What's Interesting to Listen to in Orange County?

TeddJohnson

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I've had my amateur radio license for a few months now, and tune-in to various repeaters here and there, but I'm wondering: what else is there to hear?

I purchased a RTL-SDR v4 and got that all setup, pretty much to find out I misunderstood the OC Database page, and all the government stuff is likely on CCCS and that's entirely encrypted (I had mistaken the Talkarounds for the primary channels and was excited to see how many were only P25 not P25E). I'm at least assuming the Talkarounds aren't used much? I'm glad I found out now before thinking about buying an SDS100 or something else and finding out I can't use it!





Anyhoo, I figured I'd ask and see if there was anything you've found that's regularly worth checking out. I still wanna get SDRTrunk working, but may need to figure out how to test it when I don't THINK There's much traffic around me that I could pick-up (but maybe I'm wrong!). I'm in Lake Forest, and just using the regular di-pole that came with the kit I do have an EFHW and will probably see if I can pickup any HF stuff, but I am still quite interested in knowing what I can pickup around here.


Cheers and 73!


Ps. what's the "OC Access" channels in the talk-around? Is that related to the transportation service, or Access meaning something else?
 

f40ph

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Regarding your "P.S." - generally the fire service in OC uses P25 trunking. In order to allow non-subscribers who are assisting, they have two "access channels" that get those folks into their system. OC Access and FIRE OC. These are conventional VHF. Definitely program them in to monitor. They're not used often but will be used for larger scale incidents.

FIRE OC seems to mostly be wildland fires linked into Orange Co Fire's system.
OC Access is on the books for the smaller cities to link into what they're working.

LACoFD (and Chino FD) have an operational plan with OC cities to use OC Access. If LACo is responding to assist an OC City on a structure fire, the dispatch center handling the incident will bring up the patch to OC Access during the time of the fire.
 

Randyk4661

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As you mentioned police & fire in the OC is encrypted but there are a few thing you can still listen to. The lifeguards, park rangers, public works. they may not be the most exciting thing to listen to but during peek visitor times they are busy.
Something new I have started with is the ambulance (Falck) dispatch channel for my area on the Mobile Relay system.
Now if you live in the OCFA coverage areas, check out 929.2375 with a "POCSAG" decoder for your RTL dongle. You will see the OCFA dispatch text pages. Sorry I haven't found Metronet's frequency if they use one. There are many videos on Youtube on setting this up.
Shopping malls on black Friday weekend can be fun.
I like to listen to Edison channels during rain & wind storms, you might need a scanner for this system.
And lastly, just use the RTL dongle to scope out new frequencies not listed anywhere. FRS & MURS are great. My local schools use these channels.
Just because you can't hear police and fire doesn't mean you can't hear something else
 

Markb

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Also, if you have any interest in aviation, there's plenty to listen to there as well. Depending on where you are in Lake Firest, you may be able to hear military activity in the offshore ranges.

First thing I would do is buy a decent antenna. Most of the time, any antenna included with an RTLSDR is garbage....generally. I have a dipole on a 30' mast and an inline amplifier. I'm sure you're probably regulated by an HOA down there, but any height you can get with some amplification would helpimprove your experience. Keep in mind that RTL's are very basement-level, low-quality SDR's, but I have used them for years. For digital decoding they do a pretty good job voice can be iffy, depending on circs.
 

TeddJohnson

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Regarding your "P.S." - generally the fire service in OC uses P25 trunking. In order to allow non-subscribers who are assisting, they have two "access channels" that get those folks into their system. OC Access and FIRE OC. These are conventional VHF. Definitely program them in to monitor. They're not used often but will be used for larger scale incidents.

FIRE OC seems to mostly be wildland fires linked into Orange Co Fire's system.
OC Access is on the books for the smaller cities to link into what they're working.

LACoFD (and Chino FD) have an operational plan with OC cities to use OC Access. If LACo is responding to assist an OC City on a structure fire, the dispatch center handling the incident will bring up the patch to OC Access during the time of the fire.


Thank you! I assumed it was something like this but all my Google searching came back with the transport program.
 

TeddJohnson

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As you mentioned police & fire in the OC is encrypted but there are a few thing you can still listen to. The lifeguards, park rangers, public works. they may not be the most exciting thing to listen to but during peek visitor times they are busy.
Something new I have started with is the ambulance (Falck) dispatch channel for my area on the Mobile Relay system.
Now if you live in the OCFA coverage areas, check out 929.2375 with a "POCSAG" decoder for your RTL dongle. You will see the OCFA dispatch text pages. Sorry I haven't found Metronet's frequency if they use one. There are many videos on Youtube on setting this up.
Shopping malls on black Friday weekend can be fun.
I like to listen to Edison channels during rain & wind storms, you might need a scanner for this system.
And lastly, just use the RTL dongle to scope out new frequencies not listed anywhere. FRS & MURS are great. My local schools use these channels.
Just because you can't hear police and fire doesn't mean you can't hear something else
This is great info, if there's still some trunked info on P25 (park, public works, etc) maybe I can use that to make sure everything is setup correctly
 

TeddJohnson

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Also, if you have any interest in aviation, there's plenty to listen to there as well. Depending on where you are in Lake Firest, you may be able to hear military activity in the offshore ranges.

First thing I would do is buy a decent antenna. Most of the time, any antenna included with an RTLSDR is garbage....generally. I have a dipole on a 30' mast and an inline amplifier. I'm sure you're probably regulated by an HOA down there, but any height you can get with some amplification would helpimprove your experience. Keep in mind that RTL's are very basement-level, low-quality SDR's, but I have used them for years. For digital decoding they do a pretty good job voice can be iffy, depending on circs.
Thank you!

I'll try and pickup some aviation and military stuff.

I'm very limited by my HOA but I'll throw something up while listening then take it down.

My understanding (limited and over simplified) is that for receiving I can use a long antenna that's not specific to the frequency I'm trying to listen to? Itso nly really transmitting that I need to match the wavelength? If so, would dropping a wire antenna off the roof do anything?
 

Markb

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Maybe, but proper wavelength will do better. I also use an SDR with a 90° SMA adapter and run a Diamomd SRH77CA right off the USB port on my Surface tablet.
 

Markb

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Maybe, but proper wavelength will do better. I also use an SDR with a 90° SMA adapter and run a Diamomd SRH77CA right off the USB port on my Surface tablet.
Too add a few thoughts: The thing with antennas is that it's a lot of experimentation. Results will vary based location/orientation and design of an antenna. There's a little bit of voodoo involved in my experience. Again, depending on your location and altitude, you may not need anything elaborate. I would start with something simple and go from there.
 

MiCon

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Markb is correct, the only 'constant' in OC monitoring now is aircraft. No matter what antenna you use, you should be able to hear a lot of civilian General Aviation traffic. Side note: Eastbound LAX departures fly right over Lake Forest. And you shouldn't have any problem hearing the high altitude military traffic at the offshore ranges.
Something else you might want to try is the Marine (Maritime) frequencies, which would include the Coast Guard, Marine assist (towing), fishing charters, etc.
 

Peter_SD911

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Thank you!

I'm very limited by my HOA but I'll throw something up while listening then take it down.
I listen to a coastal condo/vacation/ HOA.
It's the funniest channel I monitor...
The security guards are eager to issue $100 "citations" to guest who leave beach towels on the balcony...or back-in the car.

Meanwhile the plumbing is 50 years and everything has termites or rust or leaks into others million dollar units.

The security guards can't keep the vagrants out of the laundry rooms or the jacuzzi and sauna.

Everyone has a radio at this place...and who doesn't want an inside "look" at your local (#%$&) HOA!

There are tons of local operations in OC worth scanning..

That movie theater in Newport Beach is fun to listen too (464.550), sometimes I get drunk and key up that channel. I tell those kids working there ...
"I'm the guy living in the upstairs projection room...can you bring me some soda and popcorn".

You can listen to the coast guard on VHF ,lots of activity there with two giant ports here.

and...
The TV news choppers on the 161mhz and 450mhz media channels. KFI and KNX radio have IFB real time audio feeds in those channels. You can hear the mistakes and cuss words before they get bleeped out of the delayed on-air feed.

Scan Sexy...
But always practice "safe scanning".
 
Last edited:

tkenny53

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back in the days when OC city cops used to run vice routines on Beach Blvd, they were always in the clear with wireless mic's.
 

phipac

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Orange County, CA
Now if you live in the OCFA coverage areas, check out 929.2375 with a "POCSAG" decoder for your RTL dongle. You will see the OCFA dispatch text pages. Sorry I haven't found Metronet's frequency if they use one. There are many videos on Youtube on setting this up.
Not sure if I will get in trouble for this, but...

 

tsalmrsystemtech

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You can use paging software to sniff the pager conventional output frequency. As to why they went E is way unknown and it was not for this reason for sure. LE went full ENC back right after 9-11 which was what over 25 years ago even before the internet and streaming was even on the radar. Now for the FD nobody will really understand that move 5 years ago. Makes absolutely no sense but who really cares at this point.

Most of SoCal is a complete loss at this point. I think its just best to say less. Point that energy somehwere else and move out of California anyways. There is no quality of life in this state anymore anyways. Time to go. The ones that live here we are know that we are all slowly getting squeezed out like a wet dish rag. Seriously.
 
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