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Meaning of "TAC" channel

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wtp

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"let's keep the conversation down or move it to a tac channel"
it is to keep main dispatch open for calls.
even when dispatched some FD/EMS get told what tac channel to use.
 

zerg901

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https://www.radioreference.com/apps/db/?ctid=1217

Gloucester Mass FD
F1 154.16R
Tac 2 154.16 direct
Tac 3 154.385
Tac 4 154.83

It almost seems that 154.16R would be Tac 1

I wonder if the dispatcher can operate on 154.16 direct?

Lets see how many "Tac 1" channels I can find at Radio Reference. Here we go - Osceola County FL - Fire Tac 1 is the main dispatch channel - https://www.radioreference.com/apps/db/?sid=246


Therefore - seems that the primary info that a user of the database would want is - 1. what is the main channel? 2. what channels can only be heard over short distances? If the main channel is labeled as 'Dispatch' and any short range channels are labeled as UCHTN (u cant hear this never) then we would answer both primary questions.
 
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jhooten

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In all the years I programmed first responder radios The channel used when the repeater failed was labeled TA for talk around. Mobile radios both transmitted and received on the repeater's output frequency.

Trunking systems changed all that though.
 

zz0468

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I often see "Tactical" in the Database. Have these been confirmed? In the two way and L.E., Fire and EMS world, a "TAC" channel is a "Talk Around Channel" A "Tactical" channel would be used for "special ops" or similar.

Just has me wondering sometimes, as several agencies I know don't have any kind of "Tactical" operations, but do have "TalkAround Channels" ("TAC") but have them listed in the DB here as "Tactical".
Add me to the list of those who've never heard of "TAC" meaning "talk around channel". And that's after almost 45 years in the business. "TAC" is short for tactical. Talkaround would be spelled out as "TA", if it gets spelled out at all. I've dealt with many agencies that had "TAC" channels. Some were on repeaters, or were even region wide. None carried dispatch traffic.
 

RRR

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Ok, so what is "Tactical" about going off the main channel to talk about where you're going to eat?

Many agencies in the South have no kind of "special ops" unit or members, much less even a CID unit, yet they have "TAC" channels they go to, to discuss things off the main channel.

Nothing "Tactical" about that.
 

KK4JUG

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Ok, so what is "Tactical" about going off the main channel to talk about where you're going to eat?

Many agencies in the South have no kind of "special ops" unit or members, much less even a CID unit, yet they have "TAC" channels they go to, to discuss things off the main channel.

Nothing "Tactical" about that.
You're right but the intent is for it to be tactical in nature and should something arise that required the use of a "tactical" channel, I suspect other traffic would be prohibited.
 

wa8pyr

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Ok, so what is "Tactical" about going off the main channel to talk about where you're going to eat?

Many agencies in the South have no kind of "special ops" unit or members, much less even a CID unit, yet they have "TAC" channels they go to, to discuss things off the main channel.

Nothing "Tactical" about that.
As I pointed out earlier, just because an agency is small and/or doesn't have special teams (SWAT, CID, etc) doesn't mean they don't have a need for a tactical channel; any agency could experience a situation that's "tactical" in the sense you're referring to.

However, as numerous people have pointed out in this thread, the fact is that "tactical" has often become a catch-all name for a channel which carries non-dispatch traffic, whether it's traditional "tactical" operations or not. It's as simple as that.

I guess you're determined to not understand, or are a troll.
 

trentbob

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Ok, so what is "Tactical" about going off the main channel to talk about where you're going to eat?

Many agencies in the South have no kind of "special ops" unit or members, much less even a CID unit, yet they have "TAC" channels they go to, to discuss things off the main channel.

Nothing "Tactical" about that.
Yep, police departments are different throughout the country and run differently throughout the country. Some departments are a lot more strict with radio operations then others. Quite frankly some police departments are just better than others

We have Township departments that operate on a county P2 simulcast system. There is five tactical channels and a dozen or so encrypted ops channels one for each Zone.

No funny business on Tac channels. Cars switch over and use them as car-to-car usually interdepartmentally. If a tac channel is to be used for something tactical like a Stakeout, an event or parade, a search or manhunt or other tactical reason then it has to be requested and reserved then assigned by the dispatcher and then given back to the county when finished with.

When there is a clear the air call for simplicity the dispatch channel is cleared and all routine dispatch for that zone goes right to Tac 1, an announcement is made to all other zones that tac one is temporarily out of service so it may be used by that zone for dispatch. It's very restricted and often some of these tasks go right to an encrypted ops Channel instead.

Most departments do however have their own private Channel off of the county P2 system usually on VHF or UHF repeater that was probably an old frequency they used back in the day. That is not monitored by the county and that's where they get orders for the 7-Eleven run or talk about the dispatcher screwing up. That's the Chit Chat Channel they comment about hey there is so and so, I heard he got out of jail, let's keep an eye on burglaries on the west side. I always monitor those channels in addition to the county because that's where you always hear the details.

Every local department has its way of doing things. Professional departments have professional radio operations and count on their tactical channels.
 

zz0468

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Ok, so what is "Tactical" about going off the main channel to talk about where you're going to eat?
It takes careful planning and precision timing to pull into the McDonald's parking lot at the same time.

Is that REALLY what you think a tac channel is for?

Many agencies in the South have no kind of "special ops" unit or members, much less even a CID unit, yet they have "TAC" channels they go to, to discuss things off the main channel.
So?

Nothing "Tactical" about that.
It's a name. It's just what they call it. If you're going to look for a pedantic precise usage of the dictionary definition of the word "tactical", then say it's for planning and actions to achieve a specified goal.

I think that would apply to getting lunch, wouldn't you? :rolleyes:
 

KK4JUG

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As my father used to say, some people are making "a mountain out of mole hill." Who the hell cares?

If it bothers you that they're planning lunch and not a SWAT team forced entry, call the mayor or chief or write a letter to the editor. You can reinforce the fact that critical people are listening giving impetus to the idea that they may need to take steps to keep anyone from hearing it.
 

RRR

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I guess you're determined to not understand, or are a troll.
Wow, that's awesome there. Thank's, man!

I completely understand what "Tactical" means, and not everywhere is a "TAC" channel / talkgroup meant to be used for "Tactical" operations. (No, getting a burger is not "tactical")

The "Talk Around Channel" is also labeled as "TAC" on many radio systems, weather it be used in a simplex system, a talkgroup in a trunking system, or as a separate frequency. Apparently in a lot of other places, it means just what it says, that "TAC" means "Tactical". Ok, I got that.

But to say the term applies everywhere, it ridiculous.

I further understand that the NIFOG interprets "tactical" to mean what the term says. That's pretty solid, when the Feds put out white papers and identify it, so I digress on that point.

I believe, and agree with most of what y'all are claiming, and completely comprehend it, and also understand it has different meanings as well.

It is what it is.

Scan on!
 

trentbob

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Wow, that's awesome there. Thank's, man!

I completely understand what "Tactical" means, and not everywhere is a "TAC" channel / talkgroup meant to be used for "Tactical" operations. (No, getting a burger is not "tactical")

The "Talk Around Channel" is also labeled as "TAC" on many radio systems, weather it be used in a simplex system, a talkgroup in a trunking system, or as a separate frequency. Apparently in a lot of other places, it means just what it says, that "TAC" means "Tactical". Ok, I got that.

But to say the term applies everywhere, it ridiculous.

I further understand that the NIFOG interprets "tactical" to mean what the term says. That's pretty solid, when the Feds put out white papers and identify it, so I digress on that point.

I believe, and agree with most of what y'all are claiming, and completely comprehend it, and also understand it has different meanings as well.

It is what it is.

Scan on!
In my 50 plus years of monitoring I've never known another meaning of Tac or Tactical, if you're saying that many departments use that abbreviation for talk around Channel I believe you it's just I've never seen that, you learn something new everyday.

We call a talk around Channel... Direct. In the old days on a VHF repeater system it was called simplex or in some cases Tactical LOL. Our fire departments use them all the time and call them fireground.

Every department has their own policies and m o on how they use their Tac or tactical channels.

You've had a lot of experienced people here give evidence of such so these are not claims or guesses, I think we could call these facts as shared by those who know.

As they say, the horse is turning to liquid.
 

bill4long

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Informally and de facto, "tac" is a catch-all term meaning any channel this is not the main (dispatch) channel
 

zerg901

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Many California fire departments have Dispatch, Command, and Tactical channels. Dispatch is the main channel / home channel. 99% of paging is done on the Dispatch channel. Units travel to the scene and get arrival instructions on the 'Command' Channel. After receiving the arrival instructions, the firefighting units switch to the Tactical channel. The Tactical channel is usually 'mobiles and portables only' except if a trunking system is being used. Los Angeles City FD has an even more complicated scheme with initial onscene report on the 2ndary dispatch channel before moving to the Tactical channel. Plus LAFD has a dedicated emergency button / mayday channel.

Dallas FD has units go to a staging channel when they arrive at an incident, and later go to a tactical channel. Both are mobile only channels iirc.

NYFD basically has 1 dispatch channel per borough; plus 1 primary simplex portable radio channel used by every unit in the entire agency. Plus they have extra HT channels. Ambulances operate on a entirely different system. IIRC NYFD EMS has multi dispatch channels; multi HT/mobile only channels; and 2 major incident commander channels.

Radio channels can take various forms - HT only + mobile only + base / mobile + repeaterized - temporary

Radio channels can have various functional usages - paging only - paging and voice - voice dispatch - station only dispatch - response only (ie Boston FD rarely if ever does paging on Channel 1 nowadays afaik) (actually BGF Ch1 is used for dispatch + response + onscene minor incident)

Radio channels can have various operational uses - dispatch - administrative - air to ground - travel - training - fireground - mutual aid only - guard - mayday - all of the above

Like I said before, if I was running the database, I might just use 2 channel descriptors - long range and short range. Or maybe you could flag the short range channels such that listeners would know they might be very staticy at times.

And to repeat from above - - Osceola County FL - Fire "Tac 1" is the main dispatch channel - https://www.radioreference.com/apps/db/?sid=246
 

hitechRadio

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We follow the NIFOG. And to keep from confusion, you should too!
7TAC51= Repeated Tactical
7TAC51D= Direct Tactical
8TAC91= Repeated Tactical
8TAC91D= Direct Tactical
8CALL90= Repeated Calling
8CALL90D= Direct Calling
 

paulears

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I smiled a bit here, watching the attempts to fit channel names to content. realistically, it's simply a nice, neat term, perhaps borrowed from other systems for day to day activity. My hire radios have R1, S1, S2 and S3 in the display. One of my clients who do security have R1, tac1 and Tac2. The reason is that I watch NCIS, and I noticed one day they grab radios and somebody shouted TAC1. Here, we use talk-through quite often to describe repeater use, but a few people use talk-around because it's often a term used by the manufacturers in their documents. It's a name they use, and I suspect few people know or care within that organisation what it stands for - it just 'is'. In the UK, our encrypted country wide emergency system is called Airwave, but uses TETRA protocols. Most Police Officers just call them radios. Most won't have a clue they are TETRA, and a few know it's Airwave - to most, if you ask them, they just turn a knob till the normal channel appears in the display and the press a button to talk.
 
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