Should USFS and BLM channels be listed differently in RRDB

zerg901

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Should the federal wildfire channels be listed differently in the Radio Reference Database?

1. In recent years, many new combined (USFS + BLM) dispatch centers have opened.

2. Many of the combined dispatch centers are doing 'all-risk' dispatch (wildfire and law enforcement)

3. The RRDB seems to have many channels grouped by Natl Forest or by BLM District.

4. Some channels are grouped by dispatch center.

PaysonScanner - maybe you can tackle this question. Dont most National Forests and BLM Districts have dump trucks, graders, and other heavy equipment that is used to maintain roadways? What radio channels do they use? Which dispatchers do they talk to? Dispatchers at all risk dispatch centers, or district offices, or field offices, or Superintendants Offices?

The answer might have a bearing on the way the info is presented in the RRDB. If the mtnce/engineering vehicles are typically talking to the local USFS ranger district office or the BLM Field Office - and they are using the Admin Nets - then you could make the argument that the RRDB should present the admin channels grouped by district office/field office - and the fire channels grouped by all risk dispatch center.
 

Paysonscanner

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Should the federal wildfire channels be listed differently in the Radio Reference Database?

1. In recent years, many new combined (USFS + BLM) dispatch centers have opened.

2. Many of the combined dispatch centers are doing 'all-risk' dispatch (wildfire and law enforcement)

3. The RRDB seems to have many channels grouped by Natl Forest or by BLM District.

4. Some channels are grouped by dispatch center.

PaysonScanner - maybe you can tackle this question. Dont most National Forests and BLM Districts have dump trucks, graders, and other heavy equipment that is used to maintain roadways? What radio channels do they use? Which dispatchers do they talk to? Dispatchers at all risk dispatch centers, or district offices, or field offices, or Superintendants Offices?

The answer might have a bearing on the way the info is presented in the RRDB. If the mtnce/engineering vehicles are typically talking to the local USFS ranger district office or the BLM Field Office - and they are using the Admin Nets - then you could make the argument that the RRDB should present the admin channels grouped by district office/field office - and the fire channels grouped by all risk dispatch center.
The use of admin, forest and fire nets varies by the location. The BLM doesn't have fire nets, unless there is one I've forgotten. All their traffic is on the District or Field Office Net, including resource managers (range, timber, wildlife, archaeology, etc.) , the engineering staff (road and facility construction and maintenance included), fire and in most cases law enforcement. On this last function California and Arizona have separate LE nets (AZ just on the Phoenix and Colorado River Districts). In some cases the entire District has one net for all Field Offices and in some cases one or more Field Offices in a District have their own net.

The main problem both Daddy and I have is that in some states the RR database administrators don't want to list BLM Districts. They ignore that level as even existing. So they show a large number of Field Offices, each with a separate listing. When a BLM District has one net then they redundantly list each field office. The BLM is a 4 tier organization, Washington or National Office (supposedly moving to Colorado) is at the top, then there are 12 State Offices (some of these cover more than one state where the amount of BLM public land is small), then each State Office has several District Offices and finally there is the Field Office. A handful of Field Offices have Field Stations, due to some of the land being located far away from the Field Offices. Often times, depending on location and quantity of land, interagency dispatch centers cover an entire district. The USFS and BLM try to work out that entire National Forests and BLM Districts will have a single common dispatch center. This is 100% true in Nevada. The USFS is a 4 tier organization as well. They are Washington Office (the USFS Chief's Office), Regional Offices (Regional Foresters are the line officers), National Forests (Forest Supervisor's Offices) - with sometimes more than one National Forest under one Forest Supervisor and finally the District Office level with a District Ranger the lowest level of line officer. Using the logic of some of the western state database administrators the listings would just skip the National Forest tier, we would just list each Ranger District in the state. Similar to the BLM some Forests have one net, the Forest Net, and some have other nets for functions, admin, fire and service (common in California). So just like the BLM logic of administrators these could all be listed redundantly when skipping the Forest Supervisor's level.

I think that BLM should be shown under the Department of the Interior as a major heading. Some states have the cabinet level departments listed like that and others just alphabetize the name of each agency. So with department level groupings, the NPS, BLM, USFWS, BIA and Bureau of Reclamation would be under one heading. The U.S. Forest Service would be under another heading, the Department of Agriculture. The FBI, ATF, Customs and Border Patrol under the Department of Homeland Security. I would not list all the agencies in an Interagency Dispatch Center under a separate heading. This is confusing. An example, if I want to visit Grand Canyon National Park, I want to look first for the Department of the Interior, then under the name of the park. At the same time I would likely want to listen to the Kaibab National Forest, so I would look under the Dept. of Agriculture than scroll to the Kaibab NF. How the heck would I know that for the fire and aviation function, that both Grand Canyon NP and the Kaibab NF are dispatched by Williams, not Flagstaff and not Prescott? However, there are frequencies, such as air to ground, air to air tactics, sometimes ground tacticals, National Flight Following and National Air Guard, that are assigned on a dispatch or comm center basis so there needs to be a separate heading for all of these centers as well. Each center should have a short narrative explaining the cooperating agencies of that center.

It could be argued that people don't know the federal cabinet level departments well or even care. So I can see listing the National Park Service under a heading, the BLM under a heading and the U.S. Forest Service under a heading, etc. For good communication It is how people understand things that matters, not what cabinet secretary the agency answers to. Some people don't know the federal, state, county, city and special district levels of government very well, but listening to agencies on the radio requires some knowledge of middle school civics, so we can't eliminate all confusion.

One thing that should not occur is to have federal and state agencies buried down in state/county pages. It doesn't matter if a VA hospital uses a frequency and 6 counties over another VA facility uses a different frequency. This is especially true in Midwest and eastern states, where there are so many different small counties. Take a look at Iowa, every time two paved roads meet it is a county seat of one of 150 or more counties in the state. Late Hubby and I attended some national engineering and health care conferences in those regions and I wanted to listen to hospitals, in particular VA hospitals. I would search for more time than I had trying to find what county each hospital was in. Frustrating!!!

I have some other observations of and suggestions for the database also, but I won't discuss them here.
 

ko6jw_2

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The RR database presently requires a certain amount of cross referencing. As an example, our local county fire department has two tac frequencies that are CalFire tacs. This is mentioned in the department listing, but you have to go to the CalFire listings to get the frequencies and the CTCSS tones. One could design a "relational" database to address this issue, but it would be complicated. Effective use of the RR database requires some basic knowledge of the radio systems that you want to monitor.

With regard to road maintenance etc. surely you jest. In the LPNF road maintenance is typically done during major fires when roads are becoming impassable and then they run a bulldozer through to clear the road. The radio site users on Santa Ynez Peak just privately funded road repairs to the transmitter sites. Forest service was not going to do it. The potholes were like the surface of the Moon and had been for years.
 

Paysonscanner

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Should the federal wildfire channels be listed differently in the Radio Reference Database?

1. In recent years, many new combined (USFS + BLM) dispatch centers have opened.

2. Many of the combined dispatch centers are doing 'all-risk' dispatch (wildfire and law enforcement)

3. The RRDB seems to have many channels grouped by Natl Forest or by BLM District.

4. Some channels are grouped by dispatch center.

PaysonScanner - maybe you can tackle this question. Dont most National Forests and BLM Districts have dump trucks, graders, and other heavy equipment that is used to maintain roadways? What radio channels do they use? Which dispatchers do they talk to? Dispatchers at all risk dispatch centers, or district offices, or field offices, or Superintendants Offices?

The answer might have a bearing on the way the info is presented in the RRDB. If the mtnce/engineering vehicles are typically talking to the local USFS ranger district office or the BLM Field Office - and they are using the Admin Nets - then you could make the argument that the RRDB should present the admin channels grouped by district office/field office - and the fire channels grouped by all risk dispatch center.
Interagency dispatch centers are not a recent trend, in some locations they were established in the 1970's. The incentive for forming them started after the nationwide implementation of ICS in the late 1980's. This reflected the fire service itself, especially for federal wildland fire management agencies lost many of their differences as a result of this implementation. National standards for the kinds and types of fire equipment, training curricula, on the job (trainee) task books and terminology were established. My late Hubby was in the fire service as a volunteer and considered that the fire service was a huge family, no matter what agency and level of government was involved. Some dispatch centers are only interagency at the federal level, some a joint operations between fed, state and local agencies. Some are just co-located, such as many co located fed-Cal Fire centers are in California. In a joint operation every dispatcher provides service for every agency of the fed, state and sometimes local levels.

The 1990's were very active as far as establishing interagency centers. Some parts of the country that don't change as quickly, saw there establishment in the 2000's, most by 2005. From our observations (late Hubby, Daddy and I) they work quite well. Some are all risk, but the federal natural resource agencies tend to forgo all risk, as by law local agencies handle medical, flooding and other natural disasters, except when those more local authorities ask for help. They provide more assistance than most folks know. Example, a NIFC Type I incident management team and fed interagency crews were tasked with recovering debris of the Space Shuttle Columbia, on all lands, not just public lands. In most GACC's the Forest Service and BLM want nothing to do with law enforcement dispatching for their own employees. In California that is not the case. There is a very little known federal law enforcement (USFS, BLM, USFWS, BIA) dispatch center that dispatches for Arizona and New Mexico, mostly via a satellite radio network and service some units up in Montana and Utah as well.

I've gotta run now, care giving duties are calling.
 

Paysonscanner

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The RR database presently requires a certain amount of cross referencing. As an example, our local county fire department has two tac frequencies that are CalFire tacs. This is mentioned in the department listing, but you have to go to the CalFire listings to get the frequencies and the CTCSS tones. One could design a "relational" database to address this issue, but it would be complicated. Effective use of the RR database requires some basic knowledge of the radio systems that you want to monitor.

With regard to road maintenance etc. surely you jest. In the LPNF road maintenance is typically done during major fires when roads are becoming impassable and then they run a bulldozer through to clear the road. The radio site users on Santa Ynez Peak just privately funded road repairs to the transmitter sites. Forest service was not going to do it. The potholes were like the surface of the Moon and had been for years.
The U.S. Forest Service has more road miles under its jurisdiction than any agency in the world. I seem to remember it being above 300,000 miles. When the Forest Service had more money, the Congress funded the agency enough to maintain about 100,000 miles of it. That amount was when the agency was better funded. Now, the funding allows maintenance of well below 100,000 miles. The problem with this is not just for the road users, other resources are being adversely affected. Erosion, loss of vegetation, severe damage to wetlands (primarily meadows in the western U.S.), water quality, fish habitat and wildlife populations have been impacted. The agency has well documented all the increased costs to other resources and the road itself as a result of about 70 years of chronic under funding. Daddy is dictating this to me and as a civil engineer in the USFS for 36 years he knows this issue comprehensively from both a data and boot pounding level. It was one of his greatest frustrations. Various administrations forced the agency to "out fund" the maintenance to private contractors. His view for most contracting was twice the p;rice for half the job.

My parents, my family and I have all seen that the USFS has been cut back so bad that they aren't functioning. The exception is fire management, which we have no choice but to fund it per the National Fire Plan. The old policies, which should have been changed in the 1960's, would cost far more in the long run than what the agency is spending now. Daddy remembers some very good years of funding back in the 1970's and 1980's for all functions, but since the mid 90's everything has been on a downward slide.

Daddy says that this is not jest, it is an issue that he lived with for nearly 4 decades. It in no way a joke or reflection on the people in the agency. He says they have been handcuffed, blinders put on their eyes, earplugs in their ears and are expected to run a metropolitan marathon and rank in the top 5% of finishers. Meanwhile, the have gotten rid of the athletes; one in one year, two five years later and so forth, since the mid 90's. The trend is to consolidate recreation and engineering into one organization on a forest, so the Forest Engineer is now the "Recreation, Engineering and Minerals Officer." Just combine duties, ranger districts and national forests into a larger unit and they can live within the funding received. The Angeles National Forest had 5 ranger districts 10 years ago and now they are forced to have only 2. Dad says if it continues they will just get rid of the ranger districts and run the whole thing out of the Forest Supervisor's Offices, and then reduce the number of them by half.

Before passing judgement on the agency, take a little time to walk in their shoes.

P.S. Some presidential administrations forced the USFS to built roads for about 3-4 decades, with the Congress having the major share of that goal setting. The agency kept telling them, you are adding to the miles we can't maintain when you do this. Just like the fire management problem becoming increasingly worse Congress and many presidents ignored them. Daddy has a lot of experiences with what various administrations did, but then people lose sight of the resources and concentrate on political ideology, which doesn't belong in this area of Radio Reference.
 
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Paysonscanner

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When I saw the title of your post, my first thought was "Black Lives Matter radio frequencies?!"
The Bureau of Land Management was formed in 1949 when the Grazing Service and the General Land Office were combined. They were first in line for the abbreviated title of the "BLM." Now, people not very familiar with natural resource/public land management, have a similar reaction to what you said.
 

zerg901

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I just checked WildCAD for resources in southern California - the vast majority of entrys appear to be fire units - but there is also listed -

Angeles National Forest - 2 special agents + 8 LE (law enforcement) officers + 2 K9 officers + 2 Patrols + 3 Prevention BCs (PVBC)

Cleveland National Forest - 12 patrols

FICC / San Bernardino - El Centro RA Office has 17 entries (1 is mtnce - 1 is heavy equipment operator) - 1 BIA Patrol and 1 BLM Patrol - Palm Springs RA Office has 3 entries (PV3656* + PV3657 + PV3658*) - SCA HQ has PV5404

AFAIK the "Patrols" are pickup type trucks with a small watertank and a crew of 1 or 2 people - I dont know if they are considered to be law enforcement of any type

The Prevention units (PV) are dry units who enforce fire prevention rules - they do not carry any water AFAIK

This does not tell us alot - but it gives a hint as to which radio channels are used by the public works / non fire type units

There are no "law enforcement" units listed for FICC nor Cleveland NF

I am pretty sure that the federal law enforcement people who work for BLM and USFS concentrate on natural resources type crimes. Correct me if I am wrong, but I seem to recall that CHP has primary responsibility for motor vehicle related incidents everywhere in California - even on the National Forests and BLM lands. And the sheriffs have responsibility for criminal matters on unincorporated lands. Which would mean that the federal LEOs would have limited roles.

My basic question still remains. Who is doing the dispatching and radio comms for the USFS and BLM "engineering" units? (Same for law enforcement?)

If some of the engineering units are dispatched by local offices, and some are dispatched by the Forest HQ or District HQ, and some are dispatched by the "all risk interagency center", and some are private contractors - then this will be a bear to document and put in the database. (Same goes for BLM and USFS law enforcement).

Another aspect of this thread can be - how much geographic info is in the RRDB? Is every BLM and USFS repeater site listed in the database with lats and longs? If the answer is 'yes' - then the casual scanner user probably does not care about the agency administrative details. As long as the active channels get scanned, based on zip code, or city, or county; then the typical scanner user will be happy.
 

vlarian

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USFS LE dispatcher here, my forest has three nets, Admin, Fire, and Service. all admin types (range, timber, wildlife, archaeology, fleet, roads, facilities, etc..) use Admin, we also have a few Pacific Southwest Research station employees. all Fire units use Fire net. so where is LE? they use Admin. We have a LE net, it's coverage sucks and the net is actually shared with our neighboring forest to the south. they have significantly more LE traffic then my forest. My neighboring forests all have LE dispatching functions.

so why don't you see the LE units or their incidents on wildweb? there is an option in wildcad to hide these units and their incidents from the public website.
 

Paysonscanner

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I've quoted zerg in bold below:


I am pretty sure that the federal law enforcement people who work for BLM and USFS concentrate on natural resources type crimes. Correct me if I am wrong, but I seem to recall that CHP has primary responsibility for motor vehicle related incidents everywhere in California - even on the National Forests and BLM lands. And the sheriffs have responsibility for criminal matters on unincorporated lands. Which would mean that the federal LEOs would have limited roles.

Nearly every BLM, USFS and NPS law enforcement officers are also deputized state peace officers. It is the county sheriff that deputizing authority in most states. These law enforcement officers work in some remote, low population counties. They become part of the law enforcement community in these counties. They back up county, local and state officers, including state game and fish agencies and state parks and recreation officers. They will form large LE teams when a county, town is overwhelmed with a large event. They commonly enforce state vehicle code, public resources (fire, game and fish, state forestry) and can enforce the full penal code. they leave most of this enforcement to the state and local officers, but will call for those officers and in the interim they secure the scene and may make an arrest or detain individuals until the agency with primary jurisdiction arrives. Now, state and local officers cannot enforce federal law and regulations.

As for traffic accidents on federal maintained roads the agency is exposed to liability for the way the road is built and maintained. In California on national forest lands various employees are given accident investigation training. They might respond to the scene and work with the CHP to investigate the possibility that USFS work is a factor. They also respond to investigate if USFS facilities (fences, cattleguards, gates, bridges, etc.) have been damaged. In that case they need to know how those facilities were damaged and who is responsible. The USFS sent bills to drivers as a result, depending on the circumstances. Money collected goes into a special account and only direct work related costs for repair can be charged to the account. Other USFS regions didn't used to get involved and had fewer claims filed. The legal environment of California results in a heavy workload for both claims and bills for collection being sent to responsible parties. This workload resulted in getting more employees qualified as investigators. THANKS DADDY FOR THIS INFORMATION!!

AFAIK the "Patrols" are pickup type trucks with a small watertank and a crew of 1 or 2 people - I dont know if they are considered to be law enforcement of any type

In most cases in the USFS fire prevention technicians (sometimes given the title of Fire Prevention Officers) are also "Forest Protection Officers."
These are unarmed employees who can enforce federal regulations having to do with nearly everything related to use and occupancy of national forest lands. They are not authorized to make vehicle stops, arrests or work an incident where the subjects are armed or intoxicated. State vehicle code for off highway vehicles is incorporated into federal regulation. State game and fish code is also incorporated into federal regulation. So they can enforce a whole range of state law, such as lack of current OHV state registration stickers, age of operator, lighting, allowing a second passenger on vehicle not equipped for such, etc. USFS and BLM LEO's will enforce the full range of state vehicle and criminal code when they make traffic stops. If a driver has a warrant that calls for arrest they CAN do so. They usually like to call a state/local officer and just hold the subject until those officers arrive. If they can ticket for the warrant they CAN also do so.

No other federal agency has unarmed law enforcement officers. This puts a lot of pressure on BLM LEO's and can be problematic for the NPS in the backcountry areas of a large park. I can see the point, but the USFS relies on these people. Recreation management people used to have a good number of Forest Protection Officers, but the field level of recreation management is nearly non existent in a lot of places.

In some locations, fire prevention technicians might be deputized by the state fire marshal to allow them to enforce the public resource code or similar state laws. The can inspect, when a coop agreement is in place, private lands inside the forest boundary, for vegetation clearance work (defensible space requirements as zoned). Some national forests are paid to provide fire suppression and prevention on private lands inside a national forest boundary. Sometimes the BLM enters into this arrangement when the BLM has stations in a large area where the state has none or don't have local fire departments that can assume this responsibility.

Patrols are usually Type 7 engines and are normally staffed by one person. If fire danger is extreme, sometimes they will be assigned a second person who is firefighter rated. 75 gallon tanks are the usual, but can be 100 or 125 gallons also. 125 gallons and all the gear can get close to the 1500 lb. capacity of a 3/4 ton truck, so they are fewer in number. In some locations the patrol engines are Type 6 and have a 200 gallon tank, the required hose and other gear. The more remote national forests may not be able to afford additional engines, so they have the patrols equipped with a smaller capacity Type 6 engine. They will staff these up when the fire danger is extreme, or if the primary engine at a station is assigned off forest. Can you believe that Daddy knows all this stuff, even though he was a civil engineer? Being sponges for gathering information runs in the family, my late Hubby included.

The Prevention units (PV) are dry units who enforce fire prevention rules - they do not carry any water AFAIK. Correct, however since prevention and patrols are frequently first on scene it is good for them to have a Type 7 engine. Also prevention units frequently put out abandoned and improperly extinguished campfires. They may carry one or several full backpack pumps in the rear of the pickup. For some bonfire sized campfires they have to call either a patrol or an engine. This is inefficient.

My basic question still remains. Who is doing the dispatching and radio comms for the USFS and BLM "engineering" units? (Same for law enforcement?)

All employees are dispatched by the center the BLM District or the National Forest Supervisor Office level in the USFS. For over 25 years the USFS has required check in/out by all employees when they are field bound. It doesn't matter what function they work in, recreation, lands, range, wildlife, soils, engineering, etc. USFS ranger district and BLM Districts/Field Offices do not provide dispatching services. They did 40-50 years ago, but district dispatchers are a thing of the past.

Another aspect of this thread can be - how much geographic info is in the RRDB? Is every BLM and USFS repeater site listed in the database with lats and longs? If the answer is 'yes' - then the casual scanner user probably does not care about the agency administrative details. As long as the active channels get scanned, based on zip code, or city, or county; then the typical scanner user will be happy.

I can't being to tell you what makes the typical scanner listener happy. My late Hubby and now myself have done/doing a lot of research into administrative "details." I've posted threads with geographical information about USFS forest/ranger district boundaries and BLM district/field office boundaries as well. As time allows I'm now gathering information regarding the numerical coding of both agencies units. Both agencies unit identifiers for employees and apparatus are based on this administrative coding. This is Wiki material, but I'm going to post threads with this info. This allows listeners to decipher what they are hearing. When we lived in California, a lot of people in town asked questions about this, so I think more people than we may think, would like to have this info. I've answered quite few PM's where people ask questions about both geographical and unit identifier info. I would say that there is an interest among some RR members.

The Wiki is the place for adding repeater maps for many BLM, NPS, USFS, USFWS and BIA systems. I have quite a few of these. HOWEVER, my daddy and I are allergic to the RR Wiki. The whole thing is pretty convoluted. We would rather spent time researching the information and keep late Hubby's and my Daddy's notebooks up to date. If the computer techie types can use different software for adding and editing the Wiki, I might participate, but not until then.

Repeater information is not in the RR DB, unless each repeater has a unique output tone. Lat and long would take a big effort and is Wiki material. Since I don't visit the Wiki often, I don't know if some pages have lat long info. Late Hubby was researching some of that in California and putting the locations on Google Earth and some DeLorme software. He quit when the software automatically updated and dumped his hard work. I do a little of this when presented with system information that lacks maps. However, this is time consuming to say the least.

I need to take dinner out of the oven at 1830 and be with my parents the rest of the night.
 
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zerg901

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thanks for all the replys and info

just as a quick point of info

here is the California Statewide Page - California Scanner Frequencies and Radio Frequency Reference

If you then go to the Los Angeles page, there is a option to go to a FEDERAL subpage. That subpage just has listings for Corp of Engineers + JPL + ICE + fed interops + Marshalls + couple other small campus type systems. There is no info there for Angeles National Forest, FBI, nor for Coast Guard.

If you stay on the main Los Angeles County page, you can scroll down to OTHER. There you will find a 463 Mhz listing for a firewatch group in Sierra Madre, plus listings for Mtn Receration Authority. Mtn Rec Auth has their own 155.085R and 155.16R channels - plus they are said to also use the State Parks channels.
 

zerg901

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Getting back to the main question of reorganizing the database.

1. The RRDB is primarily divided into states and counties. However the federal agencies often encompass countys, parts of counties, multiple counties, or multiple parts of counties. Firm info about the location of federal transmitter sites can be hard to figure out.

2. If an attempt is made to map the federal agencies to the counties, lets think about what info is available. The last time I looked at the FBI website they did have maps or lists showing the areas covered by the various field offices. For the USFS there was a listing online that describes which National Forests cover lands in which counties. BLM might follow county lines which could simplify matters. DHS, ICE, Customs, Border Patrol - how tough would it be to map them to specific counties? Other federal agencies like Corps of Engineers, Bureau of Indian Affairs, FAA, military etc probably can be somewhat easily pinned to various counties.

3. The toughest federal channels to match to counties might be the UHF military aircraft band and the FAA enroute channels. Maybe the info could be eyeballed on a map. Maybe there is some sort of software that can do the mapping / matching.

4. All of this could be somewhat moot if the RRDB has longs/lats for 90% of the federal channels already. I assume it would be simple to match longs/lats to countys via software. I know that both the FCC website and the US Census website have the capability to match lats/longs to counties on demand. (you can search for Geocoder to see the webpages)

5. Of course if the RRDB has a hard rule to allow just 1 entry per channel - then perhaps all the county matching would have to be documented via sidenotes.
 

Paysonscanner

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thanks for all the replys and info

just as a quick point of info

here is the California Statewide Page - California Scanner Frequencies and Radio Frequency Reference

If you then go to the Los Angeles page, there is a option to go to a FEDERAL subpage. That subpage just has listings for Corp of Engineers + JPL + ICE + fed interops + Marshalls + couple other small campus type systems. There is no info there for Angeles National Forest, FBI, nor for Coast Guard.

If you stay on the main Los Angeles County page, you can scroll down to OTHER. There you will find a 463 Mhz listing for a firewatch group in Sierra Madre, plus listings for Mtn Receration Authority. Mtn Rec Auth has their own 155.085R and 155.16R channels - plus they are said to also use the State Parks channels.
That is another agency, the Corps of Engineers, that should never be buried in the county listings, especially for L.A. County where the listings go on and on, then when you think you've gotten it all, it still goes on. Having the COE in those listings is inefficient. They should have their own page listed under federal just like all the other federal agencies. They are part of the federal land management/natural resources group. They have park rangers at their reservoirs and enforce boating safety. They have interpretive rangers that give presentations. They are similar to the NPS, USFS, BLM and USFWS, so they should be listed in the manner/location those other agencies are.
 

Paysonscanner

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Getting back to the main question of reorganizing the database.

1. The RRDB is primarily divided into states and counties. However the federal agencies often encompass countys, parts of counties, multiple counties, or multiple parts of counties. Firm info about the location of federal transmitter sites can be hard to figure out.

2. If an attempt is made to map the federal agencies to the counties, lets think about what info is available. The last time I looked at the FBI website they did have maps or lists showing the areas covered by the various field offices. For the USFS there was a listing online that describes which National Forests cover lands in which counties. BLM might follow county lines which could simplify matters. DHS, ICE, Customs, Border Patrol - how tough would it be to map them to specific counties? Other federal agencies like Corps of Engineers, Bureau of Indian Affairs, FAA, military etc probably can be somewhat easily pinned to various counties.

3. The toughest federal channels to match to counties might be the UHF military aircraft band and the FAA enroute channels. Maybe the info could be eyeballed on a map. Maybe there is some sort of software that can do the mapping / matching.

4. All of this could be somewhat moot if the RRDB has longs/lats for 90% of the federal channels already. I assume it would be simple to match longs/lats to countys via software. I know that both the FCC website and the US Census website have the capability to match lats/longs to counties on demand. (you can search for Geocoder to see the webpages)

5. Of course if the RRDB has a hard rule to allow just 1 entry per channel - then perhaps all the county matching would have to be documented via sidenotes.
We are unaware of any RR DB information for repeaters that gives a lat and long. If so how have you found it?

We also have a strong opinion that the levels of government should be followed in the structure of the database. It already has this state page by state page. Federal agencies and state agencies are at top of a state page. All federal agencies should be listed in that area. Searching around all the counties is time consuming. We (Daddy, my late Hubby and I) have always put federal agencies in their own scan lists or groups depending on the scanner model. Well, not all, we mostly put the NPS, BLM, USFS, USFWS and BIA on one list or group for the area of the state we are programming the radio for. I just purchased a BC996P2 and I'm not planning on using the GPS. The results of such I've seen and it looks like chaos to me. In the west federal and state agency repeaters can be heard in multiple counties, even though the western counties are pretty big compared with the east. Trying to figure out the USFS, NPS and BLM in county listings would greatly increase the time for programming a scanner. The database doesn't "know" the counties that repeaters can be heard in, but I guess it "knows" what county it is located in. If a scanner is programmed by county and zip code I think a lot of listening would be missed.

I tried to submit repeaters for some natural resource/fire agencies using official documents and since they all have one or no output tone I was told to not submit that information, so how does the database have lats and longs for them? I'm told repeater maps and locations should be listed in the Wiki.

Just little me and my opinion.
 

zerg901

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I am not sure if there are lat/longs for federal channels in the Radio Reference Database

--------------------

Perhaps we have reached the heart of the problem. The Radio Reference Database is primarily oriented / presented as a 'state / county' scheme. Federal and state agencies did not always easily fit into that scheme.

Maybe a quick solution would be to ensure that there are no "orphaned" federal listings (such as the federal info for Los Angeles County that I mentioned earlier).

Thanks to this discussion I have leaned that the typical USFS and BLM dispatch centers have 1 or 2 primary channels - and all agency traffic will be handled via these 1 or 2 channels.

To wrap up - lets look at Angeles National Forest (ANF) in California. The Forest HQ is at Arcadia. Apparently ANF is just divided into 2 sub entitys now - Los Angeles Gateway Ranger District at San Fernando and San Gabriel Mountains National Monument at Glendora. Angeles National Forest - About the Forest - I dont know where all the ranger districts disappeared to -this is all new to me. But in any case - the dispatch center is located at Fox Field at Lancaster which is an hours drive from HQ. The Angeles Natl Forest does use 2 primary radio channels. But where would you place them in the Radio Reference Data Base? At Arcadia or at Lancaster?
 

Paysonscanner

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I am not sure if there are lat/longs for federal channels in the Radio Reference Database

--------------------

Perhaps we have reached the heart of the problem. The Radio Reference Database is primarily oriented / presented as a 'state / county' scheme. Federal and state agencies did not always easily fit into that scheme.

Maybe a quick solution would be to ensure that there are no "orphaned" federal listings (such as the federal info for Los Angeles County that I mentioned earlier).

Thanks to this discussion I have leaned that the typical USFS and BLM dispatch centers have 1 or 2 primary channels - and all agency traffic will be handled via these 1 or 2 channels.

To wrap up - lets look at Angeles National Forest (ANF) in California. The Forest HQ is at Arcadia. Apparently ANF is just divided into 2 sub entitys now - Los Angeles Gateway Ranger District at San Fernando and San Gabriel Mountains National Monument at Glendora. Angeles National Forest - About the Forest - I dont know where all the ranger districts disappeared to -this is all new to me. But in any case - the dispatch center is located at Fox Field at Lancaster which is an hours drive from HQ. The Angeles Natl Forest does use 2 primary radio channels. But where would you place them in the Radio Reference Data Base? At Arcadia or at Lancaster?
I disagree that the database is organized by counties only in each state. Each state has state agency and federal agency links and pages. Not to mention the NIFC system being under the nationwide tab. Changing that and putting those agencies into counties would be a huge mistake as we have previously shared. I perceive that members in the midwest/east seem to be more oriented toward counties than those of us in the west. This in spite of counties in the west being huge, some bigger than some eastern states. San Bernardino, CA and Coconino, AZ are the number 1 and 2 largest counties in the country. I wonder how many groups of 2-3 eastern states they are as large as.

Don't jump to conclusions about how many channels each interagency center uses. Where BLM and Forest Service units are in the same center, the Forest Service may have 2-4 frequencies

I would place them right where they are now, in the states wide area systems (or however it is titled), then under CA U.S. Forest Service or however the tab is labeled. California has enough data to split the major agencies into their own pages, NPS, BLM, NPS and I think that is it. It doesn't matter where the Forest Supervisor's Office and ranger district offices are. If they have to be listed for GPS I would use Arcadia. This to be consistent around the country. Locally the Tonto NF Forest Supervisor's Office is in Phoenix, north of the Sky Harbor Airport. The dispatch center is at the Mesa-Williams Airport. A lot of interagency dispatch centers are at airports. The dispatch center for the Sierra National Forest is at the air attack base at the Fresno Airport. The Supervisor's Office is in Clovis, north of Fresno. There are many more. Having the dispatch center in the Forest Supervisor's Office is not as common as it used to be, but some still exist. The comm center for the Stanislaus National Forest, the Inyo National Forest and now the Six Rivers National Forest are all in the Forest Supervisor's Office location. The "SO" is not called the "HQ" officially, but I usually know what people mean when they say it. In fact, I've seen SO's with signs outside with wording "Forest Headquarters," but official lists always indicates them as "SO."

The tough issue on the Angeles is that they just had a very nice ranger station/district office built in Acton. They had been in a collection of mobile homes in San Francisquito for a very long time. When they picked up the old Valyermo Ranger District, they moved the ranger station to a permanent building in Acton, that was constructed with USFS specs, but is leased. It is really tricked out, with all sorts of energy saving features and a great look. A fire station was built to the rear of the ranger station. It hadn't been there more than 2-3 years when I heard the Santa Clara-Mojave Rivers Ranger District was absorbed into the L.A. Gateway RD. I presume they had at least a 5 year lease, but without the District Ranger and all the management staff, how is it being used? Building and leasing a ranger district office and then within 3 years consolidating the district with another, with that ranger district in a different location, is not a very good image. The ranger station in Acton finally got the district into a permanent building after the San Francisquito Canyon location had burned down twice due to wildland fires. Late Hubby grew up in Southern CA and we traveled down there at least 2x/year so we putzed around on that forest some. The Forest Service owns the ranger station complex in Little Tujunga Canyon (San Fernando Valley) and the one in Glendora, which is on a nice piece of land in a residential neighborhood. Big lawn and great shade trees!

I forgot to mention that the BLM's Northern California District north and east portions have a fire net. So do several field offices in the Central California District (Porterville dispatch). The California Desert District has a fire net, but there is only one repeater on it. I think they will be expanding this in the future. They also have about 4 frequencies for the sand dune units (Glamis & Imperial) down in the El Centro Field Office. You should also realize that both the USFS and BLM in California are slowly building statewide LE nets. The BLM Northern CA District is dispatched by 2 centers, Redding and Susanville. The San Bernardino federal center (located in the San Bernardino NF SO - BDF) has the two nets for the California Desert District, plus the statewide LE net, the nets for BDF, plus the statewide USFS LE net, the nets for the Mojave National Preserve, Death Valley National Park and Joshua Tree National Park and 1 or 2 nets for the BIA. That's 11 or 12 nets, not including the 4 sand dune nets. Closer to home for me, the Prescott center has 4 BLM nets, plus 2 BLM LE nets; a fire, forest and LE net for the Prescott NF; 1 USFWS net (5 refuges) and 2 BIA reservations. That adds up to 10 nets. I would suggest some research concerning dispatch centers. Go the the website for the Geographical Area Coordination Centers. Bring up the annual mobilization guides for each GACC. In the first couple of chapters, you will find a page or two that lists all the dispatch centers in the GACC with a description of the agencies each dispatch center provides services for.

Some centers dispatch the state forestry agency in their area, some even dispatch for local fire agencies. This is common in California when the USFS/BLM are co located with Cal Fire. In some other states some centers dispatch county and local fire departments under a contract. Your perspective of typical centers working 1 or 2 nets is not realistic. There really aren't any "typical" centers.

In some cases the fire organizations in the center are separate entities. Each agency has their own fire organization. They might multicast fire dispatches and send units from each entity per a CAD. However admin and the fire organizations handle daily tasks on their own nets. Sometimes the BLM, USFS and NPS form a joint or merged fire management organization. One example is the newly formed Six Rivers, Redwood National Park and Hoopa Reservation organization. They might pick one net to carry out all fire activity and sometimes even admin all on one net.
 

zerg901

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" I disagree that the database is organized by counties only in each state. "

Maybe I should have said - the vast majority of info in the RRDB is presented by state and county.
 

zerg901

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Just did a quick check of the Database at Radio Reference dot com

Massachusetts - Suffolk County (includes Boston) - no Federal Quick Jump (QJ)

Massachusetts - Statewide - under Areawide Freqs - "Massachusetts Federal"

NY - NYC - QJ - Federal + Airports - (the Federal QJ has 110 listings)

IL - Cook County - QJ - "Federal Agency" - 300 listings

FL - Miami Dade County - QJs - Homestead Air Reserve Base - 16 listings - Federal - 16 listings - NPS - 12 listings

AZ - Maricopa County (which includes Phoenix) - QJs for Airports and Military - no Federal QJ

TX - Harris County (which includes Houston) - QJs for Airports and Federal - Federal has 400 listings (which includes 2 TRS - one of these TRS is the TXWARN TRS)

WA - King County (which includes Seattle) - QJ for Native American Reservations - 2 freqs listed - neither is a federal freq - no Federal QJ - the Airport QJ has a couple of milair freqs that are used for ATC

CA - San Francisco County - Federal QJ has 2 conventional freqs + 1 federal TRS

all of these county pages have TRS listed at the bottom - I did not check to see if there were any federal TRS listed there

the QJs take 2 forms apparently - its a 'same page link' if above the dotted line - its a 'link to a new URL' if below the dotted line

I am not sure how any of this plays out in the downloadable database (but I suspect that the some or all of the federal freqs are in there)

Bottom line - there seems to be a good amount of variability in the way that federal channels will pop up when using the database at radioreference.com
 

Paysonscanner

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Just did a quick check of the Database at Radio Reference dot com

Bottom line - there seems to be a good amount of variability in the way that federal channels will pop up when using the database at radioreference.com
You hit the nail on the head! There is RR DB policy and there is reality. Some follow both the spirit and the letter of the policy, others don't.. I seem to find that some database administrators take suggestions on how to put pages together and others, as I cited above, ignore suggestions. The example is how the BLM is not shown correctly in about 6-8 states. I posted a thread and discussed this and most seemed to agree that the database should reflect the agency as it is presented to the public on their websites. Using the logic to only list field offices results in leaving off a major level of organization the agency. What if we listed the CHP by area offices only and stopped organizing the page without showing all the agency's divisions. We would have about 95-100 individual listings. Each area office would redundantly include the Division's common frequencies. If two offices shared the same frequency and were in the same dispatch center area, we would just list one of them. After all just getting the frequency is the point we really don't need to show the organization, the source of the unit identifiers. etc. The CHP listings don't do that though.

We could also list the New York City Police Department by precinct only, and get rid of the 5 boroughs. If there is a multi-tiered organization, such as the BLM's 4 and in a few places 5 tiers, then they should all be shown. Frequencies should be listed as assigned to each tier. On some pages each BLM's Field Office has been renamed "District." We don't call each ranger district on a National Forest a "National Forest." Example we don't call the 5 ranger districts on the Los Padres NF, the "Monterey National Forest," the "Santa Lucia National Forest," the "Santa Barbara National Forest, the "Ojai National Forest," the "Mt. Pinos National Forest" and then list them that way in some type of order such as alphabetical by what are really "Ranger Districts."

People can look at the listings and figure out the way the agency is organized. When they do further research and go to that agencies website both that website and the RR DB will be organized the same way. People need to do that type of research to help them understand what they are hearing. The %#@& Wiki site is where more details can be provided. It all lines up with the way interagency dispatch centers are organized, a national forest here, a BLM district there, a whole national park, etc. Some tactical frequencies are assigned based on the BLM District and some by the dispatch center.

Most state pages have the BLM organized correctly, it is only an exception in those 6-8 states. When late Hubby quit he had become frustrated with the way some administrator's and moderator's maintained the database. He became uninterested in submitting the data he worked so hard to get, in part because the administrators would reorganize the data and give frequencies different names. Some of the administrators/moderators were a bit rude in PM's and on threads. About 2009-2010 he was over it and cancelled his membership.

This post includes the input from 2 former members, my Daddy, my late Hubby and a couple of current members that I stay in touch with. One of them worked in U.S. Forest Service aviation and had access to a lot of very good data, but eventually stopped providing any. Same story, he got frustrated when the data was massaged. One of the former members went around and around about a listing involving aviation frequencies and finally found out the problem. He had no idea why the boundaries of GACC's are important and didn't understand the difference between an initial attack and an extended attack. When it comes to frequency use those two phases of incidents changes everything. He made up some labels based on his understanding of the area and frequencies and insisted he was right. This for data a current USFS employee had submitted.

I typically don't make comments that are this negative, it is not in my nature. The above is the observations of at least 6 people. I will confess to consistently pointing out the difficulties of the Wiki. Thanks for letting me try to make constructive criticisms. I know the database administrators have to weed out a lot of incorrect submissions and criticism by people who don't thoroughly understand the agencies. The volunteers on this site all work harder than we know and the bottom line for me is THANK YOU!!!!
 
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norcalscan

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I typically don't make comments that are this negative, it is not in my nature. The above is the observations of at least 6 people. I will confess to consistently pointing out the difficulties of the Wiki. Thanks for letting me try to make constructive criticisms. I know the database administrators have to weed out a lot of incorrect submissions and criticism by people who don't thoroughly understand the agencies. The volunteers on this site all work harder than we know and the bottom line for me is THANK YOU!!!!
Trust me - you are not unheard. It isn't negative, it's constructive. You are applying any info/suggestions or corrections as "constructive" and as long as the mods read it as "constructive" then we all can have constructive dialog and understand each other's goals and limitations. Some mods were/are flat out rude and destructive - I agree. It's why I rarely contribute to the DB, and only if it's solving an unknown puzzle like some new Fed P25 systems etc. I've been burned one too many times and told to follow all these limits and arbitrary rules for no reason. Dude, it's a hobby. Finally a mod messaged me later and explained why they were limited, hands-tied etc. Awesome, now we can work together and figure out how to present the intel I have, within the confines of The DB.

I'm here lurking and nodding in agreement with both Peter (Z's?) and Payson's posts. There's a LOT of room for improvement. The Wiki is the absolute lazy way out of this mess. The wiki does nothing to introduce this hobby to new people and all the zip-code scannists out there. They have NO idea what they're missing when they enter their zipcode and Fire Dispatch and press Scan. And those that do realize they're missing something, then might not realize how to ask/formulate the question or figure out the USFS channels and how to add those to their scanner.

Continue on - hopefully this is one more small step towards some improvements, and thinking WAY outside the established box to how things could possibly be presented...
 
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