When Would You Leave the Scanning Hobby

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pb_lonny

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This is not about encryption or the police going secure (happened here years ago).

We all got in to this hobby for a reason, if this is due to a family connection, a technical interest or some other reason. At what point would you leave the hobby?

I am going to have some money soon to buy a new radio or two, I was all set to do this but now am not sure if it is worth doing or not? I recently found one of my frequency spreadsheets from 2008. When comparing the active frequencies from then to now, a number of very active users are now off the air here and while a few new ones have come along, they are not as active as often. This means I am often listening to nothing for long periods of time, especially of a weekend or night times which is when I have the most time to listen.

I don't want to "waste" the money on a new radio to only find that I end up with less and less to listen to.
 

mmckenna

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My uncle was a police officer, and I think that's what got me interested.
I owned a scanner up until about 1990. I got rid of it when I got my amateur license since that radio would let me listen to what I wanted to.
I sort of fell out of amateur radio after going into the service, just had more important things to do with my free time.
When I went back to being a civilian, I ended up working in the telecommunications field, and eventually in communications systems in general. I haven't owned my own scanner since 1990 and while I think about it every now and then, I've come to the conclusion that the last thing I want to do when I get home is listen to another damn radio.

I do occasionally listen to the work traffic when I'm driving, but that's more about monitoring the systems I'm responsible for.

Recreational listening? Occasionally I'll get the bug to try something new. Usually I'll purchase an old radio, make it work again, play with it for a while and then get bored. Last thing I did was bought a selective level meter that lets me listen in on radio signals from about 2MHz all the way down to 0. Some interesting stuff, but got sort of bored with it and mostly don't have time to do it anyway.

Maybe when I retire, I'll try it again.
 

Johnnydollar2

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When would you leave?

Never. There will always be something to monitor that gives you a "heads-up" over folks who like to be oblivious to what those sirens are. There will always be Airports/Air-band, Ambulance, TV/Media frequencies to monitor, Ham radio-Skywarn in weather events and even Community College security/police who like to yammer to each other about what's going on locally.
 

pb_lonny

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Never. There will always be something to monitor that gives you a "heads-up" over folks who like to be oblivious to what those sirens are. There will always be Airports/Air-band, Ambulance, TV/Media frequencies to monitor, Ham radio-Skywarn in weather events and even Community College security/police who like to yammer to each other about what's going on locally.
Airband - Yes but not as active here.
Ambulance - Mostly using MDT's, very little voice traffic.
TV / Media - Don't use radios here, all mobile phones.
Hams - a little but not as active as it once was
Security - all gone DMR.

So really here I have this to listen to:
A little bit of fire / ambulance traffic. A few less active businesses but these are mostly during the day. Trains, airband, marine.

What I have most lost is the 24/7 users which I used to listen to such as taxis, roadside assistance, security.
 

pb_lonny

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I guess at what point do you stop? Is it when you only have 50 active frequencies? 20, 10, 1?
 

milf

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I will stop when one of the following happens:
A SHTF Nuclear event with EMP that fries it all anyway.
A SHTF Solar EMP... Same reason.
The only way to monitor is to buy an scanner that is over $800.00 on sale!
It becomes an Federal Crime to own a scanner!
I die!
 

DJ11DLN

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I would leave the hobby only if there was nothing left to listen to...and as was mentioned above, there will always be something. I'm primarily a PS listener but I don't mind branching out into other things now and again, and if there's a storm in the area I usually have the local Skywarn repeater up on a TX-inhibited H-T so that I can keep up with that.

I left the hobby back in the 1990s to please my now-ex wife who couldn't stand the sound of a scanner (or any other radio except for commercial broadcast), and because she thought that listening in on LE/FD/EMS was somehow immoral or wrong or something. By the time we went separate ways, things had changed and my old scanners would no longer pick up much of the traffic I was interested in. And I was too broke to get a modern scanner. When I finally got back in a few years ago, I realized how much I had missed it and decided, domestic tranquility be damned, I'll never give it up again.
 

robertmac

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EMS encrypted, RCMP going, when City police encrypted, I'm outa here.
 

SCPD

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I will stop when one of the following happens:
A SHTF Nuclear event with EMP that fries it all anyway.
A SHTF Solar EMP... Same reason.
The only way to monitor is to buy an scanner that is over $800.00 on sale!
It becomes an Federal Crime to own a scanner!
I die!
Way it's going I think that will be the norm one of these days milf. With the start of unication, and relm along with few others making it easier for monitor only and allowing others to buy for recieve only allot are steering toward non consumer grade. While it'll be some time and the few will still buy a scanner as a love for collecting them but I think in time they will need to compete with higher grade and rise the cost since they won't take a hit in the r and d.
 

yaesu_dave

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Here in Northern Utah, very little has changed with the scanning hobby over the past 15 years. Almost all local law enforcement traffic is still on the same Motorola trunked system (UCAN) that EMS, PD, and sheriff have been on since 2002 and the Salt Lake City Winter Olympics. There have been rumors about UCAN going digital, but for now 99% of traffic is in the clear. Besides, almost all agencies on the Motorola system have the capability to encrypt their transmissions if desired, so there's not much need for digital at this point. All the railroads in the area are still on the same frequencies they've been on since I started scanning in the early 1990's and haven't yet started using narrow band radios. Several law enforcement agencies still simulcast their 800 MHz traffic on VHF high because of the mountainous terrain here and limitations of the repeaters. So there's still a lot for me to listen to at this point. The biggest change I've noticed in the past 10 years is the dearth of traffic on the federal government frequencies. Aside from the trunked system at Hill Air Force Base, it appears as though the DEA, FBI, Postal Inspectors, etc are all using cell phones for communication now.

When would I leave the scanning hobby? Probably when the school buses, power company, and local senior citizen's transport shuttle are the only unencrypted transmissions to listen to!
 

dsalomon

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I will never leave the hobby. There's always something to listen to, even if it's a bit more boring than in years past. I get enjoyment out of finding new stuff that's not listed anywhere yet. There will always be people who use non-allocated frequencies. It's fund to find them (their transmissions, not "them").

Re: DJ11DLN's post, I got lucky (not with the wife...she's gone now). The first time my (now) x-wife heard me listening to a scanner, she sat with me the entire time. It helped that I was eavesdropping on cellular phone conversations (this was before the laws that required equipment manufacturers to make it impossible). She loved listening in on people's conversations so much that she insisted that we drag the scanner around with us everywhere we went. Finally, I taught her how to use it, gave it to her and bought a new one so I could listen to something else.

Those were the heydays of scanning. Nothing was digital yet. LEOs didn't care if you listened (in fact, I had a few listen to stuff with me). Airlines didn't mind having scanners brought on their planes (I even had a pilot listen with me for a bit, while he was taking a break, of course). The bands were filled with stuff.

Skip to today. Part of the fun (at least for me) is finding new frequencies and figuring out what digital transmission mode is being used. Also, I think there will always be businesses that use FRS / GMRS analog communications simply because they are inexpensive and easy to obtain. There are also still lots of low level drug runners that use analog frequencies with high power (at least I hear them here in the Atlanta area). The more sophisticated ones are using encrypted digital comms.

So, my 2p worth - don't give up. Scan in places other than the published list frequencies. Get out and use the close call feature of your scanner (or whatever it's called on non-Uniden scanners).
 

CrabbyMilton

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When the sun turns to dust. There will always be something to monitor. Just put it in a narrow search and you may be surprised what comes up.
 

stingray327

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Will leave when you can no longer get customer support or service and everyone is a salesperson but don't know how to show operation of scanner in person. No more of this look at website / internet for information.
 

ladn

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I've used scanners since the early 1970's. I still have my first scanner, a Regency TMR 8 HL, though I rarely fire it up. Today there are more channels than ever before to listen to, but less to actually monitor if you consider encryption, cell phones and non-scannable emission types.

I just bought a new scanner (BCD 325P2) to give me access to the 700 MHz band. and better P25 functionality. The learning curve of its DMA is a bit steep since I come from an era of bank-bassed scanning,

I'll give up on scanning either when an EMP event frys my electronics or I'm too old and senile to operate the technology and have to spend my days watching daytime TV.
 

Hatchett

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Already gone.

Everything is going/has went encrypted.
Even business band users are going digital and encrypted by default.

There is nothing left besides the local 2 meter ham repeater and some people running illegal equipment on the MURS and FRS/GMRS frequencies. Plus a few analog bootleggers on a couple other frequencies.

I have over 20 scanners ranging from a four channel crystal controlled monitor radio, to units with gaggles of channels, “close call” features, and all that junk. Have all the SDR junk and computer software for all that too.

How many hours did I have a scanner on, scanning last year.
ZERO.

How many hours so far this year.
ZERO.

The only use my scanners get now is when I use them to monitor a fixed frequency when i am testing equipment, or monitoring a broadcast channel.
To me, they are frequency agile receivers.
Nothing more, nothing less.
I never use the scanning function any more.
 

bob550

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If you're asking for our permission to leave the hobby, you don't need that. :) That flip answer aside, many scanner listeners enjoy different aspects of the hobby, and no two are alike. The experiences of other posters show that there is varied content to monitor, and to a large extent, where you live will determine what's available. As listening opportunities dry up due to transmitting technology in use beyond the capability of today's scanners, there will always be something to monitor. I suppose it's a bit like developing a taste for different foods, rather that always eating fish, for example. At least you know you'll never starve.
 
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