Forest Falls Search and Rescue

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This last weekend I was hiking and climbing Big Falls. I had already come down when a couple got stuck up there. San Bernardino County Fie Department, CALFIRE and Forest Service were there along with the sheriff's department. A helicopter was brought in. There was sparse radio traffic and that's when I heard Captain 99 tell Comm Center that they had switched to "Rescue." Huh? There's no rescue group that I've found here. The county SAR team had not been called - the location of the victims was known. Where could they have gone? VHF? My scanner was programmed with everything and I could not find them.

Any ideas where to look or what TGID they are on?

Thank you in advance.
 

f40ph

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There is no "rescue" channel that they use. Perhaps they meant they're beginning the rescue process. It's very likely they used a VHF line-of-sight channel in that area. I frequently hear them ask for a VHF tactical for Rescue incidents because of the resources assisting from the USFS.
 

mmckenna

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155.160 is licensed by a LOT of agencies and search and rescue teams. Simplex VHF. All our county radios have it in them. I know the CalFire radios have it. Kind of the default search and rescue frequency.
If they were talking to guys on the ground doing the search, no matter who they were, it might have been it. If you don't have it loaded in your scanner, you may want to add it. But since it's simplex, you may not hear a lot unless you are in the right place.

But I agree, could have been changing their mode from "search" to "rescue".
 
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Thank you to both of you. I couldn't find a rescue talkgroup and figured there wasn't one. I have all of the search and rescue in there including 155.1600 but nothing heard. I have the VHF tactical's as well but heard nothing. I plan on going back in two weeks. We'll see what I can find. I'll activate close-call. Up on top of the falls I should be able to hear them below. Thank you again. By the way, the victims had already been located and a helicopter was coming for a hoist. I checked on CALCORD and didn't hear them there. Both patients survived.
 
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I didn't hear anything on calcord which I did have programmed. I dumped everything into it. I'll find out when I go back in a couple weeks. They always have something going every weekend up there. That's why I thought I'd be prepared but I guess I was wrong. Thanks again.
 

Paysonscanner

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155.160 is licensed by a LOT of agencies and search and rescue teams. Simplex VHF. All our county radios have it in them. I know the CalFire radios have it. Kind of the default search and rescue frequency.
If they were talking to guys on the ground doing the search, no matter who they were, it might have been it. If you don't have it loaded in your scanner, you may want to add it. But since it's simplex, you may not hear a lot unless you are in the right place.

But I agree, could have been changing their mode from "search" to "rescue".
155.160 is not used on rescues by default, it is licensed by the Mountain Rescue Association. It is programmed into a lot of radios with the label "MRA." It is now in the NIFOG for SAR ground ops and labeled "VSAR 16." Some counties have a secondary SAR channel they can go to in case they are getting interference from another close by SAR. In CA CalCord, 156.075 has been designated by the state and feds for air to ground medivacs on wildland fires. Sometimes SAR's do the same. Otherwise they use 155.160 for air to ground as well. The hospital I worked at in the Sierra foothills scanned 155.1600 and 156.0750 in the ER.
 

mmckenna

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155.160 is not used on rescues by default,
I'd agree. What I mean was it's "default" as in dang near any agency running VHF radios has it programmed in. As they should with CalCord. All our VHF radios, across the board, have CalCord and 155.160 in them. From a good high location, it's not uncommon to hear more than one conversation on CalCord. Then add in the knuckleheads that set their VHF Marine Radios to the international setting and pop up on it. There was a dredging company doing that for quite a while in the Stockton area.
 

inigo88

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I would add that I’ve heard 155.16 referred to as MRA Direct (Mountain Rescue Association), NASAR (National Search & Rescue Common), and VSAR 16 (post-narrowbanding). Some agencies have it as the output frequency of their portable repeaters. Others (including San Bernardino) actually have it as the repeater output frequency on their permanent repeaters. I believe San Bernardino SAR’s Onyx Peak repeater is on 155.16 MHz.
 

iscanvnc2

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Ventura County Sheriff Office (SO) S&R teams utilizes 155.160 simplex for the vast majority of its searches. For extensive searches that potentially may last days in rugged terrain the SO helicopter will deploy a portable repeater: 155.160 out, 150.790 in, 100.0 PL. See KNBZ695.

Santa Barbara County Sheriff S&R teams utilizes permanent repeaters across the county: 155.160 out, 150.790 in, 131.8 PL. See WPWT285 & RRDB.

That’s no typo. The 2 adjacent counties have identical S&R repeater frequency setups, different PL. One of Santa Barbara’s repeaters is on Santa Cruz Island & booms in here.
 

INLANDNEWS

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San Bernardino's VHF SAR channels are listed in the RR database. There are at least (2) 800 MHz channels that they are using on most Search and Rescue's these days that are not listed. I do not have those channels but my best guess is they are tied to talkgroups on the P25 system and encrypted like the rest of the LEO channels in San Bernardino County.
 

inigo88

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You're correct, the two P25 SAR TGs are encrypted.
That’s a shame that the affiliation with the Sheriff’s Dept made these talkgroups auto-encrypted. Rescue ops are not officer-safety critical and frequently require mutual aid with fire/EMS. I could see user-selectable encryption justified as there are times where SAR resources can be utilized on LE sensitive missions such as evidence searches of crime scenes, but these are generally few and far between. As a former SAR volunteer I was grateful fire could scan us and come up on our channels when necessary, and we certainly were grateful for the same privilege with theirs. I just hope this isn’t another example of interoperability sacrificed in the name of perceived security.

Edit: Don’t mean to hijack a SAR thread with an encryption debate nor am I trying to start one. It just surprised me that SAR as a discipline would have a perceived requirement for encryption in the first place.
 
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I have I have hiked the Cleveland National Forest as well as the San Jacinto mountains. I've also hiked the Angeles National Forest and I'm just now getting to San Bernardino. I know that the mutual Aid channels are VHF so that the agencies that are assisting with the search can all talk to one another. I seriously doubt they're using encryption? on 800 megahertz. 800 doesn't cover well in the mountains to begin with. Not when you get down into the valleys and stuff. It works fine I guess on the highways where communities are located. I'm used to that with lafd.

I looked up 155.160 and found that it seems to be the Nationwide ambulance and search and rescue channel. I also looked at San Bernardino County and I see that their search and rescue has their own set of channels in the 155 neighborhood. Since they're all mountain peaks I'm assuming they are repeaters. but search and rescue wasn't called on this one that I am referring to. It was at the Big Falls and was a simple rescue. The captain or whoever was in charge just said that there were switching to the rescue net. Does the Forest Service have County radios? California Fire? CHP? It looked like everybody was there and all of them had different radios.
 

f40ph

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The call in question occurred on 6/6. The Command channel between units and dispatch was the usual 2cmd5, there were two tactical channels assigned: 2tac2 and VFIRE24 (the VFIRE tactical was assigned due to 3 USFS resources assisting County Fire).
When Air Rescue 8 arrived, it appears the ground units switched to 2tac2 for comms with Air Rescue. Perhaps that's the "rescue" radio traffic you heard.
 
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yes I guess that could be yes I guess that could be it. I'm not familiar with vfire 24. That seems the most logical place to be unless everybody has County radios. That's the problem we had with our Rovers. Allied agencies couldn't talk directly to us.
 
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