Does anyone have a repeater list for the different DNR regions? Or better yet, can point me in the right direction to get Region 4 in the radios without dumping in every 800 repeater in all of the counties covered?
Thanks milf! I actually did a little legwork before posting this up, and I'm tracking 100% on everything you've hit on. I guess to clarify my original question, does the DNR and Forestry Service use specific repeaters on the Palmetto 800 and if so, which ones?
I haven't heard them on VHF in a few years, and those few times I did it was very vague traffic.
Specifically, I guess I would like to monitor the traffic out of the Francis Marion National Forest. I've already programed in the repeaters that cover the entire Region 4 area into the Home Patrol just to see what's out there, and delegate from there.
My only problem with dumping every single Palmetto 800 repeater in the counties Region 4 covers, is simply that. I like to keep the banks or departments / site / systems programmed into the radios efficient, and only listening to what they need to listen to.
For whatever it might be worth, I have rarely if ever heard either DNR or Forestry units on Palmetto 800. Both agencies apparently have talk groups assigned on the system but they are rarely if ever used. I would choose to omit the Palmetto 800 altogether if my goal was only to monitor DNR and Forestry. Both still use their own (separate) networks of VHF repeaters. This information is based on what I hear (and don't hear) in the Upstate area - other parts of the state might be different.
If you do choose to load the Palmetto 800 system, simply choose the tower sites closest to you - those within monitoring range from your location. That assumes you're not regularly travelling to other parts of the state. There is a link at the top of the "Sites" table on the Palmetto 800 database page that shows a state map with each site location marked. That can help you identify which sites are closest to your location.
FMNF operations are likely on repeaters in the federal band and may be P25 by now. We don't get much information submitted about those radio systems. But there is some information (possibly dated) in the RR database.
Not to mention you just stated you want to hear National Forest... That is not SCDNR, that is USFS. United States Forest Service. Federal not State. SCDNR and SCFS would not have anything to do with this unless the Feds called them in for an massive fire or the like.
For what it is worth, although SCDNR does have TG's assigned on the 800Mhz system, they don't use it. No 800 radio equipment in the inventory, I think. They are slowly migrating to encrypted voice on their VHF repeaters. Try listening to Santee, 151.325Mhz., or Little Mountain on 151.160 and you will hear a mix of clear voice and encrypted voice. If you are using a Uniden scanner you will not hear anything when they use encryption, not even the buzzing noise. Interesting enough, their FCC filings do not as yet show that they are approved for encryption! The license shows that they CAN use AVL (automatic vehicle locating) messaging, however.
Their head radio supervisor by the name of Vandy Waller refuses to admit or divulge any of the public information about their systems that is so easily found on the internet. I guess he thinks that he is the keeper of secret information that we mortals are not entitled to know !
The few times I have encountered DNR officers in Jocasse, they were carrying VHF handhelds. I presume that PAL 800 coverage in remote areas is spotty or non-existant. I can barely hit the 2 meter ham repeaters at Long Mountain or Sassafras in the Toxaway river branch of the lake. The 440 mhz repeaters at the same sites could not be keyed up at all. The 800 talkgroups as previously stated, are more likely for urban use when DNR officers at working with HP, SLED, and local LEO's.
Re DNR encryption... I'm not convinced that the digital data I'm hearing on the VHF DNR repeaters is voice traffic. It doesn't come across as encrypted traffic on my GRE scanners. Perhaps that's a limitation of the radio, but I know that when I hear encrypted traffic on other conventional frequencies (fed stuff) the PSR-800 indicates it is encryption by playing a tone rather than the data noise. I tend to think the digital noise on the DNR repeaters is data, and AVL data is a good guess.
I can confirm, though, that there is very little voice traffic on the Santee repeater. Much less than I would expect.