Winterfest Boat Parade

Fort Lauderdale hosts the annual Winterfest Boat Parade of Lights this evening starting at 18:30 E.S.T. It's a pretty big deal with viewers lining the shore of the IntraCoastal Waterway from Lauderdale up to Pompano Beach.

I have restricted Bote's Wild Feed to SEARCH on the Fort Lauderdale trunked system in case any new talkgroups pop up. You will hear traffic that is not normally heard on that feed for the duration of this special event.


Fantasy Fest Begins

Fantasy Fest begins in Key West, Florida this week. Expect the EMS and police to be extra busy this week and into next weekend as partyers from all around converge on Key West for body painting, dancing, and assorted drunken travails.

The Key West online scanner stream should be rocking and rolling as next weekend approaches. I have still not solved the problem of the random dropouts, so if the stream stops or goes to the intermission music just start your player again.



Better Audio Coming

I have figured out a way to employ the outstanding Volume Logic plug-in for WinAmp to boost the weak sauce audio that digital trunked systems emit.

I have installed the upgrade on the Key West feed just now.

I will install it on the Broward County feeds shortly.


Key West Poker Run

Poker? I don't even know her!

So this weekend is the Poker Run during which a bunch of party animals ride their motorcycles down U.S. 1 to Key West while picking up poker chips along the way. I don't know what they do with the chips once they get there, but it's a big deal.

I heard the Key West police switch to tatical channel 2 for a detail and it has to be for the Poker Run. To capture any traffic and new talkgroups I have locked out everything else, so no marine nor aircraft traffic for the weekend.

It should be interesting listening. Enjoy!


Key West DSL better

The Key West feed has been switched to a reliable DSL link from the Comcast cable modem link.

It turns out that Comcast has made no provisions for backup power in Key West, so when the electricity goes out, which it does often, Comcast subscribers lose their Internet connection. It didn't matter that we had a big bruiser UPS battery backup supply running the local equipment because the other end of the link was down when the power went out.

Those days are over. We now have the ability to stay online upwards of several hours. And that's precisely the time when the Key West feed should get pretty interesting.


Broward feeds stabilized

I have rewired the spaghetti that carries my DSL through my house and went from a marginal 6.0dB signal/noise receive ratio up to 23.0dB s/n as reported by my Westell 6100 DSL modem. The reported data rate is back up to what I am paying for and web pages now load better than dial-up speed. Happy days are here again.

This also means that Bote's Mixer Board and Bote's Wild Feed should be as reliable as they were before the DSL changes took their toll.

One of these days I have to re-install the original machine so that the Mixer Board streamer quits crashing. For now if it crashes I have to intervene manually to restart it. Ya get what ya pay for.


Storms causing DSL outages

Broward County and south Florida have been getting storms all day long that should continue all night long from the looks of the RADAR.

The DSL has been going down about every 2 to 3 minutes which makes the streaming scanner feeds pretty much useless. By the time they reconnect and resume streaming, the damned DSL goes out again.

Nothing I can do about it until Monday when Shuddern Bell/BellSouth/AT&T wanders back into the office. Sorry about that, chief.

UPDATE 2010.08.30 17:43 - I have placed an order with AT&T DSL to downgrade my DSL service from DSL Ultra 1.5Mbps to DSL Lite 768kbps, but nothing will be done until tomorrow. The thing is out of sync more than it's on right now, so I have just turned off the streaming computer, no sense getting everybody's hopes up. I'll post here when it looks like things have cleared up. If this incessant stream of rain storms quits, that might give some temporary relief as well. Stay tuned. Meanwhile, you might hear some interesting reports from the U.S. Coast Guard on the Key West feed, so don't forget that.

Key West mystery transmissions FOUND!

For a while I have been hearing hourly voice identifications from the N9LCK repeater in Key West, yet I had the amateur radio group disabled. There might have been a few other stray transmissions that made their way over the Southernmost Feed.

It turns out that the BCD996T scanner got into Uniden's Close Call mode and that repeater was so strong that it triggered Close Call and came through, but without any channel tag information. I used the remote control feature of Freescan to watch it happen in real time and then turned off Close Call.

We now return you to your regularly scheduled programming, already in progress.


Key West power outage

A big thunderboomy rumbled through the lower Keys late last night and early this morning, knocking out electricity to the feed site.

Even though my own uninterruptible power supply kept the scanner, stream computer, and cable modem running nicely for the hour or so that electricity was out, the p.o.s. Comcast cable Internet service went out almost immediately. A call to Comcast confirmed that they have no backup power for their cable infrastructure in Key West, so when the power goes out, the customers are s.o.l.

Despite Comcast's superior downlink speed an order has been placed with Shuddern Bell/BellSouth/AT&T for a DSL line. At least they make an effort to provide service during a power outage, even if it doesn't last quite as long as stated publicly. Power outages are frequent in Key West so it behooves everybody on the island to plan accordingly.

p.s. I locked out the aircraft guard channel that was stuck on a weak carrier. I opened up the aircraft group yesterday, so we shall see how long it lasts. If it becomes too much trouble I'll just lock it out again.


Back online

I don't know why, but the feed computer for Bote's Mixer Board and Bote's Wild Feed locked up hard. I was camping this weekend and could not access it remotely, but then I couldn't do anything with it locally either. I had to pull the plug and reset it the old fashioned way.

I gotta get this big UPS outfitted with big batteries and solve all this mess.

Back to normal ops for now, until the next storm rolls through.


Bad storms approaching

Severe thunderstorms approach southeast Florida as I type this. They were bad yesterday and knocked out electricity which caused the Broward feeds to go down. Because the uninterruptible power supplies here can't run everything (I discovered yesterday) if it looks like power is about to go out the feeds will go offline.

You will probably hear radio traffic that reveals how bad the storms are on the feeds themselves.

Otherwise, things should be almost normal, except that I can only hear Deerfield on the Wild Feed scanner until I get an external antenna up.


Service interruption for Broward feeds

The Mixer Board and Wild Feeds will be off and on over the coming few days, so please bear with me. I am changing everything around here and outages are simply unavoidable.

If you only get music when you tune in, try back a few hours later because...you never know what you'll hear.


Mixer Board vigilance

While I am out of town I would appreciate notice if the Mixer Board feed goes down. I can not promise rapid response, but I'll do my best to get things back online as soon as I know it has crapped out again.

I have been procrastinating at regenerating the original machine that hosted that feed. Since the temporary machine hosts both the Mixer Board and the Wild Feed, something does not agree with SimpleCast which encodes the Mixer Board feed so it craps out every few days. I have covered this up by rebooting the machine when I feel that it needs it, but while I'm away it will likely fail when I have no Internet access. Murphy's Law and so forth.

Sorry about this, but you know how hobbies are. Of course, if somebody wants to donate a million bucks to the cause...

Look on the bright side, you can always listen to Key West action on the Southernmost Feed. WOO HOO!


Wild Feed searching

Broward County is finally getting around to rebanding its trunked radio system Real Soon Now. Since the radios must be returned to the radio shop for reprogramming, they are taking the time to change the names and uses of some talkgroups.

Starting now and lasting through the weekend Bote's Wild Feed will be in SEARCH mode to pick up any random talkgroups that pop up. Over the weekend most of the traffic is public safety as the dog catcher and garbage man don't work then, so our ears will be spared.

I do have to program in all the hospital talkgroups in order to lock them out as that traffic is mundane, annoying, and sometimes contains private information that should not be broadcast.


Server replaced

Well, that was certainly easier than I anticipated!

The failing server has been replaced with zero effort on my part. Much props to the co-location facility that hosts our streams, VirtBiz Internet Services who can be reached at +1 972-485-4125 or +1 866-485-4125 . They sure made it easy for me, as I did not at all relish the prospect of re-installing Icecast one little bit!


Server failure

It never fails: as soon as I gussy up the Key West feed, the streaming server takes a dive.

We're told that the server hardware at the co-lo facility is an older box and has several failures creeping up on it. So, over the coming days I will be getting a new server ready. No adjustment to your set is necessary, it will just start working reliably again once the cutover is complete and the DNS entry is updated.

In the meantime, expect more downtime than uptime based on the fact that they got it running a few hours ago, but it's back down again.


Key West feed new antenna

OH YEAH! Bote's Southernmost Feed from Key West, Florida now hears MUCH better.

It is running a 1/4 wavelength high band antenna up on the roof, so it hears the Key West and Stock Island sites of the Monroe County trunked system solid now.

It also hears the UHF fire repeaters for Monroe County which still have some interesting traffic.

I have also enabled the marine bank since Key West is an island, after all. If the Coast Guard encrypted transmissions become too obtrusive I shall lock them out. For now, everything is wide open on the marine bank.

This feed should be hopping now!



Key West feed antenna

I know, I know, the Key West feed signal breaks up a lot. It's just a rinky-dink little rubber duck antenna screwed on the back of the scanner.

I'm hoping to erect a real antenna if I can arrange all the moving parts involved. If it works out the way I hope, then the public safety trunked system should be rock solid and I might be able to open up the marine bank since there will then be something to hear.

Nothing is certain at this point, but bear with me as I improve the feed.



Southernmost Key West feed

Here we go!

I'm going to give a Key West scanner feed a go. It might not last a month, it might last a long time. We shall see.

The permanent address for the Southernmost feed is

I will record an updated introduction when I get back home to identify the feed. For now, enjoy the silence when you first connect.

The Wild Feed is back to its regularly scheduled program, which will be...nothing. I have no spare scanner to run the Wild Feed now that I sold my extra scanners, so for now I will punt.



Key West test feed

I am testing a temporary feed at Key West, Florida this weekend. If all goes well, I might make it permanent depending on factors beyond my control.

For now it is scanning both police and fire for the city of Key West as well as Monroe County. Their audio levels vary all over the place and I have done all I can to make it sound listenable.

\If this feed becomes permanent it will move to a different mount point name on the Icecast server at which time I will announce it here. Stay tuned.


Bote's Wild Feed down

Bote's Wild Feed has been taken out of service. Watch this space for an announcement about this mount point, it might be coming back online in a different location.

Nobody listened to it anyway. Except for you. You know who you are.


I Survived the Great Tornado of 329

Local channel 10 WPLG news made it sound like Armageddon, going so far as to talk about buildings destroyed as their camera zoomed in on a length of white aluminum gutter lying on the ground. Oh. Boy. Circle the wagons, Martha!!!111!!1

Now that the shouting is over, the police command post monstrosity is no longer parked on NE 5 Terrace at 42 Street in Oakland Park, and the helicopter has gone home, and the water has receded, I have put the scanner feeds back to where they were yesterday.

Bote's Mixer Board scanning Fort Lauderdale, Pompano, and Deerfield Beach fire departments.

Bote's Wild Feed currently in Spring Break mode scanning Fort Lauderdale police districts 1, 2, and 3 (in other words, all of 'em). Nobody seems to care about listening to cops so I guess I'll put that back to Broward fire west channel. I think it's kind of neat to hear the same incident being handled on both the fire and police channels, but I must be in the minority.

If I can manage to get an antenna and feedline up high enough to hear Hollywood's digital system I might stream them instead of Broward, since there are a couple other Broward feeds.

Stormy weather

Severe thunderstorms moving through southeast Florida with reports of a tornado touchdown in Oakland Park just now.

I noticed my casement windows slam shut with winds suddenly out of the north, then incredibly strong "gusts" lasting 30 seconds or more. I think we dodged a bullet as that might have been the edge of the tornado.

A house is on fire 10 blocks north of me due to downed electrical lines.

Bote's Mixer Board is cut back to just Fort Lauderdale fire. Bote's Wild Feed is still on Ft. Lauderdale police. All public safety agencies are going crazy right now.

My DSL still goes out for 2 minutes or so with strong lightning bolts and sometimes randomly, so if you hear the intermission music just hang in there until the feed comes back up. Or if you wait more than about 5 minutes just restart your stream and it should come back on your end.


Spring Break cops in Ft Lauderdale

Bote's Wild Feed will be streaming Fort Lauderdale police scanner action for the remainder of March in honor of all the bullet-heads who come down for Spring Break madness.

I should have done this sooner since we are yet 2 weeks into Spring Break, but there's only one of me to go around.

I'll post here when the Wild Feed switches back to Broward County's gripping fire radio action.


Testing dedicated feeds

Bote's Mixer Board is now scanning only Fort Lauderdale and Deerfield Beach fire departments. Bote's Wild Feed is now scanning only Broward County fire.


Super Bowl Saturday Night Party

Fort Lauderdale is hosting a shindig on the beach to celebrate Super Bowl 2010 in Miami.

Bote's Mixer Board has the usual fire traffic, which includes the Fort Lauderdale fire department's special events talkgroup tac D.

Bote's Wild Feed has police traffic focused on FtL police and Broward interoperability talkgroup 14D for traffic control during the event and to escort the favored few into and out of the party area.

BSO interop 14i is also active with event traffic. There are likely others, so listen up.


FtL Feed Troubles

Even after adding a bunch of memory to the feed computer, it is still croaking after a couple of days with the same problem. I thought that Windows was simply running out of resources to wipe its own butt, BUT apparently not.

SimpleCast is what is crashing, but it takes down ScannerCast along with it. I'm going to burn in a new feed computer while I rework the machine that is in trouble.

I apologize for the outages as they are uncharacteristic. I like to run a reliable service and this jes don't cut it. One way or another I will make these feeds reliable once again.

Haiti Earthquake Victims

Broward County is running frequently to FLL (Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport) to transport victims of the earthquake in Haiti to area hospitals.

It is 05:56 on Saturday morning 23 January, 2010 and they just dispatched a bunch of ambulances from Broward County fire stations, Davie, City of Fort Lauderdale, Oakland Park, and Hollywood to the airport. This has been ongoing for several days and should probably continue into the coming week.

Operations are usually conducted on one of the fire tactical channels, typically tac A.


FtL Maintenance Outage

Both Bote's Mixer Board and Bote's Wild Feed will be down for maintenance on the feed computer today. The reason the feeds have been dying I believe is due to insufficient main memory in the Dell computer that sends out the feeds. It shouldn't be more than 30 minutes between tearing everything apart, installing the new chip, and hooking it all back together again.

UPDATE: 16:30 - ALL DONE! Now I have to watch the streaming machine over the coming days to see if it still wigs out. If both the Mixer Board and Wild Feed die simultaneously you'll know it's the same problem recurring.


Feeds consolidated

In case you were wondering why all the weirdness on Bote's Mixer Board and Bote's Wild Feed tonight, I was consolidating both streams onto one streaming computer. Until now the Wild Feed had been running on my main desktop machine as proof of concept. But, this proved inconvenient when I had to reboot or make recordings that would interfere with that feed.

You should not notice any change on your end, but if something is amiss please let me know.


Happy New Year!