Help me configure an emergency communications monitoring post

KB2GOM

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Jun 1, 2020
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Location
upstate New York
I have a growing and serious interest pulling together an emergency communications monitoring post -- one that would be useful if the organic fertilizer hits the ventilation equipment and other sources of information (internet, smart phones, for example) might not be available.

Right now, I have:

Grundig Satellite 800 with indoor whip antenna, capable of monitoring AM broadcast, FM broadcast, international shortwave, HF utility stations in upper and lower sidebands.

Uniden BC125AT with Diamond 77 antenna -- currently programmed for state police, emergency call frequencies (air, maritime, etc.), national emergency frequencies (ala this list (source of this list is here: scroll waaaaay down -- Making a family emergency communication plan - Graywolf Survival ):
  • 34.90: National Guard emergency channel
  • 39.46: Used for inter-department emergency communications by local and state police.
  • 47.42: Red Cross relief frequency
  • 52.525: 6-meter band ham radio emergency channel
  • 121.50: the international aeronautical emergency frequency.
  • 138.225: FEMA disaster relief frequency
  • 146.52: 2-meter band ham radio emergency channel
  • 151.625: used by businesses that travel about the country.
  • 154.57: used by businesses that travel about the country.
  • 154.60: used by businesses that travel about the country.
  • 154.28: local fire department emergency channel.
  • 154.265: local fire department emergency channel.
  • 154.295: local fire department emergency channel.
  • 155.160: used for inter-department emergencies by local and state agencies during search and rescue operations.
  • 155.475: used for inter-department emergency communications by local and state police forces.
  • 156.75: This channel is used internationally for broadcasts of maritime weather alerts.
  • 156.80: international maritime distress, calling, and safety channel.
  • 163.4875: used nationwide by the National Guard during emergencies.
  • 163.5125: national disaster preparedness frequency used jointly by the armed forces.
  • 164.50: national communications for the Department of Housing and Urban Development.
  • 168.55: used by civilian agencies of the federal government during emergencies and disasters.
  • 243.00: used during military aviation emergencies.
  • 311.00: in-flight channel used by the U.S. Air Force.
  • 317.70 used by U.S. Coast Guard aviation.
  • 317.80: used by U.S. Coast Guard aviation.
  • 319.40: in-flight channel used by the U.S. Air Force.
  • 340.20: channel used by U.S. Navy aviators.
  • 409.20: national communications channel for the Interstate Commerce Commission.
  • 409.625: national communications channel for the Department of State.
  • 462.675: used for emergency communications and traveler assistance in the General Mobile Radio Service (GMRS).
Uniden BCD396T with Diamond 77, programmed for various public safety frequencies in home county and nearby counties.

Sooooo, two questions.

1. What equipment, if any, would you add to this setup?

2. What additional frequencies (indicator frequencies, perhaps?) should be monitored?

PS -- I also have serious 2 meter transmit capabilities to reach two repeaters with very large footprints.
 

mmckenna

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Jul 27, 2005
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What would I add?
Better antennas. Most of those frequencies listed are simplex, and you won't hear very much with a hand held scanner with an antenna mounted on top of it. Get a good antenna outside and up as high as you - safely - can.

Many of those frequencies listed may be useful in some instances, but you'll get a lot more info by listening to your local agencies. Simplex channels, which most of those are, will not travel very far. The better antenna will give you a bit more reach, but don't expect miracles.

As for which frequencies I'd add: Do a google search for the DHS IFOG frequency guide. It'll give you a lot of useful stuff to listen to. It'll also give you the correct channel names that will make it easier to follow.
 

KB2GOM

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Joined
Jun 1, 2020
Messages
173
Location
upstate New York
What would I add?
Better antennas. Most of those frequencies listed are simplex, and you won't hear very much with a hand held scanner with an antenna mounted on top of it. Get a good antenna outside and up as high as you - safely - can.

Many of those frequencies listed may be useful in some instances, but you'll get a lot more info by listening to your local agencies. Simplex channels, which most of those are, will not travel very far. The better antenna will give you a bit more reach, but don't expect miracles.

As for which frequencies I'd add: Do a google search for the DHS IFOG frequency guide. It'll give you a lot of useful stuff to listen to. It'll also give you the correct channel names that will make it easier to follow.
I found version 1.6.1 looks like a lot of goodies there. Any external antennas that you are particularly fond of?
 

mmckenna

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I found version 1.6.1 looks like a lot of goodies there. Any external antennas that you are particularly fond of?
Antenna will depend entirely on what you want to listen to, what your budget is, and what your install skills are like.
A discone is a good all around antenna that will let you listen in on most traffic in the VHF, UHF, 700 and 800MHz bands. If your interests are more down in the VHF Low band, a dedicated low band antenna would be a wise investment. For your scanner, something like the Diamond DJ-130N would be a good choice.
 

GlobalNorth

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A 100% duty cycle power source for all that. Don't forget to camouflage all those antennas if you live anywhere other than a remote wilderness area - sticking out during a crisis is not a good idea.
 

danesgs

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I would add the Tecsun PL-360 to the mix as it has a "hot" AM section and DSP, is super easy to pack outdoors and does not consume batteries. As to higher bands, everything stated by m Mckenna about a discone. I use one for fringe area VHF. If you are really serious about a disaster/emergency family plan, then get some decent MRE's like from Coleman's Surplus. Lots of batteries and or a solar charger of some sort like this one.

 

hill

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Don't know about 156.75 must be used by other countries other the USA.

Would add 157.100 Marine Channel 22A, as this is were the USCG transmits weather warnings and other marine information broadcasts.

Also 52.525 isn't an emergency channel, but National simplex calling channel for 6 meter FM.

You could add 446.000 which is the 70 CM simplex calling channel.
 

WB9YBM

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May 6, 2019
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Niles, IL
146.52 is not a ham radio “emergency” frequency. it IS a national or calling channel.
Although in checking the repeater directory (granted this is NOT an official FCC document) it's been recommended that the calling frequencies be monitored for five minutes on top of the hour especially in areas with little or no repeater activity for possible emergency traffic. Granted it's not the same as an actual, definite emergency frequency although (at least to me) it sounds like a reasonable recommendation.
 
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