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  #1 (permalink)  
Old 08-27-2005, 12:22 AM
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Default New DC Metro P-MARS Freq

Just at midnight I heard a roll call by the FBI, Washington DC Field Office that went to scads of metro users. It was on frequency 39.62 mHz. It used a PL tone of 110.9. The woman calling the roll identified it as P-MARS.
There is a list under DC and Montgomery County I found in the database for the 866.3625 P-MARS freq. This adds many users to the net which I submitted to the database so it should show up soon. The nice thing about that freq is that every one of the users was loud and clear although they were all over the DC metro area into Virginia, DC and Maryland.

[Edit] After looking more closely at the database and the 866.3625 P-MARS freq, the users of the Metro P-MARS are not all listed in the same place which is why I thought I was hearing new users. For instance, the MD database listing just lists those units within MD, The DC list just has DC users, etc.
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Last edited by TinEar; 08-27-2005 at 12:50 AM..
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Old 08-27-2005, 1:32 AM
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It sounds like 39.62 was just simulcasting the usual P-MARS radio checks on 866.3625, can anyone confirm?

-Eric
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Old 08-27-2005, 8:12 AM
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This is peculiar. 39.62 w/ PL 110.9 is, of course, the MSP HQ freq (B-16) which gets little use other than q 1/2 hour call signs. Perhaps MSP was testing a patch into PMARS? If a patch were being tested, I'd think that MARNIS 39.26 would be the choice, if anything.

On the topic of DC-PMARS, there was some informed speculation about a year ago that agencies as far away as the MD Eastern Shore would eventually have access to it. At this point, I don't believe that Eastern Shore agencies even have access to the Balt 460.05 ....they certainly don't participate in the roll-call (although MSP "S" has been known to monitor it via the barrack scanner). Just curious if the extended PMARS roll call included any MD agencies East of the Bay.
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Old 08-27-2005, 11:29 AM
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Eric, that was my plan for tonight at midnight - to put radios on both 39.62 and 866.3625. I'd almost bet they were simulcasting on both but I need to prove that. The one major difference is that everyone was so loud and clear on 39.62 whereas I only hear a few of them on the UHF freq.

Dave, no, nothing was east of the bay in the rollcall. As explained above, it wasn't really an extended list of users. I just didn't look at enough places in the database to pick up all of them at first glance. However, see the edit below for how it can get to the Eastern Shore.

[Edit] Adding another thought...the 39.62 MSP freq has the ability to transmit from every MSP tower at every barrack (see first link below) which is what I suspect they were doing during that rollcall due to the signal strength. I was probably hearing the broadcast coming off the Glen Burnie tower which is why it was so loud and clear for every user. I'm not positive where the 866.3625 transmitting points are but it looks like there are three points in MD. They are in PG, Montgomery and Charles Counties. (see second link below) I doubt they would have the broad coverage of the 39.62 freq. With that in mind, some communications guru might have had a stroke of genius to test the concept of patching the net to VHF-Low to test his theory. At least in theory, this could extend the use of the DC Metro P-MARS net to the entire Maryland State Police force. In fact, it did that very thing if it was broadcast from all barrack antenna towers.

http://dettifoss.fcc.gov/acweb/detti...43?ViewDefault

http://dettifoss.fcc.gov/acweb/detti...98?ViewDefault
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Last edited by TinEar; 08-27-2005 at 12:39 PM..
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Old 08-29-2005, 12:28 PM
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I haven't heard the 39.62 roll call again - or, for that matter, on 866.3625 either. I don't know how often they run it but they did not at midnight on Saturday or Sunday. I don't even know if they always run it at midnight or if they spread it out over different times of day. Anyone know for sure?
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Old 08-29-2005, 12:59 PM
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I heard over the weekend that the FBI conducted a raid in Maryland on a foreign official's residence. I don't have any other details but could this roll call been for those involved in the raid? It would explain why you heard it once, but not since.
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Old 08-29-2005, 1:15 PM
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Yeah, it was the home of the Vice President of Nigeria they raided in Potomac. However, I don't think the two were linked in any way Dan. The DC Metro P-MARS net conducts regular roll calls of 2-3 dozen law enforcement organizations in the area. I just don't know the schedule.
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Old 08-31-2005, 7:30 PM
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At 1920 I ran into the 39.62 freq conducting the P-MARS roll call again and it is NOT being simulcast on 866.3625 as far as I can tell. Once again, it's the FBI, Washington DC Field Office conducting the roll call and all stations are loud and clear on this freq. I probably wouldn't hear the FBI transmitter from here on the 866 freq but I don't hear any of the other stations either - some of which I normally hear when they are on 866. This sure looks like another stand-alone P-MARS freq for the Metro DC area. The roll call ended at 1934 with the FBI Field Office using callsign KGB770 which won't be in the FCC database since they don't issue licenses for governmental agencies. They mentioned this is the "daily" roll call of the P-MARS net. Apparently, the time rotates.
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Old 08-31-2005, 9:39 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TinEar
They mentioned this is the "daily" roll call of the P-MARS net. Apparently, the time rotates.
Yes, it was daily when I lived in the area but I don't seem to recall a specific time for the checks but I believe they were usually at night. The DC area F-MARS check was/is at 3:00 AM daily if memory serves.

As I recall, the agency conducting the P-MARS radio checks rotates monthly through all the agencies. I don't know if this is still completely accurate but my list of participating agencies is here: http://www.ericcarlson.net/scanner/pmars.html

-Eric
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Old 09-09-2005, 10:22 PM
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Have the roll call again on 39.62 for the DC area P-MARS net taking place beginning at 2215. Once again it is not being simulcast on 866.3625. (I should say that at least I cannot hear it on the 866.3625 freq - no part of it.) This should be added as a separate P-MARS entity to the database. This time it is the Federal Protective Service (FPS) doing the roll call. Again, all participants are loud and clear on the net. If anyone else can hear this, please answer up...I'm still curious if it's being broadcast off all MSP towers. The roll call ended at 2237 with the FPS signing off with callsign KPA624.
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Last edited by TinEar; 09-09-2005 at 10:40 PM..
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Old 09-09-2005, 10:44 PM
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Copied none of this on my end & was close to the radio during the timeframe you cited, Al.....so it seems unlikely that the MSP Pikesville, Golden Ring, Bel Air, JFK, Glen Burnie or Westminster towers are being lit up (these are the barracks I always copy transmissions from).
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Old 09-09-2005, 10:50 PM
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That's strange Dave because I was so sure it was coming from the Glen Burnie radio tower just because the signal strength is 5x5. If it's not Glen Burnie, I can't imagine where it would be originating and be that loud and clear. I stayed with it for the entire roll call which I'm sure made the gaggle of listeners to my webcast happy...not. It takes about 20 minutes to go through that entire, long list of participants.
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Old 09-09-2005, 10:56 PM
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Hmmm....maybe Glen Burnie has a few different low band radios w/ antennas at various levels of the tower? GB 39.04 is typically the weakest signal for me (of those I listed), so it's possible that a signal coming from an antenna located lower on the tower just wouldn't get here. Otherwise, I'm just not sure why I didn't copy it.
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Old 09-09-2005, 11:00 PM
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Well Dave, at least that tells me that the 39.62 freq is not being broadcast from all the MSP towers as I thought it might be. If you were on that freq and couldn't hear it, it crosses several potential transmission points off the list considering your location.

Of course I've only been considering that it is an MSP event but it might not be. P-MARS might have simply co-opted that freq and is broadcasting from an entirely different location than an MSP radio tower.
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Old 09-09-2005, 11:10 PM
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Yep. I've never known any MSP freq to be set for statewide key-up, anyway. Some barracks have several towers to take advantage of for their given freqs, however (Centreville "S", for example, can key up the Chestertown tower). Several freqs are supposedly available to all barracks, such as 39.1, 39.26 & 39.62. The fact that you are copying all stations clearly on this freq during the roll call is still unexplained....wonder what the input freq is?
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Old 09-09-2005, 11:11 PM
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I heard it fairly well here in Severn. I'm actually probably closer to the Waterloo Barracks than Glen Burnie. For what its worth, It sounded like just one signal to me, with none of the echo or other things I would associate with receiving multiple simulcasting transmitters.
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Old 09-09-2005, 11:15 PM
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Good point Chuck. I should have mentioned that. It certainly sounds like a patch onto that 39.62 freq from a single location. There's just no way we'd be hearing every one of those stations at the same signal strength if they were individually transmitting on the freq.

[Edit] The past two times I've heard the roll call, I've also dialed up 866.3625 on another radio and haven't heard a thing. In the past, when the roll call has been on 866, I've at least heard a few of the stations responding. So, while this is obviously a patched signal, it has to be originating on some freq other than 866.
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Old 09-09-2005, 11:25 PM
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I'm trying to recall the two barracks historically equipped with the old MARNIS ( 39.26) patch gear....I think it was "Valley" (no longer in operation) and Waterloo. Perhaps Waterloo still has the gear and is the source? This info dates back to the 70's & early 80's....a lot could have changed since then. Quite a little mystery we have here.
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Old 09-09-2005, 11:32 PM
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I suppose it could be Waterloo Dave although I don't remember signal strength being quite so good as I'm hearing P-MARS. Since Waterloo began patching the 800 Howard County transmissions onto the 39.42 freq, I get both sides of the conversation exceptionally better than it used to be when they transmitted directly onto 39.42.

Chuck, how would you rate the signal strength you heard the roll call? Was it consistent with how you hear Glen Burnie or maybe Waterloo?
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Old 09-09-2005, 11:44 PM
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I'd say the signal strength was for the roll call was Good, maybe a bit stronger and better quality than what I hear from Glen Burnie. I haven't been listening to the Waterloo freq since I changed antennas and feed, so I'll plug them back in and let you know how they sound in comparison........
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