Monday, June 01, 2009

USCG Using Federal I/O Channels

Recent reports are that the US Coast Guard has started using some of the new Federal Interoperability channels for their operations in the field.

Back in early 2008, the Coast Guard began using new narrow-band radios, capable of APCO P-25 digital mode as well as analog. When the new radios went on line, so did some new frequencies.

For many years, Coast Guard listeners were familiar with the "LANT" VHF FM land-mobile channels that some Coast Guard operations used. With the move to narrow-band radios some of these frequencies changed, and they are now referred to by "NET" numbers. Here is the most recent list of these new USCG NET channels, as published in the May 2008 Monitoring Times:
NET 01 139.9750
NET 02 140.4750
NET 03 140.7250
NET 04 141.6125
NET 05 150.7250
NET 06 141.5500
NET 07 150.3000
NET 08 162.0500
NET 09 162.1250
NET 10 162.2500
NET 11 162.3250
NET 12 163.0500
NET 13 163.1375
NET 14 164.3000
NET 15 164.3125
NET 16 164.5500
NET 17 164.5625
NET 18 164.9000
NET 19 164.9125
NET 20 165.2625
NET 21 165.3125
NET 22 165.3250
NET 23 165.3375
NET 24 166.1875
NET 25 167.9000
NET 26 168.8625
NET 27 171.2375
NET 28 172.3125
NET 50 172.0375 (Not Confirmed)
NET 51 165.4625 (Not Confirmed)

Note that in some areas, the NET numbers seem to have 100 added to them for APCO P-25 digital, so NET 1 would become NET 101 if they are digital. Unknown if this is standard through out the entire CG.

In addition to the new P-25 NETs, the new radios also contain the new VHF federal interoperability frequencies that have been made available to all federal agencies. There are two groups of VHF federal interop channels available in the CG radios and here they are:
VHF Law Enforcement (LE)
LE-A 167.0875 (simplex)
LE-1 167.0875
LE-2 167.2500
LE-3 167.7500
LE-4 168.1125
LE-5 168.4625
LE-6 167.2500 (simplex)
LE-7 167.7500 (simplex)
LE-8 168.1125 (simplex)
LE-9 168.4625 (simplex)

VHF Incident Response (IR)
IR-C 169.5375
IR-1 170.0125
IR-2 170.4125
IR-3 170.6875
IR-4 173.0375
IR-5 169.5375 (simplex)
IR-6 170.0125 (simplex)
IR-7 170.4125 (simplex)
IR-8 170.6875 (simplex)
IR-9 173.0375 (simplex)

So far, the Coast Guard has been heard using LE-A and LE-2 in some areas. The channel names for these interop frequencies have been changing often, so CG radios also have the 167.0875 MHz channel as LE-C for "LE Calling".

More can be found on these and other federal and non-federal interoperability frequencies in the National Interoperability Field Operations Guide that was mentioned in a previous blog posting. You can find the latest NIFOG download here:

LEWC Information

After searching for new information about the Justice Department's Integrated Wireless Network (IWN) trunked system, I discovered that the new acronym in federal communication is LEWC, or Law Enforcement Wireless Communications. I've also seen some references to LEWN or Law Enforcement Wireless Network in some documents.

LEWC is a broad concept for federal LE communications, which still includes the IWN as part of the big picture. But they have apparently come to realize that the IWN is not going to happen soon enough to replace some of the conventional legacy communications systems in use by various federal aagencies.

Here is a link to the Justice Department's FY 2010 Performance Budget of LEWC. Inside the report are some interesting timetables and maps showing a proposed schedule for some of the new installations and possible IWN expansion: