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Author Topic: Radio Chatter  (Read 6925 times)

roadman

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Radio Chatter
« on: March 11, 2013, 08:04:37 PM »

I'm sure a number of roadgeeks like myself monitor State Police and DOT frequencies in other states (or even just the CB) when they travel, and I'm sure they've heard many interesting things over the airwaves.  The purpose of this thread is for everyone to share their favorite "radio chatter" moments.

I have several stories I'm fond of, but my all time favorite is when my 1988 Prelude was used to calibrate a Pennsylvania State Police speed trap on the Northeast Extension of the PA Turnpike.

It was an early Sunday morning in 1996, and I was traveling from Wilkes-Barre to Strasburg.  Shortly after I got on the Extension southbound, my scanner came alive with traffic on the Troop T frequency.

Didn't take me long to figure out that speed enforcement was the order of the morning, and that they were setting up about twenty miles south of where I was.  So I continued south, listening to the progress, and started slowing down about a quarter mile out.  As I came over the hill just before the troopers, the radio came alive with "OK.  We're ready to calibrate.  What should we use?", followed by "How about that red Honda coming over the hill.  He's doing the limit."

Moderators - if you feel this topic is more appropriate for a different forum, feel free to move it.
« Last Edit: March 11, 2013, 08:07:26 PM by roadman »
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empirestate

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Re: Radio Chatter
« Reply #1 on: March 11, 2013, 10:21:31 PM »

Well, I haven't really caught any interesting moments doing this, but I'll often follow air traffic communications when I'm going to meet a flight at the airport.
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Dr Frankenstein

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Re: Radio Chatter
« Reply #2 on: March 11, 2013, 10:38:35 PM »

In fact, I just got a scanner. I've listened to some firefighter operations and some airport operations as well (at YUL), but the thing I listen to most often is railways, since I'm a railfan. It helps me predict where and when I can meet a train and take photos.

Unfortunately, the local police departments have switched to encrypted digital.
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Desert Man

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Re: Radio Chatter
« Reply #3 on: March 11, 2013, 10:52:17 PM »

Growing up near a freeway (I-10 in Indio Cal.), my bro when he was 10 years old in the early 1990s was able to receive truckers' wild obscene CB-radio dispatch calls on his Fisher-Price headset radio! I kid you not...the toy is able to pick up some good reception from truckers' CB radios. You're able to be a bystander to the truckers on any CB channel.
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Alps

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Re: Radio Chatter
« Reply #4 on: March 11, 2013, 11:49:24 PM »

Well, I haven't really caught any interesting moments doing this, but I'll often follow air traffic communications when I'm going to meet a flight at the airport.
I used to have the site bookmarked where you can listen to them online, but the Port Authority airports (JFK especially, with a large volume of international flights) started to lose their feeds, so I canned the bookmark. It's also something I enjoy listening to during the flight if I happen to have a headset - typically, the "radio channel" repeats on a 90-minute loop or so.

hbelkins

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Re: Radio Chatter
« Reply #5 on: March 12, 2013, 01:18:33 PM »

Don't know about other states, but in Kentucky, unless you're a member of the press or other specifically exempted groups, it's illegal to use a radio capable of picking up police frequencies in the passenger compartment of a moving vehicle.
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agentsteel53

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Re: Radio Chatter
« Reply #6 on: March 12, 2013, 01:34:39 PM »

Don't know about other states, but in Kentucky, unless you're a member of the press or other specifically exempted groups, it's illegal to use a radio capable of picking up police frequencies in the passenger compartment of a moving vehicle.

so I have to sit in the trunk, or the bed of the pickup?

or, I can become a "member of the press", which is probably even easier than licensing one's self to become a reverend and conduct marriages.

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US81

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Re: Radio Chatter
« Reply #7 on: March 13, 2013, 01:05:03 AM »

Back in CB times, I remember driving late one night along a rural stretch of I-35. Very little radio traffic. Someone asked for a smokey report two or three times - at first, no reply - then a voice said "Son, I guess there's no one out here but you and me."
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kphoger

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Re: Radio Chatter
« Reply #8 on: March 13, 2013, 09:27:37 AM »

I used to have a handheld CB, and would keep it in the car and turn it on every so often, back before it went to crap.  We were once driving south on I-55 in the Springfield (IL) area, and there was apparently a huge wreck that was blocking traffic.  I could hear the truckers advising each other on the CB to take an alternate route through town, so I decided to do so as well.  That alternate route ended up being so clogged full of trucks, that we would have been better off staying on I-55 and waiting for the lanes to open up.
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roadman

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Re: Radio Chatter
« Reply #9 on: March 13, 2013, 09:50:00 AM »

Don't know about other states, but in Kentucky, unless you're a member of the press or other specifically exempted groups, it's illegal to use a radio capable of picking up police frequencies in the passenger compartment of a moving vehicle.

A number of states (like New York and Minnesota) have restrictions on mobile scanner use, although most of them will allow you to apply for a permit.  In addition, if you have a ham radio license, you are generally considered to be exempt.  This exemption is supposed to be required by Federal Law, and the reason is because most modern ham VHF/UHF transceivers have extended receive capability.

It's my understanding that Kentucky is the sole exception to all this.  AFAIK, they do not grant permits, and they do not recognize the ham radio exemption.  I've also heard rumors that Kentucky State Police apparently have the autority to confiscate your radio equipment on the spot if you're stopped for a traffic violation.

I am a ham radio operatior, so I fall under the exemption.  However, I avoid travelling in states with mobile scanner restrictions when I can do so, and I absolutely refuse to ever drive through Kentucky - even if it means going well out of my way.
« Last Edit: March 13, 2013, 10:24:20 AM by roadman »
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Dr Frankenstein

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Re: Radio Chatter
« Reply #10 on: March 13, 2013, 10:20:33 AM »

Hmm... I didn't know this was regulated. It looks like only ham licensees can use mobile scanners in NY. Damn you, NY.
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roadman

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Re: Radio Chatter
« Reply #11 on: March 13, 2013, 10:27:53 AM »

Hmm... I didn't know this was regulated. It looks like only ham licensees can use mobile scanners in NY. Damn you, NY.

AFAIK, New York allows you to get a permit if you're not a ham.  However, it's probably easier and faster to get your ham license (the FCC did away with the morse code requirement about 20 years ago).  My best friend applied for a mobile permit when he moved back to Minnesota in 2007, and he's still waiting for it (BTW, he now lives in South Dakota).
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Dr Frankenstein

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Re: Radio Chatter
« Reply #12 on: March 13, 2013, 09:16:24 PM »

Now, the question is... would my Canadian ham radio license be valid if I had one?
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oscar

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Re: Radio Chatter
« Reply #13 on: March 13, 2013, 09:37:06 PM »

I had a CB radio in my now-deceased 1982 Honda Accord, complete with a roof-mounted antenna that looked out of proportion on such a small car.  I placed a small clip-on U.S. antenna flag on the top (easy to spot my car in a parking lot), but quickly figured out that somewhere around 100mph, the antenna bent back enough for the flag to slide off.

I quickly grew tired of listening to truckers yakking about their supposed sex lives, and not getting much useful info amidst the noise.

The most interesting incident was when I overheard truckers complaining about my speeding on I-55 in Louisiana, and asking "Speedy Gonzales" (me) to slow down, which I did. 
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Re: Radio Chatter
« Reply #14 on: March 14, 2013, 05:04:03 PM »

Now, the question is... would my Canadian ham radio license be valid if I had one?

Canada and the US have reciprocity as far as ham operation goes, so I would imagine that would carry over to equipment as well.  We actually had a Canadian ham help out here in Ohio during a bout of severe weather a couple years ago.  He was heading up I-71 and doing some spotting.  After things had calmed down he came on to say how cool it was to be involved because that kind of weather was rare where he lived (sadly I didn't catch the location.)
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Alps

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Re: Radio Chatter
« Reply #15 on: March 14, 2013, 06:06:18 PM »

Now, the question is... would my Canadian ham radio license be valid if I had one?
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Duke87

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Re: Radio Chatter
« Reply #16 on: March 14, 2013, 11:00:05 PM »

Don't know about other states, but in Kentucky, unless you're a member of the press or other specifically exempted groups, it's illegal to use a radio capable of picking up police frequencies in the passenger compartment of a moving vehicle.

See, this sort of bullshit is what quashes any interest I might have in experimenting with the idea. Same reason I will probably never own a radar detector. The varying legality is simply intolerable. If I get into using it where it's legal it will just lead to me getting pissed off when I'm anywhere it's not. Better for the sake of my sanity to just abstain entirely.

That, and having to deactivate or remove something for certain trips is a pain in the ass. I used to keep an old baseball bat in my car with the idea that it could be an implement of self-defense... then, on a trip to Canada, CBSA gave me a hairy eyeball about taking a weapon across the border. After that I removed it and I'm not putting it back.
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agentsteel53

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Re: Radio Chatter
« Reply #17 on: March 15, 2013, 09:27:55 AM »

The most interesting incident was when I overheard truckers complaining about my speeding on I-55 in Louisiana, and asking "Speedy Gonzales" (me) to slow down, which I did.

why would they care?  were you weaving in and out of traffic?  just plain going fast shouldn't raise anyone's attention.
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hbelkins

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Re: Radio Chatter
« Reply #18 on: March 15, 2013, 10:44:15 AM »

See, this sort of bullshit is what quashes any interest I might have in experimenting with the idea. Same reason I will probably never own a radar detector. The varying legality is simply intolerable. If I get into using it where it's legal it will just lead to me getting pissed off when I'm anywhere it's not. Better for the sake of my sanity to just abstain entirely.

Radar detectors are only illegal in the U.S. in Virginia and D.C. Not a big deal to take it down for those two jurisdictions.
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roadman

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Re: Radio Chatter
« Reply #19 on: March 15, 2013, 12:44:17 PM »

I had a CB radio in my now-deceased 1982 Honda Accord, complete with a roof-mounted antenna that looked out of proportion on such a small car.  I placed a small clip-on U.S. antenna flag on the top (easy to spot my car in a parking lot), but quickly figured out that somewhere around 100mph, the antenna bent back enough for the flag to slide off.

I quickly grew tired of listening to truckers yakking about their supposed sex lives, and not getting much useful info amidst the noise.

The most interesting incident was when I overheard truckers complaining about my speeding on I-55 in Louisiana, and asking "Speedy Gonzales" (me) to slow down, which I did. 

I generally turn on the CB only when I hit a backup that I'm not getting information about on either broadcast traffic reports or the State Police/DOT frequencies.  I also turn it on when I'm approaching an oversized movement (usually I've picked it up on the State Police frequency first), so I can hear the pilot car and drivers talking back and forth.

I've had truckers comment about my car on several ocassions.  The best one I recall was a high-wide convoy I passed on I-70 in West Virginia, where one of the drivers exclaimed over the CB "Hey.  Check out this red car (I owned a 1988 Prelude at the time) passing us.  Looks like a bug with all the antennas on it!"  To which I immediately replied "Hey, if you have the radios, you need the antennas."
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Re: Radio Chatter
« Reply #20 on: March 27, 2013, 02:13:45 PM »

I live in Minnesota, so I can't use one in my car, but I generally turn it on at work. I telecommute, so it's amusing to hear about all the idiots driving into the ditch when it snows.

The one call I recall was actually from Fire/Rescue, it was a 12 year old girl that decided to sit in a baby swing for some reason and got stuck.
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Re: Radio Chatter
« Reply #21 on: April 06, 2013, 02:43:04 AM »

 Two of my many favorite scanner eavesdropping moments were as follows:

Officer (on I-95 in RI): I just pulled over Wade Boggs for speeding, what do I do?
Dispatch: Write him a ticket and have him autograph it!

Dispatch (around Halloween): Car XX, check with victim report of a stolen pumpkin, at (address.) It weighs about 400 pounds.
Officer: If someone was able to pick that up, I don't think I want to mess with him!

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roadman

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Re: Radio Chatter
« Reply #22 on: April 16, 2013, 12:36:57 PM »

I live in Minnesota, so I can't use one in my car, but I generally turn it on at work. I telecommute, so it's amusing to hear about all the idiots driving into the ditch when it snows.

The one call I recall was actually from Fire/Rescue, it was a 12 year old girl that decided to sit in a baby swing for some reason and got stuck.

Minnesota allows mobile use of scanners if a) you're a licensed ham operator or b) you have a permit issued by the state or local police.
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Brandon

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Re: Radio Chatter
« Reply #23 on: April 16, 2013, 12:50:56 PM »

I quickly grew tired of listening to truckers yakking about their supposed sex lives, and not getting much useful info amidst the noise.

Sounds a lot like usenet with the substitution of computer geeks for truckers.
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