Wednesday, June 02, 2004

Notes from the Scanner Net May 30th, 2004 

Let me start out by saying that I sincerely hope that you followed my last suggestion on
this weeks net and found a past or present member of the armed services, shook their
hand and thanked them for their service to our country this Memorial Day.

We had 20 stations check in to the scanner net this week counting the net control station.

Breeze Shooters Hamfest
A number of topics were covered but by far the biggest item of note is that next weekend
will be the 50th Annual Breeze Shooters Hamfest & Computer Show. Held each year at
the Butler County Farm Show Grounds this is the tri state area's largest Hamfest and one
that you won't want to miss. The Breeze Shooters have donated a table to the scanner net
again this year and I will be manning the table. Please stop by and say hello and if you
have time you could "spell me a bit" so that I might go out and wander the flea market
and possibly deplete what little money I have left in my toy budget. Seriously though,
there are a number of great prizes and Icom is coming to the event is a big plus for our
area so I hope they see that we support their decision to bypass the Rochester Hamfest in
favor of us this year. I'm looking forward to seeing as many of you as possible at the
Hamfest again this year.

FRS & MURS are you monitoring?
Another issue that was raised but brought no response from the group was FRS and
MURS. I had been asked by one of the scanner net members if I had noticed that
businesses where using FRS illegally since it is only supposed to be used for personal
communications. I said that I had indeed noticed this phenomenon though as far as I
could tell it was not drawing attention from the FCC or anyone else for that matter. The
GMRS licensees have been guarding their turf since business was outlawed on those
channels but I fear that in most cases they are fighting a losing battle.

I also noted that while the MURS channels had been declared license free some time ago
that activity had not seemed to pick up on those frequencies like I had thought it would.
MURS for those that are not aware is the Multi User Radio Service. If you would like
more information on the service and what it can and cannot do take a look at this URL.

Here is a list of the FRS and MURS channels. Why not program them into your scanner
and let us know if you find any activity.

MURS Channels
151.820 MHz
151.880 MHz
151.940 MHz
154.570 MHz
154.600 MHz

FRS Channels
1. 462.5625
2. 462.5875
3. 462.6125
4. 462.6375
5. 462.6625
6. 462.6875
7. 462.7125
8. 467.5625
9. 467.5875
10. 467.6125
11. 467.6375
12. 467.6625
13. 467.6875
14. 467.7125

So give a listen and let us know if there is activity in your area.

Did I get it right?
I asked if anyone had checked the marine and railroad frequencies that I had sent in last
week's scanner notes and posted to the blog and indeed several of the stations that
checked in Sunday evening verified that my lists were indeed correct. Score one too the
luck of the Irish, I got one right!

Packet Radio & Scanners
I raised the subject of packet radio on the net which might not at first seem very scanner
related but if I am correct, and I hope that I will be, there soon will be good reason to
have a TNC or be able to decode AX.25 packet radio from your scanner. That is if you
are like most scanner listeners and want to keep up with all the action when emergency
communications are taking place.

There seems to be a resurgence of packet radio in amateur circles and particularly in the
area of emergency communications. Dave, KB3FXI, and the O'Hara Township group
are making good use of packet in their emergency response situations out on my end of
the world. While Geno, WA3IOU, over in Elizabeth has put together a packet network
that will knock your socks off. If you don't think so wait until you see the amount of
time, money and effort invested in this system. To say it was impressive would be a vast
understatement. Add to that the fact that this is one of the few areas where you can
LEGALELLY eaves drop on digital communications and you have something worth
looking into. With just some software on your computer and audio feed from your
scanner into a sound card you can be watching traffic on the packet network. Of course if
you are licensed life is much better since you can also participate if you so choose. For
those of you on this list that are indeed licensed think about hooking up a TNC and
getting involved. Here are two VERY good web sites where you can get additional
information about packet radio and see the South Western Pennsylvania Packet Group's
system they have built.

South Western Pennsylvania Packet Group

US Packet .NET

Both of these are really great an informative sites. I encourage you to check them out
even if you think you have no interest in packet radio. As I said in a message that I sent
around last week about the SWPPG meeting I attended this is a great group of people and
make packet radio a lot of fun to tinker with. I joined while there and look forward to
working with them in the future. Make sure if you stop by the scanner net table at the
Hamfest on Sunday to ask about packet radio.

State wide 800 mHz radio system

As you know I have been following the news stories and Internet discussions about the
new state wide digital trunked radio system being installed by M/A Com. It has
generated no small amount of controversy. Well now the state Auditor General, Bob
Casey, is calling for a "performance audit" of the system. What this means is someone
will be looking not only into the financial side of the system but also is it on time and
does it meet the specifications that were set by the state when the contract was put out for
bid. This could get interesting since as you know from listening to the net that depending
on who you talk to at the state level you get diametrically opposing views on the current
state of the system and its progress. This is one to keep an eye on. If you hear anything
about it or read any articles in the newspapers or trade publications please bring it to our
attention on the net.

Where were you when the lights went out?

We have had a share of electrical storms in May and summer is not even here yet. Wait
till they really get going. Of course with all these storms come flooding and power
outages. If you watch television news you know we have had several areas of the county
hit really hard so far with flooding and downed power lines. Needless to say this makes
for interesting scanner listening. I only hope that you have all your NI-CAD and NIHM
batteries fully charged for those times when there is no wall juice available to run your
favorite scanner. Between my ham rigs and several hand held scanners I have yet to miss
out on any of the action in my area. For those of you served by Allegheny Power
Company here is a list of frequencies for tracking their activity.

This was cut and pasted form the WPA Scanner mailing list.

Here is what I have for Allegheny Power:

47.8400 82.5 CH 1 ALLE-KISKI (47.86?)
48.0600 82.5 CH 2 BUTLER
48.0400 82.5 CH 3 JEANETTE
48.2000 82.5 CH 4 JEFFERSON
48.3400 82.5 CH 5 KEYSTONE
47.9800 82.5 CH 6 KITTANNING
47.9200 82.5 CH 7 LATROBE
47.7600 82.5 CH 8 LAUREL
48.0800 82.5 CH 9 MON VALLEY
48.0200 82.5 CH 10 NITTANY
48.2400 82.5 CH 11 S PENN
47.9000 82.5 CH 12 WASHINGTON
48.1000 82.5 CH 13 W STRING
48.0400 77.0 CH B-6 KEYSTONE STORM B
48.0800 77.0 CH B-12 NITTANY STORM B
48.0200 77.0 CH B-14 S PENN STORM B
48.0600 77.0 CH B-16 WASHINGTON STORM B

The 158.250 you are hearing is likely the
Dominion-People's Gas Co repeater in Wilkinsburg.

Joe M.

For additional utility company frequencies check out the Western Pennsylvania Scanner
Frequency Page.



Well that is all for this week. Don't forget the Hamfest on Sunday and I hope to hear all
of you on the scanner net Sunday evening.

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