I hope all my site readers are enjoying the last fleeting days of summer in the Lake Erie region. I apologize for the lack of updates recently; there hasn’t been anything too crazy going on in local scanner news, to my knowledge. I do my best to look for important happenings, updates, and news to share with you, but can’t always put in as much time as I would like. If any of you ever have any news you become aware of, you can always share it with me here on the site via comment, and I can post it for the whole community to see and learn from. The more of us with ears out on the local happenings, the better.
I have been having a fairly busy but very enjoyable summer. The highlight was that we took a one and a half week vacation by car to Yellowstone National Park in Wyoming earlier this month. I used the state by state ham radio repeater listings from Repeaterbook, found at
and was quite pleased that 90 percent of the repeaters and PL’s they listed were correct. That may be a good idea for you to do some investigating if you plan on traveling with your ham radio.
Speaking of ham radio, I plan to try to upgrade my license from Technician class to General in a little over a month, at the October meeting of the Union City Wireless Assoc. I’m thrilled to have that opportunity, and look forward to hopefully passing and joining the ranks of the generals on the air. With all this time in the car, I’ve been studying a lot, and I think I’m going to be about as ready as I’ll ever get.
There haven’t been many site updates lately. I did some tweaking on the “Radio Codes and Lingo” page to keep current with outdated links and my know of codes used in the area. I also changed the shack information page a little to reflect current equipment and uses. Otherwise all content on the site, to my knowledge, remains updated and current.
Now is the time for getting in some last moments of summertime monitoring on the scanner. The marine bands will be going very quiet before too much longer with the end of pleasure boating season; local police activity remains very hot. Erie has been hopping of late, as they have been for much of the summer, and is always entertaining to listen to. The Chautauqua County sheriff has also been a bit busier, including an auto pursuit yesterday morning. (Unfortunately, I didn’t hear the beginning or reason of the pursuit, and it went out of range before it ended.) Scanner activity is likely to be bustling across the country as well; don’t forget you can always browse the extensive live feed listings on RadioReference for free, anytime, as well as all the other great resources they have for radio enthusiasts. (I like the forums area as well, as with a free membership you can gain access to advice and knowledge from hobbyists locally and abroad.)
Well, that’s about it from the shack for now. I will continue to scan both the airwaves and the news sources for any news of interest to the local community to share with you. As noted previously, if you become aware of anything, or otherwise have any questions or comments to share, feel free to contact me. I continue to monitor site activity, even if I haven’t posted for a while.
Thanks for reading, and happy scanning!
Erie County Skywarn activated on Sunday, Jul. 27, 2014 for a few strong thunderstorms that tracked through the area between about 6:00 PM and 7:15 PM. I was net control of the activation, and ran a very successful net with a good check in count and an orderly, professional net. There was only one observer that noted anything severe, in the Greene Twp. area. A measured one-hour rainfall of 1.20 inches was noted there, along with pea sized hail and estimated 50 MPH winds. None of the storms turned severe, however flooding was a concern prompting a flash flood watch for the area. Heavy rains remained a threat well after the storms had passed, due to cold air and a lake response through Sunday night and Monday.
If you are interested in receiving audio of this net, please comment and let me know, and I will send you the recording, which is 1:06:22 in length.
In other news, several frequencies in Erie county have been experiencing some interference issues recently. On numerous occasions recently, I have noted a humming, buzzing sound on the Erie police dispatch channel that sounds either like a dial tone or buzzing of a touch-tone phone. Officers and dispatchers are aware of the situation, but no one seems to know if it is intentional interference or some other problem with the radio system. Dispatching is often being moved to an alternate channel when the interference occurs to allow communications to continue. I have not monitored this department in a few days, and at this point I am not sure if the interference continues to be an issue or not.
Also, a scanner listener in the area reported that Millcreek Township fire dispatch has been having interference issues on their Presque Isle ops channel, 453.3375. It is apparently a daily occurrence of frequent loud buzzing that does not permit regular communications to continue. The reader also said that it occasionally pops up on the primary dispatch channel of 453.500. I have not personally monitored this interference taking place, and do not know whether it is the same sort of thing as Erie police or a different issue. No word right now on what is causing the problem, but the reader reports that the 911 center is aware of the problem and will be taking steps to fix it in the near future.
Feel free to leave any comments or questions about these or other Erie area scanner topics here on the site!
Erie county SKYWARN activated this past Tuesday (Jul. 8) for a severe thunderstorm event in the county. We were expecting a threat of strong storms for days in advance, and a watch went out for us at 1:05 PM in advance of a developing squall line over central Ohio. That line finally began to move into Erie county around 2:15 PM, and continued to pass through until around 3:30 PM. I took net control duties on our net, and this was the first time I was ever a solo net control station on a real weather net. I think I did pretty well, considering that.
We had a good net for a week day, with 20 stations participating. Alan (KB3DUO) did great work with his radar updates and NWS report liaison. Lee (N3APP) also helped out by being an info liaison and my back-and NCS.
We had numerous reports passed, but mainly minor ones. They produced some gusty winds which brought down a few trees, limbs, power lines, and some small debris. The bigger problem was heavy rain, which led to areas of street and low-lying area flooding. The line affected all of the Erie, but the hardest-hit areas were right along the Lake Erie shore where the strongest cell tracked.
It was definitely an interesting net, but we can sure be thankful we didn’t get it as bad as some other areas. A tornado touched down in Medina county to our southwest, and there was widespread wind damage off to the east in New York, PA, and Maryland.
I am not posting the audio from this net because to me, it wasn’t quite exciting enough. However, if you are interested in hearing the net, I would be more than happy to post and share it with you. Just leave a comment here on the site and I will get the recording to you as quickly as possible.
A big thank-you to all the stations that participated in our net, it was wonderful to have such a great crew out there watching and reporting for us. This is what makes Erie County such a leader in emergency communication!
Erie County, PA, as of Jun. 25, has now officially joined the Northern Tier Regional Telecommunications Project. This is a new 911 network that also includes 9 other counties in our part of the state. Erie county’s former 911 system was out of date and needed upgrading, and a lot of money will be saved by entering into the joint consortium as we did as opposed to developing a new stand alone 911 system for the individual county.
According to an article by Ron Leonardi that was recently published on goerie.com, the new system will be better equipped to keep county residents safe. New phone equipment, state of the art information-sharing technologies, and an Internet fiber-optic linked network are among the upgrades. Also, one county will now be able to answer another one’s 911 calls from its call center should the original county become overwhelmed. For example, as stated in the article, if Erie county suddenly saw an explosion of incoming 911 calls, another county in the network could answer our calls and then contact our county for the appropriate agencies to be dispatched. This is an alternative to calls going into a “call-waiting” status at times such as that and not being answered as quickly.
The article stated that feedback and response on the system so far has been very positive. Cameron, Clarion, Clearfield, Crawford, Elk, Forest, Jefferson, McKean, and Warren counties are the others participating in the network.
You can read the full report from GoErie by following this link:
As you all are probably aware, Hurricane Arthur is bearing down on the east coast of the United States for this Fourth of July weekend. It is already beginning to bring rain to the coast of North Carolina, and hurricane conditions are possible there by tonight. The storm will then continue northeast up the Mid-Atlantic and New England coasts, with more possible effects as far north as Nova Scotia by Saturday.
If you are interested in listening to radio communications to keep up to date with the latest developments on the storm, there are plenty of opportunities for you. One is the Hurricane Watch Net (HWN), which is conducted on the HF ham bands. Stations in the field of the affected area can check in and report significant weather to the net, which is then relayed directly to the National Hurricane Center. This net is activating today (Thursday) at 12:00 PM for the storm, and will remain up through the night as long as the storm is affecting the coast. It may need to reactivate tomorrow or this weekend if more hurricane conditions are occurring along parts of the New England coast or Nova Scotia.
The net is held primarily on 14.325 MHZ. It will move to 7.268 MHZ at night, as the 20 meter band closes up after dark and 40 meters is more reliable.
You can listen to this net using your HF receiver or radio to hear what is going on in the areas impacted by the storm. Unfortunately, for those without such equipment, I was unable to find a web stream of the net for you to listen to. There used to be one, but I don’t see it online anymore. If anybody knows of one, feel free to share with us.
Find out more about this net here:
Additionally, the VOIP weather net performs a similar function, relaying reports from field stations directly to the NHC as the storm moves through. This net is held on IRLP and Echo Link, as opposed to the direct, over-the-air HF band. It is planning to activate today (Thursday) at 6 PM, lasting through the duration of the event.
You can listen to this net via the Internet, where it is streamed for your benefit. You can find that, as well as more information, at this page:
Both of these nets always activate for hurricanes that affect land in the United States. You can listen to them whenever a net is active to get the latest information, and monitor the web sites for notifications on when activations are expected to occur. They are great ways to eliminate the media as a middle man, and hear directly from trained observers in the affected areas to know what is going on.
The National Hurricane Center also issues advisories on the storm every 3 hours. Read more here:
Happy 4th of July!
Erie County Skywarn had a busy week last week, with 2 consecutive nights of severe weather in the area. The first net took place last Tuesday (06-17) from about 7 PM through around 9:15 PM, for several severe thunderstorms tracking through the county. The storms were originating over Ontario before tracking southeast across Lake Erie, through southern and western Erie county, and into Crawford county. Several reports of funnel clouds were received, along with some fairly large hail in the 1.50 to 1.75 inch range. There were the few individuals as usual who reported on lightning, rain, and other non-severe aspects of the storm, but in general it was a very good net.
The second night of weather was on Wednesday (06-18). Our coordinators saw a line of strong thunderstorms moving in, but did not feel the situation was severe enough to warrant a net. However, a warning went up on the line as they were entering the county, around 8 PM, and over the next hour the storms produced gusty winds and heavy rain as they moved across the county to the east. No formal net was called, but I was acting as an informal net control on the repeater to keep people informed and field any reports that might come in. The lake shore saw most of the excitement, with a measured 59 MPH wind gust at Erie and numerous instances of downed trees, branches, and power lines mainly in Erie and Millcreek. I had good participation, but lots of chaos and disorder on the air. People were stepping all over each other with non-severe reports, so that it was impossible to hear anyone, and those that really did have criteria reports could not be heard. It was a disappointing show of professionalism by the amateur community, although it was very good to have so many eager spotters willing to help us out. It was a good learning experience for all, and provided lots of good points to cover on the weekly Sunday night training/information net several days later.
As always, I recorded both skywarn nets from my scanner here at home. Due to the large file size, I have thus far not posted the audio to the site. If anyone expresses interest in wanting to hear, download, or save the nets, please let me know and I will be more than happy to post them if I know that there is interest. Leave a comment below or contact me otherwise if you would like to hear the nets.
For now, happy scanning, and as always if anyone has information or something else of interest they would like to share, don’t hesitate to contact me!
The Breezeshooters Hamfest, the largest hamfest in the local area, is coming up soon for 2014! It is being held on Sunday, Jun. 1, at its usual location at the Butler Farm Show Grounds. It is a nice drive from the Erie area down Route 8 to the hamfest. The doors open at 8 AM and the hamfest will run through 3 PM. I always enjoy this hamfest each year, and it looks like it’s going to be another good one this year. There is always plenty of indoor vendors and displays, and also several acres of outdoor tail gating and flea market to browse. Great prizes, food and lots of nice folks round out the great experience.
Talk ins are usually conducted on the 147.36 W3UDX repeater, with a PL tone of 131.8. VE testing will also be held at noon.
Hopefully you all can attend the hamfest this year, it is a very nice one and you will not regret it. If you have any other questions about it or want more information, feel free to contact me.