In early 2000 I purchased a Bearcat 245XLT to use as my primary scanner. It has the ability to scan both trunked and conventional systems. Overall its performance is great. But when I had a chance to pick up a new Sony ICF SC1 (WaveHawk) for under $100 a few months later, I jumped at it. Two things made it an easy decision. First, it had full coverage from 25-1,300 MHz (excluding cellular phone frequencies) and I'd always wanted to be able to listen to the military air band. Secondly, it gave me a way to let the trunk tracking scanner do it's job and have a conventional scanner for everything else.
In some ways, my decision turned out better than expected. The WaveHawk is very sensitive when used with my attic mounted discone. In fact, I run the discone (technically, a no gain antenna) to a two way splitter (about 3.5 dB of loss) and feed both the BC245 and the WaveHawk. Both radios have excellent sensitivity when used in this configuration. An I just plain like the WaveHawk--it has a solid feel (maybe a bit large to wear on your belt, but I don't do that anyway) and the audio is excellent.
At one point, you were able to order the service manual from Sony. When the cellular band modification became widely known, they stopped sales of the manual. Fortunately, I was able to order a few of the manuals while they were still available. If you're interested in purchasing one, drop me an e-mail.
The Sony website doesn't seem to have any information left on it since this product was quietly canceled. But you can still go to their Direct Accessories and Parts Center and search by model 'ICF SC1'. This gives you a list of available accessories and replacement parts.
Richard Wells's Strong Signals site has tons of scanner related information. See Richard's comments on the WaveHawk.
You can join the Yahoo! Group's Sony SC1 mailing list--friendly people (including yours truly ) who share information and try to help each other. Sign up below:
And finally, check out PC Magazine's First Look at the Sony WaveHawk.
The WaveHawk has an earphone jack as opposed to an external speaker jack. If you try to plug anything other than earphones or headphones in, you'll probably have weak volume.
Inside the WaveHawk (and many other scanners) a resistor is added in series with the earphone jack. This helps prevent damage to your ears (by limiting volume) and to the radio (if the jack should be shorted for some reason). It's easy to bypass this by running a jumper from the ground of the BNC antenna connector to the ground of the earphone jack. You can make this same modification internal to the radio if you want it to be permanent.
On the Bearcat mailing list this issue seems to come up every few weeks. Common alternative suggestions include 1) the CD player adapters that plug into a cassette player, 2) the CD player adapters that broadcast to a nearby FM receiver, and 3) an amplified speaker. Personally I use an amplified external speaker I picked up at Radio Shack and have been very happy with it.
Matt tested his SC1 (non-PC) to develop this list of birdies. Those marked with a star (*) could be taken care of with the squelch. Matt first posted this info to the eGroups list.
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