Another newbie!

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B1533

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Joined
Jan 13, 2012
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Florida
Hello everyone! I've been stalking the forums for the past few months, and finally decided to make my first post. Like the title says, I'm a complete newbie to the entire "radio" scene. I apologize if I mess any terms up.

I've enjoyed listening to feeds on RR (now Broadcastify) and on LiveATC for a few years, and I finally received a Uniden BC125AT for Christmas. Long story short, I shelved it because I couldn't pick up anything.
Between then and now, I picked up a telescoping antenna from Radio Shack. I'm now located near my local airport (KMLB- Melbourne, Brevard County, Florida) and I can now hear communications from there. Though I'm closer to the airport than beforehand, it seems I'm only able to get the best quality if I sit in a window. Obviously, radio doesn't travel well through walls/houses/etc.. Is there any way I'd be able to fix this? Would buying another antenna help out? I'm not entirely too sure what I can do to remedy this.
Another thing is that I'm not too clear on the laws regarding using scanners in cars. Is it illegal to use a scanner while riding around? I'd like to be able to bring it around in the future (if legal), to say, another airport. What can I do and what can't I do?
Last thing- I've looked around the frequency database, and it seems a lot of agencies (police, fire, etc.) around have gone digital and/or trunked, and even 'encrypted'. I'd also love to listen to operations at the port, Cape Canaveral/ Kennedy Space Center, and whatever else is in the area, but I'm sure they've all gone digital and/or possibly encrypted.Does that mean my BC125AT is only able to listen to civil air traffic in my area? If so, should I consider upgrading sometime in the future?

Thank you all in advance. Hope to learn and build on this new hobby of mine!
 

ofd8001

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Feb 6, 2004
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7,096
Location
Louisville, KY
In no particular order, here are my thoughts:

Mobile Scanner:
Many states outlaw mobile scanners. Typically exemptions are made for civilians with amateur radio licenses. A guy could split hairs and say "All I have are aviation frequencies", but if the cop is having a bad day or not very familiar with the laws, then you have to argue your point in court. So the best solution is getting an FCC amateur license. A little study is involved, but the exams are not insurmountable.

Here's a link I found to Florida's law: State of Florida Mobile Scanner Law

Reception:
An outside antenna will always improve reception. The usual advice is to buy the best antenna and coax cable you can afford and put it up as high as you can.

Aviation frequencies are not the most "scanner friendly". I'm pretty close to the Louisville airport and when I listen to them, they are kind of scratchy. These radio signals are geared toward aircraft aloft versus those of us on the ground. I can hear airplanes quite well, but air traffic control and ground control aren't great.

Your scanner is incapable of receiving digital "stuff" which is the way things are headed. Unfortunately Florida is using the type of system, which many local agencies have joined, that cannot be received by any scanner.

With the FCC re-banding rule that is about 18 months old, there was a lot of radio system changes. So I doubt too many additional changes are on the short term horizon.

How much or little you can receive should you choose to upgrade your scanner is a question that can be answered by researching the RR database. Probably wouldn't hurt to ask the following question in the Florida forum: "I live in Brevard County, what can I reasonably expect to hear if I buy a new digital scanner?" There are lots of folks in Florida who are active in the hobby and do frequent posts who should be quite helpful.
 

AronDouglas

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Aug 11, 2013
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Southeast Georiga
Welcome to the forums. Yah, Florida can be a pain to monitor with most if it digital and encrypted. And most digital scanners can be a bit pricy so that does not help the matter any. But from a quick look at the RR Database, only the Port Canaveral Authority appears to be digital. Try different locations around town to see if you can receive any of the other frequencies. DON'T scan while your driving. Florida is just one of those states that doesn't like mobile scanners (but you are safe to use radar detectors though...weird). I have to be careful when I drive through Florida because its OBVIOUS that my truck has a scanner antenna on it.
 

storm777

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Joined
Mar 20, 2004
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Location
Tacoma WA
Welcome! I recently picked up a BC125AT on sale at Radio Shack and have been using it for MilAir with the telescoping antenna. You seem to be in a good location for that. I belong to the MilAirComms Yahoo! group and I always see logs from your area.

You'll have to get a scanner capable of receiving trunked/P25 like the guys said but as long as you have the 125, no need to let it collect dust, especially since you enjoy aviation.
 
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