Monday, December 31, 2007

Happy New Year!



Happy New Year to all the Fed Files fans and Monitoring Times readers. Looking forward to a great 2008!

Friday, December 28, 2007

More Federal Interop

As has been posted in previous blog entries, the Justice Department's "25 Cities" project continues to set up federal interoperability radio systems in various cities that have been identified as having a need for it:
http://www.cops.usdoj.gov/files/ric/Publications/wirelesscomm_ritter.pdf

I have recently received some additional frequencies that may be part of the 25 Cities Project. Here is a list of what I have so far, and if you have anything to add, please let us know!

Chicago, IL
168.8875 MHz - P25 repeater
168.9125 MHz - P25 repeater
170.8125 MHz - P25 repeater
171.4375 MHz - P25 repeater
171.6875 MHz - P25 repeater
172.2125 MHz - P25 repeater

Dallas / Ft. Worth, TX
170.7250 MHz - P25 repeater "Dallas East"
171.4375 MHz - P25 repeater "Dallas West"

Hampton Roads/Norfolk, VA
165.7000 MHz - P25 repeater

Houston, TX
170.7250 MHz - P25 repeater "L-1"
171.4375 MHz - P25 repeater "L-2"

New York City, NY
167.7875 MHz - P25 repeater

Philadelphia, PA
171.4375 MHz - P25 repeater "FIO"

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

January Fed Files Correction!

I was just notified of an error in the January Fed Files column and wanted to pass along a correction.

In the mention of John Wilson's Virginia Frequency Guide on CD-ROM, I published the wrong email address.






Thursday, December 20, 2007

Houston Federal Interop Test

Another testing of a federal interoperability system was noted by listeners in the Houston, Texas area last night. Radio checks from various local and many federal agencies were heard. In some cities these tests seem to come at a set time every week. This test in Houston occurred at 3:30 AM. They may mix up the times to keep people on their toes...

As noted in a previous blog entry, the Houston federal interop channels are:

L1 - 170.7250 MHz, P-25
L2 - 171.4375 MHz, P-25

Also some testing of a patch between L1 and the Houston Police Citywide channel of 460.4250 MHz was heard.

These same frequencies appear to be used as interop channels in other cities, so give them a try and see what you might hear.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

South Florida UHF Mystery!

With the mandated changes in the channelization of the federal UHF band that appear to be taking place before the years end, mysterious signals have been heard in some areas, including South Florida.

A strong signal on 414.0375 MHz was heard by listeners in the northern Broward County area,and was traced to a tower in Palm Beach County. The signal was an analog carrier with no voice or CTCSS tone. The mystery signal continued it's broadcast for 5 days or so, then abruptly left the air.

This frequency is a Federal Interoperability channel, designated as a simplex calling channel. The NTIA designation for this frequency is 4FCAL-45D, previously known as LE-B. The signal was possibly from a base station transmitter that was being installed, or had a problem that kept it keyed up for an extended period.

Keep an ear out for other strange, new signals on the federal 406 MHz to 420 MHz band as the deadline for changes approaches.

Monday, December 17, 2007

Another JENNA Sighting!

While waiting for my flight to board at Burbank (KBUR) last week, I caught JENNA 49 coming in for a landing. I watched the runway expecting a fixed-wing aircraft, but to my suprise an all-black Bell 206B Jet Ranger helicopter flew in on runway 15 and hover taxied over to a small hanger & building marked as "Police Air Support". 

They must have stopped for fuel and a bathroom break, because about
45 minutes after touching down, they took off and headed east over the Burbank area. Unfortunately I was unable to find them on any federal channels at that time. All the communications I heard from them were on 118.7 MHz, the BUR tower frequency.




Saturday, December 08, 2007

Las Vegas UHF Mysteries



Been working in the Las Vegas, NV region this week and have found a few UHF frequencies that I've had trouble pinning down who the users are. Thought I would throw them out to the blog page and see if I could get some input...

407.3250 MHz, D051 - Security operations. Might be related to activity on 407.5250 MHz (see below). This frequency is allocated as a federal Itinerant local use repeater.

407.5250 MHz, D023 - Definitely sounds like a military security net. I've thought it might be Nellis AFB, but this analog repeater does not seem to be patched to the NNSA UHF system the rest of Nellis seems to be using. The frequency is allocated to various DoD services.

409.0250 MHz - This frequency started showing an EDACS control channel. It is showing that it is LCN 3 of Site 7, so I am guessing it is part of the NTTR (Nevada Test & Training Range) trunked system, although this frequency has not been listed as part of this system in the past. Changes in the UHF channels may be showing up in the local trunked systems as well.

409.3000 MHz, P-25 - This seems to be a stand alone P-25 repeater, but everything on this has been encrypted so far. This frequency is allocated to various agencies, including the Department of Energy as well as DoD.

415.5750, D754 - Another security operation, but definitly NOT military. Very "civilian" radio procedure. The frequency is primarily allocated to the Department of Agriculture, but also has some NOAA and US Postal Service allocations.

Thursday, December 06, 2007

Another VHF Trunking Mystery?

A few months ago some reports from the east coast indicated that there was an EDACS trunking system operating in the VHF federal band somewhere nearby. It was determined that it was a two-site analog EDACS system belonging to the NASA facility at Wallops Island, VA.

Now a report has appeared in one of the Radio Reference forums that a similar VHF EDACS system is being heard in the Houston, TX area, but the poster believes that this system is being heard via skip or ducting and is not local.

http://www.radioreference.com/forums/showthread.php?t=88827

The frequencies reported heard are 163.5625 MHz, 164.5000 MHz and 165.0875 MHz. These frequencies are often associated with military facilities and the US Army Corps of Engineers, so my first guess would be a military base in Texas or Louisiana.

Anyone else hearing these frequencies active?

406.6625 / 415.6625 MHz Update

A while back I asked folks about hearing activity on 406.6625 or 415.6625 MHz. I received several responses and it now appears that this frequency pair is being used nationwide by the Federal Reserve Branch Banks for security operations. What is interesting is that in some cases these systems are analog and some are P-25 digital.

Here are confirmed locations that these frequency pairs are being used:

Boston, MA
Dallas, TX
Houston, TX
Kansas City, MO
Memphis, TN
Miami, FL
San Francisco, CA

The Dallas Federal Reserve Bank is also reported to be using a repeater on 410.4875 MHz(input should be 419.4875 MHz). Can anyone else hear that pair in use?

Monday, November 26, 2007

Federal UHF Band Changes

Some recent changes and new frequencies for several UHF federal
and military  systems have prompted me to remind everyone of the 
upcoming deadline for narrowbanding the federal UHF band.
 
The January 1st 2008 deadline for the 406.1-420 MHz band to narrowband channels from 25 KHz channels spacing up to 12.5 kHz. Some agencies will be changing frequencies and some trunked systems may move off of their current UHF channels. Expect to see many changes between now and the end of the year, and even after the deadline has passed.

Thursday, November 22, 2007

FCI Morgantown WV Update

I was able to update some information on the Morgantown, WV Federal Correctional Institution;

Motorola Type II with P-25 voice
System ID: a620
Base: 406.8125
Step: 12.5
Offset: 380

406.8125, 407.0125, 408.2125, 408.8125

This will be added to the updated file of all Bureau of Prisons radio systems that is available for download on the Montoring Times web site. Simple go to http://www.monitoringtimes.com and look for the Readers Access icon. You can find the password in the latest issue of Monitoring Times.

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

NYC Interop Check-In Redux

I found myself in New York City on a Wednesday morning and was able to monitor the FBI Control interoperability check-in on 167.7875 MHz, P-25. FBI Control checked in with various stations as they have in the past:

http://mt-fedfiles.blogspot.com/2007/06/nyc-fbi-interop-check-in.html


However, this time I was able to confirm the use of 407.7750 MHz, 88.5pl as part of this Interop Net. 

The activity on the UHF repeater was all analog, while the traffic on the VHF side 
was all P-25. 

Shortly after the check-in net was finished, traffic on the VHF repeater went to encrypted.

Friday, October 26, 2007

BPA Update



A few months ago, I posted that I thought I had heard someone on the BPA radio system identifying themselves as "DENVER", when in fact they were saying "KOD900 DITTMER". That's the name of the Vancouver, WA Dispatch center just south of 63rd and Hwy 99, also called the Ross Complex.

The Bonneville Power Administration is an agency under the U.S. Department of Energy. They operate a series of VHF repeaters in the Pacific Northwest that is normally used for transmission line and facilities maintenance. All of these repeaters operate on 172.5250 MHz.

Monday, October 22, 2007

Can Tiny Scanners Be In Our Future?




After reading this item from the BBC:

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/science/nature/7050477.stm

I've got to believe a tiny receiver / scanner using nano-techology can't be too far fetched! But will it trunk-track a P-25 system?!?

JIWN Site in WDC?

I just noticed that the Radio Reference listing for the Justice Integrated Wireless Network (JIWN) now shows a site in Washington, DC.;

http://www.radioreference.com/modules.php?name=RR&sid=3509

It is showing as Site 160, using frequencies of 168.2625 MHz and 168.8875 MHz. I have not seen any posts from anyone in the DC area about this yet. It may have just show up on the air recently, as it was not there a few weeks ago when I went through the area. Can anyone in the DC area confirm this?

UPDATE! - I did hear from someone who did confirm this site is on the air, and has a voice channel of 173.5500 MHz associated with it.

Seems like the IWN sites area popping up in new places, but so far not along the US/ Mexico border, which was officially stated as the next phase of the IWN project.

ANOTHER UPDATE! - I was passing through Dulles International Airport (IAD) today and was unable to pick up anything on either of the listed frequencies. Reports are that this site is not really strong as Reagan National Airport either, so the site may not be in DC proper.

Sunday, October 21, 2007

415.6625 MHz Near You?

I'm curious if anyone had started picking up transmissions on 415.6625 MHz or 406.6625 MHz?

I have confirmed these frequencies are being used at several branches of the Federal Reserve System. I am wondering if this is now a nationwide assignment for the Federal Reserve. Some locations are using P-25 digital mode, some are analog. Some locations are using the 406 frequency as the repeater input, some are using it as the repeater output.

Previously these frequencies have been unassigned and became available because of the 12.5 KHz channelization of the federal 406-420 MHz band.

If you are curious about where the federal reserve banks and their branch banks are located, you can click here:

http://www.federalreserve.gov/otherfrb.htm

http://www.federalreserve.gov/branches.htm

TOPOFF 4 Radio Usage

Since the TOPOFF 4 exercise is now finished, at least on the public side, I thought I would share what I found as far as radio communications in the Portland area...

Tuesday's initial operations were mainly on the 800 MHz Portland area public safety trunked system, as well as trunked systems used by neighboring Clark County Washington and Washington County Oregon. Several fire and Emergency / Incident Command talk groups were utilized.

Wednesday brought in more federal agency response, and more activity on the 800 MHz systems. It did appear that there was use of the federal IWN VHF trunked radio system. I noticed a "spike" in the number of radios that were affiliated to the trunked system on Tuesday and Wednesday. Voice activity that I was able to catch on the IWN sites was all encrypted, so I can't confirm who exactly was using the system.

I did catch some conventional federal frequencies in use during the week. While near the area that the dirty bomb explosion was staged, I caught some simplex P-25 traffic on 167.3875 MHz, most likely FBI units on scene. While parked near the TOPOFF operations center in Portland, I did catch quite a bit of P-25 encrypted traffic on 138.225 MHz, most likely FEMA. They were a big presence at the ops center, as well as the Federal Protective Service. They were active on 417.2000 MHz, P-25 in the clear.

I am certain that there was more activity going on the federal bands, but I wasn't able to catch it. I'm also surprised that there was not more activity on any of the federal interoperability channels. I thought that this exercise might be a good time to catch some interop between the local 800 MHz trunked systems and some federal channels, but didn't catch any.

An interesting side note - I have seen no postings or any information on line about the TOP OFF exercises in Phoenix or in Guam. I don't know how many listeners there might have been in Guam, but I'm suprised that no one heard any of the events in Phoenix I'll have more in a future Fed Files column...

Thursday, October 18, 2007

TOPOFF 4 Exercise Unfolds






I had a chance to do some monitoring and observations of the TOPOFF 4 exercise in the Portland, Oregon area this week and thought I would post some information.

The events started Tuesday, with the simulated explosion of a dirty bomb in downtown Portland on the Steel Bridge. The staged event took place on a simulated bridge with wrecked cars and a bus, all located at the Portland International Raceway along I-5 north of town. They had a large compound of tents and support vehicles for this event, but they kept the gawkers away by prohibiting any parking where you could sit and watch.

The radio traffic on Tuesday was primarily local public safety first-responders. Lots of active talk-groups on the Portland area 800 MHz trunked system carried traffic from this simulation.

The activities on Wednesday focused on recovery, decontamination and criminal investigation of the event. Lots of federal and military presence during the exercise on Wednesday. Some EPA air monitoring vehicles were staged at the Portland airport. Several very interesting FEMA vehicles were spotted around the city, including a mobile commmand post located at the TOPOFF Command Center, which was at the Doubletree Hotel in downtown Portland. Many DHS and military vehicles were parked around the hotel and clogged the entrance to the parking ramp. :-)

I'll update this blog with more info as I find it...

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Oregon / Washington Army CoE

Thursday morning at home and just heard some radio checks on 163.4375 MHz, 100.0pl. One station requested a check on RANIER, which came in 5x5, then asked for a check on NASELLE, who came through not as well.

One op asked about some sort of check-in scheduled for Sunday. Also asked if they had the HF radio on. Original station said they did but that it was scanning the CoE frequencies.

The 163.4375 MHz repeater has been called "NAV Primary", and the input was noted as 164.2000 MHz.

Monday, October 08, 2007

DHS TOPOFF 4 Next Week

As you may have read on other lists or web sites, the DHS Exercise TOPOFF 4 will be held next week, October 15th through the 19th. More info can be found here:

http://www.dhs.gov/xprepresp/training/gc_1179350946764.shtm

http://www.dhs.gov/xprepresp/training/gc_1179430526487.shtm

http://www.dhs.gov/xprepresp/training/gc_1179422026237.shtm

The exercise will have "events" taking place in Phoenix, AZ, Portland, OR and in the US territory of Guam. These events will involve communications by first responders as well as government officials. This could be a good time to find out how the federal / local interoperability systems are working. The Guam location may provide some HF and SATCOM communciations as well.

Tuesday, October 02, 2007

NTIA Looks at 162-174 MHz

I recently came across this report on the NTIA (National Telecommunications and Information Administration) web site;

http://www.ntia.doc.gov/osmhome/reports/2006/land_mobile_DC_06_440.doc

It is an interesting look at the usage of the VHF federal band (162 - 174 MHz) in the Washington DC area. It talks about the different agencies that are using frequencies in this band and how many users there are. It also looks at the potential impact the Justice IWN trunked system will have on frequency loading in the area. Some of the report is very technical, and there are some frequencies mentioned.

Some additonal interesting reading can be found here;

http://www.ntia.doc.gov/osmhome/reports.html

Friday, September 21, 2007

Federal VHF Low Band - TVA?



A couple of years ago I asked MT readers for any information on current federal (non-military) agencies that are still using VHF low-band (30-50 MHz). Unfortunately I did not receive any information, but I recently stumbled across some discussions on Radio Reference about line crews from the Tennessee Valley Authority, (http://www.tva.gov/) still using low band.

Here are the TVA Lo-Band channels and locations that I have in my database:

38.97 - AL, MS, US
38.98 - AL, KY, MS, NC, TN, US
40.50 - KY, MS, TN, US
40.57 - US
40.61 - US
40.62 - AL, KY, MS, NC, TN, US
40.73 - US
40.74 - AL, KY, MS, NC, TN,US
40.75 - US
40.85 - US
40.87 - MS, US


Can anyone in the states listed give these a listen and let us know if they are active?

Thursday, September 06, 2007

FPS Chicago & Other Cities

I have received word that the Federal Protective Service (FPS), a division of the Department of Homeland Security under Immigrations & Customs Enforcement (ICE) has changed frequencies.

406.7000 MHz, P-25 with no encryption, with an input of 415.7000 MHz, now seems to be the primary FPS channel in Chicago. The old analog repeater on 415.2000 MHz appears to be no longer in use.

UPDATE! - Both Cleveland and Toledo, OH have recently switched from 415.2000 MHz to 407.0000 MHz, P-25. Minneapolis, MN also reports that FPS has changed from 415.2000 MHz to 407.0000 MHz, P-25 within the last month.

Look for additional changes in the UHF federal bands as the NTIA band re-shuffling continues.

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

JENA Aircraft in Tampa FL


While listening to Tampa International (KTPA) approach on 08/28, I caught one of the controllers talking to JENA 32. At one point the controller called JENA 32 several times with no response, but JENA 024 ("Zero-Two-Four") came up and advised he was working with JENA 32 "on another radio" and he would pass along the instructions. The TPA approach controller just wanted to advise the JENA aircraft not to stray any further west as they would get mixed up with departing Tampa traffic. JENA 024 also advised TPA that they were trying to get JENA 32 on a target, then JENA 024 would depart the area.

Unfortunately I was not able to find what frequency the other radio might have been on.

Reports are that the "JENA" (here it was pronounced JENN-AH) aircraft are FBI operations using non-FBI pilots. The "ROSS" FBI aircraft call sign is still being used, and is reported to indicate that an FBI pilot is in command.

UPDATE!

Searching the Internet produced this video on YouTube:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kldMbyNLXpM

The poster claims this is a military contractor flight landing at DCA and was using the call sign "JENA 611". Could the JENA flights heard on surveillance operations be DoD contractor pilots working FBI aircraft???

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

"VIPR" Airport Security Program

Local media is reporting an increase of federal law enforcement presence at the Portland International Airport (PDX) as part of a TSA program called VIPR. The program includes ramped-up security operations at randomly chosen airports and other facilities.

VIPR, standing for Visible Intermodal Protection and Response, has conducted missions at various events and transportation facilities over the last 18 months. The teams include canine teams, Transportation Security officers trained in behavior observation, air marshal supervisors, air marshals not scheduled for flights, surface transportation security inspectors and local police.

A quick search of the TSA web site (http://www.tsa.gov/) shows quite a few news releases on the VIPR program

VIPR Teams were also in Portland for the Rose Festival back in July, but local media did not report on this.

No specific communications frequencies have been noted, but increased traffic (encrypted) on the Justice IWN trunked system here in Portland may be a result of this operation.

More as it becomes available...

Sunday, August 19, 2007

VHF EDACS Mystery Solved!?


It appears that our mystery VHF EDACS trunked radio system mentioned in a previous blog entry has been located. Someone tracked down the control channels on 173.4250 MHz and 170.7625 MHz, and they appear to be coming from the NASA Goddard Flight Facility at Wallops Island, VA:

http://www.nasa.gov/centers/wallops/home/index.html

The NASA web site does not mention this trunked system specifically, but there are some interesting downloads containing information about the range and it's facilities:

http://www.nasa.gov/centers/wallops/multimedia/index.html

The information about the location of these control channels also indicated that NASA security there continues to utilize their VHF conventional repeaters on 170.0000 MHz and 171.1500 MHz. A quick look at previously monitored frequencies at Wallops Island seems to show a lot of VHF usage in the same area as these trunked systems:

http://www.monitoringtimes.com/html/Monitoring%20NASA%20and%20Space%20Communications.pdf

We'll try and track down more information on this new trunked system and pass it along in a future Fed Files.

Wednesday, August 08, 2007

VHF Trunking Mysteries


There are a couple of mysterious trunking control channels that have been reported in the VHF federal bands and so far we have no solid information on where they are coming from or who is operating them.

First, a listener in New Jersey as been reporting what he believes is an EDACS trunking control channel on 170.7625 MHz. 172.6875 & 172.9875 MHz might be analog voice channels associated with this control channel. The signal comes and goes as if it's being heard via skip, but from which direction is unknown. EDACS federal trunked systems are rare, but a VHF system would be a first. Listeners in Philadelphia, where 170.7625 MHz is used as by DHS/ICE have not confirmed a trunked system there. The 172.6875 and 172.9875 are previously un-assigned frequencies.

The originator of this information has theorized that it's an ICE/DHS trunked system somewhere. But so far he hasn't reported any specific voice traffic heard. I find that difficult to accept with as little information as we have so far. It makes no sense to me that the DHS would set up an analog EDACS trunked system, totally incompatible with what they are doing everywhere else, and not using the P-25 standard, which has been mandated by specifications in federal budgets for interoperability.

In the south, another monitor in Florida is reporting a P-25 control channel on 170.1250 MHz. It is reporting a System ID of 910. Speculation is that it might be military or Department of Energy, but nothing is confirmed. This signal is also being heard via skip from an unknown location in the Southeast US.


Anyone else hear any of these signals? Let us know at the Fed Files!

New CBP A&M Units?




I've been receiving information that there is a new call sign being heard on some of the Customs & Border Protection radio nets in the Southwest US. Listeners in Arizona have started reporting references to "1100 TAC" units, sometimes in association with CBP air units. The call sign does not appear to refer to a base location or station, but mobiles that operate as a group under that call. Sounds like it could be a Task Force unit of some kind, perhaps National Guard units working along the border?

Also, the CBP division that we used to refer to as Air Marine Interdiction Division (AMID) is now simply Air & Marine:

And it appears that the CBP A&M has added two AgustaWestland AW139 helicopters to its aircraft fleet:

DoE / BPA Activity


The Bonneville Power Administration, headquartered in Portland, Oregon, is an agency under the U.S. Department of Energy. They operate a series of VHF repeaters in the Pacific Northwest that is normally used for transmission line and facilities maintenance. All of these repeaters operate on 172.5250 MHz.


Recently I caught a transmission from "KOD900 Denver" calling an aircraft (who's call sign I failed to catch) about his landing at Portland Internatnional Airport. I assumed that the aircraft was probably involved in aerial inspections of tranmission lines. I also had not realised that BPA had a centralized dispatch center that was NOT in Portland!

Monday, July 16, 2007

170.7250 MHz - Harrisburg, PA?

I was recently forced by an airline flight cancellation to drive from Pittsburgh to Atlantic City, NJ for work. While driving across on I-76, the Pennsylvania Turnpike, I started picking up a lot of P-25 clear activity on 170.7250 MHz. As previously blogged, this frequency has been used as a Federal Interoperability repeater in some cites, but I have not received reports of it being used in the Philadelphia area. The signal was quite strong and seemed to be centered around the Harrisburg area. It finally got weak and was not heard in the Philadelphia area.

The activity was a surveillance operation. First names were used and no specific locations were identified. Could have been anyone of a dozen federal agencies. Similar traffic has been heard in the Pittsburgh area on a P-25 repeater on 169.8000 MHz. Pittsburgh monitors report that some locations heard on this repeater seem to indicate that the operations were taking place in Philadelphia, and this frequency was somehow tied in to the Philly repeater.

It's quite possible that this Federal Interop system has these repeaters in various cities tied together, but I have not confirmed this yet.

"VOLCANO - Out"


With the passing of Lady Bird Johnson this past week, I was reminded of many trips through the Austin, Texas area in years past. Often I could pick up the US Secret Service detail that was stationed at the LBJ Ranch near Johnson City, Texas. They could be heard using the call sign VOLCANO. I think that they used to use the Secret Service CHARLIE channel, 165.3750 MHz, but my old logs from those trips have been lost for a while... UPDATE: A friend in Texas reminded me that VOLCANO had a MIKE (165.2125 MHz) repeater.
By the way, LBJ's call sign was VOLUNTEER and Lady Bird was known as VICTORIA.

Saturday, July 07, 2007

164.9625 MHz Anyone?



I am curious if anyone is hearing any law enforcement activity on 164.9625 MHz in your area. This frequency has been a long used Customs tac frequency that folks in South Florida have been hearing for years. In the old Customs channel plan, this was often referred to as "A-7", and under the new DHS channel plan it may be known as TAC 21. It appears to be used primarily by the Customs Air Marine Division and was very active at the recent Super Bowl in Miami.


What I am curious about is if anyone outside of South Florida has heard the use of this channel. This frequency is not an exclusive DHS Customs assignement, so I'm curious if it is used anywhere else. If you hear any activity on this frequency in your area, please let us know at the Fed Files!
UPDATE - Here is what readers have sent me so far:
Boston - US Postal Service - 164.9625, 162.2 pl - input to 173.6375, 162.2 pl repeater

Federal Interop "25 Cities" Frequencies

In the January 2007 Fed Files, I mentioned the Justice Department's "25 Cities Project". Basically the program focuses on 25 major US cites and helps plan and provide radio interoperability between federal and local radio systems. You can find some very informative downloads at the project’s web site:
http://www.ojp.usdoj.gov/nij/topics/commtech/25cities/

(NOTE: It appears that the DoJ has moved all the 25 Cities downloads behind a login page. However you can do a search for "Department of Justice High Risk Metropolitan Area Interoperability" and you should still find access to all of the individual PDF files for each city.)

I have recently received some additional frequencies that may be part of the 25 Cities Project. Here are a list of what I have so far. If you have anything to add, please let us know!

Chicago
168.8875 - P25 repeater
168.9125 - P25 repeater
170.8125 - P25 repeater
171.4375 - P25 repeater
171.6875 - P25 repeater
172.2125 - P25 repeater

Dallas / Ft. Worth
170.7250 MHz - P25 repeater "Dallas East"
171.4375 MHz - P25 repeater "Dallas West"

Houston
170.7250 MHz - P25 repeater "L-1"
171.4375 MHz - P25 repeater "L-2"

New York City
167.7875 MHz - P25 repeater

Philadelphia
171.4375 MHz - P25 repeater "FIO"

Thursday, June 28, 2007

Postal Inspectors Update



I recently had a nice email from a Fed Files reader who was interested in finding the US Postal Inspectors active frequencies. As we have noted here, the Postal Inspectors are in the process of changing around some of their frequencies and upgrading to P-25 digital radios. Some cities are still analog with DES encryption, others have moved to P-25 digital and some have both!

I thought I would compile what I currently had logged and share them. If anyone has some additional info, please feel free to pass it along!

Atlanta - 407.7250, P-25

Boston - 407.7750, 409.9375, 414.7500

Chicago - 406.3375, 414.7500, 415.0500

Cleveland - 409.9375, 414.7500

Dallas - 414.7500, 417.6000

Houston - 407.1375, 407.7250, 414.7500

Little Rock - 406.9625 (Not Confirmed Yet)

Los Angeles - 415.0500

Memphis - 407.1375, 407.7750

Miami - 407.7750

Minneapolis - 407.7250, 407.7750

NYC - 414.7500, 415.0500, 416.2250 + UHF trunked system on Manhattan

Newark - 407.7250

Oklahoma City - 417.7000

Orlando - 406.3375

Philadelphia - 406.8125, 409.3250, 409.9375

Pittsburgh - 406.3375, 407.1375, 407.7250, 407.7750, 415.0500

Portland - 407.1375, 407.7750, 415.0500 - P25

San Jose, CA - 413.6000, 414.1500, 414.7500, 415.0500

Tampa - 407.1375, 415.0500

Washington DC - 407.7750

In most cases, the 406 through 409 MHz repeaters are P-25 digital and the inputs to those repeaters should be +9 MHz. The 414 and 415 MHz repeaters are still analog, most with DES or AES encryption. In areas that have moved to new 406 or 407 MHz P-25 repeaters, keep listening to the 414.7500 and 415.0500 frequencies, as they can still show up as simplex surveillance channels!

UPDATE - Several Fed Files fans have provided some updates to the list I posted. Thanks for all the information! I will continue to update this blog entry as more information is received!

Monday, June 18, 2007

Coast Guard New Haven

I was recently in the New London/Groton Connecticut area and was monitoring a lot of Coast Guard Station New Haven activity. The area of responsibility (AOR) for Station New Haven consists of almost 2/3 of Long Island Sound,extending from Black Rock Harbor to Clinton Harbor on the Connecticut shoreline and from Mattituck Inlet to approximately 2nm East of Mt. Sinai Harbor on the Long Island shore.

Besides the normal VHF marine channels, I did catch quite a few transmission on 162.1250 MHz, once known as LANT 03 or TAC 1. However, I was hearing the units calling New Haven refer to this frequency as CC-9 ("See-See-Nine"). Anyone hear channel designators like this before?
UPDATE - A kind blog reader suggested that I might have heard "CG" instead of "CC". Quite possible I guess...

Secret Service Call Signs

With all the candidates running for President in 2008, the Secret Service will have to come up with new radio call signs for each protectee. This article from the Washington post mentions that candidate Barack Obama has been dubbed "Renegade",

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2007/06/16/AR2007061601079.html

This article mentions that President Bush (43) has a call sign of "Tumbler", which it was when he was Governor of Texas. But I do recall that after he was elected to President, his call sign was changed to "Trailblazer", with the First Lady known as "Tempo".

The July Fed Files column will feature a focus on Secret Service radio frequencies.

Saturday, June 09, 2007

AMTRAK Police Operations


I'm currently working on a show in New York City that has us parked near Penn Station in mid-town Manahattan, and there are usually 3-6 AMTRAK police vehicles parked in the area between Penn Station and Madison Square Garden. This got my interest up in what AMTRAK police officers were using for radios.

I've seen requests on some lists for information about AMTRAK police operations and frequencies. A search of the Internet turns up little information, but I decided to try and piece together as much of it as I could. I think I saw a thread on AMTRAK police on the SCAN-DC list a while back. The frequencies of 173.3500 MHz and 173.3750 MHz came up, and someone pointed to an archived edition of the Capitol Hill Monitors newsletter that has some great info on the AMTRAK police radio channels: http://henney.com/chm/0299/.

Other web sites have indicated that the AMTRAK police in New York City may have additional channels besides the ones listed in the previous link: F2-160.8150 MHz, F3-161.2950 MHz, F4-161.2050 MHz, F5-161.2950 MHz, F6-161.2050 MHz. 161.3650 MHz is also listed in some sources as an AMTRAK police frequency. These are all channels in the standard US railroad allocations, so in theory they may be using any of the 99 available VHF channels. The 173.3500 and 173.3750 MHz frequencies are not exclusive federal allocations, so you may hear other users on these channels.

Here on location, I have been hearing what appears to the AMTRAK police operations on 161.2950 MHz, 131.8pl. There have been a few incidents over the last few days at Penn Station involving NYFD units, but nothing that seems to have made the news.

Got any confirmed AMTRAK police frequencies you want to pass along? Send them to the Fed Files and Monitoring Times!

Wednesday, June 06, 2007

NYC FBI Interop Check-In

I finally had a chance to catch the weekly (I think) test of the Federal Interoperability repeater in the New York City area. The test started at 10AM with "FBI Operations" calling a list of participating agencies on 167.7875 MHz, P-25 digital. The agencies that checked in with FBI Control included:

ATF New York
ATF Newark
US Attorney Eastern District
DEA New York
DEA Newark
FEMA
US Marshals Southern District
US Marshals Eastern District
US Marshals New Jersey
ICE New York
ICE New Jersey
CBP New York
CBP Tactical JFK
Coast Guard Sector New York
Secret Service New York
Secret Service New Jersey
IRS New York
Park Police Manhattan
Park Police Brooklyn
Postal Inspectors New York
Postal Inspectors New Jersey
US Attorney Long Island
Air Marshals New York
Essex County SO
Nassau County Police

Previous reports that I had received on this interop repeater said that they had heard this repeater tied to 414.750 MHz during these tests, but I did not hear any activity on the UHF frequency during this morning's test.

Earlier in the morning, I caught two FBI radio techs checking coverage of this repeater with a hand held radio. The gentleman that was mobile was north of the NYC area on I-287 near the White Plains area, which is apparently the northern limit on this repeater.

Tuesday, June 05, 2007

Washington DC Trip


I just spent a few days working in the Washington DC area. Too much to listen to there!!! Besides all the new trunked systems and military stuff, the federal bands are just hopping there with almost every federal frequency allocation being used.


Notes and frequencies from my trip will be featured in an upcoming Fed Files, but a couple of interesting notes:


In the July Monitoring Times Fed Files, there will be a feature on the Secret Service. As I noted on that column, the Secret Service has switched over the P-25 digital modes, but does not seem to be 100% full time encrypted. Some transmission on 165.7875 MHz (BAKER) were in clear P-25.


The Uniformed Division of the Secret Service is highly visible and very busy with encrypted P-25 operations on their VHF frequencies (also featured in the upcoming MT).


167.4125 MHz was busy with what sounded like a large, rolling surveillance operation by the FBI. Strangely it was all analog, in the clear. Perhaps units from different areas without the right encryption keys?


Most of the UHF federal band is full of Motorola and LTR PassPort trunked systems. But there are a few conventional systems in the UHF band there.


DoD military APCO P-25 trunked systems in the 380 MHz band are springing up like weeds in a back yard around the DC area. Hard to keep track of who's on first with those, as they are encrypted on about 80% of the traffic heard.


2007 National Hurrican Operations Plan


From the Office of the Federal Coordinator for Meteorology:


Interesting document with several references to communications. Here are a few highlites:

5.5.4.2.1. The 53 WRS shall only use the call sign "Teal ##," AOC shallonly use "NOAA ##," NASA shall only use "NASA ##," and NRL shall useonly Warlock587.ATC will provide TEAL and NOAA aircraft priority handling when specifically requested.
5.5.4.5.1. During NHOP missions, commencing 5 minutes prior torelease of dropsondes from FL190 or higher, the aircraft commander will broadcast in the blind on radio frequencies 121.5 MHZ and 243.0 MHZ to advise any traffic in thearea of the impending drop. Pilots shall not make these broadcasts if they will interfere with routine ATCcommunications, such as in the vicinity of an airport approach control facility. The aircraft commander is responsible for determining the content and duration of a broadcast, concerning a dropsonde release or sensor activation.
5.9.1. General. The 53 WRS WC-130 and NOAA WP-3D aircraft will normally transmit reconnaissance observations via the Air Force Satellite Communications System(AFSATCOM), commercial SATCOM or high frequency (HF) radio phone patch. Figures 5-12 and 5-13 depict the ASDL and AFSATCOM communications links. The NOAA G-IV will normally transmit WMO Temp Drop messages via commercial SATCOM. Flight meteorologists should contact CARCAH following the first fix, and periodically throughout the mission.
5.9.2. Air-to-Ground Communications (HF Radio). The weather reconnaissance crew may relay weather data via direct telephone patch to the weather data monitor. Monitors will evaluate these reports and disseminate them through the Air Force'sAutomated Weather Network (AWN) or to the weather communications facility at Suitland, Maryland. When requested, aeronautical stations will provide a discrete frequency for mission use, if possible. Specific radio procedures and terminology will comply with Allied Communications Publication 125, Standard Telephone and Radio Procedures. The use of IMMEDIATE precedence for transmission of hurricane reconnaissance data is authorized because of the perishable nature and potential operational impact of weather data. Data will be routed by direct phone patch between the aircraft and CARCAH.
5.9.3. Air-to-Air Communications. When more than one aircraft is known to be operating in a particular area of interest, the following frequencies will be used for airplane-to-airplane communications and coordination unless otherwise directed by air traffic control:• Primary: VHF 123.05 MHZ• Secondary: UHF 304.8 MHZ• Back-up: HF 4701 KHz USB

Definitely worth a look! Thanks to Robert Wyman for alerting me to this material!

Saturday, May 19, 2007

415.2 Oddity In Memphis

Some strange happenings have been observed in the Memphis, Tennessee over the last couple of days. When I got in to town on Wednesday evening and started searching the federal bands, I came across a repeater on 415.2000 MHz that was keyed up all the time with a "beep-beep" about every 7 seconds. It was definitely coming from downtown Memphis, as I could get Close-Call hits from it and hear it without an antenna on the radio. This frequency is normally used by the Federal Protective Service in many cities and may still be used by General Services Administration maintenance operations in some areas.

On Thursday, while in Forrest City, Arkansas, the same constant-carrier with the "beep-beep" was heard on 409.3500 MHz while in that area. I was not able to determine where that repeater was located.

I actually sat and listened to the constant "beep-beep" signal on Saturday for a while. It appears that the repeater is still getting signals in to the input. I heard quite a few radio key-ups and actual voice transmissions, but it was like they were talking to someone that was never heard responding over the repeater. Most of the transmissions I did hear were maintenance related, i.e., getting doors unlocked, refrigerators not working, etc.. Again, I heard some units calling others, but would only hear one side of the conversation.

I know some repeater systems will transmit this "beep-beep" signal to indicate something needs attention, such as a commercial power failure, a control link failure or something along those lines. But what this means is a mystery to me!

Friday, May 18, 2007

New BoP System Info




In the quest to document and build a database of Bureau of Prisons radio systems, there have been some BoP facilites that we just don't have any information on. Some are located in rural areas that just may not have any listeners nearby. This is probably the case for the Federal Correctional Complex in Forrest City, Arkansas.

I happened to be in nearby Memphis, TN and made a side trip over to see what I could find about the FCC Forrest City's radio system. Here is what I found:

Federal Correctional Complex Forrest City

Motorola Type II SmartNet

System ID - a733

Base - 406.8125

Step - 12.5

Offset - 380

406.8125

407.0125

407.4125

408.2125

408.8125

409.6750

410.5250

The system is using P-25 digital voice and seems to be very busy.

This system information will be added to the Fed Files BoP Database that is available for download on the Monitoring Times website. It is in the "Readers Only" section of the site, and requires a password found in the latest issue of Monitoring Times magazine.

Friday, May 11, 2007

Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory


The Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory in the San Francisco Bay area operates a multi-site UHF trunked system with sites all over. The system info was removed from the RadioReference web site at the request of the LLNL.

On a recent trip through San Francisco I found that there appears to be a site on this system located in or near downtown San Francisco. It is a Motorola Type II UHF system that is using P-25 voice. The system ID is 5434 and I found Site 6 to be coming in full strength with no antenna on the radio while I was at AT&T Park. Here is the site info:

406.1500 MHz - Control Channel, System 5434, Site 6

407.8625 MHz - Voice Channel

408.3875 MHz - Voice Channel

416.8625 MHz - Input to 407.8625

417.3875 MHz - Input to 408.3875
UPDATE: I have been informed that Site 6 of this system is in fact located at the Lawrence Berkley Lab, across the bay from San Francisco.

Hoover Dam


I had some spare time on a recent trip to Las Vegas, so we decided to take a trip out to the Hoover Dam and see what had changed in the last 10 years since I was there last.
As it turns out, quite a bit had changed. There is a fabulous new visitors center, a great parking ramp and the construction of the new bridge over the dam is quite impressive. But traffic still slows to a crawl well before you get to the dam, due mainly to the new security checkpoints that all vehicles must pass through.
Here is what I picked up on the scanner while at the dam:
163.1250, P-25 - Hoover Dam Police repeater
165.6000, P-25 - Hoover Dam Police input
166.3000
167.1500
169.8000, 173.8pl
170.0500
172.6000
Some of these frequencies are related to the Lake Mead National recreation Area. I also spotted a UHF omni and a UHF Yagi antenna mounted at the center of the dam, both pointed down towards the bottom of the dam. It might be that the dam operations are using UHF, but never found any active UHF frequencies while there.

Monday, April 30, 2007

Update At ORD

On my return trip through Chicago, I had more time to break out multiple scanners and try to figure out some of what I heard on my last trip.

First off, the 163.4750 MHz frequency does NOT appear to be the TSA on further listening. It is, in fact, the Immigrations and Customs Enforcement operations at the International Terminal at O'Hare Airport. However, it gets strange in that all the traffic on this repeater is also heard on another repeater on 163.7500 MHz, located somewhere nearby. These frequencies are quite busy with announcements as to incoming flights and baggage movement (thus my thinking it was TSA at first). I also heard one unit calling CHARLIE 100 about taking a subject under arrest to a holding cell. CHARLIE 100 is the Customs & Border Patrol National Law Enforcement Communications Center in the Orlando, FL area.

Next, I discovered the 165.8500 MHz frequency is actually the input to the ICE/CBP repeater on 163.6250 MHz, which does appear to be at ORD. I heard more than a few units switch between the 163.6250 and 163.4750 frequencies.

The 169.1625 MHz repeater does appear to be TSA, but have not confirmed the input. 172.1500 MHz is definitely in use by the TSA at ORD.

And finally, while searching, I got a couple of brief hits on 167.0375 MHz. I don't know who that might have been. All the frequencies listed in this blog entry were using APCO P-25 digital mode and un-encrypted.

Friday, April 27, 2007

New Dallas Frequencies




On a quick visit in the Dallas area, I discovered some new P-25 frequencies active in the downtown Dallas area. 406.6625 MHz (repeater) and 415.6625 MHz (input to 406.6625) appear to be a 24/7 security operation. Local sources are indicating that this is most likely the Federal Reserve Bank, located at 2200 North Pearl Street, a stone's throw from where I was staying.

New TSA Freqs Found???


While waiting for my delayed departure from Chicago's O'Hare Airport, I found what appears to be several new P-25 conventional frequencies in use by the TSA (Transportation Security Administration). This seems to continue the trend of the TSA showing up on new frequencies where they might have interference issues with another nearby commercial airport. Previously I had only heard the nationwide frequencies of 172.15 and 172.9 in use at ORD, but here's what is being used now:

163.4750, P-25 - Repeater that seems to carry a lot of informal traffic regarding baggage screening and personel assignments. I did not find the input to this repeater.
165.8500, P-25 - TSA operations, appears to be the input to a repeater on 169.1625 MHz.
169.1625, P-25 - TSA Operations at ORD. This frequency is also used by the TSA at DFW Airport in Grapevine, Texas.
172.1500, P-25 - TSA Simplex operations at ORD. This remains as one of the normal, nationwide TSA channels that is still in use at ORD.
While searching these out, I also came across a P-25 repeater on 163.6250 MHz, most likely an Immigrations and Customs Enforcement (ICE) repeater at ORD.


Friday, April 20, 2007

NASA JSC Shooting


News reports indicate a suspect fired two gun shots then barricaded himself in Building 44 at the Johnson Space Center campus in Houston, Texas. As of the time of this blog entry, the situation was still unfolding.

For those wondering about monitoring the situation at JSC, the best bet would be listening to the Houston police conventional UHF frequencies for any activity. The Johnson Space Center does have a UHF federal trunked system for all of it's radio communications, but at last check all the radios were using P-25 digital mode with encryption enabled full time.

For future reference:

NASA Johnson Space Center
Motorola Smart Zone
System ID B32C
406.2375 MHz
407.0375 MHz
407.2375 MHz
407.4375 MHz
407.6375 MHz
408.5500 MHz
409.5125 MHz
409.7125 MHz
409.9125 MHz

Thursday, April 19, 2007

VAMC Pittsburgh Radio Updates


I've received some information about changes to the Pittsburgh VA Medical Center radio frequencies. It appears that they are in the process of moving frequencies around and are actually simulcasting on old and new frequencies at the same time.

Here's what is reported as active these days:
171.0125 - PL 103.5 - Transports
173.9375 - PL 103.5 - Transports
172.6875 - P25 - Police
169.0125 - P25 - Police
166.2500 - P25 - Police Input
171.2625 - PL 127.3 - Emergency
170.5875 - PL 127.3 - Emergency
169.5875 - PL 114.8 - Maintenance
171.1875 - PL 114.8 - Maintenance
163.2375 - Paging

Monday, April 09, 2007

New Low Profile Federal Radios


A few years ago I saw this request for information from the Department of Homeland Security regarding a "low profile", cell-phone look-alike radio:

http://www.cbd-net.com/index.php/search/show/575529

A recent posting on the "Batlabs" board indicates that Motorola has come out with just what DHS wanted, and they are calling it the XTS4000:

http://batboard.batlabs.com/viewtopic.php?p=313386&sid=1896dc86ad52bb7b6e99d3773ecc31f2

While there is some speculation that these were developed with the IWN trunked system in mind (since they will do P-25 VHF trunking), I would guess that any federal agency using VHF systems would be interested in a radio like this. This model covers VHF frequencies, but could a UHF version be in the works?

Some additional information on the radio can be found at these links to the FCC web site:

Photos:
https://gullfoss2.fcc.gov/prod/oet/forms/blobs/retrieve.cgi?attachment_id=738677&native_or_pdf=pdf

https://gullfoss2.fcc.gov/prod/oet/forms/blobs/retrieve.cgi?attachment_id=738678&native_or_pdf=pdf

Operator manual:
https://gullfoss2.fcc.gov/prod/oet/forms/blobs/retrieve.cgi?attachment_id=738680&native_or_pdf=pdf

https://gullfoss2.fcc.gov/prod/oet/forms/blobs/retrieve.cgi?attachment_id=738682&native_or_pdf=pdf

Sunday, April 01, 2007

IWN Redux - It's Growing Again! UPDATED!

Reports are being posted on RadioReference.com that a new IWN site has shown up in the Sault Ste. Marie, Michigan area. It is broadcasting a P-25 control channel on 167.8125 MHz and is showing the IWN System ID of 715 with a tower number of 12015 (looks like they are expecting a lot of tower sites!). Here are some additional site frequencies as recently posted on RadioReference:

167.8125 - Primary Control Channel
167.9375 - Voice
168.1875 - Alternate Control Channel
170.9375 - Voice

This comes despite information in the recently released OIG report about the IWN Project. In that report it was stated that the next phase of the IWN deployment would be in the Southwest US:

http://www.usdoj.gov/oig/reports/OBD/a0725/final.pdf

The IWN has recently grown from the initial "testbed" system in Western Washington State down in to Northern Oregon and is expected to continue to grow as the project continues. Listeners in the Northeren Michigan area should keep an ear out for additional control channels and voice channels that go with them!

Friday, March 30, 2007

Los Angeles BoP MDC


For a while I have been seeking information on the Los Angeles Metropolitan Detention Center, operated by the US Bureau of Prisons. I just stumbled on several P-25 voice channels and a Motorola trunked control channel that I think may be located at the LA MDC in downtown Los Angeles.
I think I have picked up this control channel on my last visit to LA, but the frequency is also used by the Camp Pendelton UHF trunked system, and I may have ignored it.
Still working on more system information but here is what I have so far:
Motorola Type II
System ID - ca0b
406.8125 - P25 voice
409.4125 - P25 voice
409.9500 - Control channel

Thursday, March 29, 2007

Fed Files Contest Winner!


Congratulations to David Stearns of Overland Park, Kansas. He won the drawing for an original copy of Monitoring Times, volume 1, #4. That issue of MT featured a front page story about the NTIA classifying the federal frequency Master File.
Thanks to everyone who entered the Fed Files drawing. We'll do it again when we come up with another prize!


Wednesday, March 28, 2007

CBP Border Patrol Update



After my recent trip to Arizona, I decided to dust off my listings for the DHS Customs & Border Protection Border Patrol. The Border Patrol continues to use its legacy VHF frequencies that are in blocks assigned to the Justice Department.

Currently the CBP Border Patrol doesn’t have a national channel plan like some agencies, but assigns their frequencies as needed locally. Along both the northern and southern border areas (except for southern California), the 163 MHz frequencies are the “backbone” repeaters with multiple input frequencies, from the 162 MHz, 165 MHz and 168 MHz blocks of frequencies. These frequencies can be used as repeaters or “local” simplex frequencies as well.

In areas not near the US borders, the former US Immigration agents, now part of DHS as the Immigration and Customs Enforcement may use frequencies from these blocks for local use.

162.8250
162.8500
162.8750
162.9000
162.9250
162.9500
162.9750

163.0500
163.1000
163.3750
163.5500
163.6000
163.6250
163.6500
163.6625
163.6750
163.7000
163.7250
163.7500
163.7750
163.8250
163.8875
163.9625

164.0500
164.5500

165.8000
165.8250
165.8500
165.8625
165.8750
165.9000
165.9250
165.9750

166.5875
166.8500

168.3500
168.8000
168.8250
168.8500
168.8625
168.8750
168.9000
168.9250
168.9500
168.9750

170.3500
170.6250
170.6750
170.7000
170.7250
170.7375
170.7500
170.7750
170.8250
171.3125
171.7250
172.5250
173.6875
173.7750

Besides the frequencies listed above, most CBP Border Patrol units have access to the national CBP Customs radio nets listed in a previous blog entry:

http://mt-fedfiles.blogspot.com/2006/06/dhs-cbp-channel-lineup.html

Sunday, March 25, 2007

Phoenix Federal Scanning


Just finishing up a weeks work in the Phoenix, Arizona area and found quite a bit of federal activity. Despite the use of encrypted P-25 in southern California Border Patrol activity, southern Arizona remains a mix of analog and DES encryption.

163.6500 DHS CBP DES
163.7750 123.0 DHS CBP BORDER PATROL
164.6000 100.0 DHS CBP
165.2375 100.0 DHS CBP NET 1
165.6375 P-25 TRUNKED SYSTEM 534 SITE 107- PRIMARY CC
166.3250 ?
166.7000 P-25 TRUNKED SYSTEM 534 SITE 107- ALTERNATE CC
167.6250 127.3 TONTO NF?
167.8250 P-25
168.9750 100.0 DHS CBP BORDER PATROL
169.4000 CSQ REPEATER - USFS?
169.4500 100.0 DHS CBP - DES
171.7500 123.0
172.8250 P-25 FAA PHOENIX
173.6875 123.0 DHS CBP BORDER PATROL
173.7125 P-25 ? ENC
173.8375 P-25 UNKNOWN - KEYS UP WITH NO VOICE
411.6750 ?
418.9500 156.7 DEA F6
The trunked sites listed are part of the Phoenix Metro P-25 800 MHz Public Safety system. They've been on the air for a couple of years now, but I don't know if anyone has actually heard them used yet.

Justice IWN Update - The Next Move?

As I have been reporting both on the Fed Files blog and in the Fed Files column in Monitoring Times, the Justice Integrated Wireless Network or IWN continues to grow and progress towards it's goal of being a nationwide digital trunked system for federal agencies. However, a recent audit of the systems shows there are some troubles for the IWN Project:

http://www.usdoj.gov/oig/reports/OBD/a0725/final.pdf

The above link contains some interesting information about the project and its use by various agencies so far.

The IWN expanded it's coverage from Washington State down in to Oregon and the Portland metro area in late 2006. It now appears to be in full use by Portland area federal agencies. We've been monitoring a LOT of activity on the system in the last month or so, almost 24/7. Several talk-groups on the system are showing the majority of the activity, but since the radios have been set up with the encryption selected automaticaly, I haven't heard any clear transmissions since the radio techs finished with their installation tests. But remember - systems are not encrypted, talk groups are not encrypted, but it is the individual radios that are encrypted.

So where will the IWN show up next? Information in the above referenced audit report confirms that the southwest US is the next region to start the build out. I am currently in the Phoenix area (more on that in another blog entry) and have noted there is a P-25 control channel on 165.6375 MHz. It is part of the Phoenix area P-25 trunked system that allows federal VHF users to tie directly in to the 800 MHz system without patches.

Here is some budget information for the IWN project:

http://www.dhs.gov/xlibrary/assets/mgmt/e300-dhs-iwn2008.pdf

So keep a lookout for P-25 control channels showing up in the VHF federal band in your area!

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

NOAA UHF Weather Links

Some listeners may not know that the NOAA has some UHF frequencies that are used for "links" between the NOAA Weather Offices and the VHF weather transmitters that are located across the country. Sometimes, depending on the location of the NOAA offices, you can hear the weather broadcasts better on the UHF link frequency. And if the VHF Weather transmitter is off the air for some reason, you still might be able to catch the feed on the UHF frequency!

Here are some UHF frequencies that are allocated for use by the NOAA:

410.1000 - Weather Link
410.1750
410.4750
410.5500
410.5750 - Weather Link
410.6750
410.7250
410.8500
410.8750
412.3250
415.8500
415.9000 - Weather Link
416.3750 - Weather Link
416.9750 - Weather Link


I have noted where I have heard the NOAA weather being linked to VHF transmitter sites.
So if you have trouble hearing the normal VHF NOAA Weather frequencies, give the UHF federal band a search!

National Marine Fisheries Service

I received some frequencies that are reported to be used by the National Marine Fisheries Service, a division of NOAA:

http://www.nmfs.noaa.gov/

These are reported as being used in hand-held radios. I haven't confirmed these personally, but hope someone can!

NOAA NMFS Portlables

410.7000

410.7250

410.8750

410.9750

Thursday, March 08, 2007

FBI Aircraft Call Signs


This past year we have seen reports of FBI aircraft operations using a new call sign. Previously the call sign of ROSS was used by aircraft being used in FBI operations. This call sign was used on the FAA air traffic control channels in order to identify them as a law enforcement aircraft to flight controllers. The ROSS call was followed by numbers, sometimes related to the aircraft FAA registration, or "N" number.

However, some have reported that the ROSS call has been replaced by the call sign JENNA. Some have reported the call pronounced with a long E, as "jean-ah", others have heard it as "gen-na", with a short E sound. Most recently JENNA 85 (N6317T) was heard landing at Paine Field in Everett, Washington.

I have also received reports that this new JENNA call sign is actually an addition to the ROSS call. The JENNA call is supposed to be used by non-FBI aircraft and non-FBI flight crews being used on FBI operations, where the ROSS call is still used for FBI owned aircraft with FBI flight crews.

As a possible related side note, I recently heard a "JENNA 01" on the ATC channels over Colorado or Utah. Where were they headed?

BTW, the original FAA document that had all the assigned federal aircraft call signs has been modified, and the table with the call signs has been eliminated;


The document linked above used to have a table of assigned call signs for federal law enforcement and military aircraft for use while communicating with FAA air traffic control. I have a printed copy of the original document that contains the call sign table 14-1-51.

Anyone know anything more? Let us know at the Fed Files!

Thursday, March 01, 2007

IAD BETWEEN FLIGHTS




I had a little time between flights at Dulles International Airport near Washington, DC this week. Here's a little of what I was able to scan from Terminal D:
162.3500 MHz - FAA, Wind Shear data?
165.8250 MHz, P-25 - "409 to Command Center..."
168.9250 MHz, P-25 - DHS Customs & Border Protection at IAD
171.2375 MHz - Paging data
172.9000 MHz, P-25 - TSA at IAD - The TSA seems to be encrypted most of the time here. Very unusual for TSA, but I've heard reports they are encrypted full time in San Diego also.
407.8625 MHz, P-25 - Close Call hit on this frequency, sounded like "SIDE DOOR" calling Patrol Units.
408.6000 MHz, P-25 - Another Close Call hit. Active, but unknown who it is.
409.7125 MHz, P-25 - Yet another Close Call hit. Also active and unknown.

Maybe some of the folks who regularly monitor the DC area can fill me in on who all the UHF P-25 frequencies belong to!

Saturday, February 24, 2007

Coast Guard Covers DC


A recent post on the SCAN DC list pointed to this press release about the recent move from Customs and Border Protection to Coast Guard helicopter assets patroling the National Capitol District:

http://www.piersystem.com/go/doc/651/145886/

The Coast Guard is using HH65-C Dolphin helicopters to patrol the DC area and intercept wayward aircraft.

Monday, February 19, 2007

167.8625 MHz Anyone?


For over a year now I have been catching a lot of voice and digital paging data on 167.8625 MHz in different areas of the country. Despite this frequency falling in to the "normal" range used by the FBI, I am 99.9% sure that this is being used by the Department of Veterans Affairs for medical paging at VA Medical Centers across the country . I'm hoping some Fed Files readers can help confirm if this frequency is used in your area. So give this frequency listen and let us know if you catch some paging data or someone calling for a doctor to X-ray!

Wednesday, February 07, 2007

Super Bowl 41 Fedcom Sweep - Updated!



Back from Miami with some frequencies used at Super Bowl 41. A more detailed list with some additional information will be coming soon in the Fed Files column. These frequencies were monitored while on location at Dolphin Stadium over a 5 day period, including Super Sunday:

163.1000, P-25 - Federal Common

163.8625, P-25 - Input to 167.5375 repeater

163.8875, P-25

163.9000, P-25 - Input to 171.4375 FIO repeater

164.4000, P-25 - DHS USSS "Papa"

164.5375 - Unknown analog repeater

164.6500, P-25 - DHS USSS "Tango"

164.9625, 100.0 - Primary DHS Customs Air Marine Division helicopter operations

165.2375, 100.0 - DHS CBP Operations NET 1

165.2875, P-25 - ATF Operations at Dolphin Stadium

167.2625, P-25 - Radio checks at Dolphin Stadium

167.4375, 167.9 - FBI repeater

167.5125, P-25 - FBI simplex operations at Dolphin Stadium

167.5375, P-25 - FBI Interoperability repeater, possibly called "Tactical 2". Heard many radio checks between agencies and even heard "Atlanta" checking in with "Jacksonville".

167.6125, P-25 - FBI

167.6625, P-25 - FBI

167.7625

168.0125

168.8250

168.8750

169.4500. 100.0 - DHS CBP Operations

169.5750

170.8250 - FBI

171.0250

171.4375, P-25 - Primary Interoperability repeater. Links to various agencies heard here, including Metro-Dade Fire Rescue units. Keep an eye on this frequency as it has shown up as a Federal Interop repeater in other major US cities.

173.0750

413.2750, D4431 - US Air Force Thunderbirds Comm Cart at Dolphin Stadium

Fed Files Contest Deadline

For those who are interested in the Monitoring Times Fed Files drawing, the deadline for your entry is coming up quickly. Please have your entry emails in to us by February 15th. For more information, you can see the original post here:

http://mt-fedfiles.blogspot.com/2007/01/fed-files-contest.html

Monday, January 29, 2007

Miami Super Bowl Updates


I will be working at the Super Bowl telecast in Miami for the next week. I am fairly sure that there will be tons of interesting communications to scope out while we are there. I hope to provide some interesting federal logs after the event, so watch the Fed Files blog for updates!

SoCal Federal Searching


Had some time while in the Anaheim / Orange County area of Southern California to search some, and found these frequencies active. I'll update them as I have time:

162.2250, 103.5 pl - Sounds like US Postal Service
163.1500
163.1750, unknown repeater
163.6250, P-25 - ICE repeater
164.4000, P-25 - USSS PAPA
164.9375, 103.5 pl -
165.3125
165.9500
166.8750, P-25 - likely input to 163.6250 repeater
166.9125, P-25 - Clear and encrypted, the clear tansmissions have been mobile units checking in with milages to a dispatcher.
166.9500, P-25 - encrypted
167.2250, P-25 - encrypted
167.4125, 167.9 pl - FBI, unit was "10-8 from Bank of America"
168.8250, P-25 - DHS
169.4250, 141.3 pl - Unknown, data bursts at LAX
169.5500, 100.0 pl - DHS CBP / ICE
169.8750, 123.0 pl
170.7500, P-25 - COMM CENTER with ROBERT units, Federal Courthouse Security
171.0000, 118.8 pl
171.8250, 186.2 pl - Unknown repeater, lots of spanish language, maybe getting tripped from Mexico.

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

JIWN Update


I had a chance to gather some new frequency data for the Justice Integrated Wireless Network P-25 trunked system. This system has started to expand and is the model for more systems that will start appearing in other parts of the country.

I haven't been able to update my logs for all the system sites yet, but here is what I was able to update over the holidays:

Site 106 [T106] – Seattle South
167.2875 - CC
167.3875
167.4625
167.7125

Site 107 [T0107] – Seattle North
167.6875 - CC
167.0000
167.3375
170.9375
172.0625

Site 108 [T0108] – Unknown location
167.6125 - CC
167.2625
167.3625
168.8500
169.4125

Site 112 [T010c] – Baw Faw Peak, WA
171.6875 - CC
167.7375
169.9125
167.2625
167.4375

Site 114 [T010e] – Kalama, WA
170.6750 - CC
171.9875
168.8875

Site 115 [T010f] – Vancouver, WA
167.4625 - CC
168.8250
169.4125

Site 118 [T0112] – SeaTac Area
172.6375 - CC
170.6250

Site 119 [T0113] – Portland, OR – Mount Scott?
172.0625 - CC
170.7250
170.8375
170.9125
170.9375
172.2125
172.4125

Site 120 [T0114] – Portland, OR – Germantown Road?
168.5875 - CC
167.6625
168.9125
169.2375
171.9625
167.5125

Site 121 [T0115] – Portland, OR – Unknown Site
171.6625 - CC
169.9375

Site 122 [T0116] – Portland, OR – Unknown Site
171.6125 - CC
170.0625
172.1875

Site 123 [T0117] – Portland, OR – West Hills Site?
170.9875 - CC
167.6125
168.8500
171.3250
171.4375

Traffic on this system has been mostly encrypted, but I suspect when the interoperability features that will be linked to local public safety systems start showing up, more traffic may be in the clear.

Also, despite the availability of this system, most federal agency conventional channels continue to be used.

Friday, January 19, 2007

NYC Federal Interop Tests


I've received some information about weekly testing of the New York City federal interop radio channels. Reports are that 167.7875 MHz, 407.7750 MHz and 414.7500 MHz are all used in these weekly check-ins with various local, state and federal agencies. The input to the 167.7875 MHz P-25 repeater is believed to be 164.7375 MHz and 407.7750 MHz is most likely the input to the 414.750 MHz repeater. The control operator appears to be the FBI New York Communications Center. I also heard a story that even though 414.7500 MHz is a nationwide US Postal Inspectors frequency, two Postal Inspector units who were trying to use this repeater in New York City were chased off the air by the FBI communications operator. I wonder if they leave these frequencies patched all the time, or someone forgot to drop the patch after the interop test?

For more information on the participating agencies and the radio systems involved:
http://www.ojp.usdoj.gov/nij/topics/commtech/25cities/newyork.pdf

MT Reader Only Access


A new feature of the Monitoring Times website is a "Reader Only" access area. Look for a password in each issue of Monitoring Times for access to this area.
I have started uploading some Fed Files documents that you may find interesting, so check the Reader Only area for new files.
For more information, click the link to the MT web site:
http://www.monitoringtimes.com/ and look for the key icon!

SFO DHS Update


On a recent stopover at San Francisco International Airport (SFO), I was searching the federal bands and found that the DHS CBP/ICE repeater on 170.6250 MHz has as an input of 166.2500 MHz!

Monday, January 15, 2007

Anyone for NAC's?


I've been getting some requests from readers for information about the federal use of Network Access Codes or "NAC"s on P-25 digital channels. So far there are few ways for the monitoring hobby to actually read or use NAC's, but since CTCSS or PL tones are going away when radio channels turn digital, maybe a pattern of NAC assignments by particular agencies will reveal itself.

If you are able to decode NACs on federal P-25 systems, consider starting a federal NAC database here at the Fed Files!

Friday, January 05, 2007

Fed Files Contest


As announced in the January Fed Files column, we are having a contest to celebrate 25 years of Monitoring Times magazine. The prize is an original copy of Monitoring Times Volume 1, number 4, pictured above. All you have to do to be eligible for the drawing is send us your name and contact information (email or postal address - how to get in touch with you in case you win). And, if you like, please let us know what you would like to see in future Fed Files columns. You can e-mail it to me at chrisparris@monitoringtimes.com, or you can mail an entry to Monitoring Times Magazine, 7540 Highway 64 West, Brasstown, NC 28902-0098. The deadline for entries is February 15th. We'll announce the winner shortly after that.