Tuesday, December 31, 2019

The Passing of Uniden's Paul Opitz

Word began spreading last night about the death of Paul Opitz, otherwise known as "UPMan" on the scanner forums on Radio Reference.

Paul was the product manager for radio scanners at the Uniden Corporation in the U.S. He was instrumental in the design and development of all the recent models of radio scanners made and sold by Uniden.


Paul discovered he had cancer very suddenly in 2017 and decided to blog about it. It shows how determined he was to fight and provided some interesting insight to the man that many radio hobbyists knew, but had never met;


Memorial information for Mr. Rodney Paul Opitz, R.I.P. -


Monday, December 30, 2019

January 2020 TSM Corrections

Well, I somehow managed to fat-finger some frequencies in the January 2020 edition of Federal Wavelengths and wanted to post some corrections.

In my January column I spoke about where to look for federal radio traffic. Here are the ranges as I intended to list them:

Most of the active federal radio systems near you are going to be in two distinct bands of radio frequencies. The federal VHF Hi-band runs from 162.0 MHz to 174.0 MHz, with the channels being assigned in 12.5 kHz steps. The federal UHF band runs from 406.0 MHz to 420.0 MHz, also in 12.5 kHz steps. There are some additional ranges of frequencies that are sometimes used by federal and military operations that might be active in your area. The VHF lo-band from 30 MHz to 50 MHz is often used by military aircraft and ground units in the FM analog mode. The ranges of 138.0 MHz through 144.0 MHz and 148.0 MHz through 150.875 MHz are often used by military land mobile and aircraft operations. They can be AM (for aircraft) or FM (for land mobile) mode and may be digital as well. There is a small piece of radio spectrum above the federal UHF band that runs from 400.0 MHz to 406.0 MHz, that is normally assigned to radio astronomy use, but there are exceptions for military and federal use. There have been several examples of federal operations being heard in this range of frequencies, but it’s rare."

Thursday, November 14, 2019

Another 380 MHz Trunked System and Garage Doors

Another story has  emerged about people having trouble with their garage door remote controls likely due to interference from a government 380 MHz trunked radio system:


These systems have been blamed in other areas for causing issues, but since the garage door openers are FCC Part 15 devices, they have to accept any interference from licensed users. The door opener remotes are often built with poor selectivity and get de-sensed from the legitimate radio systems nearby.

Saturday, October 12, 2019

VHF P-25 DoD System Near Pittsburgh?

A recent posting over on Radio Reference indicates that a new VHF P-25 multi-site radio system is being heard in the Pittsburgh area, in southwestern Pennsylvania.

System information was posted as shown below:

Pittsburgh Area VHF P-25 DoD System?
Network: BEE00.8A8
Bandplan #4:
Site: 1.1 NAC=8A0
Neighbors: 1.2, 1.3, 1.4, 1.5 
Channel 4-179: 138.2375 CC 
Channel 4-215: 138.6875 CC SCC 

Site: 1.2 NAC=8A0
Neighbors:1.1, 1.3, 1.4, 1.5 
Channel 4-163: 138.0375 CC SCC 
Channel 4-205: 138.5625 CC SCC VOICE 
Channel 4-255: 139.1875 VOICE DATA 
Channel 4-495: 142.1875 VOICE DATA 

Site: 1.3 NAC=8A0
Neighbors: 1.1, 1.2, 1.4, 1.5 
Channel 4-181: 138.2625 CC 
Channel 4-217: 138.7125 SCC 
Channel 4-291: 139.6375 VOICE 
Channel 4-519: 142.4875 VOICE 

Site: 1.4 NAC=8A0
Neighbors: 1.1, 1.2, 1.3, 1.5 
Channel 4-203: 138.5375 CC 
Channel 4-243: 139.0375 SCC 

Site: 1.5 NAC=8A0
Neighbors: 1.1, 1.2, 1.3, 1.4 
Channel 4-201: 138.5125 CC 
Channel 4-219: 138.7375 CC SCC

Anyone have any information on the system being heard and where it might be?

There is already a VHF P-25 system at the Pittsburgh Air Reserve Station at the Pittsburgh International Airport. This system is part of a US Air Force system covering many bases:
Site 1-015
Pittsburgh Air Reserve Station  Allegheny, PA      

Tuesday, September 10, 2019

VHF Marine Channel Number Changes

The US Coast Guard has a nice chart of the numbering changes on some of the VHF marine radio channels used in the United States. Here is a link to the chart:


So why the changes? Here's an explanation from the Coast Guard:

Note that the four digit channel number beginning with the digits "10" indicates simplex use of the ship station transmit side of what had been an international duplex channel.  These new channel numbers, now recognized internationally, were previously designated in the US by the two digit channel number ending with the letter "A".  That is, the international channel 1005 has been designated in the US by channel 05A, and the US Coast Guard channel 1022 has been designated in the US as channel 22A.

Thursday, August 08, 2019

ELMR 14C Sites in Barstow CA

On a recent drive between Las Vegas and Burbank, I ran across two ELMR 14C sites in Barstow, CA supporting the Marine Corps Logistics Center there; https://www.mclbbarstow.marines.mil

The Radio Reference database has never shown any sites for Barstow, so these may be new.

Also, the 14C system has been undergoing upgrades to Phase II and some site number changes, so some of the data shown on Radio Reference is out of date.

Here are the PRO96COM logs - note that the two sites only show each other as neighbors. Both sites were showing a P-25 NAC of N14C;

System ID : 14C
Tower Number (Decimal): 5-16
Tower Number (Hex) : T0510
Tower Description : SITE 05-016 BARSTOW CA
Control Capabilities : Data,Voice,Registration
Flavor : Phase 2
Call Sign(s) :
Timestamp : Mon Aug 5 12:18:54 2019

#Format: Table ID,Base Freq,Spacing,Input Offset,Assumed/Confirmed,BandWidth,Slots

#Format: Channel,Usage,Frequency(/Slot),Input Channel,Input Frequency(/Slot),Input Explicit(1/0),Hit Count

#Format: TowerID,TowerIDHex,System ID,Channel,Frequency,Tower Name

System ID : 14C
Tower Number (Decimal): 5-17
Tower Number (Hex) : T0511
Tower Description :
Control Capabilities : Data,Voice,Registration
Flavor : Phase 2
Call Sign(s) :
Timestamp : Mon Aug 5 12:20:39 2019

#Format: Table ID,Base Freq,Spacing,Input Offset,Assumed/Confirmed,BandWidth,Slots

#Format: Channel,Usage,Frequency(/Slot),Input Channel,Input Frequency(/Slot),Input Explicit(1/0),Hit Count

#Format: TowerID,TowerIDHex,System ID,Channel,Frequency,Tower Name
516,"T0510",14c,"02-0428",385.35000,"SITE 05-016 BARSTOW CA"

Sunday, July 07, 2019

Providence, RI

Time for an update to the Fed Files blog!

I recently spent a few days in the downtown Providence area and had some interesting federal radio activity. Here are  few things I heard:

162.6125, N293  - VA Providence, repeater out. 
162.7000, N293 - Input to US Marshals Service 170.7500
163.0875, DCS 351 - VA Maintenance repeater out.
164.7000, DCS 023 - Automated alarm notifications - VA Telcom repeater out.
166.5000, DCS 351 - Input to VA Maintenance repeater.
170.7500, N293 - US Marshals Service Federal Courthouse
171.2375, N293 - US Coast Guard NET 127, Warwick, RI 
172.1500, N0D3 - TSA at PVD airport
173.2250, NXDN RAN 30, probably not federal, radio ID of 60991, talk group 20005, all ENC
406.1375, CC1 - DMR US Postal Service Capacity +
407.3375, CC1 - DMR US Postal Service Capacity +
408.2000, N201 - Federal Protective Service

Friday, April 12, 2019

US Miltary P25 Low Band Report

I have reported several sources indicating that they have heard some P-25 digital modes in to 30 - 88 MHz VHF low band that were assumed to be military. Some were with confirmed P-25 Network Access Codes (NAC), but I have recently heard a report of actual military activity using P25 digital.

From somewhere in Wisconsin:

40.4000 MHz, P25 NAC F7E - Military aircraft (helicopters) in the clear, base side encrypted

Some have asked how this can be, as none of the major equipment manufacturers make VHF low-band P-25 radios, at least not for civilian use. 

The major players in the military communications market (Harris, Thales, Motorola) all offer wide band, multi-mode radios that can be used in nearly any mode on any frequency. P-25 is an optional mode for these radios. 

It's still not known for sure if this is an intentional move to use P25 in the VHF low band, or just accidental programming of a particular channel. 

Saturday, April 06, 2019

More DEA VHF Transition

Some new VHF frequencies likely being used by the DEA have been heard active in the San Francisco Bay Area in California. Here are the confirmed frequencies:

172.2125, N156
173.1625, N156
173.4750, N156 
173.9250, N156

The old UHF DEA frequencies have been pretty quiet in the Bay Area for some time, and one source even mentioned seeing the old DEA UHF repeaters being removed from service.

New Federal UHF Trunked System in Austin, TX

A new UHF P25 trunked system in the UHF band has been reported in the Austin, Texas area. Discussions on Radio Reference can be followed here:


The system has been reporting this information so far:

WACN 0000A 
SysID 00A 
Site 005-005
Control channels   407.075 406.775 

neighboring site     001-001 408.625 
neighboring site     003-003 406.775

Unfortunately, the system ID of 00A is a "default" system ID that many Harris trunked systems start out with, and many do not change.

Saturday, March 23, 2019

Super Bowl 53 Wrap Up

Here are the listings of frequencies I logged during my two weeks of work in Atlanta at Super Bowl 53. While not all of the activity was directly related to the Super Bowl game, nearly everything in the area was affected by the event and the surrounding security operations. If I was able to confidently identify the users, I have provided that information:

122.9500         AM                  Local Atlanta air traffic advisories
123.0250         AM                  Local Atlanta helicopters and banner flights over MB Stadium
139.8750         173.8PL          Civil Air Patrol
141.1750         AM                  USAF Thunderbirds
149.2750         141.3PL          Civil Air Patrol

162.0125         N653  
162.2250         NB10  ICE
162.9250         NB11  ICE
162.9750         N653  
163.1000         N1B3
163.1125         N272   TSA VIPR Units
163.4750         N309
163.4750         N293   CBP AIR 9
163.5250         N299  
163.6750         N152   DHS ICE
163.7000         N169   DHS ICE NAT TAC 1
163.7875         N167   FBI
163.8125         N864   US Marshals Service
164.1875         N293  
164.4000         N001   USSS PAPA
164.6500         N001   USSS TANGO
164.7875         N001   TSA @ ATL  
165.2875         N650   BATFE
165.3625         N167   FBI
165.7250         N293  
166.4750         NB10  ICE
166.9750         N167   FBI
167.1625         N650   BATFE
167.2125         N167   FBI
167.2375         N167   FBI
167.3875         N167   FBI
167.4875         N167   FBI
167.5125         N167   FBI
167.5375         N167   FBI
167.5625         N167   FBI
167.6375         N167   FBI
167.6750         N293   US Marshals Federal Courthouse
167.7125         N167   FBI
167.7375         N167   FBI
168.1125         N68F   NTIA LE-4
168.3500         N1B3 
168.4625         N68F   NTIA LE-5
168.5875         N001   CBP VACIS Operation
168.6375         N864   US Marshals Service
168.7500         N167   FBI
168.8375         N001   TSA @ ATL
168.8375         N293   CBP AIR 1
168.9000         N293  
169.1625         N293   CBP AIR 4
169.3750         NB10  ICE
169.6625         N292   CBP VACIS Operation
169.7375         NB10  ICE
169.8125         N293   MLK Center Atlanta - security
169.9125         NB10  ICE
170.1000         NB10  ICE
170.4375         NB10  ICE
170.4750         N653   Atlanta Federal Interoperability Repeater
170.5125         N864   US Marshals Service
170.6500         N156   DEA Simplex
170.7500         N293   US Marshals Federal Courthouse Security
170.7875         N272   TSA VIPR Units
170.8500         N864   US Marshals Service
170.8875         N167   FBI
170.9125         N167   FBI
170.9500         N156   DEA
170.9875         NB10  ICE
171.1875         NB10  ICE
171.2000         N293  
171.3250         N281   CBP VACIS Operations
171.3875         N001
171.5250         NB10  ICE
171.6250         N167   FBI
172.0500         N167   FBI
172.0625         N001  
172.1125         NB10  ICE
172.2250         N001  
172.2625         N281   CBP VACIS Operations
172.8750         N293   FAA "SOUTH COM"
172.9000         N001   TSA @ ATL
172.9750         N003
173.7875         NB10  ICE

406.1125         N3C1  System 3CD, Site 1-41
406.3375         N482   Postal Inspection Service
406.5000         N293  
406.7750         N3C0  System 3CD, Site 1-42
407.0000         N201   FPS Atlanta Operations
407.0125         N2B5  US Prison Atlanta TRS C92B
407.7250         N482   Postal Inspection Service
407.8125         N3C1  System 3CD, Site1-41
408.0000         N293   Security operation, gate checks
408.2500         N2B5  US Prison Atlanta TRS C92B
408.4375         N3C0  System 3CD, Site 1-42
408.6375         N3C0  System 3CD, Site 1-42
409.2125         N2B5  US Prison Atlanta TRS C92B
409.2625         N201   FPS Atlanta Area
409.3000         N3C1  System 3CD, Site 1-41
409.4125         N2B5  US Prison Atlanta TRS C92B
410.0375         N3C1  System 3CD, Site 1-41
410.8000         N201   FPS Atlanta
412.9625         N201   FPS Atlanta
413.9500         N201   FPS Atlanta
415.0500         N293   Postal Inspection Service
416.0000         N270  
416.7250         N482   Postal Inspection Service, input to 407.7250
419.8000         N201   FPS, input to 410.8

Many of the Super Bowl related federal operations were heard mostly unencrypted up until the day of the game, then most of the transmissions were fully encrypted.

Friday, March 01, 2019

New Federal Bay Area VHF Trunking?

Reports have been posted on Radio Reference about a new VHF trunking control channel being heard in the San Francisco Bay area of Northern California. Best guesses are that the control channel is coming from Mt. Tamalpais, a popular radio repeater site. 

Here is the system information so far:

173.7875 MHz
P-25 Phase 2
System ID: 4D5
RFSS: 003
Site ID: 067

The system is now in their database:


Since no traffic or talk groups have yet been seen active,  the system may or may not be actually using P-25 Phase 2 voice.  

Speculation abounds as to who this system is being built for. One poster mentioned he had knowledge of a "new federal system for Bay area coverage", but no speculation on agency or agencies.

Friday, January 25, 2019

Super Bowl 53 Updates

Once again I am at Super Bowl LIII in Atlanta, Georgia. I will post some limited updates on federal activity here, but nothing on active operations during the events.

I can confirm a few things that haven't been updated in a while. For some time there was a UHF trunked system in the Atlanta area that was used and manged by the Federal Protective Service, and had leased space used by the various military bases around Atlanta. This system is  no longer on the air, but FPS is using 410.8000 MHz, N201 for conventional operations. I've also heard the FPS on  409.2625 MHz, N201 and 413.9500 MHz, N210.The military bases have moved over to a 380 MHz trunked system,  https://www.radioreference.com/apps/db/?sid=7895

I'm hearing the Federal Interoperability repeater on 170.4750, N653 is in operation.

168.8375, N293, CBP AIR 1, was busy with traffic about checking a live video downlink.

Tonight I found a multi-site P25 Phase II UHF trunked system. It shares the same system ID as the Department of Veterans Affairs system in the Orlando and Miami areas. Might be networked with Florida:

System ID             : 3CD
WACN                  : BEE00
Tower Number (Decimal): 1-41
Tower Number (Hex)    : T0129
Tower Description     : 1-41 ATLANTA
Control Capabilities  : Data,Voice,Registration
Flavor                : Phase 2

#Format: Channel,Usage,Frequency(/Slot),Input Channel,Input Frequency(/Slot),Input Explicit(1/0),Hit Count

#Format: TowerID,TowerIDHex,System ID,Channel,Frequency,Tower Name

I'll update this posting as more becomes available...