. To receive them you need a newer scanner like my Uniden BCD 396 (below) which decodes digital and also tracks the changing frequencies of many “trunked” radio systems.
The problem with the sophisticated scanners like theis that they can cost upwards of $500 to purchase. This places the price of listening to public service radio broadcasts out of reach of most people.
Fortunately there are two (little or no cost) solutions that will re-broadcast public service band audio from the Internet (via links provided through thesite).
For the iPhone and iPod Touch – Wunder Radio – $5.99
Although Wunder Radio costs $5.99 – the benefit is that you can pick from a menu of police scanners (the application also re-broadcasts radio stations from all across the world).
In my testing Wunder Radio was sporadic in maintaining a connection via wi-fi. It seems to have issues with randomly disconnecting and/or crashing.
When it’s running, the convenience of having a menu where you can pick from public service radio frequencies all across the country is amazing.
Link: Wunderradio (iTunes)
For the BlackBerry – Moodio – Free
If you’re using a BlackBerry device then try the free moodio.fm streaming service. Using Moodio.fm you setup (via their web site) the links to the streaming audio that you wish to hear via your BlackBerry.
Almost every modern phone with internet and multimedia capabilities should be able to receive radio through Moodio. What you basically need is a phone that supports 3GPP/3GPP2-streaming and understands the AACPlus-codec. This includes popular phones from manufacturers like BlackBerry, Nokia, Sony Ericsson, Samsung, Motorola, etc. Apple’s (non-3GPP-compatible) iPhone is also supported.
Windows Mobile does not natively support 3GPP streaming. This means that Moodio won’t work on these phones, except for the few models where the manufacturer installed a 3GPP compatible player, like HTC does on their more recent phones.
To find the streaming radio links that need to be pasted into Moodio, check the. Click through on the link to the type of device that you want to stream the broadcast and there will be detailed setup instructions.
Their mobile link shows you all the URLs that need to be copy/pasted to Moodio so that your stations are setup.
Creating stations on Moodio is a little more work but in my testing I found the streaming to BlackBerry was more reliable than that provided by Wunderradio.
Link: Moodio.fm and (for setup instructions)