Friday, June 18, 2004

New scanners on the way from Uinden 

Uniden is releasing a number of new models. You can see pictures and some specifications at the Butel web site. Check them out, looks interesting.

BuTel Software

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Interesting web site 

For those of you who are interested in computer control of your scanner or ham rig this page should be of interest. Take a look and if you happen to be one of those that likes to spend time creating code perhaps you can become involved.

Ham Radio Control Libraries

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Thursday, June 17, 2004

Mix and match hobbies and gazing at the stars 

I have found along the way that hams, short wave listeners, scanner enthusiast
have more in common than just interest in radio. I run into a large number of
people on the air that also enjoy looking at or talking about trains both full
scale and model size, radio controlled models of all types, photography and
astronomy. The latter two hobbies seem to have a strong attraction for this
group and of course those two pass times intermingle well also.

Having said that, here is an email that was sent by radiofree Bob to the
Skyview list about an upcoming event. I attended one of these "star parties"
last year and it was a great evening. Or course with it being this group we
couldn't just let it go at a star party? We made reservations at a
restaurant and had dinner before going out to gaze at the stars. Heaven
knows this slim trim bunch needed sustenance before going off on such an
adventure! So if you think you would be interested in joining in on the fun
please drop Bob a note in email and might as well .cc me while you are at it.
We can also discuss this on the net or at the oblong table. What do you think?

From: Robert Bastone [mailto:radiofreebob@att.net]
Sent: Wednesday, June 16, 2004 10:05 PM
To: Yahoo groups
Subject: [K3MJW] Star party Sked.

For anyone interested, here is the schedule for AAAP star parties. Wagman
observatory is in West Deer Township near Deer Lakes Park. We had a Skyview
thing there last year and we had a very good time. It would be nice to do it
again. The party is FREE and you need not bring anything along. Come and
gaze upon the stars. Let's figure a date and do it! July 10th with the dark
sky sounds good to me. Maybe make it a multi club event! Who's with me!!!

The web site is Web site for the AAAP
I hope to hear from yins, Bob WC3O

Date Event Location
February, 28, 4:30pm Wagman Winterfest Wagman Observatory
April 23, 24, Sunset Public Star Party Wagman Observatory and
May 21, 22, Sunset Public Star Party Wagman Observatory and
Mingo Creek Park Observatory
June 14-20 Laurel Highlands Star Cruise Pinehill Campground,
just off Exit 29 of I-68 near Hazelton, West Virginia
June 25, 26, Sunset Public Star Party Wagman Observatory and
Mingo Creek Park Observatory
July 9, Sunset Public Star Party Mingo Creek Park Observatory
July 10, Sunset Public Star Party - Dark Sky Special Wagman
Observatory and Mingo Creek Park Observatory
July 23, 24, Sunset Public Star Party Wagman Observatory and
Mingo Creek Park Observatory
August 6, Sunset Public Star Party Mingo Creek Park
August 7, Sunset Public Star Party - Dark Sky Special Wagman
Observatory and Mingo Creek Park Observatory
August 20, 21, Sunset Public Star Party Wagman Observatory and
Mingo Creek Park Observatory
September 4, Sunset Public Star Party - Dark Sky/Moonrise
Special Wagman Observatory and Mingo Creek Park Observatory
September 10, 11, Sunset Public Star Party Mingo Creek Park
September 18, Sunset Public Star Party Wagman Observatory
October 2, Sunset Public Star Party - Moonrise special Wagman
October 9, Sunset Public Star Party Mingo Creek Park
October 23, Sunset Public Star Party Wagman Observatory and
Mingo Creek Park Observatory
October 27, Sunset - Lunar Eclipse Special Public Star Party
Wagman Observatory and Mingo Creek Park Observatory

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Wednesday, June 16, 2004

New Pennsylvania State Police dispatch center active. 

The following article appeared in the York Dispatch. For the complete story click on the link below.

Article Last Updated: Wednesday, June 09, 2004 - 11:57:56 AM EST
Police system update

Control shifts to new Harrisburg center

By JOHN BUGBEE The York Dispatch

A multimillion-dollar modernization of state police communications will change the way troopers communicate with each other and the public.

"We're really using 1960s and 1970s methods of dispatch," said Lt. Adam Kisthardt of the state police Bureau of Technology Services. "Obviously this modernization will bring us into the new millennium."

The new network, called the Incident Information Management System, will mean that, starting later this month, troopers assigned to the Loganville and Adams County barracks will be dispatched from a new communications center near Harrisburg rather than from their respective barracks, Kisthardt said.


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Tuesday, June 15, 2004

What a let down! 

Well I did some checking into the AOR decoder that will let you listen to APCO 25 digital systems with your existing scanner. What you say could be wrong with that? Well as the poet says, “Let me count the ways”.

To start with this box is EXPENSIVE. We are talking about $395 bucks for a box that is just a decoder. For another $100 you can have an entire scanner from Radio Shack. The PRO-96 sells for $499.99, alright I know its really $500 but you get the point, and the 96 is a really nice scanner.

The adds I see say that it will work with any radio that you only need feed the audio in from the speaker jack and the box will determine if it is analog or APCO 25 and output the appropriate audio. There is no modification required to the radio, yet on the back panel of the decoder is a DB9 connector and it says the radio must have 10.7 mHz IF. Maybe it’s me but I can’t quite figure that one out.

Last but not least the add says in bold print that the box will not decode APCO 25 modulation on any trunked system. There may be someone somewhere whose prayer has been answered by this product but I can tell you it isn’t me. If you would like to see add copy on this unit follow this link. Universal Radio Add

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Digital tidbits 

Here is an interesting posting to the SCAN-L mailling list. I plan to investigate further and see just how much the new AOR widget costs.

From SCAN-L:

For the past couple weeks we have been playing w/ the ARD25 (P25)digital
decoder from AOR. I am very pleased to see a manufacturer produce a
standalone decoder for Prpject 25 communications. This avoids(in part)
having to pay the hefty price tag for a full P25 scanner, particularly
in areas such as NH here where most P25 systems operate in a non trunked
mode. The ARD25 is designed primarily to interface w/ certain AOR and
Icom scanner/receivers that include a 10.7 MHz IF ouput connection. We
initally tested the ARD25 w/ our IC-R7000 and saw that it decoded P25
signals from NH State Police and other local Depts quite easily.

I wanted to see if it could be interfaced to other receivers that were
designed w/ a 10.7 MHz IF. We initally tried our old Regency Turboscan
by adding a tap at the ouput of the 1st Mixer stage, and it connecting
to the input of the ARD. At first we could not get the ARD25 to decode
anything. Then we realised what the problem was: The "polarity" of the
P25 data was inverted due to the IF conversion scheme used in the TS2.
We sound this out when we programmed a frequency 172.800 MHZ into the
TS2 so as to have it receive what we had been trying to get previosuly
on 151.400 MHz(NHSP) as an "image" frequency. This worked because it
placed the scanner's Local Oscillator above(instead of below) the
intended receive freq, and permitted the demodulated P25 voice "data" to
have the correct polarity orientation. We further reasoned that this
same effect could be accomplished by changing a 10.245 MHz IF conversion
crystal, used in the ARD25 to convert the 10.7 Mhz signal down to 455
KHz, to a lesser used 11.155 MHz crystal to produce the same 10.7 to
455 IF conversion, but produce demodulated data w/ the correct

Since the ARD includes a serial data port that permits a PC running
Hyperterminal to communciate w/ the ARD25, as well as a means to display
decoded Talk Group#s and even Unit ANI IDs, I wondered if there was an
easier way to get the correct data polarity by way of a software
command. An inquiry to AOR Cusomter Support revealed that this was
indeed possible. However the information they initally provided wasnt
complete and it took us a great deal of experimenting in order to
finally get this figured out. In the course of doing this we uncovered a
number of additional commands that can be set for different purposes.
For instance sending the command ADC will produce a short listing of
about dozen function/settings the ARD25 can be commanded to do. Some
commands, such as the data polarity setting require a certain extra
trick in order for it to actaully take effect... Another useful command
the ARD25 can be set for is ADA ON/OFF. This selects if you want it to
pass analog signals as well as digital ones. This is a feature none of
the current crop of P25 scanners are capible of. It would seem that AOR
seriously faulted here in terms of what they did not bother to inlcude
in the manual for the ARD25. Nor does there seem to be any reason as to
why AOR uses a male DB9 connector on the ARD25, which requires the use
of a female/female adapator or cable in order to communicate w/ it via a

Always wanting to go further we also wondered if there was a means to
interface the ARD25 to other receivers(that dont use a 10.7 IF) by way
of simply providing a "baseband" data connection from a receiver. After
much careful experiementation we found that it was indeed possible to
connect the Discriminator signal from nearly any scanner, into the
ARD25, substituting an external signal for that of the ARDs own IF
demodulator output. So far we have successfully tested the ARD w/ by
using the discriminator signal from other scanners such as the BC760,
245, 780 and 9000. This discovery makes the ARD25 a far more
universal/flexible platform for decoding P25 transmissions than what
AOR seems to be interested in marketing this product for. We plan on
having a complete writeup explaining these hidden features as well as
the hardware mods we noted, along we installation details for several
popualr scanners in the coming months if there is adaquate interst in
this area.


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Words of wit and wisdom from a neat signature file 

Saw this signature file at the end of a message posted to the "Linux for beginners" mailing list on Yahoo.com. If you are interested you can visit the message groups at this link. YahooGroups Anyway, I thought this observation on Microsoft was a pretty good summation.

Leo (Bing) Whiteway in Kelowna, BC, Canada: Ham calls: VE7UW and VE7OKV
A computer without Microsoft is like a chocolate cake without mustard.
Everyone should have a chance to try Linux. It's great.

http://www.linux-bc.com/ < running Slackware 9.1 >

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There is a place being held just for you 

You are invited

For all of you out there on this list that are just listening in, and even those that check in
now and again, here is an open invitation for you. The Skyview Radio Society will be
having their monthly social meeting this evening Tuesday June 15th at 07:30 PM. Here is
the agenda for the meeting as taken from their mailing list on Yahoo.


Social meeting tomorrow night. We will be:

1. Kickin back and shootin the bull.
2. Making plans for Field Day.
3. Assembling the 3 element beam we will be using for Field Day to
making sure it is all there and works.
4. Admiring the golf course-like lawn.
5. Kickin back and shootin the bull.

Hope to see you there.

Also we have some extra Skyview hats. They are $10.00 ea. They are
sharper than normally allowed by law, so what ever happens, we can't be


So if you are one of the folks on my list that is thinking about jumping into amateur radio
as an adjunct to your scanning or SWL hobby why don't you stop by and see what it is all
about. Even if you have never been to the Skyview club you will be among friends.

Now how do you find your way there? Well you wander on over to the club web site
Skyview Radio Society and there you will find directions to the club house
complete with maps. Unfortunately I don't think I will be able to attend this evening due
to timing and work but please stop by and say hello to the gang.

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Monday, June 14, 2004

This is a site you should visit and study 

As many of you know I have encouraged you to stay current on broadband over power
lines or BPL as those favoring it like to call it. For those of us that rely on two-way radio for our profession or expect our public safety personal to be able to communicate when we call them for help or even just enjoy listening to radio as a hobby it is the devil incarnate. From all of the evidence that I have seen presented BPL is such a bad idea that I'm not sure why there was an attempt to implement it let along why we are having all these debates about what level of interference it is going to cause if it is carried out as proposed.

So today a friend told me about this web site and I want to pass the information along to you so that you can be better informed if the subject should come up. I would hope that you will contact your elected representatives and make your feelings know to them, in a civil manner of course, ask that they not do anything to support any attempt to foster this failed technology on the public.

So go and check out this site and pass the word along to friends.

BPL's seductive message, about the Internet being as close as the nearest power point, is superficially attractive. It would be a great concept if, to paraphrase Amperion, it actually worked! However, as one peels away the outer sheepskin, the wolf within is revealed.

Click here to visit GOBPL.com

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Sunday, June 13, 2004

Notes from the Pittsburgh Area Scanner Net of June 13, 2004 

Notes from the Scanner Net

We had twenty-seven stations check in to the net this evening including the net control

I passed this web resource along to the member of the Elmer Net yesterday evening on
the 146.880 machine and wanted to make sure that scanner net members heard about it
also. Would you like to learn a little more about electricity?
Here is a link to a great web site that is an on line book that takes you through the
fundamentals of electricity. If you are considering getting your amateur radio license or
even if you are not but would like to understand electrical theory so that you might enjoy
the radio hobby all the more this is a great resource. Take a look at it and see if you don't
agree. Many thanks to Brian, AB3BT, for passing this along to me in email.


I have also posted this on the blog if you lose this email.


I had a question about streaming the audio from the 09 repeater and hence the net out to
the Internet which is something that I have thought about. I asked on the net if there was
anyone out there that would be interested in taking this project on and I have received one
response in email since the close of the net from an individual willing to help out. I will
let you know at a latter time how this is proceeding. If you have access to systems with
the ability to stream audio out on the net and a broadband connection feel free to jump in
at any time.


I mentioned the replies that I have received so far about my question on forming a club.
As I said on the net I plan to go forward with the idea and over the course of the summer
months I would like to get your input on how the club should be structured and what its
objectives should be. If you have something to say on this subject please speak up and let
me know. More on this next week.


Along those lines Matt, W3JQJ, offered the suggestion that we make the club a general
monitoring association as opposed to a scanner specific organization. Others in the past
have expressed a desire to keep the scanner net focused on scanners. I have respected
that opinion but am not quite sure that it should apply to a club. There are a lot of short
wave listeners out there that are also scanner enthusiasts and enjoy both hobbies. I think
the tent is large enough to accommodate all and this has been reflected in the meetings
that we have been having at Kings. Again, I say let me know what you think? I am open
to all opinion and debate.


Meeting of the oblong table!

We are planning another meeting of the oblong table. I hope to get the group together at
Kings Restaurant in Water Works Plaza at 07:30 PM on Wednesday June 23, 2004.
Listen in next week for additional details. Hope to see you there.


One last item. We had a request from Duncan, KF6YYT, to see if anyone had heard any
of the mil-air traffic during the flights from California to Washington DC and back
during the state funeral for former President Reagan. During the net we had no
comments on the subject but if you did manage to hear any unusual traffic in the air band
please let us know.


That is all for this week. I want to thank all of you who checked in this evening and
participated in the net. To those of you listening in with your scanners and working on
your ham tickets, keep up the good work. You will pass that test and soon be on the air.
I look forward to hearing you on the net. Until next week 73's.

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Would you like to learn a little more about electricity? 

Here is a link to a great web site that is an on line book that takes you through the fundamentals of electricity. If you are considering getting your amateur radio license or even if you are not but would like to understand electrical theory so that you might enjoy the radio hobby all the more this is a great resource. Take a look at it and see if you don’t agree. Many thanks to Brian, AB3BT, for passing this along to me in email.


Or just click here to be taken to the page

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