Tuesday, 22 December 2015

What is radio scanning?

Radio scanning is a hobby which is enjoyed by people all across Australian and the world. Radio scanners are special radios that receive signals not audible on normal AM/FM radios like you might have in your home or car. Various groups make use of two way radios; these include the 000 services such as ambulances, police and fire services. Business users such as buses, trucks and security companies, aircraft, trains, boats, amateur radio operators and CB radio can all be heard on a radio scanner.

Interest in radio scanning has dropped off over the past decade, as most of the 000 services and some business users have migrated to “secure” forms of two way radio communications which cannot be received on any radio scanner. This has seen scanning appeal less to the casual listener, these days most people with an interest in radio scanning are now approaching this hobby from a technical point of view where searching the bands for new signals, data logging / decoding and other more technical interests have taken over from listening to the 000 services which used to be the main reason most people had a radio scanner.

Contrary to some widespread beliefs and misinformation, radio scanning is perfectly legal in Australia unless you are listening to communications carried over the public telephone network. This includes mobile phones, cordless phones, sea phones and any phone patch interconnects which some commercial two way radio users may have.  Some commonsense around radio scanning is to not repeat what you hear to any third parties and not to use what you hear for commercial gain or illegal purposes.

While some users are now missing from the bands due to them moving to mobile phones or secure radio systems, other users are appearing on the air. The hobby is always changing and evolving as technology changes.

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