• Scanners

    From Sbaitso@432:1/147 to All on Fri Apr 10 22:16:41 2020
    Hi everyone,

    I'm new to the network so hopefully I've got this in the correct forum. I was wondering if anyone else has an interest in scanners. I've done some searching
    around but anything with digital capabilities is just outrageous everywhere I've looked.

    Any advice on a make/model for someone that doesn't want to take out a loan to buy one?

    I've tried the Fido forums related to scanners and radios, but never got any replies. Maybe people don't listen to them the way they used to anymore. Broadcastify is fine, but there are many areas that it doesn't cover and I don't think it covers anywhere that has gone to digital equipment.

    Thanks for any help or suggestions.

    --- Zeus BBS 1.5
    * Origin: CIA AMIGA BBS - ciaamigabbs.dynu.net:6400 (432:1/147.0)
  • From Vk3jed@432:1/101 to Sbaitso on Tue Apr 14 15:00:00 2020
    On 04-10-20 22:16, Sbaitso wrote to All <=-

    Hi everyone,

    I'm new to the network so hopefully I've got this in the correct forum.
    I was wondering if anyone else has an interest in scanners. I've done some searching
    around but anything with digital capabilities is just outrageous everywhere I've looked.

    We're here for all radio hobbyists, so scanners are very much on topic. Welcome aboard and nice to see you here. :)

    Any advice on a make/model for someone that doesn't want to take out a loan to buy one?

    Digital scanners aren't cheap. I bought a Uniden BCD-396XT many years ago when they first came out in 2011 (the Australian model hadn't even been released, so I imported a US one), around US$450-500 IIRC. I don't believe prices have come down much. However, if you have a decent PC running Windows or Linux, and an interest in technical tinkering, an alternative is the RTL-SDR software defined radio dongles, which are cheap. On Windows, UniTrunker is a good piece of trunking software that can turn 2 RTL-SDR dongles into a trunk tracking scanner. I used to use it to monitor the fire service, when it first migrated from conventional FM to trunked P25 for dispatch.

    I've tried the Fido forums related to scanners and radios, but never
    got any replies. Maybe people don't listen to them the way they used
    to anymore. Broadcastify is fine, but there are many areas that it
    doesn't cover and I don't think it covers anywhere that has gone to digital equipment.

    Police forces in many areas have gone to encrypted P25, TETRA or another encrypted digital mode, depending on what part of the world you're in. If listening to law enforcement is your thing, you're either SOL or will be very soon, because of the heavy use of encryption these days. :/

    Where I am, fire services will remain in the clear for the forseeable future, because both volunteers and the general community do monitor on scanners, and they're mindful that this is of overall benefit. In fact, there's also Broadcastify feeds that are officially run by the fire service here.

    Thanks for any help or suggestions.

    It all depends how technical you're prepared to get. RTL-SDR really opens up new possibilities, but it does take a higher degree of technical proficiency, especially in software and drivers, than traditional hardware based scanning.

    The RTL-SDR is a basic entry level system and dirt cheap. There's several SDR devices that offer better RF performance, but we can cross that bridge at a later time.


    ... Honesty is the best policy, but insanity is a better defence.
    === MultiMail/Win v0.51
    --- SBBSecho 3.10-Linux
    * Origin: Freeway BBS Bendigo,Australia freeway.apana.org.au (432:1/101)
  • From Vk3jed@432:1/101 to Sbaitso on Fri May 1 19:28:00 2020
    On 04-19-20 09:56, Sbaitso wrote to Vk3jed <=-

    Thank you very very much for all of the information. I wasn't
    expecting to get
    so much assistance from a single post. This is a very nice network
    and I'm thrilled that my favorite BBS is now a member of it.

    You're welcome. We try to be friendly. :)

    I never really considered that the signals were encrypted, I just
    thought that the broadcasts moved to a frequency that my old scanner
    could not recieve.

    Yes, police forces around the world have moved to encrypted digital systems. In my part of the world, that system in use is P25.

    That being said, I just enjoy listening to different things and
    exploring, so I
    am interested in the the RTL-SDR option. I'm going to do a bit of research on
    it and see what level of abilities I think I would need to be able to
    get it up and running. I will, most likely, have some questions about
    it going forward. I hope you don't mind if I reach out for further
    info. I'm pretty green on the technical side with this stuff.

    RTL-SDR is pretty good, especially for the price. There are limitations, because the ADC in the dongle is only 8 bit and has a bandwidth of a bit over 2 MHz (useable), but you'll be surprised what such an inexpensive dongle can do with the right software.

    Here's the link to the Hobbyists Guide to RTL-SDR. You may want to look up a more up to date reference for some specifics, but this has a good bit of background.

    https://tinyurl.com/m5nhsu2

    Thanks again!

    You're welcome!


    ... Political Season: Does this mean we can shoot them?!?!
    === MultiMail/Win v0.51
    --- SBBSecho 3.10-Linux
    * Origin: Freeway BBS Bendigo,Australia freeway.apana.org.au (432:1/101)
  • From Vk3jed@432:1/101 to Sbaitso on Fri May 1 19:59:00 2020
    On 04-19-20 10:03, Sbaitso wrote to Daryl Stout <=-

    It's funny you should mention trains. With all of this COVID stuff
    going on, I
    have begun doing a bit of trainspotting via Virtual Railfan on
    YouTube. I notice that a few of the cameras mention having a
    Broadcastify feed that covers
    the nearby railyards.

    Cool. I used to monitor the the frequency train conductors use here. That's actually quite handy, because when they transmit, you knoe the train has arrived and dropped off its passengers. :)


    ... Hard work has a future payoff. Laziness pays off now.
    === MultiMail/Win v0.51
    --- SBBSecho 3.10-Linux
    * Origin: Freeway BBS Bendigo,Australia freeway.apana.org.au (432:1/101)
  • From Sbaitso@432:1/147 to Vk3jed on Sun Apr 19 09:56:24 2020
    Thank you very very much for all of the information. I wasn't expecting to get
    so much assistance from a single post. This is a very nice network and I'm thrilled that my favorite BBS is now a member of it.

    I never really considered that the signals were encrypted, I just thought that the broadcasts moved to a frequency that my old scanner could not recieve.

    That being said, I just enjoy listening to different things and exploring, so I
    am interested in the the RTL-SDR option. I'm going to do a bit of research on
    it and see what level of abilities I think I would need to be able to get it up and running. I will, most likely, have some questions about it going forward. I hope you don't mind if I reach out for further info. I'm pretty green on the technical side with this stuff.

    Thanks again!



    On Tuesday April 14, 2020, Vk3jed said to Sbaitso...

    On 04-10-20 22:16, Sbaitso wrote to All <=-

    Hi everyone,

    I'm new to the network so hopefully I've got this in the correct
    forum.
    I was wondering if anyone else has an interest in scanners. I've
    done some searching
    around but anything with digital capabilities is just outrageous
    everywhere I've looked.

    We're here for all radio hobbyists, so scanners are very much on topic. Welcome aboard and nice to see you here. :)

    Any advice on a make/model for someone that doesn't want to take out a
    loan to buy one?

    Digital scanners aren't cheap. I bought a Uniden BCD-396XT many years
    ago when they first came out in 2011 (the Australian model hadn't even
    been released, so I imported a US one), around US$450-500 IIRC. I don't believe prices have come down much. However, if you have a decent PC running Windows or Linux, and an interest in technical tinkering, an alternative is the RTL-SDR software defined radio dongles, which are
    cheap. On Windows, UniTrunker is a good piece of trunking software that can turn 2 RTL-SDR dongles into a trunk tracking scanner. I used to use
    it to monitor the fire service, when it first migrated from conventional
    FM to trunked P25 for dispatch.

    I've tried the Fido forums related to scanners and radios, but never
    got any replies. Maybe people don't listen to them the way they used
    to anymore. Broadcastify is fine, but there are many areas that it
    doesn't cover and I don't think it covers anywhere that has gone to
    digital equipment.

    Police forces in many areas have gone to encrypted P25, TETRA or another encrypted digital mode, depending on what part of the world you're in.
    If listening to law enforcement is your thing, you're either SOL or will
    be very soon, because of the heavy use of encryption these days. :/

    Where I am, fire services will remain in the clear for the forseeable future, because both volunteers and the general community do monitor on scanners, and they're mindful that this is of overall benefit. In fact, there's also Broadcastify feeds that are officially run by the fire
    service here.

    Thanks for any help or suggestions.

    It all depends how technical you're prepared to get. RTL-SDR really
    opens up new possibilities, but it does take a higher degree of
    technical proficiency, especially in software and drivers, than
    traditional hardware based scanning.

    The RTL-SDR is a basic entry level system and dirt cheap. There's
    several SDR devices that offer better RF performance, but we can cross
    that bridge at a later time.


    ... Honesty is the best policy, but insanity is a better defence.
    === MultiMail/Win v0.51

    --- Zeus BBS 1.5
    * Origin: CIA AMIGA BBS - ciaamigabbs.dynu.net:6400 (432:1/147.0)
  • From Sbaitso@432:1/147 to Daryl Stout on Sun Apr 19 10:03:59 2020
    It's funny you should mention trains. With all of this COVID stuff going on, I
    have begun doing a bit of trainspotting via Virtual Railfan on YouTube. I notice that a few of the cameras mention having a Broadcastify feed that covers
    the nearby railyards.

    Based on another response I believe I'm going to take a look at RTL-SDR and see
    if that would be a good fit for what I would like to do.

    That being said, I would be interested to hear about any train/raido info you might have that you would like to share.

    Thanks for the info.


    On Wednesday April 15, 2020, Daryl Stout said to SBAITSO...

    Any advice on a make/model for someone that doesn't want to take out a
    loan t buy one?

    Years ago, I had a Bearcat 210XL Scanner...but they are so darn expensive...you might as well buy a fancy ham radio rig. I had won a Baofeng or Wouxon (don't remember which) at a hamfest several years
    ago, but mainly used it to monitor the trains (I live 1/4 mile from a
    busy main line) and the local Skywarn Nets (they are a far cry from
    what they once were). Plus, I got burned out on weather after 28 years
    in ham radio...my interest now is railroad crossing safety. That model
    of HT was declared illegal by the FCC awhile back.

    Daryl, WX4QZ

    --- Zeus BBS 1.5
    * Origin: CIA AMIGA BBS - ciaamigabbs.dynu.net:6400 (432:1/147.0)
  • From Daryl Stout@432:1/101 to SBAITSO on Wed Apr 15 10:37:00 2020
    Any advice on a make/model for someone that doesn't want to take out a loan t S>buy one?

    Years ago, I had a Bearcat 210XL Scanner...but they are so darn expensive...you might as well buy a fancy ham radio rig. I had won a
    Baofeng or Wouxon (don't remember which) at a hamfest several years ago,
    but mainly used it to monitor the trains (I live 1/4 mile from a busy
    main line) and the local Skywarn Nets (they are a far cry from what they
    once were). Plus, I got burned out on weather after 28 years in ham
    radio...my interest now is railroad crossing safety. That model of HT
    was declared illegal by the FCC awhile back.

    Daryl, WX4QZ

    ===
    OLX 1.53 Haydn wrote 104 symphonies. They never wrote back.
    Synchronet The Thunderbolt BBS - tbolt.synchro.net
    --- SBBSecho 3.10-Linux
    * Origin: Freeway BBS Bendigo,Australia freeway.apana.org.au (432:1/101)
  • From Daryl Stout@432:1/101 to Sbaitso on Sun May 31 20:04:00 2020
    It's funny you should mention trains. With all of this COVID stuff
    going on, I
    have begun doing a bit of trainspotting via Virtual Railfan on
    YouTube. I notice that a few of the cameras mention having a
    Broadcastify feed that covers
    the nearby railyards.

    Virtual Railfan has reduced the number of free cameras, as it were.
    I used to look at the one from La Plata, Missouri.

    That being said, I would be interested to hear about any train/raido
    info you might have that you would like to share.

    My late uncle was the youngest engineer ever hired on by the Penn Central Railroad...and the only other ham radio operator in my family (he passed
    away in 1993). I had always been a railfan when the family lived in the
    Miami area, but my late father's job transferred the family to central
    Arkansas 43 years ago. A few years after I got into ham radio, I got
    involved with a trains and railroad net in Milwaukee on the VoIP mode
    of Echolink. In early 2017, it shut down, but I revived it on D-Star
    later that year.

    Daryl

    ... So easy, a child could do it. Child sold separately.
    === MultiMail/Win32 v0.50
    Synchronet The Thunderbolt BBS - tbolt.synchro.net
    --- SBBSecho 3.10-Linux
    * Origin: Freeway BBS Bendigo,Australia freeway.apana.org.au (432:1/101)
  • From Sbaitso@432:1/147 to Daryl Stout on Sun Jun 14 16:03:25 2020

    On Sunday May 31, 2020, Daryl Stout said to Sbaitso...

    Virtual Railfan has reduced the number of free cameras, as it were. I used to look at the one from La Plata, Missouri.

    If you go to their YouTube page La Plata is still available. I always end up going to their YouTube page. It doesn't always list all the live cams on the front page, sometimes you have to look at the playlists tab and check the feeds
    there if you don't see it on the channel page.

    My late uncle was the youngest engineer ever hired on by the Penn Central Railroad...and the only other ham radio operator in my family
    (he passed away in 1993). I had always been a railfan when the family lived in the Miami area, but my late father's job transferred the
    family to central Arkansas 43 years ago. A few years after I got into
    ham radio, I got involved with a trains and railroad net in Milwaukee
    on the VoIP mode of Echolink. In early 2017, it shut down, but I
    revived it on D-Star later that year.

    Is there a lot of activity in the railroad net?

    --- Zeus BBS 1.5
    * Origin: CIA AMIGA BBS - ciaamigabbs.dynu.net:6400 (432:1/147.0)
  • From Daryl Stout@432:1/101 to Sbaitso on Thu Jun 18 22:48:00 2020
    If you go to their YouTube page La Plata is still available. I always
    end up going to their YouTube page. It doesn't always list all the
    live cams on the front page, sometimes you have to look at the
    playlists tab and check the feeds
    there if you don't see it on the channel page.

    They must have changed the link. I was watching it last winter when
    a winter storm and snow hit the area.

    Is there a lot of activity in the railroad net?

    Oh, yes. One night, we had over 40 checkins. Now, some were what I
    term a "Flag Stop" (short time) checkin, but most stay for the net.
    We discuss anything and everything about trains and railroading...
    whether it's passenger, freight, steam, diesel, stations/depots,
    excursions, fallen flags, signals, shows, rolling stock, light rail,
    etc. We also have a railroad trivia question during the net.

    After a ham radio operator checks in for the first time, if they
    email me, they can get a special commemorative certificate.

    The net is in honor of its predecessor, that ran on the ham radio
    mode of Echolink in the Milwaukee area for over 8 years, and is in
    loving memory of my late uncle, who gave me my love of ham radio
    and trains.

    If you go to www.qrz.com and search for WX4QZ -- while you won't
    see the name, email, or mailing address, you will see my "ham radio
    bio"...and after being in the hobby for nearly 30 years, it's rather
    lengthy. A picture is there of yours truly in his Train Conductors
    Outfit.

    Daryl, WX4QZ, Conductor, Trains And Railroads Net

    ... Dime: A dollar with all taxes taken out.
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