STARS

Mars_P25

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Hey dudes. Many of the FDs in central Alberta are still using their reliable VHF analog and digital (some are multi-site, linked systems) radios. Within the last month, I've monitored STARS coordinating the LZ (Landing Zone) on 158.76 MHz, simplex, analog. If you monitor this, you should hear activity if they're coordinating with a non-AFRRCS agency.
 

robertmac

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And HALO is in the midst of fund raising for Night Vision Goggles. It appeared most of the communications with STARS link centre was via cellphone in coordinating HALO leaving FMC and STARS 1 landing there.
 

robertmac

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Hey dudes. Many of the FDs in central Alberta are still using their reliable VHF analog and digital (some are multi-site, linked systems) radios. Within the last month, I've monitored STARS coordinating the LZ (Landing Zone) on 158.76 MHz, simplex, analog. If you monitor this, you should hear activity if they're coordinating with a non-AFRRCS agency.
As STARS seldom flies for emergencies within the Calgary City limits, it is not often that I hear them on 158.76. Of course if they are dealing with some of the local fire departments to the east of Calgary I can hear STARS on that frequency when in the air. There has been some problems with what frequency STARS should be using [I believe I mentioned this in an earlier post]. I do hear Link Centre either referring to this frequency or MA 11 on AFRRCs. But since I don't monitor AFRRCs I am not certain how often they use MA 11.
 

Mars_P25

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Hey robertmac. When I've heard dispatch (Red Deer 911 PSAP) talking to the agencies they dispatch, they always advise the fire units to "switch to provincial EMS simplex to speak with STARS". I'm not sure what other frequencies STARS may have access to (or should be using), but through the course of former employment, I did not see anything in the FD radios other than what's already known/posted on here. [Disclaimer: All frequencies being discussed here are in the TAFL/public disclosure]

Once you go north of Mountain View County, all fire agencies on #2 are VHF, with the exception of Red Deer City, who are on AFRRCS with clear talkgroups. I've posted VHF frequencies in another thread, but here are some of the systems going up to Edmonton. All agencies are dispatched by Red Deer 911, with the exception of Maskwacis, which has their own EMS/Fire dispatcher on the reserve:

Red Deer County Fire: VHF analog repeaters
Blackfalds Fire (Lacombe Co.): VHF analog repeater
Lacombe County [inc. Lacombe City]: 7 linked VHF analog repeaters
Ponoka County East/West: VHF DMR, Two IP Site Connect repeaters, clear
Wetaskiwin County: VHF Analog repeater
Maskwacis (formerly Hobema), backup to Wetaskiwin County FD: VHF Capacity Plus DMR, encrypted
Leduc County: AFRRCS, clear

All of these agencies (except Leduc?) have VHF provincial EMS 158.76 in their radios. I've monitored Red Deer County, Blackfalds, Lacombe and Ponoka speaking with STARS on this frequency. I'm sure Maskwacis has it, too.

Bottom line: If doing a run up the deuce, and you want to listen for crashes/closures, be sure to program your scanner/ham rig/pro radio up for these agencies. From Mountain View to Leduc, it's all VHF. Pretty quiet most of the time as these are all volunteer departments, but when it's busy, there's plenty to hear. Mutual aid programming (neighbouring counties have each other's VHF repeaters) is also done quite well. The FFs are very familiar with how to work their radios. I'm impressed. No mouth breathing.

Unfortunately, these VHF agencies cannot communicate directly with AHS. All info is relayed to RD 911, which does suck in terms of latency/convenience/common sense.
 
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kayn1n32008

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Hey robertmac. When I've heard dispatch (Red Deer 911 PSAP) talking to the agencies they dispatch, they always advise the fire units to "switch to provincial EMS simplex to speak with STARS". I'm not sure what other frequencies STARS may have access to (or should be using), but through the course of former employment, I did not see anything in the FD radios other than what's already known/posted on here. [Disclaimer: All frequencies being discussed here are in the TAFL/public disclosure]

Once you go north of Mountain View County, all fire agencies on #2 are VHF, with the exception of Red Deer City, who are on AFRRCS with clear talkgroups. I've posted VHF frequencies in another thread, but here are some of the systems going up to Edmonton. All agencies are dispatched by Red Deer 911, with the exception of Maskwacis, which has their own EMS/Fire dispatcher on the reserve:

Red Deer County Fire: VHF analog repeaters
Blackfalds Fire (Lacombe Co.): VHF analog repeater
Lacombe County [inc. Lacombe City]: 7 linked VHF analog repeaters
Ponoka County East/West: VHF DMR, Two IP Site Connect repeaters, clear
Wetaskiwin County: VHF Analog repeater
Maskwacis (formerly Hobema), backup to Wetaskiwin County FD: VHF Capacity Plus DMR, encrypted
Leduc County: AFRRCS, clear

All of these agencies (except Leduc?) have VHF provincial EMS 158.76 in their radios. I've monitored Red Deer County, Blackfalds, Lacombe and Ponoka speaking with STARS on this frequency. I'm sure Maskwacis has it, too.

Bottom line: If doing a run up the deuce, and you want to listen for crashes/closures, be sure to program your scanner/ham rig/pro radio up for these agencies. From Mountain View to Leduc, it's all VHF. Pretty quiet most of the time as these are all volunteer departments, but when it's busy, there's plenty to hear. Mutual aid programming (neighbouring counties have each other's VHF repeaters) is also done quite well. The FFs are very familiar with how to work their radios. I'm impressed. No mouth breathing.

Unfortunately, these VHF agencies cannot communicate directly with AHS. All info is relayed to RD 911, which does suck in terms of latency/convenience/common sense.
I will add that EFRS, when on EDACS, has/had a console resource on Provincial Fire/Mutual Aid they could patch to EDACS. Not sure where the radio was/is but when talking to a helo, you don’t need much in the means of a site for coverage.

Now with EMS/STARS/EFRS using AFRRCS, they would likely use MA11 for Edmonton Metro zone to communicate with STARS to conduct LZ ops.

Unfortunately, these VHF agencies cannot communicate directly with AHS. All info is relayed to RD 911, which does suck in terms of latency/convenience/common sense.
Those that are not transitioning to AFRRCS operationally, are buying radios for mutual aid with departments that are on AFRRCS and to talk to AHS on MA/CET Talkgroups.
 

robertmac

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I have occasionally heard that STARS has and will try to use Simplex 1 on AFRRCS. I would say 90% of their communications with ground fire is on 158.76.
 

robertmac

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This evening STARS talked to Wheatland West on 158.76 for landing zone.
 

harryshute

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Now with EMS/STARS/EFRS using AFRRCS, they would likely use MA11 for Edmonton Metro zone to communicate with STARS to conduct LZ ops.
EMS/STARS/EFRS wouldn't use MA 11 as Fire doesn't have it in their radios. Since all AHS radios have "Edmo Fire" they could use the fire channels, Edmonton 1 to 5 or AFRRCS Simplex 1 to 5.
 

Jay911

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As always, STARS will use Provincial Ambulance (158.76) when an agency requests it. Their radios are very frequency agile and can select just about anything in the VHF and UHF bands with analog modulation and tones. I know they have some commonly used repeaters (Banff Park, Kananaskis, etc) pre-programmed but will often fall back to Provincial Ambulance or AFRRCS SIM01 for simplicity's sake.

I am 99% sure that the landing zone coordination is almost always done on a simplex channel for safety purposes. A trunked talkgroup would not be used in those situations unless there were extenuating circumstances - for much the same reasons that fire agencies prefer to use simplex on the fireground. When communications are life-critical, it's far better to use a line of sight method rather than going through repeaters and trunking controllers quite a distance away from the scene.
 

robertmac

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And this afternoon MA11 near Nanton with transfer from Claresholm. .
 

robertmac

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And again this afternoon out to the Chinook Cereal area, STAR 1 was using TAC 9.
 

Mars_P25

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Monitoring the AFRRCS talkgroups for STARS action can be difficult, with so many sites available to them for affiliation. At elevation, it's possible they could even be sitting on a site not local to the area they're flying to.

Out my way, we had this happen on Sunday: - A 20y/old female suffered severe (non fatal) injuries in a dirt bike accident. There were some interesting comms...

The Alix (in Lacombe county) fire chief spoke with STARS on 158.76 to coordinate the LZ. Once STAR-3 was safely on the ground, the flight medics spoke with the on-scene AHS medics via the Lacombe Co. fire system. As the AHS/ACP medic at patient was standing beside a firefighter/EMR, and the flight medic was with the fire chief, they just simply handed over their radios for a minute. I've never heard anything like that before. (Normally they'd be on AFRRCS/encrypted?) Nothing too interesting was discussed. Just a quick size-up of the patient's injuries and discussion of destination hospital. First time I've heard "guests" relaying comms on the LC VHF Fire system.

Listening to STARS is always cool, but I find listening to whatever fire system/talkgroups to be very useful for travel info, too. Alix fire shut down highway 12 so STAR-3 could land in the area. It's not like anyone is going to text us to advise of an acute highway closure. The scanner is where it's at!
 

Mars_P25

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If anyone wants to trying monitoring 158.76 NOW, there's a serious incident on Highway 20, just south of Rimbey. MVC. 1 black, 3 still trapped. Ponoka Co. FD (West) is primary agency (DMR, VHF, clear). STARS has asked them to standby on 158.76. Edmonton advises STAR-3 is airborne.

 

robertmac

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Has anyone seen STARS appearing on Flightradar24 or similar radar programs. I believe Link Centre can monitor on Sky Tracker but I have never seen them on Flightradar24 based on internet.
 

harryshute

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Has anyone seen STARS appearing on Flightradar24 or similar radar programs. I believe Link Centre can monitor on Sky Tracker but I have never seen them on Flightradar24 based on internet.
On Flightradar24 here in Edmonton I don't get STARS, EPS, RCMP, Global TV or Military aircraft. I believe they use a different type of beacon or are blocked. I've noticed other aircraft infomation has decreased over the past few years on Flightradar.
 

Jay911

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The two newest machines are on ADSB (by law, if I recall correctly) by callsign. You can search for CFLCI or CGKLY. On FlightAware, it says "This flight is restricted from public view", but you can still see the track. (I can also see the Calgary CORUS helicopter, CFRCG, on F24.)

Right now LCI is STAR1. Don't know where KLY will end up (maybe STAR3 primary machine?).
 

robertmac

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Last night CGKLY showed up on Flightradar24 on a training flight as STARS2. This afternoon CFLCI STARS1 was seen on Flightradar24 on a flight to Kananaskis country.
 
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