...If anyone knows, what kind of radio range were the public safety users/dispatchers getting on this frequency? Was it essentially tower to tower simplex? Would it be possible to hear traffic from several counties away since these were all base transmissions? Must have been fun listening years ago during incidents, as well as a beacon for VHF band openings (tropo-ducting).
Also, I saw a reference once to severe weather bulletins being broadcast on 155.370 in some states. Was this ever done in Minnesota or was that up to local county sheriff radio channels? I've never heard anything on 155.370 after years of having it programmed in my various radios/scanners. Thanks in advance for any historical insight on use of the frequency.
Point is still used in Wisconsin. Phones, Teletype, and WISCOM has replaced some of its usage. Point in the summer is fun, I can hear Iowa and Illinois agencies. I prefer WISCOM as there is no interference.
Thank you to everyone for providing historical insight on 55.370 MHz usage. Very interesting stuff, as well as the comment about the Minneapolis to Des Moines band opening and the MINSEF patch during high speed pursuits. I recall hearing activity on MINSEF only once back in the pre-ARMER days in Pine County.
According to the FCC, 155.76 is still licensed for Olmstead County. The license specifies up to 350 watts and antenna height of 114 meters! If that repeater is still operational it probably could cover much of the entire region beyond just Rochester proper. Was this repeater created for non-ham spotters and/or law enforcement? Or was it the case any trained spotter from the (La Crosse) County Warning Area was authorized to use the machine during severe weather events? If so, how did the County/NWS identify users or keep unauthorized people off the frequency? Was it to avoid weak signal reports that seem to occur on local Skywarn nets at times, hence a special public safety storm spotting repeater?
It sounds like unless there is an active incident somewhere such as a wildfire or if you're in NW Minnesota, 155.37 is mostly silent. Has anyone heard activity on 159.300 recently - DNR Air to Ground 2 and, in a past life, Conservation Officer simplex?
Interesting that Iowa and Illinois still use the Point frequency. Not surprised about Iowa since their state patrol is still on VHF (about to change I guess), but figured Illinois with their StarCom21 700/800 system would have left it years ago. Are you located in southern Wisconsin where you can hear traffic from these 2 states on 155.37? Any severe weather bulletins relayed on Point in either state? Hearing Illinois in Minnesota would be quite the haul for VHF high band.
I am in Northern Wisconsin. I remember hearing some sort of pursuit in the Chicago metro area on Point and I have also heard Hamilton County Iowa on it too. The agency I worked for at the time had Point with no PL Tone so I heard quite a bit of activity in the summers.
That is interesting that you bring that up. I remember back in those days however I don't recall it being on point to point, it was on 155.340 and the ambulance had to dial up the hospital they wished to open up the channel to talk to. It sounded like a series of beeps.The 155.370 frequency has been around for decades. It was/is a nationwide point to point frequency where one dispatch center can contact another dispatch center, limited by how far a signal will go.
There were models of point to point radios that had rotary dialers, similar to the old telephones. Agencies would have their own numbers that could be dialed up as needed. A lot of "good stuff" was heard back in the day.
If you are able to hear it, the use is very similar to METCOM in the cities.
That is interesting that you bring that up. I remember back in those days however I don't recall it being on point to point, it was on 155.340 and the ambulance had to dial up the hospital they wished to open up the channel to talk to. It sounded like a series of beeps.
155.76 was NWS coordination for all of SE MN when I came up in ham radio in the Rochester area in the 1990s. Olmsted County EOC coordinated an alphanumeric paging system (Westgate paging at the time, later I think it changed to Arch) to send out texts indicating upcoming weather and activations if necessary. Skywarn ham volunteers were responsible for the cost of the pager (Motorola Advisor model 1 at the time) but the County picked up the monthly service costs. I don't believe those alpha pages were sent on 155.76 though, if memory serves the sticker on the back listed a different frequency probably owned by the paging company.
Some public safety spotters called direct on that repeater but most reports went into the County dispatch who then radioed Lacrosse on the 155.76. The public safety 155.76 operator was usually in the same room in the EOC as Skywarn net control, so ham reports were relayed to NWS on 155.76 as well. As far as I know, those procedures remain mostly unchanged today, except the talkpath is now a ARMER talkgroup. You may find it listed in the SE section of the database.
That repeater had some great range, covering on high ground into the south metro. I believe the 147.255 ham repeater used for Skywarn in SE MN is on the same tower but a lower elevation. I am not sure if 155.76 has any use anymore now that everyone in SE is on ARMER.