USFS Mobile Radios?

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Kirk

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On the way into work today I followed Los Padres Patrol 37. I noticed it had two quarter wave VHF whips on the roof.

Does USFS equip its rigs with two radios? Or a mobile with two receivers? Or just a spare antenna?

Just curious.
 

fireinoc

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FS Radios

Just a guess, but there is often two radios in a rig, one for the Forest Service local channels and a second VHF radio for other cooperating agencies and mutual aid. Since Pine Canyon Station (P37 is located there) is located just east of Santa Maria, they probably use Santa Barbara County and Cal Fire frequencies quite a bit.
 

car5le

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Most Forest Service units use the Bendix DMH VHF mobile. It's their "go to" radio. Only one antenna needed here. Many of the units in our area (Sierra National Forest, Sequoia National Forest, National Parks, etc) also have scanners in their vehicles and use the same VHF antenna as the DMH. Sometimes the installer will just install a second antenna in advance of something else.
 

Kirk

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Oh, I can think of good reasons to have two radios, I just didn't know if it was common, or something done on a case-by-case basis. The modern VHF radios will do 150-174MHz, so it's not a band split issue. It seems like the Cal Fire engines around here have two antennas as well. I've just never bothered to look in the cab when I've had a chance.
 

mmckenna

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Pretty common to see two antennas on the command vehicles. Makes it easier to monitor the fire ground (local simplex channel) and the dispatch channel. While most radios will scan, this is a really big issue as it's very easy to miss traffic.
 

Kirk

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It was a patrol, not a BC or other command vehicle. Guess there's really no standard.
 

SCPD

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My USFS truck used to have 2 VHF antennas. I had a Midland mobile and a BC-760 scanner. Although the scanner was hooked up to the same model antenna as the Midland was it worked nicely for UHF and 800 MHz. The CHP reception was so-so, but what's new?

I had various odds and ends in the 760, including local businesses I interacted with and some I didn't, FRS/GMRS, some amateur radio frequencies, ski areas, adjacent counties in Nevada, school district frequencies, VHF-AM and the NIFC frequencies. The latter was so I could listen to command frequencies of both the fire I was on and those of nearby fires. I normally had to keep my mobile on tac, but did like to listen to what the higher ups were discussing. I was often the only person able to hear the AM air to air traffic on incidents as very few people and vehicles had aviation radios. I could also listen to L.A. County Fire's UHF frequencies when I was on southern California fires.

The scanner was useful now and again.
 

brushfire21

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Another option could be a portable 'converta-com' that is using this second antenna. Alot of our fire apparatus have a drop-in charger/mobile adapter for our B-K Radios that uses an external antenna, microphone and speaker. We can use this to monitor a second frequency from the main radio, backup radio if needed or we can program in a channel during mutual aid assignments if it's not in the main radio.
 
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