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Lines changed since the previous issue are marked with a | character in the right margin. Introduction to Scanning by Bob Parnass, AJ9S [NOTES: This article may not be reproduced in whole or in part on CDROMS, in bulletin boards, networks, or publications which charge for service without permission of the author. It is posted twice monthly on the USENET groups rec.radio.scanner, alt.radio.scanner, and rec.radio.info. It is also available electronically from the rec.radio.scanner ftp archive on the official USENET FAQ library ftp://rtfm.mit.edu/pub/ group/rec.radio.scanner.] The author writes a monthly "Scanner Equipment" column for Monitoring Times magazine, published by Grove Enterprises, http://www.grove-ent.com but views expressed in this article are his own. This introduction is intended for people new to the scanning hobby and is oriented to scanning in the USA. High level overviews of the following topics are presented: Why Scanning? Is Scanning Legal? What Scanner Should I Buy? What is a CTCSS and DCS Tone Squelch Feature? How Do I Determine the Proper CTCSS or DCS Code? Scanner Antennas Coaxial Cable Feedlines Where Can I Buy A Scanner? Modifying Your Scanner Scanner Repair Shops Where Can I Obtain Frequency Information? Do Your Own Frequency Detective Work How Can I Use Equipment to Uncover New Frequencies? Scanner Clubs and Mailing Lists Why Scanning? Every day and night, scanner hobbyists are entertained by what they overhear on their radios. Police cars, fire engines, ambulances, airplanes, armored cars, trains, taxis, and buses are all equipped with radios and you can listen to them. You can monitor the local sheriff and fire departments to hear about events "as they happen," before the news reporters hear about them. Hostage dramas, bank robberies, car crashes, chemical spills, neighbor and domestic disputes, tornado sightings are all fair game. In a single afternoon, you can hear a high speed police chase, Drug Enforcement agents on a sting operation, and undercover FBI agents as they stakeout a suspect. How about listening to a team of G-men protect the president while transmitting in the 167 MHz range? Baby monitor intercoms are actually transmitters and you can hear them between 49.67 and 49.99 MHz. Stay ahead of road conditions by listening to highway road crews, snow plows, and traffic helicopter pilots. Many midwesterners monitor the state police and and county sheriff to learn of approaching tornados long before warnings are broadcast on TV and commercial radio. Take your scanner to sporting events and listen to race car drivers, football coaches, etc., in the 151, 154, and 468 MHz ranges. Monitor the everyday hustle and bustle of businesses, from cable TV repair crews tracking down pirate descrambler boxes, to security guards at your nuclear power plant or mall security guards chasing a shoplifter. Is Scanning Legal? In the United States, scanning from your home or at work is perfectly legal in most situations. The Electronic Communications Privacy Act of 1986 made it illegal to listen to mobile phones, common carrier paging, and a few other types of communication. Public law 103-414, signed Oct. 25, 1994, amended the law (Title 18 USC, Part I, chapter 119, sections 25110 and 2511) and outlaws listening to cordless phones, too, but many scanners cover these frequencies. It is illegal for companies to sell or import into the USA recently manufactured scanners which cover or can be easily modified to cover the cellular phone frequencies, but sales by private individuals will still be allowed. The rules define "readily altered by the user" as "clipping the leads of, or installing, a simple component such as a diode, resistor and/or jumper wire; replacing a plug-in semiconductor chip; or programming a semiconductor chip using special access codes or an external device, such as a personal computer." Speaking of privacy, federal law also requires you to keep what you hear to yourself and not use the information you hear on your scanner for personal gain. Be aware that several states have laws pertaining to scanning while in your car. Indiana restricts some portable scanners. A few states have enacted their own laws against listening to cordless phones. You can find out about these restrictions in a paperback book, Listeners Lawbook, compiled by Frank Terranella, Esq. available for $9.95 + shipping from Grove Enterprises, 7540 Highway 64 West, Brasstown, NC 28902. http://www.grove-ent.com What Scanner Should I Buy? Radio Shack and Uniden (maker of Bearcat, Regency, and Cobra brands) offer a wide choice of scanners. Radio Shack scanners are actually manufactured by both GRE (General Research Electronics) and by Uniden. Personally, I don't recommend Trident nor many of the AOR brand scanners, although the AR8000 and AR3000 have good reputations and the AR5000 works well. Programmable (synthesized) units have replaced crystal controlled models as they don't require crystals and usually have a keypad that permits you to store frequencies into channels. Programmables are now so cheap it doesn't make sense to buy a crystal unit as your main scanner unless you get it for under $45 or so. You can get a battery operated hand held scanner, a bigger "base" scanner which is powered from an AC outlet, or a mobile scanner which connects to your auto's electrical system. There are tradeoffs -- base and mobile scanners have larger displays and almost always provide more audio than portables, and some portables are more prone to interference when connected to outdoor antennas than base models. But when severe weather knocks out the power in your home, there's nothing like having a battery operated scanner to monitor the power utility and police frequencies! Make sure your first scanner has a "search" feature, which allows it to search all the frequencies between two frequency limits of your choosing. Beware of low cost programmables which can't search. Some models, like the early Uniden SportCats and Radio Shack PRO-2046, allow searching between limits, but the limits are factory programmed and cannot be altered. Get a model which covers the 800 MHz band. Usage of the 800 - 950 MHz band is growing fast and you will miss out on the action unless your scanner covers this band. If you're not sure whether you'll like scanning, don't want to spend much money, a 50 channel scanner will do. In general, the more channels and banks, the better. Most of the action takes place on frequencies between 30 and 1000 MHz, so don't be misled by scanner models boasting coverage from 3 to 2000 MHz. There's currently not much to monitor in the 1000 - 2000 MHz range. If you are interested in receiving short wave, that is, signals in the 3 - 30 MHz range, it's best to get a short wave radio specifically designed for that purpose. Although some scanners receive the short wave band, their performance in that range is often second rate. The $1500 Icom R8500 and $2000 AOR AR5000 models are exceptions. Deluxe scanners can be controlled and/or downloaded by a personal computer, a feature which appeals to a small but growing number of scanner owners. Almost all low and mid-priced scanners are prone to receiving images -- receiving the same signal erroneously on two or more frequencies. With a few exceptions, images are unwelcome due to the interference they cause, e.g., hearing aircraft transmissions while the scanner is tuned to the local police frequency. Premium quality scanners use "up conversion" circuitry, a scheme which greatly reduces, but does not eliminate, image reception. Currently, the more popular scanners include the discontinued Radio Shack PRO-2042 and PRO-2006 base/mobiles, the Uniden/Bearcat BC780XLT, BC895XLT, BC245XLT, SC200, and Radio Shack PRO-92 and PRO-94 portables. A number of owners report problems with the Icom R1 portable and the older Uniden/Bearcat 8500XLT base and 2500XLT portable. The Uniden BC9000XLT base and BC3000XLT portable work very well. The ICOM IC-R2 and Yaesu VR-500 are the two smallest "pocket" scanners which perform. Both are tiny enough to fit comfortably in a shirt pocket so you can monitor without attracting undue attention. Looking for value? At $170 discount price, the 100 channel Uniden/Bearcat BC278CLT base is a good value and available at most Sears and Best Buy stores. The Uniden Sportcat SC200 portable performs very well is an excellent value at its $220 street price. CTCSS and DCS Tone Squelch Feature Upscale scanners can be optioned with a subaudible tone decoding squelch circuit. There are two types: CTCSS (Continuous Tone Coded Squelch System) and DCS (Digital Coded Squelch). In simple terms, this feature lets your scanner ignore signals you don't want to hear. Most land mobile two way radios, except trunked systems, transmit either CTCSS or DCS signals subaudibly along with the voice information. U.S. military field radios employ wider deviation and a 150 Hz CTCSS tone, not supported by most scanners or CTCSS decoders. There are over 40 different CTCSS codes and you can program a specific CTCSS or DCS code into each memory channel. Using a CTCSS or DCS decoder permits your scanner to open the squelch only if the transmission has a code which matches the code you program. CTCSS and DCS decoding offers several advantages: 1. Ignore unwanted signals on shared frequencies: It is common for several users to share the same frequency, e.g., my county sheriff uses the same frequency as Chicago Police, located about 60 miles away. I want to hear my sheriff's transmissions but don't want the scanner to stop on or listen to Chicago Police transmissions. This is especially a problem when radio propagation is good, e.g., during a "band opening," when reception range is temporarily increased. 2. Combat intermodulation interference: Helps keep out intermod and image interference from strong pagers and other signals which are not transmitted with a matching code. 3. Ignore scrambled transmissions: Many federal law enforcement agencies (FBI, Secret Service, etc) and some local police agencies employ digital voice scrambling, which sounds like white noise and is annoying to hear. The CTCSS or DCS code is sent only when the station is transmitting unscrambled, or "in the clear." You can program federal frequencies along with the proper code into your decoder-equipped scanner so you won't have to listen to the scrambled mess and only hear their transmissions when they are unscrambled. CTCSS also goes by various tradenames: Motorola's PL (Private Line), GE's Channel Guard, and RCA's Quiet Channel. Motorola uses the tradename DPL (Digital Private Line) for its digital coded squelch. How Do I Determine the Proper CTCSS or DCS Code? There are a few ways to determine the CTCSS or DCS code transmitted by a station: 1. Use an outboard CTCSS/DCS reader which must be attached to the discriminator output circuitry inside the scanner. The reader has an LCD or LED display which indicates the code when a station transmits. I use a CSI model CD-1 Communications Decoder Unit, an an excellent reader which sells new for about $200. (Connect Systems Inc., Ventura, CA, 800-545-1349, http://www.connectsystems.com). 2. Many of the ScannerMaster guides, as well as scanner club newsletters, print the CTCSS codes used by transmitting stations. 3. On some scanners equipped with the CTCSS squelch, you can program into memory the frequency of interest. Then you "tune" slowly through all the different CTCSS and/or DCS codes until the squelch opens and you hear the dispatcher talking. This is a slow process and the station has to keep transmitting during it. 4. A slow, brute force method is to program the same frequency but a different CTCSS code into several channels and see where your scanner stops. 5. In some cases, I've actually examined the walkie- talkies I want to monitor and found the CTCSS code printed on a label on or inside the radio. Scanner Antennas All scanners come with a built in antenna, permitting reception up to about 20 miles or so. Portable scanners are supplied with a helical (spring shaped) antenna, covered by rubber. The rubberized antennas furnished with current models are too stiff and place stress on the antenna jack. Older scanners to be supplied with more flexible antennas. I prefer these alternative antennas for use with portable scanners: 1. The Icom FA-1433B dual band flex antenna, a thin and very flexible rubber antenna, is slightly longer than a stock heliflex but provides better performance. The Premier (Prime) RD-9 and RD-9SMA are about the same length but even thinner. 2. The Austin Condor is a 12" long rubberized antenna available for about $30. While considerably longer than the stock antenna and the FA-1443B, the Condor is very flexible and provides VHF-high band reception superior to both. It is not designed to cover the VHF-low band, but will allow reception there at least as good as shorter antennas. The Austin Condor is available from Grove Enterprises. 3. The "Thin-Stick" is an 18 inch telescoping antenna for extended range. It is made in USA by Smiley Antenna Co., Inc. and is designed to cover both the 2 meter and 220 MHz bands, but its variable length means it can be adjusted for optimum performance on other bands. What makes the Thin-Stick different from an ordinary telescoping antenna is the spring between the antenna and the connector portions. The spring absorbs most of the impact if the antenna collides with an object. The street price is about $17 and it is available from Amateur Electronic Supply, Milwaukee and other retailers. Outdoor antennas, like the Channel Master 5094A (available from Amateur Electronic Supply) or Antenna Specialists AV- 801 (recently discontinued), can extend reliable reception to 50 miles or more, depending on terrain. If you do use an outdoor antenna, be sure to disconnect and ground it during storms and when not in use to avoid a lightning hazard. Discone and ground plane type antennas can be more prone to cause scanner damage due to static charge buildup because they are not at "DC ground." Coaxial Cable Feedlines If your antenna installation requires more than 50 feet of feedline, use RG213/U or high quality RG8/U coaxial cable. RG213/U, e.g., Belden type 8267, has a non-contaminating jacket and will last longer. Each has an outer diameter of about 13/32". Similarly sized Belden 9913 cable and clones have lower attenuation but are difficult to bend, require special connectors, and can accumulate moisture inside because they are hollow. If you must use a small diameter cable for long runs, use RG6/U. Avoid RG58/U (7/32" OD) due to its losses at high frequencies. RG8/X (1/4" OD) is suitable for short patch cords. Where Can I Buy A Scanner? Almost every community has at least one Radio Shack store, and you can find scanners there. Be sure it is on sale, as Radio Shack list prices are high and their scanners are offered at reduced prices by mail order discounters. Discount chain stores like Wal-Mart, Best Buy, K-Mart, Service Merchandise, and Circuit City sell scanners, but carry just a few models. Department stores, like Sears Roebuck and Montgomery Wards, sometimes offer low end scanners, although at high prices. The best buys on new scanners are from reputable mail order radio dealers, for example: - Grove Enterprises, 7540 Highway 64 West, Brasstown, NC 28902. For a free catalog, call (828)837-9200. Telephone (orders only): (800)438-8155. Web page is http://www.grove-ent.com - National Electronics (formerly National Tower Company), PO Box 15417, Shawnee Mission, KS 66215. Telephone (800)762-5049, (913)888-8864. Web page is http://www.sound.net/~ne/ - The Ham Station, 220 N. Fulton Ave., Evansville, IN 47719-0522. Telephone (800)729-4373, (812)422-0231. - Scanner World (Albany, NY). Telephone (518)436-9606. - Amateur Electronics Supply (Milwaukee, WI). Telephone (800)558-0411. Web page is http://www.aesham.com Beware of inflated "shipping and handling" charges and be sure to include these when comparison shopping. Used scanners may be found at hamfests, flea markets, garage sales, or listed in the classified advertisement section of your newspaper. Modifying Your Scanner The term "mod" is often used as shorthand for "modification." If you are handy with a soldering iron, you may be interested in modifying ("modding") your scanner to add features or enhance its performance. Be warned this usually voids your warranty and current models are difficult to service due to the small, delicate surface mount components. Modifying any scanner to receive cellular phone signals is now considered illegal. By federal regulation, new scanner models must be designed to they cannot be easily modified to tune the cellular phone bands. The term "mod" has been narrowly used by some people to mean a change which permits a scanner to receive cellular phone frequencies. This definition is far too restrictive as there are several ways one could modify a scanner, e.g., changes to improve audio quality, adding an S-meter, expanding the number of channels, changing the earphone jack to accept stereo headphones, etc. Modification article files can be copied from several ftp sites including the /pub/hamradio/mods directory at: garfield.catt.ncsu.edu oak.oakland.edu (IP address 188.8.131.52) Modification articles posted on Usenet seem to have a life of their own. Frequently, they are plagiarized from the Internet and compiled by book, CDROM, and magazine publishers, sometimes reworded, then sold. Hobbyists then copy the modifications from the books, CDROMs, and magazines back onto the Internet or BBSs (bulletin board systems)! Grove Enterprises and other companies advertise a warranted, modification for fee service. Scanner Repair Shops Is your scanner broken? Aside from sending the scanner back to the manufacturer for repair, here is one company which repairs scanners: - G & G Communications (telephone 716-768-8151) - (http://www.iinc.com/ggcomm or email firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com) This family owned company repairs scanners and pagers and stocks parts for several older models. G & G cannot usually repair AOR scanners due to lack of manufacturer support. G & G sells and sometimes buys old scanners and parts, too. They are located at 7825 Black Street Rd., LeRoy, NY 14482. Repair tips for Bearcat and Radio Shack scanners are discussed in two other FAQ articles. Where Can I Obtain Frequency Information? To avoid chaos, the FCC licenses two-way radio users and assigns them specific frequencies. Groups of frequencies are allocated to specific types of users, so you won't usually find fire departments using the same frequencies as taxi drivers, for example. Scanner enthusiasts can obtain frequency information from several sources, including books, government microfiche records, or other listeners. Books: The most convenient source of fire, police, and local government frequencies is Gene Hughes' Police Call Plus, published each year in 9 regional volumes by Hollins Radio Data, and sold at Radio Shack and larger book stores. The newest editions contain abbreviated business listings, too, although callsigns and other details are listed only for local government and public safety licensees. I also recommend the book, Monitor America, published by SMB Publishing (now known as Scanner Master Publishing), and available from Grove Enterprises for about $30. A 1100 page 3rd edition is now available. Monitor America contains several pages of police, fire, local government, news media, sports, federal government, and commercial broadcast frequencies for all 50 states. It contains detailed communications system profiles and precinct maps for major metropolitan areas. Police and fire radio codes and unit identifiers unique to local agencies are listed for several cities. This differs from Police Call, which gives a more sterile, but uniform treatment of licensees, listing even the smallest of towns. Uniden has published several regional directories using the "Betty Bearcat" name, although there are much better directories available from Scanner Master (Newton Highlands, MA, tel. (508)655-6300) for some regions. The most readily available source of sensitive US government frequencies is still Tom Kneitel's Top Secret Registry of US Government Radio Frequencies. Published by CRB Research, the 8th edition is available from Grove Enterprises for about $22. Kneitel's book contains frequency listings for NASA, military, FBI, Secret Service, DEA, IRS, Border Patrol, arsenals, ammunition plants, missile sites, and others in the 25 to 470 MHz range. Tab Books Master Frequency File, first edition, written by James Tunnell and Robert Kelty, lists federal agencies and frequencies and deserves a read. However, there are no military listings and many pages are devoted to appendices and references which contain no frequency listings. The space would be much better used by a combined federal frequency list sorted by frequency. Commercial Magazines: Although national in circulation, local frequency information is sometimes available in Grove's Monitoring Times (tel. 828-837-9200, http://www.grove-ent.com) and the sensationalistic Popular Communications, (tel. 516-681-2922). National Scanning (NatScan) is a national scanner magazine published bimonthly and is affiliated with Uniden's Bearcat Radio Club. The best scanner frequency lists are often found in club publications, not commercial magazines, and are discussed later. Government Records: Every year, the US Government sells FCC license information, in the form of microfiche, floppy disk, and magnetic tape, to the public through the US Department of Commerce National Technical Information Service (NTIS). The high cost of buying government records limits their appeal to hardcore enthusiasts. You can write for a catalog of FCC Master Frequency Database items to the NTIS, 5285 Port Royal Road, Springfield, VA 22161. The FCC has an agreement with PerCon (tel. 716-386-6015), a private company, to sell FCC license information to the public on CDROMs. You can buy the full license information for a multi state region or a less detailed license database covering the the entire USA on CDROM. The PerCon Spectrum CDROM sells for under $29 and contains a handful of fields for every FCC license in the US. The Spring 1995 edition works in DOS, Windows, and Mac environments. Grove enterprises sells FCC license information on CDROM, too. As I have already done for hundreds of radio enthusiasts, companies, government agencies, and organizations across the country since 1994, I will locate FCC licensed and selected FAA and CAP transmitter sites in an area of your choice, in any state, and produce a custom RadioMap(TM) report, including a beautiful 11" by 17" scaled color map, protected by plastic. The map is marked with transmitter sites, cities, highways, airports, military installations, national parks, etc. See http://www.megsinet.com/~parnass for a sample. RadioMap has been advertised monthly in Monitoring Times magazine since 1995. The graphical nature of RadioMap allows you to identify antenna sites and visualize the transmitter locations in your neighborhood, near your office, and other places of interest -- from VLF through microwave. The report lists frequencies, callsigns, and licensee names. RadioMap covers police, fire, local government, TV, business, industry, common carrier, railroad, trucking, and many more types of transmitter sites, excluding ham radio stations. Wireline and nonwireline cellular phone and AM/FM broadcast transmitter sites are clearly marked using unique color icons. Industrial customers use RadioMap reports to survey the "radio environment" prior to installation of radios and wireless microphones at customer sites. RadioMap is used by the maritime and broadcast industries, as well as ham radio operators to solve intermod interference problems, and has been very favorably reviewed in RCMA Scanner Journal, American Scannergram, and USSN. The RadioMap processes and software are unique and proprietary. Unlike "more tame" maps, RadioMap shows the locations of military bases, ammunition plants, arsenals, weapons factories, and other military installations. For a flat fee, you choose the center location, and I choose the range, depending on transmitter site density: suburbs: 5 mile range (100 sq. mi. area) rural areas: 10 or more miles (400 sq. mi. area) dense urban area: 1 - 2 mile range Longer ranges for additional charge - call for pricing. A custom RadioMap report costs $24.95 plus $5.00 shipping and handling. For an additional $10.00, the deluxe report includes an extra index sorted by frequency and a custom frequency allocation histogram, a 0 - 1,000 MHz "spectrum analyzer-like" display showing spectrum usage by the transmitters in the map coverage area. Send check or money order payable to Bob Parnass for $29.95 for standard or $39.95 for deluxe RadioMap report with histogram and additional index by frequency. Include your name, address, and telephone number, along with center location (nearest intersection of 2 streets, or latitude & longitude) and mail to: Bob Parnass, 2350 Douglas Road, Oswego, IL 60543. tel. (630)554-3839 6-10 PM central time. For a brochure, send SASE. Do Your Own Frequency Detective Work When you try listening to a frequency for the first time, you'll want to know who you're hearing. Although FCC rules require radio systems to identify their operations with their assigned call letters either automatically or verbally, most ignore the regulation. This often makes it difficult to know who is transmitting. Moreover, many radios are now being placed in service illegally, without first obtaining the required FCC license. There is a challenge in deriving new spectrum usage information on your own. Sometimes it requires several days of listening, taping, and compiling fragments of information. Other times, the frequency information is there for the taking - without hassle. You can approach from two directions: 1. Listen first: Monitor a frequency or frequencies, and try to determine who's transmitting and what purpose the channel serves. Once you identify the user, log the information. 2. Compile first: Take advantage of opportunities, such as examining the frequency label on a guard's radio, or reading the FCC license hanging on the "radio room" wall, to compile frequency lists, then monitor the listed frequencies to confirm that they are really in use. Readers are urged to abide by the rules of good taste and local laws in the quest for frequency information. Don't trespass, wait for an invitation. Most listeners use a combination of both approaches. You can examine the FCC license on premise. I have found the actual FCC radio license, complete with frequency assignments, hanging on the walls of places like the mall security office or company guard shack. You can examine the labels on radio equipment. Frequency information is engraved on labels on the back of many walkie-talkies, or inside the battery compartment, like in the Motorola HT220 model. Most pagers have labels on the bottom or inside. Like passwords taped onto terminals, it's not uncommon to find labels embossed with frequencies or call letters glued to the front of base stations. You can make your own opportunities for eyeing the equipment or take advantage of "open house" events. If information is displayed publicly, then a reasonable person could assume it's not government secret. Hobbyists are urged to exercise a modicum of restraint and good judgement, however. How Can I Use Equipment to Uncover New Frequencies? If you don't know the exact frequency, but have a general idea of the range (e.g. 150 - 152 MHz), use your scanner's "search" mode. Most programmable scanners afford the ability to search between two frequency limits set by the user. A few models, like the ICOM R7000/R7100, and R1, and older Bearcat 250 and Regency K500, have the ability to automatically store active frequencies found during an unattended search operation. To find the frequency of a hotel communications system, one fellow installed his Bearcat 250 in his car and parked in the hotel lot, leaving the scanner in the "search and store" mode. He left the antenna disconnected so the scanner would only respond to a transmitter in the immediate vicinity. Aside from a scanner and antenna, the most useful piece of equipment for sleuthing is a voice actuated (VOX) cassette tape recorder. You don't need a high fidelity model or anything fancy, a Radio Shack CTR-82 will do. It's best to use a shielded, attenuating cable to feed the scanner audio into the recorder rather than relying on the recorder's internal microphone. VOX recorders allow one to compress a whole day's worth of monitoring onto a single tape. I often leave a recorder "armed" and connected to a scanner at home while I am at the office or doing something else. When call letters are mumbled, I can play and replay the tape until I hear and understand them. Test equipment can aid in the quest for new frequency information. I've used a spectrum analyzer connected to an outside antenna, and a frequency counter for close-in work. Are There Any Scanner Clubs or Mailing List? One of the best parts of the hobby is sharing it with other radio buffs. Trading information with other hobbyists about frequencies, communication systems, and receiving equipment is more valuable than any pile of magazines. Clay Irving <firstname.lastname@example.org> administers a scanner electronic mailing list, called "scanning." To subscribe, send an Email message to: email@example.com In the body of the Email message, put: subscribe scanning Other scanner mailing lists include: firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, and email@example.com. All Ohio Scanner Club A smaller club is the All Ohio Scanner Club. Its bimonthly publication, The American Scannergram, is about 60 pages long. Although concentrating on Ohio and the Northeastern states, there is frequency information from other states, and plenty of good product reviews and scanning tips. Annual dues are $18.50 and more information is available from: Dave Marshall, Managing Editor All Ohio Scanner Club, 50 Villa Road, Springfield, OH 45503. Chicago Area Radio Monitoring Association The Chicago Area Radio Monitoring Association (CARMA) is the foremost club for scanner radio hobbyists in the northern Illinois area. CARMA was formed from the Chicago chapter of the Radio Communications Monitoring Association (RCMA), and we have been meeting since the early 1980s. Many CARMA members are active in ham radio and GMRS, but the club is devoted to scanning and scanners. Meetings are held on Saturdays, many at area restaurants, about 6 times a year. Although lunch starts at noon, the meetings begin officially at 1 PM and often run until about - 2 - 4 PM. You must purchase a lunch since we get the room for free. Meetings consist of a quick review of club business, sometimes a special presentation, and a "round table" discussion/question & answer session. Large quantities of information and frequency lists are often distributed in the form of free handouts. Members often sell radio equipment at the meetings, too. In addition to regular meetings, there are two CARMA picnic/field days during which members meet at a park, erect antennas, eat, and operate scanners from battery power. CARMA members take organized tours of various communications facilities in the area. Club meeting dates and times are published on the CARMA email list, firstname.lastname@example.org. You can obtain a free electronic subscription to the CARMA email list. For more info, see: http://www.qth.net The club's mailing address is: CARMA P.O. Box 2681 Glenview, IL 60025 Most meetings are be held on Saturdays at Phillies Pizza, 6300S. Kingery Highway, located in the shopping center at the corner Rt. 83 and 53rd St. in Willowbrook, IL. -- ============================================================================== Bob Parnass, AJ9S email@example.com