Here's some info

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Posted by Ballpark Frank ( on 11:30:14 05/23/17

In Reply to: Radio frequencies posted by Paul


I have so many lists of radio frequencies in and around Yellowstone, it is shameful (a testament to my need to "cull the herd"). I'm only aware of it because I just did a major purge of files and other paper records in preparation for my upcoming relocation back to Bozeman. Unfortunately, all those records are now packed away in one of a number of boxes from my office. Overall, not a problem, because Lightning Leo is coming to the rescue. The linked website is a treasure trove of radio frequencies for county's throughout Wyoming. There is a separate clickable button for "Yellowstone".

Here's the assortment of good and bad news:
1.) Lightning Leo's list has not been updated since 2008.
2.) Radio frequency change/turnover is fairly uncommon, particularly with federal agencies.
3.) With the implementation of Project 25 narrowbanding rules several years ago, and the many years of prep leading up to mandatory compliance, there were some significant changes, including in federal agencies. In Yellowstone, many of your tax dollars were expended to create a number of new digital repeaters on various mountaintops around the park. Most of them are small footprint, in remote places, and hard to see/find. We stumbled on one of them about 10 years ago. It is powered by solar panels, and if you know where to look, you can see it at certain times of the day, when the sun reflects off the solar panels.
4.) The following info is only current as of 5 or 6 years ago, although I suspect most of it is still accurate. Law enforcement took advantage of the opportunity to implement encryption via their spiffy new digital radios, particularly for certain channels. This made perfect sense, from a law enforcement perspective. It prevents bad guys from listening in and gaining intelligence that could be used to commit crime or evade capture. It also complicates matters for the news media and other snoops, like us. (This is going on all over the country, particularly in urban areas. They went to encryption in Anchorage a couple years ago, and the news media had a fit.) The good news is that not all radio channels are carrying encrypted traffic. I suspect that NPS divisions like Interpretation and Maintenance are probably using traditional analog technology, but they are not real busy (or exciting) frequencies. I know that some of the dispatch traffic was not encrypted as of 2012, when last I was using my scanner in the park.
5.) One consequence of the migration to narrowband channels with more repeaters is that you can't pick up the signals very well if you are more than a few miles from a transmission source. I played with using a much improved add-on antenna for my scanner, and it hardly improved the reception. From my perspective, it heralded the "end of an era". Gone are the days when I could monitor virtually all the NPS channels in Yellowstone, and stay on top of auto accidents, bear jams, crime incidents, drunk drivers, etc.


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