Tri-Cities Scanner Frequencies
November 2009 Newsletter

Listen to the live scanner at

  • Washington County, TN Digital
  • Weather Radio Drawing II (date announced)
  • Mountain Topping
  • Antennas in the Trees
  • in the boonies


Well since the last newsletter, we've found a lot of new frequencies...
Here's a sample of what's new....








Rhea County, TN FD's




Wythe Co, VA EMS




KY Forestry North Eastern Districts




KY Forestry Eastern Districts




Carroll Co, VA EMS




Mingo Co, WV FD's




Wayne County, WV Sheriff




Johnson Co KY Sheriff




Brevard PD NC CH1




Jackson Co, TN FD's




Monroe Co, TN Sheriff




Greene Co, TN EMS/FD's Repeaters




Leslie KY Public Safety




Wolfe County, KY Sheriff




Bledsoe Co, TN EMS




Wythe Co, VA EMS Rural Retreat Area




Jackson, KY Public Safety




Elizabethton, TN PD Mobiles




KY Air to Ground Medias Statewide




TEMA Holston Mtn Repeater




WV Dept Forestry District 4




Federal Interagency Mutual Aid




AEP - Clinch River Plant - Carbo, VA




Scott Co, VA Schools Clinch Mtn Repeater




Johnson City Housing Auth Repeater




EQT Production Co (Mining) Wise / Dickenson Co




TN State Prison - Mountain City Portables




TN State Prison - Mountain City Portables

That's just a few... check out the Radio Phonebook (Link at the end of newsletter)

Washington County, TN Digital System

In September we reported on some of the new equipment.
See the
October Newsletter for additional frequency info as well.

  • Operational Timeframe

The initial launch of the system was in November; however it appears the official "day 1" will
be December 1st. Our sources indicate the new system is being tested with dispatchers
training alongside the new and legacy system, of which is still being used for the time being.

  • New Frequencies Licensed (10/27/2009)





















These Frequencies are the new license allocated by the FCC, they are listed as digital P25 format. We reported last month that some of the old frequencies are being used with the system. These frequencies are also licensed to be operated in an analog configuration as well. As of right now it appears the system will encompass two separate
licenses until all the users can be migrated off the legacy system.

  • License Pops up for 700~800 MHz band








These Frequencies licensed to Johnson City, TN are listed as narrowband P25.
You'll need a digital capable scanner to listen in, they have a control point listed at the
dispatch center and have a designation as "temporary". The 770 ones are listed as Repeaters.
We're suspecting these will be used for emergencies or other tactical uses such as events.

  • 3 New Repeaters at Freedom Hall water tower


- Repeater Input and Mobile


- Repeater Input and Mobile


- Repeater Input and Mobile


- Repeater Output


- Repeater Output


- Repeater Output

These Frequencies were recently licensed as clear FM, so you'll be able to monitor these with
older scanners. Remember your best opportunity to hear traffic is from the repeater outputs. The users of
these new repeaters or when they will become operational remains a mystery for now.

  • Washington County Detention Center (Jail)


New WCDC Frequency



Old WCDC Frequency / WCSO

The WCDC has been allocated a new frequency; the old 155.250 frequency will reportedly be used as a backup for the Washington County, TN Sheriff's Office. The 155.250 was previously licensed with a control point at the
the old school bus garage.

Need More info on Digital Scanners?
Check out some of the digital capable scanners. - Equipment



Weather Radio

Sign up Now!
Click Here

Second Drawing: 12/01/2009

Congratulations to
Dan from
Cedar Bluff !
(first drawing)

Remaining entries with the exception
of the 10-01-2009 winner will be
drawn December 1st.
In an effort to get more
people to the site, we're
giving away 1 additional
brand new weather alert
radio. Be sure to click the
link above and sign up!
Complete details and contest
rules at the link above.

Specifications at Radio


Mobile Scanning from the Mountains

Having the right gear at the right place at the right time is crucial to picking up the most traffic with
your receiving equipment, whether its a simple scanner or a complex and expensive communications receiver. This month well highlight mobile scanning as I like to refer to as "mountain topping", its a practice honed by Amateur Radio Operators and basically anyone involved in communications. Around here, famous locations like Roan Mountain, Brumley Mountain, High Knob, and Whitetop are well known to the radio community and cherished as some of the best places to radio from in the region. Every year Amateur Radio operators involved in "contesting" operations frequent Whitetop, achieving long distance VHF and UHF contacts in excess of hundreds of miles.

There’s a few different methods, the accessibility provided by paved highways, and National Forest access roads make radioing from the vehicle a easy and comfortable approach all season long. In this fashion the radio operator usually just drives to the spot and uses the gear already installed in their vehicle. Limitations with antennas can sometimes "coax" you out of the vehicle to assemble a portable mast and antenna. Height is not always the critical issue, for line of sight communications just having a clear view of the horizon will suffice equivalent results in the VHF and UHF ranges.

Sometimes the best place is off the beaten path; in these cases it’s up to you to carry the gear to a suitable place. Packing your gear on foot can be quite demanding when energy sources, (i.e. batteries) can weigh anywhere from ten pounds to well over a hundred. Using National Forest lands and parks limits ATV's and Off-Roading is usually out of the question. Some amateur radio operators have crafted ingenious gadgets to carry heavy batteries while others that are truly devoted have forked out hundreds to thousands for lithium ion technology cells. Some of the simplest tools to truck heavy batteries is a dolly modified with tires suited for the terrain. Keep it simple and you're guaranteed to have fun.

In our case, we're only listening. This means our power consumption will be far less than that of ham's and Cb'ers alike. We usually carry a six pound lead acid battery, there a common replacement to uninterruptable power supplies and suited well for mobile type scanner gear. For the more adventurous or long term stay we use electric wheelchair batteries ranging from twenty to fifty pounds. A good backpack with a supplied or retrofitted frame is a must. Remember it doesn’t take big radios to get results; a simple handheld on Grandfather mountain will keep you entertained for as long as you can stand the elements.

Now on to my favorite part, the antenna. For expeditions where antenna height is a must, we literally "hang" our antennas from the trees. Trees can block signal just like a building, so picking the right spot is a must. There's a couple different methods; I'll explain the following in a more technical approach for our more serious scanner enthusiasts. I'll highlight the methods first then give some pointers from experience.

Suspended Antenna Methods (Vertically polarized ground plane)

Two Part - Suspended
If you're dealing with smaller branches or shorter trees in general, a two part suspended system is recommended. This works great with wild cherries.

1. Start by assessing your location, are there power lines? Can the thrown line (weight) hit objects or cross property lines? Will I be able to safely retrieve the line later? Safety is a must. Never attempt any of the following during inclement weather, and even twine made from nonconductive material can be deadly given many situations. Common sense goes a long way.


2. Locate two trees of similar height, begin in the middle between the two and throw your line across the first tree. Keep your line continuous and let out enough slack to turn around and throw it over the tree behind you.


3. Once you have the line suspended between the two trees you can pull the slack on each end and hoist the antenna up in the middle, attach the antenna with a knot or attachment to the bight in the line. Keep pulling the line till taught enough to move down the tree, the smaller limbs will give some and it may slip a bit before finding a secure spot.

Its sometimes impossible to get the middle of the line back down without disassembling everything, This is especially important if you plan to remove the antenna and leave the string for later use. It's recommended to attach a weight to the line near the center point. Also if the heights are different at either end your line will slide down to the lowest part. This will place the antenna near the tree and affect performance. Tie a small loop in the middle; you can attach the antenna there. Due to the multiple small braches your lines may sang upon retrieval, when disassembling pull only a clean line back through the branches. Its a good idea to tie knots for the weight and antenna attachment that can be easily removed.

Finally, we need to revisit physics and remember that the antenna will become statically charged with increasing potential as it becomes further in the clear. If you remain close to the trees you shouldn’t have any issues, however if there’s a great distance between trees and there’s a lot of height, the twine will only dissipate so much of nature's electrical energy. This is a extreme issue with antennas suspended by kite or balloons, wind or precipitation quantify this phenomena. Don't be surprised if see a spark or two when operating at night. A situation with a couple hundred feet of line in the open, elevated the same amount will give a nasty shock. Not to mention the damage it can do to your radio. Experimentation is fun, except when you only have a few hours to radio.

Simple Hoist
The most simple and easiest to assemble, suited best for large branch trees such as oaks and pines.

1. Locate a tree that has an open branch, safety is critical here again as dead limbs can be easily freed to become deadly "widow makers". Never pull straight down, distance yourself and your vehicle out from under the tree. Keep in mind that a direct hit to the tree or branch will send the weight back in your direction.




2. Throw your weighted line over a branch, remove the weight and attach the antenna, pull it back up.. Simple

Remember, if there’s a chance of a snag remove your weight and pull only a clean knotless line back and try again. Unlike a suspended approach, there’s only one way for the line to be pulled from and little options in the event of a snag. Hoist the antenna only within a few feet of the branch, overkill on the height is not as issue as you can adjust the height to your coax cable's limitations.

Sloper or Line assisted
This method works great alongside very tall structures or to augment a simple hoist to distance the antenna away from the tree or structure. These can be erected anywhere, including the eave of your house or similar structure.

1. Start with the same setup as a simple hoist, pull down some slack and tie a attachment loop in the middle of the line.

2. Attach your antenna and pull the slack out on a 45 degree angle to the ground or another attachment point.

3. Pull the slack from the tall structure side back up secure.


4. A line may be attached to the bottom of your antenna with the same results repeated using the hoist method..

It's never a good idea to use your coax as a guide or means of securing the antenna, the cable is made with internal layers that can under stress can and will cause damage to the cable and connectors. Reinforcing the cable to connector with electrical tape can be time consuming and messy (sticky) during disassembly, making an attachment loop that can be coupled to the antenna with a flexible heavy duty rubber band or similar material is a more time efficient choice.


1. Braided Mason Line
2. Electrical Tape
3. Leather Work Gloves
4. Lead or Equivalent Weights
5. Knife or Scissors
6. Smooth faced pliers
7. Carbiners
8. Nylon or Velcro Zip Ties
9. Stranded Mason Line
10. Flagging Tape or bright material
11. Safety Glasses
12. Logging Hard Hat (optional)
13. Something to carry your gear in
14. Lighter (for string ends)

Loop-Free Weight
Trial and error leads to ingenuity, for starters the weights that are used to launch the gear.
Throwing a normal bank fishing sinker with the mason line attached will usually result in the line looping around the target branch several times. The solution is to create a semi-flexible tail that leaves the weight for 6 to 8 inches. A longer nylon zip tie taped to the weights and along the trailing line works wonders. A small section of medical tubing in the same configuration will work as well. Build the tape up around the weight(s) to make a contoured shape that would be less likely to hang between the bight of a limb or branch and the larger part of the tree. If a dead limb has splintered, immediately let the weight fall with slack and pull clean knotless line back up, the harder you pull the tighter and further up the splinter the line will go.

Braided or Strainded

Braided mason line is the strongest and holds knots better than stranded. Remember that 150 lb test takes about double that to break when you want it to and half that when you don’t need it to. Keep the line small and its easier to throw but more likely to break if snagged on a small limb. Mason line in general doesn’t hold simple knots, you'll need to tie a more complex knot or the knot will come undone. Line rated with elasticity will sag, but can be drawn very tight, The increased pressure can cause damage to trees so its generally not recommended. Tying a weaker piece of stranded just behind the weight can serve as a fail safe should the weight become lodged high in a tree, the weight will usually fall free once broken at the weaker line.

Safety Gear

We recommend the use of safety glasses and even a hard hat if you have one. Funny as it may seem a 35 lb limb falling 50 feet can be lethal, and a 10 ounce weight just about the size of your eye can be pretty nasty. Gloves or pliers are a good idea when pulling the line or breaking a snag, throwing with gloves on may take some getting used to however. Keep your fingers free of the line if you have a snag, a dislodged tree limb will take your finger for a ride if the strings attached.

As mentioned already, a knotless, clean string is the key to retrieval and successful deployment. Tie simple loops that can be pulled free when the center attachment, carbiner, or antenna attachment, is removed. For those familiar with knots a figure eight is a good choice but slightly difficult to untie due to the small diameter line. If a knot cannot be avoided, cover the knot with a few turns of tape to smooth out the contour. A swivel attachment is handy if you intend to leave a permanent loop at the base of the weight. Remember to secure the swivel to the nylon tie tail with some tubing or tape or you will defeat the anti-loop principal. A swivel attachment will also usually serve as a failsafe just like the weaker string for mentioned, breaking before the twine in a snag.

A modified cow hitch works great and is a breeze to untie; it completely comes undone when removed from the attachment. It’s a bit more secure than a simple cow hitch because the extra loop adds friction to the knot.


1. Start with a loop in the bight of the line.

2. Fold the loop back over the top.


3. Insert your thumb and first finger in the two loops created by step 2, close your fingers and pull to create the cow hitch.

4. Increase the size of the loop, elongate, and flip the top half of the loop 180 degrees


5. Fold the loop back under and insert your attachment or carbiner through the middle, pull both lines simultaneously, until taught.


In order for a vertically polarized antenna to work it needs a ground plane. Basically any magnet mount antenna can be easily retrofitted to serve this purpose with some wire, screws or bolts/nuts, and crimp on connectors. For basic mag-mount antennas the magnet material is usually glued to the underside of a metal cap of which the whip part of the antenna is attached. Luckily for us the first piece of these to fail is usually the glue, magnet less the cap is much easier to drill 3 or 4 holes in the top section of the cap. Be careful not to drill into the coaxial cable. You can route the coax down vertically to the ground by cutting a piece of rectangular wood the same inside dimension of the cap. Drill a large hole in the middle and loop the cable back down from the outside and through the hole. The wooden insert should be snug enough if not undersized, a dab or two of glue till keep it in place. This will serve as a stress relief to prevent the shield attachment from coming loose.

Attach the stake on's (crimp connectors) to the 3 or 4 pieces of wire, attach to the top of the cap and angle the wires down on a 45 degree angle. The lengths of the ground plane radials can be calculated with this equation.
They should match the length of the whip.

234 / Frequency in MHz = Length in Feet for a Quarter Wave
468 / Frequency in MHz = Length in Feet for a Half Wave

If the steel whip has a ball at the top be sure its tight, and make sure the set screw at the base is tightened as well.

A Very Simple Ground plane made from an old quarter-wave antenna.

That's all on the subject for now; hopefully this is enough to get you started on tree antennas.
Be safe and have fun, feel free to send comments or suggestions.


Mobile Internet

Having access to the internet at all of the "mountain top" places mentioned is a must. Not only can you listen to an online scanner but you can access the research page to lookup and confirm frequencies as you hear them.
For Ham's it gives them the ability to look up callsigns and grid squares, weather information for spotters, maps and aerial photographs for search and rescue, address and patient information for emergency responders....the list goes on.

Start with your choice of cellular connection card, add a propriety connector / adapter (when applicable) and top it off with a high performance antenna. We use an Antenex Phantom Elite model that features patented Field Diversity™ technology, which almost completely eliminates the variances in signal while mobile. This new technology is commonly used by AEP for use with their 800 MHz EDACS radio system.


This NMO base model can be permanently mounted or used with a magnet mount base. The magnet mount base lets you position the antenna almost anywhere to get the best reception, being well outside normal voice cell service this fringe reception it's the next best thing to satellite communications.
These types antennas do require a ground plane and will not work unless atop a metallic surface.

Since this type of antenna supports multiple cellular radio bands, high speed or commonly referred EVDO service is an option where service coverage permits.

Online Media Section Updated

We have started migrating some of the older .wav files to a hosted solution, it's still free to use and ad free. This has alleviated some issues with have experienced with our bandwidth quota and made a user friendly interface that’s compatible with more than less browsers. We have hosted some controversial (to some) radio traffic recently that has drawn an overwhelming response. Thank you for all the support and emails. If something notable happens, shoot me an email and ill condense the recording down to the good stuff and make it available online.

Check out the media section HERE







Need the Professional Version of local frequencies?

Download the Radio Phonebook (Updated 11/19/2009)

Stats / Last Months Stats

Frequencies:1411 up from 1340
Unit Numbers:2928 up from 2894

General Area Covered







Here's what we're working on...

Local Business Radios
Field Gear Pictures
Homemade Antennas
New Trunked Systems
Washington County TN
Pager effects Pt2

Follow me!
That's it for now, Happy Scanning!

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