your first sting

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ridgescan

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Anybody remember the first time you got 'stung' by the scanner bug? For me it was way back in 1970 when I was 9. I was startled awakeone summer morning to the sound of my Pop on the phone telling the police that somebody helped themselves to the taillights off his Mustang. Right about when the cops arrived there was a knock at our back door-it was my buddy Jeff from across the street all exited hollerin' "hey Frank! Come on over to my house-you gotta see this!" Yeah Jeff we're a little busy...." "JUS-WOULDYOU..come on only two minutes" Jeff's Dad was an exec at Motorola..the whole bit:ex-Marine, buzz-cut, 1970 police-issue Ford Galaxie WITH radios out front. Turns out he had a scanner going in the den with our incident on it. That's when it stung me-that bug-and from then 'till now I'm a hopeless radiocom nut. Do you remember-I know there's great ones we gotta hear! 73s..............oh yeah and they got the dudes that stole Dad's lites-they were putting the finishing touches on a dune buggy that was also stolen as well as a VW motor-even the smallest of towns (mine was 1400 then) had their thug element!
 

LEH

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Probably 1972. I was at my girl friends house and her parents had a Realistic AM/FM/VHF-Hi tuneable radio that they used to listen to the police. Fire and sheriff were also VHF-Hi then but were simplex.

Anyway, that was it. Now several thousands of dollars later, I still enjoy it.
 

StaticLine

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Taylorsville Ky
People can say NASCAR is red neck or whatever.Thats what got me bit.I orderd a refurbd.SC150.The first night i got it I stayed up and tuned in all kinds of great new stuff.That led to a Sony wave hawk.Man that thing is awesome I still use it today.Kind of sad with PDs going digital and encrypted.Imagine where me and others would be with a box just to use at races and listen to the weather.No way could I justify a box just to listen to a car race.With the price of digitals being so high thats probably hard on a lot of folks wanting to get in on the hobby now.Who knows.Maybe prices will come down.What a great feeling powering up that new radio for the first time and hearing your first transmissions.Almost like Christmas morn all over again!!!With computer fed radios and new stuff,I still look over at the old radios and remember what got me where I am now. Good thread and good memories Ridgescan.Thanks,John
 
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fredg

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Around 1978, went to Scanners Unlimited with the guy I was driving tow-truck for to get a custom crystal for his Bearcat Four-Six so we could listen to the tow-truck dispatcher when not in the truck. That was in Glenns first store he shared with the TV repair shop on El Camino.

Driving tow-truck meant doing drunk driver, accident tows etc. which meant hanging out with the cops so I got the cop bug as well. My buddy had a Bearcat Four-Six that I would borrow as well.

It would not be until 1982 that I got my own Bearcat Four-Six for xmas from my mother, my girlfriend (now wife of 25 years) bought the crystals for it. Great memories!!!

I have had countless scanners since then....
 

warren128

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For me, my first exposure to public service monitoring was when as a kid, I was tuning around on my portable am/fm/ps radio on the PS bands, and I heard transmissions from local police, fire, tow trucks, and taxi dispatch on VHF. I was already listening to shortwave radio by then, but the PS stuff reallyl fascinated me. In the late 70's, a friend of mine was on his way to becoming a photojournalist and he showed up at my house one day with a crytal controlled handheld police scanner. When I saw and heard how cool that rig was, I was hooked for life. My first scanner was a first generation programmable tabletop radio by Electra Bearcat. It was the model 210 with only 10 channels, but the programmable feature was really nice.

--Warren
 

jb872033

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When I was 9ish went to a flea market, and was rifiling around in someones "free" box...picked up a 6 channel realistic scanner...crystal controlled...got it home and didnt even know what the squelch did but figured it out quick, provided hours of fun listening...since then i cant say that i ever stopped listening...

JB
 

hoser147

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In the late 60s I always played around with a tunable, listened to about everything, then my Grandfather got a Bearcat crystal scanner and my folks figured out if they wanted me home they had better get a scanner. They bought a 10 ch regency but the tunable still got more air traffic. Been at it ever since..............Hoser
 

manross

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In the early 70's I was still in the Army and my LT called me over to his car after work one day to show me "something really cool". It was a Midland 4 channel scanner. I was fascinated from the very first transmission I heard. It was a short time after that I bought the same model. I really don't think there is more than what I can count on one hand the number of days that I haven't had a scanner turned on within earshot since the 70's. It's an integral part of my life. Like what was said " Now several thousands of dollars later, I still enjoy it". Amen to that brother :D

Marty
 

CSX_CJ

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Me right after a friend was telling me that the only way your going to find out when the next train is comming is to get a scanner . I bought my first Scanner a Pro-84 in Jan of 08 and when it died (a poped circuit on the sound board) My mom decited for my 18 Birthday Which is comming up this Saturday that she get me a Uniden BC246T and when i got it i had trunk systems programed in including Railroad Frequencys and she took the scanner away from me and started to listen to the Police and Fire as far as 50 miles . LOL
 

kb2vxa

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I remember the first time I was stung by a beeEEEeee. The second time I was stung was by my tunable VHF receiver when it developed a short but I was never stung by a scanner.
 

mciupa

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1971 , listened to FD more than PD.

It was then I realized "Roger One Pump" wasn't a Native or a porn star.
 
M

MITTYCPD

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My First Police Call

It was around April 1968 or so and my Dad brought home a Clark 450 which was a small box about the size of a cigarette pack with an on-off switch and short antenna. You put this behind a regular transistor AM radio and by moving the dial you could pick up Chicago Police calls. We got it set up and shortly thereafter heard a call right down the street. I then graduated to a Midland crystal controlled 4 channel VHF scanner for ISPERN, Chicago Fire, and the tons of surrounding suburbs that were still packing the VHF band-all prior to T-Band coming to Chicago. The next acquisition was a Bearcat III for the CPD at home while Dad had a converter put in the car similar to the Clark 450 to hear the CPD. I remember listening to that with him when there was a major plane crash at Midway airport that involved a relative of one of the Watergate people. A plethora of scanners have followed up to todays BCD396T and a BCD 996T.

From that simple beginning a stint as a volunteer firefighter came about along with a 24 year career in Law Enforcement!
 

rankin39

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Two things come to mind. In the mid 50's I discovered my Hallicrafters SX-28 shortwave receiver would pick up the Georgia State Patrol on 42.02 MHz. using slope detection. About the same time I found that by using a screwdriver in my car radio I could pick up the New Hampshire State Police, the Cincinnati PD and the Los Angeles PD at night just above the a.m. broadcast band. I soon got a ham license as K4GQN and got myself into minor trouble as I had a crystal for 21.01 MHz. on 15 meters that interfered with the GA State Patrol on its second harmonic -- 42.02 again. I had several tunable radios (and one of those little Clarks when I was in school in Chicago) and finally a scanner about 1969 when I moved to Kansas. It's been a great ride!

Bob, WoNXN
 

CLTX11

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I do no remember why I wanted one. I have had friends that had them but they never interested me years prior to getting one. I finally bought one about 5 years ago, never knew what I was missing
 

Zaratsu

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My first scanner memory was back when I was maybe age 4 or 5. I am 27 now so it is an old memory, but the excitment and comfort of added situational awareness sticks out in my mind every time I turn my scanners on.
My grandfather was retired PD chief and his brother was retired FD chief, my family would be over to my great-uncles house along with my grandparents some evening for what would be a short visit. Of course other relatives and old friends of family would invariably pop-in to say hello and chat up a bit. Pipe and cigar smoke would hang in the air and a few drinks and refreshments would be served and conversation would flow easily amongst the adults, but always in a slow and thoughtfull manner with long pauses between statements or reccolections. Conversations would be about the simple agrarian pre-war life then shift to life during the war. Fighting in Africa or advising a devestated and defeted W. Germany get back on their feet, or their experiences with units from the allied and commonwealth nations were were favorite topics or wartime.
For myself, I was just a little kid and any excuse to stay up past my bedtime was, and still is valued time. This time therefore took a special meaning and loged itself in a nice warm spot in my memory. While listening to these stories of far off places, the adults would always pause and ponder to reflect, remember, or reminince, something that I have learned to do myself now. But during these breaks, excitement could easily happen! The big box with the chasing lights that gramps called "the monitor" would pause on one light and the voices would pop out of it. Police or fire dispatch would be called out and 10-codes given. Of course no one but my grandfater and granduncle knew what all the gibberish on the box meant. I am good at following codes and everything now, but to follow the clipped and layered conversations on a scanner takes a trained ear. These two old men were very well trained to follow it, and they were hard to excite, but boy I wasnt! After the PD dispatch was made, Grandpa would pause, bang his pipe on the heavy glass ashtray a few times and then casually motion with the pipe stem in the general direction of the call and quietly and confidently state that "old man Kimzzyk must be getting a whiping from his old lady again." then he would pack his pipe while his brother would nod in agreement. At this point either my grandmother or my grand aunt would add in about getting a nice recipie from Mrs. Kimzzyk once. And almost on-cue my grandfather would scowl and drawl out "...and it was Lousy!" and his brother would nod in agreement quietly. Grandma would say " well I liked it" and then her and her sister in law and my mother and whatver ladies would go chattering on about olive-loaf or gelatin-mold or something in the alcove between the living and dining rooms, while the men would go into storys of Mr. Kimzzyk managing to get into trouble over a 20 year timespan with burning his trash, not paying the milkman, or getting beat-up by his old lady. After a tale or two the older generation would pause again and then state with utmost conviction and actually some reccollective warmth that "Mr. Kimzzyk is an ok fella" and then while striking a match and lighting his pipe, my grandfater would lean a bit forward in his chair and point at his brother with the pipestem, and then add with the same scowl and tone normally reserved for my grandmother's experimental cuisine, "but its his goddamn kid thats got worms for brains!" he would sit back satisfied in his chair and pull on the pipe while his brother would nod in agreement. Now this is not verbatim example of what he would say, but whatever euphanism he chose, it was always a delight to my young kid-brain even though it would a few years until I got the jokes so to say. He didnt swear much when he made these remarks and he wasnt really trying to be funny, because he wasnt joking. The odd part was that He was right almost 100% of the time. The smoke rings would settle a bit now, and after a swig of brandy or a highball, the "moniter" would pause again and the responding officer would reply back to the station now speaking in a manner like he just was charged by a bull elephant and in protocol-breaking plain english "Their grown son was being chased around the neighborhood by his mother (Mrs. Kimzzy) kwith a broom, she told me to come back after she cut her sons woman-hair, and to bring an appetite, what should I do Captain?" Gramps would just slightly smile and his brother would nod in agreement. Dammit! The old man was RIGHT! He had some oddball intuitiveness that I somehow genetically inherited as I find myself doing the same thing right before info is passed over the radio. Anyways, after another customary short pause, my granduncle would add "that cop must be that new rookie with the facial hair!" a few pipe-puffs and granpa would shoot right back at him while pointing the pipe-stem "I would have shaved the beard right off that goddamn hippy or kicked him off the force!" And you know what? He would have.

These were great times for a kid that should have been in bed 3 hours before. I had an inside view of what was going on in the world around us not only of what the police were doing, but how the community was changing. It certaintly felt special to be able to "monitor" what the PD and FD were doing even though it required potentially drawn out tales from my grandfather or granduncle, he always managed to come full circle and be damn accurate, and also gave credit where credit was due. Their values on how public safety depts and how communities should act has rubbed off on me. I too often catch myself thinking to myself "I'd shave that hippybeard off his face" when I see a bearded cop and then I have a good laugh and thank my grandad for the good times and memories. Policework and scanners have come a long way since then. The old neighborhoods and flowerbeds have deteriorated and into shells and shadows. The memories still live with me and every time I turn on the scanner. Occasinally I will hear a call on a familiar street from my grandparent's past. Sometimes it is a crime that would have been unthinkable in the area when I was a kid, let alone when gramp's was on the force. I chalk these up to being a sign of the times. But sometimes the dispatch to that long-familiar street will be for an ambulance with a cold response, and then with my grandfather's intuition, I know what is coming next, and that is a dispatch for the medical examiner. One of the old neighborhood stalwarts would be gone on to the knitting circle in the sky. Thankfully in peace, but you sit and wonder and suprise that there may be a little bit more left of those memories and late nights and stories. Well there was, until Just Now. Just like that you can see them fade away like smoke rings from granpas pipe.

The "monitor" in this recolection I think was an old 10 crystal bearcat unit probably purchased from Sears or something. My grandfather had a 10 memory Regency on an end table at home. My first scanner was given to me for Christmas 1993 or 1994. A Uniden Sportcat 150B which was noteworty at the time for having 100 memories and the full 800mhz spectrum. I still use it. Great and strudy scanner. Never needed anything more until recently my interest in adjacent towns required more scanning firepower, and my fiance bought me the PSR300 for Christmas of 2007. To this day, one of my preffered ways to spend an evening is to let the scanner (or monitor if you will) run while I flip through magazines or maybe tinker with something while my fiance does whatever keeps her interest (tv, crosswords, SMS text gossiping) and hold a conversation in bits and pieces over and around the noise of the scanner and friends or family that call or drop by for a few minutes. I should have been in bed two hours ago, my fiance is sleeping on the couch like a baby, and my scanner is running while I idleley chat with scannerbuddie on RR.com. The calls tonite have people getting shot, cut out of cars, and contemplating suicide. I am safe and content and know how good I've got it. Trust me, I'm in heaven.
 
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ridgescan

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Dan-if you haven't considered it yet-WRITE THAT BOOK!!! Gees what a talent you have. Hard to believe you haven't even broke 30 yet..such a polished stone you are.
 

Steveradio

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Well had to be around 1985 since being born in 1977 I will always remember my grandmothers scanner always going on the kitchen table. It had 8 lights that would scan in order and stop on a active frequency. The lens sort of had a point to it and a black switch under neath to scan or skip that channel.

My other relatives had them as well along with one being a volunteer firefighter and having a what looked like a old tape recorder with a red light that would be on top if activated.

My family got me a 10ch BC140xlt which is still around today and back than it was enough frequencies for me to catch the activity.

Back than monitoring was more simple and radios sometimes even worked better than today but times are changing and those days of my family members showing me what to do the ties have turned and now programing scanner for them on the computer, heck I'm still learning how to operate some of them.

Steve
 

n4yek

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Newport, Tennessee
Back in the 70's when I was a kid, my father had his Fire Dept. dispatch box sitting on top of the refrigerator. Every time the tones went off and he went out the door to the station, I would turn on my AM/FM/PS radio and listen to them. That was my scanner for many years.
 

chrismol1

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That radioshack ad one summer day proposed a PRO-94 scanner for $169. Said it could do anything. Then boombox like "thingy" with a turning thing for airplanes. "Lets go see it". "Ohh, look at the little one can do the same but small." "Hey, lets try it, see what it can do, maybe we can listen to airplanes."
......."WOW, i can get the policemans on here..NEAT"....
years later.....damn, i should stop buying this ****
 

Austin4Wyo

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Laramie, WY
My dad worked at the Wyoming Women's Center, and both he and my stepdad were volunteer firemen. When their old Motorola pages would go off for pager test or carry an actual page (not often in the town of 1500 people in rural Wyoming, 50 miles from anywhere), I'd be all sorts of excited. Later, my best friend was a local police officer, and they had a base model in their living room. While he and I would be goofing off watching wrestling or something on his big screen, we could also hear the police traffic. I always enjoyed it, seeing as I felt like I was "in the know" or something. Now I use it to keep up on what's happening locally, since our local media is non-existent and there's a lot more crime in this town than anyone is aware of.
 
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