Welcome! First off, I’d like to say “Thank you” for visiting my website and taking the time to listen to my feeds and read this page. The following is the story/history of Central PA Scanner…
My name is Greg. At of the time of this writing/update (July 2021), I’ve been active in the fire service for over 22 years, an EMT for 20 years, previous 9 years as a law enforcement officer, previous 9 years as a 911 dispatcher/supervisor, and approximately 20 years of self-taught scanner, radio, and pager programming.
The idea for my website actually came from TheBravest.com FDNY’s scanner feed. I liked the idea of being able to pull up a website and listen to fire and EMS activities from hundreds of miles away so much I read up on how to make an online scanner, which actually wasn’t all that hard. After some trials and errors getting my scanners connected to my computer and figuring out what software was needed to broadcast the audio from the scanner to the World Wide Web, the original “stream” of Juniata County, PA fire and EMS was online on my private server some time in 2007 (if memory serves me correct) and Mifflin County’s feed came online some time in 2008. I created a website specifically for that feed (centralpascanner.com) that was originally hosted on a personal computer and has slowly graduated to where it is today. I continue to update and redesign the site as well as improve the equipment used for my feeds.
The original Juniata County Feed was located in Mifflintown, Juniata County, at my house and is currently at Central Juniata EMS’s station. The original Mifflin County Feed was located in Lewistown, Mifflin County, at City Hook and Ladder – Station 14, but has since been moved to Chief Logan FD (Highland Park FD) just outside of Lewistown Borough due to signal issues.
The scanner servers were custom-built computers that I built myself. The scanners were both Uniden Bearcat BC895XLTs which were attached to an external discone antenna that I got from RadioShack and it actually worked rather well. The scanners were then connected to their respective server’s sound cards and each server ran a special program that broadcasts a single stream of data to my friend’s main server which everyone connected. His server had a lot more bandwidth than I did and supported up to 100 listeners each, which was a lot of people back then. When someone wanted to listen to the scanner feed, they were actually connecting to my friend’s server which rebroadcasts the audio from my scanner to your computer.
I learned of a website called RadioReference.com which was an ever-updating database of frequencies from almost every county and state in the United States. A part of the Radio Reference website was online scanner feeds. In July 2009, I started sending my scanner feeds to Radio Reference as well as still on my personal site. Having my feed available on Radio Reference gave me the opportunity for people literately all over the world to hear my scanner feed while browsing through their website. These people may have never found my feed just from my personal website but stumbled upon it while on Radio Reference and I thank the Radio Reference site for helping my feed growth. In December 2020, my Mifflin County feed had over 850 listeners tuned in to an incident – my highest listener count to date!
As scanner and radio technologies advanced, I also needed to make sure my equipment was able to keep up with the changes. I was taught about various audio streaming equipment, specifically a small box called a Barix “Instreamer” which is about the size of two decks of cards, and its sole purpose it to take audio from the scanner and push that stream out to the Internet. This tiny box replaced an entire computer, greatly reducing physical space and electricity required to provide a feed. The scanners were gradually replaced with actual mobile radios like the ones used in emergency vehicles. The reason for the shift to radios instead of scanners was the radios were specifically made for a certain frequency range, built better, had better receiving capabilities, and better audio quality.
In 2015, I added Centre County to my list of feeds. Just like the previous feeds, Centre County’s feed started with a scanner and graduated to radios with a huge improvement in audio quality and reception.
At the end of June 2021, I added Snyder County to my feed list. This feed is an ongoing project between me and Kreamer Fire Department where the feed is located. The audio quality and reception are nowhere near where I want it to be due to equipment limitations of not having an outside antenna – yet. We are working together to get an external antenna for a combined use of an in-station scanner setup for them while benefitting the scanner feed as well. This section will get updated as money and time allows for those purchase and upgrades.
A few days after I added Snyder County, I was approached by the owner of Mifflin County Wireless who wanted to help expand my Mifflin County feed by providing space on one of their radio towers. I was happy with the location and quality of the Mifflin County feed but expressed my thoughts of wanting to add a feed for Huntingdon County. Three days after our first conversation, I met the owner and he took me to a tower site near McVeytown where I was able to take some frequency strength readings and verified the tower location would work for the new feed. The first week of July 2021, Huntingdon County feed was officially added and is online. After years of having feeds online, I never thought I’d have the initial feeling I had of getting high-quality audio online, but this Huntingdon County feed has renewed that flame and I couldn’t be happier.
I have probably close to $4,500+ in feed equipment across all my feeds, from antennas, cables, Barix Instreamers, radios and more, but I wouldn’t change those purchases for the world. I am happy to bring these server pages to you free of charge. If you would like to donate to my cause for any upgrade fees I endure, please let me know. There are many sites out there that make you pay for their online servers and I’m glad to be able to do this for free.
Thank you for reading the ever-growing history of Central PA Scanner. Thank you for listening and please, pass the word around about my site and feeds.