SCANNING AND "LIFE ABOVE 108 MHz"
Do you ever wonder what lies above 108 megahertz in the radio spectrum? Is there life above 108? Using only a few examples in this page you can briefly explore just a fraction of what one can expect to hear about 108 megahertz.
Frequencies above the FM broadcast band are home to literally hundreds of radio services -- covering everything from police and fire to aircraft and federal government radio users, such as the Secret Service. In the District of Columbia, radio users like these are some of the most active in the nation. Using a radio commonly known as a scanner, this part of the radio spectrum can be monitored by nearly anyone.
In past years I have recorded many hours of activity from these frequencies -- and it is with these recordings that I tell my story.
Keep in mind that unlike FM broadcasting, the bandwidth for these frequencies is much smaller, thus reducing their audio response range. Also, because of their inexpensiveness, radio scanners lack broadcast-quality audio.
This first recording was made during a heavy snow storm. It starts moments after Air Florida Flight 90 crashed into the 14th-Street Bridge and into the Potomac River. THIS 64-SECOND (724K) RECORDING COULD TAKE ABOUT 10 MINUTES TO TRANSFER. Click here to hear what scanner listeners monitored the evening of Jan. 13, 1982.
Not only was Jan. 13,
1982 the day of the worst plane crash in Washington's history, but only a half-hour
later one of Washington's worst Metrorail accidents
occurred. THIS 30-SECOND FILE IS 336K. Note the extensive background noise. Click
here to download.
About an hour after the shooting of a man by a D.C. police officer on May 6, 1991, the Mount Pleasant Riot started. This 25-second (278K) segment, recorded moments after the riot started , summarizes the chaos officers faced during the multi-day ordeal. Click here to download.
The following conversation was recorded during a flash flood on the Sligo Creek Parkway. A Maryland Park police officer describes the scene. Then a fire engine warns of a washed-away car, which we quickly discover is occupied by a park officer. THIS 60-SECOND RECORDING IS 669K. Click here to download.
Even on the best days, common accidents like this one keep local fire departments busy. This accident happens to involve a firefighter who is reporting it. THIS 26-SECOND FILE IS 289K. Click here to download.
The world above 108 megahertz can be yours too. Just stop by any electronics store for more information.