How did you get interested in radios or public safety?

trentbob

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Iadn...We have very similar backgrounds. I started at 11 as I said in my last post. By the time I was sixteen and had my first car I had my own darkroom and was stringing for the local daily... I guess we're talking late 60s early 70s. I actually had 3 Electra bearcat 101 radios which were AC only so I had a converter on the floor of the backseat so I could reach around and toggle the switch to get AC power LOL.

It eventually led me to a career in journalism as both a photographer and a reporter. We used two way radios until the bag phones and what we used to call Shoe phones came along. The Motorola flip phone with the leather case looks like a shoe. Get Smart. My company car had a mobile phone also and several scanners.

Ended up retiring on a pension from my newspaper as a department editor. I owe it all to my hobby of scanning. It's one thing to be a weegie wanna be, it's another thing to actually be an Arthur Fellig yourself. :ROFLMAO: ...

Love your story... Bob.
 
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TailGator911

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My Father and Mother were both police officers (as are brothers, nephew, uncles) from a long line of peacemakers going back to a great Grandpa who was a US Marshal. I was a part-time dispatcher when I was about 11. Mom and Dad would be out on patrol and I would take the calls (township of 200, not so busy). The telephone and radio was on a filing cabinet in the front foyer of our home. Ithaca 37 shotgun in the corner. That was the police station lol. Got a scanner for my bedroom so I could listen to my parents and my uncle and that was it, I was hooked. Scanners galore and I listen to everything.

I was never a cop. Dad blamed Ed Sullivan and the British Invasion and said I was never the same after seeing the Rolling Stones perform on his show. I know more than a few people like me haha
 

ladn

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We used two way radios until the bag phones and what we used to call Shoe phones came along. The Motorola flip phone with the leather case looks like a shoe. Get Smart. My company car had a mobile phone also and several scanners.
My first mobile company phone was a Muntz (which I still have in the garage, somewhere). Nextels eventually replaced the two way radio system--we turned off the base but kept the mobiles as talk around and backup. My last cells I had before leaving the company were Palm.

The cells were nice because we could talk in plain language and in detail about scanner traffic. On the two way, all LA media monitored everyone else, so we had to be very cagey about what we said--or find a pay phone.

Sometimes we'd talk "cross channel" through the scannerother different media outlets going to or at a scene. Fun times.

This was also in a time before everyone on social media started calling themselves "news media" and demanding press cards. I'm proud to say my colleagues and I were "real" media in that we worded for established and vetted media outlets and most of us at college degrees in photography, photojournalism, journalism, communications, broadcast journalism or media arts. While we didn't always get along with public safety agencies, we earned a degree of respect which went both ways. (Thank you Lt. Dan Cooke, LAPD, PIO Dick Friend, LACoFD , Capt. Tony DiDomenico, LAFD and Dep. Chet Ballew, LASD). I'm embarrassed that I cant say the same today.
 

bob550

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My first exposure to electronics was as a young child while tagging along with my dad to the RadioShack store on Commonwealth Ave. in Boston. While he was testing tubes from our 1950's TV, I was checking out the shortwave radios, Hi-Fi systems, and early walkie-talkies. Sometime around 1960, he brought home a Grundig Majestic 4006U on which we would listen to Radio Australia on Sunday mornings. My dad later upgraded to a Zenith Transoceanic Royal 3000 that I made extensive use of during my teen years. I still have that radio today! Through the years, I've maintained an interest in the radio hobby specifically, and in technology in general. In later life, I transformed that interest into a 22 year career working part-time for RadioShack.
 

N4DJC

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I have been interested in radio since I was a kid, medium wave dx at night. I'd listen in bed to a Silvertone portable. It was cool hearing stations from 500 miles away.

In the 70's I heard an Electra Bearcat scanner running in a local hardware store (they carried scanners and crystals). I was fascinated with hearing the police calls. In 1975 I bought an Electra Bearcat IV, then a BC210 in 1978.

I gave the IV to my in laws when we moved away, they used it for many years. The local police and fire stayed analog until last year.

That BC210 was a game changer for me.....loved the display and not having to scrounge for crystals ( we moved a number of times).
 

bobruzzo

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I remember back in 1974 I had a small portable am/fm radio. One night I just happened to tune around the AM dial and heard stations way out there from mid west. I listened for a while and at the same time I had an old "Trip Tik" Triple A (AAA) brochure that listed some of the more powerful station on AM. I guess this pamphlet was made for travelers and it had the AAA logo on it. So I was able to identify the station I was listening to as "WLS" in Chicago. Over the next few weeks I was able to find many of the stations listed on that AAA pamphlet. At least as far as the midwest and I live in RI. So to me this was a fascinating thing. So I ended up buying the NRC Domestic log which was a thick book of all the AM radio stations in USA and Canada. I would sit for hours at night and in early morning listening and if I found a new station I would find it in the log book and circle it and write in the date. I would regularly listen to WOWO in Fort Wayne Indiana.....they had the farm report every morning at 5:30am. I think it was 1190 am. WLS was always there, CKLW in Windsor Ontario, WBT in Charlotte NC. I used to tape record what I heard and sent the stations the tape in exchange for QSL cards. I got a pile of them and still have them somewhere. I would try to listen for some of the lower power stations too. I did this for a while then became interested in shortwave. I used to have a couple of those Panasonic "Tech series" radios which were very good. In 1977 I joined Army as radio operator and learned CW. I got really good at it and me and my room mate were tied for honor grad in radio school at Ft Gordon Ga. They couldnt decide and gave us both Honor grad! Years later i was briefly into CB then got my novice license in 1989. I picked up CW again and upgraded to General. Eventually got Extra in 1996. I hated my callsign (AA1FB) cause it didnt sound like a callsign. It was like a serial number from a toaster. So when the vanity call system came out I applied. They sent a list of available call signs and I picked "W1AV" cause it sounded like a "REAL" callsign. My 2nd choice was "N1CK" and at the time our newborn baby boy was named "Nick" But I went with w1av. I was very active from 1989 till about 2000 when I sort of dropped out of the scene for many many years. I was turned off by how computers were encroaching on everything and APRS was rapidly taking over packet. So I eventually sold my gear, kept a scanner or two but never got back as an active ham. I got in to playing guitar again and doing a lot of recording. Computers were great for this. So I was into the open mic scene for about 10 years locally and at the same time writing and recording a ton of jazz-like music. Got back into scanning when covid-19 started. Since I was retired and was home most of the time getting some new radios was a good thing. I bought a bct15x and discone....then got a 996P2.....then SDS200....Not planning on any more scanners yet but still putzing around with sdr. Well I DID order a new 996P2 for my car.:rolleyes:
 
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FLPage

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I joined the fire service as a freshman in college in 1971. Soon bought a tunable AM/FM/WX/VHF-Lo/VHF-Hi radio and kept it on our local fire frequency (unless something was happening about half a megacycle up on the PD channel). Bought an Electra Bearcat II after about six months of tuning up and down the dial. Now, almost 50 years later, I'm still active in the fire service as a fire marshal and, in addition to my Motorolas, still run Bearcats (a 436 and a 536).
 

WX4JCW

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Started when I was a teenager in the 80;s worked at a place called Service Merchandise, I was a railfan and wanted to listen to the rail frequencies, so I bought a scanner, then got hooked on listening to the local public safety channels, after the Army I decided to become a firefighter/EMT and then my love of radios kinda steered me towards dispatching, during that time I didn't listen much, but after I retired I missed it :)
 

pb_lonny

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It is really good to see that we have a lot of "old timers" and also some people who have joined the hobby in more modern times :)
 

K9DAK

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My Uncle was a Reserve Sheriff's Deputy back in the mid-'70s. He loaned me his 4-channel crystal scanner for a few weeks, and I was hooked. Got my own scanner, another 4-channel crystal scanner, and carried on from there. My countie's frequencies also happened to be the same as my first college county's frequencies, so all good. Upgraded to a 16-channel Uniden, then 200 channel when I moved to San Diego... and the rest is in my signature. It's in my blood.

Funny thing... when my daughter came to visit my new condo, she heard my scanner and said "hey, there's a familiar Daddy noise!"
 

krokus

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My dad ran a two-way radio business out of the house, and was an on-call firefighter, so I always had radios around. He bought a Bearcat tabletop programmable, sometime in the early 90s, which I took over until I moved out of his house.

I joined the Navy, as an electronics tech, that focused on comm gear, and got my ham ticket while home on leave. (Had two reciprocal licenses, while overseas. Also worked with the MARS station on the aircraft carrier I was stationed on.)

I have worked as military law enforcement, military crash rescue, and civilian firefighter, including the county HazMat team. I became an instructor on the MPSCS, via the county I was working in.

I spend more time scanning than talking, but enjoy all of it.
 

WA4NUF

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Got started in radio / electronics via CB radio in the 70`s and hearing all the "skip". Wanted more , so I got my ham license during that time. Been in it ever since, my job for over 40 years in electronics and ham radio.
Got into public safety with local volunteer rescue squad during the 70`s , via my dad as a member , and following in his footsteps for many years after.
 

jwt873

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Started out as a teen in the '60s with an old tube broadcast band radio. I always thought you could only hear local stations on AM radio. While tuning between my two favorite stations one winter night, I found a couple of stations I'd never heard before and paused to hear what they were about. When I found out I was listening to live stations thousands of miles away, I was hooked. (Remember there was no internet back then).

I was an avid BCB DXer for a while. (still do it occasionally). My dad saw I was interested and got me an old SW radio from a friend of his who donated it for the cause. I went on to get my ham ticket about six years later.

I didn't do any VHF/UHF scanning initially. Back then a 'scanner' was a small portable or desktop radio with around 4 - 10 channels. You couldn't hear anything until you bought crystals for the frequencies you wanted to monitor and then populated the channels that way. (It's funny how today, a radio that doesn't go from 25 MHz to over 1 gHz with the ability decode at least 5 different digital modes isn't considered a scanner :) )

I eventually bought a Radio Shack digital trunking scanner.. And.. The modern VHF/UHF ham rigs I own have general coverage.
 

N9PVW

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Back in the late 50s early 60s my Dad was a Radio and TV repairman, so we also had a lot of Shortwave and CB radios around. I would get up later at night and play with the shortwave I was always fascinated on what I could receive, also back then you had to have a license to use CB, and the FCC was very strict. I was around 7 or 8 at this time. I have been involved with Ham radio and scanners for over thirty years.
 

bharvey2

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My dad was an electronics technician in the US Navy so as far back as I can remember, there were Heathkit amplifers, radios, etc. around the house/garage and plenty of components to play with. That inventory and my inquisitive nature whet my appetite for things electronic. Some of those radio permitted listening to public safety activity (it was all lo and VHF in my area at the time) I was now hooked. When high school came around, I enrolled in whatever electronics/physics classes were available and found myself repairing TVs and radios. Almost all were tube type. Yeah, solid state was around but that wasn't what was broken. This was also when CBs were taking off so my brother and I had a go at that for a few years.

Continuing on, I majored in Electronics Engineering in college and I think that was the time I purchased my first scanner. Over the years, my involvement in radio/scanning has waxed and waned depending upon life's current activities like marriage, kids, etc. During that time I've acquired ham, GMRS and IG (for work) licenses, and have upgraded scanners on a number of occasions. While radio stuff doesn't consume all of my work time, thee is still enough to keep things fun and interesting.
 

CrabbyMilton

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I had toy walky talky's when I was a little kid and enjoyed them. My mom got me a BEARCAT 210 for Christmas in 1980 when I was 16 and the rest and several scanners later is history. My current scanner is a 436HP which I bought 2 years ago and still love it.
 

VA3TFC

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My interest in radio began as a youngster in the late 60's and early 1970's with a portable transistor AM radio that were everywhere at the time. We had one station that played pop music of the day but at 3am to 4am they would play old time comedy and drama shows from the 40's and 50's. My best friend and I loved listening to that programming. Since TV ended at 11pm every night there wasn't anything else to do but get out the AM radio and either listen to the local stations or scan the band for DX from stations far away. When I was a teenager I got into listening to shortwave the public service frequencies using a Realistic Patrolman radio that had the VHF police and fire channels back when they used those frequencies. In the 80's and 90's I got into CB radio, scanners and had a Realistic 500 channel scanner for many years and various shortwave all band receivers and CB base/mobile station setups. After messing with CB (mostly SSB) I eventually got my Basic Ham license. I still to this day love DXing the AM and shortwave bands. I have been out of the hobby for a number of years but now close to retirement age have been getting back into it.

73's!
 

air-scan

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In January 1995 I was influenced by a Radio Shack employee and bought my first Uniden 16 channel programmable scanner with a Police Call frequency guide. At the time I lived in Wichita, Kansas which had the older Motorola anologue trunking system couldn't afford that kind of scanner but could listen to suburbs. Hooked ever since. I was into CB radio before that.
 

mileslong

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I was 17 or 18 and at a house party with my gf (now wife). A friend of mine called me up and asked if I was partying at so and so's house. I said yeah I am.. he replied to get out of there, the cops were on the way. Also told me not to take the main road, to go on this other side road because the cops were coming from that way.

We left, and as we headed north, we saw several cars going south on a parallel road. I was fascinated from there on out. Of course I'm much older now, with a family and house parties don't pertain to me any longer. I use it now to let my co-workers/family know what areas to avoid if there are collisions.. and also if there is some type of activity happening near them.

I'm pretty happy with my scanner.. I haven't owned one in over 10 years. Very pleased so far.
 
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