I'm sure most people know this, but on the off chance someone doesn't, a "scanner" is a vhf/uhf radio that runs through programmed frequencies.
When it detects a transmission, it stops and lets you listen in.
I use scanners to keep up to speed with what's going on in this county. I listen to the forest service, the sheriffs department, fire and rescue, and several others.
I always have a dedicated scanner for law enforcement, and another for fire and rescue. Usually, the other frequencies are pretty quiet so I have one scanner that does roll through those for me.
All of my scanner equipment is quite old. Some of it dates back to the mid eighties. But it works beautifully. If you live in a city, this equipment would not be of much use to you. Most government agencies now used "trunked" systems , which are much more complex. In urban areas, the police transmissions are often encrypted as well. Out here, with terrain masking and repeaters, encryption isn't really a viable option, so the transmissions are "in the clear."
One of my scanners is so old, it uses crystals. That means, you have to buy a little crystal plug in for each channel you want to listen to. I don't know if you can even get the crystals anymore. But the old scanner that uses them is my most reliable. It will pull the signals in when the others are being broken up by static.
It may seem common sense that if you have a scanner that will cover 200 frequencies, you would not need any others. However, I had an example today of why you need dedicated radios.
I was sitting in my easy chair in the living room. The cats were asleep. The ferrets were asleep. I had the curtains open on one window, the one that looks out into the mountains over the forest. The others were all drawn, and I was half asleep.
Then I heard the county emergency dispatch come on the air, and they were talking about the dirt county road I use to get to my jeep trail. I had never had that happen before. Dispatch was sending two Sheriff's deputies, a fire and rescue truck and an ambulance out there. Listening to her give directions over the air, I realized they were going right to the curve where I turn off the forest service road.
Nobody lives down there. But, the road makes a steep turn, and if you drive too far to the left (it's one lane) you'll go over the cliff and down into a ravine with a big creek in it. I put those reflectors on poles along that turn because it's so dangerous. People would, from time to time, steal them and I would replace them.
Turns out, some fellow out "exploring" went too far onto the shoulder, over the cliff, and got hung up on some trees. Couldn't get out of the car. He called 911, and how he got a signal from down in that hole is beyond me. He must live right.
So, I listened to all the traffic to and from the fire and rescue, sheriff's department, and dispatch. Sometimes they were all talking at once, but if you have done some flying in your life, especially military flying, you get used to picking out what you want to hear from radio pandemonium. If I had had only one scanner, I could only have listened to one transmission at a time. While the scanner locked on the fire and rescue, I couldn't have heard the Sheriff's deputies. This way, I could listen to all of them at once.
I hope the wrecker didn't back into my gate and smash it up when he tried to pull the guy out. I quit listening once I knew they had him out of the vehicle. Just because you have a new jeep does not mean you ought to be out driving on old broken down back roads you know nothing about. If he hadn't gotten a cell signal, he'd probably not have been found until I went out to check the mail on Monday. Would have made for a long wait.
|Must have been nice in the old times!|