Communicating with USCG helicopter??

MUTNAV

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I'm not positive either, but since the helicopter isn't a "vessel" it wouldn't be right to use a marine handheld (I think), maybe one of the Coast Guard people here would have a better take.

Plus the use of an airband radio would allow for other aircraft comms (sheriff, state, CAP, mil) communications.
 

KK4JUG

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I vaguely remember this subject coming up sometime ago and it was brought out that certain inland agencies were allowed to use marine frequencies and it was unrelated to marine use.
 

Citywide173

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I vaguely remember this subject coming up sometime ago and it was brought out that certain inland agencies were allowed to use marine frequencies and it was unrelated to marine use.
I believe that was to open up frequencies for public safety in landlocked states, which the Upper Peninsula would not be.
 

MUTNAV

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I'd like to learn more about the opening up of the freqs in landlocked states.

Back in the 80's / 90's I think my solution would have been the most workable, and as I said, it would help with talking with the Civil Air Patrol.

Thanks
Joel
 

MUTNAV

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If the helicopters had HF, would HF split been an option?
Thanks
Joel
 

ecps92

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That... and some of the International channels are avail for Part 90
Tough for a Fire Dept using 61 as the input to the VHF Repeater and a Radio tech leaves the PL Off, ouch the Blue aka Fishermen language coming over the Fire Repeater. That tech will never forget to put the PL back on
I've done patches for the USCG when I was in dispatch ops. It appears that the SAR group referenced may not have had that option. I would think that in the Upper Peninsula, especially with USCG having a tangential connection, someone would have had a marine portable.

My question though, was in inquiry to the post suggesting the interop frequencies be used.....I was pretty sure they didn't exist in the timeframe the OP is referencing.
I believe that was to open up frequencies for public safety in landlocked states, which the Upper Peninsula would not be.
 

ecps92

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current CAP or 80/90's ??

Many wings in the [Pre 9/11] had limited channels [except aircraft] and did have VHF Marine, DEA and regional PD
Now they have many of the Interops [if using an issued radio], YMMV if the radio is a personal and not programmed with the Interop Zones
I'd like to learn more about the opening up of the freqs in landlocked states.

Back in the 80's / 90's I think my solution would have been the most workable, and as I said, it would help with talking with the Civil Air Patrol.

Thanks
Joel
 

MUTNAV

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But A/C freqs. would have been useful for the USCG helicopter, which was the original question, and CAP aircraft (not talking too much about CAPS ground search teams).

Although I found a picture of the HH-52 and all I saw in the cockpit was a UHF radio, although there were hopefully others radios. I'm thinking that for a search team with hams on it, and a USCG helicopter, either VHF air band radio or HF split operations would have been something do-able at the time, by the people involved in the 80's / 90's (of course this is hindsight, and not even 20/20, just guesses).

The original question also begs the question, did something happen with the search that is causing second guessing of what could have been done differently? Everyone does there best more often than not, and sometimes even that is not enough at the time to achieve a goal.

Thanks
Joel
 

gesucks

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I would have thought that using a portable AIR band radio would have been both slightly more legal (you aren't communicating with marine craft, even though it is a USCG helicopter).

An air band radio that is used by aerodromes for flight service would have worked well for a fixed or mobile station (or using a repurposed surplus aircraft radio). For portable use a surplus AN/PRC-90 would have worked ok (with battery modifications to use regular batteries). You could really only use 121.5 since the other frequencies (243 and 282.2 ) would be out of bounds unless its an emergency.

Surplus military material is first made available to other military units, then local and state governments, all you would need is a letter from the mayor saying it was to be used for gov't purposes.

Thanks
Joel
This would only be legal is your had a SAR1 class license which allows you to operate on 3 specific AM air channels
 

majoco

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Surplus military material is first made available to other military units, then local and state governments, all you would need is a letter from the mayor saying it was to be used for gov't purposes.
Really? I think the mayor would be in deep doo-doo as well as the radio user from both the FCC as well as the FAA. Ground crew have to go through a company training course and the aircrew have to have an "FRTO" rating before they even get it their first cockpit.
 

MUTNAV

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Really? I think the mayor would be in deep doo-doo as well as the radio user from both the FCC as well as the FAA. Ground crew have to go through a company training course and the aircrew have to have an "FRTO" rating before they even get it their first cockpit.
Never heard of it... any references would be helpful regarding the FAA and FCC that require more than what a flight service station would require.

My experience with it was just with the military and talking with flight check about equipment. Has a lot changed since the 90's? Remember the question was about what could have been done differently in the 80's and 90's. (I'm not asking rhetorically, just actually want the references).

Another possible option to answer the actual question would have been operating HF split, if the USCG helicopters had HF, does anyone know if they did?


Thanks
Joel
 

k6cpo

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Assuming that marine VHF was a thing at the time, the USCG
I've been wondering about this for many years and it's really about how it could have been done.

So, back in the late 80's, early 90's, I worked with a land based search & rescue team in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan. At the time, it wasn't uncommon for a USCG helicopter to assist with the searches. One of the problems we had was communications. Local LEO/EMS/Fire could not communicate with them (or at least didn't know how to) The SAR team usually utilized amateur radio. The only comms that I recall is being on the receiving end of a message dropped from the air - literally tied to a weight.

Is there a way we could have LEGALLY communicated with the helicopter? ie, is there a Public Safety band frequency we could have been licensed on, or is there a USCG frequency we could have used?

-Matt
I would think that the Coast Guard could have authorized you to use Marine VHF to communicate with the helicopter.

How about the Navy being unable to communicate with the Coast Guard via radio? In the 1980's, I was a member of a Naval reserve unit whose mission was coastal and harbor surveillance and defense. As part of our mission, we utilized accoustic buoys to monitor traffic in the operating area. The problem was we had no boats with which to deploy the buoys. An several occasions, the Coast Guard provided boat services for us. The only problem was that our radios couldn't talk to their radios. And it wasn't a simple matter of frequencies, but encryption. Our radios were encrypted and theirs weren't. The solution was a very simple one. We placed an operator with an encrypted portable radio on the CG boat to communicate with our shore stations.
 

MUTNAV

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You were in a Navy unit responsible for harbor surveillance and defense that didn't have boats !!!!

Jeesh, I think most Air Force bases on the water have water borne Security (Think Macdill and Tyndall) I think there was an Air Force base that had some approach lights that extended out into a bay and the maintenace people needed there own boat. All of these would rate the use of marine VHF.

Of course this is now and that was then.

Thanks
Joel
 

KK4JUG

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You were in a Navy unit responsible for harbor surveillance and defense that didn't have boats !!!!

Jeesh, I think most Air Force bases on the water have water borne Security (Think Macdill and Tyndall) I think there was an Air Force base that had some approach lights that extended out into a bay and the maintenace people needed there own boat. All of these would rate the use of marine VHF.

Of course this is now and that was then.

Thanks
Joel
Tyndall AFB has a navy bigger than some countries.
 

mmckenna

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How about the Navy being unable to communicate with the Coast Guard via radio?
Back in the 90's when I was active duty, we had a single hand held consumer grade GPS on the bridge. The Loran C box was high end commercial grade. Our marine VHF was off the shelf Uniden.

In the era of $600 hammers and $900 toilet seats, that was what our budget was like.

At least the HF gear was military grade stuff.
 

MUTNAV

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In NM in early 2000 we had a PRC-113 for communications with aircraft. We really needed a second radio so we could work two sites at once. It was very easy to order two ICOM handhelds and wall warts. Which also gave everyone in the shelter a chance to hear (and take notes on) the information being passed. The prc-113 just had a handset (which was the reason for the second handheld).

Stuff is cheap, people are expensive.
In the era of $600 hammers and $900 toilet seats, that was what our budget was like.
When I worked on flight simulators, people would complain at the cost of small parts ordered through the simulator company. (screws, resistors etc via the Air Force supply system) The Link site rep said they immediately tack a large charge on parts ordered through them, they were in the simulator making business, not the small common parts (that you can go to radio shack to get) business.

I think that was the point of the IMPAC card, to stop people from going through the supply system (that has to charge for there overhead) when you can order something low cost through a catalog, or go downtown to get it. I assume that's where the off the shelf Uniden came from.


Do you know if the 80's -90's USCG helicopters had HF? So they could have worked a form of split?

Thanks
Joel
 

mmckenna

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I assume that's where the off the shelf Uniden came from.
Yep. While I didn't do purchasing, I did get sent into town a few times with the truck to pick up stuff from local shops.
Similarly, in one case our head cook had exceeded the budget for food by quite a bit before he was transferred. I remember us steaming out to some banks that were off limits to commercial fishing to "patrol". We had a morale day with fishing off the deck. We were pulling up 100+ pound halibut as fast as we could get a baited hook down. We filled our freezers with halibut and ate it until everyone was sick of it. But it got our budget back under control.

Do you know if the 80's -90's USCG helicopters had HF? So they could have worked a form of split?
I only ever rode on C-130's, so I don't know about the helicopters. But from where we were in Alaska, I'm positive they had HF. Would have been impossible to communicate any other way.
 

MUTNAV

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I only ever rode on C-130's, so I don't know about the helicopters. But from where we were in Alaska, I'm positive they had HF. Would have been impossible to communicate any other way.
That would answer it then, the original question, what else could have been done at the time.

The helicopter listening on 10, 40 or 80 meter AM (maybe SSB) and transmitting on a frequency they were allowed to transmit on. and the search team with a transistor 40 m portable for transmissions and a ic-2010 (or maybe cheaper portable HF receiver) to listen to the helicopter.

My choice of homebrew stuff would have been, a 10 meter HT from a QST article (Feb 1960) or an 80 meter
"flashlight sidebander" from Jul 1972 QST, or a "complete" 40M transistor SSB radio from Aug 1970.

It would have just required co-ordination with the helicopters air station to make sure they new what to do.
The helicopter crew would have to put in a preset in the HF radio to receive the ham communications, and use another preset for talking to the search team.

All would have been better than orange panel communications, Morse code with lights or mirrors, or dropping messages with weights.

Thanks a bunch,

So... does that answer (with 20/20 hindsight) what could have been done differently? N8SHA?

Thanks
Joel
 

mmckenna

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So... does that answer (with 20/20 hindsight) what could have been done differently? N8SHA?
Well, it's important to note that the federal users don't fall under the FCC rules. NTIA rules might have a different outlook on all this.

Alaska, for example, has a common 5MHz frequency that is open for use by amateurs, federal and Part 90 type users. Of course we are not talking about Alaska, so that's a moot point.

There may be an easy solution to all this, and as mentioned above, talking to the USCG should be the #1 step before all else. Amateurs trying to find loopholes in the rules or other work around without talking to all the players involved isn't the way to do it.
 
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