Where do you go to listen, outside of your home?

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KB7MIB

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I'd like to know where any of you may take your scanners around town when you want to listen to things that aren't in your neighborhood/city, or want to scan and search for new (to you) frequencies? Do you go to parks? Shopping malls? Are there safe places for aircraft and train spotters to go to watch and listen, etc.
I was thinking of maybe the deck park atop I-10, but I've heard that there's a lot of homeless there, and it may be less than safe.
I would think atop South Mtn park would have too much RFI from the towers, and what is the entrance fee?
The cell phone lots at Sky Harbor have a 30-minute time limit, IIRC?
How about near the Army National Guard's Papago Reservation on McDowell Rd?
White Tanks park? Estrella park? McDowell Mtn park? Usery park? Cave Creek Recreation area? Other parks? How many have entrance fees, and how much are they? (Yes, I could probably look up entrance fees online. I'm just curious as to whether anyone goes to any of them, and what your experience was.)
I have the weekend off, and was thinking of doing this today or tomorrow.
 

K5MPH

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I don't live very far from south padre island , south Texas like to take my scanner with me to hear the marine radio traffic.......
 
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KB7MIB

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Yea, around here, there are several recreational lakes. Lake Pleasant, in north Peoria, as well as about half a dozen more lakes/resorvoirs northeast of the Valley, up on the Tonto National Forest.
I don't know how much marine radio traffic could be heard on them, though, being limited to recreational boaters.
I'm more looking for local Phoenix metro listeners, and where they go here, but thanks for reminding me about the lakes, and possible (legal) Marine VHF radio traffic.
 

wtp

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not in your neck of the woods...

i just bring mine everywhere i go. that way i don't have to say "i wish i brought my radio".
 

desert-cheetah

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I do most of my listening at work and a large portion of what I pick up is outside my home city. When I go go out looking for wild horses, I take my scanner partly to listen to random stuff and stuff I don't get clearly in my office building and also to listen for reports of a "crazy white girl driving crazy and harassing the horses on the side of the road" :D. FTR...I've yet to hear any police/sheriff units dispatched to my general area where I'm hunting. Hahaha. Nor do I actually 'harass' the animals. I just take pictures.

Oh. Funny story that is scanner related. I was out in this one area I'd only been to once before and encountered a small herd of three horses on the side of the road. I made a u-turn then pulled off the road as far as I could to be out of any flow of traffic. The horses were moving further away from my car so I grabbed my camera to get what shots I could. they stopped walking so I crept up to try to get pictures without brush in the way and initially the pictures didn't look good. Then my scanner started receiving transmissions and two of the horses lifted their heads and looked at my car. The more sound that came out of the scanner the more interested they became and those two horses actually came TOWARDS my car. They stayed a safe distance away, but they were definitely watching and listening and I ended up getting some AWESOME pictures.
 
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KB7MIB

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LOL, I'll have to keep an ear out for the crazy white female harassing horses :D
And that's interesting that the scanner traffic actually got their attention.
I generally do take my scanner with me when running errands, but I usually stay in the Peoria/Glendale/Sun City area, between 43rd and 111th Aves, and Northern to Thunderbird. Like I mentioned earlier, I'd like to take it elsewhere, and sit and listen awhile, just to see if I can catch things that I can't necessarily hear well, or at all, from home. I just need to find safe, legal areas where I can do so, without attracting undo attention.
I'd be interested in low-level repeaters and simplex traffic I can't hear, or hear well, from my usual area.
I think the VA hospital has both 170 and 400 MHz repeaters that I want to confirm.
Does the US FPS have any channels other than 409.400, especially simplex?
What else can be heard in the downtown/capitol area?
What is currently used at the Army NG's Papago Reservation?
These are the things that I'd like to go and listen for, and I'd like to hear any suggestions as to where, specifically, is a good, safe, legal spot to park and do so.
 

Phoenix805

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but I usually stay in the Peoria/Glendale/Sun City area, between 43rd and 111th Aves, and Northern to Thunderbird.
That really narrows it down. LOL! My area's similar, but without Sun City, mostly 43 to about 67, Northern to Thunderbird.

Interesting question. I'd suggest South Mountain. I don't know how much interference/intermod you'd get from the towers, but I think you'd do OK if you hit one of the other look-out areas and don't park next to the towers. Seems to me like you should be able to hear just about anything from there. Don't hold me to it, but I don't think they charge admission anymore. Back in the 60s it was like 25¢ a car.

Like most everyone else, I always have my scanner with me, except while I'm on my part time job. I've often thought about trying to get near specific sites to listen, but it doesn't usually happen. I have been known to get close to sites and pull off the rubber ducky. I can hear anything from that site (as long as I'm within 1/4 mile or so), and don't get other sites. That way I can tell who's using that site.

Just some of my rambling thoughts.......
 

KB7MIB

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My area basically consists of home, work, my credit union, my dad's home, and 2-3 Fry's stores that I occassionally shop at, other than the one I work at.
I don't take my scanner to work with me, but I do to run errands, which occassionally means going by work on a day off. (And reception of the RWC, or any 700/800 MHz frequencies is severely compromised by RFI in the area of 43rd and Northern. Possibly from the cell tower on the southeast corner. But that's another thread.)
 

SCPD

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When I used to live in Flagstaff in the 70's I didn't have the advantage of a programmable scanner or a handheld scanner. I liked to drive up to the lookout on Mt. Elden and throw in some crystals that I used in L.A. I didn't have the advantage of a Police Call book in front of me either or the ability to look up FCC licenses so I had to try to decipher what I was hearing from unknown locations. That is if my limited number of frequencies matched something.

If I was living there I would drive to the top of Mt. Ord. I would try to find the most distant reception possible. I have driven or hiked to many high points so do such. I was once assigned to drive to the top of the Magdalena Mtns., go inside the observation level of one of the buildings of the Langmuir Lab and be a lookout. I didn't have the Osborne Fire Finder with me, but knew the ranger district I worked on quite well and carried a mirror type compass. I also had a copy of Police Call with me as by the late 70's Gene Hughes was publishing editions that covered the entire U.S. I picked up an engine on the Apache-Sitgreaves National Forest in Arizona directly. At that time the National Forests of Arizona and New Mexico used simplex with remote bases to communicate so hearing the engine directly, which was in Arizona, when I could look east and see the Rio Grande River, nearly at the center of the state of New Mexico, was great.

I love climbing peaks and taking my little Kenwood tri-bander to try to hit the most distant repeater I can. I love making contacts with surprised hams who are completely surprised when they hear where I am.

There are other lookouts in the Phoenix area such as Towers, Humboldt and others. That is where I would go to get in some good listening. Yes, you could pick up some frequencies simultaneously from different locations, but imagine trying to pick up some simplex traffic from Pima County.

For me being on top of a peak is the most fun I have with the hobbies of ham radio and scanning.
 

AZScanner

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I have a SC230 that I take with me just about everywhere, but I rarely listen to it because so much of what interests me is digital now. Once I get the 436, I'll retire the SC230 and listen much more frequently. I can't wait to be able to monitor PPD from my desk at work again. :)

-AZ
 

gmclam

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It really depends on what you want to listen to. I'm mostly interested in knowing what is going on around me. If I am mobile, then I want to know what is going on "up ahead".

It's funny that that the only time I find myself listening to ATC is if I am AT an airport. If I am on the highway, the DOT or DPS/CHP are tops. If I am home LE and fire.

There are occassions when I'll venture out just to listen. I'll find a spot high up with a great view "down toward the metropolis". That gives me line of sight to what I am hearing. In that situation I'll usually scan/search for new stuff (including AM/FM broadcast).
 
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VGSMC_8520

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...I would think atop South Mtn park would have too much RFI from the towers, and what is the entrance fee?...
I drive to the top of South Mountain to listen and talk from time to time. I don't think there is any entrance fee on normal days, or at least I've never had to pay one. On some days however, the entire park is closed to vehicular traffic. The extra 1000' of elevation gives a clear line of sight to just about the entire valley. I usually drive to the lookout on Summit Road for a good view of downtown and everything to the north, and to the lookout on TV Road for a good view of everything south. I don't really experience any interference from the TV and and other transmitters at the peak. They're kinda neat to look at too, there's quite a few, but public access is prohibited obviously. Drive slowly and carefully in the park! Heaps of cyclists and pedestrians on the narrow roads.

M
 

AZScanner

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Thinking along these same lines, I wonder if it would be possible to sit up atop South Mountain or similar high up spot and listen up for incidents happening within the direct line of sight of your location which you could then watch in real time using a telescope or similar means. That might be fun! It'd be even more fun to hook a camera up to that. Hmmmmmm....

-AZ
 

KB7MIB

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South Mtn is probably the most publicly accesible site to get wide-area, long range reception from.
I've been to the tower site on the White Tanks once with a Ham friend many years ago, but that requires 4WD, and I think you need a key to get into the Caterpillar testing grounds, which the road to the towers goes through.
I don't know about the Estrella range, south of Goodyear.
The mountain preserve (Shaw Butte, North Mtn, Camelback Mtn, Piestewa Pk, etc) are pedestrian only, which varying degrees of difficulty, unless you have a key to open the vehicle gates, where they exist.
I don't know about Usery Mtn, in northeast Mesa.
I don't know about McDowell Mtn, between northeast Scottsdale and Fountain Hills.
I don't know how accessible Mt. Ord is to a passenger vehicle, or if you need a key for a gate.
I'm also interested in the short range stuff, not just how far I can hear something. Low-level repeaters and simplex, which may not necessarily be heard better from up on high, but rather from ground level closer to the source.
 
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Phoenix805

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(And reception of the RWC, or any 700/800 MHz frequencies is severely compromised by RFI in the area of 43rd and Northern. Possibly from the cell tower on the southeast corner. But that's another thread.)
I think you mentioned that before. Not to get too far off topic....I live just south of there and go through the intersection all the time and I've never experienced any interference. We've got to get together one of these days and compare scanners and interference and see what we can figure out.
 

KB7MIB

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Sit in the parking lot of the Fry's there, and scan the 700/800 MHz bands, especially the RWC CC's. You may see (hear) what I mean. Compare how the CC's sound there, to how they sound away from there. There's a definite source of interference in that area, and you can hear it on the active CC's.
 
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desert-cheetah

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LOL, I'll have to keep an ear out for the crazy white female harassing horses :D
And that's interesting that the scanner traffic actually got their attention.
I generally do take my scanner with me when running errands, but I usually stay in the Peoria/Glendale/Sun City area, between 43rd and 111th Aves, and Northern to Thunderbird. Like I mentioned earlier, I'd like to take it elsewhere, and sit and listen awhile, just to see if I can catch things that I can't necessarily hear well, or at all, from home. I just need to find safe, legal areas where I can do so, without attracting undo attention.
I'd be interested in low-level repeaters and simplex traffic I can't hear, or hear well, from my usual area.
I think the VA hospital has both 170 and 400 MHz repeaters that I want to confirm.
Does the US FPS have any channels other than 409.400, especially simplex?
What else can be heard in the downtown/capitol area?
What is currently used at the Army NG's Papago Reservation?
These are the things that I'd like to go and listen for, and I'd like to hear any suggestions as to where, specifically, is a good, safe, legal spot to park and do so.
It'll likely be on DPS east, MCSO east or MCSO Lakes. If you hear about a crazy white girl in a black ford Taurus harassing wild horses...it's me. Hahahahaha.
 

KB7MIB

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I went down to South Mtn today. I did have to set the global attenuation when I was anywhere near the towers, due to the RF saturation there, but was able to listen to various things.
I talked to a ranger there. She showed me her radio. They're on A-10 (encrypted) so we can't listen to them :( They can also talk to PD on A-4, and to FD on K-7, as well as K-10 or K-11 for mountain rescues.
There were some parasailers (paragliders? Non-motorized in either case) jumping off from the Gila Valley overlook, overlooking Ahwatukee, in the shadow of the towers. They're on 155.505, with a CTCSS of 77.0 Hz if anyone down in Ahwatukee wants to listen to them.
I also picked up some new (to me) talkgroups on the county system, from various towers. I'll add them to one of the existing Maricopa County threads later. I believe I have a thread specifically for unknown TG's.
I also brought along one of my two Radio Shack mobile FRS radios, and had it scanning most of the time. Channel 1 was bedlam, with multiple conversations going on at the same time. Several other channels were also active, maybe one or two also had multiple conversations, but not nearly as bad as channel 1. (And my PSR-500 didn't pick up a single one of them, even when hooked up to my 2m/70cm dual-band mobile antenna.)
I never did hear any Pinal County Sheriff comms when I was searching VHF-High PS. I did not have PCSO actually programmed in though.
I did pick up Wickenburg PD, Lifeline Ambulance on their Mingus Mtn channel, and Peoria PD off of Towers Mtn, from up there while scanning and searching, however.
All in all, it was a fun trip, and I may do it again in the near future.
 

desert-cheetah

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On the subject of listening atop South Mountain...the last time I was there...about 6-8 months ago...the summit loop road was closed...at least, that's what the signs all over the place said, the gate was open. Isn't the Summit Loop Road the only way to get up to the top where that stone house is?
 

KB7MIB

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The stone house is at the Dobbins Lookout. I don't recall if that was TV Road (Tower Road?) or another one.
 
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