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Author Topic: scanning  (Read 4970 times)

Geek

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scanning
« on: November 26, 2013, 01:50:05 PM »
I've been listening now for awhile and the biggest problem for me is just the amount of time it takes to find something on the air to listen to.  The scanning function on the radio just seems to take a long time to find anything.  I would appreciate suggestions for scanners or anything else that will help me find what is on the air rapidly.

Thanks.

KK0G

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Re: scanning
« Reply #1 on: November 26, 2013, 03:09:59 PM »
Where are you scanning? HF, VHF, UHF, public safety, amateur, business band? Are you scanning an entire band or are you scanning memory channels? We need way more info.


Scanning is an entire hobby unto itself.
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KK0G

Geek

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Re: scanning
« Reply #2 on: November 27, 2013, 09:16:46 AM »
I have been scanning various HF and VHF bands.  I am scanning the entire band when I scan.  What I would like is any advice or equipment suggestions that will speed the process of finding active frequencies.

KK0G

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Re: scanning
« Reply #3 on: November 27, 2013, 10:59:18 AM »
I have been scanning various HF and VHF bands.  I am scanning the entire band when I scan.  What I would like is any advice or equipment suggestions that will speed the process of finding active frequencies.


I'd forget about scanning HF bands. In my experience that's about as productive as trying to teach a cat to do tricks. The weak signals on HF just aren't very conducive to scanning.


Scanning an entire VHF/UHF band can produce a list of busy frequencies but depending on how much activity is in your area it could take a long time to compile all that info. Small tuning steps insure you're not skipping over active frequencies but of course that comes at the expense of taking longer to scan the entire band which means you could miss traffic on 157.250 MHz when the VFO is clear down at 151.175, the faster the scan rate the less of a problem this is but essentially you can't have your cake and eat it too.


Personally I would program local frequencies into memory channels and scan those, your chances of hearing traffic will be much higher. There are lots of websites that list active frequencies around the country.


I assume you have a good antenna mounted high and in the clear? At VHF/UHF height is king above all else.
"Those who would give up essential liberty to purchase temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety" - Benjamin Franklin

KK0G

Geek

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Re: scanning
« Reply #4 on: November 27, 2013, 12:23:33 PM »
I have a good VHF antenna and a SWL HF antenna that seems to give a good signal once I find an active frequency.

Quietguy

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Re: scanning
« Reply #5 on: November 27, 2013, 01:26:25 PM »
Geek, as I recall you are in a pretty densely populated part of the country so there must be a ton of VHF traffic in your area, much of which probably holds no interest to you.  Rather than scanning entire bands, it might be more productive to identify subjects of interest and focus on the band segments they are located in.  Like KK0G said, there are websites available which list frequencies for fixed operations.  One which lists short wave broadcasters is:
http://www.primetimeshortwave.com/
but there are others.

RadioReference.com is a good source of vhf/uhf information for specific geographic areas.  Take a look through their listings for your area and it should give you an idea of where to look:
 http://www.radioreference.com/

Every time I have tried to scan larger chunks of bandwidth I have given up because the scanner/receiver stops on stuff I have no interest in.  Now I do like KK0G suggests and program local frequencies of interest and only scan those.  An exception to that might be scanning the HF ham bands because of the variable nature of traffic there.

Wally

Geek

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Re: scanning
« Reply #6 on: November 27, 2013, 07:33:02 PM »
Thank you for those references. I will make use of them.

There is VHF traffic, particularly during the rush hour, so I hear that as well as the local net operations, but while I have picked up signals from quite aa distance, there is a lot less traffic than I expected.  On HF I have picked up enough to be sure the equipment is working, but again less than I would have expected.

KK0G

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Re: scanning
« Reply #7 on: November 27, 2013, 08:11:38 PM »
Thank you for those references. I will make use of them.

There is VHF traffic, particularly during the rush hour, so I hear that as well as the local net operations, but while I have picked up signals from quite aa distance, there is a lot less traffic than I expected.  On HF I have picked up enough to be sure the equipment is working, but again less than I would have expected.

I don't know about your area but in my neck of the woods, during non-drive times the amateur repeaters are generally dead silent for hours upon hours. Evening nets and morning drive times are about the only time I would hear what I would consider heavy traffic. Simplex is pretty rare most anytime.

HF traffic will vary widely depending on your antenna, propagation, time of day, day of week, contest in progress, etc.
"Those who would give up essential liberty to purchase temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety" - Benjamin Franklin

KK0G

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Re: scanning
« Reply #8 on: January 18, 2014, 10:25:40 AM »
I'm still kind of confused, because the OP did not specify which type of radio service he desired to monitor.

Unfortunately, listening to radio is not the same as playing a video game where there is instantaneous gratification.

Public service - you have units checking in and out.  Police calls, traffic stops, dispatches - which have migrated to the T band - 450 - 470 MHz - which requires a better antenna that is designed for UHF.
Many of these transmissions requires a digital scanner, some are encrypted - cannot be listened to - even with a digital scanner.

Soon even these will migrate to the D band - 700 MHz on a system called First Net, which will require a log in name and password, will not be able to be received with any type of scanner.

Amateur radio - 10 meters - you need at least a quarter wave antenna - 9 feet long and 30+ feet above ground.   6 meters can use the same antenna.  Two meters and 440 requires some type of VHF / UHF antenna or discone.   You aren't going to work DX with a simple J Pole or a cheap scanner antenna or a indoor antenna.   You have to get the antenna outside and as high up as possible.

Amateur radio clubs and individuals and counties puts up amateur radio repeaters to serve most larger towns and cities, but the use of the repeater is determined by how many licensed amateurs resides in that area and how many are active hams and how many chooses to use the repeaters.

As others has said, other then the morning drive, the afternoon drive, and the occasional net or rag chew,  you are not going to hear much activity on the amateur radio repeaters - because the cell phone has killed the amateur radio - pure and simple.

Using a repeater map and the bandplan, it is possible to program in the key frequencies and be able to hear things when the repeaters are in use.  Just putting a radio on scan without an adequate antenna is not going to harvest you many repeaters or activity - because there just isn't enough activity today on 2 meters or 70 cm to make your scanner stop in many places and unless there is activity at that exact moment when your scanner passes over that frequency - you aren't going to hear anything.

I hear very little activity on 10 meter repeaters and no activity most times on any 6 meter repeaters - due to the fact that most technician class licensee's today opt to only buy a handheld radio and the handhelds do not cover 6 meters or 10 meters due to the antenna requirements.

Radio Preppers

Re: scanning
« Reply #8 on: January 18, 2014, 10:25:40 AM »