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Posted: 1/3/2007 6:12:45 PM EDT
I live in a KC suburb.  We're actually 5 housed from the Kansas City, MO city limits.  So we hear our fair share of sirens.  I thought it'd be neat to lay in bed at night and see if we can actually listen to what they were about.  My wife and I both are fascinated with law enforcement, but we're not choosing that as a career.  We would like to hear though why the sirens are running up the street.  

Questions.  I know nothing about scanners.

Are they legal?
How much do they cost?
How do I find the cops frequencies?
Can I only get them for my city or can I get them for KCMO?
What kind of range can I get out of these?

Link Posted: 1/3/2007 6:19:43 PM EDT
They are legal in most places, but there are exceptions, such as Indianapolis.  Other places forbid driving with them.  Consult you local laws.

They can cost anywhere from 150 dollars to thousands.  You get what you pay for with scanners.

Many websites have local police frequencies.

Range depends upon the antenna.  The lilttle pigtail works pretty good, but I have a four foot antenna which significantly boosts reception.
Link Posted: 1/3/2007 6:22:11 PM EDT
One problem with scannerland is by the time you hear the sirens, the radio traffic is pretty much over.

When I was a kid, we had one and left it on most of the time.
Link Posted: 1/3/2007 6:26:02 PM EDT
In today's scanning you need to spend a fair amount of money to get a trunking scanner if you want to hear most of the public safety agencies.  Most have or will soon move to trunked 800 mhz and regular scanners do not track trunked systems.
Link Posted: 1/3/2007 6:27:33 PM EDT

Originally Posted By nationwide:
One problem with scannerland is by the time you hear the sirens, the radio traffic is pretty much over.

When I was a kid, we had one and left it on most of the time.


Right.  I understand that.  It would be something that I can just leave on all the time when I'm working around the house or lying in bed.
Link Posted: 1/3/2007 6:35:20 PM EDT

Originally Posted By koisanke:
In today's scanning you need to spend a fair amount of money to get a trunking scanner if you want to hear most of the public safety agencies.  Most have or will soon move to trunked 800 mhz and regular scanners do not track trunked systems.



The bigger agencies are moving to trunked 800Mhz systems these days, some smaller ones may buy space on those systems if they are in the same area. In the sticks everything is still gonna be VHF and UHF repeaters so a regular scanner will do, might have to get the PL/DPL tones/codes to receive.

You can still "scan" 800 Mhz digital trunked systems if you lay out the bucks and they are not operating on a closed system where your unit ID has to be in the systems database in order to access it.  
Link Posted: 1/3/2007 6:36:13 PM EDT

Originally Posted By koisanke:
In today's scanning you need to spend a fair amount of money to get a trunking scanner if you want to hear most of the public safety agencies.  Most have or will soon move to trunked 800 mhz and regular scanners do not track trunked systems.


That really depends.  There's a whole lot of municipalities out there that still run a traditional duplex system.

But, KCMO is a pretty modern area.  Check the web, there used to be some real good scanner websites.
Link Posted: 1/3/2007 6:37:27 PM EDT

Originally Posted By nationwide:

Originally Posted By koisanke:
In today's scanning you need to spend a fair amount of money to get a trunking scanner if you want to hear most of the public safety agencies.  Most have or will soon move to trunked 800 mhz and regular scanners do not track trunked systems.


That really depends.  There's a whole lot of municipalities out there that still run a traditional duplex system.

But, KCMO is a pretty modern area.  Check the web, there used to be some real good scanner websites.


scanners can't listen in on our channels...........a lot of departments are moving towards that
Link Posted: 1/3/2007 6:40:35 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 1/3/2007 6:40:49 PM EDT by jkstexas2001]

Originally Posted By texas1138:

Originally Posted By nationwide:

Originally Posted By koisanke:
In today's scanning you need to spend a fair amount of money to get a trunking scanner if you want to hear most of the public safety agencies.  Most have or will soon move to trunked 800 mhz and regular scanners do not track trunked systems.


That really depends.  There's a whole lot of municipalities out there that still run a traditional duplex system.

But, KCMO is a pretty modern area.  Check the web, there used to be some real good scanner websites.


scanners can't listen in on our channels...........a lot of departments are moving towards that


Don't count on it.
Link Posted: 1/3/2007 6:48:33 PM EDT
I was looking into getting a trunking scanner when I learned most of my area was transitioning to digital which AFAIK is useless for conventional scanners. Correct me if I'm wrong.
Link Posted: 1/3/2007 6:51:37 PM EDT

Originally Posted By texas1138:

Originally Posted By nationwide:

Originally Posted By koisanke:
In today's scanning you need to spend a fair amount of money to get a trunking scanner if you want to hear most of the public safety agencies.  Most have or will soon move to trunked 800 mhz and regular scanners do not track trunked systems.


That really depends.  There's a whole lot of municipalities out there that still run a traditional duplex system.

But, KCMO is a pretty modern area.  Check the web, there used to be some real good scanner websites.


scanners can't listen in on our channels...........a lot of departments are moving towards that


Depends on what your radios are doing... it could entail much more than dialing in a repeater output, that's for sure.

HOWEVER...  If it is sent over the airwaves, it can be intercepted and compromised.

There is no such thing as "secure" radio comms!  
Link Posted: 1/3/2007 6:54:57 PM EDT

Originally Posted By LANCEMAN:
You can still "scan" 800 Mhz digital trunked systems if you lay out the bucks and they are not operating on a closed system where your unit ID has to be in the systems database in order to access it.  


Uh, explain how this whole "unit ID" bit works ...  It's a broadcast like anything else.  Are you telling me that it's digital traffic that's been encrypted?  Just curious as to how that whole thing works.

I too am under the impression that the majority of agencies who's traffic would be worth listening to would use digital encrypted communications and make a scanner useless.  Is this not right???
Link Posted: 1/3/2007 6:55:50 PM EDT

Originally Posted By nationwide:

Originally Posted By texas1138:

Originally Posted By nationwide:

Originally Posted By koisanke:
In today's scanning you need to spend a fair amount of money to get a trunking scanner if you want to hear most of the public safety agencies.  Most have or will soon move to trunked 800 mhz and regular scanners do not track trunked systems.


That really depends.  There's a whole lot of municipalities out there that still run a traditional duplex system.

But, KCMO is a pretty modern area.  Check the web, there used to be some real good scanner websites.


scanners can't listen in on our channels...........a lot of departments are moving towards that


Depends on what your radios are doing... it could entail much more than dialing in a repeater output, that's for sure.

HOWEVER...  If it is sent over the airwaves, it can be intercepted and compromised.

There is no such thing as "secure" radio comms!  


I've no doubt........really doesn't matter to me either way......nothing being said that would do anyone a whole lot of good anyways
Link Posted: 1/3/2007 6:58:22 PM EDT

Originally Posted By texas1138:

Originally Posted By nationwide:

Originally Posted By texas1138:

Originally Posted By nationwide:

Originally Posted By koisanke:
In today's scanning you need to spend a fair amount of money to get a trunking scanner if you want to hear most of the public safety agencies.  Most have or will soon move to trunked 800 mhz and regular scanners do not track trunked systems.


That really depends.  There's a whole lot of municipalities out there that still run a traditional duplex system.

But, KCMO is a pretty modern area.  Check the web, there used to be some real good scanner websites.


scanners can't listen in on our channels...........a lot of departments are moving towards that


Depends on what your radios are doing... it could entail much more than dialing in a repeater output, that's for sure.

HOWEVER...  If it is sent over the airwaves, it can be intercepted and compromised.

There is no such thing as "secure" radio comms!  


I've no doubt........really doesn't matter to me either way......nothing being said that would do anyone a whole lot of good anyways


One thing I will tell you that annoys the shit out of me, is in the past, how I've heard Officers think their comms should be encoded or encrypted.

It's public servants doing public work and using the public airwaves.  We have a right to listen, demmit!!!!  
Link Posted: 1/3/2007 7:06:40 PM EDT
All I hear on the ATF and Secret Service freqs are data bursts???
Link Posted: 1/3/2007 7:06:55 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 1/3/2007 7:07:56 PM EDT by LANCEMAN]

Originally Posted By fatk1d:

Originally Posted By LANCEMAN:
You can still "scan" 800 Mhz digital trunked systems if you lay out the bucks and they are not operating on a closed system where your unit ID has to be in the systems database in order to access it.  


Uh, explain how this whole "unit ID" bit works ...  It's a broadcast like anything else.  Are you telling me that it's digital traffic that's been encrypted?  Just curious as to how that whole thing works.

I too am under the impression that the majority of agencies who's traffic would be worth listening to would use digital encrypted communications and make a scanner useless.  Is this not right???


Imagine it is kind of like a Nextel cellphone push-to-talk beep-beep transmission. It only goes to the user or group you want it to. Then imagine a layer of basic encryption on top of that. When it comes to digital trunking scanners you may also be dealing with multiple talkgroups, channels, and frequencies.

Just my basic understanding of it, could of course be wrong. My County and City LEO, FIRE, and EMS still use VHF repeaters so it is no problem to listen, I haven't really researched getting into the 800Mhz digital stuff in depth because I haven't really needed to yet.    
Link Posted: 1/3/2007 7:20:36 PM EDT

Originally Posted By michaelj1978:
...  I thought it'd be neat to lay in bed at night and see if we can actually listen to what they were about...




You folks need to get out more.

Link Posted: 1/3/2007 10:24:51 PM EDT
Read up over here   www.radioreference.com/

I have a Radio Shack trunking scanner and am not nearly "into" it enough to understand the programming, just entered some stuff from that site and it worked.  
Link Posted: 1/3/2007 10:31:52 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 1/3/2007 10:32:35 PM EDT by BuckeyeRifleman]
Paid on call firefighter/EMT so I sorta go one for free if you will(pager w/scan mode). Its kinda entertaining listenting to the county fire/EMS traffic. Sorta like listening to a real life "cops" on the radio(cept its all firefighters and EMT's).

Whats really entertaining is when my own departments tones drop.
Link Posted: 1/3/2007 10:33:44 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 1/3/2007 10:50:27 PM EDT by Badseed]

Originally Posted By texas1138:

Originally Posted By nationwide:

Originally Posted By koisanke:
In today's scanning you need to spend a fair amount of money to get a trunking scanner if you want to hear most of the public safety agencies.  Most have or will soon move to trunked 800 mhz and regular scanners do not track trunked systems.


That really depends.  There's a whole lot of municipalities out there that still run a traditional duplex system.

But, KCMO is a pretty modern area.  Check the web, there used to be some real good scanner websites.


scanners can't listen in on our channels...........a lot of departments are moving towards that


I assume you are using an Erickson Provoice system... while a scanner can't pick up that proprietary system, it perfectly legal/ simple for me to purchase a handheld (the same model you carry) and have it programmed with receive only on your freqs.

That being said, I never listen to LE anyway. It's bad, like teenage girls - they never shut up so it gets very annoying. Stick to fire and EMS bands and you willl get the scoop with out all the bullshitting and chit-chat. (You would not believe these Nashville Metro folks... unprofessional)


Link Posted: 1/3/2007 10:41:38 PM EDT
Since the majority of the interesting stuff is sent by text these days to the MDT's,  I'm pretty sure you are going to be dissapointed.  A lot of officers hardly pick up the microphone any more.  
Link Posted: 1/3/2007 10:42:01 PM EDT

Originally Posted By Badseed:

Originally Posted By texas1138:

Originally Posted By nationwide:

Originally Posted By koisanke:
In today's scanning you need to spend a fair amount of money to get a trunking scanner if you want to hear most of the public safety agencies.  Most have or will soon move to trunked 800 mhz and regular scanners do not track trunked systems.


That really depends.  There's a whole lot of municipalities out there that still run a traditional duplex system.

But, KCMO is a pretty modern area.  Check the web, there used to be some real good scanner websites.


scanners can't listen in on our channels...........a lot of departments are moving towards that


I assume you are using an Erickson Provoice system... while a scanner can't pick up that proprietary system, it perfectly legal/ simple for me to purchase a handheld (the same model you carry) and have it programmed with receive only on your freqs.


Correct.
Link Posted: 1/3/2007 10:47:06 PM EDT

Originally Posted By Johninaustin:
Since the majority of the interesting stuff is sent by text these days to the MDT's,  I'm pretty sure you are going to be dissapointed.  A lot of officers hardly pick up the microphone any more.  


Sure, but anything that is halfway intresting like a bank robbery, homicide, alien invasion... will generally come out over dispatch as well. Unless you take your MDT into KrispyKreme
Link Posted: 1/3/2007 10:49:08 PM EDT
Two words: Uniden Bearcat
Link Posted: 1/3/2007 10:49:59 PM EDT
I used to be able to listen to all the police activity here on my scanner, now all I can hear is the dispatcher. The only time I can hear the PD cars is on the 4th of july. For some reason I guess the radio traffic is so much more intense on the 4th tha they have to use the older stuff. The PD here just got a couple million worth of radio equiptment so I think that had something to do with it.
Link Posted: 1/3/2007 10:53:42 PM EDT

Originally Posted By TX_CO4:
I used to be able to listen to all the police activity here on my scanner, now all I can hear is the dispatcher. The only time I can hear the PD cars is on the 4th of july. For some reason I guess the radio traffic is so much more intense on the 4th tha they have to use the older stuff. The PD here just got a couple million worth of radio equiptment so I think that had something to do with it.


Check the frequencies.. or maybe they switched to digital and you're running an analog scanner?
Link Posted: 1/3/2007 10:59:27 PM EDT

Originally Posted By leelaw:
Two words: Uniden Bearcat


396T Sitting next to the bed... great radio, but like I said above... too damn chatty around here - they all think they are HAMS. I pretty much only flip it on when AIR1 is hovering around the neighborhood.
Link Posted: 1/3/2007 11:01:32 PM EDT

Originally Posted By Badseed:

Originally Posted By Johninaustin:
Since the majority of the interesting stuff is sent by text these days to the MDT's,  I'm pretty sure you are going to be dissapointed.  A lot of officers hardly pick up the microphone any more.  


Sure, but anything that is halfway intresting like a bank robbery, homicide, alien invasion... will generally come out over dispatch as well. Unless you take your MDT into KrispyKreme


10 bank robberies last year.  In other words, one every 35 days or so.  Listen away.

High profile calls such as homicides etc are NOT put out over the radio.  Keeps the news media guessing.

Want to listen to a high priority call such as a homicide?  

Try this one.  "Baker 701, 21 dispatch."
Link Posted: 1/3/2007 11:11:41 PM EDT

Originally Posted By texas1138:
scanners can't listen in on our channels...........a lot of departments are moving towards that


If it's in the air, I can listen.

As you were told before, don't count on it.
Link Posted: 1/3/2007 11:15:23 PM EDT
I understand that it is possible to intercept MDT information.

Also, unless you are using military grade frequency hopping and encryption, communications can be monitored by a third party with the right equipment.
Link Posted: 1/3/2007 11:18:07 PM EDT

Originally Posted By jkstexas2001:
I understand that it is possible to intercept MDT information.

Also, unless you are using military grade frequency hopping and encryption, communications can be monitored by a third party with the right equipment.


Certainly MDT's can be intercepted. Who's going to be stupid enough to spend the money and effort to want to? Airsofter's?
Link Posted: 1/3/2007 11:20:06 PM EDT

Originally Posted By Johninaustin:

Originally Posted By jkstexas2001:
I understand that it is possible to intercept MDT information.

Also, unless you are using military grade frequency hopping and encryption, communications can be monitored by a third party with the right equipment.


Certainly MDT's can be intercepted. Who's going to be stupid enough to spend the money and effort to want to? Airsofter's?


I am sure there are a lot of folks who spend an inordinate amount of time in their parent's basement with nothing better to do.
Link Posted: 1/4/2007 5:14:29 AM EDT

Originally Posted By Tim84K10:

Originally Posted By texas1138:
scanners can't listen in on our channels...........a lot of departments are moving towards that


If it's in the air, I can listen.

As you were told before, don't count on it.


don't count on eavesdropping either bud
Link Posted: 1/4/2007 5:53:54 AM EDT

Originally Posted By Johninaustin:

Originally Posted By jkstexas2001:
I understand that it is possible to intercept MDT information.

Also, unless you are using military grade frequency hopping and encryption, communications can be monitored by a third party with the right equipment.


Certainly MDT's can be intercepted. Who's going to be stupid enough to spend the money and effort to want to? Airsofter's?


Anyone who spends as much for amateur radio gear and computers as we spend on gun stuff!  

Back in the day, I worked with a guy who was part time with my agency and was a full time electrical engineer.  MAJOR geek, built a RAID system for his personal car, because he used it for patrol in a county park that he was deputized to patrol.
Link Posted: 1/4/2007 6:10:07 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 1/4/2007 6:13:10 AM EDT by ResqGuy]
Start here:

    www.radioreference.com/

Lots of info on scanning in general, specific manufacturers, ie Uniden and Radio Shack, and a great database of frequencies.


Here's KC's info

    www.radioreference.com/modules.php?name=RR&mid=63
Link Posted: 1/4/2007 6:18:08 AM EDT
is there a pci or usb scanner out there?
Link Posted: 1/4/2007 6:22:30 AM EDT

Originally Posted By gaspain:
is there a pci or usb scanner out there?


Are you kidding????

Icom has made one for YEARS!

www.icomamerica.com/products/receivers/pcr1000/

Link Posted: 1/4/2007 6:23:19 AM EDT

Originally Posted By Tim84K10:

Originally Posted By texas1138:
scanners can't listen in on our channels...........a lot of departments are moving towards that


If it's in the air, I can listen.

As you were told before, don't count on it.


Our digital channels run 128 bit crypto.  While we usually use analog talkgroups (due to system limitations) we will switch over to a digital talkgroup when we have something we don't want to go across in the clear.

And while I don't think for a minute that the system is NSA proof, it will keep prying ears off the net.
Link Posted: 1/4/2007 6:25:45 AM EDT
A friend of mine has a handheld scanner. We got to listen to the cops doing a check on another friend of ours after he got pulled over for speeding. He couldn't figure out how we knew he'd been ticketed when we laughed at him later.
Link Posted: 1/4/2007 6:31:21 AM EDT
Tag
Link Posted: 1/4/2007 8:10:47 AM EDT

Originally Posted By jkstexas2001:
Also, unless you are using military grade frequency hopping and encryption, communications can be monitored by a third party with the right equipment.


Now I'd certainly be willing to bet that you'd have a VERY hard time intercepting that.
Link Posted: 1/4/2007 9:42:08 AM EDT

Originally Posted By texas1138:

Originally Posted By nationwide:

Originally Posted By koisanke:
In today's scanning you need to spend a fair amount of money to get a trunking scanner if you want to hear most of the public safety agencies.  Most have or will soon move to trunked 800 mhz and regular scanners do not track trunked systems.


That really depends.  There's a whole lot of municipalities out there that still run a traditional duplex system.

But, KCMO is a pretty modern area.  Check the web, there used to be some real good scanner websites.


scanners can't listen in on our channels...........a lot of departments are moving towards that


Wanna bet?
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