Anyone know the towing frequencies for Blacksburg, VA?

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chaz0426

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I was wondering if anyone knows the local towing frequencies used around Blacksburg and Christiansburg Virginia? In particular do you know if the towing service called Valley Towing uses radios? I've searched the FCC database several times and can't find the company on there. Do you know what else I can do? Would they be under the county, or listed as a business?

This is my reason if anyone is interested.

I'm a Virginia Tech student here and regular scanner listener as well. One of the major problems we have around here is a predatory towing company called Valley Towing. They take advantage of the town's problem with lack of parking. However it is obvious that they mostly prey on college students and apartment lots considering their storage lot is 15 miles away in the neighboring town Christiansburg and I always seem them around here in Blacksburg.

I see them drive through my apartment complex and neighboring complexes looking for cars to tow almost every evening around the same time. They almost got my car last year which is why I keep a close watch on them since they tow cars illegally sometimes (and have gotten in police trouble as well as sued in the past) and won't hesitate to tow cars that are even an inch on the painted parking line.

I leave my scanner on "close call store mode" whenever I can but haven't had any luck yet.

I was just wondering if they used radios I could listen in on and learn where and how they operate ect .
 
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richrowl

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Tow truck radios

I was wondering if anyone knows the local towing frequencies used around Blacksburg and Christiansburg Virginia? In particular do you know if the towing service called Valley Towing uses radios? I've searched the FCC database several times and can't find the company on there. Do you know what else I can do? Would they be under the county, or listed as a business?

This is my reason if anyone is interested.

I'm a Virginia Tech student here and regular scanner listener as well. One of the major problems we have around here is a predatory towing company called Valley Towing. They take advantage of the town's problem with lack of parking. However it is obvious that they mostly prey on college students and apartment lots considering their storage lot is 15 miles away in the neighboring town Christiansburg and I always seem them around here in Blacksburg.

I see them drive through my apartment complex and neighboring complexes looking for cars to tow almost every evening around the same time. They almost got my car last year which is why I keep a close watch on them since they tow cars illegally sometimes (and have gotten in police trouble as well as sued in the past) and won't hesitate to tow cars that are even an inch on the painted parking line.

I leave my scanner on "close call store mode" whenever I can but haven't had any luck yet.

I was just wondering if they used radios I could listen in on and learn where and how they operate ect .

Take a close look at their trucks for antennas. Try and identify the antenna as being VHF-UHF or 800 mHz.
They could be on a trunked system or a rented repeater. Then what about cell phones or Nextel. Usually identifying an antenna is the starting point.
 

chaz0426

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From what I recall, I don't remember seeing any obvious antenna visible on the outside. The trucks are actually pretty small, like around the size of a van and they look pretty old so I don't think the antenna would be hidden or on the inside anywhere either.

Anyway odds are I'll see a few today or sometime this week and i'll get a closer look. Ironically, shortly after posting my first post, I saw them again checking my lot and actually looking in the windows of peoples cars which is kind of sketchy too. However they didn't get any cars this time fortunately.

My radio was on close call frequency store and is still running so hopefully it will pick up something. But they drove by within 20 ft of my radio a few times so I would have thought the "close call" feature would have picked up a frequency by now if they used radios. My radio is right next to my window which is right next to my lot so It's fairly close. If I don't see any antenna, does that mean they aren't using any radios?

I did snag a frequency yesterday sometime "469.6000" but have not heard anything on it as of yet. The FCC database for Montgomery County says it belongs to a local radio business who rents/sells radio service so that could be it or it could just local utility ect.I looked up the antenna and it's located on a mountain 15 miles away. I will keep a an eye on that frequency and see if anything comes up.

Perhaps they just use cell phones or some other non scannable radio system?

Does anyone know what towing companies typically use?

I have a Uniden BCD396T by the way.
 
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KF4ZTO

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chaz,

In addition to scanning 469.6000, you should program 464.6000 in there as well, as it sounds like your close call picked up the input to this rental repeater you've been talking about. 464.6000 is the output (-5 MHz always, for UHF).

I would also consider programming the other frequencies licensed for the business that uses 469.600 and 464.600, as your towing company friends may be using them as well...if they're renting radios from that company in the first place.

My experience (I'm in Richmond) is that towing companies are really strange about the radio. A lot of them around here use leased airtime on 800 MHz systems or UHF LTR systems. Gone are the days of tow trucks using VHF simplex or their own private licensed repeater system.

As has been said before, Nextel is a distinct possibility, since you haven't seen any antennas on the trucks. Doesn't mean they're not using hand helds, though. I've seen this before.

Good luck and do you think you could link the FCC license for the company that uses those frequencies? Maybe somebody in your area can shed some light on how their systems do (or don't) work.

Hope this helps,

-ZTO
 

W4UVV

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Preditory Towing

I did a Google search on Valley Towing. Wow! I read link after link of complaints from individuals as to the method of operation and their experiences with this outfit. After paying the $150 tow fee one individual had the front gates locked so he could not leave because he "peeled out" going too fast in their parking lot. I don't recall reading so many negative comments about one company that skip the civil remarks and go directly to the profane. Those complaining were not limited to students but included residents who lived in the areas. The company has contracts with certain area apartment complexes, businesses and apparently also Va. Tech. These tow trucks are like "meter maids" in cities. All some do every day is patrol a certain route looking for violators. I suspect Va. Tech violators are their biggest source of income. It looks like with the frequent campus patrols few parking violators escape the tow trucks patrols. The two truck drivers may get a percentage of each tow as an incentive to be on the lookout.

As best I can determine this company in the past was called "Tek Towing". Possibly in an attempt to improve its image the name was changed to "Valley Towing". This company "serves" Blacksburg, Christiansburg and Radford. The implication is it is not just a two or three tow truck operation but has a larger number of tow trucks. I looked at the satellite image of this place located across from what appears to be a huge vehicle junk yard. I don't know when the images were taken but I could not see any radio antenna mast/antenna. As a best guess I counted 5 tow trucks which appeared to be certain pickup truck models modified for use as a tow truck.
.
Checking my database the likely candidates for radio comms are:

WQGF645 Professional Communications Blacksburg. Their repeater is located on Brush Mountain. It is licensed for a two frequency LTR system. The frequencies are 461.2750 mhz. and 464.6000 mhz.

WNIT222 Two Way Radio HQ in Wytheville but has a repeater in Christiansburg. Try 452.7750 mhz.

WPWS602 Francis Communications TRS repeater in Roanoke Co. I think this is a Motorola standard 800 mhz. trs. Frequencies are 855.3125, 855.5625 and 858.8375 mhz.

Don't count out Nextel or another cell phone provider. If I had to guess their comms, I would choose cell phone comms.

You definitely have good reason to be concerned about vehicle parking when in Radford, Christiansburg and Blacksburg. As other posts have said look for a radio antenna on a truck and be able to describe in detail. No visible truck antenna is not a good omen.
 

chaz0426

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Alexandria, VA
Hey thanks for responses, yesterday during the day I heard some activity on 469.6000 and the voice sounded like a middle aged man with a strong country accent (most of the tow people fit that description too)so it could be a good possibility that this is the frequency. I only heard one half of the conversation over a period of about 20 minutes because I had get to class. The guy I heard would speak once maybe every 3 to 5 minutes and it was hard to understand his sentences so I couldn't really tell what they were talking about since I was only getting one half of the conversation (the other is probably on 464.6000). I do know that they were somewhere around town as I heard him say something about "such and such across the street."

When I get time tomorrow or this weekend I'll punch in 464.6000 as well and monitor both frequencies.

As of now my two guesses are it's either the towing company (I hope) or it could be what my apartment complex uses. I believe my scanner caught the frequency sometime overnight or early morning which makes it more likely it could be the towing company.

However I don't think it's my apartment utility people because they wouldn't need a repeater tower 15 miles away on brush mountain, I don't think?

I saw another tow truck while driving today (they've been everywhere at all hours lately) .
I looked for an antenna and all I could see on top was a black antenna (if it was an antenna) about 1 to 1.5 foot high, similar to the antenna on a hand held police radio but thicker.

That's all I noticed in the 10 seconds I saw the truck, I'll keep you guys posted on whether or not I get any activity on those two frequencies this weekend.

Yeah, this towing company has really been a pest around this area, they like to come around anywhere between 12AM and 6AM in the morning with their loud truck and it'll circle all the lots and sometimes a guy will get out and look in windows and such. It's really nerve racking if I'm awake because I try to make sure they don't do anything to anyone's car, especially mine (I've heard reports of them doing so in the past). Our parking lot fills up very quickly and there are very few visitor spots so if anyone is visiting and they don't park in a visitor spot they are usually the victims. As for Virginia Tech, I don't see the tow trucks around campus. However tech is notorious for their parking tickets (some you'll get within 5 minutes after parking if you don't have a pass), but they usually only tow during football games or if a car is parked in a fire zone ect.

This is the first town I've seen to have this kind of towing activity, is predatory towing a problem in your guy's areas as well? This only seems to be unique to this area.
 
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Mick

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Excellent research. I was just doing the same and located what you found, and then I read your post.

There is even a dedicated Web site for this company and other articles about them:

Valley Towing Sucks
Reviews of Valley Towing Blacksburg, 24060
Student bemoans towing practices - CollegiateTimes.com
Towing incidents anger students - CollegiateTimes.com

If I was there I would at least try the allocated tow truck frqs:

150.815 - 150.9725
157.470 - 157.5225

I could not locate any FCC licenses specifically for them on these frqs though.

I did a Google search on Valley Towing. Wow! I read link after link of complaints from individuals as to the method of operation and their experiences with this outfit. After paying the $150 tow fee one individual had the front gates locked so he could not leave because he "peeled out" going too fast in their parking lot. I don't recall reading so many negative comments about one company that skip the civil remarks and go directly to the profane. Those complaining were not limited to students but included residents who lived in the areas. The company has contracts with certain area apartment complexes, businesses and apparently also Va. Tech. These tow trucks are like "meter maids" in cities. All some do every day is patrol a certain route looking for violators. I suspect Va. Tech violators are their biggest source of income. It looks like with the frequent campus patrols few parking violators escape the tow trucks patrols. The two truck drivers may get a percentage of each tow as an incentive to be on the lookout.

As best I can determine this company in the past was called "Tek Towing". Possibly in an attempt to improve its image the name was changed to "Valley Towing". This company "serves" Blacksburg, Christiansburg and Radford. The implication is it is not just a two or three tow truck operation but has a larger number of tow trucks. I looked at the satellite image of this place located across from what appears to be a huge vehicle junk yard. I don't know when the images were taken but I could not see any radio antenna mast/antenna. As a best guess I counted 5 tow trucks which appeared to be certain pickup truck models modified for use as a tow truck.
 

W4UVV

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Carrry a camera when out and about and not just at Va. Tech. The next time you see a vehicle being hooked up for towing on campus or in a restaurant or apartment complex parking lot or if you can find a Valley Towing tow truck otherwise stopped or parked try to walk to that location and take a picture as much of a close up of the truck antenna as you can. Take several pictures of the truck at different distances so the driver won't be suspicious that you only are interested in the truck antenna. Then do a RR post and attach the appropriate jpg file(s) and maybe the antenna can be identified as to frequency range and/or type by someone.
 

chaz0426

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Ok, i'll do my best to get a picture next time I get the chance. I'm currently listening to the county frequencies since theirs a large protest going here today and lots of other things going on. Should be some interesting traffic.

I also have the frequencies I captured (464.6000 and 469.6000)running through as well. I just heard some traffic on 464.6000 something about payment ect. I'll keep listening and update my post.

Ok I just heard something about

man: "I'll just put 6000 heather dr." and

man: "ok, I'll be riding around".


heather dr. is part of another apartment complex (foxridge/heathwood) which is about 3 miles west from where I am.

It's looking better and better but I don't have a smoking gun yet on it being the tow company.

I'm listening only on 464.6000 now and it's been silent for the past 10 minutes, i'll keep listening for the next hour or so and see if anything more comes up.



woman: "201 are you still in Christiansburg"

man: "yeah I'm dumping this car off"


It's looking better and better, just not that much activity as of yet. I'll get activity once every 15 to 20 minutes or so.

man: "I'm approaching the 114 southbound and went by harmens and haven't seen him" "no he must be southbound before 118 and before 460"

woman: "he's right there at the 460 exit"

man: "I went past harmans and with to the right to get on the southbound and I don't where he is then"

women: "he says he's right there though on the interstate, he didn't get off the exit"

woman: "ok he just told me he was on 460 but a minute ago he said he was on 81 so I don't know ect."

man:"ok i'm on 460 now so I'll see what I can see"

woman:" you should see him, he said he'll flag you down unless you are on the other side..then you may miss him"

women: "200 to 206..."

man: "ok I've got him"


This was between a man and a woman(assuming the dispatcher) on 464.6000

I'm 99% sure this is the towing frequency, just haven't heard anything actually mentioning the words "towing"

Ok I"m hearing more of the same traffic, basically it sounds like some guy is broken down between I-81 and US 460 and he can't find him. This must be the towing company.


as of 2:00 P.M. Eastern time, it appears the man on the radio (assuming the tow guy) found his guy on US 460.

Women: "206...did you find your toyota"

Man:" yeah I did, i'm trying not to get run over here"


It looks like there's a live audio feed for Montgomery county. I don't know who's it is or where it's located but perhaps he can add in those frequencies so you guys can listen in to the area when you want.
 
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chaz0426

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at 4:30p.m. on 464.6000

woman: "how did they pay for that tow?"


There we go, it's the tow company for sure!

How did you guys know to check 464.6000?
 
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n4jri

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at 4:30p.m. on 464.6000

woman: "how did they pay for that tow?"


There we go, it's the tow company for sure!

How did you guys know to check 464.6000?
Knowledge of the bands. Most UHF repeater systems have the input (mobile) exactly 5 MHz above the output. Generally 450-454.9875 are outputs and 455-459.9875 are inputs. Ditto for 460-464.9875 and 465-469.9875. There are a few exceptions around 457 & 467, but they generally aren't used in the kind of mobile radio you'd find a tow truck using.

Is your scanner CTCSS or LTR-capable ? Actually I might ask what model it is. If they're using a shared repeater there should be a CTCSS or DCS code unique to the company. If they're using an LTR system, it would interesting to know what the LCN's are and how may ID's there are for the company. Many business LTR systems have a separate TG ID for each individual vehicle and you can use that to track them individually.

Some scanners will tell you more than others. Tell us what you have and you'll probably get some good advice.

73/Allen (N4JRI)
 

W4UVV

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Professional Comm. TRS update

I did a Google search on Valley Towing. Wow! I read link after link of complaints from individuals as to the method of operation and their experiences with this outfit. After paying the $150 tow fee one individual had the front gates locked so he could not leave because he "peeled out" going too fast in their parking lot. I don't recall reading so many negative comments about one company that skip the civil remarks and go directly to the profane. Those complaining were not limited to students but included residents who lived in the areas. The company has contracts with certain area apartment complexes, businesses and apparently also Va. Tech. These tow trucks are like "meter maids" in cities. All some do every day is patrol a certain route looking for violators. I suspect Va. Tech violators are their biggest source of income. It looks like with the frequent campus patrols few parking violators escape the tow trucks patrols. The two truck drivers may get a percentage of each tow as an incentive to be on the lookout.

As best I can determine this company in the past was called "Tek Towing". Possibly in an attempt to improve its image the name was changed to "Valley Towing". This company "serves" Blacksburg, Christiansburg and Radford. The implication is it is not just a two or three tow truck operation but has a larger number of tow trucks. I looked at the satellite image of this place located across from what appears to be a huge vehicle junk yard. I don't know when the images were taken but I could not see any radio antenna mast/antenna. As a best guess I counted 5 tow trucks which appeared to be certain pickup truck models modified for use as a tow truck.
.
Checking my database the likely candidates for radio comms are:

WQGF645 Professional Communications Blacksburg. Their repeater is located on Brush Mountain. It is licensed for a two frequency LTR system. The frequencies are 461.2750 mhz. and 464.6000 mhz.

WNIT222 Two Way Radio HQ in Wytheville but has a repeater in Christiansburg. Try 452.7750 mhz.

WPWS602 Francis Communications TRS repeater in Roanoke Co. I think this is a Motorola standard 800 mhz. trs. Frequencies are 855.3125, 855.5625 and 858.8375 mhz.

Don't count out Nextel or another cell phone provider. If I had to guess their comms, I would choose cell phone comms.

You definitely have good reason to be concerned about vehicle parking when in Radford, Christiansburg and Blacksburg. As other posts have said look for a radio antenna on a truck and be able to describe in detail. No visible truck antenna is not a good omen.
It can get difficult sometimes tracking some trunked radio system licenses with subsequent modifications. What I posted for Professional Communications at Blacksburg is correct. However those two channel LTR frequencies subsequently were included in a larger LTR system located on Poor Mountain under license WPPU866 for Professional Communications. The two frequencies you have been listening to are part of this larger Logical Trunked Radio System (LTR). You are hearing only two of eight repeater output frequencies in the system.

Program your 396 as a trunked "LT" system with the following frequencies: 451.7250, 452.0250, 452.0750, 452.4000, 463.9750, 464.0750, 464.6000, and 464.9000 mhz. Additionally you must create one Site level and one Group level. Select "ID Search" vice "ID Scan" otherwise you will hear nothing. I use Butel software to program a 396 so the desired manual programing entries may differ slightly. I do not know the LTR system frequency (channel) relationship assignment scheme. These additional LTR system frequencies would account for you not hearing all Valley Towing comms on 464.6000 mhz. or 464.9000 mhz. From your posts possibly 464.6000 mhz. is Valley Towing's home channel on the system. Log the Valley Towing trunk ids (see RR or wiki reference info on LTR user trunked assignment schemes) on which you hear towing related comms keeping in mind one or more other area towing companies also may be users on this LTR system.
 

chaz0426

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Alexandria, VA
Knowledge of the bands. Most UHF repeater systems have the input (mobile) exactly 5 MHz above the output. Generally 450-454.9875 are outputs and 455-459.9875 are inputs. Ditto for 460-464.9875 and 465-469.9875. There are a few exceptions around 457 & 467, but they generally aren't used in the kind of mobile radio you'd find a tow truck using.

Is your scanner CTCSS or LTR-capable ? Actually I might ask what model it is. If they're using a shared repeater there should be a CTCSS or DCS code unique to the company. If they're using an LTR system, it would interesting to know what the LCN's are and how may ID's there are for the company. Many business LTR systems have a separate TG ID for each individual vehicle and you can use that to track them individually.

Some scanners will tell you more than others. Tell us what you have and you'll probably get some good advice.

73/Allen (N4JRI)
I have a Uniden BCD396T and use Butel's ARC396 program usually
 
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K4NNW

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Program your 396 as a trunked "LT" system with the following frequencies: 451.7250, 452.0250, 452.0750, 452.4000, 463.9750, 464.0750, 464.6000, and 464.9000 mhz. Additionally you must create one Site level and one Group level. Select "ID Search" vice "ID Scan" otherwise you will hear nothing. I use Butel software to program a 396 so the desired manual programing entries may differ slightly. I do not know the LTR system frequency (channel) relationship assignment scheme. These additional LTR system frequencies would account for you not hearing all Valley Towing comms on 464.6000 mhz. or 464.9000 mhz. From your posts possibly 464.6000 mhz. is Valley Towing's home channel on the system. Log the Valley Towing trunk ids (see RR or wiki reference info on LTR user trunked assignment schemes) on which you hear towing related comms keeping in mind one or more other area towing companies also may be users on this LTR system.
I just programmed those into a 396XT. As it happens, I'm going to Newport today, so I'll give it a listen on the way through Blacksburg/Christiansburg and we'll see what happens. I've also been wondering about Tek-Tow/Valley Towing for a while.
 

fredva

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One thing to keep in mind about this type of towing - if a company is towing cars from the parking lot of an apartment complex, it is probably because the owner of the apartment complex has asked them to. Where I used to live, the owners of the apartment complex put up a sign letting people know the phone number of the tow company to call if their cars got towed.
 

gcgrotz

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I think it is a law that there be a sign. I once had to call the police about a car parked by a concert attendee that totally blocked my driveway. There was no sign to tell them where their car was. Oops, so sorry your car is gone...
 
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