This article first appeared in the February 2001 issue of Monitoring Times.
One of the first challenges facing a scanner user trying to track a trunked system is finding the right frequencies. Short of standing next to a police cruiser or fire truck with a frequency counter, how can you find the frequencies they use?
One of the easiest ways is to see if someone else has already figured it out, and the World Wide Web is a great place to look. A number of dedicated hobbyists maintain detailed listings of frequencies and talkgroups.
One such site is the Southeast US Trunked Radio Information Homepage run by Lindsay Blanton at www.trunkedradio.net/ . The site contains specific county and city listings for Alabama, the District of Columbia, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, Maryland, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, and Virginia. You can also find general information about Motorola and EDACS systems, decoding schematics and software, and even some tidbits about the APCO 25 standard.
In the April 2000 Tracking the Trunks column I reported on the Ocean City, Maryland, EDACS system. Lindsay's web site recently reported that In coming months Ocean City, Md and Worcester County will consolidate their EDACS systems for enhanced coverage. It will be necessary to change/re-program all radios with this new talkgroup IDs and system information.
The site goes on to list the frequencies and talkgroups for the combined system.
Orange County Transportation Authority
From the mailbag I received this question:
Sir, in your November 2000 column on page 79 you found information on the Galveston County trunked system for Dale M. I have the same problem with the Orange County Transit Authority in California. I know the frequencies of 856 to 860.4875 MHz. On my Pro 90, 92, and 94 scanners Motorola Type 2 systems go right in but not this system. Any help will be a great help to me, are there any web sites on public transit that you have found?
The Orange County Transportation Authority (OCTA) is the primary public transportation provider in Orange County, California, with about 1,500 employees and an annual budget of more than $500 million.
The ultimate source for frequency information is the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), which operates a license database that can be accessed from the web. Let's walk though an example to find the assigned frequencies for the Orange County Transportation Authority.
First, go to the FCC database website at
and select State/County from the left side of the Table of Contents.
Select CA for the State, enter ORANGE for the County, and use YP (Trunked Public Safety/Special Emergency) for the Radio Service. Click on the "OK" button.
When the search completes, click on "ULS DATABASE" hyperlink and you should see a screen like this:
Click on the callsign assigned to the Orange County Transportation Authority, KNCM802. This should retrieve one record that looks something like this:
Click on "SITE" in the upper left-hand corner of the record. You'll see a set of site records.
Click on "FREQUENCY" in the upper-left hand corner of the record.
The frequency drill-down results show a total of six unique frequencies licensed at the first site (Sierra Peak): 856.4875, 857.4875, 858.4875, 859.4875, 860.4875 and 858.4125 MHz. Record number 2 (for Santiago Peak) shows the same frequencies.
Record number 3 shows the corresponding mobile frequencies (45 MHz lower than the repeater frequencies): 811.4875, 812.4875, 813.4875, 814.4875, 815.4875, and 813.4125 MHz.
With these frequencies, Clarence can listen in conventional mode to find the control and voice channels for this trunked system.
A number of other types of FCC database searches are available from the Table of Contents. For instance, if you know the name of the licensee you're interested in, you can use the "Licensee/State" search.
Entering "orange county transportation authority" results in the following table:
Selecting the callsign for each entry will pull out the relevant records.
As a follow-up to Dale M.'s request in the November 2000 column, a reader who wishes to remain anonymous sent me the following talkgroup information for the Galveston County, Texas, trunked radio network. It's a Motorola Type II system with voice channel frequencies of 866.0625, 866.1625, 866.4125, 866.4375, 866.5875, 866.8125, 866.8375, 866.9625, 867.0875, 867.3125, 867.3375, 867.5625, 867.7125, 867.8375, 868.0625, 868.2125, 868.3375, and 868.4625 MHz. Control channels are running on 868.5875, 868.6625, 868.8000, and 868.9125 MHz.
Bacliff/San Leon Fire Department 59312 E7B
Bolivar/High Island Fire Department 53424 D0B
Dickinson Fire Department (Channel #1) 49936 C31
Dickinson Fire Department (Tactical #1) 49968 C33
Dickinson Fire Department (Tactical #2) 50000 C35
Galveston Fire Department 52656 CDB
Galveston County (Countywide Fire) 55920 DA7
Galveston County (DVP Operations) 55888 DA5
Hitchcock Fire Department 60720 ED3
Jamaica Beach Fire Department 60848 EDB
Kemah Fire Department 53680 D1B
LaMarque Fire Department 53904 D29
Radcliff/San Leon Fire Departments 59312 E7B
Santa Fe Fire Department 54576 D53
Texas City Fire Department (Channel #1) 55184 D79
Texas City Fire Department (Channel #2) 55216 D7B
Texas City Fire Department (Channel #3) 55248 D7D
Tiki Island Fire Department 61552 F07
Emergency Medical Services
Galveston City 51504 C93
Galveston City (Dispatch) 51472 C91
Galveston County (Countywide) 55984 DAB
Galveston County (Countywide) 55952 DA9
Rural Metro Galveston County 54512 D4F
Rural Metro Galveston County (Primary) 54480 D4D
Rural Metro Galveston County (Channel #1) 54384 D47
Rural Metro Galveston County (Channel #2) 54416 D49
Santa Fe EMS 54544 D51
Texas Department of Public Safety 55472 D8B
Galveston County Constable (Channel A) 51120 C7B
Galveston County Constable (Channel B) 51152 C7D
Clear Lake Shores Police 49616 C1D
Dickinson Police (Channel 1) 49712 C23
Dickinson Police (Channel 2) 49744 C25
Dickinson Police (Channel 3) 49776 C27
Dickinson Police (Channel 4) 49808 C29
Dickinson Police (Channel 5) 49840 C2B
Dickinson Police (Special Events) 49872 C2D
Galveston Police (Channel 1) Primary 52208 CBF
Galveston Police (Channel 2) Information 52240 CC1
Galveston Police (Channel 3) 52272 CC3
Galveston Police (Channel 4) 52304 CC5
Galveston Police (Channel 5) 52336 CC7
Galveston Police (Channel 6) 52368 CC9
Galveston Police (Channel 7 - SWAT) 52464 CCF
Galveston Police (Dive Team) 52496 CD1
Galveston Police (Motorcycles) 52560 CD5
Galveston Police (Narcotics) 52624 CD9
Gilchrist Police Department 54352 D45
Hitchcock Police Department 53456 D0D
Jamaica Beach Police Department 60816 ED9
Kemah Police Department 53648 D19
Kemah Police Department (Channel 1) 53616 D17
Kemah Police Department (Channel 2) 53584 D15
Kemah Police Department (Tactical) 62928 F5D
LaMarque Police Department 53808 D23
Santa Fe Police Department (Channel 1) 54704 D5B
Santa Fe Police Department (Channel 2) 54736 D5D
Texas City Police Department (Channel 1) 54896 D67
Texas City Police Department (Channel 2) 54928 D69
Texas City Police Department (Channel 3) 54960 D6B
Texas City Police Department (Channel 4) 55088 D73
Galveston County Sheriff (Administration) 50832 C69
Galveston County Sheriff (Beach Patrol Channel 1) 50960 C71
Galveston County Sheriff (Beach Patrol Channel 2) 50992 C73
Galveston County Sheriff (Beach Patrol Supervisor) 51024 C75
Galveston County Sheriff (Channel 1 - Island) 50032 C37
Galveston County Sheriff (Channel 2 - Mainland) 50064 C39
Galveston County Sheriff (Channel 3 - Information) 50096 C3B
Galveston County Sheriff (Channel 4 - Intercity) 50128 C3D
Galveston County Sheriff (Communications) 50416 C4F
Galveston County Sheriff (Countywide) 55888 DA5
Galveston County Sheriff (Countywide Police) 55856 DA3
Galveston County Sheriff (Dive Team) 50928 C6F
Galveston County Sheriff (Jail) 50448 C51
Galveston County Sheriff (Marine - Channel 1) 50864 C6B
Galveston County Sheriff (Marine - Channel 2) 50896 C6D
Galveston County Sheriff (Patrol 1) 50160 C3F
Galveston County Sheriff (Patrol Supervisor) 50192 C41
Galveston County Sheriff (Warrants - Channel 1) 50768 C65
Galveston County Sheriff (Warrants - Channel 2) 50800 C67
Galveston County (Countywide - All Agencies) 55952 DA9
Galveston County Disaster (Channel 1) 51728 CA1
Galveston County Disaster (Channel 2) 51760 CA3
Dickinson Office of Emergency Measures 49904 C2F
Galveston County Emergency Management (Channel 1) 51664 C9D
Galveston County Emergency Management (Channel 2) 51696 C9F
Galveston County Emergency Measures (Channel 1) 51888 CAB
Galveston County Emergency Measures (Channel 2) 51920 CAD
Galveston City Emergency Operations Center 52880 CE9
Galveston School District 52944 CED
Santa Fe School District 57008 DEB
Texas City Independent School District 56912 DE5
LaMarque Utilities 58000 E29
Texas City Utilities Department 61200 EF1
Our reader also recommends the website www.clarc.org/~kg5ai
for further information.
Scanning over the Web
If you're interested in listening to public safety radio traffic in distant areas of the country, you may be in luck if you have a relatively fast connection to the Internet. Many cities now pipe their police and fire dispatch frequencies to interested web surfers. Here's a sample of some of what's out there:
www.policescanner.com has police departments from Los Angeles, Dallas, Miami, New York and San Diego as well as the Dallas Fire Department. You'll need either the Windows Media Player or the Real Audio Player (both are free) and at least a 28.8 kbps (kilobits per second) connection to the Internet.
Cleveland, Ohio, may be the first city to have their trunked radio traffic available on the Internet. You can check it out at www.cleveland.com/policescanner
Montgomery County, Maryland has two channels of Real Audio, Fire Ground Operations and Emergency Dispatches, available at www.co.mo.md.us/mcfrs/ecc/radio.html
Phoenix police and fire frequencies can be heard at www.azcentral.com/news/scanner.html
Cincinnati, Ohio police transmissions are available in Real Audio at www.cincinow.com/mmgallery/scanner/index.shtml
That's all for this month. Further information and links can be found on my website at www.signalharbor.com, and I welcome your electronic mail at firstname.lastname@example.org. Until next month, happy monitoring!
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