California Fire VHF Channels - overview

zerg901

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looking over the March 2020 Cal Fire mobile radio channel load

Dispatch Channels - typically are a repeater - sometimes are not - this is where fire stations get paged - and where personal pagers get activated - usually there is also field unit to dispatcher comms on this channel

Command Channels - typically the command channels are repeated channels - units assigned to an incident use the ops channel to talk to the dispatcher - [ exceptions - Santa Clara County Command 30 is not a repeater channel - Presidio Command Grey is simplex ]

Tac Channels - typically are simplex channels used for short range comms at incidents - [ there are some repeatered tac channels - Klamath - Truckee - SEKI Tac 3 ]

154.28 shows up 30 times in the document - some counties have the channel in the mobile radio load - some do not

BLM got a new channel in 2017 - SOA 2

Most Cal Fire Local channels show PL 0.0 on the input channel - but there are also some OST listings in this document - not sure why the Cal Fire Local Nets dont show as OST - unless they are actually using automatic steering / voting

Hollister City Tac 1 has a typo
 

BATT4410

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Let me help you out on a couple of things:

All CAL-FIRE Dispatch frequencies are repeated.

All CAL-FIRE Command Nets are repeated.

The Santa Clara and Presidio frequencies you list are under Local Government control, not CAL-FIRE. The State has no control over the use of simplex/repeater on these frequencies, as they are utilized in the CAL-FIRE radio load by local agreement.

All CAL-FIRE TAC channels are simplex. Again, the Klamath and SEKI channels you list are Federal, and the Truckee is Local Government. See my comment above about their use.

154.280 is VFIRE 21, the former White Fire 1. Every fire unit in CA has this capability via mobile or HT.

All CAL-FIRE mobiles and HT’s are OST. The only pre-set input tones are on the TACS and Air frequencies for the most part. Someone was too lazy to type that in on the spreadsheet.
 

zerg901

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I really dont want to provide the link. Too much going on in the USA right now for my taste.
 

zerg901

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Found another repeaterized FD Tac channel - Bridgeport in Mono County - 154.22 R - PL 0.0 - 158.9325 input - Tones 1 and 2 on input - from 3/2018 cdf list

Apparently there is no Fire Net repeater on 154.22 in the area - or Bridgeport FD is using a Fire Net repeater as their Tac channel
 

BATT4410

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Mono County dispatches all fire departments in the county. That particular TAC was most likely the original Bridgeport FD dispatch frequency before consolidation of dispatching. It makes sense to have kept it, as they routinely have incidents that can cover many miles (road closures for TA’s especially) and terrain makes simplex communications difficult.

Also, you are confusing a couple of things. First, this is from the 2020 radio load, not 2018. The 2018 date at the bottom of the sheet is when the Group was updated, not loaded. Take a look at the bottom of Group 37 and you’ll see it’s last update was 2016, but it’s in the 2020 radio program.

Also, keep in mind that the date listed for the update may or (most likely) may not be correct. As you pointed out above, they haven’t been able to get the OST stuff listed correctly, so I highly doubt the dates are high priority.
 

zerg901

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Just found a couple more repeaterized Tac channels - all in Santa Barbara County - LMR Tac + SMR Tac 3 + SMR Tac 4

Also noticed in Santa Barbara County that 154.19 PL 100.0 is used as - County Tac 13 + Santa Barbara Tac 3 + MTO Tac 5 - that is unusual for this channel load - one channel with 3 names in 1 county
 

ko6jw_2

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Also noticed in Santa Barbara County that 154.19 PL 100.0 is used as - County Tac 13 + Santa Barbara Tac 3 + MTO Tac 5 - that is unusual for this channel load - one channel with 3 names in 1 county
The history of 154.190 is that it was once the common dispatch channel for Santa Barbara, Montecito and Carpinteria. All three departments used it as their main dispatch and, thus, mutual aid. Known as the Blue Channel. Sometime in the late '70s Santa Barbara went to a new dispatch frequency 154.445. Not repeated to begin with. Repeater added later. It is kind of a legacy channel. Not used very much and not repeated. The county added it to their Tac's at some point.

To the best of my knowledge none of the TAC channels have repeaters - only the command frequencies.

The CALFIRE TAC channels used by Santa Barbara County Fire use the CALFIRE PL of 192.8 - not 100 as with the other county TAC channels.

The County Fire dispatch cannot hear or talk on the TAC channels.
 

iscanvnc2

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zerg901 said:
"Also noticed in Santa Barbara County that 154.19 PL 100.0 is used as - County Tac 13 + Santa Barbara Tac 3 + MTO Tac 5 - that is unusual for this channel load - one channel with 3 names in 1 county."

A couple of errors for Santa Barbara city: 154.19 is Tac 4 PL 82.5
All frequencies for the city are PL 82.5.
 

ea1321

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I know this is random, but is there any word about CAL-FIRE going digital? I know they have sworn personnel that will require them to run names, plates and etc. But I have also heard them hop on to the local PD agency to do so, as CAL-FIRE dispatchers don't have the ability to get their hands on law enforcement CAD programs. Any update?

Thanks!
 

es93546

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I know this is random, but is there any word about CAL-FIRE going digital? I know they have sworn personnel that will require them to run names, plates and etc. But I have also heard them hop on to the local PD agency to do so, as CAL-FIRE dispatchers don't have the ability to get their hands on law enforcement CAD programs. Any update?

Thanks!
My understanding of Cal Fire's law enforcement officers is that they don't drive patrols like LEO's in other agencies. They are investigators. I'm a bit shielded on the east side of the Sierra Nevada so I don't hear very much Cal Fire traffic, but in my travels both on the job and off, over a period of 40 years I don't remember hearing anyone from Cal Fire running plates, licenses and warrant's from the field. Again, I only hear the Owens Valley Division of the San Berdo Unit, so I don't hear as much as most. I have done a fair amount of monitoring on vacations, fire assignments and investigations across the state though. I'm usually monitoring natural resource agencies and not always the rest of the services. There is a fair amount of resistance to digital in the fire services, especially in wildland fire.
 

BATT4410

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My understanding of Cal Fire's law enforcement officers is that they don't drive patrols like LEO's in other agencies. They are investigators. I'm a bit shielded on the east side of the Sierra Nevada so I don't hear very much Cal Fire traffic, but in my travels both on the job and off, over a period of 40 years I don't remember hearing anyone from Cal Fire running plates, licenses and warrant's from the field. Again, I only hear the Owens Valley Division of the San Berdo Unit, so I don't hear as much as most. I have done a fair amount of monitoring on vacations, fire assignments and investigations across the state though. I'm usually monitoring natural resource agencies and not always the rest of the services. There is a fair amount of resistance to digital in the fire services, especially in wildland fire.
CAL FIRE LE utilize pick-ups for the most part.

They do run plates, check for warrants, etc on a fairly routine basis, especially in counties where LE agencies are short staffed.
 

ea1321

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My understanding of Cal Fire's law enforcement officers is that they don't drive patrols like LEO's in other agencies. They are investigators. I'm a bit shielded on the east side of the Sierra Nevada so I don't hear very much Cal Fire traffic, but in my travels both on the job and off, over a period of 40 years I don't remember hearing anyone from Cal Fire running plates, licenses and warrant's from the field. Again, I only hear the Owens Valley Division of the San Berdo Unit, so I don't hear as much as most. I have done a fair amount of monitoring on vacations, fire assignments and investigations across the state though. I'm usually monitoring natural resource agencies and not always the rest of the services. There is a fair amount of resistance to digital in the fire services, especially in wildland fire.
Okay great. Thanks for the update, at least it will give me something too listen to. I’ve heard (from working in a comm center) the investigators initiate the stop on their primary channel, then switch over a neighboring LE agency to conduct their business.
 

BATT4410

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Okay great. Thanks for the update, at least it will give me something too listen to. I’ve heard (from working in a comm center) the investigators initiate the stop on their primary channel, then switch over a neighboring LE agency to conduct their business.
With the Data Terminals in the units now, they can send the info directly to the ECC, so they really only do it via radio when absolutely necessary.
 

Duster

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I know this is random, but is there any word about CAL-FIRE going digital? I know they have sworn personnel that will require them to run names, plates and etc. But I have also heard them hop on to the local PD agency to do so, as CAL-FIRE dispatchers don't have the ability to get their hands on law enforcement CAD programs. Any update?

Thanks!
At this time, CAL FIRE has no intention of going digital. The agency's communications system will stay analog into the foreseeable future. Digital is too patchy for the terrain that the agency covers with the current infrastructure. Some contract areas, such as Placer County, have P25-capable radios to access local P25 simplex and repeater systems.

CAL FIRE LE units are fully-authorized peace officers under California state law, and the amount and types of activity they do vary widely based upon their locations, work loads, and local politics. Ours here in my area are very active, making traffic stops as needed, and are an integral part of the LE mutual aid and backup system in our counties. The majority of their LE-related radio traffic is done through the local Sheriff's dispatch system, but the ECC can take the traffic and either run CLETS data through the SO by telephone or use our in-house USFS cooperators', who have CLETS access. All CAL FIRE Communications Operators are state-certified to interact with CLETS and NCIC data.
 
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