AZ frequency guides

avdrummerboy

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Hey all, I'm new to the Arizona scanner listening game; I am relocating from Southern California. I was just curious as to if Arizona or any AZ agencies have frequency/ COMM guides like what is out in California. Out there we have the TMAC in Los Angeles, San Bernardino County (where I am from) has a comm guide as a phone app, and Cal Fire has the MACS as an official frequency and channel name guide. I was curious if there is anything similar for Arizona that anyone knows of?
 

ecps92

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Hey all, I'm new to the Arizona scanner listening game; I am relocating from Southern California. I was just curious as to if Arizona or any AZ agencies have frequency/ COMM guides like what is out in California. Out there we have the TMAC in Los Angeles, San Bernardino County (where I am from) has a comm guide as a phone app, and Cal Fire has the MACS as an official frequency and channel name guide. I was curious if there is anything similar for Arizona that anyone knows of?
 

es93546

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Hey all, I'm new to the Arizona scanner listening game; I am relocating from Southern California. I was just curious as to if Arizona or any AZ agencies have frequency/ COMM guides like what is out in California. Out there we have the TMAC in Los Angeles, San Bernardino County (where I am from) has a comm guide as a phone app, and Cal Fire has the MACS as an official frequency and channel name guide. I was curious if there is anything similar for Arizona that anyone knows of?
The link ecps92 passed along is a listing of the NIFOG channels and a quick glance revealed nothing unique to Arizona. I think if you do a search with "Arizona AIRS" you will get something that is.

The Arizona Department of Forestry and Fire Management used to allow public access to it's annual comm guide. About 2-3 years ago they changed that to a publically available, but password protected link on their dispatch page. I notice this year that the link is not available to the public at all, password or not. The issue is that their guide shows radio groups with federal frequencies in them, complete with the tone tables. The RR DB page for Arizona Natural Resource Agencies is a good start for monitoring them. There is a list of repeaters by channel at the top of the page, but if you are not familiar with the entire state you won't know the locations of them. There are some maps that show the comm sites of the state government floating around, but there isn't anything in the wiki. I have some, but don't hold your breath for me to get a copy of the wiki, I'm a good 6 months behind submitting updates for the database already. However, here are some maps and documents that might help you, or not. Some of these may not show as they will be too big for Radio Reference.

In general you will find information a little harder to find. The agencies don't have as much info developed, the amount of interagency coordination is less and the government is smaller because the population is smaller.

The 2019 plan shows the AIRS frequencies as well. The rest might have more current versions, but I will throw them your way anyway.

2011 AZ Game & Fish Region Map.JPG
 

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es93546

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Hey all, I'm new to the Arizona scanner listening game; I am relocating from Southern California. I was just curious as to if Arizona or any AZ agencies have frequency/ COMM guides like what is out in California. Out there we have the TMAC in Los Angeles, San Bernardino County (where I am from) has a comm guide as a phone app, and Cal Fire has the MACS as an official frequency and channel name guide. I was curious if there is anything similar for Arizona that anyone knows of?
You might be able to get more current information than some I sent you by researching agency websites. I sent the AZ DOT Phoenix District only, assuming you might move to Maricopa County. I have maps for the rest of the ADOT districts as well, but didn't want to sent them along unless you need them. On the ADOT site they had, and might still have, a mapbook, which will be listed like "2019 Mapbook." They are usually about 2-3 years behind the current year. I recommend you look for it, not only for the radio hobby, but for information to be a well informed resident and voter in the state. The statewide maps of the DFFM (state forestry agency) and one other were too data rich to load onto this site.

I lived in Arizona in the 1970's and earned my bachelor's degree there. My wife and I (mostly my wife) have a ton of family there. We try to visit at least once a year, but up to 3 if we can get it together. My wife and I lived there in May thru August in 2018 so I could get some medical treatments. It was nice to have family there to support us. The road system in the state, with the exception of the urban areas, is showing signs of not enough maintenance. Like most states, they are suffering from the reduced collection of federal excise tax on fuel. Since cars are more efficient and some are electric an increasing number of miles driven is coupled with fewer gallons of gas sold. There isn't enough money to keep up with increased wear and tear. The U.S. Congress is aware of the problem and has been for 20-30 years,, but like a huge number of issues, has failed to act. The even have a very good idea of how much the tax should be raised, which is about 18 cents a gallon. California voters approved a statewide gas tax increase of 18 cents 2-4 years ago as they couldn't wait for Congress to act. It is all slated for backlog maintenance only, with fixing bridges the highest on the current list of projects. A limited number of other states have done similar, however, Arizona is not one of them.

The state park system in Arizona is very small compared to California, Oregon and Washington. The premiere park of the system is likely "Kartchner Caverns" and one of these days I want to visit it. I've heard some very positive reports.

After some woefully poor and misguided policies on urban freeways for 3-4 decades, Maricopa County and ADOT got its act together. A regional transportation plan on what freeways were needed was prepared. Urban residents pay additional taxes. The system is nearly built and its pretty nice. There used to be a portion of I-10 and I-17 in place when I moved away in 1978. Traffic on the surface streets became "epic." At some intersections I thought I might need to find a room for the day. There is still work to do on the 303 Loop at the western and northwestern portion of the metro area. After some very long delays trying to get the 202 Loop completed, a lot of that delay due to some negotiations with a Native American Tribe, that last gap is under construction. Still left for now is a truck bypass of the city that will start somewhere in the Buckeye area and then go east to join I-10 again south of the metro area. It is in the concept and in the choosing a route stage. They really need to look at light rail or trains next, but we will see.

I hope that, at least, some of this helps.
 
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es93546

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If you can find a copy of Dan Rollman's "Southwest Frequency Directory" 10th edition it still has some good background information of the state. This even given the 12 year old printing. It has some hard to find, or no longer in existence, maps that can be helpful. On page 6 it has a map of the major electronic sites in the state. I thought I had one on my computer, but could not find it. Dan is a member of RR and put together the best directories I've ever used.
 

avdrummerboy

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@es93546 thank you very much for your responses and explanations. I am moving to Bullhead City area, but may possible relocate to the Phoenix area in the near future. I have certainly found it much more difficult to find any AZ information that CA information, although even CA stage agencies are beginning to make less and less information public so even that is becoming more difficult.

I know that for some years now the NIFC/ NIRSC frequencies have been considered "sensitive but unclassified" information but that hasn't stopped anyone from posting the frequency guides in CA. It seems as if ADFFM is not quite as large as Cal Fire as a state agency. Coming from an EMS background it is always nice to have as much information about the area as I can. A lot of agencies can be pretty lax when it comes to radio needs.
 

GlobalNorth

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Back in the days of "Police Call" and other guides, frequencies for the local FDs and PDs were just about set in stone. Kids and grandkids were using the same freqs. that their parents and grandparents did if they followed the same career paths. That ended in many metro areas nationwide and it is still continuing.

In the years since I left my first career, the agency went from UHF, to 800, and now down to 700/800. We went from independent and refusing to join a consortium of users to being part of RWC. Others have as well. Assignments, bands, modalities, and other variables change more quickly than ever before.

Once upon a time, you bought a scanner and crystals or you punched in the freqs and you were in business. Now, one needs to be a CIS or CS major to understand a majority of it.

There are people who could/would write such a guide, but how long would it last before it became partially obsolete when an agency goes from Phase 1 to Phase 2? Even with self-publishing, it would be a lot of work with no guarantee of any profit.

The second issue is release of information by government agencies. AZDPS is infamous for failing / refusing to release information of any sort. If I were to contact CHP and ask about a proposal for buying a new helicopter in FY22, they'd point me to something online or give me some published RFP and say thank you. AZDPS will treat you as if you are trying to get their "body-bug" frequencies and tell you to submit a FOIA request. AZDPS wants a new helicopter for EMS and patrol, but they won't release specifications or what manufacturers they are looking at.
 

avdrummerboy

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The second issue is release of information by government agencies. AZDPS is infamous for failing / refusing to release information of any sort. If I were to contact CHP and ask about a proposal for buying a new helicopter in FY22, they'd point me to something online or give me some published RFP and say thank you. AZDPS will treat you as if you are trying to get their "body-bug" frequencies and tell you to submit a FOIA request. AZDPS wants a new helicopter for EMS and patrol, but they won't release specifications or what manufacturers they are looking at.
I feel that in AZ for sure, it is a completely different culture and attitude than LA or CHP or other major agencies. Look at LAPD, back about 6 or 7 years ago I distinctly remember the police chief saying that he didn't want to encrypt his radio transmissions in the interest of public relations and transparency. I get the feeling in AZ that that is not a big driving issue for the agencies.
 

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Big agencies such as LAPD have politicians as police chiefs and they are more community astute compared to the AZ chiefs, many of whom are multi-generational and got to their offices by backstabbing and undermining other candidates. Arizona agencies tend to be about 10 to 20 years behind California agencies - we got Panda cars in the 1990s, when traditionally we never had them. Big shield badges got popular at the turn of the century when the badges we had worn for generations were considered too passé. A lot of tactics came from there - MFF, gang squads, etc.

The two things that haven't made it here are pursuits and the P-I-T maneuver. Arizona pretty much stopped pursuits in the 1980s and the P-I-T is reserved for training instructors who never leave their offices or for units that are always on vacation, in training, or otherwise unavailable.
 

GlobalNorth

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When I was on light duty for months, I was assigned to work in radio. I got a call from the front desk about a radio frequency request from a citizen. I called to the front lobby and the citizen told me that he was a retired Boston firefighter and wanted to get our main dispatch frequency since he had moved into the city.

Rather than write down all the information from the FCC license copy, I simply took it off the wall, photocopied it, and provided it to him. When the Comm Manager [a civilian] found out, she threw a fit. After repeatedly explaining that our dispatch and other radio frequencies were public record and that all sworn personnel were required by policy to transmit sensitive data only by MDC, telephone, or fax to a secure location [!]; they finally left the matter alone after it made it all the way to the police chief.

Stupidity abounds in government.
 

es93546

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Stupidity abounds in government.
Stupidity abounds in . . . . everywhere. I've worked for a national corporation, a medium sized security company, a small non profit, one retail, a lodging property and finally a small service related business. I think that covers them all. I also received an education in a biological field and used it on my job with the federal government. The supervision, training, dedication, passion and camaraderie were superior on the federal job and stunk in the private jobs. There was stupidity in all because we are ALL stupid at times, it's just a human condition. The trick is to know when you might be getting stupid and then do something about it.
 

es93546

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Hey all, I'm new to the Arizona scanner listening game; I am relocating from Southern California. I was just curious as to if Arizona or any AZ agencies have frequency/ COMM guides like what is out in California. Out there we have the TMAC in Los Angeles, San Bernardino County (where I am from) has a comm guide as a phone app, and Cal Fire has the MACS as an official frequency and channel name guide. I was curious if there is anything similar for Arizona that anyone knows of?
Here the link to the AZ Dept. of Transportation's Map Book.

Arizona Dept. of Transportation Map Book

Here is the link for the Phoenix metro area freeway plan.

2006-2025 Regional Transportation Plan

I didn't realize that the bypass of the central city was on the books. Last time I checked a few years ago something further south utilizing AZ Highway 85 and another east-west freeway was in the concept stage. Maybe it still is, but I haven't dug deep into the planning documents of the ADOT. It is good to see some relief is on the way for I-10 though. I would think the 202 and 303 would see a large amount of truck traffic south of the central metro area. I hope more than 2-3 lanes are proposed.
 

es93546

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Back in the days of "Police Call" and other guides, frequencies for the local FDs and PDs were just about set in stone. Kids and grandkids were using the same freqs. that their parents and grandparents did if they followed the same career paths. That ended in many metro areas nationwide and it is still continuing.

In the years since I left my first career, the agency went from UHF, to 800, and now down to 700/800. We went from independent and refusing to join a consortium of users to being part of RWC. Others have as well. Assignments, bands, modalities, and other variables change more quickly than ever before.

Once upon a time, you bought a scanner and crystals or you punched in the freqs and you were in business. Now, one needs to be a CIS or CS major to understand a majority of it.

There are people who could/would write such a guide, but how long would it last before it became partially obsolete when an agency goes from Phase 1 to Phase 2? Even with self-publishing, it would be a lot of work with no guarantee of any profit.

The second issue is release of information by government agencies. AZDPS is infamous for failing / refusing to release information of any sort. If I were to contact CHP and ask about a proposal for buying a new helicopter in FY22, they'd point me to something online or give me some published RFP and say thank you. AZDPS will treat you as if you are trying to get their "body-bug" frequencies and tell you to submit a FOIA request. AZDPS wants a new helicopter for EMS and patrol, but they won't release specifications or what manufacturers they are looking at.
Your comment struck a nerve. The following is a rant about the older printed directories vs. the Radio Reference Database and Wiki. I will post this in the database and wiki forums, but very few people read those forums, so I thought posting it here might be helpful. Most people won't read it here either, as people seem to expect soundbite communications instead of magazine articles. Quick, dirty and let's move on seems to be the mantra.

Unfortunately the Radio Reference Database is not up to the standards many printed directories had when they were current. The layout and format of the printed ones was more logical and easier to use. All kept the federal, state, county and local systems in their own sections. In spite of RR DB written policy some federal agencies are buried down in the county pages, especially in the eastern U.S. Maps were printed right on the system pages along with codes, unit ID's and other related information. These were like the RR data pages and the wiki combined.

Police Call didn't have as much info, it was an FCC license state by state printout. It provided a source of information that was not available to most when it went nationwide about 1974-1976 and until this site took over. The internet was a small shadow of itself back in the mid 90's. These books also had information submitted by local listeners. Gene Hughes (Costin) treated his contributors like gold, sending them a free copy of one of the regional books or all 9 sets if you contributed in more than one region or were a long time contributor. I was one of the latter.

Dan Rollman came out with several directories that were even better than Police Call for the areas they covered. The Arizona book was about as good as it can get. I still have his Southern California and Arizona books. Richard Barnett was the editor of a thick gem called "Monitor America" that I still have on my bookshelf.

I still maintain my own books in notebook form where I print out information of a whole bunch of agencies I find in other books so I have one updated source I can throw in the car when I travel and one source I can use to make comments and keep track of what I've heard in order to make RR DB submissions.

The RR wiki is hard to use as navigation is not straightforward and many pages are obsolete. The most important pages of it are listed obscurely under a term called 'collaboration." I've made this comment before and electronic techies defend it, saying it is the result of people collaborating. Weill then we should call the whole RR database "collaboration" also, shouldn't we? Many people don't know of or use the wiki. Very few members contribute and edit its pages. The database page is full of undefined abbreviations, my largest problem with it. The convenience of loading whole systems using various software is amazing and it being updated every day is absolutely essential. However, it gets back to participation, I don't think a large number of members contribute. Sometimes there are holes in the info, where no one has bothered to compare the FCC license with the listings or compared a county with the FCC licenses to fill in those holes. Sometimes repeater input frequencies are left blank and sometimes people submit the input frequencies as output because that is all they heard in their over the air searches.

I understand the need to only have on the ground confirmation of FCC license data use and information from official sources. In the case of federal information, there are a whole bunch of people who have access to annual official directories. I've tried to post threads asking for people to confirm that info and most of the time get nothing or get info about repeater inputs confused with outputs. The result is very old info being in the database that we know is incorrect, but is the last confirmed info we have. Example, the directories will show new frequencies in use that comply with the new (1-1-19) NTIA frequency allocation for the federal VHF high band (162-174). If we don't list the frequencies in the directories then people are loading the ones not in use and not understanding why they don't hear anything. They don't have a basis to listen to frequencies to comment on. Official directories are at least 90-95% accurate, the only errors come from those in the annual edition, which are often corrected with internal memos or emails that we might not have access to. In some cases some of us do. So we have info that is 100% out of date and don't show info that is 95% accurate. This doesn't make sense.

We have convenience, but we've gained a good share of inaccuracy and are missing a lot of information as a result.
 

es93546

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Something Dan Rollman did was post links to periodic updates on his website, between printing new editions. He password protect the info, but posted information about how to come up with the password by going to certain pages and lines where one could find the passwords. Mr. Rollman is a member here and from Arizona. He must have a background in public information and/or writing beyond what his frequency directories indicate. Thanks Dan, for your contributions to the hobby.
 

DanRollman

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Something Dan Rollman did was post links to periodic updates on his website, between printing new editions. He password protect the info, but posted information about how to come up with the password by going to certain pages and lines where one could find the passwords. Mr. Rollman is a member here and from Arizona. He must have a background in public information and/or writing beyond what his frequency directories indicate. Thanks Dan, for your contributions to the hobby.
Thank you for your kind words. I had neither a background in writing nor public information, but beginning from the age of 8 a deep interest in scanner listening and public safety operations in general. I simply sought to aggregate and curate information I myself found interesting and useful. I considered Gene Hughes (who I never met) and Rich Barnett (who I did meet) like mentors. I wrote my first scanner directory at age 12 on my grandfather's DOS-based Packard Bell 'computer terminal'. I printed my first go-to-market scanner directory at Alphagraphics using an advance on my allowance that my parents provided, and made my first sale of 10 copies to Larry Pace at the old PACE Engineering on Prince Road in Tucson. It took off from there. Until it didn't.

Today I like to use the difference between my directories and RadioReference as an example of the difference between aggregation and curation. Both are important. I am an Amazon Prime member and appreciate that I can buy damn near anything on Amazon - if I know what I am looking for - but I deeply appreciate resources like Consumer Reports and other edited sources for the way they curate and write in a trustworthy way about consumer items. I have a Spotify subscription because I like access to damn near every bit of music, but I deeply appreciate my SiriusXM subscription where talented DJs and other curators on specific channels select specific music I might like (and would never find myself on Spotify, even though it is there).

It feels like we once had a ton of curation but more limited depth. Now it feels like we've swung the other way in so many regards - we have access to absolutely everything in digital form and yet we feel like we're missing out on editorial wisdom and the curation of that immense content library. The trouble is that aggregation is more easily automated (and is thus relatively cheap), but high quality curation and editorial work product requires hard work (which doesn't come so cheap).

Dan
 

awasser1

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Thank you for your kind words. I had neither a background in writing nor public information, but beginning from the age of 8 a deep interest in scanner listening and public safety operations in general. I simply sought to aggregate and curate information I myself found interesting and useful. I considered Gene Hughes (who I never met) and Rich Barnett (who I did meet) like mentors. I wrote my first scanner directory at age 12 on my grandfather's DOS-based Packard Bell 'computer terminal'. I printed my first go-to-market scanner directory at Alphagraphics using an advance on my allowance that my parents provided, and made my first sale of 10 copies to Larry Pace at the old PACE Engineering on Prince Road in Tucson. It took off from there. Until it didn't.

Today I like to use the difference between my directories and RadioReference as an example of the difference between aggregation and curation. Both are important. I am an Amazon Prime member and appreciate that I can buy damn near anything on Amazon - if I know what I am looking for - but I deeply appreciate resources like Consumer Reports and other edited sources for the way they curate and write in a trustworthy way about consumer items. I have a Spotify subscription because I like access to damn near every bit of music, but I deeply appreciate my SiriusXM subscription where talented DJs and other curators on specific channels select specific music I might like (and would never find myself on Spotify, even though it is there).

It feels like we once had a ton of curation but more limited depth. Now it feels like we've swung the other way in so many regards - we have access to absolutely everything in digital form and yet we feel like we're missing out on editorial wisdom and the curation of that immense content library. The trouble is that aggregation is more easily automated (and is thus relatively cheap), but high quality curation and editorial work product requires hard work (which doesn't come so cheap).

Dan

yes those were the days and there were Radio Shacks to buy them at. LOL.
 

es93546

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Thank you for your kind words. I had neither a background in writing nor public information, but beginning from the age of 8 a deep interest in scanner listening and public safety operations in general. I simply sought to aggregate and curate information I myself found interesting and useful. I considered Gene Hughes (who I never met) and Rich Barnett (who I did meet) like mentors. I wrote my first scanner directory at age 12 on my grandfather's DOS-based Packard Bell 'computer terminal'. I printed my first go-to-market scanner directory at Alphagraphics using an advance on my allowance that my parents provided, and made my first sale of 10 copies to Larry Pace at the old PACE Engineering on Prince Road in Tucson. It took off from there. Until it didn't.

Today I like to use the difference between my directories and RadioReference as an example of the difference between aggregation and curation. Both are important. I am an Amazon Prime member and appreciate that I can buy damn near anything on Amazon - if I know what I am looking for - but I deeply appreciate resources like Consumer Reports and other edited sources for the way they curate and write in a trustworthy way about consumer items. I have a Spotify subscription because I like access to damn near every bit of music, but I deeply appreciate my SiriusXM subscription where talented DJs and other curators on specific channels select specific music I might like (and would never find myself on Spotify, even though it is there).

It feels like we once had a ton of curation but more limited depth. Now it feels like we've swung the other way in so many regards - we have access to absolutely everything in digital form and yet we feel like we're missing out on editorial wisdom and the curation of that immense content library. The trouble is that aggregation is more easily automated (and is thus relatively cheap), but high quality curation and editorial work product requires hard work (which doesn't come so cheap).

Dan
Dan, thank you for another perspective on the situation. Even though you aren't a writer or a public information type, you have a knack for how to present information clearly. I wish you could write the instructions for my BCD-325P2, even the guy who wrote the "easier to read" version didn't make things very clear.

I corresponded with Gene Hughes quite a bit over many years or a couple/three decades. I spend nearly an entire day with him while he drove around L.A. doing errands. He later helped me get ride alongs with the LAPD. I did so on two full evening shifts. I had written him a heartfelt letter of appreciation for what he had done for the hobby. When I walked into his home and office there was the letter framed and on the wall. It seems that passing along appreciation isn't always done for folks like him and . . . you.

Take care Dan, I understand you are living in the land of humidity. You are far braver than I!
 

avdrummerboy

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I can absolutely understand the disconnect between the straight out aggregation of radio information- which is just RR's version of data mining- and the curation or separation of that information. There is so much that is listed that is not confirmed, or one person heard one thing one time so it gets listed as something official but that little tidbit of information won't make it into the description of the frequency. As an 'insider' I always try to do my best to contribute to the curation with things like official alpha tags/ channel names and any corrections of frequencies/ tones but I am only active in one small area.

Unfortunately, I believe that the increase in the power and ability of technology makes it difficult. The data mining is easy and as long as people actively participate even the curation is fairly easy, but the added issue of things like OTAP and FPP of radios makes things change quickly; on the fly if needed. Just look at woodland firefighting listening. There are very few fixed frequency assignment there, it changes every season and every fire. Until someone gets a copy of the comm plan, it's really more of just shooting in the dark trying to find what frequency assignments are what. Sadly, long gone are the days of one frequency, one department for life.
 

es93546

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I can absolutely understand the disconnect between the straight out aggregation of radio information- which is just RR's version of data mining- and the curation or separation of that information. There is so much that is listed that is not confirmed, or one person heard one thing one time so it gets listed as something official but that little tidbit of information won't make it into the description of the frequency. As an 'insider' I always try to do my best to contribute to the curation with things like official alpha tags/ channel names and any corrections of frequencies/ tones but I am only active in one small area.

Unfortunately, I believe that the increase in the power and ability of technology makes it difficult. The data mining is easy and as long as people actively participate even the curation is fairly easy, but the added issue of things like OTAP and FPP of radios makes things change quickly; on the fly if needed. Just look at woodland firefighting listening. There are very few fixed frequency assignment there, it changes every season and every fire. Until someone gets a copy of the comm plan, it's really more of just shooting in the dark trying to find what frequency assignments are what. Sadly, long gone are the days of one frequency, one department for life.
You must have grown up in the east, as the term, even nationwide, is "wildland fire" not "woodland fire," a term 6-10 eastern state residents have used in conversations with me. I'm a graduate forester by education and the term woodland is not used in the profession much anymore. In any case it is wildland fire in the west, where the worst and largest wildland fires burn. The exception seems to be Florida where the wildland-urban interface burns with some regularity and the incredible fire in the Gatlinburg area some years ago. The largest National Wildlife Refuges in the east can have some very large fires as well. When I use the term east, I'm referring to the midwest, south and northeast, as in my perspective, if it's east of Montana, Wyoming, Colorado and New Mexico it is all east.

Frequencies for wildland fire are mostly fixed and do not change very often. The National Interagency Fire Center (NIFC) system has had very few changes since the late 1970's and early 1980's. The tactical frequencies have been around since the 1970's. Originally the USFS had 3 and the BLM had 3. The BLM had some command frequency pairs and the USFS had some. In the 1990's or late 1980's the 2 systems were combined into 1. The commands did not meet the 2019 new allocation of the fed's 162-174 band. They just flipped the inputs and outputs to comply, although some of the inputs are not in the repeater input allocation. They probably got a waiver as all of the command frequencies had a nationwide, exclusive use authorization. The formal name of this system is the National Incident Radio Support Cache because it can be used for other types of disasters and large, non emergency incidents. It has been used at some political party conventions, for example.

The National Interoperability Field Operations Guide (NIFOG) frequencies are being used more often as the years pass. Commands 8-12 in the NIFC system are actually NIFOG frequencies. Local agencies use the VFire and VTac frequencies a lot. The feds have them in their radios as they often work mutual aid on local jurisdictions.

The 2 federal government nationwide, all agency itinerant, assignments of 163.1000 and 168.3500 have been around for a very long time and are still used. These are usually labeled on this website and in some official agency directories as "common" frequencies. An additional 4 of these were picked up in 2005 when narrowbanding expanded the number of frequencies from 40 per 1 MHz to 80 per 1 MHz. The National Natural Resource Air Guard of 168.6250 was in place when I was on my first wildland fire in 1973 and I don't know how long it had been in place prior to that. It used to have a very little used repeater capability, which all agencies dropped 30-35 years ago. The input became the USFS National Law Enforcement Tactical frequency. 168.6500 is now National Flight Following, I think it or another frequency was originally the BLM Air Guard. Another that had a long term nationwide clearance was 168.5500. NIFC has now designated as the nationwide smokejumper and helicopter rappel air to ground frequency with each of those having its own PL tone. They also designated 168.3500 with the same PL as the nationwide smokejumper ground tactical. As soon as an incident is assigned a tactical frequency, the smokejumpers use it, so this smokejumper tactical is only used for a short period of time. Some remote fires are staffed by smokejumpers exclusively for the entire length of the fire and the tactical remains the same. All geographic areas, with the exception of the Pacific Northwest have USFS region and BLM state office tactical frequencies (1-3 of them) assigned. Utah and New Mexico have 7 or 8 as the federal agencies have pooled everything they have into one tactical channel system. The Eastern and Southern Geographic Area Coordination Centers (GACC's) have a single tactical assigned. A system of nationwide air to ground frequencies has been established with common frequency designators. There are about 60-70 of those.

National Forests, National Parks, BLM public lands, National Wildlife Refuges and the Bureau of Indian Affairs have used the same frequencies since the federal VHF High band was put in place in the 1950's. Sure there were numerous modifications in that time frame, but some units I know of used the same frequencies since the 1960's and have only been changing those in the last 20 years. The big change and what is driving much of our discussions over frequency assignments in the last 5-10 years, is the 2019 National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) directive that reallocated the 162-174 band into specific blocks for repeater inputs (162-166.4875), simplex (166.5000-169.4875) and repeater outputs (169.5000-173.9875). The federal UHF band, 406-420) band was reallocated around the time of the 2005 narrowband directive for federal agencies. On wildland fires UHF is only used for repeater linking, remote base control and incident camp nets. Some other federal agencies use this band for their primary on the ground activities. Once the reallocation changes have been made to comply with the 2019 directive you won't see as much change in the future.

The VHF-AM frequencies can change from time to time because the FAA is in charge of those, not the , which takes the FCC role in federal government communications regulation. The FAA tries to keep the same assignments from year to year, but has other issues that don't always make that possible. The air attack base frequency of 123.975 has been around for a very long time, but in the last 10-15 years some bases and sometimes all the bases in a state have been changed to other frequencies. These frequency assignments appear to be permanent in the last 5-10 years. The FAA gives NIFC some AM air to air frequencies each year to use on incidents, but these are subject to annual changes also.

NIFC has 5 nationwide frequencies for Air to Air Tactics (FM) and Air to Ground use on nationally managed incidents, i.e. those using Type I and Type II Incident Management Teams (IMT's). There is a delay to get an Air Tactics (AM) frequency for incidents from the FAA, but has these to be able to put them in use immediately. This also gives them the option to use them for air to ground use also, if one of the national air to ground frequencies can't be used. This is not common as air to ground assignments from the national list can be used on incidents when not assigned to the local area.

There are other frequencies used on large, nationally managed incidents that will change, not only annually, but sometimes for each nationally managed incident in the same area. When all of the other above frequencies have been exhausted due to multiple incidents occurring in the same area, NIFC has special authorization to use FM frequencies authorized for all federal agencies that they are not using at the time of the incident. This authorization is not delegated below the NIFC level. These are the mystery frequencies on incidents and they are primarily used for the command repeaters and are sometimes difficult for hobbyists to determine. They can be used for air to ground in some cases. Rarely are they used for tacticals as simplex use does not carry long distances. Sometimes these are used for many years, even with the same command frequency identifier, but this is up to chance. A federal agency may change or expand one of its systems at any time, so new frequencies are popping up all the time. Some people have access to the communications plan developed for each incident and post those frequencies on RR threads. Sometimes we have to do some searches and hopefully someone that does posts what they have found.

The last paragraph is the only time your statement "there are very few fixed frequency assignment there, it changes every season and every fire" is completely valid. In fact, for a lot of large, nationally managed fires, fixed frequency assignments are those used most often. NIFC prefers to use their system before assigning other frequencies. For the initial attack period of fires and those that are managed with locally organized Type III IMT's use local nets. These teams use locally assigned nets. Some national forests have set up fire nets, such as the Tonto NF, which has 2 of them. In California nearly every NF has a "Service Net," which can be used as a command for Type III incidents.

I have access to a few sources where I can get official frequency use information. Some of it comes from official guides and some sources are human. I try to share this information as much as possible. I sometimes have trouble with database administrators in having those frequencies listed correctly. Many federal pages on the database and the NIFC system page on the "Nationwide Frequencies" section of the database need work. I'm getting older and slower so I'm not caught up with the submissions I need to make. I also worked for the U.S. Forest Service during my primary career in 4 western states. I was assigned to 108 fires and was an investigator for claims and employee misconduct. I was sent to many other national forests as an investigator. The fires were on USFS, NPS, BLM, BIA state and local jurisdictions. Some fires were very small and only involved myself and 1-3 hours and some were huge such as Yellowstone in 1988 for 5 weeks. Most of these were on the line assignments and others for command post assignments. I had access to and used the incident comm plan on all of them.

Lastly I like your comment about technology becoming more complex and harder for us. One thing I can't keep up with is all the abbreviations and monikors. They are used everywhere and have become very prevalent on the internet. So maybe you will understand that your statement of " but the added issue of things like OTAP and FPP of radios makes things change quickly" is Greek to me. I try to spell out all abbreviations when I use them in posts. I learned that this is a requirement for all scientific and technical writing. It isn't just something I learned in high school and college long ago, 1970 or 1971 if memory serves me, but is a current requirement as well. I have a huge issue with the number of undefined abbreviations shown on the database. We all need to understand what we are hearing, not just that we are hearing it.
 
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