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.


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


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    
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


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:



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.

Wednesday, October 10, 2018

TSA Moving to UHF Channels?

A recent posting in the Federal Business Opportunities website,
was sent to my attention.

It appears from the description that the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) is interested in changing out all of their radio equipment from VHF to UHF frequencies. The TSA has just recently gone through an agency-wide upgrade of their VHF radio infrastructure that included new BK radios and equipment. The information provided by the TSA includes this data on thier radio systems:

At the present time, TSA operates approximately 155 repeaters at approximately 150 airports, approximately 120 base stations at approximately at 120 airports, and over 21,000 handheld radios at approximately 415 airports located in the United States of America and its territories. TSA also has Bi-directional amplifier (BDA) and Distributed Antenna Systems (DAS) systems installed at approximately 10 airports. Currently TSA manually encrypts its handheld radios and base stations monthly.

Several folks have inquired as to why they are moving. One suggestion is that the FAA, who shares many of the TSA frequency allocations, was wanting the VHF channels back. I also think that there are more available channels in the federal UHF band (406-420 MHz) than there are in the VHF (162 - 174 MHz) band.

Monday, October 08, 2018

US Park Police in DC Move to P25 Finally

It appears from postings on the Scan-DC mail list that the venerable US Park Police analog radio system may have finally met it's demise.

For some time the Park Police in Washington DC have been using analog FM for their radio transmissions. They have continued to use analog radios long after nearly every other federal agency in the DC region has moved to various forms of digital radios. The analog Park Police frequencies also have long history of being heard over quite an large area around the DC area, and could often be heard into the Philadelphia and even New York City on some occasions.

The new, encrypted, P25 digital frequency lineup for the Park Police will include the following:

168.7875 - ADMIN
171.7750 - DISPATCH

No information yet on P-25 NAC or radio IDs for the Park Police. 

Special thanks to the Capitol Hill Monitor newsletter for keeping up with new developments on this:

New Federal Trunking in DC?

Over last weekend I noticed reports on Radio Reference of a new VHF trunking control channel being heard in Virginia around the Washington DC area.

The frequency of 173.1750 MHz was reported as having a P-25 control channel with a system ID of 981, Site 101 and a WACN of BEE00.  DSD+ shows an alternate control channel of 172.6625 MHz.

Keep an eye on this system as more information comes in:

Saturday, August 11, 2018

Unidentified Federal Trunked System A52

A quick update on the unidentified P-25 trunked sites I and others have heard in the Las Vegas area. Radio reference has updated the entry for this system and it now indicates that it is a multi-site, multi-state system, with sites in California, Arizona and Nevada.

I monitored the control channel data about a month ago on a visit to the area and it still only showed two sites active and no affiliations. But apparently they have been busy with this system build-out.

I suspect this is a Department of the Interior system that will support the Bureau of Reclamation and other DOI activities in the Lower Colorado region.

Although it is listed as "Clark, NV", I am certain that site 112 is at or near the Hoover Dam area, as I get close-call hits on that control channel when I am at the dam.

Here is what is showing at Radio Reference:

2-013     Site 13        Riverside, CA  172.1125
2-061     Site 61        Yuma, AZ       172.650
2-065     Site 65                       172.6502
2-075     Site 75                       172.1375
2-122     Site 112       Clark, NV      172.1125


Sunday, June 03, 2018

TSA Dropped 172.9000 MHz?

Back when the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) began operations in 2002, they were originally under the Department of Transportation (DOT). The radio frequencies that were first standardized to be used by the TSA nationwide included 169.3000, 172.1500 and 172.9000 MHz. These frequencies were culled from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) allocations, and they are still shared between the two agencies.

Since the new radio updates that the TSA has undergone, I have noted a distinct lack of any activity on the 172.9000 MHz frequency as I travel across the country. Most airports still have some activity on the 169.3000 and 172.1500 frequencies (as well as others), but mostly silence on the 172.9000. Anyone hearing activity on 172.9000 MHz, please let me know!

UPDATE - After reviewing my notes and talking with several other listeners, there are a few locations using 172.9 MHz for TSA activity, but it does still appear to be no longer the "primary" VHF repeater frequency that it once was for the TSA nationwide. 

Federal/Military use of NXDN

   I recently saw some discussions about some VHF federal frequencies being used for an NXDN IDAS trunked system in Southern California. Monitoring had provided clues to the system users and it appears to be utilized by the Los Alamitos Joint Forces Training Center in Orange County. So far, two frequencies have been identified as being used by this system, and updates can be found here:

163.4125 MHz - LCN1
163.4375 MHz - LCN2
? - LCN3
   While the use of DMR and NXDN digital modes is increasing in the federal VHF and UHF bands, it is a bit unusual for a military facility to go with a non-standard radio system type when other military bases around the world are joining large networked P-25 digital radio systems.


Tuesday, April 24, 2018

USS Portland HYDRA System

Here is a rundown of the Portland HYDRA shipboard trunked system:

USS Portland (LPD-27)
EDACS Wide-band 
System ID – 003
397.2625         LCN-3
397.6125         LCN-5
397.7625         LCN-6
399.1625         LCN-7
399.3125         LCN-8
399.5625         LCN-9
399.7625         LCN-10

LCN-1 and LCN-2 were showing as part of the system, but were not active, so I could not confirm the frequencies. There was no LCN-4 showing.

Dockside security was using 395.2500, N293 and 398.6500, N293 for simplex communications.

   And one item that came via “close-call” near field monitoring, a UHF air band beacon on 313.6250 MHz. It was a continuous AM carrier with Morse characters “A-I-A” being send every 10 seconds. My assumption is since this vessel handles helicopters and tilt-rotor aircraft, a navigation/homing beacon to the ship would be a must. But I was also told by a friend who spent time in the US Navy that all Navy vessels carry such beacons. 

Tuesday, April 10, 2018


A quick update on an item I posted nearly a year ago:

At the time I heard the Site 2-122 control channel on 172.1375 MHz. During my most recent trip to the Las Vegas area, I caught the control channel on 172.1125 MHz. The site is still broadcasting the same system information and using a NAC of A52.

But during my times of watching the control channel activity, I have yet to see anyone using the system. I've not seen any affiliations to this site and no voice channel grants.

The general assumption is that this is a multi-site VHF P-25 trunked system for the Department of Interior, who manages the Lake Mead National Recreation Area. And with the disbanding of the Hoover Dam Police last year, it was also assumed that the Park Police would take over patrolling the Hoover Dam and related visitors centers. That activity has not yet shown up on the new radio system.

I'll continue to monitor this system as I make it into the Southern Nevada region.

Monday, March 12, 2018

More VHF Lo Band P25?

Last year I wrote about some VHF low-band (30-50 MHz) frequencies that were heard in the P-25 digital mode. The frequencies monitored were 30.0500 MHz, 31.2100 MHz and 35.1900 MHz, all in the P-25 digital mode.

A recent posting on Radio Reference indicated that 30.1000 MHz, N270 was heard in Ohio, possibly being used by the Ohio National Guard.

The wide-band, all mode radio systems being deployed by US military units are indeed capable of P25 digital mode on nearly any VHF or UHF frequencies.

 Anyone else looking for P25 in the VHF low band? Curious if anyone else has caught any.