The communication receiver (also referred to as a radio scanner) is a radio receiver that can automatically tune, or scan, two or more discrete frequencies, stopping when it finds a signal on one of them and then continuing to scan other frequencies when the initial transmission ceases.
The term scanner generally refers to a communications receiver that is primarily intended for monitoring VHF and UHF landmobile radio systems, as opposed to, for instance, a receiver used to monitor international shortwave transmissions.
More often than not, these scanners can also tune to different types of modulation as well (AM, FM, WFM, etc.). The modern microprocessor controled scanners to store thousands of channels and monitor hundreds of channels per second. Both hand held and desktop models are available. Scanners are often used to monitor police, fire and emergency medical services. Radio scanning serves an important role in the fields of journalism and crime investigation, as well as a hobby for many people around the world.