Tuesday, 12 December 2017

Why radio scanning is the perfect hobby (For me at least)

Over the past 19 years “hobbies” have been a major issue for me.
It all started in October 1999 when I brought a Tandy brand 100 channel handheld scanner that covered from 66 MHz to 956 MHz, I used this almost nonstop from the day I had it, after getting some good frequencies from my electronics teacher at college.  After using this radio for about 6 months I had saved up enough with a bit extra money from my 18th birthday to buy a brand-new scanner, I got a Uniden UBC9000xlt base scanner in March 2000. 

I totally feel in love with scanner at this point and have never looked back since. I then got an external aerial installed and that greatly improved the number of frequencies I could hear and the quality of the signal. During March 2002 my beloved Tandy handheld got damaged by an accident at my work place while it was sitting on a bench. This meant I had to buy a new handheld scanner; I got a Uniden UBC3000xlt handheld. 

This was constantly with me whenever I was away from home and I have spent many nights listening to my scanners as major events have unfolded and spent many hours listening to what's going on around my city. Around October 2002 I got interested in being able to listen to the state-wide EDACS based radio system that the police and our power company use. After searching the internet, I came across the Uniden UBC245xlt trunk tracker ii scanner. I put one on lay by hoping to be able to pay it off as a Christmas present for myself. 

As it happened 2 days before I was to pick it up, my car got broken in to at work (I left a door unlocked for 2 minutes while loading boxes) and my UBC3000xlt handheld got stolen. I pick up my new 245xlt in 2 days’ time and after a shaky start programming it for the EDACS system, I was rewarded by getting it to work It is all ways with me and I loved it.  The way that it allowed me to follow transmissions as they move frequencies is amazing and a real benefit after having to use a normal scanner to try and listen to it. Over the time I have had my scanners, my interest groups have changed many times, starting off with the Air band and emergency services, moving in to the business users and I liked listening to the EDACS system, and the fire service.

This lead me to UHF CB and then to me obtaining my amateur radio ticket (ex VK7FPGB) which I let lapse about 10 years ago due to a lack of time / equipment and a location suitable to do this.
In early 2008 I was getting a little bit sick of the radio scanning hobby and the issues associated with this, which in part lead me to try my hand at photography. Very soon after starting with this I found I had some talent and a passion for photography. In late 2008 I decided to get back in to radio scanning in a small way which then grew again and this lead to me focusing on this and photography taking a back seat. Over the next 5 years I changed and moved between both these hobbies plus I also tried my hand at creative writing, computer animation, programming and I also became heavy involved in the LEGO Technic hobby to the point where in early 2013 I ran a LEGO expo in Launceston called “Brixhibition” and following this I was elected the vice-president (North) of the Taz-brick Collectors Club.

By the middle of 2013 things had come to a head and after much soul searching I decided to leave all my other hobbies behind and just concentrate on the ultralight DXing hobby. Late in 2013 Gary DeBock offered to build for me a Tecsun PL-380 with this famous 7.5” Loopstick mod, when I received this in the mail my interest and passion for ultralight DXing really took off. In early 2014 I again returned to the LEGO Technic hobby, by late 2014 I had again sold off all my LEGO and this has been a good decision on my part. I have also suffered from some health issues over the past 12 years and these mean that sometimes I am unable to get out and do things that I would like to do, ultralight DXing is a good reason to go out when I want to / can and it is also just as enjoyable if I am stuck at home too. Since the birth of our daughter in late 2014 I have found a new way to combine my ultralight DXing hobby with family life, often when I take her out for a walk I throw my ultralight DXing kit in the pram and take the chance to undertake some portable sessions when I am able to.

In late 2015 I again came back to the radio scanning hobby, this time with a new-found focus and desire to enjoy it for what it is, a relaxing hobby which I enjoy. I run a blog related to this where I share my postings, and this is something I really enjoy.

Now in 2017, my focus is on hunting down new frequencies and users, making good use of Close Call and the auto store modes of my UBCD396XT scanner.

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