It is a complex decision whether you wish to purchase a digital or a basic analog scanner for San Mateo County. The sheriff's department along with EMS, parks and public works all operate on a countywide digital trunking system. For persons in the smaller San Mateo communities, where the sheriff provides law enforcement functions, they will require a digital scanner. For those in the larger cities in the county, who do not wish to monitor the sheriff and EMS, a basic scanner will work fine.
Note that all county fire operations are standard analog on VHF which also can be monitored on any scanner. So the best San Mateo County scanner, which will allow users to listen to all agencies, is a digital scanner. But a basic scanner will suffice for monitoring the police and fire departments in Belmont, Brisbane, Burlingame, Colma, Daly City, East Palo Alto, Foster City, Half Moon Bay, Menlo Park, Pacifica, Redwood City, San Bruno, San Carlos, San Mateo and South San Francisco. A digital
scanner though is needed in San Francisco city/county and in Marin so the digital police scanner radio option is a good one.
Please click on the links below for online and printed radio resources for this county: