Sunday, June 26, 2016

GAO Report on The Secret Service



I wrote about this report back in the April 2016 edition of The Spectrum Monitor:
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The report talks about various problems that have been noted with keeping US Secret Service communications and computer network systems up to date. Although there are several passages and items that are redacted in this copy of the report, there are some interesting items of note. For instance, OIG audits found that much of the Secret Service radio communications inventory is in need of replacement and soon. While radio operations are generally good, there have been instances of radio failures that could have led to serious problems. The report noted that Secret Service logs indicate about a 3% failure rate of radio transmissions. Much of the radio equipment is near or past it’s intended end-of-life and should be replaced. The report indicates that there are plans for radio system equipment to be replaced through 2019.

   An item that was redacted was mention of something that allows “voice communications within the Secret Service and for interoperability with law enforcement partners.” This could possibly be a radio system “bridge” that can link disparate radio systems and allows seamless communications without modifying the agency radios. It also might also refer to encryption keys or key management systems.

Changes in San Antonio Military Systems

Over the past few weeks I've been seeing reports on the Radio Reference forums of some changes occuring in the UHF trunked systems used by the various military bases and facilites in the San Antonio, Texas area. These facilities include Fort Sam Houston, Kelly, Randolph and Lackland Air Force Base and Camp Bullis, northwest of San Antonio.

Previously, the various military facilities had been sharing a Motorola Type II trunking system. The various bases are now migrating towards a new APCO P-25 Phase II digital system. The new system is showing a System ID of 3D6 and is showing it is capable of Phase II TDMA operation, but I've not confirmed that Phase II operation is actually taking place. A number of new military UHF trunked systems are advertising that they are TDMA capable, but the users are not necessarily using that feature yet.

This system is showing that it is networked with other US Air Force bases around the country. Here is a link to the new sites and frequencies in use:
http://www.radioreference.com/apps/db/?sid=7769

You can follow the threads here:
http://forums.radioreference.com/texas-radio-discussion-forum/335208-bexar-county-new-military-systems-3d6-sid.html

Saturday, June 11, 2016

DEA in NYC

I've been working in New York City this week and noted hearing some Over-The-Air-Rekeying (OTAR) data on the DEA frequencies. I heard it on both 418.6250 and 418.9500 MHz repeaters, but no other traffic has been heard on those two frequencies, encrypted or not.


TSA at IAH Changes

I just saw a posting that indicates the TSA at Houston's Bush Intercontinental Airport (IAH) is now using a repeater on 172.9000 MHz, N046. Not an unusual frequency for the TSA repeater to use, but definitely a new NAC for them.

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Whistler Steps Up to DMR

After the announcement by Uniden that they would be offering an update to listen to DMR digital on the 436/536 line of scanners, the Whistler Group announced they, too, would be offering some new models that will receive DMR digital modes, and had NXDN digital soon to me available.

https://www.whistlergroup.com/usa/news/cat/Press-Room/post/DMR/

In addition to the new scanner models, Whistler announced a forthcoming update to their current digital scanner line that would include DMR. The new model scanners, called the TRX-1 and TRX-2, will probably ship later this summer.



Monday, May 16, 2016

Uniden Announces DMR Upgrade

In a thread on Radio Reference, the Uniden product manager (UPMan) for scanners announced that they were preparing to offer a paid upgrade that would allow owners of the Uniden HP436 and HP536 digital scanners to receive the Digital Mobile Radio (DMR) format, also known by the Motorola trade name of TRBO.

http://forums.radioreference.com/uniden-forums/333326-digital-mobile-radio-coming.html

http://forums.radioreference.com/uniden-prospective-owners/333329-discuss-dmr-upgrade-here.html

While there is some federal use of DMR radios, the format has come into massive use by business, security and some public safety users. Until now, you were locked out of monitoring these users, or purchasing an actual DMR radio and having it programmed, or using a SDR stick receiver and computer software.

Saturday, April 09, 2016

New NIFOG Available

A necessary tool for any serious federal scanner listener is the National Interoperability Field Operations Guide, or NIFOG. The latest version is 1.6.1 and is available now. There are several sources for downloading this document. Here are a few:

 https://www.dhs.gov/publication/nifog-documents

http://publicsafetytools.info/nifog_info/nifog_info.php

https://casmnextgen.com/pslib/index.php/webview?docid=1

Thursday, April 07, 2016

Super Bowl 50 Monitoring



Here's a short list of what I was able to monitor during my stay in the Santa Clara area for Super Bowl 50:

136.3750    AM        CBP Air and Marine "COMPANY" VHF
142.6125    67.0        Blue Angels Ground Coordination
162.0750    N300        Customs and Border Protection (CBP)
162.3125    N300        CBP
162.6250    N820   
162.6500    N304        CBP
162.7125    N293   
163.0750            VA Medical Center Paging
163.1125    N496        Multiple Agencies (RID 1340xxx, 4050xxx, 6804xxx)
163.1875    N303        Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE)
163.2000    N303        ICE
163.7000    N164        ICE
163.9125    N167        Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI)
163.9625    N167        FBI, input to 167.6125
164.3500    146.2        Analog repeater
164.4000    N001        Secret Service, PAPA
164.5375    N1F1       
164.7375    N302        CBP
164.8875    N001        Secret Service, OSCAR
165.0625    CSQ        Military Police units at Levi’s Stadium
165.1125       
165.3750    N001        Secret Service CHARLIE
166.1875    N293        Coast Guard NET 124 - STATION MONTERREY
166.4625    N001        Federal Common, FBI radio ID’s
166.5125    N001        White House Communication Agency, ALPHA/SIERRA
166.7375    N314        CBP
167.2375    N167        FBI
167.3625    N460        FBI
167.4125    N167        FBI
167.5375    N167        FBI, radio ID 1
167.5625    N167        FBI
167.5625    167.9        FBI -Yes, analog!
167.6125    N167        FBI
167.7875    N167        FBI
168.4875    N293        US Marshals Service
168.8875    N776        FBI radio ID’s
168.9125    N510        FBI radio ID’s
168.9875    N511        FBI radio ID’s
169.4125    N293        CBP Air operations @ Levi’s Stadium
169.6500    N167        FBI
170.3375    N300        ICE
170.3625    N167        FBI
170.3750    N167        FBI
170.6750       
170.7500    N293        Federal Courthouse San Jose
170.7875    N718
170.8875    N167        FBI
170.9875    N304        Both CBP and ICE units
171.3500    N293        Coast Guard NET 133
171.4375    N293
171.9875    N7CE   
171.9875    N304        ICE
171.9875    N167        FBI
172.1500    N001        Transportation Security Administration (TSA) at stadium
172.1875    N510        FBI
172.2125    N167        FBI
172.2125    N730   
172.2375    N302        Main Federal Ops Channel @ Levi’s Stadium?
172.3875    N167        FBI
172.7125    N167        FBI
172.9000    N001        TSA @ SJC
172.9000    N013   
173.1750    N293        ICE radio ID’s
173.3875    N293        US Marshals Service
173.8375    N293        FBI and other agency radio ID’s.
173.8625    N167        FBI
173.8750    N1D3       
237.8000    AM        Blue Angels Flyover
271.0000    AM        NORAD Combat Air Patrol
282.6000    AM        Aerial Refueling
284.2500    AM        Blue Angels Flyover
285.4000    AM        Oakland Center ARTCC
298.3000    AM        CA ANG Fresno
301.6250    AM        RED 1 – SCOUT/SHADOW helicopters
406.1500       
408.2375    N293        VA Medical Center, Palo Alto
409.0250    N293   
412.9750    N293        Coast Guard NET 409
415.2000    127.3        Federal Protective Service
 

IRS - Heard Them Lately?

At one time, the IRS division of the Treasury Department was fairly active on their federal frequencies. Lately they seemed to have gotten harder to hear. Not much activity has been heard on their frequencies, but I don't think they've changed to different ones. It's just hat unless they have a major surveillance or warrant service going on, they just don't use the radios that often.

But keep an hear on their frequencies anyway, as you never know when they might get busy!


Here are the frequencies that have been identified as being allocated to and used by the Treasury Department, and specifically the IRS:

163.1000
163.1250
164.1000
164.2500
164.5375
165.1000
165.3375
165.4125
165.4625
165.9125
165.9500
166.0000
166.2000
166.4625
166.5375
166.5875
166.9750
167.0000
167.1000
167.1500
167.9750
168.3500
172.6375
173.0250
173.8625
406.4250
406.5500
406.7250
406.8000
406.8750
407.8000
408.4000
408.6500
409.1000
409.1750
409.2000
409.2250
409.2500
409.7750
409.8750
411.1250
411.5250
411.5500
412.2250
414.3250
414.7000
414.7500
414.9000
415.0000
415.1000
415.4250
415.5500
415.6000
415.7250
415.8000
415.8750
416.0500
416.2000
416.3250
416.8000
417.0250
417.6500
417.7250
417.7500
418.0500
418.0750
418.1000
418.1750
418.2000
418.2250
418.2500
418.5750

Most IRS VHF P25 channels appear to be using a Network Access Code (NAC) of N100. There is evidence that the TIGTA (formerly IOG) operations are using a NAC of N1F1. And the primary repeaters for IRS operations may have adopted the system used by other federal agencies of using different NACs to access different repeaters on the same frequency. Here are some confirmed loggings of IRS channels around the country:

163.2125, N100 – IRS TAC 1, most likely a nationwide assignment
163.6375, N100 – IRS TAC 2, also nationwide
164.5375, N1F1 – IRS TIGTA
165.1000, N1F1 – IRS TIGTA
165.3375, N1F1 – Possible IRS TIGTA TAC channel
165.9500, N001 thru N010 – IRS NET 1, using various NACs
165.9500, N100 – Some areas used as a simplex TAC, or NET 1 repeater out
167.0000, N001 thru N010 – Input to the 165.9500 repeater using various NACs
172.6375, N1F1 – Input to the 164.5375 MHz repeater







Federal Use of DMR

In the January 2016 issue of The Spectrum Monitor, I listed a few confirmed frequencies that seem to be carrying a digital mode called DMR (the Digital Mobile Radio standard), or what Motorola sells as MotoTRBO digital mode. This was considered unusual for a while, as most federal agencies were required to use the chosen standard digital mode, which is APCO P-25. But some federal agencies are exempt from the requirement and buy whatever types of radios they can afford.

Here is that list and I ask that anyone who has stumbled across federal frequencies using DMR to pass them along ot keep the list up to date!

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165.4125         Narraganset, RI - Environmental Protection Agency
165.5375         Bedford MA - VA Medical Center Maintenance
171.3875         Mt. Hopkins, AZ - Smithsonian, F.L. Whipple Observatory
173.9875         Providence, RI - VA Medical Center Maintenance
406.1375         Philadelphia, PA
406.1375         Portland, OR
406.2875         Philadelphia, PA
406.3875         Washington, DC - U.S. Capitol
406.5000         Boston, MA
406.5375         New York City, NY
406.5375         New Orleans, LA
406.5375         St. Louis, MO
406.5500         Seattle, WA - U.S. Postal Service Operations
406.6625         Chicago, IL - Federal Reserve Bank
406.9375         Las Vegas, NV - U.S. Postal Service Operations
407.2500         Boston, MA
407.2500         Philadelphia, PA
407.2500         Seattle, WA - U.S. Postal Service Operations
407.3375         Los Angeles, CA
407.5375         Chicago, IL
407.5500         Chicago, IL
407.5500         Seattle, WA - U.S. Postal Service Operations
407.9375         Las Vegas, NV
407.9375         New Orleans, LA
407.9375         Federal Way, WA - U.S. Postal Service Operations
408.0000         Portland, OR
408.1000         Los Angeles, CA
408.5125         Washington, DC - U.S. Capitol
409.1375         Federal Way, WA - U.S. Postal Service Operations
409.4375         Vancouver, WA - VA Medical Center
409.7375         Los Angeles, CA
409.7750         Philadelphia, PA - IRS Facility
409.8375         Washington, DC - U.S. Capitol
413.5250         San Diego, CA
415.2500         Baltimore, MD
416.8375         New Hampshire, unknown location - U.S. Postal Service

Not on this list was some DMR activity heard in South Florida a while back on some known TSA frequencies. I had received information that the TSA was demoing the DMR radios as they were looking to purchase new equipment. The testing lasted for a short time and has not been heard since.



2016 - Where Are The Blog Posts?!?

Sorry to all of the Fed Files blog fans out there. I've been neglecting my blog postings for too long now, and will try and catch up with more information from the Fed Files and the Federal Wavelengths column.

Thursday, December 24, 2015

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year



I hope all the Fed Files fans and The Spectrum Monitor readers have a safe and Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!