Coast Guard helicopter frequencies?

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autojack

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I have a new office on the 14th floor of a building overlooking SF bay. I see the Coast Guard helicopter flying around pretty regularly. I have a handheld scanner, but so far I haven't been able to hear them. I looked at United States Coast Guard - The RadioReference Wiki and I have listened to 345.000 AM mostly and not heard anything. Anyone around the bay area have confirmed frequencies I should monitor? Are they still using analog, or are they P25 now?
 

kma371

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Try channels 21, 22 and 23 in the marine band. They use those as well


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inigo88

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Consider what sort of comms you're trying to hear and that will dictate the band you hear them on. 345.00 MHz AM is usually used as an aircraft-to-base channel (to the actual base radio at the USCG air station on the east side of SFO airport). Marine Ch 21A is used by sector San Francisco based on Yerba Buena Island to talk to all assets (including vessels, helicopters and fixed wing aircraft) along with their digital LMR system. YBI can probably transmit on the milair freqs as well, but the few times I heard it was between the pilots and the base at SFO. Finally the helicopters on training flights are mostly VFR and low level so they have no reason to contact air traffic controllers, but if they did it would be Norcal Approach on 135.10 or 120.90 (AM). They may also monitor "Golden Gate Traffic," an unofficial air-to-air frequency used by civilian news and law enforcement helicopter pilots on 124.30.
 

autojack

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After posting this, I did hear the helo on marine channel 21, doing training with a rescue swimmer and talking to sector SF and another CG boat. I'll check that in the future when I see them.

I heard one very brief transmission on 345.000 once, but otherwise I've never heard any voice comms there after monitoring it for a few hours at a time on 5-6 occasions. I have heard short bursts of static, which is why I asked if they might be using P25, although it occurs to me that digital over AM might not work very well.

My radio at work is not exactly a scanner, it's a Yaesu VX-7R ham radio HT, with a Diamond flexi-whip antenna. It'd be nice to have a better antenna here, but I'm supposed to be working ;-)

The tip about 124.30 is good, I'll tune to that when I see the news choppers flying around.

Thanks for the great responses!
 

WayneH

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Unfortunately, I don't have P25 capability. Is that always used on these channels?
I wanted to say yes but there's one situation where I've heard analog, and still do. It's when an aircraft (could be strictly C130's) contacts Mather when they're enroute for maintenance.

All regular Sea Marshall traffic will be P25 and often, but not always, encrypted. For the Bay Area there are two repeated channels which should be in the DB.
 

ecps92

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Some of those NET channels are still allocated for the Air Base's in Analog [Legacy, long before NET P25 came about] and always in the CLEAR with no DVP/DES [from the LANT Days]

Here in New England we still have
164.5500 CSQ [also in P25 as NET-116]
and
166.2250 CSQ [former LANT 47, not allocated as P25]
for CG Air Sta. Cape Cod for OPS and Maint/Fuel

I wanted to say yes but there's one situation where I've heard analog, and still do. It's when an aircraft (could be strictly C130's) contacts Mather when they're enroute for maintenance.

All regular Sea Marshall traffic will be P25 and often, but not always, encrypted. For the Bay Area there are two repeated channels which should be in the DB.
 

LAflyer

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For an idea of how things work with USCG choppers - here in Los Angeles basin they primarily do the following.

Air Station LAX: 345.000 when they are in the immediate area. Almost always provide an inbound landing call.

Marine 83: 157.175 - While out on ops.
Normally once airborne from the LAX airstation they will call to the regional Coast Guard sector to inform them of the call they are on and eta. They often also provide updated position reports every 15mins when working far off shore.

Additionally I've noted they will often move to various marine frequencies when out on operations - for instance talk to the lifeguards, county fire/sheriff or ships. I've yet to figure out a consistent pattern.
 
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