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Radio Scanning in the Republic of Ireland

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Hi all,

Once upon a time, most people interested in radio would have used or at least possessed a radio scanner to listen in to the usual traffic. Is there anyone still monitoring the airwaves or has the dramatic migration of business radio to digital killed off the interest? If you are still using scanners, what do you currently listen to? I would be very curious to know. Also please be aware of the current legislation and Statutory Instrument that covers the use of radio receivers in the Republic of Ireland.

Thanks,

73

Brian EI8EJB

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EXPERT ELMER

Until recently, I did, but my scanner died about five years ago. I've been meaning to get a new scanner. However, one of our admins, @W4DOI scans regularly. In fact, I believe he's about to get a new one (or at least I now that he's looking actively). Alan? Have you narrowed it down?

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EXPERT ELMER

Hello Brian and welcome to Ham Community.  I have an old analog 300-channel Radio Shack scanner that is about 30+ years old.  Mainly, I use it to scan thru the ham repeaters in my area.  You're right, for most of the public service and business radio has shifted to some form of digital and the old scanner is mostly useless for monitoring.  I have been considering upgrading to a new scanner with more capability to receive some of the newer modes used these days.  Of course, I've found there is alot to catch up on to try to figure out the best direction to pursue now.  I have been eyeing one of the new Uniden scanners that are based on SDR technology such as the SDS200.  Of course, these are quite expensive but with all the changes going on, I figure SDS technology has the best chance of keep up by using software upgrades.  We also have laws that vary by state governing the use of scanner although mainly they address using them in a mobile.  I live in a high rise apartment building and we seem to have frequent false fire alarms and it would be nice to have a receiver that could monitor the building maintenance net and fire response to have an idea of what is going on.... that is my main motivation for upgrading to a newer scanner.  I have not made the purchase yet.  Lately I have been monitoring using a iphone app of my local dispatch frequency to listen to the response.  The scanner is still useful to monitor ham radio activity on my local repeaters.  2meter and 70cm activity continues to decline so it helps having a scanner to catch activity on the air.  Although most 2m/70cm radios do a decent job of scanning programmed frequencies, so a dedicated scanner is not really needed.  There is still groups of scanner enthusiasts here in the states and several onliine stores that cater to them.  The Uniden, Whistler, and Bearcat scanner seem to be the most popular.  My impression is that now the challenge if programming the scanner for the frequencies and modes used in the area that you are interested in scanning.  It seems that different jurisdictions are selecting their own digital radios which makes selecting the best scanner more difficult.  It was so much easier back in the day when I purchased my first analog scanner.  It could handle wide and narrow FM and AM and I could pretty much listen to everything in the area.  Not so today.  Not sure if that helps or answers you question.

Alan W4DOI

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Hi guys,

Thanks so much for the input. I guess since the introduction of SDR and in particular, RTL-SDR dongles, which can be used with certain plug-ins for the likes of SDR# to give VERY fast scanning facilities, most of the radio scanning hardware has now truly become redundant. I have had some form of scanner, mostly portable in my possession since 1981 and always kept up to date with the hardware. But with an investment of €20/$20 or so, you can have quite a highly featured scanner on a computer. I am able to monitor both analog and digital, the only analog still really operational are the old stalwarts like aeronautical, marine and of course amateur radio. Here in Ireland, there used to be a great and very active scanning community, sharing frequencies as there was never, and still never availability of frequency data published by the regulator. So it was the thrill of the hunt that kept the hobby alive. Of course there was a big cross-over between ham radio and scanning, but both now sadly in decline. Still, I remain hopeful and am personally never too far from some form of receiver, either at home, work or just out and about!! 

Thanks again for the input,

73

Brian EI8EJB

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