Note - 6/24/2015: We have been in the process of upgrading both the scanner radio, and the recording and streaming software that we use. So far, we're at about the $1,000 mark on this project, including the various hardware, software, cables, hosting costs and so forth. Feel free to chip in, if you like. Generous donors have kicked in about a third of it so far.
This has not been without hiccups, and we're still not satisfied with the audio quality. We are still working out bugs, and still planning on having versions that work on mobile devices like iPhone and Android.
The F.A.Q. below has been updated with new information.
The stream that you can listen to here may contain radio traffic of a sensitive nature. All suspects are innocent until proven guilty in a court of law. This service is provided as-is, as available, and may be discontinued at any time for any reason. NO WARRANTIES OF ANY KIND ARE EXPRESSED OR IMPLIED, INCLUDING WITHOUT LIMITATION, THE LEGALITY OF ANY DISCLOSURE OF INFORMATION CONTAINED IN THE BROADCAST OR THESE RECORDINGS. USE AT YOUR OWN RISK.
Click the play button below to listen to the feed:
Here are the last 8 days of archives:
Archive instructions: Select a date from the column on the right, and click it. Dates are in the format DD-MM-YYYY. (Which is backasswards from normal American date formatting, but that's how the software works, and we can't change that.) Select an individual file to play, or scroll all the way down to the bottom, and select one of the hourly playlists to play all of the radio traffic from that hour. There are also playlists for the entire day, and just police traffic or just fire department traffic.
F.A.Q.: Q: I don't see the play button. What's wrong? A: You may need to install Flash on your computer. If you are using an Android or iPhone, you may need to try our M3U stream or our XSPF stream.
If you have an Icecast compatible player app, tune to: Server: 22.214.171.124 Port: 7368 Mount point: /live
Q: Is the audio live? A: It is live audio, but on a short delay.
Q: Is this legal? A: Yes, it's legal to listen. You cannot use the information you hear in the commission of a crime, or for personal gain. There is nothing here that you couldn't listen to by purchasing your own scanner.
Q: Is this all radio traffic? A: It's *most* radio traffic. This feed is geared towards police traffic, since there is already a dedicated fire department feed out there. But if fire department traffic is active, it may miss the beginning of a police department transmission. We also may block or delay transmissions on some channels in order to protect sensitive personal data that is not newsworthy, or might compromise police operations. Lewisville police know how to contact us if they need us to switch off or delay transmissions.
The other thing to note is that police get some information shipped to them on their computers in their cars. You may hear the dispatchers reference that. In these cases, you won't necessarily understand what is going on. In other cases, when police need to transmit something securely, they may use their department cell phones.
Q: What should I do if I hear something newsworthy? A: We would love to hear about it. We don't always listen, so we miss a lot. Part of the reason for us posting this is so that we can have some extra eyes and ears to tell us about developing situations in Lewisville. Be sure to tell us the approximate time that you heard the transmission. If you are near the action, we would love to get a picture. How to submit story tips.
Please do not endanger yourself or others, or interfere with first responders to do this. Keep a distance, and be safe.
Q: Do you have archives beyond the most recent 8 days? A: Yes we do, going back to July, 2012. We may some day make those available to the public, but we have some things to do in order to be responsible about it and provide something that is easy to use. See "Planned Improvements" below.
Q: How do I know what time that a given transmission in the archives took place? A: The files are all marked in the filename with the hour, minute, and second that the transmission started. Times are in 24 hour time or military time. For instance if the file begins with 21-09, then the transmission was at 9:09 p.m.
Q: How do I listen to a playlist? A: The playlists are .m3u files, which most MP3 players will recognize. Just click the link, and if you are prompted to save the file, click OK. Then click the file to open it Windows Media Player can play them. iTunes and Winamp should also be able to play the playlist. The playlist is just a specially formatted file that links to the files on our webserver. You're not actually downloading all of the sound files at once. They are streamed and played sequentially from our webserver. Note that the files will expire from our server after 7 full days. After that time, your playlist will not work.
Q: Is there any dead air? A: The recordings have most dead air removed from them, compressing the recording so that you can quickly listen to the conversation. This can give the appearance that events happened more quickly than they actually did. If you absolutely need to know when a transmission occurred, you need to look at the start time of the recording to get the timing of the first word. That is as close as you can get.
Q: Why do you only have 8 days worth of archives available? A: It's to prevent abuse of the system, and provide some level of security over personal data that is sometimes mentioned in radio transmissions. Most of the time, anything over 8 days old is not going to be very newsworthy. By limiting it to the current day, plus the 7 days prior, we keep it simple to find what you're looking for.
Q: How often are archives updated? A: Currently, each individual radio transmission becomes available right as it finishes. Hourly, we create the playlists, and just after midnight, we roll off the expired date.
Q: Why do the archive directories display file dates on them that are later than the date they were recorded? A: It's a bit of goofiness with the way our scripts create the playlists and operate on those directories. It's something we want to replace with a better interface, but it was quick and dirty to just let the webserver do it this way.
Q: Are the files copyrighted? A: The sound files are public domain. The playlists are copyrighted by The Lewisville Texan Journal. However, you are welcome to use them or share them as long as you attribute the source by linking to this page. We would appreciate your link anytime you use one of the files.
Q: How are the hourly playlists formatted? A: The hourly playlists are formatted like playlist_XX.m3u. The XX corresponds to the hour, in military time. So something that happened from 5 p.m. to 5:59 p.m. would be in playlist_17.m3u.
Q: Can you use some other means of streaming the radio traffic, like Broadcastify? A: At this time, no. It's a possibility for the future, but we currently have this optimized for our own use in news-gathering, with public streaming as a secondary usage. We will continue to look at this as an option, and may do this at some point.
Q: Can you make me a copy of some radio traffic on a CD? A: For $25, we will put as much traffic as will fit on a CD, and mail that to you. Email firstname.lastname@example.org and explain what you need, and we'll figure out how to get it to you. Keep in mind that if you get it quickly enough, you could download them yourself, and you may be able to get the same recordings via an open-records request with the City of Lewisville. If you are a police officer or firefighter in Lewisville, we'd be happy to find a way to get you the recording for free.
Q: What is your equipment/software setup? A: We now use a Uniden Bearcat BCD536HP scanner radio and discone antenna. Currently the antenna is inside our office off Edmonds Lane. The radio is connected to a server running ProScan, which handles our recording and sends the feed to our Icecast hosting provider. Home-rolled software archives the recordings and builds playlists each hour. This setup was upgraded in June 2015 in anticipation of Lewisville Public Safety (police and fire) moving to a new digital standard sometime this year.
Planned improvements: - Find a way to provide older archives for registered users - Better user interface - Ability to listen to just fire, or just police in a live or near-live feed. - Features to prevent abuse - Better support for Android and iOS - Additional uninterruptable power supply (UPS) dedicated to this equipment
Common "10" Codes: Most police services use some form or variation "ten" codes over the radio as a type of shorthand. They're falling out of favor, but some are still used. The Police Department tends to use them, and the Fire Department usually does not.
Here are some of the most common ones: 10-4: Okay - affirmative - understood. 10-7: Out of service 10-8: In service 10-12: Visitor / Subject present. (Subject within earshot of radio) 10-20: Location 10-55: Intoxicated Driver 10-99: Subject is wanted
You can find numerous canonical lists of them on the internet, but they do vary. If you know of some other ones used locally, let us know.
Fire Department Unit Prefixes Local fire departments often help each other out with mutual aid, particularly when one department is on an active fire. You may have units from other cities filling in to Lewisville stations, or on scene helping with fires. Each department has a numeric prefix they use on all of their apparatus, and you can use that to determine what city they are from. For example, Lewisville's prefix is 16, so if you hear "Engine 161", then you know it's the fire engine from Lewisville, Station 1.
Lewisville: 16 Flower Mound: 50 Carrollton: 11 Coppell: 12 The Colony: 48 Lake Cities: 59 (Corinth, Hickory Creek, Shady Shores, Lake Dallas)
Stream information (as of page load time): Current transmission: Loading ...
Sorry about the outage. Server is back up now. Apparently my router reset after the last power outage and wasn't letting traffic through. The scanner should work now. If you have any trouble hearing it, feel free to email email@example.com, and I'll shake the box again.
With a little help from some readers, and more cash out-of-pocket, we've gone ahead and ordered a new radio which should be capable of receiving the new digital radio transmissions once Lewisville Police Department upgrades their system. Hopefully we're far enough ahead of the curve that we can do a good bit of testing on it first.
Ideally, we want to upgrade our streaming system so that: - We can stream to Android and Apple devices in addition to the web - Possibly feed into one of the streaming services - Stream and record more than just Lewisville PD and Fire. We may team up with another media outlet to add in additional local first responders, and we may also add the local 2 meter repeater so that we can provide a feed for people to listen to storm spotters during severe weather events.
We didn't raise quite enough money to make this happen without me personally taking care of a big chunk of it. If you want to chip in, please feel free.