Whistler WS1065 Desktop Radio Scanner Review
The Whistler WS1065 Desktop Radio Scanner is one of the feature-rich scanner desktop scanner stations out there. It is one of the brand’s top models that is capable of almost anything police scanners should be able to do. Unfortunately, all that comes with a steep price tag that takes away some of its charm. In this review, we will go over its frequency range, memory, audio, and scanning features as well as discussing some of its biggest advantages and disadvantages compared to other base scanners in this price class.
If you want to learn more about police scanners, make sure you check our fully detailed Buyer’s Guide on the topic!
Overview & Features
The WS1055 comes with a ton of features such as object-oriented scanning, Skywarn functions, V-scanner capability, and more but to someone that isn’t familiar with these advanced options, it might sound a bit confusing. In short, this model does everything a police scanner can and should do wonderfully. It can quickly find nearby frequencies and store up to 1800 of them. It also allows you to jump to already found transmissions making using it a breeze. However, there are also advanced features that will most likely appeal to radio enthusiasts. Let’s start with the design and built quality of this Whistler scanner and then move onto the heavy stuff…
Design and Build Quality
The design of this scanner base is quite familiar to anyone who has had a desktop scanner before. It features a boxy shape that is 2.2 inches high, 7.3 inches wide, and 5.3 inches long. The whole scanner weighs 2.64 lbs which is quite heavy considering its size. Still, for a desktop model, this is the ideal size and all of its buttons are nicely laid out upfront next to a relatively large display. The scanner comes with a mounting bracket that allows it to be slightly raised and angled towards you.
The build quality is typical to what we’re used to seeing from Whistler. Everything is solidly put together, nothing squeaks nor there are any noises when handling the scanner. All the buttons are tactile and easy to use and the volume knob is clicky. As a whole, it feels like a premium model, unlike some expensive Uniden scanners that do not bring such a build quality to the table.
Perhaps one of the best features of this scanner is its frequency coverage range. It can work with all of the following frequencies:
- 25-54 MHz
- 108-117 MHz
- 137-174 MHz
- 216-512 MHz
- 764-776 MHz
- 795-805 MHz
- 849-869 MHz
- 896-960 MHz
- 1240-1300 MHz
As you can see this covers the VHF and UHF ranges more than well enough. Going through all of these, you can store 1800 individual frequencies and can later on dynamically structure them to bank sizes of your choice. You can also add 21 virtual scanners, meaning the total amount of objects you can store goes up to almost 38,000.
The display of the WS1065 is quite good compared to other stations with smaller ones. It is a backlit LCD (orange) display with 4 separate lines each with 16 characters. It is around 2 inches big and is bright enough for you to see the information on it no matter the lighting conditions around you. The backlit keys also add to the convenience since it makes the scanner very easy to use in total darkness.
Frequency Search and Memory
The scanning on the WS1065 is very intuitive. There is a manual mode that you can toggle in different kHz steps but you can also use the automatic scanning button that will look for nearby frequency transmissions and even jump to one that it finds. The automatic scanning, apart from its obvious function, allows you to jump and loop through your banks to find an active frequency. You can also directly jump to the NOAA channels with the W/X button at the front. lastly, you can use the number pad to manually.
Just like the cheaper Whistler models, you have the dedicated Skywarn and Spectrum sweeper buttons here which help you move around the different options faster. This also gives you a head-start since you will be able to hear reports about storms and other warnings before they are broadcasted on the TV or radio.
When going through various frequencies you can also take advantage of the real-time frequency strength indicator which is helpful if you want to adjust your scanner to better the signal quality. As I already mentioned, you can store up to 1800 individual frequencies. When paired with the 21 digital scanner profiles you can create, the number of stored channels grows exponentially.
The scanning speed here is greatly improved compared to the cheaper Whistler models like the BC355N. As a whole, this doesn’t really matter if you are only going to use it for a few channels, but people that will browse different channels all the time will appreciate its speed.
What you get
Inside your package, you will be getting:
- A DC cable and AC adapter
- DIN-E adapter (installation kit)
- Telescopic antenna
- Mounting bracket
- Quick start and user guides
- PC/IF cable
While this isn’t a lot for a premium model is still is more than enough to set up your scanner properly and use it to its full potential. If you have another Whistler scanner, you can transfer the programmed data through the data cloning feature.
There are plenty of features that went unmentioned so far but are just the icing on an already delicious cake. One of those is the flexible antenna which has a BNC connector. You also get features such as data cloning, alarms, LED alerts, key lock function, PC-enabled programming, and a real-time signal strength indicator. There is even a subaudible squelch decoder which isn’t something very common even in this price range.
The LED alerts are actually fully-programmable and can be configured to flash or illuminate whenever a certain function is active. You can also choose different color combinations base on 8 basic colors. The alarms can also be configured to ring every time you have an active scannable object. LEDs and alarms can be either used individually or together.
One very cool additional feature here is that the frequencies you have stored on the scanner’s memory remain there for a long period of time even if it runs out of battery. You also have access to all of the frequencies used by storm spotters (Skywarn storm spotter function). Another thing that I like a lot is the AGC (automatic gain control) audio level compensation which corrects and betters low user audio levels.
Lastly, the WS1065 also has multi-system trunking. The trunking systems that this scanner supports are EDACS, LTR, Motorola Analog, and Digital APCO. While it isn’t as expensive as some Uniden base scanner models, it really has a premium price tag that isn’t truly justified if you are looking for a practical and easy-to-use scanner. Now, let’s take one last look at its most important pros and cons!
Advantages & Disadvantages
- 1800 frequencies capacity
- AGC audio-level compensation
- Well-built and durable
- Menu-driven programming
- Ideal for radio enthusiasts
- Good range and signal clarity
- Very expensive
- Won’t work in some specific areas
Whistler WS1065 vs Whistler TRX-2 Desktop Digital Scanner
The TRX-2 is the much more expensive alternative to the WS1065 and has a few features that are unique to it. For starters, it uses a proprietary zip code programming with a USA and Canada microSD card included with all the zip codes preloaded on it. It also has an Ethernet port that allows the TRX-2 to connect directly to the internet and update its software. The CPU firmware is also easily upgradable. Both of these desktop scanners have the Spectrum Sweeper features, as well as the Skywarn button. The TRX-2, however, is slightly better in the audio department with a CTCSS and DCS subaudible decoder.
The displays and controls of both scanners are relatively the same with a few minor differences. The TRX-2 is has a bit more modern interface and a micro-USB upfront. Both models have adjustable LED alerts and key/display backlights. The tuning steps on the TRX-2 are far more customizable, however, making it more precise when looking for certain frequencies. As a whole, if you want the best of what Whistler has to offer for their desktop scanners, get the TRX-2 but the WS1065 will always be the better value model, especially if you’re just entering the world of radio scanners.
Conclusion & Rating
The Whistler WS1065 is one of the most advanced desktop digital scanners that the brand makes. It brings a lot of value to the table despite being more expensive than the average digital scanner. The number of functions and its frequency range combined with its memory functions and digital scanner profiles you can create, make this station extremely versatile and practical for radio enthusiasts. Everything from the build quality to the front control panel is durable and very well-built. Even though there are more advanced Whistler and Uniden scanners, this one is definitely worth your consideration and a great value for your money. I gave it a solid score of four and a half out of five stars!