Listening to Multiple Scanners

mass-man

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I learned something new today. Who said that they were too old to learn (I just turned 66)!
I guess it comes from the original signal ducking under the audio of the second signal. I just turned 68 and have been doing TV engineering of various varieties for a very long time and had not heard the phrase until just a few months ago.
 

AA4TX

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As a life-long -- literally -- listener to scanners or other radio devices, I'll give you the life-long answer. It won't be what you want to hear, but it worked in my youth when Dad was teaching me what radios could do to further your intelligence and worked in journalism, free-lance reporting and corportate communications after that. Don't buy more gagets. Train your head. I have at least three scanners going 24/4 in a fly-over part of the world even now, at the age of 88. I don't expect technology to make up for what your head can do. I know, even when asleep, that if it is interesting, there will be more chatter on some un-cloaked frequency. And if it is really a big deal, you will hear the stress in the voices talking or trading orders or responses. Use your head. Few do any more, but that's where your filter is. It led me to a lot of leads on other reporters or questions to ask of sources for a life-time. You might invest in some of that now, if you're up to it. Use your head, not your pocketbook. It really doesn't hurt even though it is unpopular these days.
This!
 

pinballwiz86

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One speaker for each radio. Adjust volumes accordingly to which scanner gets the least traffic. That one gets turned up more.
 

N8YX

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One speaker for each radio. Adjust volumes accordingly to which scanner gets the least traffic. That one gets turned up more.
24 speakers simply won't work here. That's how many receivers and transceivers are present in my main operating/listening position. What I did was to tie all the scanners and receivers into a pair of NCS-3230 Multi-RX units; the transceivers have their own matching speakers if offered as an accessory. (SWBC stations sound 'meh' on my FT-980's internal speaker; hook up the SP-980 and it's a completely different experience.)

An earlier poster's Behringer is a good alternative to the NCS unit, though probably not as flexible. If a certain mixer offers a Master Mute function, that device moves to the head of my personal list as I also transmit. Being able to RF and AF-mute everything in the shack via the transceiver is a big plus. For a dedicated SWL or scanner listener the function probably isn't necessary.
 

RFI-EMI-GUY

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I am no expert when it comes to current PA audio products. Is there a mixer that will automatically duck all other inputs when a new one is active? For example 8 input channels from 8 scanners, any one of the 8 has highest volume when it first receives?
 

Ubbe

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For example 8 input channels from 8 scanners, any one of the 8 has highest volume when it first receives?
I've never seen or heard of a unit having that function.

What could work would be a very slow AGC function with a huge attack time. When a signal first are heard the AGC have set a high volume and when the seconds tick away it will gradually lower the volume if there is a constant sound. After a time without sound it would slowly go back to full volume ready for next conversation. Most Compressors Limiters have settings for different timings. Google one for windows that have attack and decay times of 10 sec or more. If it works to be used with one AGC for each channel, or allows 8 programs running at the same time, then buy 8 small $3 USB sound cards.

There are stand alone $100 sound modules as well and some have 4 channels but usually do not have the needed long attack decay times like 10 sec.

/Ubbe
 

DS506

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What is a "ducking" option?
... duck-low headroom, duck for cover to protect from flying objects, duck to let something pass over top...

. Is there a mixer that will automatically duck all other inputs when a new one is active?
Some mixers/amplifiers have a priority function. Think of a PA used for background music, but when a microphone is keyed up for an announcement it automatically mutes the music.
 

N8YX

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I have the full schematics for the -3230 and while I won't start reproducing the unit (which would require custom programming of a PIC regardless) I may relate enough high-level information about the design that an enterprising individual could create a suitable implementation for their own listening post. The real magic lies in the PIC. Pseudo-code which describes its control functions can be discussed and an Arduino. BASIC Stamp or similar embedded micro might be used to perform the same tasks.
 

majoco

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With a multi-channel mixer (like mine) you can decide which channel is more important to you and turn the volume up higher to override the other channels. It wouldn't take much to design a small circuit to prioritise one channel that will mute all the others.
 

KI4GNX

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I'm familiar with ducking from or out of things but never heard it applied to audio. I couldn't figure out how it applied. I like the audio mixer board. I think if it had sliders for volume control that would be the best way to cut unwanted audio quickly. Where I live I don't expect to have a lot of traffic. I used to man a control panel where I had video monitors, intercoms, radios, alarms, phones, access control, and computers. Did I leave anything out? Most of the time it was pretty easy. Sometimes it could get pretty busy. Once you get up to speed it wasn't too bad. You had to think quick and prioritize things.
 

SmitHans

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I'm going to set up a radio desk. I will have 4 or 5 scanners and at least 1 ham radio. I prefer not to use the speakers on the units as I have a hard time hearing detail. I prefer having an external speaker. I would like to be able to hear all of them at the same time to catch a transmission. I don't want to use a switch to select a unit. Is there any way to get around having half a dozen different speakers? Thanks.
I've always preferred having multiple speakers. My radios are placed side by side across the width of my desk, & their speaker is placed above the radio . That way, just by which side of the desk the sound comes from, I know which radio is active. I also keep the volume a little higher on the radios I put priority in, so in the even 2 radios become active at the same time, I can hear the one I want to better.

I use a similar system in the car - radio traffic I want to hear more is piped to the speaker in the headliner near my head. Less important radio traffic is piped through speakers under the dash.

In both cases, I know what I'm listening to just by where the sound comes from.
 
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