BSO refarms talkgroups

Broward Sheriff's Office has refarmed its police talkgroups as of day shift this morning. Although it was little more than musical channel names, it did require us to reprogram the labels in our scanners so that we know who is talking at a glance.

They also regrouped some districts, which pleases me to no end. No longer must I listen to the incessant lawless antics from District 5; they stayed on 6A while Oakland Park moved to 7A along with Lauderdale Lakes, a kinder, gentler neighborhood.

So listen for a less rambunctious sound on Bote's Wild Feed from now on.

Note well that I hope to combine the Wild Feed onto the same machine as the Mixer Board feed so there will be some downtime while I move things around here over coming days.

I hope to have even more good news in the New Year!


Moving to Icecast streams

Watch for the existing streams to move to the new Icecast server. I'm hoping to get things cutover during the coming days, but the Christmas holiday will no doubt delay that plan.

With Icecast, everything starts with the same basic URL and port number. The exact feed name follows the trailing slash, which gives you a name that can be remembered rather than a port number. It will look like

Find the new listen links in the panel on the left under the heading "Listen".

Read the latest descriptions of what is on each feed on my static streaming audio page under "Read" on the panel to the left.

I will run the old Shoutcast stream with an announcement for a time to make sure that stragglers get the message.

I will also be adding a couple feeds so watch for those.


A-line trip a success

I declare my A-line return trip to Florida a success. I saw some neat trainage in Jax, chased some trains up and down the A-line in Saint Stephens, South Carolina, and generally proved that the concept of mobile streaming has merit.

Now, I rest.


CSX mobile scanner feed down the A-line

I'm heading south to return to Florida starting Friday evening, hoping to beat the snow storm that is heading to the mid-Atlantic region. The air card coverage will be spotty so there will be dropouts. But if I know of a cool meet or other neatness I have the option of finding a good location for both the railroad scanner to hear it and the air card to stream it to your streaming audio player.

Listen link:


When I'm streaming you will hear silence or radio chatter. When I am not streaming or am out of range of the mobile data network you will hear a brief announcement followed by music. You can just let it run and when the music stops you'll know I'm back in range.

I've even figgered out the Google Latitude Badge gadget. It might even be accurate this trip! Watch this space for updates as I can't cover lots of mailing lists and web boards.

Travel log follows the map snippet below.

Bote's A-line Travelog

15:25 here I go!

22:43 mp A64 Emporia, VA resuming southbound move after taking my bean; sleet falling.

01:43 mp A120 Rocky Mount, N.C. overnight, streaming CSX railroad radio on the A-line until I resume my southward movement tomorrow morning.

12:15 back on the road, pointed south along US 301 to Kenly, N.C. then south to South of zee Border.

14:20 Selma, N.C. Q438 rumbled north across the NS diamond with a train of dead loads and a cool-looking blue Pan Am Railways boxcar about halfway into the consist.

17:45 Florence, S.C. rest stop and awaiting promised trainage.

19:30 Florence, S.C. well, colostreaming.com has decided to take an unauthorized vacation, so my feed is down until that is repaired. Unknown e.t.r. so you can follow me on the map and watch for OS reports on the lists where they are appropriate. It figures. The thing worked for months and months, but craps out right in the middle of my most awesome A-line railfanning journey. :-(

23:00 Lane, S.C. Icecast server is back up so I shall resume streaming railroad scanner audio from my automobile journey south to Florida. I saw Q174-19 and P098 at Lane connection 30 minutes ago. More to come northbound.

23:15 Lane, S.C. P089 met P052 at downtown Lane.

23:55 Q492?? (167, 452) north by Cross Jct and Saint Stephens with a fair amount of dead loads.

00:10 Q182-19 (7718, 5288) "movin like a train" north by Cross Jct and Saint Stephens with a few piggly wigglies in tow.

00:27 Q493-19 (7903, ????) south by Cross Jct and Saint Stephens with dead loads.

04:40 Savannah Amtrak station, mp A 490.7 with 3G signals so enjoy listening to what little trickles across the feed.

07:20 Leaving Savannah Amtrak station for I-95 southbound. Not much doing on Nahunta nor Jesup subs so the stream will be off until Jacksonville.

11:15 Jacksonville, FL I'll stream what little there is to hear around Dinsmore and Moncrief yards, but on a Sunday it's pretty thin on ATCS. I'm tired and wanna go home, so if nothing's shaking I won't hang around long.

11:40 NS 226? pulled auto racks across the Jax drawbridge on a transfer job to F.E.C. Bowden yard.

12:10 NS 209 pulled a very short cut of pigs over the Jax drawbridge on a transfer job to F.E.C. Bowden yard.

12:15 CSX Y108 gets permission to leave Bowden to return to CSX Moncrief yard across the Jax drawbridge. This is the first time I have found the perfect spot to witness this up close and personal, and I am rewarded with 3 jobs in less than 1 hour!

12:26 CSX Y108 with 2 butthead switchers pulls 8000 feet of juicy juice reefers and pigs north across Jax bridge while NS 275 pulls a lot more piggies south into Bowden yard. Make that *5* (FIVE!) jobs in less than one hour! WOW!

13:48 OK, enough is enough. I'm pointing the car south and heading for the barn. Whatever I scan is what will be on the stream, if I stream any more. It's probably not of interest to most railfans as the closer I get to home the more public safety (fire) comms you will hear.

Merry Christmas!


McLean Relay Station's last days

I hooked up the McLean Relay Station to my Icom 3210 on the railroad channels while I am here. It won't last long, but you can hear trains on the lower part of the CSX Metropolitan sub (B&O) between Gaithersburg and NE D.C. as well as the upper RF&P sub between Virginia Avenue and RO (Rosslyn) with spotty coverage of Franconia Hill which is a pretty high spot.

Next week I'm taking it down for good. It's a crappy receive location, the equipment just will not work reliably here despite my best efforts, and other factors tell me that its day is over.

Listen link:

Enjoy while it lasts.



Auto Train Tracker map

Below was a map that showed my location on the Auto Train, but has been removed due to it being outdated.

I am streaming scanner audio live, but there are frequent dropouts even though we are sitting dead still in Sanford terminal. If you get the music for too long, just disconnect your player and reconnect. If the stream is back you should start hearing it immediately; if not, you will hear more lovely Syncopated Clock by Larry Anderson to while away the time.

Auto Train Log

15:46 Pull north, 38 cars, 247 passengers, 113 vehicles of all types

15:50 P052-13 on the main at Sanford

17:20 Clear signal, West Tocoi, FL

17:37 Clear signal, Solite, FL

17:58 approach medium, McDuff Street, Jax, FL

18:03 medium clear, Duke's Crossing, Jax, FL

18:47 clear signal, downtown Folkston, GA

20:29 defect detector, mp A501.8, Savannah, GA (back in air card range!)

22:11 clear signal, North Charleston, SC

23:25 meet P053-13 at Coward, SC

23:50 crew change, Florence, SC

00:12 depart Florence, SC on a clear signal, Bakery

01:45 Fayetteville, NC

02:34 clear signal, North Smithfield, NC

05:15 clear signal, Walthall, Chester, VA

05:26 clear signal, Broad Rock Rd, Richmond, VA

05:48 clear signal, Elmont

06:42 approach limited, FB, Fredricksburg, VA

07:15 arrive Lorton Auto Train facility, awaiting ground crew to arrive


Auto Train P052 live streaming

If the good Lord's willin and the crick don't rise, I hope to stream my railroad scanner directly from my sleeper berth on the Auto Train starting tomorrow afternoon.

I have tested it here in my shack and it works great. Assuming that my air card has reasonable coverage along the A-line you should hear everything that I hear: signal calling, defect detectors, maintenance-in-the-way foremen clearing the train through their limits, passing trains, dispatcher communications, everything.

If I get really lucky and figure out how to plot my position on Google maps that would be the cherry on the icing on the cake. That's not looking promising right now, though.

So tune in Sunday afternoon, 13 December, 2009 for Bote's Mobile Feed and enjoy!

The listen link is:

If clicking doesn't work, copy and paste the link into your audio player--this always works.

Fort Lauderdale boat parade feed

Fort Lauderdale's annual Boat Parade of Lights down the New River and up the Intracoastal Waterway shoves off at 18:00 tonight, Saturday, 12 December, 2009.

I have set up this special secondary feed off my mixer board to stream public safety and support traffic related to the boat parade from the FtL trunked sytem. Sometimes it can be quite entertaining.

Listen to the feed in WinAmp, VLC, iTunes, Windows Media Player, and probably others. It is an mp3 stream at 16kbps so it should not burden your dial-up or mobile link too much.

The listen link is:

If clicking doesn't tell your computer to do the Right Thing, then copy and paste the link into your player--that always works.

ScannerCast ROCKS!

ScannerCast is the perfect encoder utility for anyone wanting to stream scanner audio to the Internet. It is written by Peter, K1PGV and does exactly what a scanner feed needs.

First, if you plan to (or already) stream through RadioReference.com then once your feed is configured there, ScannerCast can automatically pull down your feed parameters and set it up locally for you.

If you send up your own wild feed through a Shoutcast or Icecast server the standard fields allow you to name the feed and create a fixed tag.

If you want to send your scanner's channel name to the feed, it does that directly off your computer's serial port, no hassle. ScannerCast currently knows how to parse data from Uniden 396T and 996T scanners as well as GRE PSR-500 and PSR-600 (which are OEM to Radio Shack as PRO-106 and PRO-197 lines).

In a pinch ScannerCast can act as the audio server itself, sending out packets directly from your own computer to as many listeners as tune in up to the limit that you configure in the software.

You must install MicroSoft .NET Framework versions 2, 3, or 3.5 to perform the behind-the-scenes work for ScannerCast, but this is used by many other packages as well these days.

The audio encoding is fixed at 16 kilobits/second bit rate and 22.050 KHz sample rate. This is an uncommon combination for music streams, the purpose for which most stream encoders are designed, but it's fine for communications-quality audio.

If you want to employ introductory and fallback messages in your feed, the recordings must match the format of the stream. I have found that the DOS command line utility LAME.EXE converts just about any audio file format to anything, so look for that.

Oh, the best part about ScannerCast is that it is FREE! No cost to set up your own scanner feed with this encoder.

Icecast ROCKS!

I have wrestled Icecast version 2.3.2 onto the linux box that hosts my feed(s) and really like how much better it is for me and my listeners.

If the feed is not streaming when you hit it, it plays you the fallback message instead of just bombing out. It also has less latency between when the live audio gets encoded and when it trickles out your speaker, which is important for live scanner feeds like this.

The format of the feed link is different: instead of each feed having its own i.p. port number, it has a memorable name after the fixed port number. So the feed link will always be colostreaming.com:8000/ with the 'mount point' as the feed name after it.

My long-time Fort Lauderdale scanner feed will be /botemixer and my mobile feed on long road trips will be /botemobile . This makes it much easier to remember and to figure out what the feed might be from the name of the mount point.

In the coming weeks, probably after New Years, I will cut over all my feeds to Icecast. They will still stream in mp3 format so you can continue to use WinAmp, VLC, iTunes, or Windows Media Player to listen. I will announce here in writing and in spoken word on each feed in preparation for the cutover.


McLean Relay Station gone

The McLean Relay Station is offline, likely permanently. An extended power failure depleted the UPS battery and it did not come back on when power was restored.

While investigating the streams available from Linsday Blanton's RadioReference site, I discovered one each for Fairfax County, MWAA, and Arlington County, all of which were covered by my feed.

So, because it is redundant, has poor scanner receive signal, and is loathed by the site host (dear old Dad) I am pulling it out of service on my next visit.

We thank you for your support.


Bote's Boca Box gone

As promised, Bote's Boca Box streaming Boca Raton, Delray, and Boynton public safety is gone.

It might resurface in a different location if I can find one of interest.


Reliable DSL(?)

At the risk of jinxing things, after two weeks it looks like the new DSL circuit is actually reliable!

A thunderstorm rumbled through yesterday and...nothing happened. I couldn't believe it!

I'll keep a weather eye on it, but Bote's Mixer Board should now be solid with Fort Lauderdale area fire radio scanner traffic.

We thank you for your support.


Bote's Mixer Board online

Bote's Mixer Board is back online on the new DSL circuit.

We shall see how long it takes until *THIS* one fails. I see some thunderboomies on the RADAR advancing into Georgia so we might know within 24 hours or so.


Bote's Mixer Board outage

Bote's Mixer Board serving up Fort Lauderdale area public safety shenanigans is down today and tomorrow because BellSouth DSL is a bunch of incompetent nincompoops.

Because my unreliable DSL line is so unreliable, I put in an order to move it to the other phone pair coming into my place. So they dutifully executed the disconnect order on the old circuit, but there is nothing whatsoever on the new line. No hiss, no battery, no dial tone, no nuttin.

They are rolling a truck tomorrow (Wednesday) between 8 and 4:30 so we shall see if they can get one damned pair of wires to connect between my place and their central office.

Sorry for the outage.


McLean Relay Station testing

I have been testing the rejuvenated McLean Relay Station for the last few days, so far so good computer-wise. The scanner simply will not provide reliable reception here, whether on the tower-mounted antenna nor with the back-of-set antenna sitting in a window. This is still a Bermuda Triangle for RF, unfortunately.

The MRS was catapulted back into the spotlight with coverage of the horrific Metro train wreck in northeast D.C. this evening. It maxed out at 10 listeners for quite some time. I only wish the radio coverage were solid, but the voice frequently breaks up. If I can stick a better 800 MHz antenna on it I will, but that is doubtful.

I put a business-grade router on it, so it should work after I turn my back on it to return home. But with computers you never know.

My thoughts go out to those affected by this train wreck.

The systems that will normally be scanned on the McLean Relay Station include Arlington County fire, MWAA (Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority) fire, Fairfax County fire, and Fairfax County police district 3 (McLean, natch). Special events and incidents might require me to deviate from this list, such as this evening.



FtL PD 72 hour test

Fort Lauderdale police are performing an experiment for 72 hours starting at 06:00 this morning (Friday morning). They have eliminated the district 2 central dispatcher and have split the city into two halves, north and south. The dividing line is supposed to be Sunrise Blvd.

So if you hear 100, 200, and 300 series units mixing together, that might explain why.


Bote's Mixer Board more reliable--maybe?

I can't make any promises--BUT--BellSouth.net promised me that my frequent intermittent outages will not recur.

It turns out that when I originally ordered my DSL service I asked for the top tier which, at the time, was 3 Megabits / second. I'm too far from the central office and the cable is so old and crappy that it can't handle that speed, so they backed me down to 1.5Mb service.

The trouble is that the downgraded setting just won't stick. They have a local database at my c.o. with the working profile and the master database up in Atlanta with the original unworkable profile settings. Periodically Atlanta's 800 pound gorilla of a database comes down here and stomps all over the good changes that the techs have made and I wind up back in DSL hell.

At least I know what to look for now, and so do you if you have similar symptoms: brief outages lasting just long enough to resynchronize with the DSLAM (60-90 seconds) typically during thunderstorms. It doesn't affect web pages so much, but streaming media such as your Vonage VoIP phone call or, ohhh say, Internet radio get disconnected. You can log into your DSL modem management screen to see what the downstream line speed is set to.

We shall see how long this latest repair lasts. In the meantime I can't wait for Uverse to roll into my 'hood.

UPDATE 2009.06.12

Nope, the DSL still goes out when the wind blows. I'll have to kick some BellSouth butt here.


Fleet Week in Likkerdale

Fleet Week has arrived in Fort Lauderdale and so have the Navy vessels carrying their payloads of sailors drooling for shore leave.

I will determine the best talkgroups to open up to enjoy the festivities. They usually set up a cooperative "shuttle" service between the armed services and the police to get the soused mariners back to their vessels, so expect some interesting traffic from that.


Bote's Boca Box in transition

Expect the unexpected with Bote's Boca Box.

The current home of the streaming computer might be in flux over coming weeks, so if it turns up missing then check back later--much later. It could be down for a day or down for a month, there's no telling right now.

But, if nothing happens, don't worry, be happy!


Spring Break mode over

It's about time to wrap up my exclusive coverage of Spring Break in Fort Lauderdale.

I have locked out FtL police district 2 once again since the bar district downtown is back to normal and the common thugs in the wild, wild west of Fort Lauderdale are more trouble to listen to than they are worth.

Also, I will be opening up Broward County fire North and South dispatch channels, allowing us to hear all the fire calls that are handled by Broward's E.C.C..

Note that there are many jurisdictions that handle their own dispatching in Broward County, such as Pompano Beach, Fort Lauderdale, Hollywood, Coral Springs, Margate, Deerfield Beach, and on and on. Apparently they operate in isolation which has bitten them in the butt before. Don't get sick or injured in Broward County.

Stay tuned for another big announcement coming tomorrow.


Acoustic Research IR200 Feed Radio

My new Acoustic Research Infinite Radio 200 works well on my feeds. It's not perfect, but I can let it stream my scanner audio while I use my laptop or desktop for real computing without the two purposes clashing with each other.


  • Stand-alone, no computer needed to listen to streams
  • Saves 6 preset stations in buttons across the top
  • Excellent audio quality
  • Wired or WiFi connections
  • Versatile: receives live streams, audio files stored on mp3tunes or USB thumb drives, music from Slacker, AM and FM radio


  • Displays channel tags as soon as the scanner sends them, but the audio is still delayed by about 2 minutes, so the tags make no sense
  • Even the latest firmware is a little clunky
  • Some menus are not as helpful as they might be

RCA/Acoustic Research/Audiovox seem to be working on improving the operation of this tabletop Internet radio so I am confident that these and other complaints will be addressed.

So if you want a neat way to listen to my feeds and the thousands of other Internet radio stations, this is a pretty cool way to listen to them.


Mixer Board tags, talkgroups trimmed

I received my Acoustic Research Infinite Radio 200 today. Once I got it programmed, cycled the power to get it to do something useful, I found that it receives my streaming scanner feeds just fine. It has great audio, by the way.

It also shows the channel tags as the scanner receives them, rather than as they are played 60-120 seconds later out the radio's speaker. While there is nothing I can do about that, I can trim the length of the alpha tags so that they don't need scroll so much on the 18-character display screen.

Also, since this is Spring Break month here in Fort Lauderdale and the FtL cops have special details for Spring Breakers, I am locking out some of the chatty talkgroups that are not directly of interest. These include Broward Fire South and North dispatch talkgroups, which cover Davie, Hallandale, and other jurisdictions outside the area of focus for now. On the other hand, I have added Fort Lauderdale police district 2 which covers the popular downtown nightlife district along SW 2nd Street on either side of the FEC tracks. I will change things back next month after the dust settles.

It just keeps getting better and better, don't it?!


FtL Audio restored

Sorry about the loss of audio this past week. The culprit was your brilliant system administrator who was on travel and turned off most electronics in the radio shack, including the mixer that feeds audio to the streaming computer. Hence, no audio for one week.

It's all better now, so tune in on those Acoustic Research ARIR200 Internet Radios. They have just come back in stock at both Amazon.com and at J&R so check 'em out. I just ordered mine from Amazon.com this morning and even though I chose the free shipping it is already listed in the "shipped" category, so I might have it by this time next week!


New life for the co-lo

It seems that my feeds will be staying put at the Dallas co-location facility after all.

Unfortunately, they had a major fiber router failure today which is the cause of the occasional interruptions in the stream. Oh well, you get what you pay for, folks.

I have no e.t.r. on the D.C. area feed, and I'll be damned if I'm gonna head up there when it's 20 degrees Fahrenheit with ice and snow all over the place. No sir! It'll get repaired when it gets repaired.

That is all.


Dallas Shoutcast server going buh-bye

Now I have been informed that the Shoutcast server that you hit to listen to the various streams will be moving out of the Dallas co-location facility by the end of January. No home for it has been located yet.

This also means that there is no point in me going to great lengths to get the McLean Relay Station back online only to have everything go away a couple weeks later. This is a hobby, after all.

I have an idea and my buddy Lu has an idea, so if he ever gets back from traveling he can try out his idea. In the meantime, I need to investigate my idea to see how it goes.

If Lu's idea works, then your bookmarks should stay the same. Any other way will require a change to the address for the streams.

So when the colostreaming.com does not respond on any known port, you will know that dark day has come. I will update here as we make progress.