First off, a friendly reminder to turn forward your clocks an hour tonight (Saturday, Mar. 8) before going to bed, as Daylight Savings Time begins tomorrow morning (Mar. 9) at 2 AM.
Though it may not feel like it for many of us quite yet, spring is just around the corner. This arrival has certainly been long-awaited by many. However, with it comes the return threat for severe thunderstorms, tornadoes, flooding rain, and the other forms of hazardous weather that come with the warmer weather in spring and summer.
And also coming with spring is the arrival of annual skywarn storm spotter training classes once again around our area. For those of you that are not familiar with skywarn, it is an all-volunteer network of weather observers around the nation, trained and coordinated by the National Weather Service. “Spotters,” as they are called, attend a training session put on by their local NWS office in the spring. They are taught about the different forms of hazardous weather that come with the warm severe weather season, and also how to correctly and safely recognize, identify, and report these hazards to the NWS. Then, throughout the year, whenever these spotters encounter severe weather, they can give their trained-eye reports to the National Weather Service.
Radar and other weather tools used today are all extremely valuable, but nothing beats a pair of trained eyes out in the field to give the NWS a clear picture of what is going on. These reports can help in the issuance and verification of warnings, and can make warning lead time longer to help others in their community. It is not tying you to any commitments to be solely helping the NWS when bad weather arrives; just go about your daily routine, and report anything you see that meets reporting criteria.
Skywarn spotters come from a wide array of fields. Ham operators, police and fire personnel, emergency management personnel, weather enthusiasts, and those simply interested in helping their community are among the groups that often attend the sessions. They are always free and open to the public, and they are always a fun evening for anyone that even remotely enjoys the weather.
Here are the times, dates, and locations for upcoming skywarn classes in the Erie area:
Crawford County, PA: Monday, Mar. 17, 6:30 PM, at St. Brigid’s, 383 Arch St., Meadville, PA. NWS Cleveland.
Chautauqua County, NY: Monday, Mar. 24, 7:30 PM at WCA Hospital, 207 Foote Ave., in Jamestown, NY. NWS Buffalo.
Erie County, PA: Tue., Apr. 01, 6:30 PM, at Hamot Hospital auditorium, 201 State St., in Erie, PA. NWS Cleveland.
Additional dates and locations for other area counties, or for just about anywhere in the country, can usually be found on your local National Weather Service office home page.
If you have any comments or questions on Skywarn or regarding upcoming sessions in your area, please feel free to contact me. I strongly recommend this course for all of us, so we can help out the National Weather Service!
I reported to you some time ago that the Erie County (PA) Sheriff’s Office is looking into upgrading their radio system. This is due to the fact that areas of broken or nonexisting coverage exist in the county. One of the most concerning of these is apparently some dead zones within the county courthouse, where sheriff’s deputies have little to no radio reception. This could certainly become a safety problem for a lot of people.
Now, according to a recent article in the Erie Times-News and on goerie.com, these upgrades are moving forward. A company out of Jamestown, Eagle Radio Technologies, is willing to install new repeaters for the department, as well as obtain new mobile equipment for the sheriff cars, for 35,906 dollars. Another company from Meadville, Mobilcom, is contributing some installation needs and also is contributing 13 portable radios. In the end, all these costs add up to a total that is about 19,500 dollars less than the original target amount. The article stated that the final cost is currently being placed at 49,094 dollars.
Erie county sheriff John Loomis thinks that these upgrades will greatly enhance the radio reception. According to him, everything worked very well during testing of new equipment some months ago.
The full article can be accessed here:
Our “Scanner Recordings Archive” page has just been updated with a new recording! On Friday, 01-24-14, just before midnight, Erie police officers attempted to stop a vehicle at East 10th and Hess streets. The driver fled and led police on a wild chase throughout the city’s east side, in which he hit two police cars. He was finally stopped and taken into custody at Prospect and McCain streets. It turns out he was driving under the influence, and now faces a wide range of charges for his actions.
The recording is 06:36 minutes long and can be found in downloadable MP3 format over on the recordings page.
Take a listen and enjoy!
If you live in the western NY or northwestern PA areas and have been thinking about getting your amateur radio license, the perfect opportunity for you has arrived!
The Radio Amateurs of Corry, in conjunction with the Corry Higher Education Council, is putting on a class to teach the material needed to pass the technician class amateur radio license exam, and also the basics you’ll need when getting on the air for the first time. This is a great time for you if you have been considering getting your license because you will not be in it alone and will have others to talk with and learn from. With a tech license, you will be able to use the popular VHF and UHF bands where lots of local activity can be found; the 6 meter band, which depending on conditions allows you to talk to friends down the street or new contacts across the country; portions of the 10 meter voice, digital, and Morse code bands on HF; and the morse code portions of the 15, 20, and 40 meter bands.
The class will be held each Monday beginning Feb. 10 and lasting through Mar. 31. It will take place from 6:30 to 8:30 PM at the Corry Higher Ed building in Corry, PA.
The total cost for the class is 59 dollars. This also includes an ARRL study book to help you learn the basics and get started. This is really a greatly priced package, to get your license and a book as well.
Peter Albright (AA2AD) is teaching the class, and it is open to anyone age 12 and older.
Your registration and payment are required by noon on Thursday, Feb. 6. If you’d like to register, call the Corry Hi-Ed Council at (814) 664-9405.
I highly recommend this opportunity to anyone who has been thinking about getting their ham license but isn’t quite sure where or how to begin. Scanner listeners or anyone interested in radio might also want to take this opportunity.
You can read more by visiting the Radio Amateurs of Corry web site here:
Of course, if you have additional questions about the class or about ham radio in general, you can always contact me via the site and I would be more than happy to point you in the right direction.
Don’t miss this opportunity: I’m looking forward to hopefully hearing a few new call signs on the air soon!
Smart911 is a system in place in many parts of the country, including Chautauqua county, that allows public safety dispatchers to quickly access important information for a person when they call 911 with an emergency. Once a person has a profile in Smart911, dispatchers can quickly access medical and other information about that person using their profile if an emergency ever occurs. Smart911 attempts to recognize dispatchers that use information in the Smart911 system to positively affect the outcome of an emergency through the SmartSave award.
One of our own local dispatchers, Michael Catta, recently received such an award. He works as a dispatcher for the Chautauqua County Sheriff’s Office, and was presented with the award by sheriff Joe Gerace.
According to a recent article in the Jamestown Post-Journal, Catta received a call from a citizen in need of medical attention on March 27. A woman called in stating her father was in a public parking lot and was having chest pains. After getting the location of the call and beginning to process it so the appropriate units could respond, Catta accessed the man’s Smart911 profile with information about his medical condition. EMS and dispatchers therefore had all the information they needed about his medical history, taking a burden off of the caller’s shoulders knowing that proper help was on its way. Medical units were going to the scene with everything they would need to properly treat the patient quickly and effectively. Catta even forwarded the medical notes to the hospital where the patient was transported, so they had all the information as well.
I personally was privileged enough to work with Catta over this past summer during my internship at the dispatching office for Chautauqua County. I can personally affirm that he is a fantastic dispatcher, and I know he would always do whatever is necessary to help those in need. This was probably just another day helping the citizens of the county for him, but it is awesome to see him receive recognition for his help in saving lives.
Thank you, Catta, for everything you do!
If you want to read the full Post-Journal article, follow this link:
We are quickly coming up onto New Years 2014, in which we will say good-bye to 2013 and welcome in a brand new year.
With the holiday just days away, many of us are making plans for the parties we will attend or the snacks we’ll prepare or the friends we’ll hang with on New Year’s Eve, scanner listeners are also beginning to gear up for the holiday.
In my monitoring experience, I have found that New Year’s can bring some of the best scanner listening of the year. It’s right up there with ;St. Patrick’s Day and Independence Day for me, my self-proclaimed “Triple Crown” of scanner-listening holidays.
With New Year’s Eve coming up fast, be sure you have your scanner prepped and ready to go for the party. Police agencies will surely be hopping with plenty of interesting calls all night long. Erie city police are always one of the busier agencies in the area, so if you live within their range be sure to tune them in. Also don’t neglect your local town or county police agency, as they will surely also have local incidents that you will want to be aware of. Buffalo police, if you live in range, can also provide a ton of entertainment.
If you don’t have a scanner or won’t be near yours for the festivities, it’s all right. There are a ton of live scanner feeds out there on the Internet for various local law enforcement agencies, as well as agencies across the county. If you don’t want to list: to Erie area traffic, pick your favorite city (Buffalo, Boston, Chicago, Detroit, Los Angeles, etc.), and tune in for the action!
Broadcastify has one of the biggest and best collections of live feeds on the WWW. It’s so easy to use, too: just scroll to your desired state and county and select the feed.
New York City, as you can imagine, is one of the busiest major cities to tune in to for the holiday, with the Time Square ball drop and multitudes of people celebrating in the city. The Special Operations Division (SOD) feed of the NYPAID is always your place to hear what’s going on city-wide, and there’s never much dead air.
You can also pick your favorite precinct feed from the department by going to the New York City feeds page under New York on Broadcastify.
A web site dedicated to scanning the Long Island area, W2LIE, normally hosts a New Year’s feed of the “behind the scenes” operations of the big party in New York. You can listen to TV crews from ABC coordinating all night long on the feed as Ryan Seacrest hosts the most-popular holiday party. I perused his site as of the time of this posting and could not find any item stating that he would be providing this feed again this year, but it will be worth a check. It normally becomes active during the afternoon on New Year’s Eve and continues all night long. Give the “Special Events 1″ feed a try and see if you hear it.
These are just a few ways that I like to keep up with all the action of New Year’s. If you have any comments or ideas on how you monitor in the new year, I’d love to hear about them! Just leave a comment below and tell me about it!
Also, if you hear anything interesting during your monitoring, please post it as a comment to the site! We always love reading your feedback!
I would like to take this time to wish everyone a happy holiday season, be it Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanza or none of the above! Hopefully you’re spending plenty of time with friends and family, and maybe (if you were good!) you’ll find that new scanner or ham radio under the tree come Christmas morning!
I just wanted to let you all know that this site is still active and current, and that I continue to monitor it as often as I can. My schedule is often very busy throughout the week, so I don’t always get to post any incident updates or news. I also don’t get as much time to monitor as I would like. By the way, if anyone would like access to the web administrative duties for posting any breaking local scanner news or announcements, feel free to contact me. Of course, I will not give the information out to just anyone, but if you are genuinely interested I would be happy to have you aboard.
But I am still here and still scanning. I have recently become more interested in aviation monitoring… a teacher of mine is an amateur pilot and knows a lot about that type of radio communications, and he has taught me a lot and given me a new appreciation for that aspect of the hobby. I enjoy finding some other things to listen to besides the plain old police, fire, and EMS all the time. So now I often listen to Erie Intl. Airport activity, Cleveland ARTCC control, and activity at other airports around the country thanks to live streaming audio at
(that is a fantastic site, if you’re interested in ATC monitoring you have to check it out!)
And of course when weather strikes, I’m still listening to the public safety agencies to obtain the latest info. I record Erie police during the night 3-4 nights out of the week, but I seem to have a knack for missing all the good calls. If I catch any, I’ll certainly be sharing them with you.
I am also still active in amateur radio. I am the acting Net Manager for the Erie Area Mailbag Net, and we are back to linking 146.61 (Erie) and 146.82 (Waterford) into the usual 146.70 (Union City) for the nets to give us countywide coverage. I also remain active in ARES and skywarn… in fact tonight is my turn to be Net Control for the weekly training net!
Finally, in some saddening scanner news nationally, recordings of the final radio transmissions from the team of firefighters in Arizona that were fatally overtaken by wildfire in June of this year have been released. The transmissions were captured on an uninvolved firefighter’s helmet camera. It is chilling to hear and sense both the seriousness of the incident and the routine calm with which it was handled.
You can read a story and report on this release and watch a related news segment here:
That’s all from the SanningEriePA shack for now. Happy scanning, and I’ll post again soon!