23 April 2005

Live Scanner Update 003

Taking a moment here to say 'Thank You' to those listeners who took the time to send in their questions, comments, and suggestions. Although these responses are but a thin slice of the total user population (over 100 to date), the concensus seems to indicate that the feed is a good thing, and should continue. Some of you even offered donations toward keeping the stream alive, and are to be commended for your generosity. However, as was previously stated elsewhere, the NKNOC Labs wishes to have the scanner feed remain a free service, with no strings attached. Our primary regret is that we are presently unable to stretch the ability of the current hardware in order to serve additional listeners while a more permanent solution is considered.

Putting the live streaming scanner audio system together and linking it out to the Internet actually began as an experiment, which was only meant to provide listening capabilities for a few of the Lab affiliates that were aware of it and interested in listening periodically. Those that were accustomed to listening to their local West. Co. Public Safety groups on the old VHF frequencies felt lost when the county switched away to 800Mhz. As most of you likely know, the cost of the few digital-capable scanners that are available is almost prohibited at this time, and that for most average budgets, the price of several hundred dollars is hard to commit to. Many listeners in this area already own scanners that allow them to listen to all but the newer digital systems which are not that common in this region, and so for those folks, that $300-$500 basically only buys them one new "channel" so to speak. However, looking ahead, more & more of these types of systems will be appearing over time as Public Service entities continue to move their radio communications toward 21st Century technology.

It seems that once word got out, the number of visitors wanting to listen increased far beyond what the system was originally intended to support, and at one point nearly brought the server to its 'digital knees'. Thus the decision was made to throttle back the number of simultaneous connections permitted to a safer level in terms of what the hardware can actually handle. Unfortunately at this time, the only recourse when receiving a 'busy signal' is to keep trying.

Allow me to repeat here our original diplomatic request that listeners not 'HOG' the feed ports for days on end. We haven't yet taken the extreme action of locking out any of the obvious squatters, but will do so if we feel this begins approaching abuse levels. There are a few options for methods to improve the service that will be put on the table at the next NKNOC Labs board meeting, so stay tuned. Updates will be posted here as they develop.