Friday, 9 September 2016

Article - Non Police Scanning in Tasmania

It is a cold winter’s night, after a hard day at work you arrive home and reach to turn on your radio scanner, it comes to life with various users but after a little while of scanning you notice you have not heard any police talk groups active, you check and confirm the system / bank is turned on and the talk groups are not locked out. The scanner seems to be working and other users are coming in well, so nothing seems wrong with your equipment.

The next day you jump online and see other users have reported the same thing, it has finally happened, the police have switched back to digital encryption and are now unscannable.

The above was written back in 2010. As I am sure everybody knows by now, the Tasmanian Police are unscannable, at least in and around the major population areas of Tasmania, from what I have seen this could even be increased to cover most / all of Tasmania in the future.

With this in mind I thought a post with some ideas of ways to find out what is going on now the police are gone would be helpful.

First I must say that I don't see the police going “secure” as the end of the scanning hobby or any other such rubbish that I know has happened in other states where forums and websites have disappeared almost overnight once the police became un-scannable, while I am sure some people find the police very interesting to listen to and are not sure what the future holds now they are gone I ask this question, would you stop watching TV and sell your TV if your favourite show got taken off the air? I would say no you would not, you would find something else to watch and that is what I hope most people will do now the police are mostly gone from a scanning point of view.

Here are some other users it might be worth having programmed in to listen to:

Tas fire and Tas ambulance services: while these are not as active on the radio as what the police are you still hear quite a bit on them, especially in regards to accidents where you sometimes get more or different information to what the police talk about.

Security companies: Quite often you will hear them talk about things before the police are even aware of something happening and they being somewhat less formal with their communications give out a lot more information over the air compared to the police.

Taxi's: About the least formal radio users (second only to UHF CB users) on the air and quite often with the number of taxis on the roads driving around and sitting in public areas waiting for jobs they see things as they happen which then get reported to the police so quite often you hear things before the police know about them. Over the past few years they have become a less appealing target as the major companies are now using MDT type systems and use no voice communications in the Launceston area. Some of the stuff I have heard on the taxi channels over the years is amazing.

Air band: this would be the single most active band of frequencies in most areas of the state and while 99% of comms are day to day stuff you do sometimes hear interesting things happening.

Amateur radio: I know this is not every body’s cup of tea and I am the first to admit sometimes the on-air conversations can be a little dry but every now and then you do hear interesting things especially given how many hams are active on the air when they are driving around.

UHF CB: This band has a lot of idiots but with channel 40 being the road channel you hear about accidents and other road related events as they happen.

Local council: Another group of semi formal radio users, they are sometimes asked to clean up after accidents and with them being out and about they see things as they happen.

Bus drivers: These are around on the roads from early morning to late night and see incidents as they happen.

Delivery drivers / truck drivers: very in-formal radio users and always up to date with what is going on.

If none of this sounds interesting then what about trying some different  areas of the hobby like the following:

- Trunking: remember the police are not the only users of the EDACS network and I find Aurora quite interesting at times in the past.

- HF / shortwave radio: Not something I have much experience in of late but what little I have done in the past has been interesting.

- Searching out / confirming new frequencies: my favourite part of the hobby and something I spend a lot of time doing, I am surprised by how few people seem interested in doing this.  

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