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San Francisco Bay Area Discussion Local area specific discussion for the San Francisco Bay area including the North, East and South Bays.

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  #1 (permalink)  
Old 12-12-2011, 4:35 PM
   
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Default Coast Guard helicopter frequencies?

I have a new office on the 14th floor of a building overlooking SF bay. I see the Coast Guard helicopter flying around pretty regularly. I have a handheld scanner, but so far I haven't been able to hear them. I looked at United States Coast Guard - The RadioReference Wiki and I have listened to 345.000 AM mostly and not heard anything. Anyone around the bay area have confirmed frequencies I should monitor? Are they still using analog, or are they P25 now?
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Old 12-12-2011, 10:54 PM
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Try channels 21, 22 and 23 in the marine band. They use those as well


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Old 12-12-2011, 11:56 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by autojack View Post
I see the Coast Guard helicopter flying around pretty regularly. I have a handheld scanner, but so far I haven't been able to hear them. I looked at United States Coast Guard - The RadioReference Wiki and I have listened to 345.000 AM mostly and not heard anything.
I hear them there daily.
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Old 12-13-2011, 12:06 AM
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Sounds like its time for a decent antenna setup in that office window!

What handheld scanner are you using, and is it the stock antenna?
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Old 12-13-2011, 9:33 AM
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Consider what sort of comms you're trying to hear and that will dictate the band you hear them on. 345.00 MHz AM is usually used as an aircraft-to-base channel (to the actual base radio at the USCG air station on the east side of SFO airport). Marine Ch 21A is used by sector San Francisco based on Yerba Buena Island to talk to all assets (including vessels, helicopters and fixed wing aircraft) along with their digital LMR system. YBI can probably transmit on the milair freqs as well, but the few times I heard it was between the pilots and the base at SFO. Finally the helicopters on training flights are mostly VFR and low level so they have no reason to contact air traffic controllers, but if they did it would be Norcal Approach on 135.10 or 120.90 (AM). They may also monitor "Golden Gate Traffic," an unofficial air-to-air frequency used by civilian news and law enforcement helicopter pilots on 124.30.
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Old 12-14-2011, 1:27 PM
   
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After posting this, I did hear the helo on marine channel 21, doing training with a rescue swimmer and talking to sector SF and another CG boat. I'll check that in the future when I see them.

I heard one very brief transmission on 345.000 once, but otherwise I've never heard any voice comms there after monitoring it for a few hours at a time on 5-6 occasions. I have heard short bursts of static, which is why I asked if they might be using P25, although it occurs to me that digital over AM might not work very well.

My radio at work is not exactly a scanner, it's a Yaesu VX-7R ham radio HT, with a Diamond flexi-whip antenna. It'd be nice to have a better antenna here, but I'm supposed to be working ;-)

The tip about 124.30 is good, I'll tune to that when I see the news choppers flying around.

Thanks for the great responses!
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Old 12-14-2011, 1:39 PM
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United States Coast Guard - The RadioReference Wiki
I've heard them on CG113, CG116 and CG124. Don't forget to program NAC 293 to help reduce interference.
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Old 12-14-2011, 1:41 PM
   
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Quote:
Originally Posted by b52hbuff View Post
United States Coast Guard - The RadioReference Wiki
I've heard them on CG113, CG116 and CG124. Don't forget to program NAC 293 to help reduce interference.
Unfortunately, I don't have P25 capability. Is that always used on these channels?
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Old 12-15-2011, 12:26 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by autojack View Post
Unfortunately, I don't have P25 capability. Is that always used on these channels?
I wanted to say yes but there's one situation where I've heard analog, and still do. It's when an aircraft (could be strictly C130's) contacts Mather when they're enroute for maintenance.

All regular Sea Marshall traffic will be P25 and often, but not always, encrypted. For the Bay Area there are two repeated channels which should be in the DB.
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Old 12-15-2011, 6:45 AM
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Some of those NET channels are still allocated for the Air Base's in Analog [Legacy, long before NET P25 came about] and always in the CLEAR with no DVP/DES [from the LANT Days]

Here in New England we still have
164.5500 CSQ [also in P25 as NET-116]
and
166.2250 CSQ [former LANT 47, not allocated as P25]
for CG Air Sta. Cape Cod for OPS and Maint/Fuel

Quote:
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I wanted to say yes but there's one situation where I've heard analog, and still do. It's when an aircraft (could be strictly C130's) contacts Mather when they're enroute for maintenance.

All regular Sea Marshall traffic will be P25 and often, but not always, encrypted. For the Bay Area there are two repeated channels which should be in the DB.
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Old 12-17-2011, 7:11 PM
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Quote:
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Some of those NET channels are still allocated for the Air Base's in Analog [Legacy, long before NET P25 came about] and always in the CLEAR with no DVP/DES [from the LANT Days]
Good to know, thanks.

So Mather is 167.9000 CSQ.
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Old 12-21-2011, 10:32 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by WayneH View Post
So Mather is 167.9000 CSQ.
AM or FM?
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Old 12-21-2011, 8:47 PM
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FM modulation. I don't think you'll ever see AM modulation in the VHF fed band.
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Old 12-22-2011, 7:06 AM
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Not in that portion, altho the 138-144/148-150.8 you will

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FM modulation. I don't think you'll ever see AM modulation in the VHF fed band.
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Old 12-22-2011, 7:31 PM
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Quote:
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Not in that portion, altho the 138-144/148-150.8 you will
Exactly!
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Old 12-22-2011, 8:09 PM
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For an idea of how things work with USCG choppers - here in Los Angeles basin they primarily do the following.

Air Station LAX: 345.000 when they are in the immediate area. Almost always provide an inbound landing call.

Marine 83: 157.175 - While out on ops.
Normally once airborne from the LAX airstation they will call to the regional Coast Guard sector to inform them of the call they are on and eta. They often also provide updated position reports every 15mins when working far off shore.

Additionally I've noted they will often move to various marine frequencies when out on operations - for instance talk to the lifeguards, county fire/sheriff or ships. I've yet to figure out a consistent pattern.
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Old 12-22-2011, 9:45 PM
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This is typically how I hear the UHF channels referred to:
"SF AIR" 345.000
"SAC AIR" 237.9000
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Old 12-23-2011, 6:09 AM
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And here on the East Coast, we are seeing more and more UHF CG/NET-4xx use for the Air-Ops

Remember Rescue 21 has a UHF Antenna on each tower as well.

Quote:
Originally Posted by b52hbuff View Post
United States Coast Guard - The RadioReference Wiki
I've heard them on CG113, CG116 and CG124. Don't forget to program NAC 293 to help reduce interference.
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