Forest Service Changes?

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krazybob

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Today we had the Marta Fire at HWY 330 and Highland below Running Springs. It is burning NNE. It is at 902 acres but checked by retardant. To the point, Initial Attack was not on 169.1125 and instead was found on the old Travel Net 169.1250. I realize that there may have been another new start in IA phase but heard nothing. I also couldn't find HeliTac. I checked all of the AM frequencies and nothing from tight above the fire. Can anyone help me out?

Thanks in advance.
 

ko6jw_2

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First of all the two frequencies you mention are only 12.5KHz apart. If your receiver cannot resolve 12.5KHz steps then you may hear the transmission a little higher or lower.

Second, my experience with IA frequencies is that they often use a different channel than that which is shown in the database.

I have had this same problem on many fires in this area and I have programed banks in my scanner with ALL known frequencies. Sooner or later they turn up somewhere. You should also program the NIFC frequencies in the nationwide database. These get used a lot on big fires. Also, be aware that they may change frequencies from day to day.

If you can find the air tactics frequencies you will sometimes get clues from the lead plane when they tell incoming aircraft what frequency to use. Last year it took me a couple of days to find all the frequencies in use at a fire only to have them change a day or two later. That's what makes this so much fun.
 

krazybob

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Thank you. I realize you're only 12.5 away from one another but my scanner is able to resolve 12.5. It will do 7.5 as well. For that matter I had it tuned in on the ham radio with a big antenna and still they weren't on 1125. They are most definitely on 1250. IA for Southern California is 169.1125. But I also could not find helitac.

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ko6jw_2

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OK, it is not your radio. However, they can and do use whatever IA frequency they want to. The Travel Net is long gone and they may have decided to make it an IA frequency. Federal frequency use is not subject to the same controls that the FCC places on public safety users. I have never found a federal frequency guide that was totally accurate. I have found myself doing searches from 118MHZ to 136MHZ to find air frequencies. Good luck.
 

krazybob

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Yes they do. Of course. I live on a 6300 foot Mountain and I can hear a flea fart 120 miles away. It's just that they're off of the plan and they don't normally deviate from the plan. Especially helitac. There was no fire in the general area that was on initial attack, which is what 169.1125 is for. I'm more concerned with where helitac was at and I was hoping to get some feedback from other users in Southern California that might know why San Bernardino did not come up on their normal helitac frequency. I generally use Vertex Standard commercial radios for the FMN. I have them from low band to 800 (Motorola). They are all pre-programmed and if there has been a code plug change I'd sure like to get it into the radios before we get any more major fires. That's the one drawback to being up here above all the dry grass, scrub and brush.

AF6D - Big Bear
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ecps92

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169.1250 is Region 5 - Air Tactics-46

Today we had the Marta Fire at HWY 330 and Highland below Running Springs. It is burning NNE. It is at 902 acres but checked by retardant. To the point, Initial Attack was not on 169.1125 and instead was found on the old Travel Net 169.1250. I realize that there may have been another new start in IA phase but heard nothing. I also couldn't find HeliTac. I checked all of the AM frequencies and nothing from tight above the fire. Can anyone help me out?

Thanks in advance.
 

ecps92

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I do know there were changes made for 2017

2017 NEW FM Air Tactics Frequency Allocations
Eldorado N.F. Air Tact 62 (NEW) 167.3750 Eldorado Primary
Air Tact 64 (NEW) 168.6875 Eldorado Secondary

Mendocino N.F. Air Tact 53 (NEW) 167.3000 Mendocino Primary

Plumas Air Tact 53 (NEW) 167.3000 Plumas Secondary

San Bernardino N.F. Air Tact 46 (NEW) 169.1250 San Bernardino Primary
Air Tact 65 (NEW) 168.7250 San Bernardino Secondary

Sequoia N.F. Air Tact 43 (NEW) 167.7000 Sequoia Primary
Air Tact 61 (NEW) 166.5625 Sequoia Secondary

Shasta Trinity N.F. Air Tact 64 (NEW) 168.6875 Shasta-Trinity Primary
Air Tact 43 (NEW) 167.7000 Shasta-Trinity Secondary

Sierra N.F. Air Tact 64 (NEW) 168.6875 Sierra Primary
Air Tact 53 (NEW) 167.3000 Sierra Secondary

Is this a change? 169.1125. AG 59 is the Southern California IA frequency. I have my Region 5 frequency guide direct from the forest service in my hand.

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ecps92

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RRDB and Wiki are only as good as the information submitted from users who have confirmed the data Over-the-Air and made a DB Submission.

The Forest Service continues to make changes to conform to the NTIA with repeaters etc
and some of the other channels seem to change regularly as well

Bill - tourist :cool:
You'll also find it right here on radio reference listed as such. Color me confused.

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norcalscan

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BDF changed their Air to Air FM channels for 2017, listed above. I think some confusion here could also be what is happening on each channel during an initial attack of a fire, and then extended attack roughly 24-36 hours.

Initial Attack on a dispatch will have all aircraft coordinating on an Air-to-Air FM channel. The Air-to-Ground channel will be used for Air Attack to coordinate with the IC, and for helicopters to coordinate with ground troops on water drops. Both the AA and AG channels are preassigned by Forest, so everyone knows where to go on initial attack. Typically once there are plenty of fixed-wing over a fire, air attack will move the rotorcraft (copters) over to an AM "victor" frequency, leaving the FM channel to the fixed-wing tankers only. There are pre-assigned AM frequencies in CA as well for this, assigned by the air attack's zone of influence (for instance if Hemet-Ryan's air attack is primary on a fire, they'll use the victor assigned to Hemet.) For ANF/BDF fires the two AM freqs would be 136.000 and 135.575.

Now it all changes on extended attack. :) They want to release those IA frequencies back for IA on new fires. It can be random where they move to, but "typically" move onto some overflow freqs of the old Air-Air freqs (170000, 166675, 167950, 169150 169200). Victor nets can be totally random in extended attack. A trick to find them is to see if an FAA TFR has been assigned to the fire (might take 24-36hrs for this), and if so, there is a frequency listed for TFR contact - that is usually the helicopter victor.

And it can all change again when a Team takes over a fire.
 

norcalscan

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Helitac is usually county. I don't see it, do you?
I'm not fully positive how they do it in SoCal since there are a lot of local agencies down there with copters. Nothing like NorCal. Can a local chime in on when a local Air-to-Ground channel like San Bernardino County's 153.965 is implemented? Is it just for local incidents with the local agency ships that have no calfire ships etc?
 

krazybob

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Here in the San Bernardino Mountains we have what's called Auto Aid. That's where everybody and anybody comes to the party. We had a fire that started at the bottom of the mountain which as the crow flies is only a couple of miles and it was burning up towards our mountain residence. I was frantically trying to find the helitac because that's where you can really find out what's going on. They normally operate on the low end of the AM band. They are a contingency of county, state, federal, and private contractor. They do have one frequency at 135 something and we're not there either. What's nice about this one is that I can actually hear it on my Vertex Standard FM commercial radio. I did manage to find air-to-air fixed-wing and apparently they have changed frequencies 169.1125 to 169.1250. This is not yet reflected in the current RR database yet. Give it time.

On a side note Uniden scanners still remain woefully poor on the audio of the AM band. I would like to buy an ICOM professional AM transceiver but not for the ungodly price they want. I did have a Bendix King portable but it didn't have any better audio or signal strength than my Uniden. I do have a clear speech DSP that works well and brings the volume up but they're several hundred dollars. They do clean up the signal quite a bit though and bring the audio up to a sufficient level for streaming.

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krazybob

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Norcal Scan, as a trained firefighter and now disabled and working Communications I agree with what you posted entirely. Except that he'll attack was not on 135.575! That's why I said I looked everywhere and couldn't find them. They also were not on a Victor frequency. I have an antenna that was built by hand as a 5/8 wave for the aircraft band Only. It kicked butt. From right above the fire I heard absolutely nothing from hellotech and I know they were down there. I also know they were coming up to Lake Arrowhead to get water. That's what's so odd about it. 170.000 remains in my skin pattern but a fire scope message came out absolutely forbidding use of this frequency. The other freqs. are also not 12.5 khz frequencies. Moreover, none of these changes are reflected in my confidential Cal Fire frequency guide. I also have the confidential Front Country Mountain Ranger District Fire, Mutual Aid and Rescue guide and it does not contain these changes either. I will share with a group but I am allowed to share back as a token of appreciation for your help. Some of these documents I have to sign for on a confidentiality notice. I don't know why since anybody with a scanner can pick him up. But them's are the rules.

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ecps92

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And it won't be reflected until such time as You and/or someone else who has actually hear it [OTA] Over the Air, makes the submission to the DB via the "SUBMIT" button

Items don't magically appear

Try 136.000 as that is the SBD Area Inital Air Attack Interagency Freq
151.2950 is AT5

The adjacent area of HMT uses 135.5750 and AT6 of 151.3100

These should be accurate as of 2017

I did manage to find air-to-air fixed-wing and apparently they have changed frequencies 169.1125 to 169.1250. This is not yet reflected in the current RR database yet. Give it time.
 
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krazybob

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And it won't be reflected until such time as You and/or someone else who has actually hear it [OTA] Over the Air, makes the submission to the DB via the "SUBMIT" button

Items don't magically appear

Try 136.000 as that is the SBD Area Inital Air Attack Interagency Freq
151.2950 is AT5

The adjacent area of HMT uses 135.5750 and AT6 of 151.3100

These should be accurate as of 2017
When I can actually verify use based on several incidents only then will I add it to the database. Otherwise you'll be lobbing my head off for putting inaccurate information in the database. I have already said that air the air was on 169.1250 so why would I look at 136.000? 151.3100 is CALFIRE. This was not a CALFIRE incident. 170.000 is deprecated with instructions to never use this frequency. They were in unified command with the Forest Service who issued the IA comm plan. You don't let each allied agency use their own set of frequencies especially in the air.

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firemanjohn

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Look here: https://www.radioreference.com/apps/db/?aid=4301 or see cut and paste below. That's the same info that ecps posted. The info ecps posted is a cut/paste from an official document.

San Bernardino National Forest (BDF)

Air to Ground - Primary AG59 / Secondary AG53

Air Tac - Primary AT46 / Secondary AT65

If you scroll up on that page a little, you'll see the whole list of Air Tactics freqs. AT46 is 169.1250, just as you heard.

Can't remember which fire it was lately, but I believe it was the one you're talking about, I heard Air Attack talking to FICC about a change in the frequencies. That happens from time to time. So it's best to just put them all in the scanner.

The listings that I cut and pasted above match guidance documents I've seen indicating that they are new as of May 15, 2017. I didn't check the entire Radio Reference guide, but what I've seen seems to match the new changes. Your R5 frequency guidebook may be outdated.

Also, as ecps posted, the Victor for SBD is 136.000. You'll find traffic on both Air Tactics and Victor depending on the situation, but you already knew that.
 

krazybob

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Thanks John I appreciate it. I was surprised not to find primary air tactics on the 1250 because that's the old TravelNet. I've spent my time on the line and I'm familiar with frequency changes. I really didn't want to brag about my various certifications but I think you can appreciate that someone that is trained to ICS 400 when it only goes to 500 is probably someone that's been around the block a couple of times. I can wallpaper my office and I'm sure nobody really could give a crap about that. I dunno to be flexible. There wasn't a local fire that would have caused Air Attack to be on a different frequency. I did find them none-the-less but as I've mentioned I could not find helitac. It is already nasty up here in the San Bernardino's and everything is dry as dry can be. The good thing about this fire was that it was at the base of Highway 330 leading up to Running Springs so if a bug wants to get in there he's going to have to get deeper in there and stands more of a chance of being caught. The winds were calm but the temperature was that 96 with an RH of 7%. Absent the window don't see why a bug would have been in there and it appears to have been started by illegal fireworks from behind the Walmart. Had it not been for a couple of VLATs that came in the east side of the city of Highland would definitely have gone up. They are the ones that are sitting slightly elevated above the main city. I miss working now that I'm disabled and all I can do is listen. Things change and I don't necessarily get thanks from Firescope as quickly as I used to.

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norcalscan

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170.000 remains in my skin pattern but a fire scope message came out absolutely forbidding use of this frequency. The other freqs. are also not 12.5 khz frequencies. Moreover, none of these changes are reflected in my confidential Cal Fire frequency guide. I also have the confidential Front Country Mountain Ranger District Fire, Mutual Aid and Rescue guide and it does not contain these changes either.
170.000 is a valid frequency for fire air actually and is used as an overflow freq during extended attack. It's A/G Channel 28, which isn't used for pre-planned IA anywhere in R5. I'd be interested in seeing the SafeCom you mention and its date for not using 170.000. It may be referencing not using 170.000 for Air/Ground back quite a few years when they implemented the new Air/ground geographical-based plan.

The guides you have will list initial attack stuff. That's all valid. You won't see the extended attack stuff on them because it doesn't pertain to the goal of those guides. Once a fire goes extended, or an area is absolutely impacted by multiple incidents and no pre-planned IA freq is available, then North and South Ops can pull a lot of stuff out of a hat for the air support. The first pool they will typically pull from is what I listed earlier, the "old" A/G and Air Tactics freqs. After that, it's anyone's guess between 162 and 174Mhz, especially with the current NTIA reshuffling. Hopefully once that settles, the search window of freqs they can pull from might be limited to something like 166.5-169.5. Same thing with Victor, once they go extended, or they use up the pre-planned 136.000 and 135.575, it's anyone's guess where they could show up in the AM aero band. There are a few favored ones they might have from the "old" way of doing things, just like their FM counterparts, but otherwise it'll be a band-search and waiting for the TFR to be posted.
 
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