What Was Scanning Like Back In The Day?

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pinballwiz86

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I'd love to hear some stories of what it was like back when you could listen to cell phones and your neighbor's cordless phone. When the cops were all analog and all you needed was a crystal scanner.




I got started in this hobby kinda late. Got into it last year at age 26. But, I'm having fun listening to stuff I find. I don't use Radioreference's database for the most part. I prefer to go "treasure hunting" and find it all for myself. Half the fun really.

I enjoy listening to airplane traffic. I heard an emergency in the air, last weekend about a total hydraulic failure some commercial plane had.

The police are fun to listen to. With my new digital scanner I can hear the Highway Patrol again and people sure are snitches! calling the cops to report any little thing, haha.

It's neat to listen to the local army installation- Fort Leonard Wood. Most of it is encrypted but they slip up here and there. :)

I've come across a few baby monitors and a KFC drive through. "I want a bucket of chicken!"

Scanning has alerted me to severe weather I may not have known about. I hear about it first before all my friends do.

Scanning has helped me avoid huge traffic jams on I-44. One time, I took a detour on Route 66 and laughed over at all the poor suckers waiting in line that stretched for miles, on a hot summer afternoon.

Anyway, I think this is a cool hobby.

I'd be happy to hear any of your stories about how it was "back in the day." 1950-1990.
 

MTS2000des

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growing up in the 1980s in good old corn Cobb county, GA was a great place to enjoy scanning, and still is.

Back then my first introduction was at age 6 in 1981 when my dad went out and bought a GE multi-band radio with low band, VHF and UHF to listen to the Cobb county police, he was one of the first to get the state's newly created Private Detective and Security Agencies Act license and with the Atlanta Child Murders being hot news, he wanted to hear the "low down" that you don't get from watered down corporate media.

Back then, Cobb county PD used UHF conventional, as did the city of Atlanta police. Most other municipalities outside metro Atlanta were on VHF high and VHF low band. Trunking? What was that?

He got disinterested with radio and handed off to me. I could not get enough of it. And then the low band spectrum was filled with monitoring things like voice pagers, our county fire department, unlike PD, used VHF low band until 1993, with a high site repeater on 46.42.
It was grand, no one used encryption at all, and in 1984 I got my first scanner and discovered amateur radio.

Scanning was easy and fun in this area until about 1989/1990 when 800MHz trunking first arrived to a couple of counties. In the 1990s, most metro Atlanta agencies moved to 800MHz analog trunking systems, with one exception being DeKalb county who had moved to Smartnet I in 1985/1986. A basic 16 channel scanner like a Uniden BC-60XLT was all you needed until the 1990s.

The city of Atlanta Police were on UHF conventional until 1995. Cordless phones...well, you know under the ECPA you aren't supposed to intentionally monitor, but hey, 46/49MHz was buzzing around here until the early 2000s by which time, most people had upgraded to 900MHz or later on DECT phones or just gotten cellphones altogether.

Today it's still a good "scannable" place though you'll need a digital scanner or a radio capable of good CQPSK-LSM reception. Fortunately my county does not use encryption widely, nor the city of Atlanta, or DeKalb county- but many of the outlying counties believe their radio traffic is top secret so no tuning them in.

But I do miss the days when everyone was on VHF/UHF conventional. I miss that GE Multiband radio too- it actually had a proper squelch control and sounded quite good.

Time marches on.
 

McBanna1

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back in the day

that dose bring back memories when you said crystals their was this radio shack scanner that had 4 channels HH and I remember in1983 they came out with one that had 7 or 8 we were like WHO HOO!!! then it was what will we ever fill up those xtra 4 chnls with HA! IF ONLY ONE KNEW!!
 

pinballwiz86

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growing up in the 1980s in good old corn Cobb county, GA was a great place to enjoy scanning, and still is.

Back then my first introduction was at age 6 in 1981 when my dad went out and bought a GE multi-band radio with low band, VHF and UHF to listen to the Cobb county police, he was one of the first to get the state's newly created Private Detective and Security Agencies Act license and with the Atlanta Child Murders being hot news, he wanted to hear the "low down" that you don't get from watered down corporate media.

Back then, Cobb county PD used UHF conventional, as did the city of Atlanta police. Most other municipalities outside metro Atlanta were on VHF high and VHF low band. Trunking? What was that?

He got disinterested with radio and handed off to me. I could not get enough of it. And then the low band spectrum was filled with monitoring things like voice pagers, our county fire department, unlike PD, used VHF low band until 1993, with a high site repeater on 46.42.
It was grand, no one used encryption at all, and in 1984 I got my first scanner and discovered amateur radio.

Scanning was easy and fun in this area until about 1989/1990 when 800MHz trunking first arrived to a couple of counties. In the 1990s, most metro Atlanta agencies moved to 800MHz analog trunking systems, with one exception being DeKalb county who had moved to Smartnet I in 1985/1986. A basic 16 channel scanner like a Uniden BC-60XLT was all you needed until the 1990s.

The city of Atlanta Police were on UHF conventional until 1995. Cordless phones...well, you know under the ECPA you aren't supposed to intentionally monitor, but hey, 46/49MHz was buzzing around here until the early 2000s by which time, most people had upgraded to 900MHz or later on DECT phones or just gotten cellphones altogether.

Today it's still a good "scannable" place though you'll need a digital scanner or a radio capable of good CQPSK-LSM reception. Fortunately my county does not use encryption widely, nor the city of Atlanta, or DeKalb county- but many of the outlying counties believe their radio traffic is top secret so no tuning them in.

But I do miss the days when everyone was on VHF/UHF conventional. I miss that GE Multiband radio too- it actually had a proper squelch control and sounded quite good.

Time marches on.
There was a good news segment on the Atlanta Child Murders about a year ago on CNN. Very interesting stuff and it sure had the city terrified.

Thanks for sharing your stories! I especially liked how you could see the slow progression of police making their comms more complex as the years went by. From 1 to 2 channels for dispatch to analog trunkig and now P25 Phase I & II and digital talkgroups.

Yeah, I know you're not supposed to monitor cell phones/house phones but back in the late 80's and 90's some people were listening in. lol.

I looked up your qrz page and what type of mics are you using there on VHF? They look pretty darn sweet.
 

pinballwiz86

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that dose bring back memories when you said crystals their was this radio shack scanner that had 4 channels HH and I remember in1983 they came out with one that had 7 or 8 we were like WHO HOO!!! then it was what will we ever fill up those xtra 4 chnls with HA! IF ONLY ONE KNEW!!
Haha I can't even imagine thinking that 8 channels was the cat's pajamas of scanning.

"Man o man. What to put in those 4 empty channels!?! So..much..space!"


Now, we have scanners that can store over 25,000 channels in memory and let you know if there's anyone keying up a radio nearby. Magic!
 

W8RMH

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I once worked near the Cincinnati Police radio towers in Eden Park where you could hear them at the end of the FM dial. My first police radio was a RS Realistic AM-FM-VHF Hi/Low (what is UHF?) slide dial radio.

It was state of the art with this new thing called a Squelch Knob. No more constant hiss. For mobile use I set it on the front passenger seat of my 1967 Chevelle convertible and hooked the top of the collapsible antenna to the frame of the convertible top, which made a great antenna, and picked up all my favorite low band departments.

My first scanner was an Regency 8 channel crystal mobile, also VHF Hi/Low. Even with all the technology in these new scanners none of them receive as well as those old crystal scanners.
 
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McBanna1

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Get This

This was Ronnie Ray Guns 80's and these crystals were a size of a dime 2 prongs and after a while one must jiggle them at times to get reception other wise vworked GREAT ! whats up with this nonsence with the scrambling and digital get me if im wrong you can only transmit and hear one guy at a time right?? or am I wrong and owe every one a appology? maybe some one can clue me in to some tutorials?
 

McBanna1

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OUTSTANDING!! now I do remember the Hi Low vhf uhf wow what a flashback this conversation brought me now if i can just figure out what and wht they are changing if its not broke......
 
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i remember my mom had the portable radio in the 70s did am\fm short wave one day i was playing and found Cleveland fire on it and made sure i marked where it was then got my 1st 4 channel pocket scanner from Radio shack that used crystal's and i found a creig i think 8 channel scanner for the car now i own a GRE-800,Pro-197,XTL-5000 UHF,XTL-5000 700\800,XTS-2500 UHF,XTS-2500 700\800,Yaesu FT60R,Yaesu FT90,CDM-1250 VHF&UHF Base how times have changed.
 

nosoup4u

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I got started around 1988 (I was 20) when a friend of mine showed me his scanner and I was hooked instantly. I used his old 10 channel scanner for a while, then Dec 26,1988 I went down to the local communications store and bought a BC200XLT with my xmas money (who will ever need 200 channels?). I was living in South Jersey at the time and in my area there 2 Fire channels, 1 EMS, and each town had their own police channel. I think I would scan maybe 20 - 25 frequencies if that. The NJSP had already moved on to trunking by that point (the only trunking system in the state other than some SMRs), but the Turnpike, Parkway and Marine were all still on VHF.
 

CrabbyMilton

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There were more law enforcement agencies to monitor back then but, even if your agency goes P25 or some other system and your money clip isn't up to buying a newscanner yet, there are still many things to hear out there. Just use your imagination and throw it in search. You may be surprised on what may pop up and you may have overlooked it before. I have been at this madness for 34 years and while I miss our city police and fire department(OPEN SKY) the suburban departments are still analog. In other words, don't give up since there is more on there that just public safety even if it's not as interesting.
 

dmg1969

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At 44, I'm old enough to have started with an 8 channel Realistic (Radio Shack) crystal scanner. My home county was VHF low for police and fire with a UHF EMS frequency. It remained that was until they switched to Open Sky in the early 2000s.

I went through the progression of scanners. I remember my first 10 channel programmable from Radio Shack. From there, programmable bases, then mobile mounted in my vehicle.

I got out of the hobby for a while after they switched to Open Sky. Fire and EMS were still simulcast on the original low band and UHF frequencies, but police was my main interest.

After moving to a neighboring county which still uses VHF low, I got back into the hobby. I have since put an antenna in the attic for improved reception. I have a base for at home and a portable to carry with me when I'm outside. Just two months ago, I bought an HP-1 (my first digital trunking scanner) so I could listen to another neighboring county's P25 system. Several other area counties are planning on transitioning to P25 as well, so I will have more and more to listen to with it.

Scanning has definitely come a long way since I started when I was barely a teenager.
 

ka3nxn

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My home town of Wayne, Pa was fun to listen to and from what I see they still use the same frequency. They are all they way up on 500Mhz. The fire department was way down on 39MHz and public services was on 46MHz. As a kid in high school we weren't allowed to have radios in school back in the early 80's but my physics professor was a volunteer fire man so he kept a low band scanner in his classroom and one day I brought my portable 4 channel crystal scanner went off before his desktop went off when they toned out for a fire call, ever since them I had carte Blanche to carry my scanner and ham ht with me in school.
I know. What a nerd!

Those were the days.
 

signal500

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I'd love to hear some stories of what it was like back when you could listen to cell phones and your neighbor's cordless phone. When the cops were all analog and all you needed was a crystal scanner.




I got started in this hobby kinda late. Got into it last year at age 26. But, I'm having fun listening to stuff I find. I don't use Radioreference's database for the most part. I prefer to go "treasure hunting" and find it all for myself. Half the fun really.

I enjoy listening to airplane traffic. I heard an emergency in the air, last weekend about a total hydraulic failure some commercial plane had.

The police are fun to listen to. With my new digital scanner I can hear the Highway Patrol again and people sure are snitches! calling the cops to report any little thing, haha.

It's neat to listen to the local army installation- Fort Leonard Wood. Most of it is encrypted but they slip up here and there. :)

I've come across a few baby monitors and a KFC drive through. "I want a bucket of chicken!"

Scanning has alerted me to severe weather I may not have known about. I hear about it first before all my friends do.

Scanning has helped me avoid huge traffic jams on I-44. One time, I took a detour on Route 66 and laughed over at all the poor suckers waiting in line that stretched for miles, on a hot summer afternoon.

Anyway, I think this is a cool hobby.

I'd be happy to hear any of your stories about how it was "back in the day." 1950-1990.
I started with a RadioShack Patrolman-3 AM/VHF/UHF receiver at 10 years old (I'm now 45). From there I was given for my birthday a four channel RadioShack hand held scanner. Four channels of non-stop crystal controlled action! After a summer of mowing lawns, I purchased the Bearcat 160 programmable scanner. I listened to that scanner every chance I could get for years. From there, I started my collection. I have had hundreds of different scanners since then.

Back in the day my Police and Fire were on analog VHF high band, and EMS was using VHF low. I could listen in on all local and federal surveillances. No one used encryption. Secret Service presidential protection was in the clear! I had so much fun listening to cordless phones and baby monitors on 46/49 MHz. And then analog cell phones came along. Even though my Bearcat BC220XLT had the frequencies masked, I could do a search right above the cell bands and hear everything!

I sure do miss those days! It was truly "behind the scenes" on everything that was going on. I remember listening to President Reagan many many times on the old UHF downlinks/uplinks while he was flying on Air Force 1. I still remember the look on my parents face when they first heard him! They invited all of our neighbors over to hear anytime I caught him on the phone.

Nothing was secure, if I could find the frequency, I could hear you. How about the old analog mobile phones on 152 MHz? I heard so much stuff on those. Needless to say, I got my education very early in life.
 

KR4BD

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I'm now 66, but got into scanning in Indianapolis, IN back in 1971 when I bought my first scanner...a Regency TMR-8H which covered 8 channels (crystals) in the 150 MHz range. At that time, the Indianapolis PD used just TWO channels!!!! The "East" Dispatch Frequency was 155.01 and the "West" Frequency was 158.85. Speedway PD was on 155.700. The Sheriff was on 155.61. Popular Fire frequencies were Wayne Township on 154.25, Rural Fire Departments on 155.13, Indianapolis Fire on 153.77 and possibly 154.175. FD Mutual Aid was on 154.28. PD Mutual Aid was 155.37.

There you go! Everything was simple and in the clear (analog). Crystals cost $4 or $5 each and were available at many local "Mom and Pop" retail stores. I bought my Regency scanner at Charlie's TV on Southeastern Ave. The scanner itself STILL WORKS today.

In about 1974 or 1975, Indy Police decided they needed more frequencies than the two VHF channels they were using. So they announced they were moving to 8 or 9 UHF frequencies.

At the time, many felt scanning would "come to an end" as UHF scanners were not that common in those days. But, the Indianapolis-based scanner manufacturers (Bearcat and Regency) quickly adapted! Regency came out with a 10 channel crystal model that could easily be adapted to any combination of VHF-Lo (30-50 MHz), VHF-Hi (150-174 MHz) and UHF (450-470 MHz) channels. I still have this model and it also STILL WORKS today. Those early Regency scanners were built like tanks!
 

WB4CS

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I'm not old enough to remember the crystal radios, but my first scanner was an old Uniden that was either made before they had to block cellular or it had been modified, I'm not sure because I bought it second hand.

I remember hearing an analog cell phone conversation between two teenage girls that believed their dog was possessed by a demon, that was entertaining. I also remember hearing a neighbor on their 49 MHz cordless phone have a discussion with a woman he was having an affair with, pleading her not to end it even though he knew that he only offered her "mediocre sex." Yeah, sometimes listening in on phone conversations wasn't as much fun as you'd think! :)

The county I grew up in was ALL VHF for public service. (Matter of fact, I think most of it STILL is conventional VHF there.) This was before the internet and Radio Reference, so you had to score a "code sheet" from either another scanner listener or Radio Shack.

I remember listening to the local PD and hearing calls go out in areas that I was located in. Being a STUPID kid, I would go ride by the addresses of domestic calls before the cops got there just so I could see what was going on.

One night on my way home from working at Burger King, there was a call of a pursuit coming down the freeway about to pass right by where I was. Again, being a STUPID kid that didn't know any better, I joined in the pursuit - holding a little ways behind the group of police cars that was chasing the guy. I followed them for about 15 miles and then the suspect ran off the road and crashed in a ditch. I found a parking lot to pull into and just waited and watched, and listened to all of the radio traffic over my scanner. It was fun until the State Trooper saw me sitting in an empty parking lot at 11:30pm and came over to ask what I was doing. When he heard my scanner, he told me I better get home.

Ah yes, the good ole days indeed.
 

902

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I grew up across the Hudson River from New York City. My earliest experiences in scanning came from a few vectors that pretty much each added up to create who is here before you (impressed, I'm sure :wink:). Anyway, I had a tunable AM/FM/"PSB" (VHF high band) receiver that my mother won at a carnival. I used to tune around and hear KWO35, the NYC weather, and a bunch of two-tone paging systems. This was in the early 70s, maybe 1972 or 1973. I could also hear the Circle Line tour boats on the marine channels and, if I found the sweet spot, I could hear the police in my town and the next town over. One of the high points to being a kid was meeting some of the people who were talking, and being able to say I heard them going on a call and asking what happened. They thought it was cool, too. In a way, I "rode along" with these people as they worked. I was also able to tune NYPD on VHF HIGH BAND (!!!!!) and remember hearing the base giving out calls in the Bronx, although I could never hear the cars.

A little while later, maybe 1974, I got an Archer Space Patrol CB that I could tune across CB with. Back then, there were business licensees (legally) using this frequency range in between the regular 23 CB channels! There were also synchronized traffic lights operating on these channels in a nearby community. The lights would change when a series of three tones were sent out. A type of paging system sounded (to me as a kid) like reindeer bells ringing repetitively. So, there's another thing that pushed me to learn about radio.

After much crying, kicking, screaming, and persuasion, I got a Space Patrol regenerative receiver kit that my estranged father made a special appearance to help me put together. Aside from the shortwave stuff that had me mesmerized, I was able to tune to the higher frequencies above CB. Around 35 MHz, I heard a long tone followed by 5 quick tones. Once in a while, there were two tones sent out. I knew the two-tones were paging. I guessed the 5 tone sequences were, too. The system helped me learn Morse code because it identified as "QRA de KEA860." That was New York Telephone on 35.22 MHz. Later it became Lin Page, and then NYNEX. In 1989, I got to actually see what I was listening to.

Low band paging was big before 900 MHz was opened to one-way paging. There were 4 large 3 element yagis on the Empire State Building, in each corner above the observation deck. They're gone now, but back then, two were phased together for 35.22 (which I was hearing) and two were phased together for a 43 MHz paging station (43.84? I don't remember). The base was a 330 Watt Motorola "PURC" and the control system terminal was a DEC PDP11/35 with flipswitch registers. This was decommissioned in favor of a BBL switch that did what the PDP11 did and more. Yours truly ended up fishing the PDP11 out of the dumpster in 1990 and had it in the garage in NJ until I moved in 1996. Never became an expert, and it was a little too late for me to be a long hair, plaid pants, and horn rimmed glasses computer programmer of the 70s (although I did use those computers in high school) but I got to mess with something that went full circle to my early days with radio.

I graduated to a Lafayette Guardian 30-50 and 146-174 receiver with shortwave and AM/FM. It was the end of the Zenith Trans-Oceanic tunable receiver era. This opened up 33.86, which is what my local towns used for fire dispatching. There was also a new channel, 154.445, that began to be used somewhat sporadically. I still could not hear well on there, and set about to find the best way of listening, which eventually included messing with various antennas.

It's about 1975 now and NYPD is making a big conversion to a better system. I have a TV I fished out of the garbage and fixed myself. How I managed to not get electrocuted is beyond me, but it worked. I wanted to watch a cult TV classic in NJ - the Uncle Floyd Show on Channel 68. So, I tuned around UHF. Channels 14 and 15 were strange: I heard police calls as I tried to adjust the fine tuning!!! NYPD switched much of its operations from VHF to UHF TV frequencies on channels 14 and 15! I could hear them all - ON THE TV SET! Cars, too! The callsign: KOP911! The alert tone sounded exactly like leaning your thumb on the "dah" side of a Morse code keyer. Whenever you heard that, someone was in trouble!

So, I wanted something better. On my birthday list around 1975 was a Radio Shack Pro-6 crystal scanner. The channels: 33.86, 154.28, 154.445, and 155.61. All of a sudden I knew what was going on! I could hear the police much better than the tunable radios, but 33.86 reception was terrible. That was replaced by a Bearcat SP-H/L crystal scanner with the same line-up. I saved up about $300 in quarters from taking the garbage out and eventually bought a Bearcat 210. Now I could put anything I wanted into the scanner and the world opened wide. My county broadcast alerts on 37.38 with tone paging. I could hear IMTS phones, and the Bearcat 210 would block the idle signals so the scanner didn't lock up on the open channels. Pretty soon, I got a friend to buy a Bearcat 210 scanner, too. We had our own after-school scanner club (he recently retired as a big city deputy fire chief). His father already had a Regency crystal scanner and he would listen to his favorite - Jersey City police, with MODAT unit identifiers. They were very busy channels. Traffic on 155.190, the New Jersey Turnpike, was almost non-stop with troopers. And we could hear big fires in Newark, Jersey City, and NYC. Whenever the TV news had some breaking news, my friend and I knew just a little more. And, we could hear the TV station queuing the reporter on scene on 161.67 MHz. Other TV stations moved up to 450 MHz frequencies to do queuing. There was also a newsgathering organization that would give out breaking news on 453.000, just like modern "notification groups" do now.

I did other things, too, besides scanning. I had a CB, did a lot of SWLing (the most fun being with my regenerative receiver kit, followed by using my neighbor's Trans-Oceanic), and I eventually got a ham license.

Suffice it to say, once upon a time, the scanner hobbyist had the world at his or her fingertips. We weren't "bad guys" for wanting to listen back then, and many of us got our first glimpse into the world of public service, which would lead to careers. Public service wasn't a bad thing back then, either. And if we ever wanted to hear something different, there were boats and planes and trains and taxis and trucks. Commerce and industry ran on radio, too. And it wasn't all just in the big city. Farmers had radios to stay in touch out in the fields or on their way to market. Veterinarians, dentists, and all kinds of other professionals did, too. Needed a car part? The mechanic could call the delivery man on the radio and have him stop at the supplier.

Wanna know how the professionals used radio back then? Check out the Jack Webb TV shows when you find them. Of course, Emergency! Adam-12, but also Mobile One (about a TV station's reporter and early electronic newsgathering). Also, 240-Robert from 1979. Those shows paid painstaking attention to detail concerning use of radio. And look for our own Harry Marnell who is a national treasure of radio. Missouri also has a number of old-time radio people and a very rich history on 42 MHz. If you ever make it to Jefferson City, check out the little museum at the Highway Patrol's General Headquarters. I believe Missouri had the FIRST series of new 3x3 callsigns (3 letters, 3 numbers, starting with a K) in the entire nation (KAA200, KAA201, KAA202, KAA203...). If you listened at the right time, you could hear "K double-A 203" from Europe! Or, you could hear South American stations on 33 MHz (I did in 1980).
 

ladn

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I've been listening since the mid-70's in the SoCal. My first receiver was a Radio Shack VHF Hi/Lo tunable unit followed by my first real scanner, a Regency TMR 8H/L (which I still have). "Police Call" was the frequency Bible of the time, although I thought it was silly that Gene Hughes would list some frequencies like 165.785 (165.7875) as "uxx" (classified).

Everything was wide band FM, there was no encryption to speak of and no Nextel or cell phones. Most departments only had a handful of channels. My first programmable scanner was a Bearcat BC 101. Wow 16 channels and no shopping for crystals! That was followed by a BC 250 keyboard programmable scanner, then a BC 300, then various BC 760 XLT's.

The gradual switch to 12.5 channel spacing caused problems for the older scanners which would round off and had all sorts of image problems. Agencies gained channels after about 1984 when synthesized transceivers started to become available. It was more difficult to keep track of who was where since there still was only "Police Call" and a few other printed publications and no Internet. The search functions on the scanners was really useful.

My first handheld was the Radio Shack 16 ch "brick" handheld, followed by several other RS handhelds. It was great to listen to analog cell after a simple mod.

While I miss many aspects of the old days of scanning, I don't miss reprogramming scanners by hand, no pl, and lack of alphanumeric displays.
 

902

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Oh, and here. Check out the VUD files, which were callsigns and frequencies heard on VHF low band from 1970 to 1980. Low band was certainly a workhorse band back in the day. My former fire department's call sign is in there a number of times, and so is that 35.22 MHz paging station I used to listen to.

Here's more.
 
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desert-cheetah

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My first experience with scanners was as a teen...14, I think...in 1984. My friend's grandpa had this tan, square am radio that could pick up air traffic. About 5 years later I encountered my first real scanner. I had just finished my EMT class and was visiting a friend in Utah for a week. Her friend was a county sheriff dispatcher and had a crystal scanner. She let me borrow it for a few days. I loved watching the lights run across the crystals as it scanned. When I got back home and was able to convince my parents, we went to Radio Shack and I was set on getting a crystal scanner, but they were starting to phase those out and we were told it was more cost effective to buy the new scanners than one that required individual crystals.

Being able to pick up cordless telephones was pretty cool. Listening to other people's phone conversation was rarely boring. And I could always tell when we were about to get a phone call at my house because the scanner picked it up before the call came in by maybe a half-second so I'd hear it ring on the scanner first then the house phone would ring.
 
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