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[Articles Home]  [Add Article]  

Is Your Analog Scanner Really Obsolete?

Charles (KC8VWM) on February 8, 2006
View comments about this article!


A few of my analog scanners have made nice dust collectors and nice bookend supports in recent years in my shack. However, I may have found new uses for them lately that I would like to share.

Crystallized scanners are truly obsolete however programmable ones regardless of the number of memories they are capable of receiving, may still offer some valuable uses when correctly “interfaced” with the amateur radio experience as I will explain later in this article.

These scanners are obsolete primarily due to the fact that over the past few years, more and more public safety agencies have been transitioning towards operating on trunked and digital radio systems making some of these older analog scanners obsolete.

Recently, I have revisited this equipment in my shack and decided to A) Throw them out, B) Sell them on ebay and get absolutely nothing for them or C) Explore new uses for them.

Yeah…, let's think about option C for a moment. My old outdated analog scanners might actually still have some uses.

Most programmable scanners will typically be capable of VHF and UHF reception from 30 - 512 mhz. Some even as high as 800. This means many of them are quite capable of 6 and 10 meter reception. I found this especially useful for monitoring 6 and 10 meters for a band opening.

This really free's up the “good equipment” for other operating activities with little or no additional investment required for a second 6 meter transceiver in the shack. When I start hearing activity on 6 meters using my scanner, I simply tune the main radio in the shack to 6 meters and operate.

Most scanners are portable than most fixed amateur radio stations so it can be toted with you outside so you can monitor for a band opening during your backyard BBQ activities.

A scanner can also be programmed to monitor for the next satellite pass. Depending on the number of memory frequencies available in it, you might decide to program every bank with nearby “doppler effect” frequencies so you can specifically monitor for the next satellite pass in your area. This also free's up your main radio equipment in your shack not to mention that if it's accidentally dropped or gets broken while using it outside near the pool, you lost virtually nothing.

In fact, you could just leave the scanner running all day and all night long with a VOX tape recorder attached to it. It's always fun to play the tape back at a later time. I found it especially revealing to listen to the recorded satellite passes and radio communications I have been missing.

Use a scanner as an APRS receiver? Sure why not?, just tune your scanner to 144.390 and connect the output of your scanner to an old junk laptop you bought at a hamfest for $10.00. Now download a free program called “MultiPSK” and install it on your junk PC.

How about turning that obsolete scanner into an International Space Station receiving machine? The program below is designed specifically for receiving and deciphering packet signals from the ISS:

http://users.belgacom.net/hamradio/uissscreenshot.htm

Now you will be able to use that inexpensive and obsolete scanner as a cheap radio receiver for decoding ISS PACKET, SSTV, PSK, CW, APRS and many other digital modes commonly used on VHF/ UHF bands. Total equipment investment = $20.00

A radio scanner can provide tactical or battlefield intelligence that is normally unavailable from any other source. In almost all cases it even can even scoop your local news media coverage of events before the public even knows about them. Just program it for common media outlet communications frequencies to see what I mean. For example you will enjoy listening to the media news traffic copters. You will hear more about what's going on from them, than you would on a higher priced - cream of the crop digital police scanner.

Some media communication frequencies can be found here:

An analog and obsolete scanner can be turned into an Emergency Management monitoring machine. This will be especially useful equipment for the emcomm group's go kit requirements. Just program the analog scanner solely for the purpose of using it as a national emergency frequency monitoring device as follows:

National search and rescue frequencies

40.500 US Military joint operations

47.460 National Jeep Search and Rescue

121.500 Civilian ELT/EPIRB / National Air Distress Calling

121.600 US/Canada On-Scene S&R

138.450 Air Rescue Service On-Scene

138.780 Air Rescue Service On-Scene (discrete)

156.300 Merchant ship/USGC Channel 6 On-Scene

156.800 Maritime Channel 16 (Distress/Safety/Calling)

156.750 Maritime Class C EPIRB 15-second homing signal

243.000 Military Aeronautical Emergency

259.000 Air Rescue Operations

381.000 Air Rescue Operations

381.800 USCG Aircraft Working Frequency

406.500 ELT

Civil Air Patrol (CAP)

26.620 AM

121.500 Civilian Aeronautical Emergency/ELT/EPIRB

121.600 ELT Testing

122.900 SAR

123.100 SAR

143.900 SAR (AM/FM)

148.125 Secondary

148.150 Primary

149.925 Packet Data

173.580

282.800 SAR DF/On-Scene Primary

American Red Cross

47.420 47.520

47.460 47.540

47.500

47.42 Primary channel used across the United States by the Red Cross for relief operations.

US Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA)

138.225

138.575 142.350

139.450 142.425

139.950 142.450

138.225 This is the prime disaster relief operations channel used by the Federal Emergency Management Agency; it is active during earthquakes, hurricanes, floods, and other catastrophic events.

US DOE Nuclear Emergency Search Team (NEST)

149.220 164.400

150.450 164.475

164.025 164.525

164.100 164.675

164.175 164.700

164.225 164.775

164.375

National Transportation Safety Board

165.750 Channel 1

165.7625 Channel 2

166.175 Channel 3

Nationwide interagency frequencies

155.160 Used for inter-department emergency communications by local and state agencies

154.28: Used for inter-department emergency communications by local fire departments.

155.475 Used for inter-department emergency communications by local and state police forces.

155.175 Emergency Medical Services

155.205 Emergency Medical Services

155.235 Emergency Medical Services

Other National Emergency Frequencies:

34.90 This frequency is used nationwide by the National Guard during emergencies

163.4875 National Guard during emergencies

163.5125: This is the national disaster preparedness frequency used jointly by the armed forces.

164.50: This is the national communications channel for the Department of Housing and Urban Development.

168.55: This is the national channel used by civilian agencies of the federal government for communications during emergencies and disasters.

243.00: This channel is used during military aviation emergencies.

259.70: This channel is used by the Space Shuttle during re-entry and landing.

296.80: This channel is used by the Space Shuttle during re-entry and landing.

311.00: This is an active in-flight channel used by the US Air Force.

409.625: This is the national communications channel for the Department of State.

165.375: This is the national communications channel for the Secret Service.

167.5625: This is the national communications channel for the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

415.70: This channel is used nationwide by various federal agencies.

Well that should fill a few memory banks for the emcomm enthusiasts out there! These frequencies are usually dead quiet but the minute something starts happening they instantly come alive.

I recall during 9/11 my scanner would stop on just about every frequency programmed into it. These frequencies were otherwise just dead air for months. You can just leave your Emergency Management Receiving scanner on all the time if you like.

When something happens in your area, I guarantee you will be the very first to know.

For example, I once heard a commercial plane going down into Lake Ontario. I heard the pilot calling “mayday! mayday!” on 121.500. It's truly an eerie feeling when you actually hear these things live as they happen. It was reported all over the news about an hour later. The power these scanners have in terms of first hand information can sometimes be astonishing.

So you have a sophisticated antenna analyzer, SWR and field strength meter in your shack huh? I bet most of you don't have a station monitor & spectrum analyzer yet?

You would be amazed at the great audio fidelity some of these analog scanners produce. You can effectively turn your obsolete radio scanner, er I mean “station monitor” in combination with your PC into a high-resolution spectrum analyzing equipment. Simply plug the audio output from your scanner into your mic input of your PC soundcard and download this program:

Now program your scanner on all your favorite repeater input frequencies and you can not only use it with the program listed above, but when you connect a pair of high quality headphones, it becomes a cheap an effective method of monitoring the audio quality of your stations transmitted signal.

Just what can be heard with an obsolete radio scanner? Technically speaking, anything. What you can do with them is only limited by one's imagination. Scanners are not just intended for listening to police calls but they can make a nice inexpensive interface to compliment many areas involving your everyday amateur radio activities.

You may have some additional suggestions. Let's hear your ideas!

73 Charles - KC8VWM

Member Comments:
This article has expired. No more comments may be added.
 
Is Your Analog Scanner Really Obsolete?  
by KM3T on February 8, 2006 Mail this to a friend!
If you are reasonably close to an airport and really have no other need for your scanner, consider providing a feed to LiveATC. We run a volunteer network of scanner feeds dedicated to aviation.

http://www.liveatc.net

Contact us:
http://www.liveatc.net/contactform/form.php

73,
Dave KM3T
LiveATC.net
 
Is Your Analog Scanner Really Obsolete?  
by KD8AVA on February 8, 2006 Mail this to a friend!
Great suggestions! I currently own three (technically four) scanners, and 2 of which are capable of monitoring MOT and EDACS trunked systems. However, I'm told when the 800Mhz rebanding goes into effect for the state of Michigan, then my scanners won't recieve Motorola anymore, which is what our county dispatch (ie fire, police, medical...etc) talk on. So I'm going to have two nice conventional scanners (with EDACS).

I was thinking about doing exactly what you're talking about! Using one to scan all the ham satelite frequencies, and the other for conventional business frequencies - don't forget about those!

Depending on the scanner, you could also install a discriminator tap and do some fun things with that and a data slicer as well.

I completely agree that a scanner is only obsolete when it's dead. Even my old Bearcat 245 is useful in the shack when tuned to the local repeater/ARES frequency all the time.
 
Is Your Analog Scanner Really Obsolete?  
by NA4IT on February 8, 2006 Mail this to a friend!
Very good article. I highly recommend if you are active in your area's EMCOMM work, then by all means, monitor all your local repeaters and simplexes. Also, a scanner make a good "friend" out in the workshop.
 
RE: Is Your Analog Scanner Really Obsolete?  
by WILLY on February 8, 2006 Mail this to a friend!
(KC8VWM) on February 8, 2006

" - - -
Most programmable scanners will typically be capable of VHF and UHF reception from 30 - 512 mhz. Some even as high as 800. This means many of them are quite capable of 6 and 10 meter reception. I found this especially useful for monitoring 6 and 10 meters for a band opening. "

A helpful hint: If you are referring to the 10 meter ham band, I don't think you'll find it with a scanner that receives 30 - 512 MHz.
 
Is Your Analog Scanner Really Obsolete?  
by G5FSD on February 8, 2006 Mail this to a friend!
some other uses..

Intermod checker. If the old scanner has a different I.F. to your new scanner, it can be handy to tell whether a signal is genuine or just an image.

Signal Source. You can generate a nice quiet signal on the frequency of your choice by tuning to the right frequency. An old scanner with an IF of 10.7MHz will kick out a signal on 145.7 when tuned to 135.0, for example. Place it in the yard, in your shed, or down the street in your parked car if the range is that impressive, and you'll have a constant low signal to use for comparing the reception on experimental antennas.

Scanning enthusiasts (in countries where it is allowed) could leave small searches running for hours and hours, picking a new range each day, and pretty soon find ALL the (well-used) channels.

But the main use is as stated, monitoring all those calling channels on bands you don't normally listen to - so you'll see how active they really are. I doubt I'll *EVER* hear a call on 23cm FM :o)

Or, you could give away the thing to a young family member to get them interested in radio - much better than getting next to nothing for it on an auction site! If they ARE interested they'll never forget what a great gift it was...
 
Is Your Analog Scanner Really Obsolete?  
by KD6NIG on February 8, 2006 Mail this to a friend!
I have an old handheld scanner that I hooked to a wire and draped outside the window. Programmed in it are all of the local repeaters both 2m and 440, as well as some further away. I think I programmed it with roughly 50 of them from locales in a 50 mile radius.

I have my radio at home programmed with local frequencies too, but I mostly leave it on one or 2 repeaters I'm most active on.

I also put in the packet frequency I use.

This one I turn on when I'm bored. I can hear if other repeaters are active and join in on a conversation if it interests me. Actually, the scanner has told me that we simply have a lot of repeaters around that don't get much use, but still.

I have the packet freq in there so on occasion it will happen to catch my station transmitting. If it sounds odd or funny ever, I know I have a problem and can fix it. I've used it before to help set the transmit level properly too.

I also have local law enforcement, etc programmed into it, but I usually leave that bank disabled. But, if I hear something going on nearby, a quick button push enables those frequencies.

The funny thing is this scanner is one of those newfangled trunk scanners. Well, not so new, but its probably close to 10 years old, but after moving out of Sacramento nobody here in Stockton has gone ultra modern yet.

But it works good for what I use it for. Kinda got bored with the law enforcement monitoring, so I use it for this hobby now. Like the author said, better than it being a dust magnet!

I wouldn't mind finding a older programmable base type one for this purpose, just to have one of those on my desk with the bluish numbers flashing around....
 
RE: Is Your Analog Scanner Really Obsolete?  
by ERNESTTHOMPSONEXK4EAT on February 8, 2006 Mail this to a friend!
KC8VWM:

"Most programmable scanners will typically be capable of VHF and UHF reception from 30 - 512 mhz....This means many of them are capable of 10 meter reception. I found this especially useful for monitoring 10 meters for a band opening."


----


I know you are new to Ham Radio -- but 10 meters is in the HF bands (28.0 - 29.700 MHz ) so I highly doubt that "many UHF/VHF scanners are capable of 10 meter reception"


 
Is Your Analog Scanner Really Obsolete?  
by KG6WLV on February 8, 2006 Mail this to a friend!
When I returned to my home town after a five-year abscence, I was surprised to find NONE of the frequencies I had programmed had been superceded by trunked systems. Out in California, many jurisdictions just plain don't have the money to convert! Also, unless properly designed trunked systems aren't as reliable, in many cases.
I enjoy monitoring all the local repeaters while doing other chores. My HT is two-meters only, and I can monitor many other machines with my handheld Uniden BC 200 XLT.
By the way, some scanners have a range from 28 MHz up, so they can be used for 10-meter FM monitoring.
Some other things you can monitor:
State division of Forestry (Fire fighting operations during the summer.) Mostly VHF.
Local refineries or other industrial installations subject to "emergencies". (Our local ones are all in the 800-900 MHz range.)
If you have a local railroad station, interesting stuff on VHF can be heard.
 
RE: Is Your Analog Scanner Really Obsolete?  
by NS6Y_ on February 8, 2006 Mail this to a friend!
Bearcat 300 baby!! Best $5 at a ham club meeting I ever spent!
 
Is Your Analog Scanner Really Obsolete?  
by KG6MXV on February 8, 2006 Mail this to a friend!
Finally, some good news for a change. My Uniden Bearcat 200XLT is at home, still working fine, but not getting much use. This gives me ideas on how to use it, especially if I can get it to monitor 6 meters while I'm doing other things around the house....nicely done!
 
Is Your Analog Scanner Really Obsolete?  
by N0AH on February 8, 2006 Mail this to a friend!


F.E.M.A. has radios? Hummmm....
 
Is my TS200 obsolete?  
by W1DUD on February 8, 2006 Mail this to a friend!
I just bought a Pro3 does that make my TS2000 obsolete? LOL "73" W1DUD....
 
Is Your Analog Scanner Really Obsolete? NO!  
by W1DUD on February 8, 2006 Mail this to a friend!
I guess my Bearcat 160 isn't obsolete anymore with all the frequencies still available to listen to. Repost this in 10 yrs will you please.
 
RE: Is Your Analog Scanner Really Obsolete? NO!  
by K4RAF on February 8, 2006 Mail this to a friend!
Never!

I have about 15 scanners. Out of all of them, there might be the same 2 ham frequencies in them, satellites.

I have many programmed with

Railroad channels 160.215-161.565MHz in 15KHz steps (2 scanning & several fixed road channels)
military air 225-400MHz in 25 KHz steps
Civil air 108-138 in 25KHz steps
Federal UHF 406-420MHz in 12.5KHz steps
FRS 462 & 467MHz
Marine 150
MURS
902-928MHz

Then a couple for local non-trunked activity AND a couple of "setouts" for specific monitoring (like car chases, searches or simplex). All audio can be recorded by VOX on laptop with ScanRec in MP3.

I use a master multiband antenna array @65' feeding a 13 port receiver multicoupler that passes up to 1GHz with +2.5dB gain. Then I have a few descrete antennas for some of the more challenging bands like 900 & 406MHz direct to the individual scanners.

I have enjoyed scanning even before getting a license.
 
RE: Is Your Analog Scanner Really Obsolete? NO!  
by RobertKoernerExAE7G on February 8, 2006 Mail this to a friend!
Nice article.
Well written.

I lost interest in scanners when I got my Novice ticket.

Bob
 
RE: Is Your Analog Scanner Really Obsolete? NO!  
by AB5CC on February 8, 2006 Mail this to a friend!
I have 29.600 and 52.525 programmed into my scanner here at home. This way, I can tell if there is a band opening. In 2004, I even heard a Japanese station working a stateside station on 29.600. This was with the standard whip antenna on the scanner. You can bet that 10m FM was open if my scanner heard it at countertop level with that antenna.

I like having the ability to tell if 6m or 10m is open without running my IC-746 all day and night. I also put the ISS and some FM satellites in it and do hear them from time to time.

Nice article.

Kenneth
 
RE: Is Your Analog Scanner Really Obsolete? NO!  
by KT4XF on February 9, 2006 Mail this to a friend!
Bearcat 211 & R/S TRC-434 CB base.. .. .. best $12 hamfest combo! The 211 (30-512mhz)gets used for CSX RR monitoring, 121.5 & Cobb co ATIS, NWS & most repeaters.
The CB is used on CH 11 & 19 to give directions to the generic buisness parks around Kennesaw,Ga.
I use an FT-470 2m/440 w/wideband rx for mobile. These rigs run 24/7. (still have a VHF Heathkit Xtal control that works !!!) 73 de KBBC-9795
 
RE: Is Your Analog Scanner Really Obsolete? NO!  
by KX8N on February 9, 2006 Mail this to a friend!
"I know you are new to Ham Radio -- but 10 meters is in the HF bands (28.0 - 29.700 MHz ) so I highly doubt that "many UHF/VHF scanners are capable of 10 meter reception" "

Most of them that I've seen go down to 29 Mhz, and since the scanner picks up FM and that covers 10 M FM, then it works just fine. So yes, many UHF/VHF scanners do indeed cover part of the 10 meter band.
 
Is Your Analog Scanner Really Obsolete?  
by K9OSC on February 9, 2006 Mail this to a friend!
An excellent, well thought out and written article. I have put my scanners to use other than listening to trunking data and found that to be much more interesting. Some additional great ideas were presented that I will explore in my own shack! Thanks!
 
RE: Is Your Analog Scanner Really Obsolete?  
by WA9SVD on February 9, 2006 Mail this to a friend!
I must say a good article, and I for one hardly ever think of equipment "obsolete" until they no longer work!
Some ot the suggestions fall under the category of "DUH! We should all have thought of that," but sometimes the obvious uses escape us, so it's a good idea to have suggested everything.
Just a few comments:

1. Although a scanner may in fact be a way to monitor for openings on 6 M or 2M, since scanners are normally FM receivers, they may not pick up openings as often, or as early as openings that effect the lower (CW/SSB) portions of those bands. Blame it on the ionosphere, the "Propagation Gods," whatever.

2. While a 30->whereever monitor can NOT receive 10 M directly, again, even though a scanner is normally FM, if an opening is detected around 30 MHz or slightly above, it will usually mean that there is good propagation on 10 M, and should at least be investigated. (The vagaries of propagation not withstanding.)

3. Lastly, but maybe not least, if you DO decide a scanner, iPod, stereo, whatever electronic gadget, gizmo, etc. is really, truly, obsolete ot defunct beyond repair, PLEASE dispose of it properly! Because of the lead in solder, etc. in almost all electronic "waste," there ARE materials that are hazardous and don't belong in a landfill, and need to go to a recycle center for proper reclamation and/or disposal. (Or sell it on eBay.)
 
RE: Is Your Analog Scanner Really Obsolete?  
by KX8N on February 9, 2006 Mail this to a friend!
"if an opening is detected around 30 MHz or slightly above, it will usually mean that there is good propagation on 10 M, and should at least be investigated."

You know, as far band openings, that's a REALLY good point that I forgot about. I was sitting here in So. Ohio one evening a few summers ago just scanning the frequencies between 30Mhz and 50Mhz. Around 34Mhz or so I started hearing what sounded like taxi drivers communicating with a dispatcher. As I listened I realized they were in New York. That was quite a nice little opening that I had discovered. And they sounded like they were uptown from me. If FM was coming through that strong, think what 10M SSB/CW was doing!

Thanks for the reminder.

Dave
KX8N
 
Is Your Analog Scanner Really Obsolete?  
by KA3FYU on February 9, 2006 Mail this to a friend!
Excellent article, and way to think creatively. I have no digital scanners and constantly try to think of ways of getting out of the scanning rut.

Nice job!

Erik
KA3FYU
 
RE: Is Your Analog Scanner Really Obsolete?  
by W5HTW on February 9, 2006 Mail this to a friend!
I run an old RS 200 channel scanner 24-7. I actually have only ten or so channels plugged into it, and some of them are locked out. I do keep 146.52 as the only ham channel in it.

Being in an extremely rural county, a scanner to monitor police and fire is almost necessary. There is no other way, none, to learn of a fire in the area until I smell the smoke. And with fast-moving grass fires, that is WAY too late! Monitoring fire services in the county is critical. Monitoring the sheriff's dept is also important, due to the rising crime rate and the fact it can take 40 minutes after a 911 call to get a cop on the scene.

Again, in the car and truck I monitor public safety, and for the same reasons given above. Our county is not likely to ever go to any kind of trunked system as it is too vast and too remote. It can't be covered, and there aren't enough services. So we shall remain on VHF for years to come. That means my scanners will die a very elderly death one of these days!

For those of us in rural counties, scanners are often a way of life. They tell us of impending bad weather, of fires, and police actions that could affect us. There is no news media that can do that. We have no radio stations, no tv stations, and only a weekly paper. If something is happening the scanner is the ONLY way to find out!

And it makes a nice hobby, too. I gave one to my Mother about a year ago and it has given her hundreds of hours of pleasure. Especially since when there is an ambulance call, we so often recognize the name. Same with police calls. "Did you know the police were out near John's house last night?" So the scanner is also our rural "back yard fence."

Do I use them for ham radio? Except for the old RS Pro-2001 or whatever it is, the rest of them ARE ham transceivers, so they occasionally get to actually transmit when I need to talk to one of the club members.

No, my analog scanners are not obsolete, and are not likely to be so for years to come. I think that's true of many who live in highly rural, and very large, counties, where 800 mhz and trunked systems simply are neither technically nor economically feasible.

Good info on using one for APRS reception. I don't have anyone I need to keep track of, though, so can't see how it will help me. Interesting to think about. Some of the state (but none of the county) emergency vehicles are equipped with GPS and APRS (the A is Automatic, not Amateur) so maybe I could figure out a way to track them. If I needed to.

Anyway, good article, thanks for the frequencies.

Enjoy

Ed
 
Is Your Analog Scanner Really Obsolete?  
by KG4NCK on February 9, 2006 Mail this to a friend!
Great article! I've been thinking for a while about selling my little scanner or at least trading it for some commodity cheese. Now, however, I have found new purpose for the scanner and will hold on to it for a little while longer.
 
RE: Is Your Analog Scanner Really Obsolete? NO!  
by NT9M on February 9, 2006 Mail this to a friend!
"I know you are new to Ham Radio -- but 10 meters is in the HF bands (28.0 - 29.700 MHz ) so I highly doubt that "many UHF/VHF scanners are capable of 10 meter reception"

Just decided to get my old BC200XLT off the shelf...and yes...it does do 29 Mhz! Guess the old girl has some life in her yet! Nice article.
 
RE: Is Your Analog Scanner Really Obsolete? NO!  
by NS6Y_ on February 9, 2006 Mail this to a friend!
Good point about scanners in rural areas.

The last time I lived in a rural area I found simple old VHF to be very entertaining listening, and when it rained, well, I'd listen to um, analog cell fone calls on my RS scanner and people would be all over town talking about the weather, I could tell street by street what it was doing lol!
 
Is Your Analog Scanner Really Obsolete?  
by AI4DG on February 10, 2006 Mail this to a friend!
A really great use for those old scanners is to give them to kids. I bet at least 1 in 3 hams under the age of 40 got started listening to scanners.
 
RE: Is Your Analog Scanner Really Obsolete?  
by K1WCC on February 11, 2006 Mail this to a friend!
Good, common sense article. In my area, scanners began to show up at yard sales when the town PD went to 800 mhz. Prices were always right, and I bought quite a few. Our local FD, although on 800 mhz. trunk freqs, still simulcasts on VHF-low band due to the number of low band pagers still in the hands of firefighters. The local electric utility is still active on UHF, not to mention NOAA WX and the marine frequencies. Interesting APRS idea! How did he know I had a $10.00 laptop?
 
RE: Is Your Analog Scanner Really Obsolete?  
by NS6Y_ on February 12, 2006 Mail this to a friend!
I remember discovering to my delight that a Radio Shack Weather Cube, if put on a variable power supply and the voltage decreased, would "go broadband" and I'd get whatever VHF signals were strong enough, in other words it was signal strength selective more than frequency selective. It allowed me to find out about all kinds of interesting VHF traffic near me, I even got to hear Dr. Dorian Paskowitz being paged.
 
RE: Is Your Analog Scanner Really Obsolete?  
by N6HVP on February 12, 2006 Mail this to a friend!
Good Lord, I remember the RS Weather Cube, too, and thought that was pretty slick how I could tap into those "secret" weather transmissions whenever I wanted...lol

I was able to snag a Bearcat 210 at a garage sale a few years ago for about $5 and your article made me dig it out of storage, blow the dust off and put it back online. And you are right, it is handly to have out in the workshop as company while doing chores.

I was able to find the complete original manual for it here:

http://www.kungfo0.org/radio/bearcat.pdf

73,

Mike
 
Is Your Analog Scanner Really Obsolete?  
by W9GB on February 12, 2006 Mail this to a friend!
The National Weather Service (NWS) frequencies are:
http://www.nws.noaa.gov/nwr/nwrbro.htm

162.400 MHz
162.425 MHz
162.450 MHz
162.475 MHz
162.500 MHz
162.525 MHz
162.550 MHz

I have an old Plectron R700 receiver (another great find) with the local Chicago NWS crystal (tone decoder is also set at 1050 Hz) for the squelch break during servere storms, etc.
NWS test the system every Wednesday morning, so when the Plextron is operating when I get home - I know that the system is working properly

g. beat
 
RE: Is Your Analog Scanner Really Obsolete?  
by KC8VWM on February 12, 2006 Mail this to a friend!
FB on the weather frequencies.

It looks like some dusty scanners are getting some new uses.

One use I didn't mention was using a cheap scanner for remote control operation.


A scanner can be used as a reciever in combination with a DTMF decoder for the purpose of turing on/off various electronic devices by remote control.

I.E. "0" for turning off the light and "1" for turning the light on etc.

I wonder if you could use a scanner and DTMF decoder as a long range garage door opener? :)

Think of it as a radio controlled on/off switch.

Here's a good article on building a DTMF radio controlled on/off devices.

http://www.discovercircuits.com/C/control6.htm

I was thinking that a cheap handheld scanner connected to a small solar panel (like the one's they use to charge up solar powered garden lights) can end up controlling a remote antenna switch on your tower. ...Look ma! no wires!

What you can operate by remote control using a dusty old scanner is only limited by your imagination.

Keep experimenting!

73 Charles - KC8VWM
 
Is Your Analog Scanner Really Obsolete?  
by WA4HNC on February 14, 2006 Mail this to a friend!
If you're anywhere near shipping lanes, you can monitor ships movements plotted on a digital map or satellite picture. All ships over 300 tons must carry an AIS (Automatic Identification System)system which broadcasts information about the ship to any suitably equipped receiver. AIS uses very short bursts of high speed data on two VHF channels in the marine band. The two frequencies used are 161.975 (Marine ch 87) and 162.025 (ch 88) MHz. Ships broadcast their identity, position, course, speed and destination so that other ships can take account of their movements.

I've been using an ICOM PCR-1000 receiver for this, taking the 9600 baud FM discriminator output and running it to the mic soundcard input on my laptop. A piece of software (ShipPlotter, found at http://www.coaa.co.uk/shipplotter.htm) does the decoding of the signal and the plotting onto a digital map or satellite picture.

Since I live on a small island on the west coast of Sweden (Tjorn Island), there's plenty of ships that I can follow by direct reception of their signals. The really cool feature of ShipPlotter is the sharing function which allows me to follow ships that are out of my range but which others are receiving and sharing.

There is a lively ShipPlotter discussion group on Yahoo to help you keep up with the latest developments.

73,

Craig Kall SM6JCD / WA4HNC
Tjorn Island (EU-043)
Sweden
 
RE: Is Your Analog Scanner Really Obsolete?  
by K0JEG on February 18, 2006 Mail this to a friend!
>>Most programmable scanners will typically be capable of VHF and UHF reception from 30 - 512 mhz. Some even as high as 800. This means many of them are quite capable of 6 and 10 meter reception. I found this especially useful for monitoring 6 and 10 meters for a band opening. "

>A helpful hint: If you are referring to the 10 meter ham band, I don't think you'll find it with a scanner that receives 30 - 512 MHz.

There are 10 kinds of people in the world... those who understand binary and those who don't.
 
RE: Is Your Analog Scanner Really Obsolete?  
by KC0ETV on February 18, 2006 Mail this to a friend!
Great Article. However, to all those who think their area won't go digital trunked. WRONG. I live in a very rural, very poor, very hilly area. It is not only going digital, it has GONE digital. Right now both VHF and 800 trunked digital are in use. Soon VHF will be gone. The county has gotten grants for the feds and everybody else to get equipment. They have but up digital node after digital node to cover the areas previously covered by 1 or 2 VHF repeaters. Sure the local volunteer fire department will still have VHF for tactical work, the plan is to take public works, law enforcement, fire, ambulance, OEM, and even the county commissioners completely digital with in the year. If will happen, it has happened.

Still no scanner is obsolete, even dead ones make interesting paper weights.
 
Is Your Analog Scanner Really Obsolete?  
by W9DPY on February 19, 2006 Mail this to a friend!
Nice article. I have 7 scanners right now (not including the old Regency gathering dust). Two are analog trunk tracking units, but the rest are good old simplex analog. While some of the responses have questioned how fast digital systems will be coming on-line, I think we have some time before a total digital "take over". Also, there has been some worry over the re-banding using narrower channel seperation for public service/RR/ect..

Where I'm at, Austin has gone digital (still doing some VHF analog simulcast), but the local and county stuff (Williamson County) is a Motorola Type II analog trunk system with VHF for the more rural county agencies. There are no plans to change it, as it works fine and the cost is prohibitive; grants or not.

Besides weather and railroad monitoring, like many of the other readers I have found that leaving a scanner on the 30 - 50 MHz band detects some great openings.

Thanks for the article and the URL's/frequencies!

Dave - W9DPY
 
RE: Is Your Analog Scanner Really Obsolete?  
by WA2JJH on February 20, 2006 Mail this to a friend!
nICE WORK CHUCK....MIKE
 
RE: Is Your Analog Scanner Really Obsolete?  
by WA2JJH on February 20, 2006 Mail this to a friend!
nICE WORK CHUCK....MIKE
 
RE: Is Your Analog Scanner Really Obsolete?  
by KC8VWM on February 24, 2006 Mail this to a friend!
Thanks Mikee, and one and all.

KC8VWM
 
Is Your Analog Scanner Really Obsolete?  
by WA4DQS on June 8, 2006 Mail this to a friend!
In the late 1990's I scored three nice desk-top Radio Shack scanners that had been mis-marked for $75.00 each! (they were supposed to be $225 each).

I still have one I use in my shack to monitor local repeaters, ISS and simplex frequecies my friends and I use. Why keep your tranceiver cooking all day when these old beasts can take the heat?

- js
 
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