• 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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Using Technology to Enhance Scanning

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NYRHKY94

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#1
I wanted to start a general discussion thread about the various ways scanning enthusiasts are using technology to enhance their enjoyment of this wonderful hobby. As a long time scanner geek (proud of it), I have found that adding technology to the hobby is a great way to increase my enjoyment of scanning. While the list below is how I personally use technology as part of my scanning experience, I'm really interested in hearing what others are doing. This is the main reason for my thread. If this topic belongs elsewhere on RR, the mods should feel free to move it accordingly.

Technology I Currently Use for Scanning:

1) Remote PC Access: I find having remote access to my home PC's to be a godsend. I regularly us Logmein, Windows Remote Desktop and GoToMyPc to connect to my home PC's to program & control my scanners. I couldn't imagine living without this.

2) Remote Control Software: Obviously this works hand-in-hand with number 1 above. Being able to control a scanner remotely (including programming) is just a terrific way to interact with today's state of the art scanners. When you throw in the client-server & recording features that many of today's programs have, this can't be beat. Proscan & Win500 are two of my favorites here.

3) Live Streaming: Being able to listen to live scanner streams from all over the country, including places where I have previosuly lived, is a real treat. I also enjoy sharing my streams for others as well. I currently have 4 streams up & running with the help of Gordon Edwards technical expertise (terrific Talkgroup Monitor software) & web site hosting.

4) Pocket PC/Phone: Going mobile with my own scanner streams using my phone (Verizon xv6700). I use Resco Radio's application on my phone to listen to my streams whenever I'm away from the home shack. When driving, I use a Bluetooth earpiece to listen in.

5) Wireless FM Transmitter: With all my scanners centrally located in a downstairs home office, I wanted a way to listen in from other parts of the house (particularly upstairs at night). I hook up an FM wireless transmitter from Crane to my scanners allowing me to listen in other areas of the house on FM radios.

The above is how I use technology as part of my scanning experience. I would really love to hear what others are doing and learn a couple new tricks as well.
 

Portable14

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#2
The one thing I can remember doing since I was about 14 years old was hooking a "Car Kit" tape up to the scanner and running it through a dual tape deck, and I would record everything that came across, and if something interesting came up, I would save it, Otherwise, I would just keep recording over the same tape until the condition deteriorated too much to use it anymore. I also like running P25 audio through a 600 Watt amplifier.
 

gmclam

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#3
Add a CPU!!!!

The first scanner I bought on my own was a brand new PRO-10; eight crystal controlled channels with incasecent bulbs to indicate the active channel. I quickly modified the scanner to 16 channels with LED indicators. Soon thereafter that I purchased a PRO-77, which gave me access to low band VHF (which is where the CHP still resides to this very day).

For many years I designed new circuitry for my scanners to make them do lots of new things. But in the IC era, these would have been huge boards requiring lots of power. So much for a more-or-less portable scanner. Then in the late 1970s along came microprocessors. I made one last 'design change' and incorporated the latest CPU (an 8748), and went for it. Now I've got 4 of these scanners (2 of each model) and they have features on them, which I wrote in software, which still do not exist on any scanner on the market (as far as I know). Here a pic of the inside (20 crystal controlled channels).
 

Attachments

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#5
gmclam, I'm interested to hear more about what these new features are that you added. It looks like you basically did a brain transplant into the scanner. Pretty impressive!
 

gmclam

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In the old original RS scanners, you had a switch for MAN/AUTO and a momentary that you pressed to get to the NEXT CHANNEL. I guess that's OK for under 10 channels, but doesn't work with many more. So I added switches for each channel; that gave me the ability to lock out or "go to" any channel on demand.

Another thing I added was variable delay. There are two adjustable delays on these models (that's what the other two pots are), but ideally they should be on a per channel basis AND variable in the range of near zero to 10 seconds or more. Two seconds does not cut it, and I've yet to see a GRE RS scanner that complies with its own 2 second spec.

I really don't want to discuss some of the features (sorry) as I would like to get the big manufacturers (at least one) to add them for everyone. I am in the product design business now and better understand how I might make that happen.

Ironically I am considering a new CPU board design for these things. I will move over to the 8051 family, use lower power consuming devices, add a serial port and FLASH. I'd like to be able to "text tag" each channel and provide a serial stream that can be used to stream channels with text tags over the web. I understand there are scanners out there that do this, but they don't have my features too.
 
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#7
gmclam - Imagine what you could do with a decent RF platform like, say, a Spectra. Have you considered building a processor that would operate a commercial grade radio with better scan features than what they come with? I think there'd be a substantial market for it just among RR members.
 
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#8
Back in my newsdays I used to use Winflex to listen to *ahem* certain channels *cough* and watch for major calls to go out for the local FD. I wrote a very special little program that Winflex fed the text to. The program would wait for a major call and then automatically tune the FD scanner to the appropriate tac channel so I could listen to the call. It would also display the call itself just like it appeared over the MCT's in the trucks and would automatically pipe the address over to MS Streets & Trips and fire up the routing feature so that I knew how to get there quickest and how long it would take. I could print the map, tune a portable scanner to the call, grab the camera and be off and running in seconds. Ah, that was fun times...

If I had it to do over again I'd do it as a Google Maps mashup - each call would appear as a pushpin that, when hovered over, would display the call text as it was displayed over the MCT. I might do it for fun, but unfortunately due to the way the data is collected, I would never be able to share it. If the local FD or PD ever puts up an online cad though, I'm all over it.

-AZ
 

gmclam

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Computer controlled

zz0468 said:
gmclam - Imagine what you could do with a decent RF platform like, say, a Spectra. Have you considered building a processor that would operate a commercial grade radio with better scan features than what they come with? I think there'd be a substantial market for it just among RR members.
No I haven't. I'm not all that unhappy with the "RF platforms" I've been using for all these years. And many of those higher grade radios have computer control interfaces built in anyway. I guess someone would have to make a specific proposal as to what they'd like to see; then I'd have to see what it would take to make happen and the liklihood that others would do the same thing.
 
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Holy crap, Clam! I always wondered what "customised" meant in your signature. I have to admit that I pretty much blew it off as being something silly like clipped limiters or new coloured LEDs. Much respect, bro! I hope you sell some ideas to the manufactures and make major bank off of it. You'll certainly have my thanks!
 
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#11
Sounds like people are doing some very interesting things. I'm particularly impressed with the modified scanners. My software skills are rather lacking, and I'm more interested in the RF side of things anyway, so that's where the technology leans here. My particular specialty is making rf devices (radios, amps, oscillators) do something other than what the original designers had in mind, and applying the results to ham radio projects.

Examples are microwave synthesizers, changing their frequency range and frequency step size to something more appropriate for amateur use, turning satellite LNB's into very low noise preamps optimized in the amateur microwave bands. I have recently been modifying several versions of Motorola Spectras and Maxtracs to operate well out of their intended bands, like putting 800 radios on 900, or listening down 45 MHz to the input side of the band. If it involves retuning microstrip, or untunable ceramic filters, I'm all over it!
 
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gmclam said:
No I haven't. I'm not all that unhappy with the "RF platforms" I've been using for all these years. And many of those higher grade radios have computer control interfaces built in anyway. I guess someone would have to make a specific proposal as to what they'd like to see; then I'd have to see what it would take to make happen and the liklihood that others would do the same thing.
It's that built in computer control that looks to be an interesting challenge. The RF performance grossly outshines what the firmware allows. Are you familiar with what piexx.com is producing for the Syntor? If not, check it out. It's an interesting concept that could work with other radios.
 
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4) Pocket PC/Phone: Going mobile with my own scanner streams using my phone (Verizon xv6700). I use Resco Radio's application on my phone to listen to my streams whenever I'm away from the home shack. When driving, I use a Bluetooth earpiece to listen in.
Could you elaborate just a bit on how you accomplished this? I've been interested in a "mobile" solution to scanning via my BlackBerry Curve (when on the go) or my Palm TX (when near my home wifi...
 

gmclam

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Personal streaming

724Gangsta said:
Could you elaborate just a bit on how you accomplished this? I've been interested in a "mobile" solution to scanning via my BlackBerry Curve (when on the go) or my Palm TX (when near my home wifi...
Set up your scanner at home into a SlingBox connected to the 'net. Use your net enabled phone to access the SlingBox. But it's streaming your scanner, not your TV. For an added feature, add a video camera pointed to the LCD screen of the scanner so you get remote alpha tags as well.
 
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#16
I love the idea of listening to the scanner while on the go or at work, like in this video http://scankilleen.no-ip.org/mobilestreamvideo.ASF but I dont have the extra $$ for a smart phone + data plan, also my cell contract still has about 18 months to die, so I will have to deal with my trusty dumb phone for a while.

Say hello to VoIP...

This is the setup...the server that runs scankilleen.no-ip.org has a X-lite SIP softphone that connects to my trixbox PBX. So I call home from my cell phone, dial the extension for the server and the softphone will auto answer.
 
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davidmc36

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The most important technology that I add is GPS for Location based scanning. I also have a tap on a 245 and use a computer to run Trunk 88. Also have a data slicer that hooks to the tap. I use a set of bluetooth headphones with the stereo transmitter hooked to a splitter and put one scannner into each channel for listening late at night or early in the morning when my wife is asleep. I do the same thing in the car if I want to take one or two of the portables along with the 996 that is permanently installed. I put the audio into the AUX input of the CD player and listen through the car speakers. I used one of those cassette adapters to do the same thing until the cassette player died. Both methods gave far superior audio to the many FM transmitters that I tried. All my scanners that are capable have control software and I have a laptop that is dedicated to it that I use for doing updates to the 996. It has a dock and a real comm port.
 
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#19
+1 for Slingbox, I use it for my cctv and other stuff while away. The biggest technological advance is the internet, being able to download files etc are a god send for some scanners. Great stuff posted so far, some things are way beyond the skills of this redneck. LOL
 
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#20
The most important technology that I add is GPS for Location based scanning. I also have a tap on a 245 and use a computer to run Trunk 88. Also have a data slicer that hooks to the tap. I use a set of bluetooth headphones with the stereo transmitter hooked to a splitter and put one scannner into each channel for listening late at night or early in the morning when my wife is asleep. I do the same thing in the car if I want to take one or two of the portables along with the 996 that is permanently installed. I put the audio into the AUX input of the CD player and listen through the car speakers. I used one of those cassette adapters to do the same thing until the cassette player died. Both methods gave far superior audio to the many FM transmitters that I tried. All my scanners that are capable have control software and I have a laptop that is dedicated to it that I use for doing updates to the 996. It has a dock and a real comm port.
Bluetooth! Yes, that is one thing that is an added enhancement! Too bad the manufactures don't embed Bluetooth in the scanner. :lol: Got to wonder though about FCC regulation headaches and possible RF contamination within the scanner.

Amazon.com: Jabra Bluetooth: Electronics
 
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