Some newbie advice please?

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Some newbie advice please?

Postby A N Tenner » Fri Nov 24, 2017 5:08 pm

Hello all,

I've been wanting to get into the hobby for years and am finally getting around to it, I am about to order myself a scanner and am currently navigating the maze of receivers available, could anyone shed some light on a few points?

The product I have in mind (mostly from reading posts on here) is the Uniden UBC-125XLT, for the money it seems to cover a broader range of frequencies than a lot in a similar price range. I live approx. 4 miles from Peterborough city centre.

Apologies if these have all been done to death, I couldn't see a search function but I suppose there are means to do so somewhere. My queries are as follows:

1) Product descriptions suggests I should get military air which would be quite interesting, i'm not after NATO secrets (unless you have some) or anything but aircraft chatter on the public frequencies would make for interesting listening. Nearby we have Lakenheath, Mildenhall et al. (35-50 miles as the crow flies), would I assume that with the speed these aircraft fly at etc. that I could reasonably expect to be able to get whatever aircraft are up there from mine? (I appreciate probably not the tower over that distance, even with the flat Fens in between). Failing that how close would you need to move? (I know it's dependant on sig strength but 5 miles? 10? 50? might I get a bit at 20 but 5 for the full experience for instance?).

2) I notice on the English Frequencies thread that Peterborough Shopwatch is listed, could I reasonably expect frequencies in the 400-500 bracket to cover the 5 miles or so they are away? or would I need to move a bit closer?

3) Further on from above, the freq list gives a lot of the list as (DIGITAL), does this mean it's encrypted or anything? could I expect to receive them on the Uniden 125? As anyone who has spent more than 10 minutes here will know, if there's one thing Peterborough is not short of it's shoplifters and this will give me hours of entertainment!

4) Research leads me to believe that receive-only equipment doesn't need a licence, assuming this is correct, am I still ok to listen to mil air on the above receiver or similar? again, only the unencrypted broadcasting freqs; would anyone set my mind to rest and tell me this is all ok to do? i'm not going in the Tower on suspicion of being an NK dissident or anything?

Hope this hasn't bored you all to death but if you could spare a few minutes to furnish a complete novice with your expertise I'd be very grateful!
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Re: Some newbie advice please?

Postby m0lsx » Fri Nov 24, 2017 5:36 pm

Welcome to the forum.

In answer to your questions.
1..The range of a signal depends upon the terrain & the position of both antennas. Even a hedge or a house can cause a signal to be lost especially at UHF. Which is where Mil Air is. But if you can get a antenna above guttering height & if there is not too much between you & Mildenhall/Lakenheath..Which thinking about it. There are trees then you may get the tower. I get aircraft in & out of both from here in Norwich. But nothing much for Cambridge. Presumably due to the flight path in/out of Cambridge.
Giving advice of how close you need to be is not exactly easy as it all depends upon terrain & antennas. Moving an antenna just 6 inches can occasionally make the difference between a full reflection signal & no signal. But certainly antenna position is important.

2. Again this depends upon terrain, antenna positions & in this case how thier radios operate.
The probability is that Peterborough Shopwwatch is digital & it's almost certain they do it handheld radio to handheld radio. And for both digital & handhaeld to handheld, the answer is no. I live less than a mile from a shopping center & I get no radio signal from them as it's handheld to handheld & lower than me with lots of houses between us.

3. Digital simply means it is a digital mode. Some digital signals are encoded. All digital signals need resolving, but most do not need decoding. But your radio will not resolve digital signals, all you will hear is a buzz or similar.

4. The legal situation is. We can only legally listen to signals intended for our reception. So broadcast stations, amateur radio stations, licence free radio like 446 & CB etc. We cannot legally listen to Airband, marine band, shopwatch, the local skip company etc etc. But I personally only know of one instance where someone has been jumped on & they were CB muppets who did not just listen. They chatted about it on CB, they relayed the Police signals to each other over the CB & made a big thing of it. They got raided & deservedly so.
Don't take the michael & no one really cares.

5. Any other questions & just post them. There is normally someone here who knows the answers.

Is the shopping centre in Peterborough the one I helped build in the early 80's? I forget the name of it, but it was in the middle of the City at the bottom of Lincoln Road & it may have been something like Westgate or Queensgate.
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Re: Some newbie advice please?

Postby A N Tenner » Fri Nov 24, 2017 5:54 pm

m0lsx wrote:Welcome to the forum.

In answer to your questions.
1..The range of a signal depends upon the terrain & the position of both antennas. Even a hedge or a house can cause a signal to be lost especially at UHF. Which is where Mil Air is. But if you can get a antenna above guttering height & if there is not too much between you & Mildenhall/Lakenheath..Which thinking about it. There are trees then you may get the tower. I get aircraft in & out of both from here in Norwich. But nothing much for Cambridge. Presumably due to the flight path in/out of Cambridge.
Giving advice of how close you need to be is not exactly easy as it all depends upon terrain & antennas. Moving an antenna just 6 inches can occasionally make the difference between a full reflection signal & no signal. But certainly antenna position is important.

2. Again this depends upon terrain, antenna positions & in this case how thier radios operate.
The probability is that Peterborough Shopwwatch is digital & it's almost certain they do it handheld radio to handheld radio. And for both digital & handhaeld to handheld, the answer is no. I live less than a mile from a shopping center & I get no radio signal from them as it's handheld to handheld & lower than me with lots of houses between us.

3. Digital simply means it is a digital mode. Some digital signals are encoded. All digital signals need resolving, but most do not need decoding. But your radio will not resolve digital signals, all you will hear is a buzz or similar.

4. The legal situation is. We can only legally listen to signals intended for our reception. So broadcast stations, amateur radio stations, licence free radio like 446 & CB etc. We cannot legally listen to Airband, marine band, shopwatch, the local skip company etc etc. But I personally only know of one instance where someone has been jumped on & they were CB muppets who did not just listen. They chatted about it on CB, they relayed the Police signals to each other over the CB & made a big thing of it. They got raided & deservedly so.
Don't take the michael & no one really cares.

5. Any other questions & just post them. There is normally someone here who knows the answers.

Is the shopping centre in Peterborough the one I helped build in the early 80's? I forget the name of it, but it was in the middle of the City at the bottom of Lincoln Road & it may have been something like Westgate or Queensgate.


Excellent, exactly what I was after, thank you M0lsx, I suppose there is more to it than plugging in and "letting the signals come to you", i'll have to get up the hills (not near here!) and see what I can pick up,

Excited now but I can't get the receiver until Mon/Tues with Amazon being so busy due to Black Friday! I will report back with what I end up getting.

You are correct, Queensgate was built around that time!

Thank you for your advice!
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Re: Some newbie advice please?

Postby A N Tenner » Fri Nov 24, 2017 7:11 pm

Done! Complete impulse buy but I am now in possession of a Uniden EZI33XLT, a bit lower spec than my original thoughts but I’m spontaneous like that... Currently learning how to set up the steps and that but a bit far away from the shorter wavelengths than I’d like to be, will try and see if I can pick up any taxis or the like
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Re: Some newbie advice please?

Postby m0lsx » Fri Nov 24, 2017 7:39 pm

You will not get Mil Air on the 133.
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Re: Some newbie advice please?

Postby A N Tenner » Fri Nov 24, 2017 8:33 pm

m0lsx wrote:You will not get Mil Air on the 133.


Of course, I am aware of that, just one of those new over-keen idiots that has to have something! :wink: sorry

I don’t suppose there’s any way of finding a freq list for my area online anywhere? Example in point 141.000 is clearly in use but blank so far, I’d love to know what it’s purpose is...

Edited to add: no doubt I’ve found something obvious to the more seasoned amongst you, it’s not given me anything yet but please bear with me, I’m learning!
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Re: Some newbie advice please?

Postby m0lsx » Fri Nov 24, 2017 10:59 pm

Go to the Google search in my signature..

https://cse.google.com/cse/home?cx=partner-pub-6291336405621919:2662881632

Enter local town names or a frequency & see what pops up. It's the best way to search this site.

If 141 is just a blank carrier I would check the owners manual for Birdie, as it could be an internally generated signal. Most scanners have a list of frequencies for known Birdies.
Buy a database from Kimmy JS19 via http://ukscanningdirectory.co.uk/
Or do Google search of this forum via https://www.google.com/cse/home?cx=partner-pub-6291336405621919:2662881632
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Re: Some newbie advice please?

Postby G4RMT » Fri Nov 24, 2017 11:50 pm

You might find the BBC local radio in the 141MHz band, it's certainly still occasionally in use by BBC Norwich OBs, and was in the radio car last year. Maybe the same where you are? The Norwich one was on 141.630 - I suspect it was really 625, but seemed a bit off frequency.
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Re: Some newbie advice please?

Postby Minus1 » Sat Nov 25, 2017 10:26 am

BBC Local radio use these freqs (all 6.25 kHz offset from 12.5 kHz multiples), with freqs local to me:

141.20625 NFM BBC Radio Northampton
141.21875 NFM BBC LR (Midlands)? Derby? / Suffolk?
141.23125 NFM BBC Birmingham
141.24375 NFM BBC CWR Coventry
141.25625 NFM BBC Radio Cambridgeshire (dx) / Stoke?
141.275 AM 25k (Not available to PMSE. French military?)
141.29375 NFM BBC Radio Shropshire
141.30625 NFM BBC Radio Leicester

Most local commercial radio stations ('ILR' as was) have been allowed to be gobbled up by corporations — who don't bother with outside broadcasts. (They were 140.99375 to 141.19375)

Some TV in 141.325 to 141.4875 (not 6.25 kHz offset) wider bandwidth
ITV Birmingham 141.375
BBC Birmingham 141.4625

The 141.63 freq mentioned by G4MRT is decades out of date.
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Re: Some newbie advice please?

Postby Minus1 » Sat Nov 25, 2017 10:33 am

A N Tenner wrote:4) Research leads me to believe that receive-only equipment doesn't need a licence, assuming this is correct, am I still ok to listen to mil air on the above receiver or similar? again, only the unencrypted broadcasting freqs; would anyone set my mind to rest and tell me this is all ok to do? i'm not going in the Tower on suspicion of being an NK dissident or anything?


You're not allowed to listen to anything except authorized broadcast stations - WW2 / Cold War mentality still persists amongst government bureaucrats.
If it had not been for Radio Caroline and other pirate ships in the 1960s, you wouldn't be allowed to listen to anything except the BBC.
But go to any airshow and you'll immediately see how insane the law is.
Discretion is the better part of valour.
I reserve the right to ignore people who have made no attempt to the read the manual, and expect others to do it for them.
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