Important Information, Especially for Android Users

We get a lot of complaints from users with Android devices that have trouble listening to the feed…. or so they think!

After tapping Play, if the control symbol on your screen changes from Play to Pause, your device has connected to our server and is successfully streaming the live feed! If the control symbol does not change after tapping Play, your device is not connected to our server and is not playing the feed.

If you are using an Android device, you may also see a counter which will remain at 0:00 (see picture of example below under Question 11). No worries, the feed is playing! This is how the timer is designed in the Android Operating System for audio streams. Apple iOS devices will not have a counter, but will show “Live Broadcast” instead.

Most importantly, patience! If you don’t hear anything at first, please be patient and let the feed play for about 30 minutes to an hour, as there is not always traffic taking place over the radio at the time you may start listening. With a little time and patience, before you know it, you should be hearing activity!

Frequently Asked Questions
These are frequently asked questions that are asked by the listeners of our feed.

Are you still having problems listening to this feed or have a question that is not answered on this page? If you have any questions, problems, or would like to give us your feedback and suggestions about this live feed, feel free to email us at mitchell (at) mitchellalerts.com.

Q1: Is registration required to listen?
A: No. Registration is not optional or required to listen to this feed. You will not have to provide your personal information or an e-mail address in order to listen to this feed.

Q2: Will my personal information be made available to others if I listen to this feed?
A: No. We do not collect, disclose, or make available any information about listeners of this feed with anyone.

Q3: Exactly how “live” is this live feed?
A: While this feed is advertised as a “live feed”, it does take some time for the software on our server to encode and prepare the audio for distribution to listeners, and it takes some time for your device to download the stream from our server and decode the feed. As a result, there is a 15 seconds to one minute delay from the time our radio receives the transmission until the time you actually hear it.

Q4: Is it possible to bookmark this feed for easy access?
A: Of course! Simply add this page to your Bookmarks or Favorites list, or add http://listen.mitchellalerts.com/ to your Bookmarks or Favorites list.

Q5: Can I share this feed with my family and friends?
A: Absolutely!

Q6: Do I have to pay a fee to listen to this feed?
A: This feed is a free service offered by Mitchell County Alerts, however, data usage rates may apply. You should consult with your carrier or service provider to find out exactly how these rates will apply when listening to this feed and how you will be billed for streaming the feed.

Q7: How much bandwidth is required to listen to this feed?
A: In order to listen to this feed, a continuous Internet connection must be established during the entirety of your streaming session. This feed uses around 36 kilobits of bandwidth per second, or 4.5 kilobytes per second. You should be able to listen to this feed on dial-up or 3G! A high-speed broadband or LTE connection is recommended for optimal performance.

Q8: I’m afraid that streaming will use up all of my data allowance! How much data will listening to this feed use?
A: In one minute, streaming this feed will use approximately 2.1 megabytes of bandwidth. In one hour, streaming this feed will use approximately 126.56 megabytes. If you stream this feed continuously without interruption for 30 days, you will use approximately 3,796.875 megabytes, or 3.7 gigabytes of data. While streaming is very much possible over a cellular connection, it is strongly recommended that you stream this feed over an Internet connection with an unlimited data plan, or a connection where data usage is unmetered, such as Cable or DSL Internet connections. If your only available option is to stream this feed over a cellular connection, you should do so very conservatively so that you do not put yourself at risk of any data overage fees.

Q9: Is there any special software or configuration required to listen to this feed?
A: No! You should not need to install any special software on your computer, phone, or tablet or make any special configurations to your computer, phone or tablet in order to listen to this feed. It is compatible with all popular multimedia applications that come pre-loaded on computers and pre-installed with most popular Operating Systems, including Windows Media Player on Microsoft Windows, iTunes on Mac OSX, and VLC on Linux. This stream should also work with most smartphones and tablets, including Android-based devices such as Droid and Galaxy as well as Apple iOS-based devices such as iPad and iPhone.

Q10: Sometimes I have trouble getting the feed to open. What’s wrong?
A: During peak times, it is possible that you may not be able to listen to this feed. You may see messages such as “Buffering” or “A problem occurred while trying to open the stream”. While we have enough bandwidth available to serve around 50 simultaneous listeners at any given time, situations out of our control may arise where the actual bandwidth made available to us may be less than enough to serve all of our listeners. This may occur when our Internet Service Provider (ISP) has a lot of traffic from other users, or they are performing maintenance on their network. There may be other instances where our system may be offline, such as for the purpose of maintenance, during a power outage, or our connection is being used for other high traffic applications, and during that time the feed will appear completely silent or be completely inaccessible.

Q11: When I open the feed on my Android-based or Apple iOS-based smartphone or tablet, I’m unable to hear anything. How can I be sure that I properly opened the feed and that it’s actually streaming?
A: Many Android and Apple iOS users report that that they are unsure of whether or not their device is properly streaming the feed because there is no on-screen indicator of activity and all they hear is silence, leading them to believe that it isn’t working for them. In most cases, the reason they hear silence is because there actually isn’t anyone talking!

On Android and Apple devices, when you start streaming the feed, you should see a screen similar to this. If this is the screen you see, then your device is properly streaming the feed. Please note on Android devices, you may actually see a counter that does not increment. This is normal! As long as you see a Pause symbol rather than a Play symbol, your device is streaming the feed. Be patient, you should hear some activity soon!
Android Play

Q12: Can I get into legal trouble for listening to this feed?
A: Federal and North Carolina State Law is clear about intercepting public service communications. As long as public safety communications are transmitted in the clear and are not encrypted, regardless of the frequency, modulation, or radio medium (with the exception of transmissions within the cellular phone band), citizens may legally intercept them in most circumstances. It is possible that our radio may intercept encrypted transmissions from time-to-time, but the encrypted transmissions that our radio intercepts WILL NOT be descrambled, and as a result it WILL NOT be possible for you to be able to listen to them through this feed. Please note that while listening to this feed is legal in Mitchell County and the State of North Carolina, laws vary from local jurisdictions and from state-to-state which could make listening to public service communications, including this feed, illegal, especially during certain circumstances such as during the commission of a crime or when in operation of a motor vehicle. It is your sole responsibility to consult with an attorney in your local area to ensure your intended use of this feed is in full compliance of all local ordinances, federal, and state laws and regulations pertaining to your area prior to listening to this feed in your city, town, county, parish, commonwealth, or state.

Q13: What agencies or departments can I hear through this feed?
A: The main purpose of this feed is to allow people to listen to agencies and departments that primarily serve Mitchell County that exclusively use the North Carolina VIPER radio system. Despite its intentions, from time-to-time, it will be possible that you may also hear traffic from other county and state agencies through this feed, including traffic from Statewide Multi-Agency Interoperability operations. Other counties that you may hear through this feed include Avery, Burke, Madison, McDowell, and Yancey County. State Agencies you may hear through this feed include Alcohol Law Enforcement (ALE), Department of Public Safety (DPS), Forestry Service (NCFS), State Bureau of Investigation (SBI), State Highway Patrol (SHP), and Wildlife Resource Commission (WRC). You may even hear traffic from Federal Agencies such as the Drug Enforcement Agency, US Forest Service, and the US Marshals Service through this feed. Our radio primarily monitors transmissions which are broadcast from towers on Locust Knob and Woody’s Knob, so all it takes is one radio from a particular agency to be actively affiliated with the tower and monitoring for our radio to be able to pick up their traffic. If an agency does not have a radio affiliated with one of these towers, it will not be possible for our radio to pick them up, and you will not be able to listen to them through the feed.

Q14: This sounds like a lot to monitor! Is there a way to distinguish which specific agency I am listening to?
A: This sure is a lot for one little radio to monitor! To make it easier for the listeners of this feed to distinguish which agency a transmission belongs to, our radio has been programmed to broadcast a “tone” with every transmission for the popular agencies through the feed. For example, Mitchell County Law agencies will have a tone assigned to their transmissions that will be included in the feed, Mitchell County Fire and EMS has a different tone assigned to their transmissions that will be included in the feed. Avery County and Yancey County will each have its own tone that will be included in the feed. Statewide interoperability transmissions will have its own tone. Each state agency will also have its own tone. Transmissions directed towards agencies that have not been programmed into our radio will not have any tone.