L.A. CalTrans

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DPD1

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When they had the slides in ANF, I was looking for CalTrans freqs that had activity, but didn't find any. Since then, I've put in all the listed repeaters... In a couple weeks, all I've heard is one short exchange about graffiti on one of those. Other than that, nothing. So I guess everything is on the trunked system? Seems like there would be at least some stuff on the repeaters... Especially the mountain stuff.
 

DPD1

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Really... Well that's a drag. Guess I'll try the trunked.
 

brandon

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wolter

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I have also logged Caltrans on some of the VHF Dot channels normally for flagging and road work ops. In the Ortega Hwy I pick them up on 151.835 simplex, so it might be worth checking in the LA area too.
Strange that a State agency would bother with this. Are you sure it is Caltrans and not a contractor?
 

brandon

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I suppose it could of been, although they had some vehicles up there. I was stuck in traffic so fired up close call and picked it up :)
 

wolter

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Engineers/techs are required to be on site to supervise contractors, and they have vehicles with Caltrans markings. Maybe these are what you saw. Or maybe Caltrans crews were working in conjunction with contractors who were supplying traffic control.

I asked because in all of the Districts that I have worked, Caltrans never used business band radios. Their policy requires their vehicles to be in radio contact with their flaggers, which would mean that every vehicle involved in the operation must also have a handheld business radio in addition to the vehicle radio. Not very practical. Instead, the handhelds used by State-employed Caltrans flaggers operate on Caltrans-licensed frequencies.

But flaggers and other operations of contractors are a different story. They are free to do what they want.
 
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DPD1

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That figures... The single one I was missing was the Lukens one, and I instantly heard stuff on that. Still, I'm in range of others. I should hear more than that.
 

wolter

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Wayne, yes they do. In maintenance, they are assigned to Lead Workers and higher. In construction, typically technicians, engineers, and surveyors have them.

Talking on the radio is generally viewed as taboo. Often fellow crew members and members of other crews poke fun at those who use the radio. I never understood it; I guess its a macho thing. They would either use their personall cell phones or not talk at all. The only traffic you will normally hear are flagging operations, reports of debris removal, and the installation/removal of closures. Protocol requires the reporting of these, but it isn't strictly followed. I would go all day without hearing a peep from anyone on the radio.
 

LZJSR

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CalTrans and FRS radios

I have had many "Close Call" hits on my scanner on FRS channels from flagmen at CalTrans worksites, and other projects. Maybe some of the smarter employees think it is counterproductive to walk all the way across a worksite to ask a question, and it is more effective to just radio their co-worker. I have also had close call hits on the 800 mhz conventional when passing worksites that involve alternating traffic on two lane roads due to road construction.

In LA, they are quite active on the 800mhz conventional, asking for CHP to run traffic breaks for them, and to report or respond to dispatches for road hazards, spills, etc...
 

wolter

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There isn't much to ask. The senior workers will already know how to handle the job; it isn't rocket science. Newbies will have someone with them. And they already had a tailgate meeting to discuss how to perform the job - Caltrans protocol requires it. So, there is little need for radio traffic. Otherwise, they tend to use their personal or State-owned cell phones for reasons I already stated.

People often mistake contractors for Caltrans employees. I am almost 100% certain FRS activity will not be Caltrans. I wasn't there, so I cannot say it with full certainty. They do not need FRS radios, because the State provides licensed ones. The State will not provide FRS, and who wants to spend their own money on something that will likely be broken or lost?

If you heard it in a construction area, as you said, I am sure it wasn't Caltrans. Maintenance - yes; construction - no.
 

SCPD

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In snow country during snowstorms, especially on night shift, Caltrans snow plow operators chat quite a bit. The long hours and mundane nature of the work results in lots of conversation. Sometimes the scary nature of being out in whiteouts in heavy snow all alone results in operators calming each other. It is also important for everyone to keep track of conditions and how fast snow is accumulating with shifting of trucks from one section or highway to another. Then there is traffic when chain/tire restriction signs are changed.

All of this is good for the scanner listener, especially if you are out on the road listening. The chatter contains the best information about road conditions that can be found.
 

DPD1

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So is that normally simplex or repeated smoke? Still next to nothing here. I've only heard two exchanges and I have all the repeaters in. Seems hard to believe they talk that little, but I guess it must be.
 

wolter

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From what I recall, District 7 maintenance crews often work nights due to lighter traffic. Have you monitored throughout the night?
 

SCPD

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So is that normally simplex or repeated smoke? Still next to nothing here. I've only heard two exchanges and I have all the repeaters in. Seems hard to believe they talk that little, but I guess it must be.
Mostly repeater traffic, but if two trucks are working within a mile or so they might use simplex. I've heard a lot of chatter late night/early morning on the Johnstone and Lukens repeaters when it is snowing on the Angeles Crest Highway. I also hear lots of traffic on Hauser and Los Pinetos when there are accidents and backups on the 14 and 5 in the northern portion of D7.

For some reason I've not been able to receive the trunked system in the L.A. Basin while I'm in west L.A. during the last several 1-2 trips per year to that area. I guess I will have to take down the discone next time. In the past much of the traffic on it has been from D12 and the metro area of D8.

When you say "slides in ANF" what are you referring to? The only slides you will hear on Caltrans frequencies would be those on the Angeles Crest Highway (SR 2). Sometimes people are called to come in if it is after hours or respond from a maintenance station to the scene with equipment. When they are working side by side with loaders and trucks the traffic would definitely be simplex, but would be minimal. There is not a lot of chatter when everyone can see each other, plus loaders require a lot of work with the hands so they don't often pick up a mike, preferring hand signals if possible. Once they get started there is not a lot to say with trucks backing up in the same spots so the loaders can dump.

Slides on the Angeles Forest Highway or Big Tujunga road are the jurisdiction of L.A. County so Caltrans radio traffic is not involved on those roads.

Does anyone know how Caltrans is working the Angeles Crest with the Chilao maintenance station gone? I would imagine that the 2 is closed for the winter near Islip Saddle so access to slides on the uphill side is not available. Rebuilding this station is not going to happen for some time.
 

SCPD

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I see via Google that the equipment and maintenance buildings escaped and 3 of the 4 residences were burned at Chilao. 80 year old homes according to a L.A. Times article. I also saw a post on the Wrightwood forum that modular homes have been brought in for those who were affected.
 

DPD1

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Yeah, the slides were on Crest. I've had them all on day and night. Barely heard anything. I'm not in a bad spot or anything. I don't know.
 

wolter

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When we have a closure on a two-lane highway, flaggers will usually be in communication with radios. Trucks will often announce their arrival or be waved around stopped traffic with it. At times, we use simplex or a channel of a repeater that is out of range.

Next time a slide happens, go up there. You need to be close to hear it, but you'll hear something. Unless, of course, the whole highway is closed.
 
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