Do not understand codes and setup- cobra microtalk

Hello, new to the site and looking for help from experts. i have cobra two way radio micro talk 121 privacy code, 22 channels talkies. i want to be able to set it them up to receive police scanner while im at my desk working. how do i set this up . if this does not work for these devices what would be a good scanner to get that is easy to setup understand.

ive been able to setup the talkies on like channel 6 or 7 and talk with each other i do not understand what all the other channels are for the privacy codes seems like overkill .thanks

Hi there pscan1,

Cobra Micro Talk radios are specifically designed for the Family Radio Service (FRS). They have no capability to receive police / public services transmissions in any way, as that is a totally different set of frequencies (along with some other technical factors).

First thing that comes to my mind when thinking “scanners” is the Uniden Bearcat model line, but I have never owned nor operated these or any other dedicated scanner radios. The forum owners and maintainers ( staff ) and/or another more knowledgeable forum member could provide a better answer than I could on that front.

Just an FYI, police scanning is pretty much dead as a hobby. Almost all agencies have gone to digital trunked systems, which require a very high end scanner to monitor. Plus, police, EMS and many fire have gone to encrypted radios which are impossible to monitor. If your local agency has not gone to encrypted radios, they soon will.

It is also dependent on location too, so if you tell us what city you are in or closest to, and someone familiar with that area may be able to help you out.

As whippurwhil and Chickenhawk said, scanning police frequencies is not possible on your Cobra FRS radios and will be problematic on a bona fide scanner, and for the reasons already mentioned.

Uniden does have a line of digital scanners. They even have a CB/digital scanner combo radio that is quite popular, the Uniden BearTracker 885.

To answer your question about privacy codes, they essentially act as a filter and are quite useful for tuning out unwanted noise or transmissions from other users and groups operating on the same channel. In some areas, the FRS can get crowded on certain channels, particularly channel 1. Setting a privacy code on your radios will filter out the chatter so you only hear the transmissions from your radios or others in your own group.
Episode 8 our Two Way Radio Show Podcast explains what privacy codes are and how they work.

If you’re going to buy a scanner be advised that there are two kinds of narrow fm , 16kf3 and 11kf3 , all your vintage models made in the eighties and nineties are 16kf3 , and when you try to use them for public safety nowadays they will be getting an 11kf3 signal for input which results in poor s-n ratio and very low volume output.

So be sure to check the specs on the scanner before buying or you will be disappointed.

I have some very nice scanners that were great in their day but are now pretty useless now(for public safety)

If your town went digital consider using a smartphone app for monitoring them before spending big bucks on a digital scanner. Lots of free scanner apps available.