History of the SCMA

Before the SCMA There Was the RCMA

The Southern California Monitoring Association’s roots go back to the days of the Radio Communications Monitoring Association (RCMA) established in 1975 as the “The First National and International Organization of Monitor Radio Listeners.”

We were the West Los Angeles Chapter and were formed in 1988 by Rick Di Fiore, WA6KFI and Hugh Stegman, NV6H.  We started to grow as the months went by and soon the West L.A. Chapter had more members showing up at our meeting than the regular RCMA meeting, which was held in Anaheim at the old Mercury Savings and Loan building.  Maybe it was because there were more of us in this geographical area or because ours was a dinner/club meeting, with guest speakers.

In 1996 the RCMA ran into some bad luck. Due to a cash flow problem caused when a couple of well-known book stores did not pay on time for the RCMA’s magazine, the RCMA could not pay their bills and the club came to an end in August of 1996, after 23 years of great support to all scanner enthusiasts.

At our August 1996 RCMA West Los Angels Chapter meeting, we where advised that Bob Grove of Monitoring Times magazine had purchased the assets of the bankrupt RCMA. That included all rights, so the Chapter could no longer use the name “Radio Communications Monitoring Association” or the initials “RCMA.”  The RCMA was gone but the members wanted to continue on.

The SCMA is Formed

It was decided that if the group of hardcore scanner enthusiasts was to continue as a club, we needed to vote on a new name to call our group.  After a long discussion, a “simple” change was made.  The Radio Communications Monitoring Association would become the Southern California Monitoring Association to reflect the geographical region we lived in and would concentrate our efforts on. The West L.A. RCMA was now the SCMA.

In September of 1996 the Southern California Monitoring Association held it’s first meeting and had 30 members present to get the ball rolling again.

The charter members of the SCMA had a lot of work to do and it would take a lot of time and effort to organize the new club.  We needed someone to run the organization, we wanted a newsletter to keep members informed between meetings, we wanted to arrange tours for the membership, and last but not least, an ID number system to keep track of members.

A core group of people have been invaluable in getting the club organized and keeping it running over the years. Many things have changed. People have come and gone. New technology has changed and challenged us. One thing has been consistent: The SCMA has been a leader among scanner clubs and radio monitoring organizations.

The SCMA Today

Today, the SCMA is well known by many local agencies and organizations. We have members throughout Southern California and even several states!  Many are involved in communications on a professional level with local Police and Fire Departments and give us tremendous insight into their organizations and radio systems. We count among our members authors whose names are well known in the hobby, news reporters, police officers, fire fighters, and “plain old folk” who just like to listen to their scanners.

The SCMA is known for organizing great tours for our members. We have always been treated as honored guests and are given the inside scoop on facilities that few ever get to see.

Some of the places we have visited include: the Control Tower at LAX, the Los Angeles Police Department and Los Angeles Fire Department Communications Centers (both old & new), the KFWB and KFI Radio Stations and Newsrooms, the LAPD Air Support Headquarters at Piper Tech, the South Bay Regional Communications Authority Dispatch Center in Hawthorne, the KCOP-TV 13 News Center, the L.A. County Fire Communications Center (old & new), the Beverly Hills Police Department, the Culver City Police Department and the Verdugo Fire Communications Center.  We have sailed on LAFD fireboats, flown in LAPD helicopters, and walked through secure government communications facilities.

The SCMA holds monthly meetings where members talk about what is happening in the radio monitoring hobby and share information. Members mentor others when they buy a new scanner or help each other figure out the latest technology such as digital or trunked radio systems.

The newsletter has somewhat given way to a Members Only email list and this web site, but the information is still making out to the membership – and usually in a more timely manner.

The overall goal of the SCMA is to help each other enjoy the radio monitoring hobby. If you are interested in any of this, give the Southern California Monitoring Association a try by continuing to visit our web site or clicking on the Membership link and becoming part of the organization.