So what started you listening to a scanner/radio around Chicago?

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oemctx4

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For me it started with my father in the early 1970's he had a converter that was rubber banded to an AM radio and it allowed us to listened to CPD Zone 6. I enjoyed listened to that radio so much and so did he.
 

W9WSS

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Scanning Hobby Beginnings

I actually started as an SWL in the early 60's; Got my ham license in 1968, messed around with CB radio, and bought a Bearcat 1 crystal-controlled base scanner. Tried hand-helds, and now using Uniden BCD996T & BCT15, GRE PSR-500, and a variety of other scanners. I'm currently active with the Chicago Area Radio Monitoring Association (CARMA), and several ham radio clubs.

Good question to evoke a lot of responses!
 

ToneBurst

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I had an uncle who is now a SK and my parents who were both licensed radio ops. I was always an aviation fan, and started out with both 11 meters and a basic 30 channel desktop scanner listening to aircraft and law enforcement, fire, ems, and local federal freqs.

I worked in the aviation biz as a ground services specialist, and would use my hand held scanner at work to keep up with what was going on around me and this helped me to tailor my work habits to provide a better quality of service. I did special services work, bag handler, skycap, airport security, airline gate agent, etc.

During this time, I got into shortwave listening and started learning whatever I could about radio.

Got my amateur license in 2006 and have been enjoying everything about radio that can be enjoyed ever since, and it has even led me to become an independent radio program producer. I am the propagation editor for a well known station, and am producing a new project as I type that will be marketed to the educational public radio market.
 

RoninJoliet

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I was a salesman, a guy in one of my accounts in a tavern in a bad area here in my town had a old Uniden red led bulbs on the front, i said whats that, he said "thats my police scanner so when the "riot" starts i know when to run....Bought one a week later, that was 46 years ago.....
 

NWI_Scanner_Guy

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My start to the hobby actually began with CB. In my teen years, I used to cut the grass of a guy who lived down the street from me. He was heavily into CB and scanners. After finishing, he would invite me in and I'd talk on his CB for a while (this was before CB went to the dogs), and listen in to the local PD/FD on the scanner. I was more interested in CB because you could talk to people on it, not just listen in like with a scanner.

Fast forward to my early 20's. While in the Air Force, I was stationed at Ft.Meade just outside of Baltimore. Bought me a Regency (I believe) 20 channel scanner and would sit in my car for hours on end in the park across from BWI (now Ronald Reagan) Airport and listen to all the aviation traffic. Would also sit in Taco Bell's parking lot and listen to the drive thru.

Left the hobby for quite a few years after leaving the AF but got back into it around 2005 and have been heavily into the hobby since. Got my Ham license in 2008 and plan on upgrading to General or even Extra this summer.

As for what got me started listening to the Chicago area, it's definitely the variety. From Chicago PD/FD to small town departments, large trunking systems to local taxis, there is always something interesting to listen to in Chicagoland.

:)
 

oemctx4

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Thanks for submitting your replies they are some great stories here! As a young boy my father got me interested in electronics. I had a Regency 20 channel scanner from Olson Electronics I think it was on closeout for $99. My local K Mart sold crystals and they would special order a frequency they didn't stock.
 

JimmyL1011

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Wow....the "Good Old Days". Olson Radio, Lafayette Electronics and even Ericson Communications. Places you could walk into and there'd be a salesman who actually KNEW what a capacitor was and what it was used for.

There was an electronics store (name escapes me) at Archer & Drake that dealt with TV/Stereo repair and actually STOCKED "SAMS Photofacts" and had a big, wall-mounted Vacuum Tube Tester. Then, for me at least, there was Spectronics in Oak Park. In addition to working on Commercial 2-way stuff, they had aisles of stuff that was like fantasy-land for a young radio geek (or just a lot of junk to my folks).

Motorola Shops were all over (Chicago Communications at 54th & Keeler and Metrocom at North Ave and Elston) and Motorola, Inc in Schaumburg actually had a will-call counter where you could walk in and they'd find whatever you needed off a shelf.

Only thing we've got left is Rad...well, the former Tandy Co. and there's FRY'S Electronics in Downers Grove. MDM Radio still has some bargains but Ted & Co. aren't getting any younger and when they go, the business will probably go with them.

I still LOVE the smell of melting solder.
 
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bakechad

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My earliest memory was when I was about five years old (mid 1970s). We had a Realistic crystal scanner in the basement and one in the garage. If we were in the basement or garage, they were always on. Most of our neighbors had scanners too, so you kind of became immersed in them.

Bought my own scanner (RS Pro-42) in high school which I still have today.
 

oemctx4

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Hi Chad B. how have you been? Thanks for sharing your story. Thanks to everyone who replied too! I enjoyed reading them all!
 

FFPM571

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My first scanner I got was an 8 channel bearcat crystal around 1982 when I was a fire explorer. I got into motorola radios after that. I had my share of scanners but always went with Motorola. I remember Spectroncs in Oak park and Erickson's on the NW side, Hamfests at the old Arlington park racetrack and Santa Fe speedway.
 

W9WSS

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My first scanner I got was an 8 channel bearcat crystal around 1982 when I was a fire explorer. I got into motorola radios after that. I had my share of scanners but always went with Motorola. I remember Spectroncs in Oak park and Erickson's on the NW side, Hamfests at the old Arlington park racetrack and Santa Fe speedway.
The question is, "How come you never got your ham license?" I'm certain if you sat down and studied one of the books, or did the self-tests on QRZ.com for a week or so, you'd pass the Technician Class exam with flying colors; Danny would be proud of you!
 

rk911

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for me it started back in the early 1970's. i was in to CB in those day (KES 4482) so a buddy and i went to the California Bachelor CB Shop around 127th & Western in Beverly one day to buy a new radio or antenna..don't really recall. while there i saw a nifty radio (didn't know what a scanner was in those days) with flashing blue, red and white lights. every so often one of the lights would stop for a few seconds and then start up again (he had the volume turned way down). well. once i learned what that was i was hooked. the radio was a Robyn Hi-Band. i bought it, 3-crystals (155.37, 154.37 and 155.19) and a bunch of cards to order more crystals. that specific radio has been lost to time but i recently found one at a hamfest and it now sits in my shack.
 

FFPM571

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The question is, "How come you never got your ham license?" I'm certain if you sat down and studied one of the books, or did the self-tests on QRZ.com for a week or so, you'd pass the Technician Class exam with flying colors; Danny would be proud of you!
trust me I spent the morning with him at a Starcom class..I have forgotten more than he knows..
 

Monaco

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In 1978 my Dad let me move the 4 channel crystal controlled Regency "Monitoradio" from its perch in the family room to my bedroom. Chan 1 was Aurora PD on 155.610 and on the hopping RF nights Michigan City, IN PD traffic would make it the 85 miles. Chan 2 was Aurora FD on 154.250 and Montgomery, Downers Grove, Lisle-Woodridge FPD, Tri-State FPD and Belmont FPD were the commonly heard co-channel users. Chan 3 was what my Dad told me was "Civil Defense" but I never heard a peep out of that channel. I'm not 100% certain but I think it was 154.695. And chan 4 was ISPERN. 9 years later I was so excited to take the $129.95 that I had saved up and walked into Hull CB on the NE side of Aurora and bought the state-of-the-art 16 channel Bearcat synthesized portable that only had a single digit display. When you hit "recall" the radio would blink 1 - 5 - 5 - . - 6 - 1 - 0. Ah, how things have changed.
 

multiplex

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IIT was my tenth birthday party and my parents bought me a portable radio with am/fm/vhf . i was playing with the vhf and heard this minute long tone, it turned out to be a call for the BUTTERFIELD FIRE DEPARTMENT. I learned about crystal scanners and got a realistic radio shack ten channel crystal scanner with wood grain case . My scanners have grown wiith technolgy from crystal scanners to digital p25 scanners . I been listening since i was ten years old and i will be fifty in may, so forty years now . .
 
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