Hello! Welcome to the Michigan Radio & TV Buzzboard. All accepted new account registrations through 12-09-2017 at 9:00a ET have been activated. I apologize for the delay in activating new accounts.

(Note: hover your mouse pointer near the upper right corner of this box and click the "x" to close it.)

Any Scanner Enthusiasts Here?

The technical side of broadcasting. Think IBOC is a sham? Talk about it here! How about HDTV? Post DX reports here as well.
User avatar
Turkeytop
Posts: 2914
Joined: Mon Aug 16, 2010 9:27 pm

Any Scanner Enthusiasts Here?

Post by Turkeytop » Sat Aug 19, 2017 9:21 pm

I'm one of those people who has always referred to scanner users in disparaging terms like "scanner scum." To me they have always been at the very bottom of the radio hobby hierarchy, even lower than CB.


But with the near complete abandonment of the short wave bands by international broadcasters and predictions of decades of low solar activity and with commercial broadcasters that all sound the same and they rarely ID, scanner may be my next refuge.

Are any of you scanner enthusiasts? What attracts you to the hobby? How much does a decent receiver cost?

tapeisrolling
Posts: 95
Joined: Sat Dec 04, 2004 9:07 pm
Location: go ahead, I'm listening

Re: Any Scanner Enthusiasts Here?

Post by tapeisrolling » Sun Aug 20, 2017 8:51 pm

I have been down the same road. I grew up an avid SWL person and the bands kinda went away. At the same time I picked up a scanner that could pick up a whopping 20 channels. I enjoyed knowing where the sirens were headed and graduated to a 200 channel trunking model. I don't have it on all the time but if I'm board or a storm is coming I'll turn it on for the 'skywarn net'.
Them most heavy duty traffic like police/ fire etc went digital and my model was almost obsolete. You can still listen to amateur traffic and the air port. A good digital model will run about $300 new. The type that you type your zip code and it takes off from there and fills in the frequencies.

You can try scanning for free on your phone. The app, 'scanner radio', plug it in and pick where and what you want to follow. http://www.broadcastify.com/listen/?rl=rr will work on the computer also.

see if it works for you...

bmw
Posts: 1016
Joined: Sun Dec 05, 2004 1:02 am

Re: Any Scanner Enthusiasts Here?

Post by bmw » Mon Aug 21, 2017 12:15 am

I bought a PSR-600 digital scanner some years back - I think I paid something like $300-$400 for it.

It works well and picks up all the state police comms. But I ended up putting it into my closet and only pull it out when I hear a herd of sirens going down the street.

Mine came with software that interfaces with the radioreference.com scanner frequency database. You have to buy a premium membership (its like $15 for half a year) but it made programming my scanner super easy.

k8jd
Posts: 315
Joined: Fri Jun 28, 2013 3:35 pm
Location: Commerce, MI

Re: Any Scanner Enthusiasts Here?

Post by k8jd » Mon Aug 21, 2017 12:58 pm

I have been using "Scanners" for a long time. I have been in the two way service career for most of my working days and wanted to keep track of the radio systems I was responsible for maintaining. My last Scanner was the Uniden trunk tracker and I used it for a few years to hear the analog trunked systems, and then the digital systems came along .
Now all I can hear reliably are analog systems used by many fire Depts and small business,
Aircraft all over the state, and Amateur radio operators and now even hams have started going digital. :red

bmw
Posts: 1016
Joined: Sun Dec 05, 2004 1:02 am

Re: Any Scanner Enthusiasts Here?

Post by bmw » Mon Aug 21, 2017 10:17 pm

I get a TON of air traffic chatter if I set my scanner for the air band. Like every few seconds I'm hearing something. Mostly boring stuff, but occasionally something interesting.

User avatar
WOHO
Posts: 1110
Joined: Thu Dec 16, 2004 12:05 am
Location: Mourning the assasination of 1470 KHz by Cumulus

Re: Any Scanner Enthusiasts Here?

Post by WOHO » Tue Aug 29, 2017 1:22 pm

Two thumbs up for scanners. Radio Shack's last firmware update for their scanner was for improvement to the Michigan State System! Then they went bankrupt.

k8jd
Posts: 315
Joined: Fri Jun 28, 2013 3:35 pm
Location: Commerce, MI

Re: Any Scanner Enthusiasts Here?

Post by k8jd » Wed Aug 30, 2017 12:42 pm

Is there EVER any traffic on the 250-400 MHz aircraft band, I put in all the freqs I could find published for this area and never heard anything !

User avatar
SolarMax
Posts: 411
Joined: Sat Dec 04, 2004 5:59 pm
Location: 313

Re: Any Scanner Enthusiasts Here?

Post by SolarMax » Wed Aug 30, 2017 6:08 pm

I thought the 300MHz zone was primarily military and associated traffic. I've never heard anything up there either. Suppose if you're lucky you might catch a data burst from an old key fob or garage door opener.

WC8KCY
Posts: 43
Joined: Tue Dec 14, 2004 4:09 am
Location: 44° 14' N 86° 18' W HAAT: 10m ERP: 5W

Re: Any Scanner Enthusiasts Here?

Post by WC8KCY » Thu Aug 31, 2017 2:25 pm

I've got three scanners. The one I use most is an old Bearcat base station. A very early digital model, it doesn't scan very quickly so I monitor just four frequencies: the local 2m Amateur radio repeater, two local fire departments, and the Coast Guard safety channel. It's great for tuning in NOAA weather radio, too.

It sits next to my 2m/70cm Amateur radio transceiver. That way, when a call comes in, it's easy to fire up the transceiver and make contact.

For years, I had it set up to monitor the 2m and 70cm Amateur radio simplex calling frequencies. Never once made a contact there.

The other two scanners I own are handheld 200-channel units. I've got banks set up with amateur radio repeater frequencies along my favourite travel routes. They scan much faster than my handheld transceiver. At home, it's useful to monitor these same frequencies for band openings to make DX contacts.
Eschew obfuscation.

tapeisrolling
Posts: 95
Joined: Sat Dec 04, 2004 9:07 pm
Location: go ahead, I'm listening

Re: Any Scanner Enthusiasts Here?

Post by tapeisrolling » Thu Aug 31, 2017 10:07 pm

Just today I plugged in the Blue Angels freq's and listened to them fly around setting markers to go by for the show. They were using "green roof at south end of parking lot." "the point of the peninsula on the lake" and such.

k8jd
Posts: 315
Joined: Fri Jun 28, 2013 3:35 pm
Location: Commerce, MI

Re: Any Scanner Enthusiasts Here?

Post by k8jd » Fri Sep 01, 2017 4:30 pm

I went to the trouble of programming ALL the VHF marine channels for a trip to FL keys, I maybe heard traffic there a few times in a week. usually a pleasure boat asking about docking available in a marina.
I heard more traffic on the Lk Michigan and Huron shores, a lot of boaters asking each other where the fish were biting on the intership channels.

User avatar
MWmetalhead
Site Admin
Posts: 4555
Joined: Sun Oct 31, 2004 11:23 am

Re: Any Scanner Enthusiasts Here?

Post by MWmetalhead » Mon Sep 11, 2017 10:31 pm

Loved 'em when everything was analog and primarily in the 151 MHz to 160 MHz and 450 MHz to 470 MHz bands (in terms of police, fire, EMS, county road commissions, etc.). Michigan State Police largely operated between 42 MHz and 44 MHz, as I recall. Some of their posts didn't even have repeaters.

An interesting oddity was the fact the local NOAA wx radio station in Grand Rapids was simulcast on 410.100 MHz (or maybe it was 410.010 MHz?).

RadioShack used to put out frequency guides annually with a list of all licensed base & repeater stations for the public service bands. Used to love looking at those.

With a simple Uniden scanner that probably cost no more than $80 or $90 brand new, I could easily pick up repeaters used by police & fire agencies up to 30 miles away.

The really fun part was scanning the 46 MHz band and accidentally hearing peoples' cordless phone conversations! As a 12 or 13 year old at the time, I was amused by that!
C'mon iHeartRadio - do the RIGHT thing for once! Please cancel "Rover's Morning Glory" from WBFX in Grand Rapids.

k8jd
Posts: 315
Joined: Fri Jun 28, 2013 3:35 pm
Location: Commerce, MI

Re: Any Scanner Enthusiasts Here?

Post by k8jd » Tue Sep 12, 2017 12:20 am

My kids were teenagers when the cordless phones and baby monitors were on several channels around 49.8 mHz, they learned to use my scanners to hear all that activity for a half mile around our house.

User avatar
WOHO
Posts: 1110
Joined: Thu Dec 16, 2004 12:05 am
Location: Mourning the assasination of 1470 KHz by Cumulus

Re: Any Scanner Enthusiasts Here?

Post by WOHO » Fri Sep 22, 2017 3:42 pm

I'm with you MW- scanning used to be really fun when you could buy a Radio Shack frequency guide for OH-MI every year, punch in all the channels (analog) and listen to the action. The state police had damn powerful transmitters in their cruisers on the low band, and had hellacious coverage, not this skimpy digital sh*t. IIRC, the mobiles were on one frequency and the base posts on another. One county in Ohio could call another county on the Statewide frequency in Ohio and notify them of pursuits etc, much faster than trying to figure out talkgroups and if you were going to be out of range of the digital repeaters once you got so far in the chase. When the POTUS would be here (Bush Jr), the OHP used the statewide VHF channel to verify that each and every overpass had a unit on, above or below it all the way up from Columbus to the MI state line. And baby monitors were hilarious- would call the neighbor and ask her why Kayla was still up- and then 1 minute later hear the monitor go off!

User avatar
syntheticexctasy
Posts: 120
Joined: Wed Apr 27, 2011 10:26 am
Location: Pontiac, MI

Re: Any Scanner Enthusiasts Here?

Post by syntheticexctasy » Wed Sep 27, 2017 11:39 am

I have a few analog scanners as well as four or five RTL-SDR units.

Every now and then with the help of some fancy software, I use two of the SDR units to monitor the MPSCS, which most state-level and below agencies have migrated to.

There's software available out there to decode APCO 25 on a PC. Unitrunker is awesome. Allows for you to set up a master radio (for monitoring the control channel) and as many slave radios as you like.

I also DX the weather stations as well - They're an excellent indicator of Tropo enhancement. It's a lot of fun when you have 2 or 3 stations fighting it out on each freq.

30-50mhz is a blast as well during an F2 opening - California highway patrol still uses 30mhz radios which can be easily heard here during an F2 opening. You can also hear snow monitors out west which broadcast primarily by way of meteor scatter.

Mostly, my scanners are used for detecting carriers in the low tv band during potential sporadic E openings, Specifically the RTL-SDRs.

I take my handheld ICOM IC-R2 on flights with me and listen from 37,000'. Another interesting place to dx NOAA freqs from.

k8jd
Posts: 315
Joined: Fri Jun 28, 2013 3:35 pm
Location: Commerce, MI

Re: Any Scanner Enthusiasts Here?

Post by k8jd » Wed Sep 27, 2017 8:54 pm

WC8KCY, My first two meter FM rigs were all tube, commercial converted to ham bands . Xtals for 146.940 simplex
, back when there were only two repeaters in Detroit, and One was exclusively for AFSK RTTY :D

k8jd
Posts: 315
Joined: Fri Jun 28, 2013 3:35 pm
Location: Commerce, MI

Re: Any Scanner Enthusiasts Here?

Post by k8jd » Wed Sep 27, 2017 9:18 pm

SolarMax wrote:
Wed Aug 30, 2017 6:08 pm
I thought the 300MHz zone was primarily military and associated traffic. I've never heard anything up there either. Suppose if you're lucky you might catch a data burst from an old key fob or garage door opener.
I saw a lot of listings for Aero service, usually Air Force, Coast Guard and Naval aviation, we have some around here but never heard it.
I even did some contract Spec Check on many Coast Guard UHF radio installations along the St Clair and Detroit rivers (used to contact helo and watercraft) so I know there is equipment, Not sure how often they use it....

User avatar
syntheticexctasy
Posts: 120
Joined: Wed Apr 27, 2011 10:26 am
Location: Pontiac, MI

Re: Any Scanner Enthusiasts Here?

Post by syntheticexctasy » Fri Nov 10, 2017 10:54 am

Just got my MPSCS scanning system set up again (first time since i've lived in pontiac).

The nearest towers to me are Southfield and Romeo. Southfield surprisingly, I can't get in very clear. Romeo is in loud and clear, but has mostly talkgroups that I don't care to hear on it.

Figured out that my giant outdoor antenna and associated RG59 cabling don't carry 800mhz very far (I have about 100' and a few splitters in line).

Took me a while to figure out that it was the cable causing me problems. The tower I wanted to hear is Northville, and it comes in much louder using the tiny stubby antenna that came with the SDR!

Anyhow, now i've got a solid lock on the northville tower, but some of the voice/data channels are still pretty weak. Guess i'm going to have to invest in a real scanner antenna (or at least something that does better on 800mhz).
Attachments
mpscs.png
mpscs.png (214.66 KiB) Viewed 316 times

In The Bleachers
Posts: 122
Joined: Sat Apr 15, 2017 9:15 am
Location: Nankin Township

Re: Any Scanner Enthusiasts Here?

Post by In The Bleachers » Fri Nov 10, 2017 6:17 pm

I'll not quote all that. But my first suggestion is to get the feed line as short as possible. And if possible, get rid of the splitters. Every splitter is loss.

I'd start with the stock antenna right off the radio. Then if you're not happy, run just enough feed line to get outside. Don't worry about height. At 800 MHz, with the state system, height and a high gain antenna can be a disadvantage. If all you're really interested in is 800 MHz, ditch the big antenna and go with a little 3" whip. (after just trying the antenna that came with the radio).

User avatar
syntheticexctasy
Posts: 120
Joined: Wed Apr 27, 2011 10:26 am
Location: Pontiac, MI

Re: Any Scanner Enthusiasts Here?

Post by syntheticexctasy » Sat Nov 11, 2017 9:35 am

I've got a slightly overkill setup, all thrown together with rg59 that was laying around.

Antenna's on the garage on a rotator about 30' agl, fed into a dist amp, which feeds buried rg59 to the house, where it's split off in several directions to different rooms. I've done my best to keep the "important" stuff on the lowest loss feeds (my FM dx tuner, a couple TVs and a feed to the room with the SDRs). All in, there's probably:
~+40db from the amp
~-10.5db from splitters
~100' of RG59 from the antenna terminals to the furthest point (currently, my SDRs)

My setup works well for VHF and low UHF, as I use it a lot for TV and FM dxing, just never really relied on it for solid 800mhz performance.

I realize it's not ideal, but a stubby antenna seems to be working much better. In fact, the cheap stubby antenna that came with the SDRs.

I'm working on a PC that I can put somewhere remotely with a couple SDRs and an antenna in it, which I can stream from and have better access to the TGs I would rather hear. Romeo and Southfield towers don't offer up most of the Washtenaw County and Monroe County talkgroups i'd rather hear, but Northville offers most I believe.
In The Bleachers wrote:
Fri Nov 10, 2017 6:17 pm
I'll not quote all that. But my first suggestion is to get the feed line as short as possible. And if possible, get rid of the splitters. Every splitter is loss.

I'd start with the stock antenna right off the radio. Then if you're not happy, run just enough feed line to get outside. Don't worry about height. At 800 MHz, with the state system, height and a high gain antenna can be a disadvantage. If all you're really interested in is 800 MHz, ditch the big antenna and go with a little 3" whip. (after just trying the antenna that came with the radio).

Post Reply Previous topicNext topic

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 4 guests