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TUCoPS :: Radio :: cdc_196.txt

"Interesting Things to do with a Scanner" by The Mad Hatter





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  ...presents...    Interesting Things to Do With a Scanner
                                                         by The Mad Hatter

                      >>> a cDc publication.......1991 <<<
                        -cDc- CULT OF THE DEAD COW -cDc-
 ______________________________________________________________________________


     So last Christmas your anally-retentive father (Who by the way is a big-
time ham radio buff, complete with his call sign on his jacket, hat, license
plates, and a "I'd rather be hamming" bumper sticker.  Blech!) gave you a
frequency scanner and you're still wondering what the hell to do with it.
Let's see if I can enlighten you.

     Unless your scanner's a complete pile of shit, it should at least cover
29-54 MHz, 108-136 MHz, and 406-512 MHz.  My Bearcat 800xlt, for instance,
covers 29-54, 118-174, 406-512, and 806-912 MHz.  If your scanner covers the
800 MHz-and-up band you're in luck.  I'm not going to go into the theory of
radio waves, etc. because it'd take way too long and not even give the subject
adequate coverage.  Buy a book.  Also, if your scanner came with one of those
telescopic antennas, while being adequate, I would suggest running down to your
local Radio Shack and picking up one of their $20 outside antennas and putting
it up as high as you can get it (outside of course).

     The first thing I would suggest is picking up the latest copy of
_Police Call_.  This fine book comes in nine volumes, one volume for each
region of the country.  Therein are loads of frequencies that the editors have
leeched from the FCC.  Most of your local police, fire, ambulance, etc.
frequencies can be found in there.  There are other guides, but _Police Call_
can be found at your local Rat Shack and everybody has one of those piece of
shit stores in their town.

     Now, while I have all the ho-hum fire, police, ambulance, etc. frequencies
plugged into my scanner, they are by far the least interesting.  (At the end of
this file is a list of what I have programmed into my scanner.)  Following are
some of the more interesting things to listen to:


WIRELESS MICROPHONES: These little beauties are usually broadcasting in the
72-76 Mhz range.  These can be anything from the little spy devices to the
microphone a concert singer uses on stage.  If your scanner has a search
function, plug the 72-76 range in and see what you come up with.  (This
information is from a fellow I know at work, my cheap-ass scanner doesn't
cover it.)  Also, the FCC has allocated 169.45, 169.505, 170.245, 170.305,
171.405, 171.105, 171.845, and 171.905 for use with wireless mikes.  I
actually found a local delivery service running between 169.5 and 170.0
MHz.  I have yet to hear anything interesting but I live in a boring town.

FEDERAL GOVERNMENT STUFF: Here are some areas the feds hang out on (all in
MHz):  29.90-30.55, 32.01-32.99, 34.01-34.99, 36.01-36.99, 38.27-38.99,
40.01-41.99, and anywhere between 100 and 400 MHz.  The best thing to do is set
your scanner up to search those pairs awhile every day and see what comes up.
For instance, 165.375 Mhz is supposedly the nationwide command post frequency
for the Secret Service.  The FBI is supposed to run between 163 and 168 MHz.

CORDLESS PHONES:  This is why I own a scanner.  A common misconception which
some people make is that why they ratchet-jaw on their phone all day from the
backyard on their cordless, the conversation is as secure as if they were
talking on a regular phone.  Nada!  The Electronic Communications Privacy Act
of 1986 prohibits the listening of cellular conversations.  It does not,
however, cover cordless phones.  Who cares.  Set your scanner on Search and
plug in the frequency range of 46.61 and 46.97 MHz.  Sooner or later one of
your neighbors is going to start flapping her mouth and you're going to hear
it.  Write that frequency down and when the conversation is done, start again.
Pretty soon you'll have the frequencies for all your neighbors.  An example
is this little fifteen-year-old bitch that lives next to me.  She's on the
phone all the time gabbing with her boyfriend.  For a fifteen-year-old some of
the shit gets juicy.  Who knows, someday it might be good blackmail material. 
The exact cordless frequencies are 46.61, 46.63, 46.67, 46.71, 46.73, 46.77,
46.83, 46.87, 46.93, and 46.97.  Be persistent and you will eventually find
a phone close to you.

RADIO PHONES: These are the regular radio phones that have been around forever
and ever.  With cellular being so fucking expensive this service has been
gaining in popularity.  Search between 460 and 470 MHz to find the frequencies
used in your area.  463.75 and 464.12 are used a lot by construction people up
here in my area.  You'll also hear a lot of pagers mixed in with the phone
frequencies.  If you can't hear anything else you should be able to hear
something between 460 and 470.  Here again, some cool stuff can sometimes be
heard amongst the long-winded assholes.  My local police department has its own
radio phones on 461.35 MHz, and a lot of good shit comes over that frequency.
Most of your land-mobile business use is in this area also.  The above
frequencies are where I hear a lot of them.  That doesn't mean that's the law.
I've heard them in other bands, but between 460 and 470 Mhz is the most
prevalent up here.

CELLULAR PHONES:  Lately there's been a lot of hype about the privacy of
cellular calls.  Of course, they're just as easy to hear as cordless and
radio phones.  I tend to concentrate my scanning between 850 and 870 MHz when
searching for cellular calls, though many calls are carried at another bandwith
for which it's illegal to sell scanners that can reach those frequencies.
However, there are mods for many scanners to let them receive these
frequencies.  You can find out where to get this info for your particular
scanner from ads in the back of ham magazines and some t-files.  Back to
850-870, it's impossible to search for one particular phone call or company.
For instance, you won't be able to depend like I do on 461.35 MHz for good
stuff all the time.  However there are usually so many calls going on in any
metro area that there is plenty to hear.  There are many interesting t-files on
the layout of the 800 Mhz band that go way beyond the scope of this
introductory file, but if there's enough response I can type one up that goes
more in depth on cellular listening.


Other interesting shit you oughtta know:


TUNING THE 406-420 MHZ BAND: These are some of the nastier US Government
frequencies.  However, if your scanner is a cheap piece of shit it won't
cover them.  Look in the manual that came with your scanner for the
intermediate frequency (IF).  2 x IF = "magic number."  Take that magic
number and tune to the result.  For example, your IF is 10.8 (other
common IF's are 10.7 and 10.85) and you want to tune 407 MHz.  Add 21.6
(2 x 10.8) to 407.00 and you get 428.600 and you'd tune that.  The reception
kind of sucks but it beats buying a new scanner.

     The following are some of the frequencies that I have programmed into my
scanner or written down in my notes (for Boise, Idaho).  All frequencies in
Mhz:

453.300 - Boise Police Department Ch. A
453.350 - Boise Police Department Ch. B
453.425 - Boise Police Department Ch. C
453.475 - Boise Police Department Ch. D
460.450 - Ada County Sheriff (primary)
460.225 - Ada County Sheriff (information)
460.275 - Ada County Sheriff (car to car)
460.100 - Idaho State Police
460.300 - Idaho State Police
465.275 - Mutual All Call
154.430 - Boise Fire Department
155.265 - Ada County EMS (ambulance)
155.055 - Lifeflight (helicopter rescue)
155.760 - Idaho State Penitentiary
159.390 - Idaho Fish & Game
460.050 - Nampa Police Department
460.175 - Caldwell Police Department
460.325 - Canyon County Sheriff
460.375 - Gem County Sheriff
460.475 - Elmore County Sheriff
460.500 - Owyhee County Sheriff
118.100 - aircraft, Boise tower
119.000 - aircraft, Boise tower
119.600 - aircraft, Boise departure/approach (south)
121.700 - aircraft, Boise ground control
122.800 - uncontrolled local airports
126.900 - aircraft, Boise departure/approach (north)
152.030 - mobile phone
152.090 - mobile phone
153.010 - taxi service
154.430 - mobile phone
161.135 - Police mobile phone (juicy)
145.260 - ham 2-meter repeater
 30.102 - McDonald's drive-up window
 30.840 - Taco Bell drive-up window
 30.860 - Burger King drive-up window
157.650 - taxi service
162.550 - NOAA Weather Service
160.400-
160.65  - railroad stuff
164.500 - Boise Air National Guard Security

Those are the ones I mainly listen to.


     "So, Hatter, why should I care about this shit?"  Well, for instance
say you have your local pigs plugged into your scanner.  You get kind of an
appreciation (not much but some) for the shit they put up with every day.  Tons
of family fights, panicky old women, etc. are the majority of the stuff going
on up here.  If you're doing something where it'd be good to know where the
police are or if someone's made a report about your activities, you'll be
aware and can react before a police car comes barrelling in on you.  The point
is, you hear it first while it's happening.  Interested in aircraft?  Plug in
your local airport frequencies.  If you live by an Air Force Base, thats even
better.  Like to go and watch shit burn?  Plug in your local fire and ambulance
frequencies and find out where the latest human tragedies are.  Want to fuck up
your neighbor?  If s/he has a cordless phone eventually you can come up with
some primo blackmail info.  Last week a guy tried outrunning the pigs for
three or so counties.  It was pretty damn exciting to listen to.  For you
hacks, I'm in the process of figuring out how to hook a touch-tone decoder up
to my scanner.  It should prove interesting finding out what some of those
people are dialing.


     To finish up, here is a kind of overview in MHz of the VHF/UHF band and
generally what can be found where:

30-49   - long range communications
49      - walkie-talkies, like the Spidey one you had when you were 5
50-54   - six-meter amateur (ham)
54-88   - television channels 2-6
72-76   - radio controlled vehicles (airplanes, cars, etc.)
88-108  - FM broadcast stations
108-135 - aircraft
136-138 - weather satellites
144-148 - two-meter amateur
156.050-
157.425 - marine
162-174 - Federal agencies (Customs, FCC, etc.)
174-216 - television channels 7 - 13
220-225 - ham
420-450 - ham 
462     - CB, garage door openers, etc.

     I hope this helps some people enjoy their scanner as much as I do.
Questions, etc. can be left to me on Demon Roach Underground or my board,
22, Acacia Avenue, 208/327-0717, NUP:DOOBIE.
  _   _   ____________________________________________________________________
/((___))\|Demon Roach Undrgrnd.806/794-4362|Kingdom of Shit.......806/794-1842|
 [ x x ] |NIHILISM.............517/546-0585|The Polka AE{PW:KILL} 806/794-4362|
  \   /  |Ripco................312/528-5020|Tequila Willy's GSC...209/526-3194|
  (' ')  |The Works............617/861-8976|Blitzkrieg............502/499-8933|
   (U)   |====================================================================|
  .ooM   |1991 cDc communications by The Mad Hatter              10/31/91-#196|
\_______/|All Rights Pissed Away.                            FIVE YEARS of cDc|





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