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Mutual aid networks in California - ???

zerg901

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#1
Is this generally accurate?

'statewide' mutual aid nets - land mobile radio

police - CLEMARS - mountain top repeaters on VHF highband and UHF - linked via microwave - dispatcher to dispatcher primarily

police - also 155.475 statewide maybe - ???

fire - 154.28 base stations - owned by individual agencies

EMS - UHF med channels cover most of the state

CHP - several statewide channels

CalFire - Command 1 and Command 2 are essentially statewide - linked by microwave

OES - 154.22 - 154.16 - 153.755 - 800 Mhz (maybe not statewide) - mountain top repeaters - linked by microwave

Cal Trans - maybe statewide channels on 47 Mhz - but they also have VHF highband and 800 repeaters - ???

unknown if any 700 Mhz mutual aid nets exist currently
 

Markb

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#2
It all appears generally accurate. However, I don't believe that CDF Command 1 or 2 are linked. They are considered statewide because those two frequency pairs are not re-used anywhere else in the state. The higher numbered commands function as dispatch nets in some areas. CDF Command 3 might also be statewide as well. I'd have to look at the frequency lists to confirm, though.
Also, I don't know of any 800 mHz linked systems here in CA.
Lastly, there are a ton of simplex statewide frequencies as well, but I assume you are mainly looking at the repeated and/or linked nets.

Mark
 
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#3
Is this generally accurate?

'statewide' mutual aid nets - land mobile radio

police - CLEMARS - mountain top repeaters on VHF highband and UHF - linked via microwave - dispatcher to dispatcher primarily
CLEMARS is made up of a number of different systems. Some can be repeated, some are just simplex. I'm not aware of any wide area/statewide linking of CLEMARS channels.
CLEMARS 7 (AKA LLAW1) 39.460 (156.7)RX 45.860 (156.7)TX -repeated-
CLEMARS 8 (AKA LLAW1D) 39.460 (156.7)RX 39.460 (156.7)TX -simplex-

NALEMARS (AKA VLAW31) 155.475 (156.7)RX 155.475 (156.7) TX -simplex-
CLEMARS 1 (AKA CALAW1) 154.920 (156.7)RX 154.920(156.7) TX -simplex-
CLEMARS 2 (AKA CALAW2) 154.935 (156.7)RX 154.935(156.7) TX -simplex-

CLEMARS 4 (AKA CALAW4D) 460.025 (156.7)RX 460.025 (156.7)TX -simplex-
CLEMARS 5 (AKA CALAW4) 460.025 (156.7)RX 465.025(various)TX -repeated-
CLEMARS 22 (AKA CALAW5D) 484.2375 (156.7)RX 484.2375 (156.7)TX -simplex-

CLEMARS 9 (AKA CALAW8) 853.5125 (156.7)RX 808.5125 (156.7)TX -repeated-
CLEMARS 8 (AKA CALAW8D) 853.5125 (156.7)RX 853.5125 (156.7)TX -simplex-
CLEMARS 21 (AKA CALAW9) 851.200 (156.7)RX 806.200 (156.7)TX -repeated- (region 6 only)
CLEMARS20 (AKA CALAW9D) 851.200 (156.7)RX 851.200 (156.7)TX -simplex- (region 6 only)

These came about before the nationwide DHS IFOG frequencies. Most of what I hear is on the nationwide stuff now.
CLEMARS 1 is used heavily between dispatch centers —in some areas--. It's simplex only, so it's a good resource when things go down. Some of the frequencies are/were used for interoperability.



police - also 155.475 statewide maybe - ???
See NALEMARS (National Law Enforcement Mutual Aid Radio System)/VLAW31 above. Locally an agency uses it for some PD stuff where interoperability with the state is necessary. It's all simplex.

fire - 154.28 base stations - owned by individual agencies
Was called "Fire White 1" up until the DHS NIFOG stuff. Now it's just VFIRE21. Simplex and used as a mutual aid resource. Not just base stations, but mobiles and portables. Think of it as the CLEMARS 1 simplex version for Fire use.

EMS - UHF med channels cover most of the state
Not necessarily. Some areas still use the UHF MED channels, but only have one or a few in use. Many areas have moved this to regional trunked networks. Usage varies from area to area. Most MED channels are arranged by county around here.

CHP - several statewide channels
Used statewide, but not statewide coverage. CHP has access to other statewide systems if they need it.

CalFire - Command 1 and Command 2 are essentially statewide - linked by microwave
There are a bunch of CDF Command channels. Coverage, frequency, PL's, etc. vary.

OES - 154.22 - 154.16 - 153.755 - 800 Mhz (maybe not statewide) - mountain top repeaters - linked by microwave
There are a number of "statewide" vhf systems that are linked. CESRS (AKA Travel Net), OES 1A, 1B, 2A, 2B using 154.160 and 154.220,

There's also the 8CAFIRE1, 8CAFIRE2, FIREMARS, FIREMARS2 on 800MHz,

Not all of them are linked. Some are just overlapped with coverage in some areas.

Cal Trans - maybe statewide channels on 47 Mhz - but they also have VHF highband and 800 repeaters - ???
I don't know about statewide. They are primarily on VHF Low and 800MHz. Around me, most of the newer trucks have low band and 800MHz. Some of the older stuff just has low band. Not aware of any VHF High stuff, but maybe some regions do.

unknown if any 700 Mhz mutual aid nets exist currently
Since most 700MHz radios will also cover the 800MHz band, the existing 800 stuff fills this role. There are the DHS/IFOG 700MHz channels that are available. I wouldn't expect the state to start building a duplicate 700MHz statewide radio network when we already have the 800 systems. Anyway, coverage sucks in most of the state, VHF is much preferred.
 
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zerg901

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#4
I was looking at this thread - it mentions CLERS (? CLERS regional ?) being linked by microwave - https://forums.radioreference.com/threads/clers.381968/ - thats what led me to the questions about the other networks.

One bottom line question is - if I am sitting in a bunker in Sacramento - which nets can I reach out on statewide? Who can I reach out to?

A 2nd bottom line question would be - if I am a mobile unit, what channels will always allow me to reach a dispatcher no matter where I am located in California? - ignoring the possibility of using federal or local channels.

154.16, 154.22, 153.755, 154.28, 154.92, Vcall1, Ucall1, Icall1 - might be the best suspects

I was thinking that CHP might have a channel that a unit could get on and do a chase from San Diego to Yreka.
 
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#5
Most mutual aid networks in the state are administered at the county level, even when the licenses are held by the state. It's pretty hit and miss who has what, and mostly miss when it comes to being answered as a result of a blind call.
 

ChrisE_STB

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#6
I was looking at this thread - it mentions CLERS (? CLERS regional ?) being linked by microwave - https://forums.radioreference.com/threads/clers.381968/ - thats what led me to the questions about the other networks.

One bottom line question is - if I am sitting in a bunker in Sacramento - which nets can I reach out on statewide? Who can I reach out to?

A 2nd bottom line question would be - if I am a mobile unit, what channels will always allow me to reach a dispatcher no matter where I am located in California? - ignoring the possibility of using federal or local channels.

154.16, 154.22, 153.755, 154.28, 154.92, Vcall1, Ucall1, Icall1 - might be the best suspects

I was thinking that CHP might have a channel that a unit could get on and do a chase from San Diego to Yreka.
What is your interest in this? What are you trying to accomplish with this information.
 

Markb

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#7
I was looking at this thread - it mentions CLERS (? CLERS regional ?) being linked by microwave - https://forums.radioreference.com/threads/clers.381968/ - thats what led me to the questions about the other networks.

One bottom line question is - if I am sitting in a bunker in Sacramento - which nets can I reach out on statewide? Who can I reach out to?

A 2nd bottom line question would be - if I am a mobile unit, what channels will always allow me to reach a dispatcher no matter where I am located in California? - ignoring the possibility of using federal or local channels.

154.16, 154.22, 153.755, 154.28, 154.92, Vcall1, Ucall1, Icall1 - might be the best suspects

I was thinking that CHP might have a channel that a unit could get on and do a chase from San Diego to Yreka.
From Sacramento, you would have the ability to talk to most of the state through the previously mentioned linked networks. The "entry" and "exit" points into the network are on various hight peaks throughout the state, so I am sure there are a few coverage holes.
The bigger issue is who is listening. Other than maybe some CalOES personnel and the different region HQ's, no one regularly monitors most of those to my knowledge. There are other redundancies such as SATCOM and cellular/landline phones that are/may be available and easier to establish contact.
These linked networks were presumably set up for use in a disaster, but the only thing I see them being used for in that situation is relaying incident intel from the OES regions to Sacramento. Not for tactical use.

As far as being a mobile unit and using these networks, the statewide linked systems obviously work both ways, but I would say that other than OES/state personnel, almost no one knows how to set up the link to get to Sac and the information isn't exactly posted out there for the world to see.

As far as the fire side of the house goes, VFIRE21 is supposed to be monitored by every operational area (county basically) in the state, so if I were a strike team leader dragging a strike team around California and none of the 22 people on my strike team had cell service (because that is the best way to get ahold of the right people), I could put out a call on VFIRE21 and if I am in radio range (simplex, but some areas have remote bases to mountaintops), I should get a response, assuming that the closest dispatch center has the volume turned up on their console and whatnot.

Strike teams are supposed to travel on CESRS (153.7550 simplex), but that is not monitored like VFIRE21. It actually seems to be a catch-all used by various state agencies and not monitored by the Op areas for fire use. CESRS was introduced as a travel channel after the federal Travel Net frequency was reassigned some years ago.

As previously mentioned, there are quite a few areas that have 8CALL infrastructure and monitor it. Not totally sure about VCALL or UCALL.

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norcalscan

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#8
The bigger issue is who is listening. Other than maybe some CalOES personnel and the different region HQ's, no one regularly monitors most of those to my knowledge. There are other redundancies such as SATCOM and cellular/landline phones that are/may be available and easier to establish contact.
These linked networks were presumably set up for use in a disaster, but the only thing I see them being used for in that situation is relaying incident intel from the OES regions to Sacramento. Not for tactical use.
As I've mentioned in similar threads, these state systems are to be thought of as multi-tool/swiss army knives for CalOES. The scope and discipline of incidents in California vary greatly and these tools focus/isolate and expand as needed for the incident. They can be tactical, they can be wide-level logistical, they can be command.

The dispatchers in the state Warning Center monitors them 24/7.
 
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#9
From Sacramento, you would have the ability to talk to most of the state through the previously mentioned linked networks.
What networks actually talk to Sacramento from statewide? Based on my familiarity with some of the local CDF units, for example, each may have the ability to monitor VFIRE21, for example, but that doesn't directly translate to all of them going to Sacramento. You're talking dozens and dozens of mountain tops across the state, and a ton of bandwidth and infrastructure to bring in all these individual remote base stations.
 
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#10
I was looking at this thread - it mentions CLERS (? CLERS regional ?) being linked by microwave - https://forums.radioreference.com/threads/clers.381968/ - thats what led me to the questions about the other networks.
CLERS was never intended for mobile use, other than perhaps by a command post. It's a dialup network that served as an intercom between dispatch centers.

One bottom line question is - if I am sitting in a bunker in Sacramento - which nets can I reach out on statewide? Who can I reach out to?
Probably the state's HF networks.

I'm sure someone else will correct me if I'm wrong, but I'm of the belief that, while there are statewide channels that exist, the infrastructure isn't generally statewide with a single control point.

A 2nd bottom line question would be - if I am a mobile unit, what channels will always allow me to reach a dispatcher no matter where I am located in California? - ignoring the possibility of using federal or local channels.
Calfire Travel Net?

I was thinking that CHP might have a channel that a unit could get on and do a chase from San Diego to Yreka.
Yes, but you'd be talking to multiple dispatch centers as you move from areas to area.
 

Markb

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#11
What networks actually talk to Sacramento from statewide? Based on my familiarity with some of the local CDF units, for example, each may have the ability to monitor VFIRE21, for example, but that doesn't directly translate to all of them going to Sacramento. You're talking dozens and dozens of mountain tops across the state, and a ton of bandwidth and infrastructure to bring in all these individual remote base stations.
The key word is "linked". So that would be the OES fire system, CESRS and probably CLERS (as you mentioned not for mobile use). I have personally done a radio check with the Warning Center from Southern California some years ago on OES Fire (1A/1B and 2A/2B).
I have also heard what I presume are the OES ACS folks doing radio checks on CESRS with the Warning Center on a regular basis as well.
The specifics of the system are readily available on the OES website and here in the forums.

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#13
Does Calfire have a travel net? I was under the impression that state and Local Gov't resources are all using CESRS direct.
I see 163.7125 listed as "Crew Travel" in numerous state/local cache loads, but that's a federal frequency.

The more I think about it, CESRS may be the state travel net I had in mind. I knew USFS has a travel net channel, and there's the air guard and flight following frequencies, but for ground traffic, the one above and CESRS are in just about every fire cache load I've seen.
 
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#14
The key word is "linked". So that would be the OES fire system, CESRS and probably CLERS (as you mentioned not for mobile use).
A lot depends on how the network is constructed. CLERS, for example, is/was duplex, with each repeater site acting as 4 way 4 wire bridge, with through traffic on the microwave, and local traffic dropping on the vhf repeater. A single duplex voice circuit could carry the entire network, although I think it was segmented by region.

A network of simplex base stations like VFIRE21 couldn't operate anything like that without a substantial amount of additional infrastructure which may particularly explain why it seems to be limited to dispatch center coverage, and not a larger statewide or regional network.
 

ko6jw_2

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#15
I think the use of "statewide" repeaters in almost non-existent these days. In the old days (60's and 70's) the Santa Barbara Fire Department conducted a test every Saturday morning on the OES system with Los Angeles County Fire. I heard it used to link to Sacramento at a major fire only once and that was 40+ years ago.

Consider this: In a real emergency a few "statewide" repeaters can handle a very limited amount of traffic. They are complex to bring up and require some expertise on the part of the operator. Noise floors build up in the system and further limit bandwidth. Last, no one needs them. Communications at major incidents is handled on tactical frequencies and portable repeaters. Satellite links are the way to go for long-distance communications.

Interoperability is a buzz word since 9/11. The truth is that nobody needs to talk to everybody else. You need to talk to the local Incident Command. They may need to talk statewide, but through established protocols. The advent of synthesized frequency agile radios means that mutual aid channels are available to everyone on a local basis. The vast number of tactical channels means that incident communications can be established at the push on a button. These old networks are obsolete.
 
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#16
Interoperability is a buzz word since 9/11. The truth is that nobody needs to talk to everybody else. You need to talk to the local Incident Command. They may need to talk statewide, but through established protocols…. These old networks are obsolete.
I agree.
We've spent way too much money on "interoperability" that rarely gets used, used incorrectly, or not at all.
 

norcalscan

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#17
Interoperability is a buzz word since 9/11. The truth is that nobody needs to talk to everybody else. You need to talk to the local Incident Command. They may need to talk statewide, but through established protocols. The advent of synthesized frequency agile radios means that mutual aid channels are available to everyone on a local basis. The vast number of tactical channels means that incident communications can be established at the push on a button. These old networks are obsolete.
Interoperability is an attitude, not a buzzword. It is not a technical solution, it is not a statewide repeater system, it is not more channels in the radio. it is an attitude adjustment. Interoperability was never about getting everyone on one channel, crossing the streams between fire, law and medical disciplines (other than CALCORD, which has become the official medivac freq now for CA because the right attitudes prevailed). A lot of it is about bridging the gap between bands, between agencies that never work together, and a little (at the command level) between disciplines (hence CALCORD as a solution for command level interop on the smallest of incidents.) There have been some very fine minds behind Interoperability in California. Many are here in the forums. They had the right attitude from the beginning and the state is better for that, despite whatever political walls they've hit (as does any agency in the nation hits when crossing political/disciplinary boundaries)

I ask just how many vast "tactical" channels does law enforcement agencies actually have on a major incident when mutual aid is required? I'll give a hint, it's basically 1 on VHF, 1 on UHF, and 2 on 800Mhz, for all of California. CALAW is all they have. The NIFOG channels can add 2 more when built out as repeaters, but that's if the calfire comms duty officer hasn't already assigned them to fires in the area. And that requires the rare fixed infrastructure, or portable infrastructure (RF, Gateway, Solar) placed in a tactical position that covers the entire incident (good luck getting that in place sooner than 72 hours.) There is no NIFC ad-hoc portable wide-area command and logistic constellation solution for law. There is no 37 tac nets and 11 command nets for law that Calfire and people in FIRESCOPE with the right attitude have setup over the years. It really is very slim pickings for law. It got messy for the 2017 fires in Sonoma/Napa. It was messy for Oroville Dam. It was fairly solid for the Camp Fire only because some fixed-infrastructure interop near the incident was available and turned up quickly, had recent "practice" or "memory" of how things sorta worked at Oroville Dam, and Butte and Sutter Counties have some amazing in-house RF knowledge and teamwork that took care of business quickly. Half skill, half luck. The Rim Fire was a dodged bullet for law evacuations, again lucky. Fire doesn't have a problem. Law is what needs the help.

A better way to think about the "statewide systems" we are discussing, is a system that supports the people that support the first responders on an incident. CalOES has little to no "first responders". Their speciality is to support the first responders with anything the Governor can get them after they outgrow their local resources. An incident command net isn't going to be run on CESRS, FireNet or CLERS etc. But the radio technicians buzzing around setting up comm infrastructure for that incident, need an already established system in place to coordinate themselves or place resource requests etc. CalOES administration need an already in-place network to start the ball rolling to build larger logistics channels between incident and Sacramento. It's the ace up the sleeve for CalOES when everything is amok. Having direct radio access to the California Warning Center, literally one door away from the State Operations Center, is quite the ace up the sleeve in Cedarville, CA.
 
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#19
How will FirstNet fit into this equation?
Well, FirstNet is primarily for broadband data. There are plans to enable Push To Talk over Cellular on it, but so far I haven't heard it's been released as an official product. Most are saying that the setup/teardown time for PTT calls over cellular are just too long to be useable for anything "mission critical".
Using an audio link over IP using LTE would work, but there are easier ways to do this.

Most in the industry are reluctant to rely on cellular networks (even FirstNet) for any -real- critical use, although that is how it is marketed.

FirstNet won't have 100% coverage, either.
Satellite networks are more commonly used, but I expect in the future things will change. There are companies working on solutions that will interface multiple networks (IP, FirstNet, consumer cellular, LMR, Satellite, etc.) and pass traffic over whatever is available back to a gateway and into the network.
 
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