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General Scanning Discussion For general questions not specific to a model of scanner or general discussion of use of a scanner. Location specific posts should be directed to the regional forums listed below.

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  #81 (permalink)  
Old 04-11-2014, 9:58 AM
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How did we survive without tone squelch? We listened to EVERYTHING. Really, that's how you learn about radio and interference, especially if you are in an urban environment and everyone is packed close. As a kid, I used to hear cars getting stepped-on every day, with the desk officer telling them to repeat. Consistently. They were in tone squelch, so he didn't know that the next town over (on the same frequency and a different tone squelch) was keying over them. When I got older and began working with the community, I took the opportunity to change that by moving them to another frequency band and building a repeater system that's been up for 19 years now and seems to be serving them a lot better. And they needed that safety margin over these past years.

I've seen the future and it can go in a couple of directions. LMR is declining, but there are a number of people, usually stakeholders who "work the line" and have a confidence level with the current model of two-way radio. Voice throughput will decrease to data. Some studies have shown that mobile data and AVL decrease traffic about 80%. But voice is still a critical link. The two schools of thought are: 1) scanning is a public awareness tool. and 2) scanning gives the bad guy a tactical advantage (please don't go off on that tangent in the thread, it's not my intention, only to make an outline about "the future"). Can't control that. It's like Forrest Gump's box of chocolates. You never know what you'll get when the next leader comes in.

The other school of thought is pushed hard by "industry" and special interests. That is the migration of all communications, voice-data-video, to a digital platform where apps emulate land mobile radio. IF LTE comes to full fruition and develops a high reliability factor, know that these things are already in development. Last month I saw a device that is a hybrid of Band Class 14 (the 700 MHz neighborhood) LTE and "narrowband" LMR that can support P25 phase 1 and 2, as well as low power analog. IF something like that comes into wide acceptance, the paradigm for communications will change dramatically. At that point, on-scene communication may remain in the LMR realm, but operational communication will likely go through LTE. In other words, the public safety leaders I mentioned above who believe that "we" hobbyists are responsible people and that the hobby helps them by making people aware will have to supply feeds. That's a mixed bag. Look for routine stuff to be open, but special traffic to not be streamed. The LMR model is headed in that direction, as well.

There is a big "IT" side to the latter reality, given analytics and other methods that are not present in passive over-the-air reception.

Life is fractal and things have changed since the 1920s and 1930s in many ways, but if you look at it closely, many things have not. No one rides around in Jetsons cars and most of us still live relatively close to the ground and not in Jetsonian buildings with sky pods. Regardless of the outcome, it's a safe bet to say two things: 1) the world will change; and 2) the world will remain the same.
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  #82 (permalink)  
Old 04-11-2014, 12:39 PM
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How did we survive without tone squelch? We listened to EVERYTHING.
You bet we did. That brought back memories for sure...
Used to hear New Rochelle PD l/c on 155.130 which was used by PDs in the Pascack Valley/Northern Valley area where I grew up. Also Fair Lawn dpw/water would interfere with the Pascack Valley FDs on 158.760.

Back in the day (the 70's for me) things were simple. Started out in 1972 with a Regency MR10D tunable VHF receiver (it had tubes). I'd listen to PD; when I caught the PD being dispatched to a fire call, I'd quickly tune up the dial to the fire freq. Had a little hash mark on the face to quickly find the sweet spot. It was also fun to tune around the dial too...Marveled at receiving FDNY Manhattan & Bronx l/c.

The first scanner was a Pearce Simpson Cherokee 8 ch model. That opened up new possibilities but only remember monitoring 3 frequencies: 155.130 PV/NV PD, 158.760 PV fire, 154.160 NV fire.

A few years later purchased a Bearcat SP/HL 4-ch handheld was sweet because by then I was a Jr FF and could listen on the fly. Felt cool with that brick with a rubber duck clipped to my belt back in the day.

In the 70's also had a Midland 13-863 CB and Nutone am/fm intercom/radio to DX am with.

Last year found the MR10D, Pearce-Simpson Scanner and Midland CB on Ebay- they all work marginally, but wanted them in my shack for the fond memories of the early years in the hobby....
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Last edited by mark40; 04-11-2014 at 12:46 PM.. Reason: added content
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Old 04-11-2014, 1:32 PM
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My first experience was when my parents in 1969 for Christmas bought me an AM/FM radio that also had VHF Low/High in it. Imagine a four band radio,but no squelch control! The locals were on VHF Low 37.10 shared by almost everybody in Westchester Co (imagine true interop) all WC Fire was 46.26 and the County PD was 155.55. On a good day (being at 350ft elevation) I could pick up FDNY and NYPD. Next when I got my first job in 1970 were 2 Lafayette portable tunable radios with 2 crystal positions, one on Low Band the other on VHF. Portable was relative since the radio was about the size of a CB with an external battery/antenna pack. Next a Patrolman 3 which was a tunable radio on all 3 bands including UHF, next was a Peterson H/L 44 8 channel my first real scanner in about 1971 or 1972. Multiple Patrolman 7's and 77's, Unimetrics 4+4 and 8's with a digital LED display scanners followed, you could change the frequency band by changing the RF board, a Bearcat 210 was the first programmable in 1977 while I was at Motorola as an installer, I still have it.
I could go on and on with the list of scanners and different radios(which I prefer as opposed to a scanner) I have had over the years but it was much simpler then. The highest level of scrambling was voice inversion used by Mamaroneck PD with the base code changeable by a module made out of an Amphenol connector buried in epoxy.(I suspect there were just coils and caps in the epoxy.)
Quote " How about the old analog mobile phones on 152 MHz" I used to work in a mobile phone shop in the early 80's, and most people were unaware that their greatest fantasies were being broadcast to the world. It was actually someone listening to the phone channels in 1983 that helped solve a multiple murder of 2 CBS-TV technicians that happened upon a HIT in progress. While those days are over with wide-band cell phone, and cordless being encrypted (sort of) most of the real action has moved over to MDT's and computers.
Scanning IMO has an expected shelf life now of about 10-20 years. The next thing mother M and Harris are going to push after Phase II P-25 is LTE, Tetra or some other wide-band un-monitorable system as most of the rest of the world have now.(think EU)
I am going to get on my soapbox now and preach that streaming is going to accelerate the switch to un-monitorable systems. You hear that Broadcastify.
Off soapbox.

Last edited by radioman2001; 04-11-2014 at 1:49 PM..
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Old 04-12-2014, 1:17 PM
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My story started in the mid 60's when my Dad brought home a Plectron alert receiver that the village gave him in his position as a part time police officer. It was on the local police freq, which also handled the FD traffic for both the engine and ladder (that was all they had then). The PD had a station wagon that was used for ambulance duty as well as recovering stray bicycles and dogs as well as bringing home the sand from the local cement plant to fill my sand box.

Eventually the FD moved to a new channel and the Public Works department got one too. Since the PD channel was so crowded they used the PW at night. Dad bought an 8 channel Regency that had ALL the local channels, including both area counties and the local PD and FD channels.

From there I got hooked and over the years had just about every scanner ever made by Regency, Bearcat, RadioShack and GRE. I also had a few less well known names, like Robyn, RCA and others. One RCA scanner was obtained from a fellow dispatcher and that was the best receiver I ever had. It was awesome on low band skip and bullet proof on VHF Hi. We traded that radio back and forth a few times and I think old Dan still has it.

The pinnacle of crystal scanning was when Regency came out with the ACT-R20, a 20 channel scanner that you could end up spending more for crystals than the radio itself. I had 2, one for the car and another for home. Since I traveled a lot I had a bunch of crystals for the areas I frequented, and would load the home scanner with my destination's crystals and swap out the radios. It was easier than reloading crystals...

A local electronics shop (645 Electronics, used to be Mykroy in Wheeling IL) had a crystal wall, the likes of which I have only seen twice elsewhere. A shop in Anaheim CA of which I can't remember the name and Lakeshore Electronics in Burlington ON were the only places I have seen that had more scanner crystals than this place. A couple of us maintained freq lists for the store and in return got discounts on crystals. This place also had the best selection of replacement antennas ever. I had a 5 or 6 channel 5 watt handheld CB that had a 5 or 6 foot telescoping antenna that I would replace occasionally after snapping it off on a tree branch while riding the bike around.

After a friend from work bought a new-fangled Bearcat programmable scanner I scrimped and saved and got one myself. It was hard to buy on a dispatcher's salary back then, but eventually enough OT was worked to get it. I also had the fancy Bearcat 4/6 HH scanner, a modern miracle of technology that provided 6 channels in a hand-held package.

Eventually I got a BC100 programmable HH Scanner and pretty soon I was out of the crystal business. I sold off all my old crystal scanners and ran with a BC250 in the apartment, a BC20/20 in the car and a BC100 in the pocket for a long while.

After the money situation loosened up and I was more able to get pretty much whatever I wanted I usually did. The scanners that really made an impact for me were the RS Pro2004/5/6 series and later the BC780. I had multiples of each and loved them. I eventually moved to the digital world and now use multiple BCD996XT's and BCT15X's and have one each of the 436 and 536. I also have a few GRE/RS digitals but still prefer the Unidens.

If I had all the money I ever spent on scanners, crystals, antennas etc. I would have been able to retire completely already but then I would have missed out on the tons of fun I have had.
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Old 04-12-2014, 4:36 PM
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i started with scanning around 1988 or so my dad was in the cab business and brought him a radio shack pro2011 base scanner to monitor the cab company he had cabs in. i was 8 years old and at first it wasn't a big thing to me as my dad had a uniden force model portable radio too that had the cab co in it so i was use to hearing them at home. but one day like 2 months later there were some contractors doing work on my grandmothers neighbors house they had a scanner and let me see it as a curious 8yr old well when i heard the local police district i was hooked they let me copy all the frequencies which i quickly put in dads scanner in my grandmom's which of course pissed dad off cause he couldn't find the cab channel anymore but i didn't care i was hearing everything lol. anyways we made a deal i left the cab company in channel 1 and we were good. in 1992 i got my first scanner of my own a uniden bearcat 55xlt i was really hooked from there one of the most memorable things i remeber ever hearing was a sad event in a way my dads friend had just recently brought a famous restruant called palumbo's in philadelphia well the day after he brought it it burned down i remeber hearing the fire dispatch on the pfd south fire band which was vhf then and telling my dad who thought i was lying or joking or idk what until his friend called him and told him. scanning in those days was great it was all vhf and uhf philly police were all uhf the sherriff dept was uhf and some vhf and philadelphia fire was all vhf with only 7 channels in those days. i am lucky although philly is now digital the county i live in is still analog uhf so i have a lot to listen. although dads old pro2011 is long gone as is my bearcat i do have my uncles old uniden base from the early 90's i do have a uniden 55xlt still in the collection non working for now as well as a friends older radio shack pro50 handheld which also needs repair i will send them to g@g one day with my uncles bearcat which has speaker issues to get them all fixed and running again as well as hunt down another pro2011. as for working radios i have a bearcat 560xlt a pro2053 a gre psr300 all up and running. this thread really makes me remember the old days.
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Old 04-12-2014, 5:00 PM
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About 1972 my Dad joined the fire company and he bought a Bearcat III low band only for the 2 channels, then we added the third channel the fire company used when they moved dispatching to a separate frequency...he moved up the Asst Fire Chief ... I found a add on board the high band that never seemed to work right added weather and the state police on hi band.

I grew up I had to have a portable I got at radio shack.. oh 4 channels and VHF hi and Low and a later a Bearcat Thinscan ... I put in the railroad's crystal in the fourth channel... moved up to a BC 210 XL 210XLT and now have a RS-pro2004 two trucking scanners I just picked up the BC125 for the narrowband, close call and computer programming features The 1000 channel scanner is never turned off... that is just a partial list I've had 8 different portable scanners also some have special battery packs or just don't work well anymore.

I got my Ham License in 1986 and realized that New York's scanner law did not apply to hams when I moved back to NY in 1988, Pa had no such law and police never questioned the scanners and radios. So in my car went that ham radio with my favorite listening channels when ham gear was finally broad banded about 25 years ago. Never a scanner in the car that just invited problems, I had a Camaro and a lead foot. The Camaro is long gone and the speeding tickets went with it for some reason ... umm I haven't changed anything have I?

never go anywhere without a radio/scanner is just well you know the rest.

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Last edited by N3EYQ; 04-12-2014 at 5:18 PM.. Reason: more stuff about the radios i ve had
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Old 04-12-2014, 8:04 PM
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Ok I'll bite, my friends father had a bearcat 10 or 16 channel? And I became fascinated probably late 70's? So for maybe my 15 or 16th birthday I bought one had about 6 or 7 crystals in it. Then when I started working at the Meadowlands I went down to the local Radio Shack and bought a Pro-2006 that featured the new 800mHz band! I was living on the second floor and was up over 30 feet and on top of a hill so Shen I did spectrum searches I would hear tons of stuff including a lot of birdies...LOL that lasted for years including one repair until like a jerk I sold if 5 years ago at out street sale for $75.00 because I bought my Pro-197. It was great about the 2006 it used to pick up mobile phones crystal clear so when I would get a hit I would hit hold and write the frequency down. Yup you guessed it tossed that old notebook as well. One thing I regret is not having a antenna on my roof to try and pull in military or air band stuff. Whenever I get a hit all I hear is noise.
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Old 04-14-2014, 12:15 AM
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Around 1960 my dad bought a Zenith transoceanic SW radio. That thing was a monster and had a big dry cell battery (non-rechargeable) that got me hooked into radio.

The first PS radio I remember was a Juliette AM-FM low and high band with manual tuning. I remember listening to it when the funeral train of Dwight D Eisenhower came through Cincinnati in 1969.

Through the years I have used Regency, Bearcat, Heathkit and other scanners. Yes, I could listen to all the neighborhood cordless phones when they first came out in the 80's.

One scanner I had in the late 70's was digital. You had to program in a series of 0's and 1's to set the frequencies. I remember it had 40 presets but I can't remember the brand. It was almost as frustrating to program as todays digital scanners, except you had no PC's to help.

I now have a RS Pro-106 that I use to listen to my daughter who is a dispatcher for law and fire in a Denver area county.
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Old 04-14-2014, 1:36 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tinslep View Post
Around 1960 my dad bought a Zenith transoceanic SW radio. That thing was a monster and had a big dry cell battery (non-rechargeable) that got me hooked into radio.

The first PS radio I remember was a Juliette AM-FM low and high band with manual tuning. I remember listening to it when the funeral train of Dwight D Eisenhower came through Cincinnati in 1969.

Through the years I have used Regency, Bearcat, Heathkit and other scanners. Yes, I could listen to all the neighborhood cordless phones when they first came out in the 80's.

One scanner I had in the late 70's was digital. You had to program in a series of 0's and 1's to set the frequencies. I remember it had 40 presets but I can't remember the brand. It was almost as frustrating to program as todays digital scanners, except you had no PC's to help.

I now have a RS Pro-106 that I use to listen to my daughter who is a dispatcher for law and fire in a Denver area county.
You can really get to know your neighbors good on those cordless phones.
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Old 04-14-2014, 2:42 AM
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I went out and delivered papers until I saved enough for the wonderful regency 8 channel crystal scanner.

Put the local police, fire and ambulance into it and off I went.

Delivered some more papers, saved some more money and off to radio shack I went to buy more crystals.

By 1976 I saved enough to fill all 8 channels.

Sadly in 1980 I sold it to get enough money to buy my girlfriend and myself tickets to see of all bands Journey.

8 years went by when I was finally reintroduced to my long lost love via my pro-83 200 channel programmable scanner and have never looked back.
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Old 04-14-2014, 3:58 AM
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Sadly in 1980 I sold it to get enough money to buy my girlfriend and myself tickets to see of all bands Journey.

8 years went by when I was finally reintroduced to my long lost love via my pro-83 200 channel programmable scanner and have never looked back.

Haha yeah us guys would do just about anything for a pretty little thing. I don't blame you.

But 8 years?! Man.
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Old 04-14-2014, 9:15 AM
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Sadly in 1980 I sold it to get enough money to buy my girlfriend and myself tickets to see of all bands Journey.
Oh! Don't dis Journey. I never saw them in concert, but I've had a GF or three who had been... extremely happy... with a Journey cassette or CD playing in the background. Me? I'll never admit to singing along with the "na na na nah na, na nah na nah na..." part. And, hey, what about that great album art?

Got to look at it this way - you took the leap to a programmable!
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Old 04-15-2014, 3:11 AM
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Originally Posted by Fuzy_GSXR1000 View Post
Ok I'll bite, my friends father had a bearcat 10 or 16 channel? And I became fascinated probably late 70's? So for maybe my 15 or 16th birthday I bought one had about 6 or 7 crystals in it. Then when I started working at the Meadowlands I went down to the local Radio Shack and bought a Pro-2006 that featured the new 800mHz band! I was living on the second floor and was up over 30 feet and on top of a hill so Shen I did spectrum searches I would hear tons of stuff including a lot of birdies...LOL that lasted for years including one repair until like a jerk I sold if 5 years ago at out street sale for $75.00 because I bought my Pro-197. It was great about the 2006 it used to pick up mobile phones crystal clear so when I would get a hit I would hit hold and write the frequency down. Yup you guessed it tossed that old notebook as well. One thing I regret is not having a antenna on my roof to try and pull in military or air band stuff. Whenever I get a hit all I hear is noise.
I have a 2006, 2005 . These are great radios.
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Old 04-15-2014, 4:47 PM
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You can really get to know your neighbors good on those cordless phones.
Those were the days..cue the theme song to 'All In The Family".

http://youtu.be/0d8FTPv955I

[youtube]0d8FTPv955I[/youtube]
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Old 04-15-2014, 10:25 PM
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Originally Posted by pinballwiz86 View Post
Those were the days..cue the theme song to 'All In The Family".

All in the Family / Archie Bunker's Place Opening Credits - YouTube

[youtube]0d8FTPv955I[/youtube]
1971
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Old 04-28-2014, 3:24 AM
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After being initially intrigued by the fact we could intercept the local Taxi base on our family TV I obtained my first scanner a Uniden/Realistic 10 channel programmable H/held unit (no active search), frequencies were memorized and hoarded/swapped with other enthusiasts, I've had one type or another since but only really started getting deeper into scanning (like pager decoding, utilities and Airband) in recent years.

I purchased an AOR 880 clone back in the mid 90's to take advantage of it's 800Mhz analogue reception but also stumbled on the early generation cordless phones in the 30Mhz band on my then SW receiver.
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Old 04-28-2014, 5:38 AM
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Thanks for posting that story. Haha, picking up the local cab company on your TV? Man..those cabbies must have been running some power. Lol.
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Old 04-28-2014, 9:49 PM
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had about a 24 inch antenna..
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Old 04-29-2014, 1:09 AM
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My grandparents had one of those "Regency" base scanners. Ten channels, and the red lights "scanned" ; going from left to right. Small programming pad = square - and you pushed on the plastic covered numbers to program, or lock out a channel. Antenna was outside next to the television antenna. Weather played heck with receiving......and believe it or not - best reception was when it was raining or thundering.

"Back in the day" scanning was fun, but it was much - much harder to keep up with everything that was broadcasted. Low band.....in my area...at the time was predominant and......extremely crowded. Low band NEVER ever shut up. VHF-High was just as busy and you could at the time ( in my area ) only pick some "some" chit chat on UHF. UHF handhelds was used, but you found few repeater licenses for UHF in my neck of the woods when I was growing up.

C.B. handheld - a "Tandy Corporation" model. It took two or three crystals. In the valley we could only talk a few hundred yards. From hill top to hill top we could almost talk for a mile - and we even improvised some antennas. Citizens band was back then, what cell phones are today. People talking of a night just to pass the time, and fight off boredom. Daytime - was citizens band skip heaven in the summer. Of a night, when people got off work, radio traffic increased ten fold - and you did not have to turn the squelch all the way to the left to hear anything. Some great information was gained by listening to C.B. of a night. I even laughed a few times, as people spoke on the CB, and them not remembering that everyone for a few miles can hear them. They forgot that CB is not a one on one conversation that is privledged - nor secure. Conversations about other people, work and the community could be heard. Again ---> I could not help but laugh.

"Back in the day" scanning and Citizens Band ( Monitoring ) was fun and uncomplicated. And....there was a REAL person...not a computer voice - broadcasting NOAA weather radio ( I really miss that ; I dislike that computer NOAA voice ).

As time passes , technology improves - that is a historical fact. Machines and computers will get smarter and radio communications will become more advanced ; making the monitoring of radio communications more difficult.


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Old 04-29-2014, 1:26 AM
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My grandparents had one of those "Regency" base scanners. Ten channels, and the red lights "scanned" ; going from left to right. Small programming pad = square - and you pushed on the plastic covered numbers to program, or lock out a channel. Antenna was outside next to the television antenna. Weather played heck with receiving......and believe it or not - best reception was when it was raining or thundering.

"Back in the day" scanning was fun, but it was much - much harder to keep up with everything that was broadcasted. Low band.....in my area...at the time was predominant and......extremely crowded. Low band NEVER ever shut up. VHF-High was just as busy and you could at the time ( in my area ) only pick some "some" chit chat on UHF. UHF handhelds was used, but you found few repeater licenses for UHF in my neck of the woods when I was growing up.

C.B. handheld - a "Tandy Corporation" model. It took two or three crystals. In the valley we could only talk a few hundred yards. From hill top to hill top we could almost talk for a mile - and we even improvised some antennas. Citizens band was back then, what cell phones are today. People talking of a night just to pass the time, and fight off boredom. Daytime - was citizens band skip heaven in the summer. Of a night, when people got off work, radio traffic increased ten fold - and you did not have to turn the squelch all the way to the left to hear anything. Some great information was gained by listening to C.B. of a night. I even laughed a few times, as people spoke on the CB, and them not remembering that everyone for a few miles can hear them. They forgot that CB is not a one on one conversation that is privledged - nor secure. Conversations about other people, work and the community could be heard. Again ---> I could not help but laugh.

"Back in the day" scanning and Citizens Band ( Monitoring ) was fun and uncomplicated. And....there was a REAL person...not a computer voice - broadcasting NOAA weather radio ( I really miss that ; I dislike that computer NOAA voice ).

As time passes , technology improves - that is a historical fact. Machines and computers will get smarter and radio communications will become more advanced ; making the monitoring of radio communications more difficult.


FF - Medic !!!
This is so true unfortunately.
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