Saturday, May 23, 2009

Strange Radio Traffic

I've talked on and off about our radio system and the flaws contained therein. It's a crappy, poorly maintained system, but at least we do have radios. And they do work in a limited way on rare occasions.

I'm glad I didn't work there when all they had were whistles. Snap on that.

The guys that work up in the Comm Room do their level best to keep our stuff up and working. They try to keep the batteries charged and any broken stuff replaced as fast as the budget allows. But there is just enough gear to run a shift with a little bit of excess for the overlap and what we have runs 24/7/365.

That's just hard on the equipment. And add in the stupidity factor and we would be breaking stuff if it was made of titanium and filled with concrete. You can only be so rough on electronic gear before it gives up the ghost.

But if I could figure out which two radios are responsible for some of the odd noises I've heard, I'd break them myself.

There is one radio... I think it is #84.... that sometimes when you key it up to say something it sounds like you just farted into the mic. And not just a quick toot, either. It sounds like the kind of fart you'd need to go check your drawers afterwards. It's not too bad if you are just doing regular routine radio traffic, but if you were trying to call for some kind of help, it wouldn't get out because all anyone would hear was this loud farting noise.

Embarrassing and potentially dangerous.

The other one is the screamer. I don't know which radio this is. I think it's a fairly new development. And it apparently doesn't happen every time the mic is keyed. This one scared the snap out of me twice the other day.

What we heard over the radio twice the other night was about a one second scream. And not just the "Eek! A mouse!" kind of scream, either. It was more like someone had dangled their mic cord into some sort of Lovecraftian hell and picked up the screams of a billion damned souls all at once.

If some actress could learn to scream like that she could become queen of the b-movies. You could give everyone in the movie theater a heart attack with that noise.

Of course, we checked around and everyone was okay and nobody knew exactly where it came from. Unsettling.

Gave me two hot adrenaline dumps that left me worn out afterward. I couldn't take too much of that in one shift.

All we need now is one that screams "10-5!" every time you key up the mic and we'd have a wonderful night. Or one that sounds like whale songs or something.

Maybe the whistles weren't such a bad idea after all...


  1. As a square who carries a radio in my front pocket, I would like to see DOC switch to a cell phone size radio (I am sure they are avalible). The radios now in use are the same radios that were around 12 years ago when I first got into this business.

  2. Hey, we are lucky we actually have radios that work at all. And they are old enough and heavy enough that in a pinch you could bust someones skull with it if you needed to. That is one plus side to old gear.