Monday, May 03, 2004

Notes from the Pittsburgh Area Scanner Net - May 2nd 2004 

Pittsburgh Area Scanner Net – Sunday May, 2nd 2004

Thanks to all for another enjoyable roundtable discussion this week on the scanner net. We had a total of 21 stations check in counting the NCS. Here is a quick synopsis of our session last night.

Chris, NM3M, says that he is hearing activity on 461.000 both data and voice. The voice traffic sounds like a retail store operation with talk of departments like toys and hardware. Chris says the operation seems to go on 24/7, which would immediately lead one to think of Walmart. However, many stores are now working around the clock even though they may not be open for business. I know some of the Giant Eagle stores in my area have crews working restocking operations during off hours. Give a listen in on this frequency and let us know if you hear any activity.

Rich, K3RWN, reports finding 468.5125 active at the Mellon Arena. I didn’t jot down the call but someone else said that 463.3125 was used by security and 463.7875 by workers attending the gates. So if you are going to any events at the arena take your portable along and see what you hear. Rich is also at the forefront of digital monitoring in Pittsburgh. He is the first person I know that got the new Radio Shack PRO-96, which not only decodes APCO 25 digital modulation but also handles the ninety-six baud data stream of the newer systems. Rich has observed that Columbia Gas, who uses an APCO 25 trunked system, is sending data over some of their channels and that the PRO-96 identifies it even though it is not related to the APCO voice communications.

Rich and I are working on an Access database with scanner information for western Pennsylvania and he says that he is making progress with refining it. Rich has done the lion’s share of the work on this so far and sent me a copy on CD, which I have been working with. We hope to make this into a resource that the entire group can share. If you have Access experience and would like to help out drop me a note in email or contact me on the air. Thanks to Rich for his time and efforts.

Speaking of good work, Frank Stroncek one of our scanner listeners has put together a detailed frequency list with lots of good additional information on it. Things like conformation that the frequency listed is in use and unit numbering for those active on the channels. Frank is usually at our round table meetings at Kings and has generously made copies of his work available to those in attendance. Frank says that he has heard that Killbuck Police will be taking over patrolling activities for Ben Avon and Ben Avon Heights and Glenfield. They are currently listed as being on 155.010 and he would like to confirm this rumor is true and find unit numbers for them if so. He has also heard that Eleppo Township is taking over for Osborne. Osborne is currently on 155.490 and he is wondering if they will move 155.010 with Killbuck. Also Ohio Township is taking over for Emsworth and Sewickley Hills. Frank would like the same information for them in particular he is looking for car unit numbers. If you live in those areas and can help with listings please let me know.

From the feedback that I got on the net the drill in Westmoreland County on weapons of mass destruction went well. One of the amateur radio operators who participated reports that the new 800 mHz trunked system was used for part of the drill. Officials passed out some portable radios to test the parts of the system that are currently working. This system is not only trunked but also APCO 25 digital. The first major public safety system in this area to go with this format. If and when they make it fully operational there will be lots of folks making a trip to Radio Shack for a new PRO-96 if they want to listen in.

If you would like to see some pictures of the drill in progress some are posted on the Skyview Radio Society’s web page. Thanks to “Radio Free Bob” aka WC3O for the tip that they were there and thanks to Dennis, KB3HPC, for all his work maintaining the site for us. You can click on the link here to go to Skyview’s page.

Speaking of rumors, it is also reported that Allegheny County is pushing the surrounding suburbs VERY hard to combine in with the county dispatch centers for radio communications. Currently many municipalities still do their own dispatching with ring down lines to the PASP where the 911 phone calls are answered. If this change takes place the consolidation would be a new direction for local governments in this area. One to watch in the future.

That is all for this week. Hope to hear all of you on the net again next week.

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