Wednesday, June 30, 2004

A few frequencies to share with the group 

At the last meeting of the Oblong Table we had three scanner listeners show up to join us. One, Dan from Lower Burrell, was new to me but he had been involved with the group that Rich, K3RWN, formed a number of years ago. Dan is not a ham and does not yet own a computer. We have to bring this lad into the 21st century! We will work on him.

In the meantime I spoke with him on the phone and he gave me a few good frequencies to pass along to the group. Thanks Dan!

If you are into “Mill Air” scanning you will find the following of interest.


Active traffic has been heard on all of the above in the Pittsburgh area with AM modulation. This can be interesting listening but it takes patients! This not like monitoring medical or fire dispatch. Let me know if what you hear on these.

Closer to earth in Westmoreland County these three frequencies are used for car-to-car chitchat by police departments. As far as I know all are simplex except for the dispatch channel so if you are not close by you may not hear the activity.

154.085 Lower Burrell
154.710 New Kensington
151.625 Arnold
154.890 Main dispatch

I normally monitor the main dispatch channel but not the others. I will plug them in and see what I hear.

Last but not least is a little used business channel. There is a large facility on the hill above Cheswick that is one of the former chunks of Westinghouse Electric that was sold and now exists under a different company name. You can find their maintenance personal and fire brigade on the following frequency.


Good listening.

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Monday, June 28, 2004

Important addendum to last nights net 

I forgot one very important item on my list of things to discuss on last nights net. Must have been one of those "senior moments" I keep hearing about. :-)

Next week Sunday will be the Fourth of July holiday. So I do not plan on having a net that evening. I will be at a party and I hope all of you take time to honor God for all the blessing he has bestowed on this nation our founding fathers for their wisdom and guidenance in creating the greatest representative republic that the world has ever known.

Enjoy the holiday, don't forget to take your scanner with you if you are traveling and I will talk with you on Sunday evening July 11th on the Pittsburgh Area Scanner Net.

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Notes from the scanner net for June 27th 2004 

We had 28 stations check in this evening including the net control station. I really did not expect much of a turn out after all of the field day activity. I thought everyone would be all “radioed out” and not want to talk.

Meeting of the Oblong Table

The main topic of discussion this evening was the upcoming monitoring club. We had a productive meeting of the oblong table this past week at Kings and the club is a definite go. I will follow up shortly with a name and what our primary objectives will be once we get under way. As with the net what will make the club “work” is your participation. Please take the time to let me know any thought or ideas that you have as to direction the club should take and what you would like to get from belonging to it. Don’t be shy! Let me know if you have an idea for a name, although I think I have that one thanks to Craig KB3KBH, meeting place or places and if you can contribute time, talent or money for the organization.

We want to make this a “monitoring association” in the sense that we will encompass DC to daylight in monitoring terms. All will be welcome so you your area of interest is SWL, AM broadcast band, VHF/UHF monitoring we are interested. For at least the time being the net will remain as it is with scanning the VHF/UHF FM bands as its primary focus. This is not to say that we might not branch out latter.

One of the things that we decided is that we really should charge some type of dues. If you are interested enough to want to belong you will not mind kicking in “n” number of dollars a year, which we could use for web space and other expenses. I don’t for see at this point a paper news letter unless the club takes off like a rocket and we get LOTS of members willing to contribute both time and money. The number “n” has yet to be determined. We would also like to be able to offer something to the club whose repeater we use for the net. If it remains the North Hills machine I don’t think we could make a substantial dent in the repeater fund with only a portion of our dues but I did suggest that we might make a donation to some charitable organization in the clubs name. Such as donating to Children’s Hospital or buying and donating a book to the library where they hold their meetings. Again, these are thing we can discuss and work out over the summer months.

So tell you friends who you think might be interested. We would like to see all members get licensed and join the ranks of amateur radio but that will not be a pre requisite and I for one will not twist anyone’s arm that has no desire to go in that direction. I’ll leave that to N3BPB. :-)

Field Day

From what I am hearing field day was a big success. Ron, KB3DDF, says that his club had a good turn out and that they got to work some really good band openings on six meters. If you are interested in DX on the public safety bands you should monitor 29.600 and 52.525 simplex on the amateur bands. They will give you a good clue as to when the band opens up to distant stations. If six and ten meters are “open” there is a good chance that you will also hear some stations from outside your normal monitoring area in the 30 to 50 megahertz band.

The North Hills Amateur Radio Club had a good field day turn out also and N3BPB tells me that two scanner listeners came to the site to see what it was all about. Good for them! Stay tuned to the net and I will let you know when the club is starting classes so that next year you can be operating a station on field day.

Skyview Radio Society did a bang up job on field day this year and got some nice publicity for ham radio from the newspapers. There was a nice two-page story in the Oakmont Advanced Leader prior to this weekend inviting the public to the site. And the Valley News Dispatch ran an article on the club including pictures from the field day operations. Nice work guys!

Pictures from both clubs as well as others I’m sure can been seen on the respective club web sites. [NHARC WEB SITE] [Skyview Radio Society Web Site] Check them out when you get the chance.

Amber Alerts

We also talked about AMBER ALERTS this evening. As most of you know an AMBER ALERT is issued when a child has been taken to notify as many people as possible in the shortest period of time. There is a system in place for the police and authorities to notify the news media so that they can get the word out and with the alert that was called this past week it was that information that led to the safe return of the little girl who had been abducted by her father after he was alleged to have been involved in the death of her mother. A question was raised as to why the amateur radio community is not involved in this alert system and it is a topic that bears further looking into. I intend to write to my section manager for the ARRL and ask about this and might have something to report on next weeks net. This would be another good use for a packet network used by the monitoring association. Think about it.



We had the following frequencies offered on the net this week.

NORCOM the communications base at North Hills Passavant Hospital has been heard using 155.700 to communicate with NEWCOM about medical dispatches. I have not heard this myself yet but other in the group have. Let us know what you hear.

NM3M checked in with two air band frequencies that you would find of interest. He has been hearing military aircraft executing some type of maneuvers on 143.925 with AM modulation. He also tells us that many pilots use 123.450 as a “chat” channel while in flight. I have heard some interesting conversations while doing “service search” in the air band with my BC-780XLT and this may be one of the ones that I stumbled across. I’m usually doing this late at night with the scanner in the night stand next to the bed and don’t bother to try to log the frequency. I think I will put a pen and note tablet next to the scanner in there. Like I said sometimes you catch some interesting conversation.

That is about all for this week. If you have friends that enjoy scanning please tell them about the net and ask them to listen in. Next time you go to a radio club meeting invite them along. Remember the quickest way for your club to double in size is for each member to bring in one new person during the courses of the year. Think about it! Hope to hear all of you again next week on the Pittsburgh Area Scanner Net.

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Sunday, June 27, 2004

Now these are pictures you just have to see! 

Check out the latest pictures from the North Hills Amaetur Radio Club's offical Field Day site for 2004.

[ Click here for Pictures ]

And enjoy!

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