Where Have All The Hobbyists Gone?

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NIGHTHAWK01
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Where Have All The Hobbyists Gone?

#1 Post by NIGHTHAWK01 » 02 Jul 2017 11:39

Seems to me that overall on all websites and list servers that postings of what one is monitoring has been in a decline. Even here some sub group geographic areas go months without any posting.

Are we at a point that many are just depending upon on line radio scanners to provide them with the information they need for the area they are in, which is a fragile link, especially during a disaster to depend upon for information.

As you folks probably noted Teak Publications did not publish their annual air show guide this year, but instead wrote an article for "The Spectrum Monitor" magazine. Would appear to me that there just isn't enough support for anyone to publish frequency directories even thru amazon's kindle program.

K

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ecps92
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#2 Post by ecps92 » 02 Jul 2017 11:47

IMHO folks want plug-n-play and the info should be pre-loaded.
No one Searches, either On-Line [FCC, Google] or program the radio and search for something new.

We've seen this coming in many other facets of life as well for 10-20 yrs now.
Think back to the Gulf Conflicts and the topics of "what is taking so long", the instant gratification of social media, to include posting what you are doing [Eating, bathing, vacations]

No more human interactions, all bits and bytes
NIGHTHAWK01 wrote:Seems to me that overall on all websites and list servers that postings of what one is monitoring has been in a decline. Even here some sub group geographic areas go months without any posting.

Are we at a point that many are just depending upon on line radio scanners to provide them with the information they need for the area they are in, which is a fragile link, especially during a disaster to depend upon for information.

As you folks probably noted Teak Publications did not publish their annual air show guide this year, but instead wrote an article for "The Spectrum Monitor" magazine. Would appear to me that there just isn't enough support for anyone to publish frequency directories even thru amazon's kindle program.

K
Bill Dunn N1KUG
Cruise Ship Frequencies
http://scanmaritime.com

"The tougher it is to find a frequency, the more it makes me want to work to find it. - I've learned to use the SEARCH Button"

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KB1FJR
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#3 Post by KB1FJR » 02 Jul 2017 12:46

I've been on the lists since 1995. Maybe a facebook group but even those things are starting to become different as everyone becomes scattered through out various social media platforms.

Also depending on the department most are active on social media with incidents of interest (large fire, road closure stay away from the area, etc.) and then there are the alert apps and text alerts.

The former town I lived in was part of the Rutland, MA regional dispatch center, They were very good about sending out social media alerts when there was a big incident. Also they live tweeted out certain calls. Social media and scanning apps are a huge hit on the hobby.

i prefer using radios vs streaming because i can control and customize what i listen too. Especially during a large incident.

Radioshack closing is a small part of it all though they have been irrelevant probably for 10 plus years. My radioshack store in webster up until the cellphone craze of the the early 2000s always had a couple of scanners going. So unless the general public knows someone with a scanner or had interest in radios or googles them the exposure to the hobby is lower.

I do listen to the webster/dudley police at home on the wifi on my old iphone 4.

Also things are still very active as we all know on the frequencies.

jbella
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#4 Post by jbella » 02 Jul 2017 21:59

Add to that the fact that radio systems are more complicated and less easy to program. With PL's and UHF, you generally don't get 'skip' any more, which may have led someone with an interest to figure out why they were getting a station 2 time zones away. Many casual hobbyists don't understand trunked systems, can't figure them out, and wouldn't know how to set up a scanner. Theres also the issue (not quite as prevalent here yet) of digital (added $$) and encryption.

The up side to less hobbyists is that some 'activities' that aren't necessarily listed in the more popular frequency/talkgroup sites are starting to pop up again.

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Scott SNE Webmaster
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#5 Post by Scott SNE Webmaster » 03 Jul 2017 08:21

My issue is different. I've honestly been going through some "hobby burnout".

I work for a police department and quite frankly most of the traffic I hear reminds me of work. At almost 29 years at work a great deal of it "gets old". I still listen but when I am involved in the hobby it's searching out other stuff. My schedule and life in general tends to keep me out of the radio room as well, especially in the summer.

My primary interest these days is spectrum searching using SDR's. I have 3 Airspy devices that cater to this nicely. Unless some whiz-bang can't live without it scanner or receiver comes out in the future, I expect that's where my main interest will remain.

I too notice a reduction in overall posting, primarily at RR. The message forum here has never been wildly active, but I think it contains some good information. The Wiki is the strong suit of this website, and given that we have a restricted number of volunteer editors, it doesn't offer really any real-time interaction, but is obviously instead a reference. And a good one.

Overall I think the hobby is still very active, it's just "evolving"....or "de-evolving"... :D
Scott - Scan New England Webmaster

jbella
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#6 Post by jbella » 03 Jul 2017 13:33

Thank you for checking RR. Because I won't, LOL.

This forum has generally always been fact based, or contained informed opinions, unlike RR which always devolves into arguments between 8 year olds and Internet Cops who know everything about everything.

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garys
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#7 Post by garys » 03 Jul 2017 15:58

It can get wearying. The last few years before I retired, I still scanned, but had Boston EMS locked out of the scan lists. I just didn't want to hear the radio traffic when I wasn't actually at work.

Gary
Scott SNE Webmaster wrote:My issue is different. I've honestly been going through some "hobby burnout".

I work for a police department and quite frankly most of the traffic I hear reminds me of work. At almost 29 years at work a great deal of it "gets old". I still listen but when I am involved in the hobby it's searching out other stuff. My schedule and life in general tends to keep me out of the radio room as well, especially in the summer.

My primary interest these days is spectrum searching using SDR's. I have 3 Airspy devices that cater to this nicely. Unless some whiz-bang can't live without it scanner or receiver comes out in the future, I expect that's where my main interest will remain.

I too notice a reduction in overall posting, primarily at RR. The message forum here has never been wildly active, but I think it contains some good information. The Wiki is the strong suit of this website, and given that we have a restricted number of volunteer editors, it doesn't offer really any real-time interaction, but is obviously instead a reference. And a good one.

Overall I think the hobby is still very active, it's just "evolving"....or "de-evolving"... :D
We're peace loving people, we're not hunting trouble, but if trouble should find us, we'll stand up and fight.

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KB1FJR
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#8 Post by KB1FJR » 03 Jul 2017 19:34

When I lived in the Dudley/Webster area it was always active with familiar voices of dispatchers and police officers and firefighters/emts that I grew up with seeing around town. As they retire out and my parents no longer live in that area I don't listen as much too the online feed. All these area towns are VHF high which performs very well. UHF not so much in the smaller towns.

I have moved 3 times since then and I have 4 scanners in the living room. One scans the state police/all other towns. It's complicated to learn new streets/areas and then to deal with all the radio systems out here. VHF and UHF vary in reception.

The old school bearcat scans grafton police and fire and is always on.

With living in an apartment and no real outside antenna access I always have issues with reception of other towns. Most of the time I just run grafton. Don't want to deal with the noise and the struggle of it.

I think everyone at the minimum should have their local town police/fire going.

I can go down to a flea market find a good old VHF/UHF scanner for cheap program the local towns in it make sure the volume is appropriately adjusted to make up for the low volume narrowband and your good to go. Once again we are lucky in this state for still having analog conventional for the most part.

The BC-210XLT with the green display was found at Hubbardston flea market for $1 just resoldered the antenna connector and got a BNC to motorola adaptor probably cost was close to $10 by then.

The blue vacuum crystal clock is from circa 1988 purchased at a flea market for $3


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ecps92
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#9 Post by ecps92 » 03 Jul 2017 19:51

That scanner in the lower right corner is off by a few hz :)
KB1FJR wrote:When I lived in the Dudley/Webster area it was always active with familiar voices of dispatchers and police officers and firefighters/emts that I grew up with seeing around town. As they retire out and my parents no longer live in that area I don't listen as much too the online feed. All these area towns are VHF high which performs very well. UHF not so much in the smaller towns.

I have moved 3 times since then and I have 4 scanners in the living room. One scans the state police/all other towns. It's complicated to learn new streets/areas and then to deal with all the radio systems out here. VHF and UHF vary in reception.

The old school bearcat scans grafton police and fire and is always on.

With living in an apartment and no real outside antenna access I always have issues with reception of other towns. Most of the time I just run grafton. Don't want to deal with the noise and the struggle of it.

I think everyone at the minimum should have their local town police/fire going.

I can go down to a flea market find a good old VHF/UHF scanner for cheap program the local towns in it make sure the volume is appropriately adjusted to make up for the low volume narrowband and your good to go. Once again we are lucky in this state for still having analog conventional for the most part.

The BC-210XLT with the green display was found at Hubbardston flea market for $1 just resoldered the antenna connector and got a BNC to motorola adaptor probably cost was close to $10 by then.

The blue vacuum crystal clock is from circa 1988 purchased at a flea market for $3


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Bill Dunn N1KUG
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http://scanmaritime.com

"The tougher it is to find a frequency, the more it makes me want to work to find it. - I've learned to use the SEARCH Button"

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KB1FJR
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#10 Post by KB1FJR » 03 Jul 2017 19:55

ecps92 wrote:That scanner in the lower right corner is off by a few hz :)
It better then pressing review and getting the Red Led to flash the frequency. Remember those? I only have state of the art stuff. Pre internet it took me forever to get the answer on why my Bearcat 560 scanner doesn't show the 5 in 482.9875.

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#11 Post by ecps92 » 13 Jul 2017 07:50

Or those of us in the Boston area, who lived with
483.5375 broadcasting WSBK [Even the Fire trucks had that problem when off-hook]
or 483.1875 with a Tow Company

Even now one of my radios get's the image of the 46x.xxxx TARGET from south bay's mall.

Finally learning to use the "IMAGE" to our advantage and listen to 504.xxxx by adding the IF Frequency.
KB1FJR wrote:It better then pressing review and getting the Red Led to flash the frequency. Remember those? I only have state of the art stuff. Pre internet it took me forever to get the answer on why my Bearcat 560 scanner doesn't show the 5 in 482.9875.
Bill Dunn N1KUG
Cruise Ship Frequencies
http://scanmaritime.com

"The tougher it is to find a frequency, the more it makes me want to work to find it. - I've learned to use the SEARCH Button"

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chiefj
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#12 Post by chiefj » 28 Jul 2017 12:35

I'm old school (my intro for a Regency low band tunable) and do not understand a lot of the tech talk that goes on and although I have BCD996T and HomePatrol, I just do not spend much time listening. When I do, it is because I am aware that a big fire or something is going on in my area.

Also, even though I have a UHF Yagi on a rotor and good multi-band antenna, I just cannot seem to find the skip that is so interesting. My computer equipment and other interference make scanning a range of frequencies a real pain. And only having a Mac makes upgrades of software, firmware and scanning lists impossible. I cannot even use my ICom anymore. Although I will be working on this with someone whom I have offered to exchange a very good multi band antenna for upgrading my two radios.
"The democracy will cease to exist when you take away from those who are willing to work and give to those who would not."

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K1IWN
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#13 Post by K1IWN » 01 Aug 2017 13:00

This thread popped in my Tapatalk feed a few days ago. It made me pause and think about my history with the hobby and the evolution of it.

Scanning in the early days was simple. Get a radio that held crystals in it, find out what the local freqs were, go for a short ride to Radio Shack to get them, and then pop them in.

Nowadays, with the evolution of technology, it gets complicated, but still fun. Going from my old 890XLT to a 436HP/536HP certainly was a jolt to the brain. I had never dealt with trunked systems, let alone DMR or P25 until I made the jump last spring. I knew I missing things with my old analog, but this opened up my eyes and ears, and made me rely on a few brain cells that blew dust out of my ears since they had not been used in long while.

While some on the message boards lament the idea of pre-programmed scanners, I was grateful for it. It gave me something to start with. The old days I would spend hours which turned into days programming, moving banks around and tweaking my list of preferred freqs. I kept lists of what freqs were what on a steno pad so when the freq number popped on the screen, I knew what it was for. After a couple of moves and reprograms on the 890, it got old trying to figure out what freq was what and memorizing a whole new list of banks. I kept it real simple, listened to what local stuff I wanted to hear and left it at that.

With these newer units, the display says what is being listened to, and I like that. The software, once figured out, makes it real easy to create lists, add/delete, adjust volume, and tweak a number of ways. Once I got myself set up and figured out all of the adjustments, get the antenna(s) lined up, it just works. On quiet nights, I still use the search function (this is for you, Bill :D ) and try to find that hidden gem like I did years ago. I just have a more wider scan capability than before to find it, and I have had some success.

Is the hobby dying or is radio technology outrunning the hobbyist? With encryption becoming more prevalent in public safety circles, I tend to think the latter. Paying ~$500 for a scanner before anything else (antenna(s), cable, connectors, optional software, computer or laptop) just to hear anything of value that is slowly fading away, is a bit of a steep price to pay. While I am fortunate in Maine where analog still represents 60-70% of the radio type in municipalities / counties that don't have the cash for digital upgrades, the hobby will still go on in some areas for a while yet. I know others to the south aren't as fortunate.

The thrill is not yet gone for this hobbyist. To hear what is going on locally... the high speed chase, the destruction of Mother Nature, to avoid wrecks and traffic snarls, making decisions to protect family and property when needed ... it's priceless.
- Mike
Kennebunk, ME
436/536/HP2 www.pinetreeweather.com

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KB1FJR
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#14 Post by KB1FJR » 01 Aug 2017 15:46

With the exception of a few areas of MA that use full time encryption or digital or trunking most is analog. One could get started cheap.

I don't miss those days having to memorize the frequencies, I have all the local police and fire frequencies from the dudley/webster are memorized.

I found it easy back then to make a number bulleted list in microsoft word back then and print the list. Each bulleted number was a channel.

Plus you had to get the order of frequencies typed right. I used more banks back then and I still scan like that for the most part.

Another thing that I miss is when cars had more room. The last 2 new cars have been restricted to portables
only and the volume on a handheld scanner no matter what I do with my bcd-325p2 or whatever it's called is barely loud enough.

I used to have all my bct-15 era scanners with a gps so all my banks would turn on according to town. I even had boston police neighborhoods on the gps with some overlap. All i had to do was manually activate the area state police banks.

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#15 Post by Dave2582 » 02 Aug 2017 12:36

I like this hobby and tend to tinker with the radio when I'm by myself. I got into it maybe 10 or so years ago when my parents had a pro 94. I think my parents used the radio for the NHRA races at the time. They had the crew pit freqs programmed as well as some Mass SP and Boston PD and a couple locals. When I started listening to the radio, I thought it was pretty neat. I eventually took ownership of it and messed around with it for a while. It eventually broke from popping batteries in and out and falling a few times. I then went with a pro 106 off of craigslist since some towns went digital. I now have that radio in my car and have a good setup for when I'm driving around. I got a Whistler trx1 for this past Christmas and had a bit of a hard time trying to program it manually, but I eventually got it. As far as knowledge goes with the hobby, I'm new to it. I lurk online a lot. I check in here daily as well as RR. I'd like to learn beyond scanning for frequencies. I'd like to learn the science behind it, how it all works. I tried getting a ham license last year but missed it by one question on the exam. I will probably take the exam again soon. Yes, I do agree with better technology the more pricier the scanner products will be. That could be the breaking point where people get turned away and maybe listen online like broadcastify or a scanner app on their smartphone. At the moment, I'm renovating my basement and will have my permanent battle station there. I may be looking into getting a desktop scanner of some sort, who knows. I also may look into getting an antenna for when I do have my space downstairs and will look into how to feed it from the outside going in. Again, I'm new to the hobby as far as going beyond just hitting the scan button.
Dave
Hudson, NH

Pacmannion
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#16 Post by Pacmannion » 02 Aug 2017 13:04

I've gotten back into the hobby after 10-15 year delay. I used to have analog Bearcat when I was a kid. Now, since I work at Logan, the bug bit and I decided I wanted to listen to Troop F, Massport Fire and Massport Ops because it pertains to my somewhat to my job at the airport. Granted, our repeater channel is pretty boring most of the time and most of the interesting stuff happens over on Massport's trunk.

Furthermore, I also have Lynn PD and FD programmed into my Pro-668 among other various frequencies and talkgroups.

So, to me the hobby's not dead. Not yet at least.

EDIT: I should add, getting back into the hobby pushed me to get my ham license which finally appeared in the ULS today!
Patrick KC1HXT
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RadioShack Pro-668 - Yaesu VX-6R

deacon
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#17 Post by deacon » 02 Aug 2017 15:31

I purchased my first monitoradio when I was 16. I used a single strand of cooper wire to listen to my local PD and the RISP on 42.62. I am 70 and still listen everyday. No stopping me.

Chuck

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