Saturday, June 05, 2004

"Beacon" station Can you hear it? 

I got the following message from Dave, KB3FXI, yesterday and indeed I can hear this "beacon" on my BC-780XLT. I wonder just how much power it is running and how far away it can be heard. Anyone else out there hearing it?


I had my deep cycle battery run down a few weeks ago and had to recharge it.
I just now decided to hook my cb back up and there is a beacon signal
running on ch 19 that reports, "Attention truckers traveling Northbound on
Rt. 28, left lane closed ahead... slow down... use caution."

The message repeats about every 20 seconds.

I just thought you might be interested in that. Maybe it would make an
interesting side-note on the scanner net.

BTW, the signal is BLASTING in here at my location.

-Dave, KB3FXI

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Friday, June 04, 2004

Letter from the State Auditor General 

This letter from State Auditor General Bob Casey was posted to the PA-800MHZ mailing list today.

Department of the Auditor General
Commonwealth of Pennsylvania
Harrisburg, Pennsylvania 171204)018

May25, 2004

The Honorable Kelly Lewis
State Representative
gg;h Legislative District
Room 1498 East Wing
House Box 202020
Harrisburg, Pennsylvania 17120

Dear Representative Lewis:

Thank you for your letter of May 4. 7004 in which you requested that the
Department of the Auditor General conduct an audit of the Commonwealth's
project to build a new state-of-the-art Statewide Public Safety Digital Radio
Systern (SPSRS).

As you are aware, the Office of Administration issued a press release on
May 12. 2O04, indicating that the Commonwealth had retained IXP Corp. to
conduct an independent assessment of the SPSRS' current status and whether
the project is properly positioned for near term completion in the most efficient
and cost effective manner possible. In addition, the press release stated that IXP
Corp. will examine, as part of its assessment. concerns raised by you and
Representative Pat Browne about the level of resources necessary to ensure
interoperability between the Commonwealth's SPSRS and county and local

Based on the Office of Administration's action, we have decided to refrain from
commencing a formal audit of the project at this time. However, we will examine
the results of the IXP Corp.'s assessment and re-evaluate the need for future
audits. We have also requested additional information from the Office of
Administration about the status of the project. Enclosed is a copy of that

We will keep you and Representative Browne apprised of any further action the
Department of the Auditor General takes after IXP Corp. completes its
assessment. T
Thank you for bringing your concerns about the project to my attention. Please
do not hesitate to contact Sandy Williams or me at (717) 787-2543 should you
have any further questions concerning this issue.


Robert P. Casey, Jr.
Auditor General

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If you live in Westmoreland County start thinking PRO-96 

Well I received this yesterday via email from one of the scanner net members. I live on the border of Westmoreland County and do like to monitor comms up that way so I have been watching this system develop.

From a scanner net member in Westmoreland County:

Just to let you know. Today my one employer received a visit from Staley Communications who installed a Base station Astro Spectra radio and Antenna on the roof. The antenna is the weirdist thing i have seen Like a white block aim to one of the towers. Radio only has one talkgroup in it at present. Display say A C1 thats it no other channels and i really didnt want to key it up and see if anybody could hear me. Also the fire station right across from my station also had the install today.

Have not yet received portables or mobiles installed.

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Thursday, June 03, 2004

Uniden announces new scanner 

It is nice to know that there is enough consumer demand that Uniden and others are coming to the market place with new products. This one sounds like it will be a winner. For more information visit their web site. Uniden


Close Call™ RF Capture Technology Unveiled

FORT WORTH, Texas, June 1, 2004 -

Uniden America Corporation today announced its latest trunking scanner, the BC246T. Representing the first in a new generation of compact handheld scanners, the BC246T introduces several innovative new features, including Uniden’s exclusive Close Call™ RF Capture Technology. The BC246T will be available in the fall of 2004.
The BC246T uses a new dynamically allocated memory system, allowing the user to program its 3300+ channels into any configuration desired. While traditional scanners have been limited to only 10 banks, the BC246T groups channels into systems, allowing for 50 or more systems to be programmed and scanned simultaneously. Systems can still be quickly enabled or disabled using the 0-9 keys, and each system can have up to 10 groups of channels that are also available for quick selection.

Uniden’s exclusive Close Call™ RF Capture Technology zeroes in on nearby transmissions without the need for programming, even when the BC246T is in other modes, scanning, searching or holding on a frequency. For example, if someone transmits within a few hundred feet (range depends on transmit power and other radio traffic in the area), the scanner immediately detects and tunes to the transmission, ideal for use at events when the frequency being used is unknown.
“Customers have been asking for smaller scanners, more flexible programming and more features, and this is what we set out to deliver,” said Paul Opitz, Uniden product manager. “Continuing Uniden’s leadership in scanners, the BC246T brings scanning technology to a new level.”

The BC246T comes complete with two NiMH AA batteries, internal recharging, PC programming and control. Key features include:
• Compact Size (4½” x 2¾” x 1¼”)
• TrunkTracker III Technology (Motorola, EDACS, and LTR Analog Trunking)
• Comprehensive Analog Trunking including I-calls, Emergency Alert, Trunk Search and ID Blockout
• Up to 3300 Channels, Dynamically Allocated
• System, Channel Group and Channel Alpha Tagging
• 25-54, 108-174, 216-225, 400-512, 806-956, 1240-1300 MHz Coverage
• Close Call ™ RF Capture Technology
• SAME Weather Alert
• 10 Programmable Search Ranges
• 12 Preprogrammed Service Searches
• Backlit Display
• CTCSS/DCS Rapid Decode

About Uniden

Uniden America Corporation, the North American subsidiary of Japan-based Uniden Corporation, manufactures and markets wireless consumer electronic products including cordless telephones, business telecommunications systems, scanners, FRS/GMRS radios, marine radios and other wireless personal communications products. Based in Fort Worth, Texas, Uniden sells its products through dealers and distributors throughout North, Central and South America.

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Wednesday, June 02, 2004

Forgot a few URLs 

In my haste to put the notes together I forgot a few crucial url resources. As I said this Sunday, June 6th, is the Breeze Shooter's Hamfest and you don't want to miss it. Here is the url to their web site where you can see the list of prizes that will be given away on Sunday.

The Breeze Shooter's Inc.

Also if you are interested in further information on the MURS radio service here is a link to frequently asked questions about MURS.

MURS Frequently Asked Questions

This one isn't scanner related but every once in a while I have to slip some Linux information in. This is a great information resource for Linux.

The Linux Insider

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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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Allegheny Power Frequencies 

Well it has been a busy week and I haven't had much time for hobbies and the blog.
Here is a nice list of frequencies that I found on the WPA scanner mailing list. I sent this
around to the Scanner Net mailing list but am posting it here also for those that might not
have gotten it.

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.

I am currently working on notes from this weeks net. I hope post them
here before the day is over. I hope you have a pleasant day.

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