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VDOT Safety Service Patrol in Richmond

Joined
May 18, 2014
Messages
40
#1
Hi. Can anyone help me locate the frequency for the VDOT Safety Service Patrol in the Richmond area?

I know in some parts of the state the Safety Service Patrol uses STARS, but I can't locate anything for the Richmond area.

I see in the database it is listed as a Comtronics 2 LTR system, but when I program that into my Uniden 436HP I hear nothing.

I also see in the messages that it's supposed to be on Commtronics LTR at 463.9625 HR-17, but again I get nothing.

I'm sure it's operator error on my part, but any assistance would be appreciated. Thanks in advance.
 

Dafe1er

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Off in a far away place, far from u.......
#2
I see that there is something under the STARS system for roadside assistance. Would that be what you are looking for?

You can add a favorites just for this system and edit the folder under options and turn the ID:search to on and you can scan away and try to find them locally.
 

Attachments

Joined
Apr 9, 2009
Messages
1,351
Location
Midlothian, VA
#3
Not entirely sure what they're using now but they're certainly no longer on the Commtronics LTR system. The SSP is contracted out and when URS had it, they used our LTR system. I'm not sure who has it currently but URS has been gone for more than a year now.
 
Joined
May 18, 2014
Messages
40
#4
That talkgroup is for southwest Virginia (I-81, I-581, etc.) in the Salem and Bristol districts. It comes in loud and clear in Richmond. What I'm looking for is the frequency for the Richmond District Safety Service Patrol. In some districts, the patrol operates on state police frequencies and is dispatched by state police dispatchers. That doesn't appear to be the case in Richmond, I just can't see to find what system they are using. The database says Commtronics 2 LTR, but I can't get any radio traffic at all (even for the other users) on that.
 
Joined
Nov 9, 2002
Messages
1,526
Location
Prince George, Virginia--Central Va.
#5
Not in the Richmond area

Hi. Can anyone help me locate the frequency for the VDOT Safety Service Patrol in the Richmond area?

I know in some parts of the state the Safety Service Patrol uses STARS, but I can't locate anything for the Richmond area.

I see in the database it is listed as a Comtronics 2 LTR system, but when I program that into my Uniden 436HP I hear nothing.

I also see in the messages that it's supposed to be on Commtronics LTR at 463.9625 HR-17, but again I get nothing.

I'm sure it's operator error on my part, but any assistance would be appreciated. Thanks in advance.

As previously posted the Commtronics LTR system for contractor I64/I95 Richmond area maintenance no longer exists and never provided a Safety Service Patrol. 463.9625 mhz. now is one of a number of Commtronics DMR(MOTOTRBO/NEXEDGE/NXDN) trs frequencies used in the Richmond area. STARS talkgroup 5280 heard via some Div 1 repeaters is a VDOT contracted Motorist Assistance service only for I81 controlled in Salem from MP1 in Bristol to approximately MP175 in Rockbridge Co. From there to the MD state line VDOT talkgroup 5280 is contractor controlled from Staunton. In Tidewater Smart Traffic does provide a STARS interface with VSP for accident assistance on major roads and also a limited similar VDOT interface exists in NOVA. But in the Richmond area VDOT to date does not offer a Safety Service Patrol you are looking for and probably never will.

John
W4UVV
 
Joined
May 18, 2014
Messages
40
#6
I'm pretty sure there are Safety Service Patrol trucks in Richmond. I hear VSP refer to them all the time.

I'm just wondering if they're dispatched on a STARS talkgroup (previously unknown) or on another frequency that can be monitored. They could be dispatched by cell phone.

Of course, I may be wrong about all of this...
 
Joined
Apr 9, 2009
Messages
1,351
Location
Midlothian, VA
#7
There are definitely SSP trucks in the metro area. I see them all the time on 288, 95, 64, etc. Haven't investigated much but they at least have VHF low-band antennas. They are not owned by the state (all of the trucks have private license plates as opposed to state gov't use plates) but I don't see why they wouldn't be allowed to have STARS radios. Although, they are expensive and that's why URS had LTR radios and low-band.
 
Joined
May 18, 2014
Messages
40
#8
I believe I read that all the Safety Service Patrol trucks in Virginia are now contractors. In fact, I think that all state traffic operation centers are now run by contractors. I put in every VDOT frequency in the RR database earlier and listened for about 90 minutes. Only traffic was from SW Virginia talkgroup on STARS, which I expected. It very well may be they are dispatching via cell phones or push to talk cellphones, perhaps STARS isn't ready for prime time in SSP trucks in Richmond. Just wondering if anyone knew anything about them. VSP calls for them all the time, so they're getting the messages somehow!
 
Joined
Nov 28, 2003
Messages
316
Location
Herndon,Va
#9
They are dispatched under the State Police trunk system as DOTXXX units, so if you here dispatcher calling for for example DOT562, that is the SSP vehicles.
 

fredva

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Virginia/West Virginia
#10
They are dispatched under the State Police trunk system as DOTXXX units, so if you here dispatcher calling for for example DOT562, that is the SSP vehicles.
That's true in northern Virginia where they are on the same talkgroups as the state police. But they aren't on the state police talkgroups everywhere. The question is where they aren't using the state police talkgroups, what are they using?

Right now, I'd lean toward the cell phone idea.
 

LeSueurC

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Location
Portsmouth, VA
#11
Odds are if they are private contractors, they aren't going to use low band VDOT channels or STARS. Either cellphones or they have their VHF ,UHF system. In Hampton Roads many of the VDOT contractors have their system whether that be VHF, cell phone or whatever.
 
Joined
Oct 21, 2003
Messages
96
#13
Real SSP Info

But in the Richmond area VDOT to date does not offer a Safety Service Patrol you are looking for and probably never will.
---
SSP contractor SERCO is active with 5 routes in the Richmond Area, the Central Region, reporting to the Regional TOC at Route 10 and I-95 ( the former Richmond-Petersburg Toll facility ). They have no STARS radios in their vehicles until VDOT Central Region decides to come up with $20,000 for new APX7500 series radios with Futurecom vehicle repeaters (DVRS), for each of up to about 30 SERCO trucks. They do have VDOT low band mobile radios in them and occasionally run them through the Chesterfield repeater with output of 47.30, but rarely heard anymore. Their normal communication is through Verizon Wireless push to talk. Most of the traffic you will hear on 47.30 in the Richmond area is DOT Maintenance from Chesterfield, much more active during and after weather events.

Southwest Region with SERCO vehicles runs on STARS DOTTAC2, which I saw inaccurately tagged or named someplace here, and is one of the busiest talk groups in the STARS system, some months over 20,000 transmissions. SSPs there report to the Transportation Southwest TOC which uses SyTech RIOS consoles and radio interface. They are not dispatched by the VSP Division 6. VDOT Southwest Region purchased $250,000 of STARS radios to put in the private contractor vehicles which are being used daily.

Northern Region SSP of course is also now run by SERCO under contract to VDOT. Some DOT SSP vehicles were purchased by SERCO. Nova DOT granted use of their 50+ STARS radios to SERCO and taxpayer-purchased another 20 complete STARS systems at a cost of over $300,000 to put in new contractor vehicles SERCO purchased or leased. SSPs in northern Virginia are dispatched by the VSP Division 7 and are found on the VSP Talk Groups Fairfax 1 or 2 normally. The VDOT NOVA element has upgraded their operation colocated at the Fairfax PSTOC over the past year and does now have DOT and STARS radios, but they are not often heard on assigned STARS Talk Group DOT TAC9 because they don't dispatch the SSP. Occasionally you may hear someone from the TOC staff call back to the TOC on STARS DOTTAC9 if coordinating an incident. They normally just monitor the VSP TGs using SyTech RIOS consoles. Another contractor Transurban for the toll lanes has the talk group DOT AUX7 assigned but again rarely used.

Eastern Region TOC / SSP are again privately owned SERCO vehicles with State radio property on board. They do not have STARS radios, but extensively and actively use the DOT repeater in Driver at the Public Broadcasting tower from an elevation around 600' AGL, output on 47.30 Mhz. It is very active. If you are in Tidewater and cannot hear that during most any weekday you probably do not have a good antenna for low band. A stubby rubber ducky that came with a hand held scanner will not cut it for low band, and you would be missing a lot on those frequencies. This is on a daily basis one of the most busy low band frequencies in the state. You can differentiate it from the Chesterfield 47.30 not only from different CTCSS tones but by the courtesy beep between transmissions, in Tidewater it is a long dash "T", and in Chesterfield a short dit "E". They do not have any plans to outfit or replace the 30+ SERCO vehicle radios with STARS.

Northwest Region TOC/SSP has purchased over $225,000 of STARS radios for their private contractor SERCO vehicles and those are being inventoried and programmed at the VSPHQ and will be installed in the contractor SERCO trucks over the next month or two. The Northwest Region does have a STARS radio in their TOC in Staunton connected to SyTech RIOS consoles. If they decide to dispatch the SSPs that will be heard on DOT TAC8. If they turn them over to VSP to dispatch those will be heard on the State Police Culpeper and Appomattox Talk Groups, but likely you can look for them on STARS DOTTAC8 by summer.

Hope this clears things up some. Those are the five DOT Regional Transportation Operations Centers and SSP activities. Have a listen, you've paid for it.
 
Last edited:

fredva

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Virginia/West Virginia
#15
Thanks for providing that info, billsblots.

I will add that VSP Division 2 dispatches for SSP in Spotsylvania, Stafford, and Fredericksburg on Culpeper 1. I'm assuming that falls under the Northern region for VDOT but would be south of the Fairfax VSP division.
 

canez5x

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Virginia
#16
Billblots post above is still mostly accurate however Richmond area or Central Region SSPs are now slowly being outfitted with STARS radios in their trucks. As of now, their overnight (21:00 to 05:00) shift units have been mostly completed and have begun utilizing the new radios and can be heard on DOT Ops 4.

The only other thing that has changed is the primary contractor. Serco is no longer in Virginia with the exception of the Express Lanes in Northern Virginia. The new contractor for the rest of the state is now Parsons with several different sub-contractors assisting.
 
Last edited:

KD4IIW

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Spotsylvania,VA
#17
Yes why is SSP in division 7 not dispatched by VDOT? The dispatchers sd it right next to one another.

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KD4IIW

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Spotsylvania,VA
#18
I hear SSP Fredericksburg area on VDOT tac 9 now. Just for Spotsylvania and Stafford. The dispatchers I'd as "Stafford"

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Joined
Nov 9, 2002
Messages
1,526
Location
Prince George, Virginia--Central Va.
#19
Never use common sense if a government entity is involved

Yes why is SSP in division 7 not dispatched by VDOT? The dispatchers sd it right next to one another.

Sent from my SM-G950U using Tapatalk
Obviously it all sources back to monies for FY funding for all the various state's departments. Probably years ago the state admin at that time did cost/benefit analyses and concluded it would be cheaper for the taxpayer to contract out selected work efforts. That way there were no new personnel issues, hiring, conflicts, vacations, and no additional retiree contributions to the state or post retirement expenses, etc.

An example, about 10 years ago a large pine tree fell across my road near my house. For some reason the county VFD did not respond with a chain saw. The P.G. VDOT residency office/vehicles/etc. was about a mile away. VDOT responded quickly but when I asked one of the VDOT guys at the scene why nobody from VDOT had a chain saw. His response was they had to wait on the contractor who arrived soon after and cut the tree up and removed the debris. If VDOT employee had done it, the contractor would have had a legitimate grievance of contract non-compliance and probably receive a penalty payment from VDOT.

VDOT has been trending towards contracting out for the past 10-15 years or maybe longer. When my job was transferred to Ft. Lee in 1974 VDOT had a relatively large workforce. Over time I heard rumors as how that came to be.

Compared to 1974 VDOT to now, VDOT is a significantly smaller workforce.
There may be other reasons but that is one of the biggest. But things are different now.

Lesson Learned= Never ever try to apply common sense logic to a subject when a local city or county, state,or federal entity is involved.

John
W4UVV
 
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