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General Scanning Discussion - For general questions not specific to a model of scanner or general discussion of use of a scanner. Manufacturer specific posts should be directed to the appropriate forums below and location specific posts should go in the appropriate regional forum..

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Old 10-11-2018, 6:14 PM
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Question Question on Disaster Response Radio Communications utilized by Utility Crews

With the recent hurricane events, I have been wondering how electric utilities (and other utilities) coordinate radio communications when out-of-town / out of state crews come into assist?

There is a lot of emphasis with public safety interoperability frequencies, but I'm not familiar if any such plan exists for utilities.

I'm sure there are loaner radios, radio caches, CB radios, FRS/GMRS radios, itinerant radios, cell service (when it's available), and even amateur radio support.

Just looking for some insight from those with actual experience - either via your employment in the industry or via boots-on-the-ground monitoring.

Thanks in advance!
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Old 10-11-2018, 6:57 PM
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AFAIK, the host company provides radio-equipped staff to act as liaisons and local guides for the mutual aid.
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Old 10-12-2018, 5:34 AM
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Here in Northeast PA the utility company PPL has multiple towers throughout their service area. They have low band radios in the utility freq range (mostly 39.xx). And 24 / 7 / 365 they broadcast a CW ID every 10 min or so. Once in every 3 or 4 months you might hear a dispatcher talking to a crew.. or a truck talking. But otherwise.... CW IDs. Nothing more.
That is until hurricane Sandy came through a few years ago. There was considerable damage from trees on wires, power out, etc. Multiple other utility companies sent crews into this part of PA and operated under PPL's direction. Suddenly, those freqs came alive with activity. In fact, not only the freqs I already had in channel memories, but several more in the same range found on search. Once the cleanup was done, the towers and freqs went quiet again.... back to CW ID every 10 min. And it's been that way for several years now. Do I keep those channels loaded up? You betcha....
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Old 10-12-2018, 3:00 PM
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With us we go to cell phone. All outside crews use the phone to communicate with us as well. Our trunked system is only in use by that states crews. When we went to north carolina even though our trunked system is up there it was left to the north carolina guys and we used phones when they worked other than that we had no comms in areas the phones didnt work. It's too hard to get a replacement radio when yours goes down let alone to loan to a contractor

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Old 10-12-2018, 3:58 PM
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The last storm job I worked, old VHF MT-500's were passed out. They were put into storage after we went to the State of Colorado DTRS. Worked out well. Usually 1 per crew, and we could hear what the other crews were doing, especially when circuit switching or putting a chunk of line back in service. Hope that helps.
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Old 10-12-2018, 6:58 PM
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Post Utility Crew Communications

Quote:
Originally Posted by DaveNF2G View Post
AFAIK, the host company provides radio-equipped staff to act as liaisons and local guides for the mutual aid.
That is what I have witnessed in Virginia. One local truck working with a group of out-of-state trucks. Keep in mind that a lot of this restoration work consists of clearing trees/branches, replacing poles, transformers, and lines. It does not include a lot of switching operations. Thus, tactical radio communications are infrequent.

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Old 10-13-2018, 6:42 PM
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In my state if it's a large enough disaster or event we have mobile repeaters and handheld/mobile radio's to hand out.
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Old 10-14-2018, 9:04 AM
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The true answer is... "it depends"
a. What the agreement with the Requesting Utility is
I have seen/heard [OTA] they have provided Guides for the trucks as they work [aka
supervisor etc]
b. Even with the above,the boys in the trucks like to use [chit-chat] their own radios
They will experiement till they find a working simplex channel, even some have used
FRS, GMRS, MURS

And for those of us in the NorthEast, look to the Federal Bands for the Canadian Fleets coming across, using the 162-174 band, as described in my B. example

Basically you never know, until the FLEET arrives.


Quote:
Originally Posted by KD4YGG View Post
With the recent hurricane events, I have been wondering how electric utilities (and other utilities) coordinate radio communications when out-of-town / out of state crews come into assist?

There is a lot of emphasis with public safety interoperability frequencies, but I'm not familiar if any such plan exists for utilities.

I'm sure there are loaner radios, radio caches, CB radios, FRS/GMRS radios, itinerant radios, cell service (when it's available), and even amateur radio support.

Just looking for some insight from those with actual experience - either via your employment in the industry or via boots-on-the-ground monitoring.

Thanks in advance!
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