Product Reviews | Scanners

Whistler TRX 2 Review

Digital police scanners, like the Whistler TRX 2, are becoming an increasingly vital tool for professional and personal use. Many people depend exclusive on the scanners for a living. That is why it is imperative for then to get the best possible scanners available.

This Whistler TRX 2 review is a comprehensive look at the scanner to gauge its suitability for use in professional, public and private settings. Whistler are marketing it as one of the best currently. The cost too is at the top range for desktop mobile scanners.

The question now is: is it worth the investment? To answer that question fully, you simply have to read this Whistler TRX review. Perhaps, you’d be able to make up your mind by the end.

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Unboxing the Whistler TRX

Whistler TRX-2 Desktop Digital Scanner

Inside the package are two boxes: one large and the other considerably smaller. The scanning unit itself is in the larger box. On top of it is a user guide that experts might not have any use for: surely meant for beginners.

The scanner has dimensions 5.3 x 7.2 x 1.8 inches. This fits the standard size for mobile police scanners. In essence, it is a small and compact unit and comes in at about 3.1lbs in weight making it also not too bulky to carry around in your backpack if you wish.

Like Whistler WS1065, it comes with a detachable head that can be very useful in mobile applications and for security too. Pressing a latch on the left side of the device would release the head from the unit. You’d have to apply a bit of force to remove it from the device because it has a magnet under to hold it securely.

You would see the SD card slot when you remove the head. The included SD card is 4GB; but you can use a larger capacity card to increase the memory’s storage space.

The head features the LCD, keypad, buttons, navi-keys, and knobs across the length. Also, pretty standard for a mobile scanner.

On the rear, you would find three sockets or jacks: The BMC antenna socket, the audio out jack and the power input port.

Also inside the box, you will find the connecting cable between the detachable head and the body of the device. The cable is quite long making it convenient to mount the device anywhere you want.

The smaller box contains:

  • A pouch to store the scanner head when it is detached and not in use;
  • 3 power adaptors
  • 1 AC-DC power converter that supplies power to the unit when it is connected to the public mains;
  • The mounting brackets and complement accessories;
  • A USB cable that attaches to the USB port on the scanner head for updates or upgrades via a computer;
  • 1 telescopic antenna
  • The power cable to use in a mobile situation or when your power source is a 12V battery.

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Features of the Whistler TRX 2

Menu System

This is a good place to start seeing that the menu is one of the most contentious aspects of this scanner. Most folks are of the opinion that because of the menu, new users should give this scanner a wide berth.

Even experts need time to come to terms with the menu because it is very extensive with several sub-menus with important features hidden in places that are not easy to find. If you are a new user, you’d have to spend a considerable amount of time going through the user manual.

Though the menu system is divided into ‘Regular’ and ‘Expert’, it still requires a bit of work for new users to master the ‘Regular’ category. But, all the basic operations can be found in the regular section. If you desire the more advanced features, you can try your luck in the ‘Expert’ category.

One of the joys of the ‘Expert’ category is that you’d be able to switch bandplan between Canadian and American options easily if you move across the border.

Integrated Frequency Library

Unlike many scanners, you don’t have to connect your scanner to a computer to get new frequencies when you move to a new location.

The entire frequency database from Radio Reference comes with the internal SD card. Essentially, you never have to go through the process of looking up the frequency of any location under whatever situation.

Spectrum Sweeper

Whistler TRX 2’s Spectrum Sweeper is one of the standout features of the device. It is a different type of search/scanning that focuses on nearby frequencies only. The aim is not to burden the system and waste time searching for frequencies too far away to be clear.

All nearby active channels in the radio spectrum are searched and hooked onto. It automatically stores the frequency in the memory for use in the future. You could listen immediately if you want.

This is a handy feature to quickly locate unknown channels as long as the radio is in the vicinity.

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Alarm Clock/Recording

The device comes with an alarm clock feature that can be set to turn the device on at certain times of the day. This is great as it makes it convenient to monitor channels at the times you prefer. You could set it to wake you up in the morning; the broadcast from the frequency acting as the alarm sound.

It also comes with a recording feature that can be set to work together with the alarm. When activated, the radio records the broadcast so you could listen later.

V-Scanner ll system

The feature makes searching through the stored frequencies or channels (this includes your Scanlists, Frequency Library, Scannable objects, etc.) easy. With a 200-frequency storage capability, manually looking for a particular channel can be tedious.

You don’t even have to connect the device to the computer. The feature allows you to easily jump to saved items via the keypad.

SkyWarn

When activated, the feature allows you to access frequencies that track inclement weather like storms so you can be aware of any dire weather situations building up in your location.

You can also use the feature to program your favorite channels. Activating the feature temporarily disables all the frequencies in your Scanlists. Only the programed SkyWarn frequencies would be functional.

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Other features

Scan Sets – This allows you to link data across several Scanlists using variables like the location as the common denominator

Air traffic Recording – This allows you to record air traffic so you can listen to it later using the playback button

Memory card – It comes with 4GB of internal SD memory card. This can be switched to a larger one. The memory card is an integral part of the radio. It won’t work without it.

Frequency – The scanner comes with default modulation modes for various parts of the bands. This can be altered during firmware updated though. The frequencies range is between 25 MHz and 1300 MHz.

Summary of Features of Whistler TRX 2

  • Frequency: 25-54MHz, 108-136.99MHz, 137-174MHz, 216-379.97MHz, 380-512MHz, 764-781MHz, 791-796MHz, 806-960MHz (excluding cellular), 1240-1300MHz
  • Simple Zip Code programming
  • Preloaded USA/Canada MicroSD card included.
  • Easy updating via Internet
  • APCO P25 Digital Phase I & II
  • Removable magnetic head
  • Scanning at up to 70 channels/second
  • CTCSS and DCS subaudible decoder
  • Dedicated SKYWARN®/Weather button
  • IF Discriminator Out
  • User upgradable CPU firmware
  • Spectrum Sweeper
  • Tuning Steps: 2.5, 3.125, 5, 6.25, 7.5, 8.33, 10, 12.5 ad 25 kHz.
  • Clock / Calendar
  • Store Favorites Scan List

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Pros

  • Whistler provides regular upgrades to firmware
  • Multi-system adaptive digital trunking scanner
  • Supports Motorola P25 Phase I, X2-TDMA, Phase II, and DMR
  • Can monitor all unencrypted channels
  • Good reception with very little interference
  • Programming software is good
  • Easy to enable/disable Scanlist
  • P-25 Simulcast and NXDN work very well
  • You don’t need third-party drivers to access the memory

Cons

  • No automatic shutoff
  • LCD could be better

Conclusion

The Whistler TRX 2 is a complete multi-function scanner capable of scanning all of the frequency range available including the ability to decode digital modes.

It can decode DMR, Moto Turbo voice, and P25 formats among others. It is also capable of receiving the NXDN, the frequency division multiple access mode.

If you can get over the cost, the Whistler TRX 2 is a very good scanner. Maybe it’s not the best around in terms of usability, but certainly up there in terms of reception and ability to monitor all unencrypted channels.

However, the menu makes it unsuitable for people who are new to scanning. It is quite complicated with several vague items included.

Beyond that, experts would love many of the advanced features that makes it easy to organize the frequencies, search easily for channels, and never bother about updating frequencies in new locations among others.

Whistler TRX-2 Desktop Digital Scanner
  • The TRX-2 detects and masks digital voice audio, and decodes RadioID/TalkgroupID data embedded in voice packets.