Sunday, October 21, 2007

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...

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