Seeking Frequencys and equipment advice for Yellowstone region

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1dmk3

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Greater Yellowstone Region and the Snake River Pla
Wanting to set up a equipment set to monitor human chatter about wildlife in the greater Yellowstone area, I am a wildlife photographer and would like to use the information to help me be in the right place at the right time to get some good images.

I also would like to hear behind the scene conversations about wildlife management issues and interactions with public to further my understanding and opinion about public policy concerning the region.

I am completely 100% new to scanning have no equipment as of yet but looking at getting a GRE 500. please advise if this unit is capable of listening in to conversations up here, or even if its a bit over kill as it stretches my budget quite thin.

Any frequency's that are in any way related to wildlife or wilderness in the Greater Yellowstone region would be most appreciated.

In particular I am looking for frequency's used by:

Department of Livestock
Montana Fish and Game
US Forrest Service
Wildlife Services
Department of Agriculture Wildlife services division
Yellowstone National Park
Teton National Park
Elk refuge feeding ranges


Also,
Any research group, activist group or watchdog organization using radios that operate on a frequency i can scan into.

Thanks for your help!
 

Halfpint

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A GRE PSR-500, *and* the software to program it, would get you started fairly well. And, while it already comes with a supposedly `matched' antenna *I* would recommend that you pick up the RS 800MHz antenna (RS# 28-0283) and maybe a couple other VHF/UHF antennas like the RS# 20-034, RS# 20-006, RS# 20-288, and possibly the Model: HA-TA Catalog #: 55012533 Uniden antenna. These antennas would give you a chance to `zero in on' some of the more marginal transmissions that either the RS 800MHz or the `stock' GRE antenna might have problems on. (BTW, the last antenna mentioned in the list actually is a CB antenna but, despite that it does work quite well and in fact is an excellent `companion' for the RS telescoping antenna with the `center coil'! *Both* antennas allow you to `tune' them by how far you extend them. Shorter for the higher freqs and longer for the lower freqs. *All* the mentioned antennas are basically cheap insurance and/or upgrades that are quite worthwhile to have. You may not need them right away but, when you do, it is nice to already have them than having to go running all over the place trying to find them.)

Just an `Olde Fart's' 2¢ worth.
 
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I really think the GRE 500 would be major "overkill" for what you want. Go with a Radio Shack pro-97( can be found still at most Radio Shacks or on Ebay or on-line) RS has them for $149 on sale at times and even cheaper sometimnes on Ebay. It has 1000 channels and would be plenty for what you want. I am not 100% sure but i don';t believe there are any 800 mhz "trunked" systems in or around Yellowstone or Teton Parks. I used my Pro-97 there last early fall and it was alive with "chatter" from rangers as well as regular everyday folks on the FRS channels. Lots of good info there. This is my 2 cents. If you got this scanner you could even get a couple of good antennas and still be under $200 bones or maybe a ittle over. Just depends. Good luck...
This price seems a bit much but look for it on sale or Ebay.

www.radioshack.com/sm-pro-97-1000-channel-triple-trunking-handheld-scanner--pi-2102425.html
 

N0GTG

Scanner programmer since 1977
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I agree with the previous post on the PRO-97. I have programmed several of these, and felt it was a lot of radio for the price. It won't receive any digital transmissions, but it sounds like you won't have much need for this. It also has the Signal Stalker feature, which lets you find the frequency of nearby transmitters.

You might also listen for transmissions from FRS/GMRS family radios to hear what people in the immediate area are saying, although there is a possibility there might be so much chit-chat it could be overwhelming. Amateur radio repeaters in the area could give you a clue, too. Good luck!
 

waring

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scanner for yellowstone

I just want to be able to pick up the wolf frequencies in the Lemar Valley area.
Would the lower end Radio Shack model do the job? I just want to hear the guys in the know talking about where the wolves are, or somehow getting that info. by radio.
Thanks,
Nancy
 

waring

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more on scanning in yellowstone

Hi,
I've been reading around since seeing these posts. The pro 97 gets generally good reviews, but some users, not just novices, say it's hard to program. Does anyone have a suggestion of something on par that is easy for a non-techy novice?

thanks, Nancy
 

Halfpint

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While *I* tend to agree somewhat with those suggesting the PRO-97 I am taking a longer view. The PSR-500 does everything that the PRO-97 does *and* gives you the ability to be able to handle the newer modes when you eventually, and you *will*, run into them. Sure, you can `save' a bit right now but, then maybe not all that much further along, you may find yourself having to go and `upgrade' because there has been an `upgrade' in the equipment of the very group you are interested in *or* you end up expanding your interest to some other facet of your current facination.

I have several PRO-2055/97s along with several PRO-2096/96s as part of my `collection' of radios. I also have several other older radios because I have gone through the `stages' of the `tech-no-golly' as they came along. Looking back I can see where, if I were starting out right now, that `progression' has actually cost me more than it would if I'd been able to start out with something like a PSR-500 and *then* later on had added other radios as I discovered other facets I discovered rather than the reverse. If I'd been able to have gotten something like a PSR-500 to begin with there would be *a lot fewer* radios residing in "The Bide-A-Wee home for Orphaned and Superannuated Radios" than now and I would have also been probably a tad bit less `broke' than I am now.

I *know* it sounds a bit counter-intuitive to spend $500 VS, lessay, $200 for a first radio. However... Lessay you *do* go with one over the other and then you decide that you are through with it and you are going to get rid of it. The $200 radio, for various reasons not the least being that it is an older design and tech-no-golly has right from the time you walked out the door of the shop fallen in `value' from $200 to $100 or possibly less. (It depends upon how well you've cared for it among things. The $500 radio, OTOH, has, all things considered including that 50% out the door drop, gone down to being only worth $250 but, if given it's current `upgrade-ability', may actually fly against that 50% drop by being in more demand *because* of it's `added' abilities it came with. (One *has* to remember that the 50% `value' drop is *only* a `rule of thumb' and can vary as much as 75% to as little as 25% depending upon `demand' and other market `conditions'. [I can go through assorted `BlueBooks' I have access to for `The Consumer Electronics' field and find percentages even `wilder' than what I've already mentioned. I've dealt with some pieces of equipment that have both `BlueBook' values and have sold for as much as 200%, or more, of their initial value and other pieces, even though they may offer newer `tech-no-golly' and other things, that one has to almost give away to get rid of them. This even though both extremes do exactly what they are supposed to do and do it well / right.

On top of all that I am somewhat betting that after you have had the time to familarize yourself with the radio and have `played around' with it a bit you will discovered other uses for it beyond just `chasing' one thing. For example: You probably aren't going to be spending *all* of your time time up in the YNP/GTNP/Jackson Hole area. You are going to be probably roaming around Wyoming, Idaho, Montanna, too. Whilst not every place in those places are going to be using `bleeding edge Tech-no-golly' now or right away it *is* on the foreseeable horizon. At the least simplex P25 if not eventually some sort of trunked P25. A PRO-2055/97 won't have the ability to handle either one. (A PRO-2096/96 will handle most of what a PSR-500/600 series radios will but there are some somewhat serious problems with the PRO-2096/96 series that the PSR-500/600 series radios have addressed and makes them a bit more desirable. [Having said that *I* am not about to just go and `stuff' my PRO-2096/96s away in "The Bide-A-Wee Home". But, then too, neither am *I* going to be `investing' in any more of them. I will continue to use them similarly to the way I use my PRO-2055/97s or my PRO-200xs for `niche' uses.])

Anyway... To `summarize'... *My* `suggestion' to go with a PSR-500/600 series radio is based upon a base of less `obsolecence' down the road whether or not you stay with scanning. In a *very* `simplistic' way it is somewhat akin to going out and buying a set of `inch' wrenches for X$ instead of an `Inch' / `Metric" set for X+½X$ more and then discovering that you need the `Metric' wrenches, too, and you now have to spend another X$ more instead of only X+½X$ that you would have spend if you had gotten the combined set. You didn't need those other wrenches for the first job but then another `job' came along and now you need them.

Oh, well... Just an `Olde Fart's' 2¢ worth but, still, something to think about. {WAN GRIN!}
 

Halfpint

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waring said:
Hi,
I've been reading around since seeing these posts. The pro 97 gets generally good reviews, but some users, not just novices, say it's hard to program. Does anyone have a suggestion of something on par that is easy for a non-techy novice?

thanks, Nancy
It isn't any harder, actually, than any other radio out there to program. Yeah, programming from the `front panel' can be a bit of a PITA but then it is that way for a lot other radios, too. The `best', and by extension the `easiest', way to program it, and also all the other radios of that `ilk', is to get the software that's available for programming it. As I initially said when I suggested the PSR-500/600 series one *should* get *the software* to program the radio. There are now a fair number of really good programs available for decent prices. (I *would* AVOID getting any software that claims to be able to program a whole bunch of radios! While they *may* do fairly well with some they fall on their face with others.) Get the one for the radio you get and *if* you add a different radio later on get the software for that one. You have a *much* better chance of being able to get everything out of your radio it is capable of *because* of it's having been written for that radio.

Just an `Olde Fart's' 2¢ worth from the `school of hard knocks'. {GRIMACE!}
 

dirtfinder

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Still in the middle of no where
Psr-500

There also have been reports that some comms. in Yellowstone are P25, so with that said a PRO-97 won't work. I back halfpints suggestion and go with the PSR-500, you wont buy another scanner after you learn all the bells and whistle that this scanner has.
 

SkipSanders

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All Federal Park, Fire, National Monument, etc. agencies are supposed (but due to budget, some haven't yet) to convert all radio comms to P25 narrowband. Not later, but by before now dates that have long passed. They may also have analog FM (narrowband) to talk with local users, but they area supposed to be encouraging all users who wish to talk to them to go P25.

If you have any intention of listening to federal users, you will require digital (P25) capability, though federal law enforcement of any type, including park service, etc, will also be encrypted in nearly all circumstances.
 
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This P25 thing and gettin evyone on board is a joke. Its taking so long and many "users" in a lot of areas are backing out all together. so it will be interesting to see who actually winds up using it and who doesn't.
 

waring

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yellowstone, P25, encryption

I have a feeling the wolf watching rangers in the Lemar Valley up near Montana are not yet doing digital. i know last year it was still possible to pick up their frequencies w. analog, and that seems to be the experience of a recent visitor whose responded to this thread.

If they do go to p25, is encryption a sure thing? that would keep us from listening, yest?
thanks, Nancy
 

Don_Burke

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waring said:
I have a feeling the wolf watching rangers in the Lemar Valley up near Montana are not yet doing digital. i know last year it was still possible to pick up their frequencies w. analog, and that seems to be the experience of a recent visitor whose responded to this thread.

If they do go to p25, is encryption a sure thing? that would keep us from listening, yest?
thanks, Nancy
I am going to go out on a limb and predict that a Pro-97 will work for the foreseeable future.

By the time digital is needed, the digital scanners will have improved anyway and the 97 can be used for many other things.

I really doubt encrypted wolf watchers are going to be an issue, but encryption is getting easier to manage all the time.
 

waring

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scanning for wolves in yellowstone

Then I'm going out on that limb too. I'll go with the pro 97 and hope for the best. my trip is at the end of the month.
How about the person who started this thread? What have you decided to do?
 
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I Think Y'all will be happy with the Pro-97. And around those parts, I really think you will get good long-term use from it. Especially for park monitoring, I will be using mine this late july when my wife and I do YNP and TNP again. :) Good luck, Radio shack is showing them for $199 right now but you can find them on-liine much cheaper. Let us know how you like it. Also you can use a program called win 97 to program it with. They have a trial on-line then once that expires its not too much to purcahse. and its very user friendly.. Look it up..You'll be glad you did..
 
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