Tuesday, 13 September 2016

My Radio Scanning Tips

Below is a list of radio scanning related hints and tips. Some of these are my own, others are ones that have been shared with me over the years by other scanner users.

Carrying your gear:
There are a few different ways you can carry your gear around, a lot of this depends on how much radio “stuff” you need to carry and how you use your scanner.
Some people can just throw their handheld scanner in a pocket as they walk out the door while others might need a better way to carry gear.

I personally have used many different cases and bags over the years, at one stage I had two Pelican brand hard carry cases. I have recently moved across to a much smaller hard case, this holds my UBC126AT, aerial, batteries, charger and USB cable. I also have a much larger hard ABS case which holds my whole radio collection and accessories. If this is too much of an over kill I have seen people use digital camera bags which work well as they are well padded plus they don’t draw “unwanted” attention when out in public.

Head phones:
With the amount of people these days using iPods, iPhones and other music devices with head phones, it is possible to pick up some good headphones fairly cheap that make you blend in with other people. I have a set of white in ear headphones that look very much like iPod ones and when I wear these while walking around with my UBC126AT on my belt or in my pocket I don’t look out of place. People assume I am listening to music, I use this to my advantage.

If you have more than one scanner / radio then try and keep them setup as close to the same as possible, for example if your handheld has bank / system 1 as the Fire Service then try and have your other radios with bank / system 1 as the fire service also, this makes things a lot easier when using different radios or trying to explain to somebody else how to use it if you’re driving or so on.

Before you start programming your scanner think about and plan what frequencies you want to program in and how you want to arrange them, some people like to group them based on service or coverage area where as others prefer in frequency order. My UBC126AT is programmed like this:
1 - 000 North (Fire, Ambulance, SES and common 000 frequencies)
2 – Air band / Amateur Radio
3 – UHF CB
4,5,6,7 – VHF / UHF Business band
8 - Services we don’t talk about ;)
9 - Hobart / Devonport / Burnie Frequencies
0 – Scratch bank for temporary storage or when trying to ID frequencies in use

Data management:
The more you get in to the scanning hobby the more information you need to keep track of.
When I first started I had a sheet of paper with the 100 channels I had in my handheld.  Over the years this increased to the stage where I had a folder on my computer full of many gigabytes of radio related information.

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