How did you get interested in radios or public safety?

ltginrage

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On October 11, 2018 I clicked the Buy Now button on Amazon purchasing a Uniden BC75XLT. I bought the scanner because I got the weird idea "if different agencies are sending frequencies through our head we should be able to listen to them". (I know now that is false because of encryption, save it for a new thread). We all come from different backgrounds and I can guarantee most of us did not get into radios for the same reason I did. With that in mind, what got you interested in radios or public safety?
 

JDrisc3480

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Shannon, North Carolina
I got interested in radios back as a freshman in high school. My physical science teacher has an amateur radio in the class room. Now public safety, my wife convinced me to join a local volunteer department.
 

kayn1n32008

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My grandfather gave me an old 40ch CB base radio. Then my dad took me to a field day near my house when I was 8 or 9. Had 49MHz radios as well.
 

ILjim

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I'm going to sound old even though I'm only 21. I started getting interested in radio (and public safety) when I was around 5. I would play around with my father's AM/FM stereo by tuning into different stations and trying to receive distant stations by moving the antenna around. Eventually, I did the same with our TV (back when analog was still a thing). He and my uncle also had GMRS radios, which I enjoyed using as well. I didn't know or find out about scanners until I was 12. A YouTube video about someone receiving a Tornado Warning on their RS Pro-106 is what eventually got me into the scanning hobby, as well as listening to other types of broadcasts, like shortwave. My first scanner is a BC125AT, which I still use and works perfectly.
 

prcguy

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I got interested in electronic stuff and radios starting around 5yrs old digging through my neighbors trash. He was an engineer, a ham and the head of the FCC for the western states in the early 1960s. I got my first electronic rack when I was 5 or 6yrs old from the local FCC field station, it was crinkle black and probably Collins. I was taking apart surplus radios I found and removing/collecting parts that I removed with a soldering gun when very young. I never knew what I was going to do with the parts, I just knew I needed them for something. I also grew up in fire stations including crawling around inside the radio racks at a Los Angeles City Fire Dept "signal office" and playing with the radios on fire trucks from about 5yrs old and onward.
 
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hexagon_keyhole

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As a little kid I was always fascinated with law enforcement and walkie-talkies. Grown up now, I wanted to maintain a sort of situational awareness of things happening around town. I finally jumped on the scanning bandwagon this year with the Uniden BCD436HP. About a month of owning the BCD436HP that worked well for me, I wanted something fancier and picked up a Uniden SDS100. I plan on getting my Ham Technician License to fulfill my other interest of walkie talkies.
 

NedBuckle

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About 2 years ago I seen a cheap "Scanner" on line for sale so I grabbed it. Turned out to be a baofeng uv82. I listened to the local police a bit until I did a little research about the radio and found a whole new world of magical invisible waves out there. I went out and bought an antenna and it worked great. went on and built a tape measure yagi to listen to satellites and a new sdr and up-converter and all the doodads that go with it.
I learn more things that can be done every day. I joined the premium side of this site just this week to further my thirst for all things radio. and shortly when things start to open up a little more I do hope to get my Ham ticket. There is so much to learn.
 

n1das

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Encryption doesn't stop "sending frequencies through our head...." but that's a topic for another thread. LOL.

I've been an electronics hobbyist all my life, starting at an early age. Like father like son applies. My dad was an electronics hobbyist and exposed me to lots of tech stuff while growing up. I became his first assistant on every electronics project or home repair project, including a few car repairs. My interest in all things radio has nothing to do with public safety. And whenever things did not work when they should, I always want to dive in and fix it.

When I was about 4, my dad had a (now antique) electric train setup around the Christmas tree. He explained how it is powered by electricity and he explained it as best he could at a level that a 4 year old could understand. He warned me to always be careful with electricity because it can be your enemy and electric shock can be dangerous and be like getting "bit" by it. I remember asking if the electrons were going to jump out and bite me. LOL. On another occasion I remember asking dad if electricity cared what color wires they go through, referring to the color of the insulation on the wires. LOL.

As an electronics hobbyist while growing up, I got interested in all things radio. At 9 years old in 1970, I built a RadioShack Knight Kit 5-tube AM table radio kit. I brought it into school (3rd grade) and demoed it there.

At 10 years old in 1971, I helped dad build a Heathkit 14" color TV for the family. That TV gave us 13 years of trouble free service. Over the years our family earned a reputation for having the oldest TV sets in town because my dad and I kept repairing them. My first scanner was a Heathkit GR-1132 VHF-Lo/Hi/UHF 8 channel crystal scanner which I built in 1977 during my freshman year in high school. I previously was using a portable multiband tuneable radio to listen to local VHF public safety stuff in my area and a few 2m ham repeaters. I've had many scanners since then and too many to count. I was getting interested in Amateur Radio too but I didn't get my ham license until 1983 (Novice in 1983, upgraded to Tech in 1984).

In 1978, I built a Heathkit H8 personal computer and the H9 video terminal for dad as my intro to digital electronics and personal computers. I was the envy of my high school's math department for a couple of years until they got a couple of early personal computers. LOL. One thing I quickly discovered with the H8 and H9 was they were mighty potent sources of RFI and completely trashed my scanner reception. They weren't designed to be RF-quiet at all. The FCC at the time was also dealing with many interference complaints from digital electronics and were working on Part 15 regulations for computers and other digital devices. The FCC Part 15 Subpart J rules first came into effect in 1979. This is now Subpart B in Part 15. I recall the Apple II and the RadioShack TRS80 were notorious for being RF noise generators back then.

I studied Electrical Engineering in college and today I am an Electromagnetic Interference/Compatibility (EMI/EMC) Engineer. FCC Part 15 and the international equivalents guides my work. Dealing with being a victim of RFI from the family's personal computer system while growing up comes full circle, LOL. The hobby interest in electronics and ham radio definitely played a part.
 
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Randyk4661

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My father way back in the late 60's early 70's was a Ham operator and had radios of all types. The show Adam-12 was new and he could listen in to LAPD. He also had a old low band military transceiver (transmit disabled) that we listened for hours to Orange County police & fire departments where we lived.
When my parents started leaving me at home when I was old enough, that military radio was my babysitter.
Been with radios ever since.
 

gmclam

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I had walkie-talkies in the early 60s and my dad was dispatching taxis. One day he came home with a "converter", that when placed next to an AM radio would let us hear VHF channels. Back then the police were on one channel, fire on another and taxis on at least one more. When police went to more than one channel, a scanner was needed. The first model I personally bought was a PRO-77, which I still use. When police moved to UHF, I bought a PRO-10. I was still a teen. I've been interested in electronics, technology and broadcasting since I was in single digit years. My tagline is more like a time line. After having children of my own, who show no such interest, it amazes me what I was doing back then.
 

mmckenna

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Probably 6 or 7 years old. My grandfather had a short wave radio and a "Patrolman" radio shack receiver. He'd let me tune around on the band.
Around the same time, my dad got a CB and that was pretty magical.
Later on, my brother had a Bearcat 210, and I eventually got a Bearcat 100.
Started messing around with the CB. My grandfather gave me his old Knight Kit Star Roamer short wave radio.

Got my ham ticket either in my senior year of high school, or shortly after, can't remember.

Eventually ended up in a job where I was promoted to a position where I ran a trunked system. Been 23 years at the same job. It's a fun hobby and a great job, and I really love what I do.
So, ham, GMRS, GROL, and get paid well to do this stuff. As they say, if you have a job you love, you never work a day in your life.
 

pb_lonny

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My uncle got me in to it as a small child, as a teenager I picked it back up, almost 23 years ago...
 

ka1njl

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When I was about 10 years old my father, who owned a shoe store at the time, said "let's build a short wave radio". I didn't know what that meant but we built an Eico Space Ranger that I still have. I spent many late nights enthralled by listening to signals from all over the world. That led me to ask for a Sears CB walkie talkie for Christmas which a neighborhood friend and I used to play chess while we were supposed to be sleeping. Then someone gave me something they called a "police bug". It was a little device that generated an IF that mixed with the signals on a portable transistor radio that enabled me to listen to the local police. I was hooked. Now I've been a ham for about 35 years and a scanner enthusiast for longer than that. Interestingly, when I was barely a teenager I met a ham and I was fascinated by his radios. About 20 years later after I had moved from the area I had the thrill of working him on HF.
 

trap5858

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I can't say exactly when it all started for me but one Christmas I got a pair of CB walkie talkies and so did a neighbor friend. We had no idea at first that we were talking to each other. From that point on, radio has been my continuous hobby. It was CB through high school and college. Somewhere along the way in high school I got into scanners and of course like most- own too many. Several years ago I got into HAM radio as well but most of my radio dollars goes to scanners.
 

andrew_m

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My aunt, she had a desktop scanner back in the 90s. I cannot recall what it was but it was fascinated listening to the cops talk to each other. When I got a bit more money I went to Walmart and got a Uniden 80xlt (or a model number similar).

Now I'm the one talking to the cops on the radio. Been a police dispatcher for over 12 years now.
 

n0nhp

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My Grandfather died shortly before I was born and "left me" his Hallicrafters S-38 (probably B model) that I played with making antennas and listening to stations around the world for as long as I can remember.
My dad and his solder gun! made me my first set of Eico kit walkie-talkies (CB chan 11) when I was 10 or so and a couple of neighbor kids also had compatible units.
Dad, was also a junk-auction junkie and would bring home many mysterious electronic and mechanical wonders that I was allowed to terminally dis-assemble.
Radios were inevitable in my life.

Bruce
 

sonm10

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About five years ago, I was sitting in the public library when a fire truck and ambulance went by I wanted to know what was going on. Initially I found broadcastify and bought my first scanner soon after that, a uniden bcd996p2
 

trentbob

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My uncle gave me the guts of a stand-up shortwave radio and set me up with 200 feet of copper wire in the backyard when I was 10 in 1963, used Lafayette he 90 CB and a Radio Shack slide rule dial Police monitor made by GRE Japan was next and that's all she wrote. Went from there.

What a thrill it was to get a Electra Bearcat 4 channel Crystal control scanner! Can you imagine? Listening to four channels at one time with those flashing lights.:p
 

ladn

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I always had an interest in electronics. As a kid, I remember hearing LAPD broadcasts just above the AM broadcast band. I built a few crystal sets and lusted after the surplus "walkie talkies" advertised in POPULAR MECHANICS. I got interested in CB while in high school. My first "police radio" was a Radio Shack tunable VHF/UHF model, followed a few years later with a Regency TMR-8 H/L scanner.

My career path led me to photojournalism, and more scanners. Gene Hughes' POLICE CALL and POPULAR COMMUNICATIONS magazine were at the top of my reading list. When I was in the field, my company car had three mobile scanners, a two way radio and a handheld scanner. I got my Novice and Technician ham licenses in 1989, and upgraded twice since them.

I enthusiastically embrace today's technology (alphanumeric display and computer programming were a Godsend) and understand needs for the modern, complex, systems of today. However, I think that many modern systems are over engineered and designed to milk the public coffers. I miss the days when I could cover the Los Angeles and surrounding area with 3, 16-channel BC-101's (my last mobile had 3, BC-760 XLTs).
 
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