NOAA WX Channels
Scanning Tips Update
License-free Frequencies:FRS is for use in the US and Canada.
LPD is for european use, sadly in the middle of our 70 cm ham band! Maximum 10 mW ERP and built-in, non-removable antenna. 69 channels between 433.075-434.775 MHz
LPD Japan or "Mini set". Max 10 mW ERP
MURS is for use in the US. Maximum 2 W ERP
PMR446 is for european use. Maximum 0.5 W ERP and built-in, non-removable antenna
PRS/UHF CB is for Malaysia (14 ch), Australia & New Zealand (40 ch) use. Located in the 477 MHz segment. Max 5 W
SRBR SE Swedish version. Maximum 1 W ERP and built-in, non-removable antenna
934 UK was for use in the UK. A maximum of 8 watts output and 8 element beam. Withdrawn 1998-12-31.
FRS = Family Radio Service, LPD = Low Power Device, MURS = Multi-Use Radio System, PMR = Private Mobile Radio, SRBR = Short Range Bussiness Radio
Check out the related area.
NOAA WX-channels (USA)Throughout the US, there are over 900 transmitters utilized by NOAA and the National Weather Service (NWR). They transmit severe weather warnings (such as tornadoes and stuff) to Specialized receivers. These are either stand-alone units or built-in for example into CB-radios. Of course, transmissions are also easily picked up on virtually any scanner. Locations, callsigns and more can be found at this URL. The frequencies are as follows:
Scanning TipsNow, this is a subject that could fill up many MB:s of text and pictures, but I will limit this section a little bit and write about some perhaps more uncommon stuff you can do.
I have had a blast snooping the airwaves with my setup consisting of:
I have also done some snooping from the car. By connecting the Super Searcher to an external antenna, the range of detection will be greater. If you drive around your town with this setup, you'll have frequencies and communications popping up as you pass the transmitters. The range of detection is of course depending on several factors: your antenna, the transmitting antenna, the frequency in question and of course the power output.
There are a few drawbacks too. Being a broadband device, the Super Searcher may be blocked when passing certain strong, wideband transmitters such as aviation radar sites, cellular dittos, broadcasting towers and multiple transmitter clusters. To test this, I hooked up the gear and went to Bromma Airport which is close to home, and parked within a 100 meters from the radar ball. This radar operates just above 1.3 GHz (1300 MHz). The Super Searcher could neither detect the Air-to-ground comm's antennas about 25 meters behind the car, nor my very own 2m/70cm/23cm HT with 300 mW output, 20 cm away. I had to move the HT as close as 8-10 cm from the Super Searcher in order for it to detect my transmission. Talk about blocking! This is however a relatively small problem that in practice won't matter that much. The extremist will buy and connect a megabuck preselector with 2 MHz bandwidth, thus selecting a small portion of the spectrum to be detected (you will miss a lot this way). A better approach would probably be a notch filter for 88-108 MHz and maybe a lowpass filter to block everything above, say 480 MHz.
The other drawback is impossible to remedy. The Super Searcher can not detect and pass the mode of transmission. You will have to set it manually on your radio. This is however a minute problem as most comm's except aviation is done with FM.
There are of course other manufacturers with similar devices offering "reaction tune" such as Optoelectronics, but this one won't cost you an arm and a leg. I had mine for only £89 In UK (in 2005).
The Watson Super Searcher comes with built in rechargable battery, a mains Charger and a telescopic antenna. It also has a bargraph to indicate relative signal strength. It's a fun tech-toy and a must-have for the scanner-user.
Of course, a full featured, megabuck spectrum analyzer will do the job under any circumstances (except reaction tune), no matter what the RF environment looks like, but the huge price for such a device is likely to deter most hobbyists (like me) and, it doesn't easily fit in your pocket!.
Scanning Tips UpdateThere are many Scanners on the market today that have a system called "Close Call" built-in That will detect a signal up to a few streets away
depending on buildings etc. eliminating the need for a seperate Frequency searcher.
I now use an excellant combination of Uniden/Bearcat Scanners consisting of :
When using Uniden Scanners, There are 3 different "Close Call" settings:
2 seconds only if the scanner is not currently stopped on a transmission.
If the scanner is on a transmission the scanner waits until the signal ends
to perform a Close Call check. This prevents breaks in audio during the
Close Call checks.
PRI - Close Call works even if there is a transmission. Checks for a Close Call hit every 2 seconds.
CC OFF - Close Call feature is Switched off.
Not only can they detect the
"Frequency" in use, but also can detect the
"Mode" of the Transmission, and even the
"CTCSS" subtone in use as well.
Other Manufacturers might have the "close call" feature by a different name
and, may or may not have these features included so check before you buy