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.