By listening in on real-time driver communication, NASCAR race scanners let you better grasp what's going on with specific teams and what difficulties are influencing the race. Purchasing a scanner and a headset may be a scary affair, especially if you have never had one before. You may also listen to exciting race broadcasts while using a scanner. (see also How long does the indy 500 last)
The first thing to ask is, "How many channels do I require?" For the average fan, scanners with 100 channels are considered the absolute minimum. Models with 100 channels or fewer will not enable you to program the entire field at the same time, which is essential for passionate sports fans. Scanners with 200 channels (or more) are ideal for spectators who intend to stay for the entire race weekend. You will be able to program Cup cars in channels 1–100 and Nationwide vehicles in 101–200, all by car number, and you will not have to reprogram.
Because scanners detect radio frequencies, another consideration is which scanners can reach which frequency bands. Many scanners are unable of picking up the 800-Mhz channels. While the bulk of racing frequencies are in the 450–470 Mhz range, some drivers are operating in the 855 Mhz frequency. If your scanner does not support the 800-Mhz band, you will be unable to hear those drivers.
Some scanners will expressly declare that they have been "audio modified." This indicates they've been changed to increase the loudness. Some racing fans, however, do not consider this to be a requirement. However, if you have trouble hearing, you should certainly consider purchasing a higher-quality nascar headset to help filter out outside noise.
Many scanners use standard alkaline AA batteries, while some require a specialized rechargeable battery pack. Rechargeable battery packs necessitate a little preparation to ensure that your scanner is fully charged before heading to the race, but AA battery-powered scanners will cost you more money over time as you change the batteries frequently.
The phrase "you get what you pay for" applies to most devices, including scanners. Make a budget of at least $100. If you double—or triple—that, you'll get something very special. On race day, you may also hire a scanner and headset from any of the shops that line the course. This is a fantastic option if you are new to the sport or just attend the occasional live event.
If you're wondering whether racegoers can chat with the drivers, the answer is no. The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) forbids supporters from communicating with teams or drivers via radio. As a further precaution, drivers' and teams' radios are supplied with unique programming equipment and security codes that ensure two-way communication stays on NASCAR-only authorized frequencies.
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