• Effective immediately we will be deleting, without notice, any negative threads or posts that deal with the use of encryption and streaming of scanner audio.

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    https://forums.radioreference.com/rants/224104-official-thread-live-audio-feeds-scanners-wait-encryption.html

Sources for Wildland Fire Frequencies Drying Up

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SCPD

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Well, I suppose it was going to happen eventually. About a month ago I requested a copy of the Forest Service's Pacific Southwest Region (R5) annual Frequency Guide from a source I had been using since my retirement in 1999. I was advised that the Washington Office of the USFS was no longer allowing them to be distributed to non-employees and current employees that did not have a need to program radios. My sources for frequency information for 7 other USFS regions have been drying up in the last 2-3 years as security procedures for ordering internal documents have been tightened and now require a password to order over the internet and other procedures to order via mail/telephone.

Those of you who have been getting frequency information for the Southwest Region (R3 covering Arizona/New Mexico) from the internet by downloading the PDF file of their Geographical Area Mobilization Guide should realize that the frequency information portion of the Guide will probably require a password in the future.

Pretty interesting considering I'm a retired USFS employee and have been told that the official policy is that the guides cannot be distributed to someone like me, even if I were to promise I would not share the info, and use it for my personal use only. The trouble I see is that so many folks monitor the fire and natural resource services, call in information that can be helpful, or use the information they hear about a nearby fire to make decisions about pulling up stakes and getting out of a campsite, summer home, or residence when there is a nearby wildland fire. If you see a smoke when you are recreating in a wildlland setting, it is comforting to be able to hear if the initial attack is getting a handle on the situation. Those folks in charge of making this policy are no doubt aware of these benefits and have reasons for making the policy they have based on some information I have not seen. There must have been some abuse by enough folks, in the same ways over and over, that they had "enough is enough."
 
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DaveNF2G

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Anything the federal government is involved in will become more secretive and the restrictions will be justified under "homeland security."
 

kb2vxa

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Hi Ex and readers,

No need to get your knickers in a knot, the government frequencies have been drying up since I first started monitoring in the mid sixties. They're either going over to Nextel type systems, satellite or encryption, likely those lists would be useless even if you had them.

Dave, "homeland security" is only the new politically correct substitute for the age old "national security" excuse. What do you mean by "justified"? Since when have they ever justified anything they do? They've always slammed down the "security" lid no matter which word they attach to it. They gagged Ollie North when he spilled the beans about Israel and said nothing at all about it, just cut the live feed and substituted heavily censored taped bits and pieces of the hearing.

No stupid comments from the peanut gallery, I >SAW< it happen live and in color on (bing bong bing) NBC.
 

SCPD

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A major wildland fire can't use satellites or Nextel for command or tactical traffic. In the western U.S. cell phone coverage in locations where incidents tend to occur in areas where there isn't, and never will be cell phone coverage. The way Nextel "walkie-talkies" are set up don't work well for fire use even if there were coverage. Everything I've seen indicates wildland fire is going to stay on VHF-High for interoperability. We have departments, and large ones at that, on UHF and 800 MHz conventional systems in the west that have VHF handhelds and mobiles in their apparatus at all times in order to work wildland fire. The L.A. County Fire Department does not use their UHF system much for tactical communications, as their fireground radios are VHF. The Kern County Fire Department switched from UHF to VHF in the last year because they have a lot of wildland responsibility in the county (they, like L.A. County are paid to provide wildland suppression/prevention on State Responsibility Areas) where they must interface with the USFS and BLM. Those agencies use VHF almost exclusively with the exception of their Logistics radios and the VHF repeater links they use for portable command repeaters on incidents.

The use of radio by land management agencies in the west probably leads to quite a different perspective than one may have in the eastern U.S.
 
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