Moving to Santa Clara

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als365

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Santa Clara, CA
Hey everyone,

I'm moving into the south bay area (Santa Clara) from out of state for a new job. I have a whole list of questions but I'll keep it short here for now. What's good to listen to in the south bay (I like listening to FD). Also, what are the chances I can hear San Francisco or Oakland FD from Santa Clara? Basically I'm trying to figure out what I can pick up from Santa Clara. I have an outdoor antenna but I don't think the apartment complex will let me put it out on the patio, and even if they did, I wouldn't be able to get it higher than a few feet off the ground (basically the same height as a satellite dish placed on an apartment balcony or patio). I will be living on the first floor. Other than that, I have standard antennas that come with the scanners/radios.

Thanks for any help you can give. I'm looking forward to being involved in the Bay Area radio discussion forums.
 

K6CDO

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Hanover Co. VA
Hey everyone,

I'm moving into the south bay area (Santa Clara) from out of state for a new job. I have a whole list of questions but I'll keep it short here for now. What's good to listen to in the south bay (I like listening to FD). Also, what are the chances I can hear San Francisco or Oakland FD from Santa Clara? Basically I'm trying to figure out what I can pick up from Santa Clara. I have an outdoor antenna but I don't think the apartment complex will let me put it out on the patio, and even if they did, I wouldn't be able to get it higher than a few feet off the ground (basically the same height as a satellite dish placed on an apartment balcony or patio). I will be living on the first floor. Other than that, I have standard antennas that come with the scanners/radios.

Thanks for any help you can give. I'm looking forward to being involved in the Bay Area radio discussion forums.
Welcome to California. Check out the listing in the database for Santa Clara County, San Mateo County, and Alameda County.

With the density of 800 MHz Trunked systems in the Bay Area, the systems are engineered to limit coverage outside of the jurisdiction covered by the system. So your chances of being able to listen to San Francisco and Oakland FDs from your apartment is 50/50 at best (Oakland is currently on a different system than Alameda County). The Santa Clara City ops and Santa Clara County EMS ops are on 800, but the remaining Santa Clara County law and fire are on VHF and UHF, as are the San Mateo County ops.

Don
 

cousinkix1953

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Never mind Frisco and Oakland. Too far away and too weak. He will be busy enough just listening to the Santa Clara city TRS. The San Jose PD will keep keep him occupied with almost 24/7 coverage on a dozen UHF repeaters.

The Santa Clara county sheriff's office is still using their analog dispatch repeater on 156.210. Park rangers are active on 151.145. Too bad the San Jose CHP shut off their 42.50 mhz repeater mode and pulled the plug on the UHF simulcast too. That signal used to really get out like gangbusters.

Don't forget the local fire departments and Cal-Fire.

The Santa Cruz, San Benito and Monterey county sheriff repeaters might even come in too. I would certainly program these other systems in one of those extra banks, for a trip over to the coast. Lots of activity on the main Santa Cruz police, fire and sheriffs channels. Same with Monterey county. Gangs are always active in Salinas...
 

trooperdude

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If you are interested in mainly FIRE then you will need 800 trunked (soon to be rebanded) for Santa Clara City Fire, VHF for everybody else in the county (San Jose, County Fire and CalFire) UHF T-band for Sunnyvale DPS Fire. UHF 460 mhz for Milpitas Fire.

800 Mhz conventional for the County EMS system.

You should be able to hear the 800mhz (just rebanded) Alameda County Trunked system which carries their fire and EMS traffic.

Most likely will NOT be able to hear San Francisco Fire due to the aformentioned antenna downtilt issue.

I have no problem receiving Oakland Fire on their 800Mhz EDACS system from the South Bay on the west side, but that's with an outside antenna.

Apartment listening is tough. Try a quality triband antenna on the apartment balcony on a tripod if you can manage it.

And there are always the online streams here at RR for things you cannot hear from the apartment.

Get a 700mhz digital capable scanner now, because the regional plans all call for 700mhz trunked systems down the road.

Fire is my hobby. (Used to sit on the board of a local volunteer dept in the hills), so PM me if you need any help.

Welcome to the "hood". Working for AMR or the new ALCO contractor ??
 
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Stealthguy05

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If you dont mind not getting Santa Clara PD Or Cupertino Westside SO, just get an inexpesive analog scanner that covers 800mhz. Santa Clara FD is simulcast on 153.965 vhf
 

cousinkix1953

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If you dont mind not getting Santa Clara PD Or Cupertino Westside SO, just get an inexpesive analog scanner that covers 800mhz. Santa Clara FD is simulcast on 153.965 vhf
This repeater carries quite a distance beyond the immediate area. The CHP repeater is back up too. Hearing these on the indoor antennna should be easy enough in most cases.

The Santa Clara TRS is analog according to the RR database listing.
Santa Clara, City of (Public Safety) Trunking System, Santa Clara, California - Scanner Frequencies

Make sure to buy a 800 mhz scanner that has been "rebanded" like a Pro 164 at the least. Get a digital model if you must hear the San Jose PD MERGE / SWAT operations or some of the nearby military bases. There are some SO detectives using P-25 on 156.150 mhz...

Never mind the sheriff's P-25 transmissions on 155.70 mhz; because are just a simulcast of 156.210 mhz...
 

drouse3

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Santa Clara, CA
Also, what are the chances I can hear San Francisco or Oakland FD from Santa Clara?
Not Good, From my house in Santa Clara with a outside ant I do not get anything on my scanner. If you live south of highway 237 in Santa Clara County your are to far away or should I say I have not had any luck.
 

trooperdude

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Never mind the sheriff's P-25 transmissions on 155.70 mhz; because are just a simulcast of 156.210 mhz...
Don't know where you get your info, but I was a county dispatcher for 6 years.

They are completely separate channels, with completely different traffic.

Completely different traffic for central/east/south on 1 and the westside on 2 in P25 digital.

West side migrates to Ch 1 between 0130 and 0730 daily due to staffing, but they are never simulcast.

BTW you won't hear SJPD's MERGE units. P25 Encryption is now the default in their radios for CH 17
 
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Hooligan

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I used to work in Mountain View, and could pick up Oakland's 800MHz EDACS system fairly well, and SF's 800MHz Motorola trunked system weak to fair-readable using a Uniden BC-796XT tapped into the standard 31" broadcast AM/FM whip antenna on my car.

I expect the big part of this was due to the fact that I was close to the Bay, so the signals --especially from Smokeland-- had a pretty clear LOS shot to me.


I don't know where you're moving from, but you might find there's plenty of local FD/EMS radio traffic in Santa Clara, San Mateo, Santa Cruz & Alameda Counties, plus CalFire, to where tuning in Oakland or SF isn't a big deal to you. Another possible change compared to what you've been used to is that a lot of public safety dispatch stuff in the Bay Area is on repeaters instead of simplex, and the repeaters are often on some pretty tall hilltops.

Hopefully your apartment will be facing Northish, and above the ground floor, in which case if you really want to try to hear SF & Oakland's systems, get an 800MHz Yagi & maybe an 800MHz preamp. Another thing you could try is a small 3 or 5db gain 800MHz mobile cellular phone type antenna & see if you can covertly place that up on the roof of your building & route the coax down.

Another thing you'll have fun monitoring (at least for a while) are the numerous UHF repeater & simplex channels used by the Paramount's Great America amusement park.


Other than Las Vegas stuff, I now live in an area that's pretty quiet public-safety wise, but it is very refreshing to not hear (nor have) all my tax-dollars being spent on the illegal immigrants.
 
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