Do NIFC channels have tones now?

zerg901

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National Interagency Fire Center Scanner Frequencies and Radio Frequency Reference- nifc shows as csq - should CSQ be changed to "OST" or "varies"?

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LPNF Forest Net Repeater Input - 2020 comm plan for lpnf - on page 14 of 27 - NIFC freqs show as "OST" (operator selected tone)

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lnu lightning complex comm plan has PLs on nifc command channels but not nifc tacs

LNU Lightning Complex - Frequencies

https://ftp.nifc.gov/public/inciden...mplex/IAP/8-24-20/CORRECTED IAP 8.24.2020.pdf
 

Paysonscanner

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National Interagency Fire Center Scanner Frequencies and Radio Frequency Reference- nifc shows as csq - should CSQ be changed to "OST" or "varies"?

-----------------

LPNF Forest Net Repeater Input - 2020 comm plan for lpnf - on page 14 of 27 - NIFC freqs show as "OST" (operator selected tone)

---------------------

lnu lightning complex comm plan has PLs on nifc command channels but not nifc tacs

LNU Lightning Complex - Frequencies

https://ftp.nifc.gov/public/incident_specific_data/calif_n/!CALFIRE/!2020_Incidents/CA-LNU-013407_LNU_Lightning_Complex/IAP/8-24-20/CORRECTED IAP 8.24.2020.pdf
Again, I would have a hard time finding the direction from NIFC for this. It stated that all fires using the NIFC system would adopt one, and only one, tone for the entire incident. The exceptions are for the use of National Air Guard (110.9), the EMS air to ground (usually 155.3400 Tone 6 156.7 and CALCORD in CA) and any state/local and NIFOG frequencies used. Most national mutual aid frequencies are listed using T6 - 156.7. In the last couple of years the Forest Service has issued national direction for all forests to use the 16 standard tones originally developed in California, by the feds, Cal Fire, OES and FIRESCOPE in the late 70's. Some National Forests in R3 (AZ NM) are in the process or already have complied with the direction. When late Hubby and I spoke with radio techs in person or on chance ham radio contacts outside California, there was grumbling about this, the usual anti-California attitude. Of course it makes sense to adopt some sort of national standard, but some of these techs denied it The issue became nationally prominent in the investigation of the Yarnell Hill/Granite Mtn IHC tragedy. "Disparate Tones" as an issue raised in the report. I think that got NIFC to step up the effort to standardize. This is a USFS/NIFC standard. However, I've noticed that the NPS and BLM have already adopted it in states outside Calif.
 

Paysonscanner

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Oh, I don't think they always put tones on the tacs. I think that occurs when another fire in the vicinity causes interference on the tacs. There is a large group of tacs available now, so I don't think that occurs often. You see the wide variety of NIFOG, V Fire, etc. tacs being used on the current CA complexes. Cal Fire has a system for tone guarding all of their frequencies including the use of Tone 16 - 192.8 RX TX on all of their 37 tactical freqs. This, no matter if these are assigned as air to grounds, tacs or air to air tactics.
 

zerg901

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https://www.nifc.gov/PUBLICATIONS/redbook/2020/Chapter15.pdf - there are just 6 National Interagency Fire Tactical Frequencies listed here - but National Interagency Fire Center Scanner Frequencies and Radio Frequency Reference has 11 listed - ????

Also - Chapter 15 of the Red Book says that permission to use these National Interagency Fire Tactical frequencies requires prior approval from the NIFC CDO 26 (or COMC when mobilized). Apparently Los Padres National Forest has permission to use 168.20 as a defacto 2ndary tactical channel Forest wide (since it is included in all of their channel loads).

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Here is some of the info from Red Book Chapter 15 about pre-assigned national channels.

" Pre-assigned National Frequencies - National Air Guard Frequency (168.6250 MHz) - A National Interagency Air Guard frequency will be used for emergency aviation communications. Continuous monitoring of this frequency is mandatory by agency dispatch centers and aircraft. A Continuous Tone Coded Squelch System (CTCSS) tone of 110.9 Hz must be used when transmitting on the National Air Guard Frequency. This frequency must be programmed into the last channel of every group in fire handheld radios. "

Note - I dont think that a separate radio is required to monitor 168.625. I think that most fire aircraft have a separate receiver built into their man radio that continuously monitors 168.625.

Note - PL 110.9 is required on all transmissions. This is not reflected at National Interagency Fire Center Scanner Frequencies and Radio Frequency Reference

Note - the Los Padres National Forest (LPNF) 2020 channel load does not show 168.625 in the last channel of every group

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I do not see any specific guidance in Chapter 15 about the intended use of air to ground channels.

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Further info - maybe this section from Chapter 15 also provides the basis for the use of 168.20 on the LPNF.

Mutual Aid Frequency Management. Mutual aid frequency sharing agreements can be made at the local level. Agreements are only approved in the specific location where assigned. Prohibited: • Use of mutual-aid-frequency outside assigned area; and • Formal agreements for mutual-aid using NIFC National Fire Frequencies. Exception: • Agency with Radio Frequency Authorization (RFA) approved by National Telecommunications Information Agency (NTIA) for frequency in NIFC Channeling Plan; notification and coordination with NIFC CDO required.

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note to self before I forget - are Air Tactics freqs (NIFC) different than Air Tactical (?Region 5)? freq?
 

vlarian

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Note - I dont think that a separate radio is required to monitor 168.625. I think that most fire aircraft have a separate receiver built into their man radio that continuously monitors 168.625.
this is true the aircraft radios can monitor two channels simultaneously.

example; my local Air Attack platform has three VHF FM radios and three AM radios. all can monitor two channels simultaneously. now AirGuard is always monitored.
 

KK6ZTE

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The way radios are programmed for NIFC commands (at least initial attack period, prior to the comm unit being able to clone) is to leave them CSQ in the RX tone and OST in the TX tone. OST should be set up to only change the TX tone and leave the RX tone unaffected.

A radio in CSQ will hear everything on that frequency. Leaving them in CSQ would be the best option. No sense trying to reinvent the database from across the country listening to broadcastify.
 

es93546

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https://www.nifc.gov/PUBLICATIONS/redbook/2020/Chapter15.pdf - there are just 6 National Interagency Fire Tactical Frequencies listed here - but National Interagency Fire Center Scanner Frequencies and Radio Frequency Reference has 11 listed - ????

Also - Chapter 15 of the Red Book says that permission to use these National Interagency Fire Tactical frequencies requires prior approval from the NIFC CDO 26 (or COMC when mobilized). Apparently Los Padres National Forest has permission to use 168.20 as a defacto 2ndary tactical channel Forest wide (since it is included in all of their channel loads).

---------------------

Here is some of the info from Red Book Chapter 15 about pre-assigned national channels.

" Pre-assigned National Frequencies - National Air Guard Frequency (168.6250 MHz) - A National Interagency Air Guard frequency will be used for emergency aviation communications. Continuous monitoring of this frequency is mandatory by agency dispatch centers and aircraft. A Continuous Tone Coded Squelch System (CTCSS) tone of 110.9 Hz must be used when transmitting on the National Air Guard Frequency. This frequency must be programmed into the last channel of every group in fire handheld radios. "

Note - I dont think that a separate radio is required to monitor 168.625. I think that most fire aircraft have a separate receiver built into their man radio that continuously monitors 168.625.

Note - PL 110.9 is required on all transmissions. This is not reflected at National Interagency Fire Center Scanner Frequencies and Radio Frequency Reference

Note - the Los Padres National Forest (LPNF) 2020 channel load does not show 168.625 in the last channel of every group

Further info - maybe this section from Chapter 15 also provides the basis for the use of 168.20 on the LPNF.

Mutual Aid Frequency Management. Mutual aid frequency sharing agreements can be made at the local level. Agreements are only approved in the specific location where assigned. Prohibited: • Use of mutual-aid-frequency outside assigned area; and • Formal agreements for mutual-aid using NIFC National Fire Frequencies. Exception: • Agency with Radio Frequency Authorization (RFA) approved by National Telecommunications Information Agency (NTIA) for frequency in NIFC Channeling Plan; notification and coordination with NIFC CDO required.

----------------

note to self before I forget - are Air Tactics freqs (NIFC) different than Air Tactical (?Region 5)? freq?
Also - Chapter 15 of the Red Book says that permission to use these National Interagency Fire Tactical frequencies requires prior approval from the NIFC CDO 26 (or COMC when mobilized). Apparently Los Padres National Forest has permission to use 168.20 as a defacto 2ndary tactical channel Forest wide (since it is included in all of their channel loads).

Well, something different is going on in R5. Like someone else mentioned here, an older retired USFS employee thinks the use of 168.200 may have started in R5 where it was called "Crew Net" apparently from the get go. If they "invented" crew net, then they are probably saying, "well by God, we started the use of it and were going to keep using it and call it what we always have!" This use of 168.200 was long before R5 assigned a "Work Net" for the entire region and came up with 3 regional tacticals. I think they were the first regional tacs. They seemed to be used on large fires only in the first years because the fires were so large and numerous in this state causing interference problems not experienced as much as in other areas of the country. They were all 173 MHz frequencies. It's been about 10 years now that they have been showing up on forest's primary channel groups using new narrowband frequencies and in accordance with the 2019 NTIA frequency allocation. Most of the forests that show them in those groups also have NIFC Tac 2 in them as well. During my career we used it as a work channel as well, in recreation management and law enforcement. If some of us were on one side of a river and we were replacing a PFC line coming from a spring or well that was used to provide water to a campground and was suspended over the river, (I actually did this) people on both sides of the river were on Tac 2. If we were managing people at some sort of big event, or peak holiday in an area we used Tac 2. I often rode a mountain bike to patrol when we had a lot of congestion. I had a mike and earphone on while riding and scanning forest net and Tac 2. We would make it our priority channel in our Bendix-Kings for the length of the situation. It was a catch all simplex frequency for a long time. One last thing on this, "apparently" implies an assumption and assumptions. The word "assume" is often defined as it makes "ASSes out of U & Me." Everyone has probably heard this. When people have not worked in a field and are in a part of the country where they don't witness or listen to agencies on the radio very often, it pays to not make assumptions or fill in the blanks.

Note - I dont think that a separate radio is required to monitor 168.625. I think that most fire aircraft have a separate receiver built into their man radio that continuously monitors 168.625.

When I started with the USFS back in 1973 and then started flying air patrol in 1975, there was a separate air guard radio in the cockpits of all the contract aircraft I flew in. I don't think radios that received two crystal controlled frequencies at the same time were widely available then. It's 2020 for God's sake, so I shouldn't be using examples from that far back. Thanks to those that pointed out this mistake in my post. The mobile I had in the last truck I was assigned did not have this capability so I guess I forget that aircraft radios are very different now. Aircraft that are national resources were using these huge Wulfsberg radios a couple of years after I started, but local air recon ships are not national and didn't always have the latest.

Here is some of the info from Red Book Chapter 15 about pre-assigned national channels.

" Pre-assigned National Frequencies - National Air Guard Frequency (168.6250 MHz) - A National Interagency Air Guard frequency will be used for emergency aviation communications. Continuous monitoring of this frequency is mandatory by agency dispatch centers and aircraft. A Continuous Tone Coded Squelch System (CTCSS) tone of 110.9 Hz must be used when transmitting on the National Air Guard Frequency. This frequency must be programmed into the last channel of every group in fire handheld radios. "


This mandate for Air Guard in Channel 16 applies to the comm plans of nationally managed incidents (Type 2 and Type 2) only. Some forests have put them in Channel 16 on both their primary and extended attack groups. However, most R5 forests have more nets, more channel usage than other regions, as well as frequent mutual aid automatic, CAD based dispatches, on other (Cal Fire, county and city) jurisdictions routinely than other regions do. Examples are the Angeles, Cleveland, San Bernardino and Los Padres NF's. The Angeles responds on one state highway (SR 14) for about 15-20 miles and well outside the NF boundary, in LA County's protection area. So they have to have many state and local frequencies in their primary radio groups. It's tough to spare one channel in each group

Further info - maybe this section from Chapter 15 also provides the basis for the use of 168.20 on the LPNF.

Mutual Aid Frequency Management. Mutual aid frequency sharing agreements can be made at the local level. Agreements are only approved in the specific location where assigned. Prohibited: • Use of mutual-aid-frequency outside assigned area; and • Formal agreements for mutual-aid using NIFC National Fire Frequencies. Exception: • Agency with Radio Frequency Authorization (RFA) approved by National Telecommunications Information Agency (NTIA) for frequency in NIFC Channeling Plan; notification and coordination with NIFC CDO required.


All the regions are getting NIFC T2 out of their primary radio groups as each year progresses, except in R5. I looked the other day in the R5 directory and every one of them had "NIFC Tac 2 - Crew Net" in their primary groups, but one. or maybe its two. The section you quoted does not include any mention of the NIFC cache. Note the statement "Prohibited . . . Formal agreements for mutual-aid using NIFC National Fire Frequencies." That includes NIFC Tac 2.

note to self before I forget - are Air Tactics freqs (NIFC) different than Air Tactical (?Region 5)? freq?

There are 5 National Air to Ground and Air to Air FM Tactics that have clearance for use west of 95 degrees longitude west. These are often assigned when a fire enters extended attack. If more are needed NIFC then goes to what I call, "the unused federal government frequency pool." There is no overlap between those 5 and the R5 forest by forest assignments of the air to air FM air tactical frequencies. Maybe they aren't in the database. I thought they were. There is a list of them by channel number and under each forest's heading they list which are primary and secondary. I have had the most current official version of these for several months now and should make a database submission to update, but can't spare the time. Now that I've rejoined I need to update the Wiki pages for the federal natural resource agencies in California also. There have been changes!

I hope this answers your questions!
 

zerg901

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The way radios are programmed for NIFC commands (at least initial attack period, prior to the comm unit being able to clone) is to leave them CSQ in the RX tone and OST in the TX tone. OST should be set up to only change the TX tone and leave the RX tone unaffected.

A radio in CSQ will hear everything on that frequency. Leaving them in CSQ would be the best option. No sense trying to reinvent the database from across the country listening to broadcastify.
If tones are being used on NIFC channels it needs to be in the RRDB for scanner users
 

wa8pyr

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National Interagency Fire Center Scanner Frequencies and Radio Frequency Reference- nifc shows as csq - should CSQ be changed to "OST" or "varies"?
If tones are being used on NIFC channels it needs to be in the RRDB for scanner users
Official policy for the RR database is that channels which can use multiple squelch tones (such as you've noted) are listed as carrier squelch so that all scanners have access to them, and to avoid confusion. A brief mention of uses such as "incident specific squelch tone" or "operator selected squelch tone" may be placed in the subcategory notes section so that people know what's going on if they see varying squelch tones.

The only time a specific tone is listed in the database is when it's a squelch tone established by policy for a specific use, which never changes (much like the use of standardized use of 156.7 for most of the channels in the NIFOG).

Incident-specific information should be posted in the appropriate forum.
 
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zerg901

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this is true the aircraft radios can monitor two channels simultaneously.

example; my local Air Attack platform has three VHF FM radios and three AM radios. all can monitor two channels simultaneously. now AirGuard is always monitored.
I was hoping this info would come up. (Maybe it should be in a different thread).

Lets think about how the 'Air Attack' uses their radios. (This will all be relevant to the channel loads found in fire engine radios).

(Sorry - I have to go back and rethink this - it just occurred to me that the 'Lead Plane' is not the same as the 'Air Attack' (usually a plane). )

For starters - on the largest fires - the chain of command seems to be - IC tells Air Attack and Ground Division bosses what needs to be done. Ar Attack and Ground Division bosses then pass the word along to their units.

Air Attack gives direction to the Lead Plane and to the Helco (helicopter coordinator). (Caveat - sometimes the Air Attack also serves as the Lead Plane)

So radio channels for aviation assets are probably set up like this -

IC talks to Air Attack on Command Net or on A/G channel

Air Attack talks to Lead Plane on 'Air Tactics' or 'Air Tactical' channel - (at this point I dont know if there is any real difference in those 2 terms)

Air Attack talks to Helco on AM RW (rotor wing) channel

Lead Plane talks to air tankers on Air Tactics channel

Helco talks to helos on AM RW channel

-------------------

If Air Attack has 3 FM and 3 AM radios - each of which can monitor 2 channels simultaneously - then Air Attack can monitor -

Air Guard - 168.625 - for emergencies

FAA Air Guard - 121.50 - for emergencies

maybe some back country AM aviation channel

Air Tactics / ?Air Tactical? - to talk to airtankers

RW AM - to talk to helos

A/G - to talk to IC or to talk to ground units maybe

A/G Tactical - maybe this would be used by just the IC and the Air Attack - like a A/G Hotline - seems to be a new concept

-------------------

we have filled 7 slots of 12 so far - what else could go into these slots? Maybe 163.10 for ?heliport? - maybe nearest airtanker base? - maybe 168.65? Which channels are the most relevant? How many channels can 2 people in the Air Attack monitor at once?

If I was the "Air Attack" I would probably just want to monitor 1 channel - and share that channel with just the Lead Plane, Helco, and IC.
 

vlarian

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what I have been told and this seems to be a ATGS preference kinda of thing, in no particular order. Also keep in mind that the Pilot and the ATGS have to share these radios. There is a mixer box/panel that allows the crew to individually mute or set the volume of each channel, select which channel(s) to Transmit on.

FM
1 FM air to air
2 Command
3 Air to ground
4 Air to ground command (if used)
5 National Flight following
6 AirGuard

AM
1 Tanker base
2 AM air to air
3 TFR victor
4 briefing victor
5 misc. or FAA freqs (Local Tower/center)
6 misc. or FAA freqs (Local Tower/center)

misc.
Intercom between all the occupants of the aircraft.
 

zerg901

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I submitted 110.9 as the PL for 168.625 - we will have to wait and see if the RRDB admins accept it - there are 226 submissions in que before mine
 

es93546

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what I have been told and this seems to be a ATGS preference kinda of thing, in no particular order. Also keep in mind that the Pilot and the ATGS have to share these radios. There is a mixer box/panel that allows the crew to individually mute or set the volume of each channel, select which channel(s) to Transmit on.

FM
1 FM air to air
2 Command
3 Air to ground
4 Air to ground command (if used)
5 National Flight following
6 AirGuard

AM
1 Tanker base
2 AM air to air
3 TFR victor
4 briefing victor
5 misc. or FAA freqs (Local Tower/center)
6 misc. or FAA freqs (Local Tower/center)

misc.
Intercom between all the occupants of the aircraft.
I've heard Air Attack speak directly to dispatch centers of the forest. park, BLM district a fire is located on. I don't remember if this was done on Type 1 and 2 fires, however. This communication included traffic of aircraft ETA's, orders for aircraft for the next day, etc. Now that I think about it, this likely did not happen on Type 1 and 2 fires, as those have a process of going through the planning process or at least to plans to have orders made.

Another detail here. Sometimes this get confusing during a portion of the initial attack, especially on the Angeles and San Bernardino National Forests. A fire might start in a city, move up onto county ground, move further up onto state protection (SRA) and then hit the boundary of a national forest. At some point everyone has to decide which dispatch center is going to be the "ordering point." This usually goes to the jurisdiction the fire is going to affect the most. But as a fire moves up the slopes and no one knows if it will continue or the forward progress stops this can be an issue. What can happen is when orders are duplicated or are not coordinated between all the agencies. So the county might order up 3 helitankers, Cal Fire starts ordering up their helos and tankers, and the Forest Service or interagency dispatch center beginning to see that can't work, since they always have a direct path to the GACC. I've heard radio traffic in southern California between batt chiefs from LA County, Cal Fire (in San Berdo Co.) and the Forest Service say "we have to have a face to face and determine the ordering point.
 

es93546

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I submitted 110.9 as the PL for 168.625 - we will have to wait and see if the RRDB admins accept it - there are 226 submissions in que before mine
The Air Guard is listed as only having the tone on transmit, not receive. Thus it isn't really applicable to scanner listeners. I leave mine on CSQ as in an emergency a crew may forget to hit Tone 1 on select. Channel 16 is programmed with Tone 16 (192.8) and if programmed with Tone 1 for that channel will transmit 110.9 instead of 192.8. On forests using Tone 16 for a repeater, this is not a good situation. The radio would have Tone 1 in the tone select list twice. Some years back direction came out that Tone 1 would be placed on RX and TX when it is programmed, but recently I've noticed the RX doesn't have a tone. Also, some state and local agencies have not chosen to standardize their tones to the NIFC standard so no tone or many tones could be transmitted in emergencies, so that is likely the reason for no tone on RX for Air Guard. If a scanner user puts 110.9 in the tone for a channel, it is possible they would miss something. I would encourage that a tone not be shown in the RR database.
 

es93546

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I was hoping this info would come up. (Maybe it should be in a different thread).

Lets think about how the 'Air Attack' uses their radios. (This will all be relevant to the channel loads found in fire engine radios).

(Sorry - I have to go back and rethink this - it just occurred to me that the 'Lead Plane' is not the same as the 'Air Attack' (usually a plane). )

For starters - on the largest fires - the chain of command seems to be - IC tells Air Attack and Ground Division bosses what needs to be done. Ar Attack and Ground Division bosses then pass the word along to their units.

Air Attack gives direction to the Lead Plane and to the Helco (helicopter coordinator). (Caveat - sometimes the Air Attack also serves as the Lead Plane)

So radio channels for aviation assets are probably set up like this -

IC talks to Air Attack on Command Net or on A/G channel

Air Attack talks to Lead Plane on 'Air Tactics' or 'Air Tactical' channel - (at this point I dont know if there is any real difference in those 2 terms)

Air Attack talks to Helco on AM RW (rotor wing) channel

Lead Plane talks to air tankers on Air Tactics channel

Helco talks to helos on AM RW channel

-------------------

If Air Attack has 3 FM and 3 AM radios - each of which can monitor 2 channels simultaneously - then Air Attack can monitor -

Air Guard - 168.625 - for emergencies

FAA Air Guard - 121.50 - for emergencies

maybe some back country AM aviation channel

Air Tactics / ?Air Tactical? - to talk to airtankers

RW AM - to talk to helos

A/G - to talk to IC or to talk to ground units maybe

A/G Tactical - maybe this would be used by just the IC and the Air Attack - like a A/G Hotline - seems to be a new concept

-------------------

we have filled 7 slots of 12 so far - what else could go into these slots? Maybe 163.10 for ?heliport? - maybe nearest airtanker base? - maybe 168.65? Which channels are the most relevant? How many channels can 2 people in the Air Attack monitor at once?

If I was the "Air Attack" I would probably just want to monitor 1 channel - and share that channel with just the Lead Plane, Helco, and IC.
zerg, it is interesting reading your comments and questions. It reminds me of upper management in the U.S. Forest Service that worked in Regional Offices or the Washington Office about on the ground procedures when such would be discussed. It also reminds me of Office of Inspector General and the Government Accountability Office people trying to investigate this and that. They have never done the job they are investigating, have only read files and have never been near the field in their careers. This is not a criticism of them or you, it's just a perspective I've dealt with before. At my level it was my job to educate those people. Sometimes it worked and other times those people seem to think they need to appear in control, don't listen or think they need to appear to know more than anyone else. I've witnessed some very bad reports produced as a result.

Don't worry though, keep on asking. I think it is beneficial for other members who don't know this stuff very well. It shows that knowing the frequency is probably not as important as knowing the procedures and context of that frequencies use.

EDIT: P.S. I don't always have time to answer your questions. Sometimes they require a little bit of research. Some require putting the question into context and that takes time.
 

zerg901

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es93546 - something seems to be amiss here - this is the text straight from the Red Book -

" Pre-assigned National Frequencies - National Air Guard Frequency (168.6250 MHz) - A National Interagency Air Guard frequency will be used for emergency aviation communications. Continuous monitoring of this frequency is mandatory by agency dispatch centers and aircraft. A Continuous Tone Coded Squelch System (CTCSS) tone of 110.9 Hz must be used when transmitting on the National Air Guard Frequency. This frequency must be programmed into the last channel of every group in fire handheld radios. "

What could be the reason to require PL 110.9 on all transmitters but then operate all receivers in CSQ? Doesnt seem to add up.
 

es93546

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es93546 - something seems to be amiss here - this is the text straight from the Red Book -

" Pre-assigned National Frequencies - National Air Guard Frequency (168.6250 MHz) - A National Interagency Air Guard frequency will be used for emergency aviation communications. Continuous monitoring of this frequency is mandatory by agency dispatch centers and aircraft. A Continuous Tone Coded Squelch System (CTCSS) tone of 110.9 Hz must be used when transmitting on the National Air Guard Frequency. This frequency must be programmed into the last channel of every group in fire handheld radios. "

What could be the reason to require PL 110.9 on all transmitters but then operate all receivers in CSQ? Doesnt seem to add up.
I explained that above, while you were typing this post. Also, I believe I mentioned that this assignment of a tone for the incident applies to NIFC command and tactical frequencies only. Lastly you raise a good question, why only transmit a tone on Air Guard, but not have it as a tone guard in all radios. Maybe valarian can answer that question, as I have wondered this for at least 20-30 years or however long this has been policy. What I mentioned about the usual Bendix-King handheld with 16 channels in 16 or more groups that are out on the ground makes sense though. I don't have any policies to quote you on this, other the transmit tone requirement, but thought about this given my fire experience. Mobile radios that have 500 or more frequencies and the groups are assembled dynamically, like newer scanners do, could program a RX tone, without affecting the tone selection. At least my last USFS mobile was this way as it had an external tone selection switch. I don't know if current radios have external tone switches.
 
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wa8pyr

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I submitted 110.9 as the PL for 168.625 - we will have to wait and see if the RRDB admins accept it - there are 226 submissions in que before mine.
The Air Guard is listed as only having the tone on transmit, not receive. Thus it isn't really applicable to scanner listeners. I leave mine on CSQ as in an emergency a crew may forget to hit Tone 1 on select. Channel 16 is programmed with Tone 16 (192.8) and if programmed with Tone 1 for that channel will transmit 110.9 instead of 192.8. On forests using Tone 16 for a repeater, this is not a good situation. The radio would have Tone 1 in the tone select list twice. Some years back direction came out that Tone 1 would be placed on RX and TX when it is programmed, but recently I've noticed the RX doesn't have a tone. Also, some state and local agencies have not chosen to standardize their tones to the NIFC standard so no tone or many tones could be transmitted in emergencies, so that is likely the reason for no tone on RX for Air Guard. If a scanner user puts 110.9 in the tone for a channel, it is possible they would miss something. I would encourage that a tone not be shown in the RR database.
See my post #9 above. Interoperable frequencies which can use selectable tone will be listed as CSQ in the database, in part for the very reasons noted by @es93546. If the day comes when the NIFC can make up their mind on a specific tone plan, we can revisit this decision.

As a communications planner and administrator for over 30 years, I personally think that user-selectable tone is a pretty questionable practice; there's entirely too much chance of user error, which can lead to injury and/or death (especially in a rapidly evolving situation like a wildfire).

By the way, your submission was one of only 49 new submissions; the 226 number you noted includes submissions already owned by administrators who are in the process of working them (they may be waiting for additional information from the submitter or what have you).
 

vlarian

Member
Joined
Jan 3, 2006
Messages
25
Location
Central California
Great points, So I asked my friendly neighborhood comm tech about tones on airguard a few years ago, cause well this seems dumb it's an emergency channel. His reply was that there is too much illegal interference. NIFC requires T110.9 on the TX of mobiles/portables but allows mobiles/portables to be CSQ on the RX side. the comm techs were told to tone protect the input on their remote sites(I was told there are no repeaters for airguard all sites are remote bases or bases) some forests quietly chose not to tone protect their airguard sites. most radios that I have seen programming lists for have T110.9 on the TX/RX sides.

A point about CTCSS and most modern radios, the comm techs can lock the tone on the TX and or the RX sides. My local radios have (in case you haven't figured it out by now I'm a fed) T110.9 locked in on the TX. But I have seen State radios with the tone on both sides, so it seems that some do and some don't use the tone on the RX side.
 
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