Caltrans District 5 frequencies outdated

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ScannerDude244

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The state DC techs have been doing point to point link testing here in South Monterey and San Benito Counties for the 800mhz frequencies sites I'm guessing they are getting ready to switch over district 5 here to 800mhz from lowband. I notice alot of the 800mhz frequencies in district 5 area database are outdated. I did log the new frequencies and match their PL tones to the old frequencies in the database So I know the location of the sites. Does anyone have updated information on Caltrans frequencies?
 

BriW

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I know District 5 in the San Luis Obispo area is not dropping low band any time soon. And considering how Caltrans equipment is actually owned by the equipment shop and, therefore, can be transferred anywhere in the district in a moment's notice (and how maintenance crews tend to borrow from each other almost daily), I doubt part of the district will drop low band while part does not--especially the part around district headquarters.
 

Kirk

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If you have updates to the District 5 800MHz plan, please submit them to the database. I can monitor from SLO to Santa Maria and confirm things if needed.
 

ScannerDude244

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If you have updates to the District 5 800MHz plan, please submit them to the database. I can monitor from SLO to Santa Maria and confirm things if needed.
I only have 2 new ones here in Monterey county from the main repeaters sites used here. I'm not sure now if the DC techs where just using the Caltrans frequencies to talk to each other and test the point to point sites since they don't use it here, but it was really interesting to hear how many voting receivers along highway 198 their was.
 

SCPD

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I researched and submitted the majority of the 800 MHz information on the Caltrans database page. I had the benefit of a statewide Caltrans 800 MHz plan. I cross referenced the state's FCC licenses to come up with what I submitted. It was the best information I could obtain at the time. The installation of radio equipment in Districts 1, 2, 5 and parts of 10 was not completed then. The plan and the as built are always two different things so some FCC work, along field verification is needed. I will leave that up to people that live in District 5.

I understand that District 1 has given up and will stay on low band for the same reasons State Parks gave up in the same area. Too many repeaters needed and conifer needles attenuating short wavelength RF. State Parks found two VHF frequency pairs to suit their needs, but that was before the state's budget problems so I guess Caltrans is just going to stick with 47 MHz up there.

*EDIT* I traveled 101 from Salinas to and from Santa Barbara last August and heard one Caltrans repeater. It was on one of the frequencies that is on the database, but not for the area I was in, which was somewhere north of Santa Maria. I'm not sure I kept my note as to what frequency it was.
 
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inigo88

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I only have 2 new ones here in Monterey county from the main repeaters sites used here. I'm not sure now if the DC techs where just using the Caltrans frequencies to talk to each other and test the point to point sites since they don't use it here, but it was really interesting to hear how many voting receivers along highway 198 their was.
Hey Dude, when you say you found the new frequencies based on the tone of the old one, what exactly do you mean? Did the DC Techs refer to each site by name or tone number? I did some digging on your frequencies in the FCC database and found the following:

For 856.7375 MHz PL 123.0, the only place it shows up in that area is Calandra Lookout (LOC #1):
WQSK666 (CALIFORNIA, STATE OF) FCC Callsign Details

However 856.9625 MHz PL 110.9 does match up with Call Mountain:
WPQB975 (CALIFORNIA, STATE OF) FCC Callsign Details

Is there any chance your Fremont Peak freq could have actually come from Calandra?

EDIT:

It looks like this license for Calandra Lookout on 858.9875 MHz was filed in 2012:
http://www.radioreference.com/apps/db/?fccCallsign=KNCR568

While the Calandra Lookout license above on 856.7375 MHz was filed in October 2013:
http://www.radioreference.com/apps/db/?fccCallsign=WQSK666

Looks like they may have shuffled the frequencies around and not cancelled the old licenses.

Additional Edit:

The Fremont Peak frequency 860.7625 MHz we have in the database is on a temporary special authorization, which expires next month:
http://wireless2.fcc.gov/UlsApp/UlsSearch/license.jsp?licKey=2922570

It looks like FCC is cracking down on the state to vacate the 860 freqs due to rebanding.
 
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inigo88

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Also, can you guys kindly submit which lowband frequencies are currently in use in District 5? We have none in the db.
 

ScannerDude244

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Inigo I notices 856.73750 pl123 was coming in all 5 bars on my radio and the Calandra 856.9625 was coming in 2-3 bars on my radio which is about right do to me not having a 800mhz antenna and the distance to the sites. And yeah they where calling out the name sites every mile marker and it seems like they just testing the 450mhz links between the Call Mountain and Calandra they refer to them as rr1,rr04.
 

ScannerDude244

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Actually I got that wrong Calandra is 858.9875.... 856.73750 must be Fremont peak I wouldn't get 5 bars or less it was Palo Escrito or Mt.Toro.
 

Kirk

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I've been monitoring off and on for a couple of weeks now, here's what I've found:

Note: This is all from home, with a discone just above the roofline.

I've heard nothing on any of the D5 800MHz frequencies. Zip. Nada. I should be able to copy 2-3 sites from my house (Mt. Lowe & Soloman for sure, maybe Plowshare & Santa Ynez Peak depending on what antennas they have at those sites and what kind of power they're running).

I've heard VERY little traffic on both of the lowband frequencies in the database for D5. Nothing that sounded like a remote base.

It's hard with them running carrier squelch, because I tend to lock out the low band channels when they start getting static. It happens often.

For reference, I'm copying 100w stations in Alabama on 10m using this same radio/cable/antenna.

I'll see if traffic picks up the next time we have a nasty storm. Oh, wait, we don't have nasty storms here. LOL
 

BriW

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Caltrans D5 maintenance only has low band in their vehicles. Dispatch is repeated, vehicles are not. They have all the DOT 47 MHz channels in their mobile radios that are listed in the database. But they stick to 47.08 for car-to-car; it is known throughout the district for car-to-car, so they just stick to it so they can easily reach other workers if they transverse maintenance areas. They use 47.08 the same for moving operations and usually for flagging closures.

They do have 800 MHz handhelds. but they are only used in circumstances such as flagging closers--and ~very~ rarely so.

Caltrans D5 construction (engineering, surveying) is a separate division with their own budgeting and cost centers. I do not know what they use, but they do not have low band antennas on their vehicles.
 

Kirk

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Dispatch is repeated, or is on remote bases on hilltops? I suspect the latter. I haven't heard anything that sounds like dispatch, but I don't typically monitor during the business day (with few exceptions).
 

ScannerDude244

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Lowband was busy during last weeks storm on the weekend Monterey CHP was doing the dispatching Santa Cruz, Monterey Counties. I guess San luis caltrans dispatch doesn't work on the weekends. As far as the 800mhz I haven't heard anything since then.
 

ScannerDude244

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Dispatch is repeated, or is on remote bases on hilltops? I suspect the latter. I haven't heard anything that sounds like dispatch, but I don't typically monitor during the business day (with few exceptions).
Dispatch isn't repeated they use remote bases via microwave simplex like the Railroad system.
 

SCPD

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Don't give up on the 800 MHz frequencies quite yet. I definitely heard something related to Caltrans this summer north of Santa Maria. I also heard something down in Santa Barbara County also, I was either on the 101 around the Solvang junction, or on the south side of 154 south of San Marcos Pass. Two very isolated receptions, both driving a fair distance in D5. Both times a "5" callsign was heard.

I don't hear much from Caltrans here either, Kirk. We aren't getting any nasty storms and the elevation here is 7,832', in the driveway in front of my garage. The biggest storm this winter at our house has been 6" and anything from 6" down is called a "dusting" here. I drove about 10 miles on partial snowpack on the way to Bishop once this winter and only twice in town for short distances.

Except for the Big Sur to Hearst Castle stretch of Highway 1, the topography in Caltrans D5 is nothing tougher than D9. Sometimes coastal terrain is easy to cover if you have a repeater that "sees" much of the coast. I remember driving back from Cal State SLO in 1970 and picking up both sides of a simplex conversation from the Palos Verdes as I passed Gaviota Beach. This on an 8 channel Regency crystal rig that was about as sensitive as a current handheld scanner with its squelch completely closed and the antenna removed. I had a Shakespeare fiberglass VHF High antenna, but a good antenna can't completely make up for a poor receiver. From the same spot I wouldn't be all that surprised to be able to pick up a handheld with my PSR-600 and rooftop Larsen antenna now. Over water reception past the horizon is pretty good and even if I don't remember the central coast all that well, it would seem as if covering that isolated coastline would not be impossible on 800 MHz. However, my memory is not so good as its been more than 20 years since I've driven that stretch.
 

Kirk

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You shouldn't wait 20 years to visit the Central Coast. It's a great place to live, so I'd recon it's a pretty good place to visit.

I passed a CalTrans Honda Civic on my way home tonight. I noticed an NMO antenna mount on the roof with a chrome cap on it. No antenna. I recall seeing engineering vehicles a few years ago with both low band and 800 antennas. I have yet to see an 800 antenna on a maintenance vehicle. I'll keep watching and keep listening.
 

BriW

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It can be tough to tell the difference between engineering vehicles and certain maintenance vehicles. Maintenance supervisor vehicles will often have multiple antennas. Some will have scanners with dedicated antennas that are installed on request. Some even have sat phone antennas.

Exmonkey how when did you hear the 800 activity and which frequencies? I'm in the areas often. I'll keep an ear out and ask my sources in maintenance and the equipment shop.

Edit: Oops. I see where you answered that above.

When you said "It was on one of the frequencies that is on the database, but not for the area I was in", did you mean that it wasn't one of the frequencies listed for District 5?
 
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SCPD

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Interesting, it's Exsmokey, as in a bear, Ursus americanus in this case. It is not Exmonkey!

I don't recall what the frequency was. I looked for my notes from that trip last August and I believe the paper has long been hauled away to the nearest paper mill for recycling. All I remember is looking in my notebook of state radio systems and finding the frequency was planned for another mountain top electronic site than I should have been able to hear from my location. I had been on southbound 101 from 41 for about 15-20 minutes and the frequency I picked up was for somewhere on the coast near Cambria. This location differs from what I reported in my previous post. I remember wondering if I was hearing Calandra or Williams Hill as it is also known. If I'm remembering the location of the latter, it is somewhere near the Monterey County line to the west of 101.

Kirk, alas I'm not traveling as much as I used to. Since my wife was laid off from the wonderfully well managed town of Mammoth Lakes :mad:, just two years prior to her turning 55, our funds have been limited. I used to travel quite a bit for the Forest Service, on fires of course, but also for personnel misconduct investigations and for claims investigations as well. If I had time I would take different routes to and from all my assignments. It was not possible to include Highway 1 between Cambria as it was so much more time consuming than the alternatives. I would like to go back to the castle with my wife as she has not been there since she was about 11. I knew the staff at Bodie State Park fairly well back in the 80's and was once invited to take the annual "swim in the pool" for employees. My 1st wife worked for Bodie and one of the rangers there had spent some time at Hearst. He is the one who said he could have arranged it. It's a tough place to get to from the east side of the Sierra so we never took him up on it. Due to preservation concerns the annual swim has been discontinued. By the way the pool I'm talking about is the outside one, not the inside pool that was used more frequently when the Hearst family lived there.
 
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