Whistler TRX-1 Review

Monitoring police scanners or a radio frequency scanner has become a favorite pastime of some folks in the country. Most use scanners for the chance to hear interesting news or for storm spotting. Journalists rely on them to catch wind of a potential story.

Using a scanner is legal, to the surprise of many, which other police forces aren't exactly happy with.

To fully enjoy the experience, though, you must have a good device that can tune in to the channel you want and with great audio quality. You don't have to have the best, but if you insist, consider the Whistler TRX-1.

Let's take a deep look at one of the best Whistler's offering yet.

The Basics

The Whistler TRX-1 is a multi-system digital police scanner that can pick up any AM, FM, and digital frequency. It can also listen to Digital Phase I and Phase II channels as well as capture analog signals, which nearly every police, fire, and emergency system use. As long as the area you're in doesn't have encrypted radio channels, you're good to listen.

It comes pre-programmed with the U.S. and Canada data out of the box, giving you access to a comprehensive database without needing to connect to the computer or internet. The package also contains a microSD card, so it's ready for use as soon as you receive it.

The TRX-1 uses 4 AA battery cells. It has a switch that allows you to choose between Nickel-Metal Hydride or Alkaline cells, which you can charge via USB.

Whistler TRX-1 Features

What we like about the Whistler TRX-1 is that it's rich with features, possibly making it the best police scanner today. This digital scanner has a fully backlit alphanumeric keypad with easy-to-use scan, pause, select, and navigational controls. But what really sets the TRX-1 apart is its internal specs and software.

SkyWarn and Weather Buttons

You can use the Whistler SkyWarn software for storm spotting, but you can also use it for other tasks if your program in your important event channels. Pressing the SkyWarn button while in Weather Alert mode will also turn off the other Scanlists so you can listen to the SkyWarn Scanlist alone.

The TRX-1 also doubles as a weather alert receiver. You'll be able to set up weather warnings for the counties you specify by the Weather Priority feature or by Specific Area Message Encoding (SAME). The Weather Priority feature also samples the local weather channel to check for alerts using the long 1050 Hz tone.

Extensive Programming Options

The TRX-1 provides you with many programming options; whether that's a good or bad thing is up to you.

It allows you to program LED colors to indicate any activity on the handheld device or on the special channels. Set up special alerts with multiple color sequences, and maybe even mimic the red and blue strobe of the police.

The backlights are also programmable, which can flash with custom patterns depending on which objects are active. Use this to know when there's any important radio traffic.

Aside from lights, you also have the option to program audible alarms, which can alert you if a certain Scannable Object is active. Use this alone or in conjunction with LED alerts.

The TRX-1 also has an internal alarm clock that allows you to set its waking times. It starts scanning when it wakes up each day at the time you specify.

Connectivity and Storage Options

The microSD slot sits under the battery door on the right side of the TRX-1. Keep the card installed at all times, otherwise, it will result in an error and the radio won't work. Remember to turn off the device before you insert or remove the card as well.

The TRX-1 can support a microSD card with up to 32 GB capacity, but make sure to use the EZ-Scan software to format the card before using it. This should allow the device to store the RadioReference data library, hold millions of channels, and store up to 200 Scanlists. You can also save up to 200 V-Scanner configurations on the SD card with the PC application using the expanded V-Scanner II storage system.

Need to access the data? No need to remove it from the device. Simply plug in the included mini USB cable to gain access - no drivers needed!

Easy Updating and Upgrading

Upgrading the CPU and DSP firmware is also easy over USB. Get upgrades for free as soon as they become available. You can update the RadioReference library as well when enhancements are available.

With easy updating options, you can rest assured that you always have the current information. Remember to update the database and firmware from time to time.

However, you'll need to have a Windows PC. If you have a Mac, your only option is to run Windows in Boot Camp.

Other Neat Features

The TRX-1 has some other neat features for you, such as a signal strength indicator, triple conversion reception, and a clock display when it's turned off or it's plugged in. It has various search modes, extended menu settings, and PL, DPL, and NAC decoding.

Then we also have the Spectrum Sweeper, which is what Whistler calls its near-field search. This feature searches for strong local transmissions, even those that you haven't programmed into your radio.

Why You Should Buy It

If the features above don't inspire you to buy one, let's see its advantages and disadvantages at a glance.


  • Great compatibility
  • Easy software updating
  • MicroSD card support
  • High-quality audio
  • Feature-rich
  • Object-Oriented User Interface


  • Programming can be challenging
  • The display isn't optimal
  • Incompatible with Mac
  • Costly

Its disadvantages are few, but each one can be a deal breaker for some. Programming the TRX-1 will be overwhelming for beginners, to whom we'd recommend choosing another digital police scanner instead.

This feature-packed scanner comes at a high cost, too, and if you can't afford it, you'll have to settle for a cheaper one.

The Bottom Line 

If you can get past the challenges of manually programming it, though, and the hard-to-read words and symbols on the display, you'll surely love the TRX-1.

Its scanning and the sweeper are quick. With excellent audio quality, great reception, easy-to-use navigational controls, and tons of other features, the Whistler TRX-1 is a solid choice as long as you can afford it.

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