• Effective immediately we will be deleting, without notice, any negative threads or posts that deal with the use of encryption and streaming of scanner audio.

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How Do YOU Scan?

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OneBadUukha

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#1
I'm now the proud owner of several radios. Still new to this but, it's slowly overtaking my responsibilities as an adult. I'd like to ask what and how you folks scan. In other words, what do you do? Does your activity include any of the following:

- Listening to multiple radios concurrently
- Jumping from frequency to frequency (or talkgroup) to follow an event
- Recording scanner audio to play it back through a mixer in order to improve the sound
- Google-mapping event locations
- Constantly tweak your groups and quick keys to better monitor your area
- Memorizing 10-codes and beat maps

As a newb, these are things that I do, but I'd like to know what the veterans are doing. What other things can you do to add value to the experience? I'm not interested in rebroadcasting or streaming my feeds. I'd just like to know what else you do to become fully involved.
 

natedawg1604

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#2
All great ideas. Also consider doing ride-along's with several agencies, you'll be surprised what you might learn! Also, regularly log nearby radio systems with Pro96Com or rtl dongles & Unitrunker, so you can be REALLY sure you have a complete & up-to-date list of talkgroups (never rely solely on the RR database to program your scanner). Also if you use (for example) Unitrunker and multiple dongles, you can listen to numerous talkgroups simultaneously.
 
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WApolicescanboy

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#4
How to Scan

Hello there newb :p kidding.

SO apart of what I do in my local area when I am not at my full time job is specifically what you're talking about.

I run a twitter handle, a long with several other people in the area, to post breaking situations involving emergency responders. With this comes lots of multitasking and having several radios and scanners set up. It is always best to know the area you are listening to really well. So if they use specific codes. clearance codes etc. it would be ideal to learn them.

I currently do not record audio but have a friend that does. I have recorded audio in the past and I still have some free software that is specific for radio recording. It will only activate recording mode when the radio is picking up traffic.

Mapping is also important for your audience if you do go a twitter or Facebook route. Word of caution though, it is best to post general locations regarding police activity. For fire responses it is usually no issue but robberies, assaults, burglaries, it would be best to not disclose the actual location. I usually use post the street name but will leave out the actual hundred block for safety. Pretty much use common sense with that information.

Lastly when it comes to tweaking your programming set up you will find in time what is best for you. Once you get more into listening you will find that you want to program things differently and that is fine.
 

W8RMH

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#6
In my early days of scanning I used to look up the location of every call in a street guide. That is how I learned my way around the city and county. Now I use Google Maps and PulsePoint. I program my scanners to be able to easily switch to tactical and fireground channels to follow events.

I usually just listen to 1 scanner at a time plus my feed, but during busy times I may use more. Sometimes I use ScannerLive as well and have more than 20 going at once.

Memorizing codes is a must, or have a copy available. I never had an issue with audio quality which required the technique you described.
 
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ofd8001

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#7
- Listening to multiple radios concurrently Yes
- Jumping from frequency to frequency (or talkgroup) to follow an event Yes if interesting enough. However my scanner is organzed such that I can hold on a department that would cover those frequencies/talkgroups used by police/fire/EMS responding to an incident.
- Recording scanner audio to play it back through a mixer in order to improve the sound Haven't gone quite that far yet.
- Google-mapping event locations Yes if the incident is interesting enough and I'm unfamiliar with the location.
- Constantly tweak your groups and quick keys to better monitor your area Not constantly but fairly frequently. Scanner programming tends to be a work in progess.
- Memorizing 10-codes and beat maps 10 codes yes, beat maps no.
 
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#8
OneBadUukha, you listed all good practices. I don't record--and I am "old school" in that I keep a notebook with any pertinent information--not only disposition codes and beat maps but unit numbering lists for the agencies I monitor.

Another thing I've done is to hit the pawnshops for inexpensive scanners and I've found some good deals. Even though Pierce County is p25 phase II and King Co./Seattle is on a Motorola Type II SmartZone system, surrounding counties are all still Vhf analog so I can avoid tying up my 396xt and 325p2 scanners and still hear what's going on outside my area. I have another for civilian air and railroads and one for Milair as well.

Also having an extra scanner or two just for searches is a good idea, I think, which is a future goal of mine. Coupled with the proper software for logging hits, it's a good way to find sporadically active frequencies.
 
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#10
I'm just learning about this aspect but there are programs like Pro96Com & Unitrunker (natedawg1604 mentioned them up above) that log talkgroups when hooked up to a scanner or with a dongle. I believe there are others which will do this for a conventional limit search (Milair, for example). I'm a total newbie on this part of scanning but I'll be doing my research here to see how to proceed.
 
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#11
The main thing I do is log which frequencies are active, when they are used and how often so I know what is going to provide the "best value" of my scanning time.
 

teufler

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#12
I find it hard to scan. I monitor more, scan you are trying to keep up with multiple talk groups, or channels. Monitor, just hold on one. Using software, I record or log hts when I'm not around the radio. The scanner stays in id search, rather than id scan, so any talk group that shows will log. Then taking time to review the log, I can quickly see if there are new talk groups that I may want to find more info on, and I can play back the individual calls as needed..A new talk group, I also try to get the unit id. Then I sort the log on id's and find out more as to who the talk group is.
 
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Indianapolis
#13
Central Indiana still has great scanning

So much RF so little time...I have 2 2045's for aviation. One covers upper level the other KIND control and several UNICOMS a 780xlt for mil air a 780xlt for analog VHF /UHF PS and rail and 4 197's for reg digital and P25 PS, 3 different digital systems.
A Pro 2027 handles med helos on VHF and downtown air traffic.
As far as recording I just use my Galaxy phone or my old iphone G3s.
We have it good in central Indiana but you need multiple radios to catch most of it. DMR and Phase II won't help.
Now I need to get the mobile 197 fine tuned for the new P25 state is switching to; the south is up but the north still in progress so you have to have both old and new systems depending on the daily drive.
At home and on the road I just pause on breaking events and obviously still have to sacrifice a bit depending on what agency. I usually consider internet feeds blasphemy but when they were looking for Chris Dorner in Cali I was using FTA satellite for real time aerial news coverage as well as the internet for the scanner.
 

ShyFlyer

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#14
I almost never have two scanners going at the same time. If something exciting happens, I'll just hold on that particular channel.

This systems I monitor I also limit the number of channels/talkgroups I'm scanning as well. Primarily I focus on the dispatch and maybe some tac and/or car-to-car.

I tend to do most of my scanning while in the car. I like the radio chatter and it comes in handy when I hear that there is something happening in a certain area so I can either avoid that area or at least know what caused the five mile traffic back up and when it's going to start moving again.
 
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#15
Say, what do you mean by software used for logging hits?
I use ProScan to log all traffic hits on my 536HP. Great for finding new users in my area. Logging frequency, tone/NAC/Color code, TGID, UID, and date and time as well as recording the transmissions remotely through the scanner's network.

The 536HP scans 16 hours a day 7 days a week.
 

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DJ11DLN

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#16
I almost never have two scanners going at the same time. If something exciting happens, I'll just hold on that particular channel.

This systems I monitor I also limit the number of channels/talkgroups I'm scanning as well. Primarily I focus on the dispatch and maybe some tac and/or car-to-car.

I tend to do most of my scanning while in the car. I like the radio chatter and it comes in handy when I hear that there is something happening in a certain area so I can either avoid that area or at least know what caused the five mile traffic back up and when it's going to start moving again.
This is pretty much what I do, except that I have a scanner going in the house when I'm home, and take it to the workshop or jobsite when I am away. I am more into hearing about what is going on around the area than the technical aspects I should be pursuing...but when a hobby becomes not-fun anymore, it's turned into a job and the time to look for a new hobby has come.

And yes, it's nice to be able to avoid trouble spots along your route when one is out and about because you heard about it on your scanner. I've never changed my route to "rubber-neck" some situation or emergency...but I've changed it plenty of times to avoid the backup and also to not become part of the traffic problem.
 
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gmclam

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#17
Monitoring 101

- Listening to multiple radios concurrently
Yes. If I am monitoring a trunked system, I'll keep one radio locked to just that system. I will typically have 3 going; one trunked, one for analog and one for P25.

- Jumping from frequency to frequency (or talkgroup) to follow an event
It depends on the incident. Often it is just locking onto a single channel or TG. If the incident is major and/or involves multiple agencies, I'll probably power on additional radios locked on accordingly.

- Recording scanner audio to play it back through a mixer in order to improve the sound
No. I am quite happy with the sound I get normally.

- Google-mapping event locations
If I don't know where something is, certainly.

- Constantly tweak your groups and quick keys to better monitor your area
No. I pretty much have everything programmed and radios set to their share. Every few months I'll review if there are new things that needed to be added, and then update all radios.

- Memorizing 10-codes and beat maps
I am familiar with what I hear. I can usually tell you the agency talking from the sound and what they are saying. I visualize locations in my head. If I've never been there, then perhaps I'll Google it.
 

pinballwiz86

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#18
In my office I run several scanners. One digital scanner is set to the local P25 tower. Another one is set to the local federal military installation (3 P25 towers). Another scanner is set for local police and fire/ems. Another one is set for local businesses and military aviation.

Plus I have a couple more that I use to search for new frequencies. I've found several interesting things this way. Not everything in your area is online on radioreference...it pays to search!

If there is an incident then I alter the scanning. I start dedicating scanners to hold on certain talkgroups/channels. For instance, if there is a fire I will hold on the fire department on scanner 1, Run EMS/FD ONLY on scanner 2 and so on. That way all the focus is on the event and I won't miss anything scanning on non-essential channels. That's why I program things separate on the analog scanners. I don't lump it all together. That way I can shut off PD, or shut off EMS/FD, business, etc by just pushing one button.
 

milf

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#20
When I first got started doing this yearssssss ago... I did basic scanning and a tad of researching. Now, I am truly into forensic scanning. I dig into the systems I monitor, using multiple scanners, and various softwares such as Pro96Com, UniTrunker, LTRLogger for digging into the systems to see TGs, UIDs, Freqs being used for various purposes, System IDs, Site Numbering, etc... I also run multiple programming/control/recording software for different purposes. I use Google when I am unfamiliar with locations overheard, as well as when finding tower locations etc. I run my PRO-92s for LTR if I have not got the LCNs all mapped out right yet, and for some conventional stuff. I run my PRO-96 for other conventional, and for P25 conventional, and when my newest 96 arrives, will dedicate it to one local P25 TRS system, and my BCD396XT will be dedicated to the Statewide system as it converts to P25, and for running LTRLogger to identify LCNs on the LTR systems I am working on. The 396XT is also my go to scanner for traveling. For programming I use Win92, Win96, ARC96, FreeSCAN and ProScan. I hope to have an DMR capable scanner by Christmas and then can really dig into several local DMR systems, including ones converting over from LTR. Hopefully that DMR one will be an TRX-1 so that I will also be able to do NXDN once that is released in the near future, so I can dig into the NXDN systems, and be ready for when the rail roads switch over.
 
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