New Pegasus procedure?

Status
Not open for further replies.

gcgrotz

Member
Joined
Feb 21, 2006
Messages
2,093
Location
Charlottesville
Heard Pegasus inbound with a patient, called Medcomm on the usual Med-9 with the report for 3rd year E.D. doc and they were switched to Med-4 to actually do the report. So far I've only heard that the one time but I will try to keep monitoring. They had always just stayed on Med-9 in the past.
 

QDP2012

Member
Joined
Feb 8, 2012
Messages
1,929
Heard Pegasus inbound with a patient, called Medcomm on the usual Med-9 with the report for 3rd year E.D. doc and they were switched to Med-4 to actually do the report. So far I've only heard that the one time but I will try to keep monitoring. They had always just stayed on Med-9 in the past.
I've heard them do this once-in-a-while since the 1990's. Back in the early 90's, someone told me that MedCom does this to avoid interference when another air-unit flies to Richmond or Culpeper but is still close enough to Charlottesville that MedCom can hear the other aircraft's radio-traffic through the MedCom tower. I don't know how technically accurate that explanation was then or is now with today's radios. The person didn't explain whether this occurs at certain expected propagation-overlap points or whether it is atmospheric-condition related, etc. They did mention that even though CTCSS/PL tones are used, that MedCom regularly listens without PL to ensure a fully-clear frequency.

Hope this helps,
 

gcgrotz

Member
Joined
Feb 21, 2006
Messages
2,093
Location
Charlottesville
I'll keep trying to listen and see if it is regular. I know Augusta Co uses Med-9 for rescue vehicles and switches them to (usually) Med-4 or 5 to talk to the hospital. They return and advise the dispatcher when they finish. I always wondered why they used 9 and not 10, I have heard Med-10 used on Massanutten from time to time. The Wintergreen Med-9 base comes in very well here. Also, you can just imagine what Pegasus hears when they are at altitude!
 

QDP2012

Member
Joined
Feb 8, 2012
Messages
1,929
I always wondered why they used 9 and not 10...
I think it is strictly a propagation issue and how the coverage areas overlap with other hospital's transmit sites...i.e. Roanoke vs Harrisonburg vs UVA vs Richmond, etc.

Also, you can just imagine what Pegasus hears when they are at altitude!
Yeah, I'm sure it can be ovewhelming. Back in the late 1980s/early 1990s it could be prohibitive. Before 800 systems were available, like CECC's, the Med Channels were the only alternate to the VHF HEAR system, and then only for UVA. MJH did not have UHF. Per protocol at that time, only EMT-CTs or EMT-Ps were to use the Med Channels to contact UVA, and then only on a medic-level call.

Many agencies could not afford the expensive UHF radios. CARS had them only in their medic units and zone cars, but each one had mobile-repeater capability. Back then, CARS would provide a medic in a zone car as a mutual aid response to surrounding counties. Once onboard the other ambulance, the CARS medic would rely on the UHF radio for voice and telemetry. This meant that the zone car had to trail the ambulance closely so that the UHF portable used by the medic could repeat through the zone car's UHF mobile and from there to MedCom.

Whether local or mutual aid response, the medic would contact MedCom on either Med 9 or Med 10, (whichever one was not Pegasus' primary call channel) and request a Med Channel assignment for the incident. This was usually Med 4 or 7. I recall Med 2 in the mix also. CARS UHF radios had Med Channels 1 through 10.

Back in those days, there were channel congestion problems between Med 9 and Med 10. Sometimes Med 9, which was then used as Pegasus-primary, would be "down" due to sun cycle, or conflicts with units in Richmond, or some other reason.. When this happened, Med 10 got used for both helicopter and ground ops. No one was happy with that because of congestion. Ground units often could not directly hear Pegasus talking to MedCom and would unintentionally interrupt the conversation. Radio discipline became mandatory and ocassionally was verbally enforced. :D

As cell phones became more transportable and more affordable, phone patches were placed in the ambulances for telemetry-only.

I don't know if any of the area's ground-units are still equipped for UHF Med Channels. I am guessing they still have VHF HEAR option as a back-up or in case they must go out-of-district. But, having a dedicated talkgroup on the 800-system for each hospital has really cleaned up and cleared up the patient-reporting radio congestion.

Even though radio equipment has improved in the last 20-25 years, I am guessing that propagation-overlaps, "sun-cycles", and "Richmond radios" still interfere with MedCom's UHF system.

I'll stop rambling now. :)
 

gcgrotz

Member
Joined
Feb 21, 2006
Messages
2,093
Location
Charlottesville
Thanks for the ramble. I heard them do it again Friday, returning from a scene on I64 in Louisa. They were only 5-7 minutes out from UVA, switched to Med4 for the report. It makes sense if they are trying not to be a source of interference to Augusta operations on Med9. I guess I have to add them to my scanners.

Back in the 80's there was a network of repeaters in each county on (I think) 155.955 that the hospital could control through a remote base. All the squads in the area had that channel with individual PL tones that could be used to talk to the hospital.
 

QDP2012

Member
Joined
Feb 8, 2012
Messages
1,929
Thanks for the ramble. I heard them do it again Friday, returning from a scene on I64 in Louisa. They were only 5-7 minutes out from UVA, switched to Med4 for the report. It makes sense if they are trying not to be a source of interference to Augusta operations on Med9. I guess I have to add them to my scanners.
You're welcome. That reminds me I should check to make sure I have all the Med Channels active in my scanners also.

Back in the 80's there was a network of repeaters in each county on (I think) 155.955 that the hospital could control through a remote base. All the squads in the area had that channel with individual PL tones that could be used to talk to the hospital.
The JCFRA site has some current info about the VHF HEAR system:

Back in the 1980s -1990s:

  • 155.340 - EMS 1: primary HEAR channel for UVA and only channel for MJH.
  • 155.400 - EMS 1a - almost never used
    • Always by request-only, and then granted only in unusual circumstances.
    • Not all local field-units had this channel.
    • As I recall, MJH did not have this channel.
  • 155.955 - EMS 2 - used by surrounding counties
    • was used like an early-warning, early-contact, or medical-tactical channel by units on-scene with a major or prolonged incident, or those way-out-in-the-sticks, so they could talk to medical command without clogging EMS 1.
    • Apparently coverage area was larger than with EMS 1, or would give a distant unit a better chance to be heard instead of getting drowned-out by a stronger unit closer to the EMS 1 tower.
    • Often these units would change to EMS 1 during transport.
    • Albemarle units almost never used this channel.
  • 155.205 - EMS 3 - was dual-purpose in this region.
    • As I'm sure you remember, Scottsville VRS used it as its main/only channel, with PL.
    • After CECC absorbed all RS dispatch, its EMD console had the option of enabling/disabling the PL/CTCSS on the SVRS tower. This allowed CECC to listen to "Statewide Disaster" EMS 3 (No PL). This was called "Tac 5"
The CECC VHF line-up was:
  • 155.835 - Rescue Main (with offset repeater input and PL)
  • 155.835 - Rescue Tac 1 (simplex with PL)
  • 155.220 - Rescue Tac 2 (simplex with PL)
  • 155.205 - Rescue Tac 3 (simplex with PL)
  • 155.955 - Rescue Tac 4 (simplex without PL)
  • 155.205 - Rescue Tac 5 (simplex without PL)

    At the time, CECC did not have console capability to use (Tx or Rx) Tac 4, though they did have a mobile-scanner mounted under the EMD console desk and an antenna on-top of city-hall/CPD, for monitoring surrounding counties (and Tac 4).

    When Tac 4 was used by field units, they often forgot that UVA MedCom and Greene FD/RS could hear them depending on their location. Some "interesting" conversations would heard by certain "officials", not just scannerland. :D

Obviously much has changed for CECC's channel line-up since its 800 system was installed.

Back "in the day", the UHF Med Channels were much more tightly controlled by MedCom than the VHF HEAR channels, and maybe still are. It wouldn't surprise me if MJH still doesn't have access to them. Of course, you almost never hear Pegasus contact UVA on VHF.
 
Last edited:

QDP2012

Member
Joined
Feb 8, 2012
Messages
1,929
Thanks for the ramble. I heard them do it again Friday, returning from a scene on I64 in Louisa. They were only 5-7 minutes out from UVA, switched to Med4 for the report. It makes sense if they are trying not to be a source of interference to Augusta operations on Med9...
Another factor might be multiple helicopters approaching UVA at the same time. A few months ago, they had three helicopters in-bound at night. The waiting helicopter(s) had to fly circles around the city while the nearest one landed, unloaded, and cleared the helipad. MedCom might be assigning separate Med Channels to each helicopter, to keep Med 9 clear as a calling channel for the next helicopter. I have not confirmed this, yet though.
 

gcgrotz

Member
Joined
Feb 21, 2006
Messages
2,093
Location
Charlottesville
Yeah, they can only land one at a time on the roof. I was told they used to go get coffee or lunch and now they just unload and go.
 

QDP2012

Member
Joined
Feb 8, 2012
Messages
1,929
Yeah, they can only land one at a time on the roof. I was told they used to go get coffee or lunch and now they just unload and go.
I'm sure it was easier on the flight-crew when the helipad was on the ground, where they could "unofficially" move the bird into the grass, clearing the pad for the next one, (which they apparently have been doing since the 1980's even before all of the current competitor helicopters existed). I don't know what their future plans are, but it seems like UVA needs at least two helipads.

With the state and federal dignitaries that frequent this town via the airport, it could get politically-interesting if one of them had to fly to UVA ER, and got told to go into a holding pattern because the one roof-top pad was occupied.

I might be wrong, but I think MJH included a helipad option (for future development) in their design of the Pantops hospital. If they started taking helicopters there, that would get really interesting.
 

gcgrotz

Member
Joined
Feb 21, 2006
Messages
2,093
Location
Charlottesville
The plans for the ED at UVA are not secret. The existing ED is way overcrowded. The only place to expand (and retain their level 1 trauma center status) it was to remove the helipad and put it on the roof. You will soon be seeing construction there.

As for VIP arrivals, I saw that exact thing on at least one occasion a few years ago when the VSP helo landed and discharged some guys in suits. I also saw an arrival of Military helos on the athletic field at "The Park", actually a very good, secure place. I believe it was in the paper at the time, Secretary of the Navy I wanna say.

Anyway, thanks and keep up your good work.
 

QDP2012

Member
Joined
Feb 8, 2012
Messages
1,929
The plans for the ED at UVA are not secret. The existing ED is way overcrowded. The only place to expand (and retain their level 1 trauma center status) it was to remove the helipad and put it on the roof. You will soon be seeing construction there.

As for VIP arrivals, I saw that exact thing on at least one occasion a few years ago when the VSP helo landed and discharged some guys in suits. I also saw an arrival of Military helos on the athletic field at "The Park", actually a very good, secure place. I believe it was in the paper at the time, Secretary of the Navy I wanna say.

Anyway, thanks and keep up your good work.
You're welcome and it always takes a team. I'm glad the ED will be growing physically, maybe it will add local jobs, too.. In the 80s/90s the ER was "maxed-out". That's interesting about the the suits in the VSP chopper. That's one helicopter that can set-down pretty-much wherever it wants.

The helo at The Park was for an Admiral who landed in celebration of the JAG school anniversary which I think involved certain special recognitions that year. It was the LZ closest to the JAG school. I wasn't there to see it, but I understand it was a full-size helo like a BlackHawk, not one of the itty-bitty-small ones. It would've been nice to shoot some pictures. You don't see things like that happen everyday around town. :)
 

StephenVa

Member
Premium Subscriber
Joined
Dec 8, 2011
Messages
204
Location
Virginia
Did this again just now. MEDCOM announced no incoming traffic then told heli to switch to MED 4 for a 3 rd year.
 

Prichman

Member
Joined
Dec 30, 2009
Messages
1
We tell them to switch to Local Med 4 typically to keep Med 9 open for other inbound air traffic. It does not always happen so if your interested keep them both programmed
 

gcgrotz

Member
Joined
Feb 21, 2006
Messages
2,093
Location
Charlottesville
Thanks, I kinda figured that and also Augusta interference was the reason.

And welcome to RR and especially our Central VA sub-group.
 
Status
Not open for further replies.
Top