Jeff Davis County, frequencies needed due to death.

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19dsniper

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Ok guys and girls, the title is real. I spent a little time last week researching as much as i could about Jeff Davis County Texas and what frequencies i could find to plug into my radio for our upcoming Boy Scout trip in a few weeks. We are headed to BTSR in Jeff Davis county. I always plug in local police, fire, ems, ham repeaters, etc into my radio before heading out for long scouting events incase of emergency. I have been told that where we will be located on the ranch that the closest cell reception is 3 miles away. Unfortunately 2 days ago, a young boy died exactly where we are headed in a few weeks. The terrain is rough, and its been hot. He was dehydrated and lost consciousness. The adults with the group performed CPR on the young man for approximately an hour before he could be picked up by a border patrol helicopter.

I bring all this up because i am hoping that someone out there can help me find more frequencies for this specific area. We are leaving for that same spot in a few short weeks, and know that without coms that it could literally mean life or death. If anyone has any frequencies for that area PLEASE share them with me. I was originally going to take my Yaesu because its dual band, but have decided instead to take my EFJ 5100 because it will do P25.
Any frequencies that you know work will greatly help. If you think that it is a frequency that shouldn't be shared, please feel free to PM me. I am trying to find the Tx, Rx, and PL/NAC codes as well if possible so that we would be able to communicate in an emergency.

Thanks everyone.
Here is a link to the news story.
Keller Central student dies backpacking in West Texas | Fort Worth Star-Telegram
 

nd5y

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19dsniper

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Thank you for your time and information. I had not considered renting a satellite phone, but i may look into doing that. As for the PLB, I did consider that as an option. I have looked at the SPOT in the past and may end up picking one up. I planned on taking my portable radio with me anyways as i enjoy getting on the BBARC net and chatting with some of the guys whenever we are down in the big bend are or at BBNP. I have all the BBARC frequencies already programed in but don't know what the coverage is like where we will be at. I have also noticed that even when i can hit the repeater that there isn't always someone on the other end.
Yes, i understand that this can be two fold and i may run into the same situation with any local programmed frequencies, but i am trying to leave all lines open just in case they actually do work. Hopefully, we will not need to find out. We will be in the back country doing the mountain man program that they offer, just like the young man that lost his life. It is my understanding that someone ran the 3 miles back to camp in this last situation so that they could have someone call from there, and get help on the way. I don't know how accurate that information is because i wasn't there, and its second hand knowledge. We are suppose to have a meeting about it tomorrow and i will hopefully find out more. As soon as we get out to where we will be staying in the back country, i will check in on the local repeater and see if i can hit it with the standard antenna. If not, i carry a rolled up Slim Jim antenna that can be either deployed by hand or tossed up into a tree to get even more range. We have used this in the past for search and rescue and it has worked well for us when trying to hit a repeater. There were times that we even used it on the simplex channels due to terrain and it made all the difference in the world. I will look into the SPOT as this is a great time to actually justify me getting one, but i also want as many local coms channels as i can get. God forbid i needed to talk to air or someone else i can always switch over to some of the NIFOG channels and get them on there, but only after they are already in route. I wish that the BBARC still ran nets like they use to. In years past when they had a lot more guys involved in HAM radio, they would actually set up a schedule for individual in their group to monitor the net that covered 90% of Big Bend in case there was some sort of emergency. The local people, and many travelers, used the net a lot more before cell phone coverage improved. Now that BBNP has better coverage, they normally don't listen like they use to. They still hold nets on tuesday at 8pm, but other than that it is hit or miss. Unfortunately where we are going in the davis mountains, we are being told that we will not have cell reception. I always take a radio with me with as many local frequencies as i can whenever in the back country. This will be my primary means of communication in case of an emergency. Motorola is so much faster than sending a runner 3 miles to a phone.
 

kayn1n32008

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If you do take a sat phone, you will need to preprogram emergency phone numbers. 911 does NOT work on sat phones. I would recommend Global Star phone. You can dial out like a traditional cell phone. It is not so with an Iridium phone. Also, you will have a 10 digit SS7 phone number on the Global Star phone. Iridium phones have an international phone number.

Also be aware that Global Star phones do not send caller ID info, they show 'Unknown' on caller ID capable devices. You WILL need to know your phone number to give to people if you require a call back.

Sent from my SM-G870W using Tapatalk
 

19dsniper

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If you do take a sat phone, you will need to preprogram emergency phone numbers. 911 does NOT work on sat phones. I would recommend Global Star phone. You can dial out like a traditional cell phone. It is not so with an Iridium phone. Also, you will have a 10 digit SS7 phone number on the Global Star phone. Iridium phones have an international phone number.

Also be aware that Global Star phones do not send caller ID info, they show 'Unknown' on caller ID capable devices. You WILL need to know your phone number to give to people if you require a call back.

Sent from my SM-G870W using Tapatalk


Thank you for that info. I was only slightly familiar with the iridium phones. Never heard of the others. I will look them up and see about a rental. I will definately save the local emergency numbers and keep a hard copy on a laminated 3x5 card with the phone.
 

kayn1n32008

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Global Star had coverage issues in the past, but they seem to have solved it with the launch of their second gen constellation of satellites.

The company I work for has between 2 and 3 dozen active Global Star phones in use at the moment. We also have about half a dozen Iridium phones as well.

By far Global Star phones are far easier to use. It's just like using a cell phone, only difference is you.have to deploy the antenna and keep it as vertical as you can.

Being that you are in Texas, you should not have any coverage issues. Unless you end up in a deep canyon that runs east/west, or are in heavy tree coverage.

The rule of thumb of Hlobal Star and Iridium phones is: get high, and be able to see as much of the sky as you can.

Nice thing with Global Star and Iridium is that with the satellites in low earth orbit, there is negligible propagation delay. No different than a modern cell phone.

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kayn1n32008

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There were times that we even used it on the simplex channels due to terrain and it made all the difference in the world. I will look into the SPOT as this is a great time to actually justify me getting one, but i also want as many local coms channels as i can get. God forbid i needed to talk to air or someone else i can always switch over to some of the NIFOG channels and get them on there, but only after they are already in route... This will be my primary means of communication in case of an emergency. Motorola is so much faster than sending a runner 3 miles to a phone.
You need to take a Satellite phone, or a PLB if cellular coverage is questionable.

Unless you are authorized to use Public Safety frequencies in that area, I would steer clear of programming that stuff. A radio programmed with amateur and/or PS frequencies should NOT be your primary means of communication.

If you pop up on PS frequencies, you WILL create confusion, delay emergency response and get your self in legal trouble.

Use a sat phone, and before you go, talk to the dispatch facility in that area, and let them know that you have a sat phone and can NOT access 911.
 

AI7PM

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NIFOG freqs? Talk about the least likely place to establish a contact. Even worse where you are headed.

You've been givien some good counsel here, especially this, >>"You need to take a Satellite phone, or a PLB if cellular coverage is questionable.

Unless you are authorized to use Public Safety frequencies in that area, I would steer clear of programming that stuff. A radio programmed with amateur and/or PS frequencies should NOT be your primary means of communication.

If you pop up on PS frequencies, you WILL create confusion, delay emergency response and get your self in legal trouble.

Use a sat phone, and before you go, talk to the dispatch facility in that area, and let them know that you have a sat phone and can NOT access 911."

Popping up on a PS freq., IF you could find one, may not be as expeditious a route to help as you think.

If you still think it's a good idea, contact law enforcement in the area and get them to permit you onto thier system. Let us know how that conversation goes.
 

19dsniper

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NIFOG freqs? Talk about the least likely place to establish a contact. Even worse where you are headed.

You've been givien some good counsel here, especially this, >>"You need to take a Satellite phone, or a PLB if cellular coverage is questionable.

Unless you are authorized to use Public Safety frequencies in that area, I would steer clear of programming that stuff. A radio programmed with amateur and/or PS frequencies should NOT be your primary means of communication.

If you pop up on PS frequencies, you WILL create confusion, delay emergency response and get your self in legal trouble.

Use a sat phone, and before you go, talk to the dispatch facility in that area, and let them know that you have a sat phone and can NOT access 911."

Popping up on a PS freq., IF you could find one, may not be as expeditious a route to help as you think.

If you still think it's a good idea, contact law enforcement in the area and get them to permit you onto thier system. Let us know how that conversation goes.

Thank you for the information. I appreciate you taking the time to type all that up and share your opinion. I have been a firefighter/paramedic for 9 years and a member of the local/state search and rescue group since i became certified thru the state of Texas in 2009. I know how someone who does not have experience with coordinating search and rescue operations, or with ground to air operations can ABSOLUTELY throw everyone for a loop. You are correct in stating that I am technically not authorized to use that frequencies in that county, kinda. I don't say that to be a smarty pants either. We get called out on a some what regular basis (about once every 1.5 weeks). In those instances we are authorized to use emergency frequencies as necessary to perform our duties (with set guidelines, and preset frequencies). I understand that not everyone is in the same boat and that the statement you made was a generalization and absolutely correct! With the certifications that i hold, if someone was to take notice and want to challenge it that would be completely acceptable and i think in the end, completely justifiable on my part.

I have contacted SPOT and looked at their Gen3. Upon speaking with one of their representatives i found out that whoever owns the device and has the device registered to their name, is the one who is responsible for all bills associated with the rescue. I have seen multiple times where having a care flight/ medivac, Air evac 66 etc, set out to perform a rescue could easily reach 6 figures. They do offer extra insurance that covers the first $100,000 of any needed rescue, but it is a separate monthly fee that is associated with the owner or other authorized user. Each user has to pay a separate monthly fee. Unless i want to register every single person in the troop at $17 and change per month, this won't work. At that point its cheaper to BUY a sat phone.

I think the SPOT or PLB is an excellent idea in theory and would be perfect if it was just myself or my family. However, in this situation i think we will be better served renting a sat phone. Unfortunately the cheapest i have found is still very expensive. But, it will still be worth it. Even if its not used, it will cost us $75 for the first 3 days, and then $15 for every day over that. Right now it will cost us at least $135 for the trip.

I had already decided early on that i was not going to contact the locals and see if they would share their frequencies, as i currently have no justifiable reason to officially request them. But, i may still contact them and see if i could send them my information and see if they would be willing to share based off of circumstances and certifications. I don't expect that to happen, but its possible. We will see.
Thanks again everyone for your help.
 

19dsniper

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NIFOG freqs? Talk about the least likely place to establish a contact. Even worse where you are headed.

You've been givien some good counsel here, especially this, >>"You need to take a Satellite phone, or a PLB if cellular coverage is questionable.

Unless you are authorized to use Public Safety frequencies in that area, I would steer clear of programming that stuff. A radio programmed with amateur and/or PS frequencies should NOT be your primary means of communication.

If you pop up on PS frequencies, you WILL create confusion, delay emergency response and get your self in legal trouble.

Use a sat phone, and before you go, talk to the dispatch facility in that area, and let them know that you have a sat phone and can NOT access 911."

Popping up on a PS freq., IF you could find one, may not be as expeditious a route to help as you think.

If you still think it's a good idea, contact law enforcement in the area and get them to permit you onto thier system. Let us know how that conversation goes.
You will notice that in my first post about the NIFOG channels i stated : "God forbid i needed to talk to air or someone else i can always switch over to some of the NIFOG channels and get them on there, but only after they are already in route."
The last part of the sentence needed to be bold, or underlined or something...it says BUT ONLY AFTER THEY ARE ALREADY IN ROUTE...
We use the NIFOG channels on a fairly regular basis. Hell, we use some of them on a daily basis. On our fire or medical calls, as soon as we are dispatched we use an internal frequency separate from the dispatch frequency until we are on scene. Both of these channels are on repeaters, but dispatch is still conventional and all of our other channels and traffic is digital. Once on scene we normally switch over to VFIRE21. This is a NIFOG channel. I wouldn't use this frequency or any of the other NIFOG frequencies to try and initiate contact, BUT once they are in route and depending on the situation, it is very common to have the radio traffic switch over to NIFOG channels once we are either close to or on scene. For search and rescue operations we always operate on VSAR 16 which is also a NIFOG channel. We do have other internal channels that we use and will sometimes use them in conjunction VSAR 16. We traditionally try to run a mobil repeater if it makes on scene in time to be utilized. But at least in our area, at least a few of the NIFOG channels are used on a very regular basis.
 

mm

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I second a PLB from acr/artex or a Garmin-inreach

https://www.acrartex.com/products/

https://www.thegpsstore.com/ACR-288...n-P2719.aspx?gclid=CInpiYiRw9QCFQyAfgod_pIDMQ

The GPS store, REI and WEST Marine have good prices, less than 300 dollars and a quick SAR response time anywhere in the continental US



Additionally, the Garmin-inreach models are more expensive but they have more features

https://www.rei.com/product/119863/garmin-inreach-explorer-satellite-communicator

https://www.rei.com/product/119864/garmin-inreach-se-2-way-satellite-communicator
 

iamhere300

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My head hurts now.

First off, there is no such thing as NIFOG channels. The NIFOG is a booklet, a "guide" hence the last letter of NIFOG. It has many frequencies in it, some of which are national interoperability channels. It also has other frequencies in it also.

Secondly, No matter how long you were or are a firefighter paramedic, or a SAR person, if you just show up on someone's public safety channel, you are going to have a bad day. If you really feel you have a valid reason, talk to the EMA coordinator or Sheriff there. I can tell you that the EMA coordinator is a great guy, and will help in any way he can. Don't go to the county EMA director, as that is the county judge, and they have little clue about things like this in most cases. Go to the EMA coordinator.
 

iamhere300

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The ranch used to have a UHF repeater system, have you asked just to use it? The license shows expired, but dollars to donuts they are still using it.

Not as exciting as using the local SO I am sure...... Which may have gone on the interop trunking system out there now.
 

19dsniper

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IAMHERE300

Thanks for the information. Sorry I'm just getting back to this. We just got back from there on sunday. All went well. I was even able to help them work on one of their radios and get it squared away and fix an antenna issue for them. I did get a local list of frequencies. There are 3 simplex channels, 2 repeaters, and then there are an additional 3 Links. As it turns out, they also gave me a list of their repeater lists and they are still using the expired channels that they had listed before, and a few others. I believe that they should do the right thing and get them renewed, but at the same time, I'm very happy to see that they have a good coms network for the ranch itself regardless.
 

n3obl

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So you say your a firefighter /paramedic and want transmit freqs. Im sure you be concerned if someone came on your channels while you were working. I work in public safety and only have my local ch programmed as transmit and neighboring counties. Anything further out would be suspicious.
 

19dsniper

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So you say your a firefighter /paramedic and want transmit freqs. Im sure you be concerned if someone came on your channels while you were working. I work in public safety and only have my local ch programmed as transmit and neighboring counties. Anything further out would be suspicious.
I see your concern and understand your position. As i stated before, these were only to be used in time of an actual life or death emergency. In these rare instances, as long as you have no other means of communications with emergency personnel, it is completely legal for an individual to use them to preserve life. That is per the FCC. I wish i knew exactly where to find it and i may use some googlefu later and add a link if its needed. {FCC rule 97.111(a)(3), FCC rule 97.405(a)}

I was not looking for these frequencies so that i could get on there and play, or screw around, but as an emergency means of communication.

As far as my concern if someone was to transmit on our frequencies, if it was a life or death situation and they have no other means of communication with us, i actually welcome it! I would much rather have a direct line of 2 way communication with someone in that situation, than no communication at all. ESPECIALLY if they are trained rescue personnel. Do i think that everyone in the world should be walking around with the frequencies already programmed and have the ability to Tx., No, i don't, because i don't believe that most people would be mature enough to not mess around on the frequencies even if it was just to chunk the repeater and make sure it was within range. But then again, most people are not trained Public Safety/SAR/FF/EMS. I would have no problem if you were in my area, with no other means of communication and needed to contact us to preserve life. What would be the difference in the call? Other than not recognizing your call sign/badge number. We get badge numbers all the time on our local frequencies that we may not recognize. Wether its a State Trooper that is passing thru the area, USMS that may be conducting operations locally, etc. Everything else is the same. There is a call that goes out to dispatch with the badge number, requesting assistance at XYZ address, nature of emergency, equipment needed. etc. Im not trying to be rude or argumentative with you, just stating that in our area, there really is no difference other than an unrecognized badge number. Even then, when a situation like that occurs, dispatch goes ahead and dispatches the call and then clarifies what agency that individual is from. Verification takes a matter of seconds. I think the longest has taken just a few short minutes but in those minutes, the requested assets were still rolling in the right direction.

But in a life or death situation, i would much rather have someone on our frequency that is trained and knows what they are doing. That way we always have an open line of communication with someone that is trained and already on scene.
 
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SCPD

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While you may not have a issue of someone jumping on locally how does the system administrator, brass levels of these systems feel about it and or the manager of this system.

Instead of asking people here why not find out who manages, administrations said systems and have them give the answer, and if so program (most likley not going to happen) or rent a radio after signing mountians of paper work which i doubt they would. Why go off data that may be inaccurate or shows conventional but is part of a multi voted system. Seen many listings here showing conventional but are actually part of a multi site voting system, some of various flavors of voting which could be a state level crime in many places. A CYA type of thing.

The system dispatch or units could see a unknown user as a prank or false call and may not have the resources to just check in the middle of nowhere. They could also just stun or try to kill the unknown unit keying in. Legally they'd be safe to do so. If your wanting that extra comfort of mind talk with the local admin, manager, and entities brass who own and run these systems. In many places you will be told no, acquire sat phones or other means. Not every place is friendly about unauthorized users.

While the fcc won't pursue anything it doesn't guarantee a local or state system administrator or manager won't attempt to pursue computer crime charges. While some would brush it off, I can say for fact a few voted systems (appearing conventional here) and trunking system admins who come here would not take it well if someone keyed in.

Not trying to jump on a bandwagon of arguing or going against what your saying but when in doubt seek out the proper persons. If it is indeed a boyscouts event, talking directly with these system admins, managers could land you in a spot where they would run you through a process and assign a cache radio with a dedicated channel to use that does get monitored but is off a primary. I have seen this done before and the cache unit gets turned back in.
 
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