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Monday, 15 February 2016

How I got in to Radio - Steve in Central Vermont

I first became interested in listening to a scanner back in 2012. I was injured on the job and I was unable to continue to work out in the public sector. I started working from home and ended up spending several hours each day working on my computer and found myself quite bored listening to the radio during the day or watching Squawk Box on the CNBC business channel on t.v.

I know my grandfather used to listen to a police scanner and there are some in-laws, from my marriage, that listen to police scanners. I started doing research on the internet about scanners, how they work , and what I would be able to listen to and use in my area.
One thing led to another and I ended up requesting a Uniden BCT15X scanner for Christmas in 2012. Most of the frequencies in my area are still analog so this was the best base unit that would work for me since I was new to police scanning.

Once I got my scanner for Xmas, I had it up and running with FreeScan software in two days and was listening to an outside world that I had never heard before. It was new and exciting to listen, to not only police, but fire, EMS, sheriffs, ambulance calls, the whole works!!!

After those first few months of listening to my scanner, both inside my house, and moving it outdoors in the spring/summer when the weather warmed up to listen to it, was when I realized I was getting better reception from outside of my house, one level lower, than what I was getting from from inside my house, using the stock antenna that came with it.

It didn't take me long to realize I needed to erect an outdoor antenna. Now I was researching antennas and the best way to install one from my current housing set-up.
I decided on an ST2 antenna mounted on top of a 20' conduit pipe that was secured to a second chimney that wasn't getting used much, using a chimney mount set. I also purchased all the equipment for proper grounding, and tape sealers and conduit sealers, to keep the weather elements from destroying or eroding my connections.
In the summer of 2013 I had the antenna up and was now getting reception on my scanner from at least 80 miles away, as the crow flies, and some days I can hear further!

Of course, once somebody gets hooked to listening to scanners, rarely can they own just one! For my 2014 Christmas list, I requested a mobile unit, a Uniden BC125AT so I didn't have to unhook my base unit in order to listen to my scanner while I was sitting outside on my deck during the warmer weather relaxing or working around the house.

I couldn't be happier with my set-up and I'm quite happy listening to all the chatter that comes across the frequencies, and I continue to learn more about my scanners and this hobby every day. I also learn quite a bit from RadioReference.com and other related Web sites too.

If there is anything that will change in the coming years as far as me listening to scanners, I can see myself purchasing a digital scanner, both a base and mobile unit, to continue to listen to the surrounding police and fire/EMS dispatches. I would guess that eventually, and I think there is already something in the works, that both the local police and State police, will be switching over to digital radios in the near future.

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