• 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.

    We've noticed a huge increase in rants and negative posts that revolve around agencies going to encryption due to the broadcasting of scanner audio on the internet. It's now worn out and continues to be the same recycled rants. These rants hijack the threads and derail the conversation. They no longer have a place anywhere on this forum other than in the designated threads in the Rants forum in the Tavern.

    If you violate these guidelines your post will be deleted without notice and an infraction will be issued. We are not against discussion of this issue. You just need to do it in the right place. For example:
    https://forums.radioreference.com/rants/224104-official-thread-live-audio-feeds-scanners-wait-encryption.html

So, why do you scan?

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dnlbrrg

Member
Joined
Jun 28, 2011
Messages
38
Location
Grand Rapids, MI
Help me out with something.

I was looking for a hobby to "disconnect" after a long day at work and came across this site. I read a little (here and a couple of books) and both SWL and Scanning appealed to me, but SWL appealed the most. The reason I went with SWL was because it was easier for me to see a "tangible" purpose. I mean, I am an audiphile and like to listen to music from different cultures, scan for pirates, and I also speak a few languages so it helps with practice.

I am having a lot of fun with my shortwave radio; listening and tinkering around with "home brew" antennae and such.

I would like to expand my radio hobby and thought about taking another look at scanning, but here's the thing:

I have listened to police and EMS live feeds online and got a small taste of scanning with my shortwave listening to nearby airports. The thing is that, after maybe about 10 minutes, I would get bored and move on to something else.

Now, don't get me wrong, I am not implying that scanning itself is boring or that there's anything wrong with it, the only reason I got bored with the little taste I had was because I could not see a tangible and relatable purpose (to me). To be more specific, think of the train enthusiast who is obsessed with trains, has hobby trains at home, and comes from a railroad family. It would be easy to see, then, how scanning for train frequencies is relatable to that individual.

Before I drop a wad of cash on scanners and related equipment I want to make sure this is something I will use regularly and not when something huge happens. I know I am the only one who can determine that, but some input would help.

So, help me out then. Tell me about your purpose for scanning. What do you find interesting about it? What type of communications appeal to you the most and why? ultimately, what do you do with the information you get from listening?

Thanks in advance for your input
 
Joined
Sep 19, 2004
Messages
236
Location
Iron Triangle Ohio... otherweise known as Fostoria
I enjoy scanning public safety. Since I am a radio tec... It comes natural to me. But I like to keep up on whats going on around my area. A lot of times what you hear come across the radio... does not always match up with what the media says happened. I am not dogging journalists, But I know that they have people who they need clearance for, before publishing a story. So I prefer to know first hand whats going on.

There are many benefits to scanning public safety, If someone is breaking into cars down the street or vanalizing stuff in your neighborhood, Chances are that if you are listening to the PD... You can hear the call and get a possible description on the suspects.

If there is a fire or another emergency, You can know about it. And avoid the intersections if you are mobile. Or simply go check it out. While many would not encourage chasing around ambulances and fire trucks. One can get a good look at what is going on from a safe distance, Out of the way of the first responders.

If there are high speed persuits going on in your area and your kids are playing out in the street with other neighborhood children... You can be informed prior to the persuit entering your area and get them out of the street.

That's just a few examples of why I scan public safety. With such a broad spectrum of RF out there, One has many choices to listen to. Short wave is fun, Railroad, Millitary, Sattellite, Amature radio... I happen to enjoy chasing storms and photographing them, So I am always on skywarn and other channels related to severe weather. Heck you can even listen to your neighbor down the street talking on his cordless phone. (though some will not encourage doing this ether) it has it's advantages... I hope you find your Groove on what you want to scan. It's fun and always nice to be informed. Good Luck in your persuit for a good hobby!
 

AB5BY

Member
Joined
Sep 4, 2011
Messages
2
Location
Houston.
Why I scan

I am a person with a mobility issue. Throughout my life, scanning has helped me combat isolation and know what's going on without a filter, even though I work in radio. I like scanning police, fire, EMS, air, various business bands, traffic bands and others. There is no motive for me to do this other than knowing things other people don't. I've had an assortment of radios, including the Radio Shack Pro 2, Pro 52, Pro 2002, and an AOR that I let escape to my later regret.I'm about to re-enter the scanning world with a purchase of an HP-1, It will arrive this week. After something approaching 15 years, time will tell if I chose the right one.
 

kd0fx

Member
Premium Subscriber
Joined
Aug 26, 2011
Messages
86
It's great to know what's going on locally. Especially during storm season. Otherwise, I just like sticking my nose into other people's business.
 

rwier

Member
Premium Subscriber
Joined
Nov 6, 2006
Messages
1,910
Location
Phoenix, AZ
I got a new bike for Christmas, '45, a month short of my fifth birthday. Phoenix was ~45,000 folks in ~4 square miles. I could ride to my grandma's house downtown. I got good on the bike right away. If I saw smoke starting to rise, I could often get to the "scene" before the "first water". I got to see those "giants" with the funny hats that wore overcoats even when it was 120 degrees outside. You would be awakened at night by sirens from nearly anywhere within the city limits. The Phoenix night back then was very quiet and very dark. I would sneak out my bedroom window and off I would go on my bike.

The rest of the story is too long to even try to remember.

I don't remember the context, but I believe the last sentence my father spoke to me before passing (''78) was "Say boy, aren't you ever going to grow up?"

And I answered "I sure hope not!".

After all these years, same hobby, different tools, lol.

Rob
 

hertzian

Member
Joined
May 28, 2009
Messages
2,604
I have listened to police and EMS live feeds online and got a small taste of scanning with my shortwave listening to nearby airports. The thing is that, after maybe about 10 minutes, I would get bored and move on to something else.
No problem - maybe police and EMS are not your thing. But what are your other interests? Skiing, surfing, rock-climbing, car racing, boat racing, just to name a few. You don't have to be an active participant to like listening to the ski-patrol, lifeguards, rangers, nascar, or marine channels.

While being an active participant in those sports prior to becoming involved in scanning is a plus - it can also work the other direction! Perhaps visit a general-aviation airport without a scanner and watch the private aircraft from a viewing center. Does that pique your interest? Ok, maybe you don't actually go on to take flying lessons, but you'll meet some nice people, and it can make you want to scan airband freqs. Personally I don't listen to International airports much, just the smaller general aviation types.

It would kind of be like you recommending to me, who is not an audiophile, to go see a musical concert live. Whoa - whaddy'a know - now I'm buying Phase Linear amplifiers, KEF speakers, etc, AND perhaps finding out that I don't like ALL classical music, but I DO dig old-english middle-age folk! :)

Before I drop a wad of cash on scanners and related equipment I want to make sure this is something I will use regularly and not when something huge happens. I know I am the only one who can determine that, but some input would help.
Don't drop the wad of cash just yet. Maybe define your interests, whether you are currently an active participant or not, and see if radio-related communications are part of it. This will help you find out if you can get by for the time being with an inexpensive conventional scanner, or if you have to go fully-digital to get there.

Look around in the frequency database here, and see what services are out there in your area. Make note if they are conventional frequencies, or trunked, and/or digital.

If you like fiddling around with making your own antennas and whatnot, and are also interested in radio from a technical standpoint, listen to the "ham" or Amateur-Radio bands on the scanner. Who knows - you might want to become licensed, although there is no law that says you can be one in spirit, but just listen!
 
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One13Truck

Member
Premium Subscriber
Joined
Jul 2, 2004
Messages
642
Location
N.E. Pa.
What makes this site great. Something for everybody. For me the SW bores me to tears but I always have at least 1 scanner going somewhere nearby. Always more to listen to on the scanner than just the police, fire, & EMS though. Take a look through the database for your area. There should be a lot of rail, marine, air to listen to besides just the "usual stuff". In the end it comes down to whatever you enjoy most.

For me I've always had one around back as far as I can remember. To the days of counting the number of times the house sirens went off to see what box they were going to then running to the scanner to listen. As I got older & joined the fire department and the ambulance I still listen to keep up with anything that's going on and also because there's a huge delay in our county with the PD being informed of our calls minutes before we're dispatched so by listening we know we're going somewhere.
 

NewSDScanner

Member
Joined
Oct 5, 2010
Messages
135
Location
San Diego
To the OP: Another factor is, do you know the codes? I'm thinking maybe you don't like listening to public safety because you don't know what's going on. As the above posters said, there are definitely other options out there, but public safety can actually be very fun to listen to. Why? Because it involves your area. If you live in a pretty desolate place with not much action, I could see why it might not be fun. But then you could always try throwing up an antenna and listening to some of the other stuff mentioned here.

As I got older & joined the fire department and the ambulance I still listen to keep up with anything that's going on and also because there's a huge delay in our county with the PD being informed of our calls minutes before we're dispatched so by listening we know we're going somewhere.
Hahaha it's like that around here too. I'm not even a firefighter or paramedic but I always hear the police dispatchers saying "FD en route to medical aid at [address here]" like 2 minutes before the FD actually dispatches out the engine and the ambulance.
 
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SCPD

Member
Joined
Feb 24, 2001
Messages
65,126
Location
Virginia
Sweet and simple,

I enjoy scanning for it's multi-tasking ability. I can be gaming on my computer, or filling out papers and still listen to my scanner.

Heck, I can be driving in my car and listen to it. Maybe even rig my battery pack to my tiny mobile and hike up a mountain and listen.

It's like music, I guess. Not to mention valued skills which will be much needed in the days to come. And scanning radios gives me a ridiculous amount of projects that I can do. (And actually get done!)

It's all productive. Safety too, most people like obtaining information this way. I do. I like having the ability to take all what is said on the radio and form my own interpretation on things.


Because knowledge is power!
 

Ghawkman56

Member
Premium Subscriber
Joined
Aug 3, 2011
Messages
110
Location
South Bend, IN
Many posts have also referred to the enjoyment of "tinkering" with the scanner. It sounds like you are already a radio enthusiast. For me, a lot of the enjoyment from scanning is organizing objects in scan lists, searching and programming new frequencies, and looking at ways to improve signal strength. When I first purchased my PSR600, most of the posts recommend purchasing software to program the scanner. However, I wanted to "learn the radio", by programming the unit manually.
 

aquadan005

Member
Joined
Sep 20, 2011
Messages
24
Location
Eastern Mont. Co. PA
I've always wanted to know whats going on in my neighborhood, so I've been scanning since the days of crystals. Now I'm a volunteer FF and I work for the PD so I "need" to know whats going on. I listen 23 1/2 / 7
 

ninety7gt

Member
Premium Subscriber
Joined
Apr 27, 2005
Messages
12
Location
North Kingstown RI ; Golden Beach, MD
Hi,
I've been scanning since 1977 when the BC 210 was my first scanner. Got lots of other folks into scanning and we're all still active today. One friend went on to get her Tech class license. Have upgraded the scanners over the years and have done some traveling and now live in both MD and RI, so there's always something interesting going on. I mostly listen to public service, milair, and local airport frequencies. I like to know what's happening in my neck of the woods and riding out Hurricane Irene in Maryland was very interesting! That's it In a nut shell. And as someone else pointed out, you can multi-task while you're scanning. Hope you'll try the hobby and find it interesting and enjoyable. :)

Regards, Sarah
 

KF5EYR

Member
Premium Subscriber
Joined
Aug 31, 2010
Messages
123
Location
North Little Rock, Arkansas
A lot of times what you hear come across the radio... does not always match up with what the media says happened.
One of the best reasons, that I know of. You would be surprised how often what the newspaper says happened does not agree with what you heard on the scanner.
 

MarkHinton

Member
Joined
Oct 1, 2011
Messages
9
Because I love everything related to aviation, the fire department's also pretty cool.
 

Turbo68

Member
Joined
Dec 12, 2005
Messages
839
Location
East Devonport,Tasmania,Australia
Hi been scanning the vhf airbands since 1978 started with a manually tuned radio as I started working got my first digital display scanner Realistic-Pro2020 although it was 20 channel memory which wasn't enough
as I got older started listening to hf aero that was a challenge used an Icom-AH7000 discone it did do an good job then started to get the bug to have more radios got 2 radio rooms one at my house and one at dads he is also a hobbyist aviation monitor with over 35 receivers in his shack and a few in my house I do enjoy monitoring hf more then vhf.

Regards Lino.
Alinco DJ-X11,Alinco DJ-X2000,Alinco DX-R8
Aor-8200MK3
Gre-PSR400,Gre-PSR500
Grundig Satellit-750
Icom-R3,Icom-R20,Icom-R71,Icom-R72,Icom-R75,Icom-PCR1000
Icom-PCR1500,Icom-Pcr2500
Palstar-R30A
Realistic-PRO2035
Ten Tec-320D
Uniden-245,Uniden-396,Uniden-780
Yaesu-VR500
 
Joined
Sep 19, 2004
Messages
236
Location
Iron Triangle Ohio... otherweise known as Fostoria
KF5EYR I agree with you 110%, There has been MANY situations that I have heard calls come across the radio, and they were nothing close to what was published via media outlets. That just goes to show you that, there are those out there that are informed on what the media WANTS them to be informed on, And there are those of us who prefer to know whats REALLY going on.
 

b7spectra

EMS Dispatcher
Joined
Jul 8, 2002
Messages
3,140
Location
Cobb County, GA
Circa 1975, Jacksonville, Florida. Time: Approx 0225. Situation? My 1971 351 Boss Mustang vs. 1970 Pontiac GTO 455. I out ran the goat, but I couldn't outrun Motorola. Bought my 1st scanner (same as my avatar) to find out where they were, ended up selling the Boss for a 4x4 F100 and been hooked ever since. I also worked for 9 years as a paramedic and I'm just used to having something "making noise" in the background. That and I love to know what is going on!
 

commscanaus

Member
Joined
Jan 27, 2006
Messages
492
Location
Melbourne VK
Circa 1975, Jacksonville, Florida. Time: Approx 0225. Situation? My 1971 351 Boss Mustang vs. 1970 Pontiac GTO 455. I out ran the goat, but I couldn't outrun Motorola. Bought my 1st scanner (same as my avatar) to find out where they were, ended up selling the Boss for a 4x4 F100 and been hooked ever since. I also worked for 9 years as a paramedic and I'm just used to having something "making noise" in the background. That and I love to know what is going on!
Awesome!
What a way to get into scanning!

Do you still have the 71' Mustang?

I became hooked on all things radio after some random tuning around on my fathers radio cassette "ghetto blaster" (actually a 1981 vintage Aiwa) and hearing all sorts of strange noises on SW1 and SW2!

Now I have amassed all sorts of radio bits 'n' pieces.

I scan primarily to keep informed of what is going on out in the world and also due to an interest in the many different types of systems on the air.

Commscanaus.
 

batrastard

Member
Joined
Apr 26, 2009
Messages
77
Location
Northglenn Colorado
I enjoy listening to major incidents and guessing what the next move is going to be on any situation. I find high speed pursuits and other stressful situations more intriguing than any sporting event.
 
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