2020 MACS 441-1 - California fire mutual aid channel load

MikeyC

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https://firescope.caloes.ca.gov/ICS Documents/2020 MACS-441-1.pdf

January 2020 - 146 mandatory channels + 76 highly recommended channels + 24 optional channels

Question - why is there no PL on the input for the USFS service nets?
The input tones are "Operator Selected Tones" based on the PL list at the end of the document. Different "tones" enable different repeaters. When you listen to USFS or CDF you'll often hear them refer to "<Channel Name>, Tone <x>" - That's the PL they're using to key up the various repeater.
 

Paysonscanner

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https://firescope.caloes.ca.gov/ICS Documents/2020 MACS-441-1.pdf

January 2020 - 146 mandatory channels + 76 highly recommended channels + 24 optional channels

Question - why is there no PL on the input for the USFS service nets?
Nice find! This is the unredacted version that shows the NIFC system and the other federal agencies. In the past the public version of this FIRESCOPE publication has all the federal frequencies redacted. It does have an error not showing "OST" in the transmit tone for the USFS Service Nets.

Everything still looks the same as last year
I guess you missed that Cal Fire Command 5 has been taken out of service. I've not seen a version with a 3 tier listing, frequencies mandatory for mutual aid, highly recommended and optional.
 

rsmith7799

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The changes to the MAC 441 are minor verbiage changes that most don't see. The 3 Tier Mandatory Frequencies is new. Each year these documents must be updated and this is what we do at our first meeting of the year.
 
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Nice find! This is the unredacted version that shows the NIFC system and the other federal agencies. In the past the public version of this FIRESCOPE publication has all the federal frequencies redacted. It does have an error not showing "OST" in the transmit tone for the USFS Service Nets.



I guess you missed that Cal Fire Command 5 has been taken out of service. I've not seen a version with a 3 tier listing, frequencies mandatory for mutual aid, highly recommended and optional.
Command 5 was taken out a few years ago for AVL's
 

KK6ZTE

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The changes to the MAC 441 are minor verbiage changes that most don't see. The 3 Tier Mandatory Frequencies is new. Each year these documents must be updated and this is what we do at our first meeting of the year.
Is there any logical order to the numbering in actual codeplugs? With the two splits, it's kind of a mess.
 

f40ph

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I believe the only logical order to channel numbers in each of the 3 categories is alphabetical.

As far as logic relating to the MACS 441-1 in general:
The intent is to have responding mutual aid resources programmed so they can "go to work" without a COMM unit present to clone any radios. The desire is to let FDs know what is "best" to have pre-loaded into their radios. Some FDs have said "we only have xxx channel capacity, what should be in there and what can we remove if we need the space?" The three categories answer those questions.

As an example on the requesting agency side of the equation: if Ventura County requests out of county engines to assist on a fire, they have a reasonable expectation that all incoming units will have their channel VNC Command 2 (in category 1) but they should have zero expectation the out of county engines will initially have VNC Command 12 because it's not in any category. Knowing this, they can simply plan to clone radios prior to requesting mutual aid units to use VNC C12.
 

KK6ZTE

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I understand the idea behind it, I'm just curious as to what order they should be in (assuming you're putting all in the radio). I've been discussing it with a smaller agency and we're not sure the best way to load their radios. If you follow the numbering plan in this document, you have channels all over the place. (SBC C2-T9 far away from SBC C1 for instance). Thankfully, there's no obvious changes (in red) but I'm going to have to go line by line because with all the typos in this document, I wouldn't be surprised to find errors.

For instance, the new SLC/SLU load for KNGs/APXs is broken into ranger units, so there's 50+ zones in the radio. With the old state loads, we just created a zone with all ~160 channels so that it "was there" while having their local and expanded areas in more complete zones.
 

f40ph

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Understood.
It's agency discretion. Some radios have to be 16 channel zones while others can be longer. In my county, I lumped each agency together.
 

rsmith7799

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So the way CalFIRE did the load, was going by the Unit number. And yes there are most if not all the frequencies that you need as you go through that area of CA. For example, SLU or San Luis Obispo, Unit 3400 is in Zone 34. It has all the frequencies within SLO Co. even the small cities. This was done so as you arrive in that area/Zone, you have all the needed frequencies (repeaters and Tactical nets) and are able to go right to work.

The 3 Tier System was put together so Mutual Aid agencies (and now there are a LOT OF THEM) would know what frequencies to program into their radios if they are going to provide assistance PRIOR to coming to the big CA. But I think you all know this but it needed to be explained for those that aren't on RR.
With the BK KNG radios, you can have as many Zones and channels within those Zones that add up to 5000 channels. So the first 16 channels are the MUST for that Zone. We had to stick with the lowest common denominator, the BK Legacy Series.
 

NorCalrescue

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So the way CalFIRE did the load, was going by the Unit number. And yes there are most if not all the frequencies that you need as you go through that area of CA. For example, SLU or San Luis Obispo, Unit 3400 is in Zone 34. It has all the frequencies within SLO Co. even the small cities. This was done so as you arrive in that area/Zone, you have all the needed frequencies (repeaters and Tactical nets) and are able to go right to work.

The 3 Tier System was put together so Mutual Aid agencies (and now there are a LOT OF THEM) would know what frequencies to program into their radios if they are going to provide assistance PRIOR to coming to the big CA. But I think you all know this but it needed to be explained for those that aren't on RR.
With the BK KNG radios, you can have as many Zones and channels within those Zones that add up to 5000 channels. So the first 16 channels are the MUST for that Zone. We had to stick with the lowest common denominator, the BK Legacy Series.
The CalFire load is great. Whoever put that together was genius. I have duplicated their load in my Motorola APX using the CHANUP and CHANDN menu items allowing for greater than 16 channels per zone. Works awesome.
 

Progline

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2 questions about the MACS listing: I wonder why the 103.5 output tone was not listed for ANF & LPF, yet it was for CNF? Also, although the LAcoFD VHF command repeaters are listed V1-V5), there was no mention of the LARTCS system. Hasnt this been used for large-scale brush fires? (or does the system still exist?)
 

f40ph

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While they definitely do use the 103.5 on some other forests, the only "official" one is CNF. I'm not sure why they don't publish that the ANF, BDF, LPF use it.
 

Paysonscanner

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2 questions about the MACS listing: I wonder why the 103.5 output tone was not listed for ANF & LPF, yet it was for CNF? Also, although the LAcoFD VHF command repeaters are listed V1-V5), there was no mention of the LARTCS system. Hasnt this been used for large-scale brush fires? (or does the system still exist?)
While they definitely do use the 103.5 on some other forests, the only "official" one is CNF. I'm not sure why they don't publish that the ANF, BDF, LPF use it.
Looking in the 2020 R5 Frequency Guide I see that the notation on all the forests for RX tones varies. For the Angeles there is a note that for the Forest Net and Admin Net, "simplex direct (Car to Car Only), Use Transmit Tone 8." There is no mention of the RX tone. The Cleveland has a note "Must use Tone 8 when using these channels to protect from interference from Mexico." The note pertains to repeater use of the Forest and Admin Nets. The listings for the Los Padres and San Bernardino does not mention anything about RX tones. Elsewhere in R5 there is no mention of RX tones on any forest. However, other people have mentioned output tones on forest nets for years. In my 40 years of living in California I've observed 103.5 on the output of the 4 Southern CA forest's radio systems, both on simplex and for repeaters. For the Sierra NF there is a unique output tone for each repeater, but the tones are not those of the standard 16, they are in the 71.9 to 91.5 range, which includes 8 total tones. The Inyo NF has the output tone matching the input tone. So does the Eldorado and Lake Tahoe Basin, according to my last time hearing those nets. Late Hubby and I traveled in CA extensively, but I see we did not make notes of the output tones on most USFS and BLM systems. I guess that is because note programming a RX tone wasn't our normal practice, except for Southern CA. For mutual aid purposes the RX tone is optional as communications can occur without it. However, before the NIFC system was set up for RX tones on both the command and tac nets, the interference from Mexico we heard once we left the Central Valley was pretty fierce!

Concerning the LARTCS system, we never heard it being used for a wildland fire. We were able to get hold of about a dozen incident comm plans and never saw this system mentioned. I think that is because it appears to be designed for the urban areas of L.A. County. Mt. Lee, Castro and Oat are electronic sites for L.A. County, Lee and Oat for L.A. City, as well as for other systems. They are typical sites for the LA basin, San Fernando Valley and west LA county. Systems for wildland fires are already available for federal, state and county incidents already, with the NIFC, Cal Fire and L.A. County (VHF) systems being very extensive. They don't have cross band repeater capability other than for linking repeaters and aviation freq, remote bases. Nearly all wildland responding agencies, no matter what system they use within their own agencies, also have VHF capabilities. In the case of the Angeles NF all the fire vehicles on the forest and dispatch have UHF LA County radios in them. At least the few that we saw over many years. When needed the NIFC system has a huge cache of VHF handhelds pre-programmed with that system. I should mention that we limited our trips to the urban portions of Southern CA to visit my Hubby's family and otherwise tried to avoid urban areas as much as possible, so our listening in those locations was not frequent.
 
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