So lost with trunking...newbie needs help

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Aug 10, 2008
Ok so i'm sorta a newbie here...i owned the radioshack 200 channel basic scanner, but now i've upgraded to the pro-97 with the trunking feature...but i am so lost with how to program trunking frequencies...i mean like for instance i want to put in say "myrtle beach, SC" trunking freq. into the scanner...when i click on the link, it says like the following:

System Frequencies
Red (c) are Primary Control Channels | Blue (a) are alternate control channels | Click a Site Name for additional site information | Site Map: FCC Callsigns RR Locations

Site Name Freqs
001 Primary 856.21250 856.43750 856.71250 856.96250 857.21250c 857.43750 857.71250 857.96250 858.21250c
858.43750 858.96250 859.21250c 859.43750 859.71250 860.21250c 860.43750
Here's the actual link

Now does that mean all i need to do is manually type in each freq. like i did with my old non-trunking scanner? or is there something else i need to be doing..sorry but i'm just so lost, i was just used to just punching in a feq in a bank and being done with it really just that simple with programming trunked freqs as well? or am i missing something here? i tend to get real lost with talkgroups, etc...what is a talkgroup and how do i get it into my scanner?? sorry for all the questions....
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Sep 8, 2002
On a Motorola system, you have to enter just the control channels. All of them. The non-control channels are not entered in most systems. (Systems with a non-standard bandplan may need them all entered.)

Start with just the CCs and start adding a couple of talkgroups at a time.



Wiki Admin Emeritus
Jul 22, 2002
Bowie, Md.
Think of talkgroups as groups of users; each talkgroup has its own logical assignment on a trunk system.

Let's start with understanding the basics; our wiki has links to articles that will help you grasp the concepts. (Anything in blue or underlined is a link). Stick to the overview and Motorola sections for now...

As Elroy stated, you need only program the control channels...however here's a nice cheat sheet if you are programming manually...

Typing things in manually is so passe when there's a much better solution :.>> First you will need a premium subscription (quite cheap)

Then since most newer PCs these days don't have serial ports, a USB-serial converter will be needed to connect the scanner and PC. GRE has them, and likely others would work too (ask on the RS forum...)

Then get yourself a copy of Win97 from Starrsoft. You will now have the ability to download freqs and talkgroups from the database to the editor in the software. Makes life nice...

73 Mike


Mar 12, 2004
And if you find that mass of information too much, here is a SIMPLE explanation of how trunkiing works.

The object of trunking is to allow many users to share a relatively few frequencies.
A trunking system is controlled by a computer. Information (data) is exchanged between the radios and the computer on a control channel, sometimes called a data channel. It sounds like a strong buzz.
A large system can have up to 28 freqs., 4 of which may be used as control channels. The control channel may be changed once a day or as often as the programmer decides. Some scanners need only the control channels to track the entire system. In that case just enter only the control channels.

After the frequencies are entered, the banks become scan lists or sub-banks that hold the Talk Groups or IDs.

Each group of users (Fire, Police, etc.) is assigned TALK GROUPS. In a Motorola Type II system, the most common type, TGs are usually in 32 number steps starting with 16 and going up to 65536; 16, 48, 80 --- 4656, 4688, 4720 --- 28944, 28976, etc. System radios can have more than 100 TGs programmed into them.

When a user pushes the talk button on his radio, data is sent to the computer. The computer chooses an unused freq. and sends that data to all the radios using the TG of the originating unit. This all happens in a fraction of a second and it happens EVERY time a radio is used.

Fire Dispatch calling Engine 4 (TG 4528 on 856.7125)
Engine 4 answering Dispatch (TG 4528 on 867.2625)
Respond to 73 Elm Street (TG 4528 on 855.9625)
Engine 4 responding (TG 4528 on 858.4375)

If you have entered TG 4528 into your scanner, it will decode the control channel data and change your scanner freqs. to follow the conversation on TG 4528.

Some scanners have 2 modes, OPEN and CLOSED or SEARCH and SCAN.
OPEN or SEARCH receives all TGs using the system.
CLOSED or SCAN receives only the TGs YOU have put into the scan lists.

This should get you started, but you should read the manual carefully. You may need to read it several times.

The system you want has only 5 freqs, so just enter all of them.
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