Not really part of ham radio on it's own - but many hams are also Scanner Enthusiasts.
The steady stream of agencies switching to WyoLink has slowed to a trickle. That may sound like a good thing to those who don't want to invest in a dedicated scanner, but only on the surface. The slowdown is due to almost all agencies already being switched over. There are still a few holdouts, but they are becoming very endangered. Most of the frequencies that a typical VHF ham radio can listen to are business dedicated. Essentially, there is no public service activity dedicated to analog radios anymore. The below frequencies are used sporadically. They are worth programming into your radio, but don't expect to be "in the know" any longer.
The good news is that there are scanners available to the public which are able to receive WyoLink. The majority of WyoLink is non encrypted and very easy to receive. All law enforcement in Natrona county is encrypted, but there is still plenty to listen to.
Since this is a ham radio website, I'm not going to go into the intricacies of WyoLink or trunking in general. There are plenty of websites with more than enough information. The site widely considered the best is www.radioreference.com
A lot of folks have been asking about using a ham radio to receive the few remaining analog frequencies. Fortunately, even with an old wideband radio, you can listen to narrowband traffic. It may sound muffled or have a sharp metallic sound to it, but that is the worst of it. And due to channels being closer together than before, you may notice nearby channel interference from adjacent users.
It should also be pointed out that SOME modern VHF/UHF ham radios are capable of narrowband operation.
- 155.745 - This is the former Natrona county fire dispatch. And as of now, only 3 departments (Airport, Barnunn, Mountain Fire) in the county receive their pages over this frequency. Everybody else is on a private 900mhz paging system. Other users of this frequency have been the county road and bridge, but they have switched to WyoLink primarily as well. For now, scanner listeners can still listen to all 911 callouts in the county, but not much else on this frequency. It remains a backup frequency for wildland fire season and sees occasional use when responders have to go around the East end of the mountain where the 800 system has limited coverage. Though, due to interfacing the Casper 800 system into the VHF WyoLink, the dead areas in Natrona county are almost entirely gone. *UPDATE 3-18-2015- It appears that County Fire is functional once again. The dedicated copper lines traveling from dispatch to the mountain site are old and fragile. I would expect these outages to continue randomly.
- 155.295 - This is the secondary frequency used for Wyoming Lifeflight based in Casper. You will still hear patient reports from time to time, as well as outlying agency ambulances and helicopters requesting use of the WMC facility. Now that Wyoming LifeFlight has been sold to a private entity, they have made the transition to WyoLink for 99% of their radio traffic. The amount of radio traffic on this frequency has decreased rapidly but has not ceased entirely.
- 155.520- This is the Carbon County dispatch frequency out of Rawlins. It is used for all of the Sheriff and ambulance communications. It is a 3 repeater system with the outputs all being the same. You will occasionally hear ONLY the dispatch if they are using a distant repeater. All medical calls are dispatched on this same system. You will hear a long audio tone followed by a description of the call. The tone sets off the paramedic's voice pagers. They will then check in route on the same frequency. This can be heard in Casper but will require a substantial antenna. Carbon county is still using this as their primary repeater. Due to some budget problems, they have stuck with the "old reliable" for now. My understanding is that they are worried about coverage issues and may NEVER transition to WyoLink.*UPDATE 4-14-16 Despite my above assurances, the CCSO is operating intermittently on WyoLink. This seems to be most common on weekends. The ambulance seems to use the analog system exclusively still.
- 154.430- An interesting frequency INDEED!!! A look on the FCC database will show this frequency belonging to Natrona county. It is officially designated as a tactical channel for wildland fires (called "fire tac"). There is almost NO traffic on it anywhere in Natrona county unless there is a very large fire. It comes into play out of Johnson county. It is the primary dispatch for Johnson medical and fire services in Kaycee, and their main communications repeater. This is easily heard in Casper with even a modest external antenna and will allow you to hear the goings on in the county. Really revs up when a winter storm hits. To date, Johnson county agencies have taken no steps toward WyoLink migration. The majority of radio equipment in the county is not even capable of digital operation. I would anticipate the county using analog systems for many years to come.
- 152.465- Hartz E&F wrecking. I don't know a lot about this system. They are certainly repeated and it must be high level due to the coverage. This can EASILY be heard in Casper with an HT and small antenna. Not a lot of traffic but it does occasionally have some information with substance. Weekend nights when they get called by police are the most interesting.
- 155.775- This is the elusive frequency for the Casper Event Center. While all other city entities are using the digital trunked system, CEC has poor coverage in the depths of the building. They have stayed with the tried and true. It is analog simplex, so quite often you will hear only one side of the traffic being passed. This frequency is good during large concerts or other events. The most common callsigns heard are,
- Back Gate, which is a truck parked where the staff and band enter the parking lot. Since this is a vehicle mounted radio, it is easier to hear.
- Back Door, the far East entrance to the events center. This is where the band and staff enter and is the focal point for security operations.
- 110, medical unit
- 118, Aerial rigging/lights manager
- Security, For example you may hear "South Concourse security". This would indicate any security personnel assigned to the South concourse. Security can often be assigned to gate/admissions, concourse, floor, backstage, balcony,etc.
- 160.770- BNSF railroad. This frequency handles all of the north bound traffic into and out of Casper yard. You will hear very basic coordination information as well as some limited law enforcement traffic. I believe that this frequency is simplex, but I am able to hear trains many many miles out of town. Listen close as they talk FAST.
- 161.160- BNSF railroad. Southern traffic into and out of Casper. Same description as the above frequency.
- 161.250- BNSF railroad, Casper yard operations. This is a simplex frequency used around the Casper area. You will hear lots of traffic as they couple and un-couple cars, throw switches, etc. Most of the traffic is limited to portable radios, so coverage is spotty in town unless you have a large antenna.
- 118.3 - The main approach and control frequency for the airport. Of course it is AM but it is still pretty active from time to time.
- 126.150 - The automated flight control. Just a recording that constantly streams traffic to the pilots. Cannot be in a scan list as it literally never stops transmitting.
Casper Digital System - scannable?
Many Casper area Public Service departments are now using an 800Mhz digital system. See this article on Project 25 for background. However, Law Enforcement, and others, are also encrypted. Radios/scanners are on the market that will allow you to listen to 800mhz digital systems. But, to date, we know of no way to decrypt transmissions in real time.
NOTE: Attempts to defeat or "break" any 'over the air' encryption could be a violation of the DMCA and subject to prosecution.
State web site
WyoLink is a statewide digital trunked VHF P-25 compliant public safety communications system designed to coordinate and integrate communications between state, local, and federal public safety agencies.
The state of Wyoming provides a service that publishes system status information via email. By subscribing to this service, you can receive near real time updates on outages, planned maintenance and other events affecting the WyoLink system.
For some technical information, see the pages here (note: that site is not affiliated with WyoLink or CARC.)
Here's an old list (late 1990s) of VHF frequencies of interest in the Casper area.
- At the time this list was made, frequencies indicated with an asterisk (*) were known active.
Winter Driving Information
The frequency listed in the following link is no longer in use. All TMC (Traffic management center) traffic comes out of Cheyenne and is now handled on WyoLink. HOWEVER, they still use the road condition grading chart listed below.