TSA, analog inversion and 172.1500

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BalunKnot

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I know its a little off topic, but I also picked up TSA screeners using their new icom F50 portables on 172.150 pl 136.5 (voice inversion scrambling in use). they still use the regular apco25 system for longer distance comms it seems.

I searched the internet and found this story about it:

TSA wants its personnel to 'whisper' at airport checkpoints to reduce stress
By Jacob Goodwin, Editor-in-Chief
Published February 11th, 2009

In an effort to reduce shouting between its security officers at airport security checkpoints, and reduce overall stress levels for passengers, TSA is planning to purchase as many as 20,000 land mobile radios that would enable its personnel to whisper to each other.

“Wireless whisper will reduce noise levels that contribute to the current sense of stress at checkpoints,” explained TSA in a solicitation for mobile radios published Feb. 6. “These noise levels are elevated by the current mode of communication which often consists of [Transportation Security Officers] speaking or shouting to one another in the open, over other checkpoint noise.”

TSA’s Office of Operational Information Technology intends to procure at least 9,260 Very High Frequency land mobile radios, and, perhaps, as many as 20,000 of the units, to enable officers to speak more quietly.

“A speaker microphone is intended to be worn on the uniform of the TSA employee around the shoulder area while the radio is attached at the belt level,” says the statement of work for the proposed three-year, fixed-price, indefinite delivery / indefinite quantity contract. “The device shall allow for the attachment of a receive-only earpiece that allows for discrete monitoring of audio.”

According to the statement of work, the radios will possess the following capabilities:

• Weigh no more than 12 ounces, including the battery;

• Operate in the 162MHz through 174MHz VHF spectrum;

• Provide a vibrating alert on message reception;

• Prevent unauthorized eavesdropping on voice transmissions through voice scrambling, encryption or other technologies.

The radios will be distributed to more than 160 TSA locations at airports and other sites, over a four-month period.

The effort to “reduce ambient noise and facilitate more discrete communications between TSOs” is one element of the Checkpoint Evolution Program initiated by TSA in 2007.
 

ecps92

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Which airport did you monitor them at?

I know its a little off topic, but I also picked up TSA screeners using their new icom F50 portables on 172.150 pl 136.5 (voice inversion scrambling in use). they still use the regular apco25 system for longer distance comms it seems.

I searched the internet and found this story about it:

.
 

BalunKnot

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Which airport did you monitor them at?
Bill,

Sorry i didn't put it out there...I heard the activity around 1pm this past Sunday at Newark Liberty airport, and it was at Terminal C. Dropping off my snowbird parents to fly back to sunny Florida, and happened to spot the icom radios on the screening officers there. Ran back and turned on the scanner when i got to the car and picked that up. Luckily, i was about five hours ahead of that big fiasco that occurred with the security breach later on that evening at terminal c!

anyone interested in it like I was, do a search for "Whisper Communication Land Mobile Radios"

Brian
 

ecps92

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Thanks, rather interesting they move back to Analog and Speech Inversion. :mad:

Bill,

Sorry i didn't put it out there...I heard the activity around 1pm this past Sunday at Newark Liberty airport, and it was at Terminal C. Dropping off my snowbird parents to fly back to sunny Florida, and happened to spot the icom radios on the screening officers there. Ran back and turned on the scanner when i got to the car and picked that up. Luckily, i was about five hours ahead of that big fiasco that occurred with the security breach later on that evening at terminal c!

anyone interested in it like I was, do a search for "Whisper Communication Land Mobile Radios"

Brian
 

scannerfreak

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I know CVG is getting theirs next week. I will see if I can find what they are using.
 

SkyPager

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Wow, voice inversion. That was big in 1975 when I started scanning. There are a number of sites on the web that deal with this. A simple descrambler can be made using an LC555 and other over-the-counter parts.
There was a thread on this site years ago about VI.
 

Gator596

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Sorry if I missed the previous posts about VI. I had done a search for info about it but was still mystified - sometimes my searching skills suck. Will try to find info on the descrambler described by Skypager, but in the mean time and since this thread was not started to talk about VI - if there is anyone who knows a place to find solid gold info on descrambling VI I would love to get a PM pointing the way. Thanks,
 

BalunKnot

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I was really just curious about the channel lineup like Bill was. I really dont think there are many interesting things going on between the screeners. I guess the things to look for now are other channels like the FedFiles is reporting, and then i think the interesting part will be to start logging PL tones in use. Seems like a few different ones found so far varying by airports, or they may be several channels using the same frequency with different pl tones.
 
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iMONITOR

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I was really just curious about the channel lineup like Bill was. I really dont think there are many interesting things going on between the screeners.

It might be entertaining to listen to the comments made by the body-scanners! :D
 

WayneH

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There is voice-inversion, and voice-scrambling. There are also variations, and advances in both technologies, such as Rolling Code, and Slit-Band, so it may not be as simple as it used to be.
I believe the Rolling Code version is identified by the ticking or tick tock sound in the inversion. Someone correct me if I'm wrong.
 

scannerfreak

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I spent about an hour and a half at the CVG airplane observation lot with the kids watching the planes yesterday. I got no hits in the 162-174 range other then a hit on 166.350 (71.9), which sounded rail related. I do not believe TSA at CVG is using their new radios yet. I will check back there in a week or two and see if I hear anything.
 

Audiodave1

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I have been thru too many airports recently but have not tried to ID the freq's in use on these new radios. I have seen the ICOM's at the following:
PHL-SNA(Orange county)-SLC-DEN-ATL-CLT-PHX

The move to analog was likely a cost saving measure.

Form the Icom site:

Built-in voice scrambler

The IC-F50/F60 has a built-in inversion type voice scrambler in all versions. When a more secure system is required, versions with a rolling type voice scrambler* equivalent to the UT-110 are available.
* Built-in, optional unit not required.


Dave
 

Chris-KH2PM

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RDU TSA are using the ICOM radios on 172.150. PL is 123.0, and of course, voice inversion.

They still have several Motorola XTS5000s on 172.900 P25 NAC 001.
 

SCPD

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I can see the advantage of using Analog with inversion or rolling code over Digital. Man when Digital drops out, its gone! Whereas analog will continue to carry. Not to mention an iCOM analog is far less expensive to repair than a Digital radio. But why, after all this push to Digital would the Fed's be migrating backwards? Especially the TSA?
 
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