Just like Amélie, it’s the small things in life that make me happy.
In this case, though, a rather capitalistic approach, good luck on eBay and an investment of 4,- EUR that helped me strike a deal in form of a "broken" Realistic PRO-27 radioscanner.
Not so broken, as it turned out. This radioscanner from 1995 has an inconvenient and rather complicated user interface (small display) and since it didn’t come with any user manual (and ppl out there desperately looking for one), I managed to get a copy via mods.dk.
Et voilà, upon going through the manual, connecting it to a decent active antenna (the mandatory part on radioscanners – they are useless without any proper antenna) and typing in promising frequencies that actually show results (up here in this rural area, there isn’t much activity on VHF), this resurrected gadgetimoja turned out to be a good deal and working just fine. Haiiyaaa!
Now, since I had already opened it (hey, 4 screws – who couldn’t resist?), I saw some clear indicators on the PCB: whereas it normally takes some further testing or checking various internet resources for the discriminator output (signal), this board already came with "testing point" (TP) indicators printed right on the board. All it takes from that point is to solder a wire to that TP, another one to the base (metal frame, etc), fit in a 3,5" headphone socket and there you go – your new discriminator* output is ready. Simple as that.
BECOOOOOOOOOOOS: a normal, simple, yet modern radioscanner sells for about 60,- EURs and those with discriminator output cost an extra 20,- EUR…
Sasa, I might try to sell this thing again and hopefully make a killing with it! Who knows how much money I’ll still have to save for Mbuzimoja’s dowry? :-)
*Monitoring digital modes using FSK or PSK (e.g. POCSAG, FLEX, ERMES and AIS) gives the best result if you use the unfiltered audio from your scanner. You can find that signal at the discriminator of your scanner. A discriminator is the ‘heart’ of an FM-receiver. After the discriminator, audio filters and amplifiers follow that may heavily distort a digital signal. If you want to read along with digital (FSK and PSK) systems seriously, a discriminator output is absolutely prerogative.
Usually, scanners are not equipped with a discriminator output as a standard. You need to ‘operate’ on your scanner to make the discriminator signal available to the outside world…(source)