Thursday, September 24, 2009

I Have an Addiction...

I have an addiction. I'm not addicted to drugs, or alcohol. I might be addicted to Pepsi. But I am definitely addicted to...the scanner. Oh, I can go without it. But I definitely miss it when I can't listen.
Maybe its my small town rescue roots, when everyone had one, and everyone knew everything. When you were asked, "Why was the Rescue Squad out at _____'s house?" every time the ambulance was seen around town. (Even before HIPPA, I knew not to answer that question with too much detail.)

I had one when I lived in suburban Philadelphia. I had one when I lived in Burlington, Vermont. I still remember when I had to go to work and couldn't go and photograph the big grain elevator fire in Burlington. I've had scanners whose frequencies were controlled by crystals. You would go to Radio Shack with a list and get the crystals for the freqs you wanted. I found out that police talk way more than firefighters or EMS people. I heard an ambulance instructed to turn left at the tree stump next to the old barn. (That wasn't Vermont, it was someplace south; it was skip on one of the very low freqs the fire and EMS services used to use--around 46 MHz. I actually heard that in in PA.)

I actually got up at 0600 on Black Friday to pick up a trunking scanner from Radio Shack for $150.

The scanner was in its glory yesterday morning. I heard a dispatch for Kansas City Fire to go to 33rd and Main for a building collapse. Of course, I listened more attentively. My scanner has programed into it the Kansas City MO trunk and the Grandview trunk. KCMO is usually what you hear when the scanner is on, but then I heard Grandview real quick say the collapse was in that city. As the response moved to the correct address, I worked the scanner to listen to Grandview Fire on the scene, and KCFD and MAST providing mutual aid. It was totally fascinating! I was glad to hear there were not many casualties or anyone trapped. The neat thing with the scanner is the look behind the scenes; you can hear the command making decisions and thinking things out.

It' s not the first time I've heard news in the making and breaking on the scanner. But I don't listen just to be the first to get the news. I listen more because the process of coming to emergency aid of another just totally draws my interest. It's a little "adrenalin rush by proxy". I admit it, I like being "in the know" too. And I love it when the good guys win, like about a week ago when KCPD saw a burglary on Grandview Road, watched, followed the bad guys and nabbed them at 44th and Indiana. That was so cool!

So I'll keep listening as long as they let me.

Product detail on the photo: That is the Radio Shack scanner I picked up that Black Friday about 5 years ago. It's a PRO-94 model. The display is showing a talk group on the Kansas City MO trunk. No, I'm not going to teach you about trunking or tell you the freqs. You can do that research yourself!

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