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TIP: What frequency does (blank) use?

Posted: 12 Sep 2020 05:40
by W1KNE
So probably the most commonly asked question we get on this site and other scanner sites, is "what frequency does (blank) use?". For instance, "what frequency does Old Sturbridge Village use in Sturbridge?"

There are many ways to find your answer, but it requires an answer to a good question. Yes a second question. "Has the frequency already been identified?"
If the answer is yes, then you'll find your answer easily.
If the answer is no, then it will give you more work, but in the end you will be able to help us out!

So the first place you go to find your answer is the obvious one. Our Scan New England Wiki. . Our comprehensive database of scanner information that is 100% done by volunteer input. It includes detailed information about more complex systems, in an easy to view, and understand layout. It also includes date information so you can see how recently we identified the information in it. You can search the wiki for town names or department names, or browse to where you want to go. It's pretty logically laid out.

If it isn't in the wiki, then the next place to check is at Radio Reference. https://www.radioreference.com

If you strike out on both of those, then things will get a little more complicated. Sometimes frequencies don't end up in either database but do end up in our logbook.

And then sometimes, frequencies just haven't been found out at all. We provided information in another thread to search for the FCC license. See the thread here.

A couple of notes to know:

* Sometimes businesses will lease radios through a third party vendor. You won't find their radio frequencies by searching for their name. This requires more knowledge of who their vendor is, and/or what radios they use.
Often times, a simple close call hit will help ID this. Also third party vendors often use trunking systems and the radio use in question is a talkgroup on the system. In either case, the licensee will often be the vendor's name and not the user's.
Running your radio in PL search can sometimes help.

* You may find a frequency here, or there, and program it in, but hear nothing. There are often several reasons for this.
They upgraded and are operating on a new frequency, or simply with a new PL tone. Or the upgrade changed from analog to a digital radio format. They may have abandoned traditional radios for cellular or ISM type radios. And sometimes, agencies just don't use the radios often.

Your very last resort will be to post here to ask, and someone should be able to help you.

Now let's go through the sample I set above.
"What is the frequency used by Old Sturbridge Village".
Step by Step.
1) Go to the world famous Wiki.
2) Either click on the SEARCH button on the left, and enter a search. -OR-
2a) Click on Statewide Portal.
Now what would Sturbridge Village be? Probably a recreation type location. (The term recreation is loosely defined here, it's really any location you'd visit on leisure for a leisurely activity).
3) Click on Recreational Facilities.
4) Click on "Expand" next to the Table of Contents. You'll see it listed there.
5) You will see the listing:
464.3750 R D205 Operations 2019.12.23 W1KNE
This tells you the frequency, type, PL tone (in this case a DPL or DCS tone), what it's used for, and that it was confirmed in December of last year.

There you go.

Now you will see under the listing two other frequencies listed. 468.7375, which is a mobile only frequency. The use was never IDed and the tone isn't there. If you feel like searching, this is one to put in your scanner too. But know you may hear someone else on it, so be careful to that before "IDing". The last frequency, 462.7750 is Visplex paging and not worth programming in.