My name is Phil, and I want to welcome you to Scanner School!
I have been around scanners since before I could walk!
Growing up, my earliest memories include watching the red lights dance on my grandparent's old Bearcat 101 in the kitchen. The sounds of police and fire tones would make their way into the living room as we played on the floor.
My father worked at a marine shop and sold crystals for receivers to anyone looking to listen to their radio. He still has those dusty glass baby jars in his garage. A reminder of yesterday, when 8 channels was more than enough to hear everything you needed to know.
Years before I could drive, my uncle took me out shopping and we bought my dad the top of the line radio for the time, a Uniden BC200XLT. 200 Channels was enough to listen to Long Island, where I am from, as well as New York City. I still think my dad only listened to about 10 channels though!
It was around this time my dad handed me my first scanner – a FanonCourier Slim Scan 6-HLU. I would spend hours with his crystal collection moving the rocks between the Hi/Lo positions to see if anything interesting would come in. I still have that radio in my collection and it brings me joy to think about it.
It wasn't shortly after that I picked up a used Uniden BC200XLT for myself and stole the old man's Police Call frequency books and started writing down all the frequencies I wanted to listen to in a notebook.
A few years later, I remember waiting, very impatiently, for the new Uniden BC785D to be released. I had wanted a BC780XLT badly be decided that waiting a few months for the top of the line model would be worth it. This was a new world for me – trunking. There was a lot to learn, and I was hungry to do so!
The Hobby Takes a Turn
Shortly after getting married, moving out of my parents house, and buying my own, I started playing around with websites. I decided that it would be pretty neat if I could listen to my scanner from work by streaming it over the internet. In 2005, My very first website was born, W2LIE.net . Keep in mind, this was before scanner streams was as popular as it is today. I quickly captured a following and the website grew to include over 10,000 members and many scanner streams.
Local scanner enthusiasts started asking me a lot of questions that I was more than happy to answer. In 2009 I was asked to give a scanner radio class at a local Amateur Radio Event called Ham Radio University. It was a packed room! I've been back every year to give the same presentation.
Eventually – people started to have me program their radios, and this became the start of my online business, Monitor Long Island, Inc. Monitor Long Island, Inc. was the business side of the hobby, where I would start selling scanners, antennas, consulting services, and programming. Eventually Monitor Long Island, Inc. grew to Paging Business called East Coast Pagers.
Back to my roots
I soon noticed that I've been spending a lot of time focusing on the business side that I didn't have time to enjoy the hobby as I did. I really liked teaching people about scanning and passing on all the information I've learned through the years.
I talked with so many people across the US who have asked for my help. I found I was answer the same questions and then I had an idea – I would create an online school for scanners – or Scanner School!
But wait – there's more!
If you are interested in more about me, I invite you to listen to our very first Podcast, Scanner School Session 1. In this episode I go a little bit deeper into my past and growing up around scanners and radios.
How did you find your way into radios? I would love to hear about it. Please drop me a note!