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Questions - Visiting Phoenix Scottsdale & Tuscon

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#1
We will be visiting these locations in late April and as I prepare some ARC396 programming I had some questions. While my main interest is Milcom and aviation, I'd like to try my hand at monitoring the PRWIN system and it's sites - where I assume I'll find most of the major Police operations.

Here in Illinois we monitor the STARCOM 800/700 MHz multi-site simulcast statewide system, so I'm not without some experience at this stuff, LOL. Digital, ugh.

It looks like the "simulcast" sites around the Phoenix area will be the best bets. What system type setting do I want to use on these? I'm assuming P25 800 Mhz trunking (?).

I understand most of the fire operations around the Phoenix area are still VHF analog (?).

Any other hot tips for monitoring the greater Phoenix area would be appreciated.

I'd also like to take a swing at hearing some of the DHS/ICE/Border Patrol and BLM federal lands activity. Best bets?

Most of our time will be spent at home bases in the Phoenix, Sun City & Scottsdale area, with some side trips out to Luke and Davis Monthan. Looking forward to some real Milair monitoring and UHF trunking, LOL.

It's my first trip to Arizona and really looking forward to escaping this Chicago winter, ugh. Looks like the AZ state police might prove interesting and it appears AZ has a well coordinated interoperability plan/system, too. Does it see much activity? Worth programming?

Anyone have an ARINC/ASRI or FM land mobile freq for Midwest Airlines out at Sky Harbor? Might prove useful...

Lastly, we are attending a convention at the Camelback Resort/Inn. Anyone have any freqs for there?

Thanks in advance, I know I'm asking a lot of different stuff here. Any help would be greatly appreciated. Happy Scanning! - Ted
 
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#2
Yep, the simulcast sites are your friends. You'll want to mainly concentrate your programming on Simulcast A while in Phoenix, although while at the airport, the Sky Harbor Intellirepeater is where you'll hear the airport ops and such, which might prove interesting to monitor.

Don't forget to also program Glendale PD and the Luke TRS for your visit there. Luke is in Glendale.

FD is still VHF conventional with some simulcasting happening on PRWN Simulcast B whenever something large is going on.

DPS is good to monitor when you're on the freeways, but they are quite chatty and busy so you may want to lock them out when you don't need to know where they are hiding, LOL.

One thing my father in law noted while he was visiting here a couple years ago is that Phoenix is BUSY. He brought along 3 scanners and found he needed them all to keep up with what was going on. There is definitely PLENTY to listen to out here.

Enjoy the visit and the weather! It's absolutely perfect out right now - it's all I can do to remain chained to my desk here at work. I keep lobbying for wireless so we can work outside. :)

-AZ
 

jasonpeoria911

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Also, one thing to note, there's a huge a*s mountain in between Phoenix and the east valley which is where Mesa, Tempe, Chandler, Gilbert and AJ is. So monitoring Phoenix and vice versa from either side is almost impossible. You almost need 3 scanners alone just for PD/Feds/DPS stuff. Program wisely hehe.

Jason
 

FLANO

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#4
chgomonitor said:
We will be visiting these locations in late April and as I prepare some ARC396 programming I had some questions. While my main interest is Milcom and aviation, I'd like to try my hand at monitoring the PRWIN system and it's sites - where I assume I'll find most of the major Police operations.
..........
Most of our time will be spent at home bases in the Phoenix, Sun City & Scottsdale area, with some side trips out to Luke and Davis Monthan. Looking forward to some real Milair monitoring and UHF trunking, LOL.
..........
Thanks in advance, I know I'm asking a lot of different stuff here. Any help would be greatly appreciated. Happy Scanning! - Ted
Well, Ted, no one mentioned anything about your main interests MILCOM and aviation, but those will also require at least 2 dedicated radios too :) We've got a number of MOA's in the Phoenix and surrounding areas, as well as the large Sells MOA to the west of Tucson. You'll be able to easily test out the LAFB and DMAFB TRS's, as they are both 3600bd systems.

Civil aviation has its own fair share of frequencies too.

Sounds like you are gonna have your hands full !
 
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Big Thanks

Just wanted to say thanks to everyone here for the guidance on the Phoenix and Tucson area monitoring. It was a great trip and we had a great time.

Interesting listening to the various sites for both PRWIN and the Maricopa County TRS's as we moved about the greater Phoenix area. I found the fill-in sites on PRWIN particularly intriguing. I found 1539 to be the HVAC guys at Sky Harbor on that site. There's a few other active TG's there which aren't listed. Great airport, we sat and watched and ate and listened for a couple of hours on the way out and no one bothered us at all.

We visited Luke AFB a couple of times and I got to see some great F-16 touch 'n go flying. Also caught an emergency, instructor with a bad gear indicator. Caught him working their Supervisor of Flying on VHF 143.800 (AM) and working the GCA on 291.100. He got down okay. Sadly, I had the wrong step size set on the UHF trunked system, I was using 12.5 KHz and it's actually 25 KHz. I can report the 396 doesn't hear a whole heck of a lot with the wrong step size programmed on a 406-420 digital trunked system, LOL. You'll see the talkgroup ID's flash and hear little hisses, but not much else. Once I got it corrected I had no trouble copying the system, even from Paradise Valley, wow.

We visited the Pima Air Museum, Davis Monthan, AMARC ("The Boneyard") and did the Titan Missile Museum south of Tucson. Pima was using FRS radios. I think the boneyard is probably on the Davis Monthan AFB trunked system. You can get a tour package for the whole shebang by starting out at Pima. Great tours all. Highly recommended for the Milair buff. Do the Titan tour if nothing else. They have a 40 foot HF discone in front. Sign said amateur radio operators can use it, ask at the desk, not sure on details. At Titan they did a very complete run through of the entire EAM process, an eye opener. Interesting racks of old VHF handhelds in the control room and associated Radiax cable running throughout the structure. Cool HF popup antennas, hardened UHF cone mounted on concrete, burried ELF loop. Great racks of commo gear. My boss got to turn the key, way fun. Great bus tour at AMARC, bring your camera. They cant let you out to roam due to Hazmat concerns.

I was really surprised at how well both Luke's and especially Davis Monthan TRS's get out, especially Davis Monthan. No trouble tracking them from 20 miles away.

Pima, Davis and the boneyard all great. There are also two adjacent aircraft junk yards and a secure lot of to be auctioned cars seized at the border. Found an old KC-135 from O'Hare (long gone) enjoying it's retirement in the desert sun. Talk about a snow bird! LOL. Gorgeous SR-71 at Pima and very knowledgeable docents. Enjoyed the 309th memorial and Kennedy's AF1 at Pima, too. There's a lot of radio related stuff at Pima.

Caught some cool Milair comms, mostly from the Sells C/D/E MOA primary 293.800 and some Luke Air Tac channels like 138.200, 138.250, 141.575 etc (AM). Davis was mostly flying C-130's when we were there. BMGR wasn't really busy when we there but I caught some cool traffic anyway, range ops. Overall, the quantity wasn't as intense as I had anticipated, but quality-wise, hard to beat. Very intense range work everywhere.

We visited another interesting airport - Goodyear. Many interesting craft and some undergoing passenger to cargo converting. A lot of test flights. Nice little lounge, heck they handed me a frequency reference card, what more can you ask for? Take a drive along the road to the west to spot some interesting parked craft. Got a nice eyeball on the aircraft storage location between Phoneix and Tucson from the highway, too.

First time I've heard BIA traffic, interesting. Working on wells on the reservation. No shortage of Border Patrol activity both on the road and on VHF, cool. Monitored the State's UHF channels both while in Phoenix and on our highway trip. Good operations.

Phoenix area fire all on VHF, 154.190 primary but also has a digital patch to PRWIN, kinda neat. Enjoyed the souvenir shop and the DQ at Mount Picachao.

Camelback Inn at Paradise Valley was using all IDEN radios for the staff. A few antennas and panel arrays scattered about the grounds. We did three days and two nights there and all I can say is; "WOW". Some really great and much needed pampering by the staff there. It was a productive conference as well, so even managed to get some actual work done, LOL.

Flew Midwest to and from Sky Harbor from Milwaukee. Worked much better than flying out of Chicago, aka "waiting". The usual crammed like sardines into the cigar tube effect, but efficient and tolerable. No scanners allowed on Midwest. Good flights and they didn't lose my bags.

So, thanks again it was great working "vacation", very restorative after this Chicago winter, God. So much gorgeous scenery and beautiful mountains. -sigh- I'll be back one day, def on my possible retirement locations list. Phoenix is the cleanest big city I've ever visited and you people actually have pavement instead of potholes, amazing.

Happy Scanning! - Ted
 
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