EARLY 70's SCANNING: Who could afford it ???? !!

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Archie

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Google imaged some very early 1970's Lafayette and Radio Shack catalog ads for scanners and the higher end tunable monitors and when adjusting those prices with crystals and sales tax included via the CPI Inflation calculator, was shocked to see how really expensive a hobby this was back then.

So who could afford to buy this stuff?? Just the real serious radio buffs and media folks???
Correct me if mistaken, but the prices came down a bit in the mid 1970's when overseas manufacturers took over???

ENCRYPTION QUESTION: One of the articles posted about agencies turning it off quoted the Naugatuck, CT police chief saying that encryption costs several hundred dollars per radio...I thought Motorola was giving away basic encryption for free with brand new radio systems ????

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marksmith

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I saw that comment by the chief also and wondered what he was referring to. Once you have the system, with digital voice, whether p25 or Motorola, and the appropriate radios, it's basically a radio and system programming issue, which I don't think runs $100 per radio. I think he must have been referring to the variable radio pricing, which might run that much for that capability. Not sure, but it struck me as an odd comment.

Mark
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W8RMH

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I have been monitoring Public Safety since the late 60s and never found cost to be an issue. First before scanners with a tunable RS radio, 1 frequency at a time (this radio had a new feature called "squelch" so no more constant static between transmissions). Later an 8 channel Regency crystal scanner. I have always had the latest scanner ever since.

For APX portables the proprietary 40 bit ADP protocol is included for free. If you want encryption that conforms to the P25 standard there's a cost: Single key AES adds $ 380 to each radio and multi key AES adds $ 644. This is why Columbus is only using encryption on SWAT and Narcotics radios. For a small agency this may not be much, but for an agency buying 20,000+ radios it does become a cost issue.
 
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ofd8001

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No matter the era, scanning has been a costly hobby, though most hobbies are costly. But I remember the old adage "the only difference between men and boys is the cost of their toys".

On encryption it depends on the type of encryption used. The "Gold Standard" is AES which requires another board in the radio. It's the "best/most secure" type available. Back in 2008 our community was implementing a new P-25 system. I looked back at some of my spreadsheets and saw the cost for AES was $424.52 per unit and that was a heavily discounted price due to number of radios involved. I'm also thinking that a "higher tier" (as in more costly) radio was needed for AES to be available, so that added to the cost.

There is another type of "less secure" encryption alled "ADP" which initially started out as a Motorola propietary product. It could go in "lower tier" (less costly) radios. The cost for that was $10 per radio, but there was a "hook". That being it locked you into that brand meaning that any future radio purchases also had to be Motorola. I understand that as time has gone along, some other manufacturers may now be offering ADP.
 

rwier

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Was able to afford my first scanner ~1978, right after my first divorce, lol. Like W8RMH, I used tunable band receivers ('67-'78).

Incidentally, I shortened the cord, and added a carry handle. It looked like, or maybe began as, a mounting bracket that was included with the radio. In my vehicle, I had a converter mounted under the hood near the battery. The converter output house voltage. To it, I attached a drop cord to reach the driver's area. On a hot call, I would unplug the radio indoors and run it out to the car. Placed the handle over a hook mount and plugged the short cord into the converter drop cord. I had very thin strips of adhesive tape placed vertically along the dial to indicate various favorite frequencies. Colored the strips for easy identification. Those colored strips were like today's quick keys!
 
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MTS2000des

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ENCRYPTION QUESTION: One of the articles posted about agencies turning it off quoted the Naugatuck, CT police chief saying that encryption costs several hundred dollars per radio...I thought Motorola was giving away basic encryption for free with brand new radio systems ????
EF Johnson/Kenwood and Relm also give "ADP compatible" ARC-4 40-bit encryption away in their P25 products. Tait also offers the same ARC-4 encryption at low cost on their 9400 series. All of them are compatible with Motorola's ADP software encryption which single-key ADP is standard on every APX as others have pointed out.

While it is a weak algorithm it does not require a hardware touch of radios, it is good enough to render scanners useless and stop unauthorized streaming. Customers want it and the manufacturers are delivering on it.
 

prcguy

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In the early 70's when I was in High School I managed to trade for a couple of tunable VHF "police receivers" and a crystal controlled scanner. I had a lot of trading material back then and could not afford a new one.
prcguy
 

Archie

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Inflation Calculator

Inflation Calculator .... So when entering the cost of the 1971 Unimetrics brand Digi Scanner 8 VHF/UHF model listed with Lafayette for $139.00 plus three crystals at $6.75 each plus whatever the sales tax rate was back then...$160.00 comes out to whopping $891.00 in today's dollars, quite expensive a hobby back then !!

Wish I could have afforded it !!
 
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