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Old 06-30-2014, 12:27 AM
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Default surveillance frequencies

Any one know the surveillance frequencies used by AZ State, PHX PD and Maricopa County? I am sure they run encryption on the RWC or other local trunking systems but they probably have a few simplex channels that they operate on when conducting business away from RWC coverage. Have noticed that AZ state have statewide authorization on the repeater inputs and outputs. Based on that they could conduct surveillances on repeater input channels that are not paired with a local repeater. Could be way off on this.

I have heard PDs conduct surveillances on city wide paging systems. No one would listen to that racket all day, a perfect place to hide. Radios used by the officers had PL on the receive side to minimize receiving pager traffic.

Actually know a PD that uses a commercial trunking system and another one whose narcotic officers use a pig farm channel for surveillance, not kidding.

Some PDs have blown the dust off their old low band radios and actually conduct surveillances on old 30 to 50 MHz radios which they still have licenses for.

Others operate on school bus frequencies, DPW and local maintenance channels at night so locating the channels the PDs use for surveillance can be challenging.

If anyone is aware of frequencies used by PHX PD, Maricopa County or AZ State could you share them with me?
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Old 06-30-2014, 1:10 AM
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when I was with a radio company in memphis, the Drug Task Force of Western Tennessee operated on business frequencies that the company had. 4 repeaters around the Memphis area. Most people who scanned or monitored would never look for activity on a business trunking system.
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Old 06-30-2014, 3:53 AM
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Default Zello+ is a possibility

Its data encrypted and allows for group and person to person messageing without the ability to evesdrop on the convos as you would need the group passwords and such to get in.. Also depending on range they could easily be using ISM 900mhz freq hopping radios like we use at work at my facility.. Totally eliminates pretty much anybody overhearing with a scanner..
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Old 06-30-2014, 1:39 PM
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Phoenix PD uses numerous encrypted talkgroups on the RWC for surveillance. RWC has coverage where they do surveillance. It has been reported the freqs below (and many others) might be in some RWC agency radios as simplex encrypted or unencrypted programmed as N-Deck channels, but none have been verified. I have not heard them active, and you would need to be within about a mile of the surveillance area to hear them anyway.
765.15625
765.21875
765.65625
765.71875
769.05625
769.06875
769.21875
769.65625
774.93125

Several years ago, DPS used talkgroups 2191 and 2192 on the RWC, but this has moved to YRCS talkgroups 1020, 1025, and 1026 when they expanded YRCS coverage into the Phoenix area. All of these talkgroups are encrypted. I’m guessing DPS uses these same encrypted talkgroups in Tucson and Yuma as well. I’m not sure what DPS uses when they are not in YRCS coverage. They likely have some 700-800mhz encrypted simplex freqs in their radios, but these are unknown.

MCSO has several encrypted talkgroups on the county radio system that provides coverage where they would be doing surveillance. They might have other 700-800mhz encrypted simplex freq, but they are not known.

Long story short, 99% of the surveillance occurs on the department radio system talkgroups as encrypted communications. The 1% that might occur on a simplex frequency are not well documented as there are thousands of possible 700-800mhz freqs, and you have to be within about 1 mile to hear it. If they are using simplex, it is likely also encrypted.

I have had the best luck in listening to surveillance when it involves multiple valley agencies. They will sometimes use G Deck talkgroups on the RWC. I caught a surveillance op around 32nd Street and Baseline in Phoenix many years ago with what sounded like DPS and Phoenix PD on 866.0125 simplex in the clear.

Last edited by cellphone; 06-30-2014 at 2:17 PM..
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Old 06-30-2014, 3:03 PM
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Program in all of the VHF-Low/VHF-High/UHF/700/800 Interoperability frequencies, including the federal/state:
Interoperability Scanner Frequencies and Radio Frequency Reference

(I have heard activity on VTAC-11 and VTAC-13, both LEO's and ADOT.)

Program in all of the 700 MHz low-power/itinerant frequencies found at the bottom of this page:
Public Safety Scanner Frequencies and Radio Frequency Reference

Program in the following "SPTAC" frequencies:
SPTAC 1: 765.15625
SPTAC-2: 765.21875
SPTAC-3: 765.65625
SPTAC-4: 765.71875

Program in the "Special Operations" frequencies from the Maricopa County page. These are also listed under DEMA on the state page:
764.05625
764.06875
775.99375
794.05625
794.06875
805.99375 (if your scanner will accept it. My PSR-500 will not.)

Edit: Here's the link. Program in the RTAC's, as well:
Common/Shared Scanner Frequencies and Radio Frequency Reference

Be sure to have all of the G-deck and O-deck interoperability talkgroups from the RWC programmed in. H-deck interoperability talkgroups are encrypted.

MCSO does use their SID TG's on occasion, with a mix of clear and encrypted transmissions. (Sometimes in the same conversation. One deputy will be in the clear, the other encrypted.)

Also, program in the MURS and FRS/GMRS frequencies. I have heard car-to-car and surveillance activity on FRS/GMRS in the past. I heard Sun City-area MCSO deputies using FRS for car-to-car shortly after they left their old UHF channels for the county trunked system. I don't know if any deputies still use it. And, I've heard a surveillance operation on a FRS/GMRS channel within the past year or so. I don't know if they were LEO's or PI's, but I was running errands, and ended up in the middle of them tailing a subject until he pulled into a grocery store parking lot. No, I didn't try to put myself there, it just happened.

BTW, 2191 and 2192 on the RWC are still active, and still encrypted.

On the YRCS, 1000, 1015, 1016, 1020, 1021, 1025, 1026, 1027, and 1028 are all encrypted. On 1100 I once heard what sounded like surveillance related to a worker's compensation investigation (apparantly the claimant wasn't being entirely truthful as to the extent of his injuries), as well as once an employee of a contract barricade company contact the Phoenix TOC about a job being complete. On 1108, I heard car-to-car communications once. They were very unconcerned about who may have been listening in.

Whatever you hear, of course, keep it to yourself.

Last edited by KB7MIB; 06-30-2014 at 3:16 PM.. Reason: Additional info.
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Old 06-30-2014, 3:22 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by KB7MIB View Post
Whatever you hear, of course, keep it to yourself.
Let us know what frequency you hear, just don't tell us specifics of the communication.
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Old 06-30-2014, 4:03 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by KB7MIB View Post

Be sure to have all of the G-deck and O-deck interoperability talkgroups from the RWC programmed in.
I've heard quite a bit of surveillance on the G & O decks. Unfortunately I've never heard much to ID the agency or what they were doing, or where they were. Usually it's things like ' He's pulling out of Circle K and going north' or 'He's in the left lane and he's going around you right now'. Very vague and generic. Sometimes they'll say something like 'He's turning west on Indian School'. That narrows it down a bit, but it could still be anywhere form Goodyear to Scottsdale.
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Old 06-30-2014, 7:37 PM
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Yea, that's pretty common. It's still interesting to hear, though. Once in awhile you'll catch some federal stuff in the clear like that, too.

Also, try 159.390. This used to be the Maricopa County Lakes VHF repeater. It was last used as a wide area car-to-car repeater for Lake Patrol and Mountain district (formerly Parks & Trails district, formerly MC Park Police) deputies, because there was no dispatcher on it. But that was years ago. I have, however, recently caught some simplex activity on it. There was no tone that I could discern. It used to be 123.0 Hz. 151.205 was the input to the repeater.

A couple of weeks ago, MCSO was working some kind of incident in district 2. There was mention on West of them using "Direct", but I don't know what frequency that would be. Two frequencies listed in the SWFD-10 are now part of the RWC, so I have my doubts that either is in use for that purpose.

John
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Old 07-01-2014, 10:29 AM
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Default Surveillance freqs

Thank you everyone for the information you provided. Interesting to see that there are so many 700 and 800 MHZ frequencies in use here. Expected to see more VHF frequencies used for surveillance operations but cops get tired of carry two or more radios and find it convenient to use their own company radio if possible.
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Old 07-01-2014, 2:35 PM
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Most of the conventional 700 & 800 MHz frequencies are nationwide allocations. It doesn't necessarily mean that they're in use in any particular area, or give any indication of how much use they get.
I was surprised when I first heard VTAC-11, I figured most activity like that would be on the 700-800 MHz channels. But, it also makes sense that they would use a different band, as many, like me, wouldn't think that they'd be on a different band altogether. I just happened to have them programmed in. I really need to reprogram my scanner to add in more of the interops. I actually only have a few.

Also, most LEO's and FF's here in the Valley now use a VHF/700-800 MHz dual-band radio, so they don't need to carry two seperate radios. (DPS has mostly switched to dual-band UHF/700-800 MHz radios, at least their portables. I heard a dispatcher mention it once during a multi-agency incident, telling their officers to switch to G-deck.) It makes it much more conveinent now for officers and fire fighters.
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Old 07-01-2014, 3:32 PM
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And you wonder why they are using more and more encryption? How do you know who is asking?
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Old 07-02-2014, 9:07 PM
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Some stuff should be encrypted. Almost every 700/800mhz public safety radio in the valley is encryption capable. The only surveillance I hear anymore is when it involves multiple agencies that might not have shared encryption keys, or might not have encrypted talkgroups with the proper key programmed in every radio. Even this is getting more rare since most valley agencies are part of the RWC. Phoenix PD has encrypted surveillance activities since day one of using the RWC (then called PRWN). They are not doing it because of posts on RR. They are doing it because they have the technology now, and surveillance activities should be encrypted.

Last edited by cellphone; 07-02-2014 at 9:12 PM..
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Old 07-02-2014, 9:42 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cellphone View Post
Some stuff should be encrypted. Almost every 700/800mhz public safety radio in the valley is encryption capable. The only surveillance I hear anymore is when it involves multiple agencies that might not have shared encryption keys, or might not have encrypted talkgroups with the proper key programmed in every radio. Even this is getting more rare since most valley agencies are part of the RWC. Phoenix PD has encrypted surveillance activities since day one of using the RWC (then called PRWN). They are not doing it because of posts on RR. They are doing it because they have the technology now, and surveillance activities should be encrypted.
I know I dont live in AZ but I agree with your statement. It concerns officer safety when it is not encrypted. You dont know if the perp has a radio and listening to the police or not. Just my $0.02 cents.
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Old 07-11-2014, 9:28 PM
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Default Surveillance freqs

Bet $10.00 to a donut that VHF Hi band is used more than you think simply because the majority of surveillance equipment, beacon transmitters, body wires and in band portable repeaters operate in the VHF band. Cops don't like to carry 2 or 3 radios with them and find it convenient to communicate right on a VHF beacon transmitter or a VHF body wire frequency, if or if not the devices are activated.

Watch for in band VHF repeaters pairing around 155 MHz and 171 MHz, these repeaters have low power transmitters of 2 or 4 watts that are used to increase the range of beacon or body wire transmitters. They need the frequency separation to keep the duplexers a manageable size. Yes, the feds use them a lot to, been known to cross band or do what ever they need to do to get the job done.

State, county and city agencies need to have frequencies they can operate covert devices on anywhere in the state. Truth be told, they might be on 700 or 800 MHz but don't overlook the obvious because the manufacturer of those covert devices love to use the ever so popular VHF band throughout the country.
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Old 07-11-2014, 10:12 PM
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Then there's this caveat in the FCC Rules Part 90:

A Police licensee may use, without special authorization from the Commission any mobile service frequency
between 40 and 952 MHz, listed in paragraph (c)(3)
of this section, for communications in connection with physical surveillance, stakeouts,
raids, and other such activities. Such use shall be on a secondary basis to operations of
licensees regularly authorized on the assigned frequencies. The maximum output power
that may be used for such communications is 2 watts. Transmitters, operating under
this provision of the rules, shall be exempted from the station identification requirements...

They could be just about anywhere if they so desired.
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Old 07-12-2014, 11:54 AM
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Default surveillance freqs

Yes you are right, that's why some police use pig farm channel frequencies (with the owners permission) (have to love the humor) and other business channels. The feds jump on and off of unused taxi cab channels and other business frequencies. Here today, gone tomorrow. To make things even worse, some gov't agencies use extreme wide band radios that scanners cant pick up...when I say wide I mean really wide.

Guess the point I am trying to make here is that police agencies tend to protect themselves with frequencies that are authorized to their jurisdiction may it be city, county or state. Very often you will find that they are operating on frequencies that they use to operate on but have transitioned off of. May want to take a close look at those very old VHF Lo band frequencies that were used in the early 60s particularly if they still have FCC authorization on those channels.

Some police agencies will use frequencies authorized to their municipality which are normally used for other uses such as DPW or other non law enforcement departments. Devices used for investigative purposes could be licensed to by the manufacturer so if you cant locate activity on known law enforcement channels start looking in the weeds. Its the hunt that is fun, once located the activity can be pretty boring.

So much more to discuss, think I will write a book .
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Old 07-12-2014, 3:07 PM
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Default re: survelllance frequencies

what kind of equipment would you use for finding frequencies like this which could be anywhere from 40 to 956 mhz? would the spectrum sweeper on a gre psr 800 find anything?
also, azdon how did you notice there was voice traffic on a noisy data paging channel? i'll listen to a 152 mhz paging channel as a way to test my scanners vhf reception, like how many miles, but not for very long
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Old 07-12-2014, 3:36 PM
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Default Surveillance freqs

Spectrum monitors work well for finding frequencies that are always active but you are better off finding seldom used frequencies with scanners or frequency counters that can record multiple hits. Just start searching in 1 MHz increments, let the scanner search and record for a week or two.

Found police surveillance activity on a municipal VHF paging system only because I knew it was a perfect place to hide. Officers must have had portable radios with pl encoding to eliminate the paging data but when they transmitted and opened up the receivers on the other radios the paging noise had to tailgate in.

Just plug in all of your local frequencies used by the DPW, water dept, dog catcher, and others. Dig into data bases for licensed but unused frequencies. Forget about monitoring in the daytime because the frequencies used by the DPW and others will be in use by those departments. The police will slide on to them at night, not every night. Be patient, see if you can hear talk around simplex activity, program repeater input and output frequencies into your scanner.

If the police normally use a large 800 MHz trunked radio system in your area see if other departments are still using the old low or hi band vhf radio frequencies. Monitor those at night for a month.

Might also listen to systems or frequencies used by surrounding agencies as they might have permanently loaned some of their radios to their peers for task force operations.

I have been hunting frequencies for 50 years and was in the business for 39, expect the unexpected.
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Old 07-12-2014, 5:56 PM
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Default RE: surveillance frequencies

thanks azdon
i got all frequencies for my state and my county from the fcc and entered the frequencies into my pro-60 that were not primary operations channels. did not hear anything after a year of listening. i'll try again with local frequencies used by my town
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Old 07-18-2014, 10:45 AM
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Default Surveillance Freqs

I worked undercover for various agencies, and still have friends who work sensitive operations. In recent years they use agency frequencies to contact dispatch, usually encrypted. Most of the actual surveillance is done with PTT on their cell phones.

A give away for federal day to day undercover vehicles, is the ToughBook mount.

Most body wires are sperad spectrum today, and can't be monitored.
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