Friday, April 12, 2019

US Miltary P25 Low Band Report

I have reported several sources indicating that they have heard some P-25 digital modes in to 30 - 88 MHz VHF low band that were assumed to be military. Some were with confirmed P-25 Network Access Codes (NAC), but I have recently heard a report of actual military activity using P25 digital.

From somewhere in Wisconsin:

40.4000 MHz, P25 NAC F7E - Military aircraft (helicopters) in the clear, base side encrypted

Some have asked how this can be, as none of the major equipment manufacturers make VHF low-band P-25 radios, at least not for civilian use. 

The major players in the military communications market (Harris, Thales, Motorola) all offer wide band, multi-mode radios that can be used in nearly any mode on any frequency. P-25 is an optional mode for these radios. 

It's still not known for sure if this is an intentional move to use P25 in the VHF low band, or just accidental programming of a particular channel. 


Saturday, April 06, 2019

More DEA VHF Transition



Some new VHF frequencies likely being used by the DEA have been heard active in the San Francisco Bay Area in California. Here are the confirmed frequencies:

172.2125, N156
173.1625, N156
173.4750, N156 
173.9250, N156

The old UHF DEA frequencies have been pretty quiet in the Bay Area for some time, and one source even mentioned seeing the old DEA UHF repeaters being removed from service.


New Federal UHF Trunked System in Austin, TX

A new UHF P25 trunked system in the UHF band has been reported in the Austin, Texas area. Discussions on Radio Reference can be followed here:

https://forums.radioreference.com/threads/unknown-networked-federal-p25-system-in-the-austin-area.386659/#post-3105851

The system has been reporting this information so far:

WACN 0000A 
SysID 00A 
Site 005-005
Control channels   407.075 406.775 

neighboring site     001-001 408.625 
neighboring site     003-003 406.775

Unfortunately, the system ID of 00A is a "default" system ID that many Harris trunked systems start out with, and many do not change.


Saturday, March 23, 2019

Super Bowl 53 Wrap Up




Here are the listings of frequencies I logged during my two weeks of work in Atlanta at Super Bowl 53. While not all of the activity was directly related to the Super Bowl game, nearly everything in the area was affected by the event and the surrounding security operations. If I was able to confidently identify the users, I have provided that information:

122.9500         AM                  Local Atlanta air traffic advisories
123.0250         AM                  Local Atlanta helicopters and banner flights over MB Stadium
139.8750         173.8PL          Civil Air Patrol
141.1750         AM                  USAF Thunderbirds
149.2750         141.3PL          Civil Air Patrol

162.0125         N653  
162.2250         NB10  ICE
162.9250         NB11  ICE
162.9750         N653  
163.1000         N1B3
163.1125         N272   TSA VIPR Units
163.4750         N309
163.4750         N293   CBP AIR 9
163.5250         N299  
163.6750         N152   DHS ICE
163.7000         N169   DHS ICE NAT TAC 1
163.7875         N167   FBI
163.8125         N864   US Marshals Service
164.1875         N293  
164.4000         N001   USSS PAPA
164.6500         N001   USSS TANGO
164.7875         N001   TSA @ ATL  
165.2875         N650   BATFE
165.3625         N167   FBI
165.7250         N293  
166.4750         NB10  ICE
166.9750         N167   FBI
167.1625         N650   BATFE
167.2125         N167   FBI
167.2375         N167   FBI
167.3875         N167   FBI
167.4875         N167   FBI
167.5125         N167   FBI
167.5375         N167   FBI
167.5625         N167   FBI
167.6375         N167   FBI
167.6750         N293   US Marshals Federal Courthouse
167.7125         N167   FBI
167.7375         N167   FBI
168.1125         N68F   NTIA LE-4
168.3500         N1B3 
168.4625         N68F   NTIA LE-5
168.5875         N001   CBP VACIS Operation
168.6375         N864   US Marshals Service
168.7500         N167   FBI
168.8375         N001   TSA @ ATL
168.8375         N293   CBP AIR 1
168.9000         N293  
169.1625         N293   CBP AIR 4
169.3750         NB10  ICE
169.6625         N292   CBP VACIS Operation
169.7375         NB10  ICE
169.8125         N293   MLK Center Atlanta - security
169.9125         NB10  ICE
170.1000         NB10  ICE
170.4375         NB10  ICE
170.4750         N653   Atlanta Federal Interoperability Repeater
170.5125         N864   US Marshals Service
170.6500         N156   DEA Simplex
170.7500         N293   US Marshals Federal Courthouse Security
170.7875         N272   TSA VIPR Units
170.8500         N864   US Marshals Service
170.8875         N167   FBI
170.9125         N167   FBI
170.9500         N156   DEA
170.9875         NB10  ICE
171.1875         NB10  ICE
171.2000         N293  
171.3250         N281   CBP VACIS Operations
171.3875         N001
171.5250         NB10  ICE
171.6250         N167   FBI
172.0500         N167   FBI
172.0625         N001  
172.1125         NB10  ICE
172.2250         N001  
172.2625         N281   CBP VACIS Operations
172.8750         N293   FAA "SOUTH COM"
172.9000         N001   TSA @ ATL
172.9750         N003
173.7875         NB10  ICE

406.1125         N3C1  System 3CD, Site 1-41
406.3375         N482   Postal Inspection Service
406.5000         N293  
406.7750         N3C0  System 3CD, Site 1-42
407.0000         N201   FPS Atlanta Operations
407.0125         N2B5  US Prison Atlanta TRS C92B
407.7250         N482   Postal Inspection Service
407.8125         N3C1  System 3CD, Site1-41
408.0000         N293   Security operation, gate checks
408.2500         N2B5  US Prison Atlanta TRS C92B
408.4375         N3C0  System 3CD, Site 1-42
408.6375         N3C0  System 3CD, Site 1-42
409.2125         N2B5  US Prison Atlanta TRS C92B
409.2625         N201   FPS Atlanta Area
409.3000         N3C1  System 3CD, Site 1-41
409.4125         N2B5  US Prison Atlanta TRS C92B
410.0375         N3C1  System 3CD, Site 1-41
410.8000         N201   FPS Atlanta
412.9625         N201   FPS Atlanta
413.9500         N201   FPS Atlanta
415.0500         N293   Postal Inspection Service
416.0000         N270  
416.7250         N482   Postal Inspection Service, input to 407.7250
419.8000         N201   FPS, input to 410.8

Many of the Super Bowl related federal operations were heard mostly unencrypted up until the day of the game, then most of the transmissions were fully encrypted.
-->

Friday, March 01, 2019

New Federal Bay Area VHF Trunking?

Reports have been posted on Radio Reference about a new VHF trunking control channel being heard in the San Francisco Bay area of Northern California. Best guesses are that the control channel is coming from Mt. Tamalpais, a popular radio repeater site. 

Here is the system information so far:

173.7875 MHz
P-25 Phase 2
System ID: 4D5
RFSS: 003
Site ID: 067
WACN: BEE00


The system is now in their database:

https://www.radioreference.com/apps/db/?sid=10459 

Since no traffic or talk groups have yet been seen active,  the system may or may not be actually using P-25 Phase 2 voice.  

Speculation abounds as to who this system is being built for. One poster mentioned he had knowledge of a "new federal system for Bay area coverage", but no speculation on agency or agencies.

Friday, January 25, 2019

Super Bowl 53 Updates

Once again I am at Super Bowl LIII in Atlanta, Georgia. I will post some limited updates on federal activity here, but nothing on active operations during the events.

I can confirm a few things that haven't been updated in a while. For some time there was a UHF trunked system in the Atlanta area that was used and manged by the Federal Protective Service, and had leased space used by the various military bases around Atlanta. This system is  no longer on the air, but FPS is using 410.8000 MHz, N201 for conventional operations. I've also heard the FPS on  409.2625 MHz, N201 and 413.9500 MHz, N210.The military bases have moved over to a 380 MHz trunked system,  https://www.radioreference.com/apps/db/?sid=7895

I'm hearing the Federal Interoperability repeater on 170.4750, N653 is in operation.

168.8375, N293, CBP AIR 1, was busy with traffic about checking a live video downlink.

Tonight I found a multi-site P25 Phase II UHF trunked system. It shares the same system ID as the Department of Veterans Affairs system in the Orlando and Miami areas. Might be networked with Florida:

System ID             : 3CD
System Name           : SOUTHEASTERN US VA MEDICAL CENTERS
WACN                  : BEE00
Tower Number (Decimal): 1-41
Tower Number (Hex)    : T0129
Tower Description     : 1-41 ATLANTA
Control Capabilities  : Data,Voice,Registration
Flavor                : Phase 2

-Frequencies
#Format: Channel,Usage,Frequency(/Slot),Input Channel,Input Frequency(/Slot),Input Explicit(1/0),Hit Count
"07-0009","c",406.11250,"07-0009",415.11250,0,0
"07-0145","a",407.81250,"07-0145",416.81250,0,0
"07-0264","a",409.30000,"07-0264",418.30000,0,0
"07-0323","a",410.03750,"07-0323",410.03750,1,0

-Neighbors
#Format: TowerID,TowerIDHex,System ID,Channel,Frequency,Tower Name
101,"T0101",3cd,"02-0532",386.65000,""
142,"T012A",3cd,"07-0062",406.77500,""
143,"T012B",3cd,"07-0227",408.83750,""
144,"T012C",3cd,"07-0227",408.83750,""

I'll update this posting as more becomes available...


Saturday, December 29, 2018

New Email Address

I have started using a new email address for communications related to the magazine column and other federal monitoring. You can email me at this address:




Friday, December 28, 2018

Tournament of Roses Parade












For the first time in a while I will not be working on the television coverage of the Tournament of Roses Parade in Pasadena, California this year. This event has always had a fair amount of federal monitoring activity relate to it, as it was a large public gathering. So I decided to compile a listing of the federal frequencies I've logged over the years for this event.

2018


162.8250         N107               Unknown, radio ID 605xxxx
162.8500         N243               Input to WA-4, CBP Border Patrol, radio ID 520xxxx
162.9875         N293               Jet Propulsion Labs Fire Response
163.1125         N169               ICE, radio ID 605xxxx
163.1375         N293               Coast Guard NET 113
163.5000         N310               Unknown, possible CBP aircraft, mentioned the view of the B2 flyover
163.7500         N109               ICE, radio ID 605xxxx
163.8375         N167               FBI
163.8625         N167               FBI, input to 167.5375 MHz repeater
163.9125         N167               FBI
164.4000         N001               US Secret Service PAPA, radio ID 802xxxx
165.8250         N108               ICE A-4, radio ID 605xxxx
166.7500         N455               BLM Law Enforcement
166.8875         N293               ICE, radio ID 605xxxx
166.9125         N245               WA-4 CBP Border Patrol, radio ID 524xxxx           
167.4625         N167               FBI A-5
167.5375         N167               FBI/USMS Interoperability repeater
167.6625         N167               FBI A-7
167.7000         N521               Unknown
168.5000         N199               Border Patrol
168.8250         N104               ICE LA-1, radio ID 605xxxx
168.8375         N293               CBP AIR 1, communications between the CBP aircraft
169.9125         N310               Unknown
170.7500         N293               US Marshals Service Federal Courthouse
171.3250         N820               CBP Marine Common, radio ID 522xxxx
172.2125         N187               Border Patrol, radio ID 605xxxx, 606xxxx
172.7125         N820               CBP Marin Common, radio ID 516xxxx
173.1000         N293               Unknown
173.9750         N191               Border Patrol

2017 

118.5750         AM                  Air Operations over Rose Parade/Rose Bowl
162.8875         N653
162.9875         N293
163.1125         N769
163.1375         N293
163.7000         N164               ICE
163.7000         N169               ICE
163.8250         N111
163.8375         N167               FBI
163.9125         N167               FBI
164.7875         N169               ICE
164.8750         131.8 PL
165.8250         N108               ICE
166.7500         N455
166.9125         N245
167.1625         N650               BATFE
167.2875         N167               FBI
167.3125         N167               FBI
167.3375         N167               FBI
167.4500         N301               CBP
167.4625         N167               FBI
167.6625         N167               FBI
167.7375         N167               FBI
168.8250         N104
168.9625         N293               CBP AIR 2 – OMAHA helicopter    
169.9125        
172.1875         N167               FBI
172.4125         N653               LA Federal Interoperability 2
172.7125         N820               CBP Marine Common System
173.1000         N293  
284.7000         AM                 B2 Flyby with LA Center
341.7500         AM                 B2 Flyby Air to Air and coordination timing with ground controller
351.9000         AM                 B2 Flyby with LA Center

2016

118.5750         AM                  Pasadena air traffic around parade route
162.9875         N293               NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory Fire Dispatch
163.7250         N169               Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE)
163.9125         N167               FBI, probable input to 167.4625 repeater
166.9125         N245               CBP Wide-Area repeater, Santiago Peak
167.4625         N167               FBI Los Angeles, A-5 repeater
167.6625         N167               FBI Los Angeles
168.8375         N293               CBP Air 1
168.8500         N110               ICE, on location at parade
170.8000         N293               US Marshals
171.0000         N293               NASA JPL Security
172.3750         103.5 PL         Angeline National Forest

   The parade kicked off with an exciting flyover of a B-2 stealth bomber, call sign SPIRIT 11. There were actually two of the B-2 bombers in the area, but only one flew over the parade route to kick things off, then they went out and refueled with a tanker (GUCCI 61). Later, they came back around for the national anthem at the Rose Bowl football game later in the afternoon, and SPIRIT 12 did that flyover.  I was unable to catch the B2 via radio on the way into and out of the parade. But local military monitors were able to track the flight on VHF and UHF air traffic control channels across Southern California. Here are some frequencies they used as posted on the So Cal Military Monitoring Yahoo group:

124.55
124.6
128.375
132.5
263.0
317.7
351.675

2015

118.5750         AM                  Air coordination with media, IDAHO and OMAHA
163.8375         N167               FBI
163.9125         N167               FBI simplex
167.2375         N293               FBI repeater
167.5375         N167               FBI simplex
167.5625         N167               FBI simplex
167.7375         N167               FBI repeater
168.6000         Various PL      simplex
169.4500         100.0 PL         CBP OMAHA aircraft
172.7125         N820               CBP “Marine Common System” (MCS)

   The frequency of 163.9125 MHz appeared to be the primary operating frequency for the FBI units that were at the parade command center. It was the most active frequency on New Years Day. 167.2375 MHz became active during the parade and continued to be busy afterwards as well. Whatever agency was using 168.6000 MHz appeared to be trying this frequency with multiple channels on their radio looking for one that worked. I caught multiple key-ups, each showing a different CTCSS tone squelch. They finally settled on 103.5 PL for their operation. I suspect that it might have been US Forest Service units from the Angeles National Forest, as I heard them on their radio system mention they were coming into Pasadena to support parade operations.

   After the Rose Parade was done, activities continued for the federal agency support at the Rose Bowl football game later on New Years Day. The CBP OMAHA helicopter continued to provide airspace surveillance and I still heard some occasional traffic from the FBI on location and heard them chatting as they left the area after the game was over.