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Sonoma County tow companies?

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#1
I am having trouble finding the frequencies for any of my local tow companies. of course they refuse to give them out, and i cannot locate them on the internet. does anyone have any ideas about how i can find them? i am mostly interested in:
west county tow
sebastopol tow
santa rosa towing
AAA towing.
if anyone has any information as to how i can find the frequencies used by these companies i would be grateful.
 

Thunderbolt

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#2
I would check some of the nearby SMR TRSs, they might be using a business LTR trunking system in the area. Many towing companies across the nation, especially in metropolitan areas use these radio systems, since they can cover such a large geographical area. I would check there first, or search the common towing bands:
  • 35.00 - 35.98 MHz.
  • 150.815 - 150.980 MHz.
If you don't find what you’re looking for on those two bands, they are probably either operating on an SMR TRS or maybe even using Nextels, which is very common for towing companies to do. In any case, I would examine the length of the antenna on the trucks in question, as that's usually a dead give away as to what radio band they are using.

73's


Ron
 
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#4
Tow company frqs.

Most AAA tows are heard on:
150.905
150.920
150.935
150.950
150.965
452.525
452.5375
452.550
452.5625
452.575
452.5875
452.600

Other very active tow frqs. are:
150.815
150.830
150.845
150.860
150.875
150.890
157.470
157.485
157.500
157.515

Check out this terrific thread of tow company channels:
http://www.radioreference.com/forums/showthread.php?t=44913&page=1

I've found that many times the tow companies license themselves through the FCC using the name of the owner, or something else, and not the name of their company. It makes for a little detective work and lots of listening. I was unable to get a match at the FCC Web site on the tow company names you've listed.

volstag said:
I am having trouble finding the frequencies for any of my local tow companies. of course they refuse to give them out, and i cannot locate them on the internet. does anyone have any ideas about how i can find them? i am mostly interested in:
west county tow
sebastopol tow
santa rosa towing
AAA towing.
if anyone has any information as to how i can find the frequencies used by these companies i would be grateful.
 

inigo88

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#5
Hey there volstag, check those 150 Mhz freqs for AAA dispatch, Sonoma County will definitely be on one of them. That will only be the dispatcher for AAA calls though, and the tow trucks will also use company freqs, most likely on a talkgroup on a local LTR system. Do you have an LTR capable scanner? The likely places you'll find these systems on are:

450 Mhz - 455 Mhz
460 Mhz - 465 Mhz
480 Mhz - 485 Mhz (Remember Marin has their MERA system in this range so you'll hear a lot of their digital traffic from the Sonoma Mtn site)

Last time I was up in Petaluma I found what I think was Bay Bridge Garage Towing on this system on Sonoma Mountain and submitted it:

http://www.radioreference.com/modules.php?name=RR&sid=4624

There could be more freqs associated with this system, and there are also LTR systems on Mt St Helena, Mt Veeder, and elsewhere, that would be likely candidates for your tow truck companies. If you can scan LTR systems, go to the Sonoma County database page and plug in every trunking system that says "LTR Standard" (no scanner is made that can trunk-track LTR Passport, so if you want to listen to those you'll have to in conventional mode and won't be able to tell who's talking).

Next is the fun part: There will be all sorts of buisness users on these systems (cabbies, tow truck drivers, trucking, private security companies, general contractors/HVAC and plumbers, etc. in addition to tow trucks) so you'll have to listen and figure out which talkgroups sound like they have tow truck traffic on them (some use T codes like a T6 for tow, or just plain english). This in itself isn't that hard, but since you want to know the channels for individual companies, keep listening to the talkgroups you've identified as tow trucks, and see if they mention the company by name. Usually they don't, so then you have to do it the hard way - Start listening to the addresses their calls are at and plugging them into google maps or mapquest. From this you'll be able to identify at least the general area or city that company is localized in. Then search online (google or yahoo yellow pages) or in the local phone book and see if you can find any matches geographically.

If you get more than one, or you're really stuck, you could also try listening to local law enforcement. I'm sure you do that anyway, but when they call for a vehicle to be towed (11-85) the dispatcher will usually call back with what tow company and their ETA. When you have the location of the call and the company determined, start scanning those LTR systems like mad - if you find some angry lady at the garage barking orders at a driver that it's a PD call, and the address matches what you heard on PD's freq, then you've found your towing company!

That sounds like a lot of work, and it can be, so it really depends on how much you want to figure out who's who. Out of bordom with routine law enforcement and fire traffic I've scanned around looking for local taxi and towing companies, and have gotten extremely good results using the above method, so I just wanted to share it.

Good luck!
 
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Santa Rosa, CA
#6
ok ive got to admit that i am very new to scanning, and have almost no knowledge about trunking, though my scanner can do it( radioshack pro-97) i have the win97 program but is still dont understand what numbers im supposed to put where in what order to make it work.
ive found a few towing freqs in the 150 range and a few in the 450 range, though of the 4 that ive found only 2 come in loud and clear, though one is dispatch only, one of the others has a faint voice with lots of static and the last one is pure static.
thats a good idea about trying to locate what company by the locations of the calls, i think i can figure it out with enough listening.
i think i need to find a walkthrough on programming LTR systems into my scanner, if you have any thoughts please continue to speak up

thank you so much inigo88, Mick and Thunderbolt for helping me get this far
 

inigo88

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#8
Here's a good place to start for trying out LTR trunking on the Pro-97.

http://wiki.radioreference.com/index.php/LTR

The radioreference wiki has a lot of other good information you can look up as well not strictly trunking related so remember it's there. ;)

To figure out if the 450 freqs you're hearing tow trucks on are LTR standard, press the MODE button until you see LT displayed (for LTR). If you don't see a talkgroup number in the format listed on the wiki, try checking CT or DC modes. If you see a code in the bottom of the screen after recieving a transmission that means it is conventional (and not trunked), and has a subaudable CTS or DCS tone (a way of automatically squelching out interfering signals not part of that channel on the same frequency).

If you do get some LTR talkgroups showing up on the screen, like "ID: 0-01-010 R01" then you can try programming it into a bank for trunk tracking. The first digit is the area field (can be 0 or 1), the second two are the Home repeater number (01), which is the repeater number that talkgroup will normally be on when it's not occupied by other system traffic, and the last three digits (010) is the actual group ID. After that you see "R01", which isn't actually part of the talkgroup, but it tells you what repeater number you're currently listening to. They usually match up with the home repeater, but not always (if it's already occupied), so this is a helpful feature of the pro-97. Find a completely open bank (or at least clear out memory channels in a bank from 1 to 20), and save the frequency you identified as LTR Standard into the same number memory channel as the repeater number (in my example it's R01, so if you were saving it in bank 0, you would put it in memory channel # 001 in the scanner). Press MODE until LT shows up in the corner to set that channel as an LTR channel. Next press PGM, TRUNK, and set the entire bank to LTR Trunk Tracking by pressing the MODE key until it shows up. You can start saving talkgroup IDs in the system now by pressing TRUNK when they show up on the screen. FYI, the reason you set the mode to LTR twice, is so that even if you have your bank set up to work on LTR trunking, by specifying whether each individual channel is LTR or Conventional you can get away with scanning both in one bank. Unfortunately you cannot mix more than one type of trunking into one bank, so you're limited to one trunking system per bank (10 total).

Give that a try, and let me know what results you get. Don't forget half the fun is posting your findings back here and being the first one to get new information submitted into the database (what fun would scanning be if you just read other people's second hand information all the time and there was nothing left to figure out? :) )

Good luck!
 

inigo88

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#9
To Landonjensen:

Arcadia is like 400 miles away from where we're talking about so no one is going to have an answer for you. Even if we did, it's considered rude to thread hijack, so people will probably ignore you and withhold information from you, which would be a bummer. Try posting a new thread about them. If no one knows, try re-reading this thread and trying what I told volstag to do. Life would be too easy if everything got handed to ya!
 
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#10
ok ive been working on it and so far i havent been able to identify any of the frequencies ive found as LTR or anything like that. but i took your advice and tried to input some known LTR frequencies into one of my banks. i did what i could but so far i only get traffic on one of the things i set up. on the plus side its a tow frequency YAY! so im not solid on this trunking thing... so if i go to the database and it says freq 469.8572 on no. 2 that means i should input the freq on chan 702 (if im using bank 7)? so then does that also mean that the talkgroups formated like 01-02-xxx will use that frequency? and ones like 01-06-xxx will not? so where does the trunking come in? is it when a talkgroup will transmit on another channel if the one they are programmed to is busy? anyways thanks for the in depth walk through
 

inigo88

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#11
Yep you got it, except LTR uses talkgroups formatted A-HH-GGG, where A=Area, HH=Home Repeater # and GGG=Group ID.

Both Motorola and EDACS trunking use a constant control channel that the radios monitor. When someone keys up their radio to talk on their channel (which is assigned a talkgroup ID), it sends a request to the system controller, which then tells everyone on that talkgroup via the control channel to temporarily switch to an assigned open frequency on the system. This all happens in a split second, and when the person is done talking and unkeys another signal is sent to the controller and the control channel tells all the radios to leave that frequency and the frequency becomes open again and could then be used by other talkgroups on the system, and the whole process repeats itself. Keep in mind this is a super simplified explanation of the whole thing.

LTR Standard is a little weird because it has no control channel, and all the trunking data is sent subaudably in the voice audio while users are talking. Every talkgroup is assigned a home repeater or home channel number, which that talkgroup will default to if it's not in use. If it is already in use by a different talkgroup, the original talkgroup will be sent to a designated free channel. If THAT channel is getting used by yet another talkgroup it will give them another one to go to. That's where the trunking in LTR comes in.

Some systems around here have every talkgroup on the same home channel, so you end up with one frequency that's really busy and a few others that rarely get used (only when more than one talkgroup keys up at once).

-Inigo
 
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#12
YEEHAW! so i was driving home from work, and i heard a tow call come in on one of the freqs that i had found that were supposedly AAA freqs. it was a driver who was pissed that the address he was given was wrong. he said he was going to stay sitting right where he was untill the dispatcher got the right one. then i realized the road he named was a few streets over from where i was... so i turned down the road and low and behold, there was a Santa Rosa Tow truck just hanging out. so ive got ONE COMPANY DOWN and 3 to go of my original goal.
im sure this isnt a big deal for you guys who have been doing this for years, but since im new to scanning its exciting for me to find something out that nobody else knows, hooray i get to add something to the RR database.
 

inigo88

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#13
Hey I'm only 18 and I've only been scanning for about a year now but it's exactly this kind of thing that has me addicted! Congrats on your find! Also, now that you know that freq, have you been able to find either a "CT" CTCSS PL tone, a "DC" DCS tone, or an "LT" LTR talkgroup on it? (Those are different Pro-97 modes you can scroll through for the subaudable tones I talked about above.) Also since it sometimes takes a while for it to make it through the database, can you post the freq and what you found? :)
 
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#14
yeah ill post that info after i find out the pl tones. what does one do with them anyway? one thing that has me confused is that the freq that i head was the driver talking, and it only comes in good when youre close to the truck. does that mean that its a weak signal? also when far away i find that it comes in WAY better in AM mode, but when close it comes in much clearer in the FM mode.
 
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