Programming Scanners For Utah

Status
Not open for further replies.

pmstewart

Member
Premium Subscriber
Joined
Dec 11, 2011
Messages
162
Location
Ogden, UT.
It amazes me there is no thread describing how to program "smart" scanners (both digital & analog alike) for the large number of separate trunk systems here in Utah.

I have found many posts by other users who travel through Utah or stay in Utah for business or personal reasons, all asking the same question, how do I program my scanner to listen in Utah. There are a few posts by local residents asking the same.

Could anyone think of a way to put together a thread with several offshoots describing the best way to use analog, single trunk, triple trunk ...etc along with the list of talkgroups to listen for in any area of the state? I say this because one of my scanners is a Pro-95 which didn't survive the rebanding but can decode Motorola tg info. (It just counts high by 16 - so subtract 16 from the tg number LOL)

I have an iSCAN-107 "SMART" scanner. But it isn't all that smart! All the advice given by others here on the forum to program this unit is insightful but does not really give implicit instructions of how to listen to law enforcement / ems along the Wasatch Front. In reading entries about others with "SMART" scanners by other manufacturers the troubles are very similar.

I can import systems and talkgroups like any "i" product user. With all the acknowledged analog talkgroups in Salt Lake City, or Utah County, or Weber County, or Davis County - if one simply programs just the law / ems talkgroups in different playlists or banks - the amount of traffic will ensure only limited success with following any one conversation.

Then there is the whole question about encrypted tg's and the sensitive one's UCAN engineers are always changing when posted on rr forums for us to follow - so they have been omitted from the rr db. With smart scanners if the talkgroups are not programmed in they won't allow you to listen to them.

I'm sure there is a way for us to describe how to monitor for those sensitive tg's without actually publishing them outright.

Any other thoughts on this subject would be appreciated - Thanks

Paul
 

kf7yn

Member
Joined
Dec 20, 2002
Messages
617
Location
West Jordan, UT
Putting all the info you ask for in a thread is somewhere between impractical to outright impossible and is available elsewhere here anyway. The Utah database and Wiki pages contain everything you need to set up and successfully scan.

As for single trunking, triple trunking, etc. Those are really scanner marketing terms, not practical scanning terms. Since the vast majority of the trunked systems in Utah are Motorola, that really means single trunking since we don't have EDACS and relatively few LTR trunked systems, which are the other two when refering to triple trunking.

In the case of agencies using UCAN, all you need to program in your scanner are; talkgroups of interest in your area and the rebanded trunked site frequencies. Since you are in Odgen, start with Weber Simulcast and maybe throw in Mt Ogden as a backup. Then program the talkgroups you want. I prefer to program by county rather than by service (police, fire, medical, etc.) Everyone does it different but you correctly state that programming all the Law/EMS TGs creates too much info to be coherent. That's why it is a good idea to program your iScan playlists by county or even by city and then only those TGs you want to monitor.

So, unless you travel all over the state, don't try to program the whole UCAN system, just those sites and TGs for areas you live in or frequent. I don't know how often Radio Shack updates their database (which is compiled from Radio Reference) but Uniden updates their database every Monday and is easily downloaded into the Home Patrol by the Sentinel software ensuring your HP1 scanner is always up-to-date!

As for encrypted TGs, no scanner will decode them. Most modern scanners skip over encrypted TGs automatically.

Some sensitive TGs remain unpublished for obvious reasons, SWAT, JCAT channels, etc. The problem as far as Law Enforcement and UCAN are concerned are more with smart phones than with scanners, in particular aps that give any and everyone the ability to monitor streaming feeds on a cell phone. Criminals who are not savvy enough to program a sophisticated modern scanner only have to get an ap for their phone. We as a group should ensure we don't stream JCAT and SWAT type talkgroups. Allowing a dangerous criminal to evade capture because some wanker is streaming it online is irresponsible.

There are some here who will privately share sensitive TG info, keeping it out of the hands of those who would abuse it is a pledge many of us made to keep it out in the public domain. If you want the info, make friends with people here and make the same pledge. While that seems a bit elitist or arrogant, in reality there are only a handful of TGs not published, even the SWAT TGs have made it into the database page. So the long answer is; no there is not a way to describe how to monitor them without divulging. Simply scan in the 'open' or 'search' mode and you'll eventually hear everything.

Lastly, no one person here knows every TG being used, there will always be some unknown. If I find an unknown TG, I search this site with the TG number and see if there has been a discussion about it. If there hasn't, I post those TG numbers on a new thread and ask if anyone knows what they are.

I hope this answers some of your questions. I do not claim to be the spokesman for anyone but me, others will certainly chime in with differing opinions and views.
 
Last edited:

kd7rto

Member
Joined
Dec 19, 2002
Messages
458
Location
Bountiful, Ut
There's no thread because there's no one "right" way to go about it. When programming today's trunktracker scanners, a lot comes down to individual interests and personal preferences.

I like to keep the dispatch channels I monitor down to a small list, just the local area, so I'm less likely to miss anything, selecting and deselecting banks as a travel around. I keep one bank always selected with regionals and other tg's that are seldom used, but when they are used it's something big. YMMV.
 

kd7rto

Member
Joined
Dec 19, 2002
Messages
458
Location
Bountiful, Ut
Some sensitive TGs remain unpublished for obvious reasons
Jon, what are your feelings about streaming mil air? It's a bad idea to feed security communications at US military bases to unknown persons around the world, no doubt, but do you see a foreign enemy gaining any meaningful intelligence from listening to jets dropping dummy bombs on specified coordinates on a test range?
 

wyomingmedic

Member
Joined
Aug 17, 2008
Messages
463
I certainly wouldn't mind, as a traveler who comes to Utah often.

Here in Wyoming, there are maps available that show the locations of all towers, and a myriad of info the agencies served by WyoLink.

I found my travels to Utah to be very difficult to get programmed accurately, and was one of those who asked for help here. My biggest problem was knowing where the towers were. Sure, i got a name, but not being from Utah, I had no idea.

One state that was exceedingly easy was Colorado. Look at the way they present their info for the DTRS system. It is extremely easy for a traveler to program in whatever they want.

WM
 

ka3jjz

Wiki Admin Emeritus
Joined
Jul 22, 2002
Messages
22,058
Location
Bowie, Md.
And since the DTRS was mentioned, here's the anchor article from our wiki...

State of Colorado DTRS - The RadioReference Wiki

You'll notice that at the very bottom is a small article with programming tricks for the DTRS. This is only part of the answer, however. Before you know what you want to program, you first need to know how to do it. Our wiki does have a number of programming shortcuts, how tos and so forth (not so much with the PC driven scanners, at least not yet - no one has stepped up to the plate to write something really comprehensive - yet...). Whoever runs the Utah wiki is certainly free to link those articles over from the RR Wiki (and that's something that should be encouraged).

I suspect a heckuva lot of time has been spent putting that DTRS stuff together - I'm sure that there are some folks that are very familiar with UCAN that could do something similar on the Utah scanning wiki. It just remains for someone - probably more than one person - to sit down and do it.

The next question to ask - really a set of questions - would be what is special - unique - to programming scanners in Utah? Are there any systems that require special tables or offsets (beyond rebanding, of course) to copy properly?

There are any number of topics that could be covered under 'programming' - but let's face it, it's a matter of what interests you once you get beyond the mechanics. And perhaps the 'mechanics' (that are specific to Utah systems) is a good a place to start as any.

Just my random thoughts on the subject - feel free to put a photon torpedo or two in them...best regards...Mike
 

enosjones

Member
Premium Subscriber
Joined
Feb 22, 2006
Messages
1,124
Location
Price, Utah
Like Colorado i Believe Utah needs to put a map of all Sites/ towers with names or site numbers so we may see where they are relative to the area(s).
 

wbloss

Member
Premium Subscriber
Joined
Dec 19, 2002
Messages
581
Location
Joplin Mo

wyomingmedic

Member
Joined
Aug 17, 2008
Messages
463
I agree. Even with WyoLink, you can go to their website a d get an entire system map. Haven't Found that with the Ucan.

But the link above is leaps and bounds above what I have before as a traveler.
 

N7YUO

Member
Joined
Mar 23, 2004
Messages
512
Location
Kearns, UT
Effective Utah Programming

This topic has come up before. Back in 2004, I replied to a thread from one of our local gents that was having a difficult time organizing his scanner. Here is what works for me:

I organize the scanner, Pro93, Pro95, PSR500, mainly by county with some exceptions.

Every "Bank" has all of the "Common TGs" (Event TGs, LZ1, LZ2, Regional TG for the county and surrounding counties.) Also, every county (or area) has TAC channels.
This means that I program these TGs many times. I program them for every site.

1. Bank 1 is SLCO Unified, and Unified Fire Authority, UHP SL. + all Common
Use the freqs for SL Simul. custom trunking tables
2. Bank 2 is SL City PD, and Fire. SLC SWAT + all common tgs.
Use the freqs for SLC TSYS. no trunking tables
3. Bank 3 is All other cities in SL County, Unified Fire Auth, Transit Police, Granite PD,
Use the freqs for SL Simul. custom trunking tables
4. Bank 4 is Davis County
Use the freqs for Davis Simul if you remain in the I-15 corridor. custom trunking tables
If you travel US-89 you will need other sites.
5. Bank 5 is Hill Air Force Base. custom trunking tables 406 MHz
6. Bank 6 is Weber/Box Elder custom trunking tables
Use the Simul freqs. Use Mt Ogden if you are in Weber Canyon or the Wb River Valley.
7. Cache & Rich Counties
8. I-80 corridor from Wendover, NV to Evanston, WY.
Tooele Disp, Tooele Fire, Summit Disp, Summit Fire,
Freqs: Wendover, Delle, Nelson, Parleys, Lewis, Summit/Wasatch, Echo, Humpy, Medicine Butte. As I travel, the scanner picks up the strongest site.
9. Utah County
Use freqs for Utah Co Simul.
For Southeast Utah, (US-6 Corridor, and SE Counties) Program the sites for that area,
along with whatever TGs you want to hear.
Many of the locals will still be on VHF so program those
Program for SW Utah, the sites along I-15 south of Utah County to Arizona.
Many of the locals will still be on VHF so program those

As I travel from one area to another, I can easily change the scanner to "listen" to the local area.

Salt Lake County has so much activity, that I have to break it up by three. The County,
The City, and Everything else.
Murray PD uses 800 MHz conventional freqs. 857.4375, 856.4375

You should always have all the event TGs for every site you program. Let's just say that they are used for more than just events. Do ya get my drift?

Transit Cops work Salt Lake, Tooele, Utah, Davis & Weber Counties.
TRANSIT 1 23008, TRANSIT 2 26528, TRANSIT 3 25408

I never program two sites: ADC (SL County Jail) and Point of the Mountain (Prison)
99% of the traffic on those sites is corrections related. (boring)

I don't program UDOT or UDOC (corrections) TGs.
I'm not looking for new TGs, so I don't use wildcards. I check this forum often.
I don't program TGs for Service. (License checks, warrants, registrations, etc)
I often hear surveillance, but I never discuss it in the open forum.
I omit TGs for Animal Control, Water, Streets, Trash, etc. Sometimes Animal Control gets interesting when wild animals come into town (mountain lions, moose)

You can set up a bank for "Priority Calls" That would be, all fire, SWAT, Special Ops, Regionals, Landing Zones, and SAR (Search & Rescue) For the area you can hear.
So I have all these for Utah County, SL County, Summit/Wasatch, Davis, Weber, Tooele, Salt Lake City. The radio stays quiet unless there is a Priority Call.
For freqs, use all the Simul freqs for the areas.

Note: If you are in SL County and want to hear Tooele, you need Nelson Peak.
I also hear Summit/Wasatch on Nelson.
 

pmstewart

Member
Premium Subscriber
Joined
Dec 11, 2011
Messages
162
Location
Ogden, UT.
It's awesome everyone weighs in with their two cents. Out of each of the posts I've read there are bits and pieces of information which are all useful. There is way to much information on these trunk radio systems to make sense of much more than a couple of tg's and sites at one time.

Past my own personal challenges trying to get up to speed on object oriented programming and how the scanners react to different configurations is still a mystery. However, I am trying to document the journey so there is something to share when I'm finished which may help someone else. Just like you all help myself and others.

Thanx
 

theaton

Member N7VU
Database Admin
Joined
Sep 17, 2004
Messages
627
Location
Moab, Utah
UCAN site locations

It's nice that WyoLink publishes and updates a public map of all its sites and proposed sites. I wish UCAN would be the same, but it is run much more secretively than WyoLink. Lindsay tries through his programming to provide this information (as with Site Map: Utah Communications Agency Network (UCAN) Trunking System, Various, Multi-State), and I try to keep all the site locations accurate so they will show up in the right places on the map.

Those that submit site data often request that the DB refer to the official site names (however obscure) rather than the nearest city or feature. This makes it harder for visitors to locate the sites. The counties are listed for all the sites. Nearby cities could be added in parentheses after each site name, but many of them are not close to any city. So I'm not sure there's an easy solution.

As a RRDB Admin I'll be happy to help facilitate any improvements.

-Tim

I agree. Even with WyoLink, you can go to their website and get an entire system map. Haven't Found that with the Ucan.

But the link above is leaps and bounds above what I have before as a traveler.
 

bchris

Member
Joined
May 12, 2008
Messages
217
Location
Salem, Utah
Nice Thread!

Y'All

I have to say to all participants in this thread that this has been a very informative, productive, and positive thread.

theaton - I think you have done a wonerful job of keeping the locations accurate in the DB, although I have not reviewed it for a while. I hope people will look at the link that you and wbloss provided so they can see for themselves.

pmstewart - You have a lot of good questions and patience.

kf7yn - You made many good points. Your post shows a lot of thought and effort went into your reply. Your post would have taken me 1-3 hours, assuming I know what you know, which I don't.

kd7rto - Thank you for the spreadsheets. I need more time to look them over more closely. It's great that you are willing to do that.

N7YUO - VERY nice post. My programming has been constantly evolving for 20+ years, even more so recently. (Bigger changes seem to be more frequent in the last 5 years.) My latest programming is very similar to yours, and I have been loving it. A lot of time, effort, and trial-and-error went into this. Our only discrepencies I think are due to where we live and travel. I can't imagine how many years you boiled down into one post. I hope people who use it can appreciate all the blood, sweat, and tears that had to happen before you could make that post.

me - I use mostly Uniden scanners, 3 of which make use of a GPS to enable and disable sites as I drive. When I got the first one several years ago, I had to create a map of where all the sites were so I could use the GPS feature. I got the coordinates directly from the FCC records. At first I used the map software that came with my car GPS's. (All are Garmin.) Then I used something like a .kml overlay in Google Earth. When done, I realized that most of these had already been entered into the RRDB by our DB admin. Those missing I shared with him and he added them promptly. Many sites have been added since that time, so I have no opinion on the newer sites, namely those in NE Utah, which I cannot receive and rarely travel near. As far as I know they are up to date and correct as well.

More recently I have been using ONLY the FreeScan software, no Garmin, no Google. I also no longer keep track of the actual physical site locations. I inevitably kept moving the location to match the actual coverage area - usually by driving through the area - or by looking at the probable coverage area on the terrain tab on Google ie: mountains, flat desert, antenna height, etc. It becomes almost overwhelming to keep track and make sense of one location database (incl. coverage radius) with 50+ sites, let alone two db's - one actual and one 'virtual'. So, I start with the actual location, then adjust it around as I look, drive, and learn. I also only need to maintain the data in one place - FreeScan. The downside is that if you want the exact physical location of the towers, I'm not the guy to help you, but the RRDB and the FCC already have this info for free.


My main contribution to this thread would be to offer my Freescan file to those who care and who use Freescan. Freescan has recently added the ability to see each site (and radius) on a Google map, and in fact you can now see 1 individual site, all the sites in a particular system, or all sites in all systems at once. Even if FreeScan won't program your scanner, you can download it for free, it is extremely intuitive and easy to use, and you can view, cut, and paste all of my data that you want, into your own software. (The Freescan guy must have put tons of time into this - If you use it a lot I bet he would appreciate some donation $.) My systems (sites and TGID groups) are organized very similar to that of N7YUO. If anyone wants to look at my latest file, send me a PM, and if you can, convince me that you are not an axe murderer, drug dealer, or similar and I will send it to you.
.

Brent Christensen
.
 

pmstewart

Member
Premium Subscriber
Joined
Dec 11, 2011
Messages
162
Location
Ogden, UT.
N7YUO,

Ok, have tried to take your suggestions and worked on a program list which I thought might work but cannot seem to get the bugs out.j

Using Win500 I went to RR and downloaded all the UCAN - took up 3 (TSYS) Spots which I have sorted out and grouped into three equal frequency banks to allow for growth and by default all the tgid's ended up in ScanList 1. Loaded onto the scanner for a couple of days to ensure it's working and all the general and extended stuff is set correctly including alarms, priority, etc. Looks good except for it's loosing most of the beginnings of conversations and has too much going on for me to track.

To remedy this I tried to lock out the 000, 001, 002 site/frequency entries from RR and divide the tgid's into something a little more manageable. This is where things get a little sticky. I've locked out the UCAN RR sites (000, 001, 002) so I've had to recreate the frequencies for the sites. I want it to display what site the active tg is coming from so I created an entry for each of the sites and associated their control freq's and alternate freq's with them. All is well here the trouble comes when trying to associate the tg's with the sites......it all comes apart.

I have also taken the wildcard groups out of the main ScanLists and created a set called 0100 wildcards under the sites area with the wildcard tg's inside of this list. This way I can enable or disable wildcards when I want to see if new stuff is coming on.

If I try to use the tgid's which came from RR in ScanList 1 by default and divide them into regions like you've suggested it keeps them all locked out on the new ScanLists......If I cut or copy them into a new scanlist I end up with too many objects and total blocks used and no blocks available before I get through the first three sites (divided by county)......But it's the only way I can get the tg's to lock in certain scanlists and to play in others.....this crap is bizzare. So here is the bottom line. No matter where the tg is in any ScanList - if it gets locked out in one ScanList it locks out in every other list automatically. I give up!!!!!

I've had these scanners since xmas day and haven't gotten a real working configuration on them yet! I either get the whole boat load or not enough.....but I've spend 16 hours a day sitting here working on configurations since xmas and I don't sleep at night trying to figure this out.....ugh!

Any suggestions?
 
Last edited:

enosjones

Member
Premium Subscriber
Joined
Feb 22, 2006
Messages
1,124
Location
Price, Utah
When i first started getting UCAN for my area Ford Ridge was the only site i could hear i stuck all the tg's that Ford picked up and put it in the Bank Labeled Ford Ridge s38 for Site 38 on the 7202 system.. I figured since everything South of Ford Ridge was going to be ITAC Channels I wasnt worried about or did i expect them to Expand to Any other areas. So my list for Ford "was" intact.. Then when they started putting the 643E Sites Up it seems it was Just for St.George, I wasnt worried Cuz i figured That St. George was getting big enough that the UCAN People Decieded they better Consider Putting them on UCAN.. Then It Started to Spread From there. I was Floored when i picked up another Trunking Site in my area and it was at the time either Cedar or Bruin cuz of the Signal Strength. When i Found out it was another UCAN Site it blew my Ford ridge group apart cuz u can only put 1 tg in only one group not multiple.. Soon Bruin Point will be up and Active Its not going to be a great organising event fr me to figure out what to do.... i Have a BCD396XT and a BCD396T which are somewhat different in the way u program them... Plus im on the middle of whats called Zone 1 and Zone 2 Ford is 7202 Zone 1 site 38, Cedar is 643E or Zone 2 site 20, and i would imagine Bruin will also become a 643E site and in Zone 2 as well......
 

theaton

Member N7VU
Database Admin
Joined
Sep 17, 2004
Messages
627
Location
Moab, Utah
SE Utah UCAN

I don't understand the problem, Enos. So few TGs are used in your area that you can list them all with each site on your 396. The XT can draw from a common database for all TGs in a whole system, so there's no problem there. The only problem is if you live around SLC and try to list all relevant TGs for every site on a 396, then you run out of memory in a hurry! I haven't bought an XT yet since my 396 still does the job--barely. :)
 
Status
Not open for further replies.
Top