USFS on 415.225

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Ten42

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I am listening to what appears to be the USFS on 415.225. Conversations so far concerning crews working (firefighting possibly) and a few conducting range test. So far they have mentioned radio relay 1, 2, 3, and 4 and using tone 1 and tone 4, their call signs consist of last names which is typical USFS. So far the only location mentioned is Bald Knob. No PL or DPL detected on output. I didnt know the USFS had a UHF system in the Jefferson NF or Washington NF. I dont believe these are relay links for their VHF system, or at least from my position here in Danville I have not heard any of the 171.525 or 171.575 repeaters used.

David Hartman
 

CCHLLM

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The frequency is listed in the general USFS Region frequency lists as being available to them, but I've never heard anything on it at any of the times I had it in the active scan lists. I've heard some traffic in NC when there is a project fire in progress, but other than that, no.

BTW, what might be the PL(s) for the 171.525 and 171.575 repeater outputs in VA? I've never been able to catch those when there was traffic.
 
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musicman

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KF4ZTO

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I'm hearing an open mic with no PL tone on 415.225 here in downtown Richmond. It's not the strongest signal but its there...I'm using my Pro-96 with a Smiley Antenna Co. (remember them?) tuned 1/4 wave 465 MHz rubber duck.
 

n4jri

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I have heard 167.9 used on 171.525.
I think I've heard the same PL on 171.575 as well. Couldn't tell whether it was solidly encoded on the repeater output, or was just not getting filtered out of the input.

73/Allen (N4JRI)
 

CCHLLM

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Thanks for the heads up on the 171 PL.

There's some distant 415.225 traffic down this way off and on today, I can tell it's a repeater and that it's USFS type of radio traffic, but it's noisy enough that it's not reliably readable or sufficiently out of the noise to read the PL on it, so we'll see if it continues into the dark hours. The reception should improve then, but the traffic will probably cease around 5PM or so.
 

John

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I am told they have been flying some airborne repeaters in the Suffolk area for the "great dismal swamp" fire. I am not sure but I would have expected them to be on VHF not UHF. However, that might explain what you are hearing. An airborne repeater can carry a long way.

John
 

W4UVV

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VHF not UHF

I am told they have been flying some airborne repeaters in the Suffolk area for the "great dismal swamp" fire. I am not sure but I would have expected them to be on VHF not UHF. However, that might explain what you are hearing. An airborne repeater can carry a long way.

John
The Dismal Swamp fire repeaters are vhf ground based in NC. Air to ground and fireground comms are simplex.
 

tuttleje

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The Civil Air Patrol is operating airborne repeaters for the Dismal Swamp Fire.

source: http://www.wtkr.com/Global/story.asp?S=8557033


"The Cessna's fly with a device called a repeater, continually circling the fire area for sometimes 3 hours at a time. The walkie-talkie's signals bounce off the repeater and allow the firefighters to report back to the command center and to get vital instructions from that center too. Normally, the Forest Service is able to place these repeaters up in mountains or put them up on a high tower, but in the Dismal Swamp there are no mountains and a tower would sink in the swampy marsh. So the flying repeaters are the only answer. The Civil Air Patrol becomes the mountain."
 

KF4ZTO

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At least when I was in CAP, their airborne repeaters only operated on VHF....and two frequencies at that, 148.125 and 148.150. I could be wrong, however.
 

rabbitdude22

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Only 148 Freq.s

I am a member of CAP and as far as I know we do not stray from the above mentioned frequencies. I could be wrong though, concerning how waves travel and all.


Radioreference has CAP's frequencies and explanations:

http://www.radioreference.com/apps/db/?aid=1014


Agency: Civil Air Patrol

US > Virginia > Civil Air Patrol Agency Last Updated on 05-02-2007 08:21


Aircraft Repeaters also operate on the primary and secondary repeater frequencies, and aircraft repeaters will always have special IDs transmitted with them. Aircraft will announce they have switched to repeater mode by transmitting the tactical callsign "HIGH BIRD" along with thier "CAPFLIGHT 45xx" callsign. CAP aircraft also use 122.9 and 123.1 MHz, AM, for air-to-air communications.

Virginia Wing radio stations ID with "Jefferson" callsigns, with a two or three number suffix. Stations with callsigns "Jefferson 7xx" are CAP mobile stations. Stations with callsigns "Jefferson x00" (for example, "Jefferson 200" or "Jefferson 400") are group radio cache stations. During search and rescue operations, many stations will assume tactical callsigns, such as "Mission Base", "Ground Team Alpha" etc. Large search and rescue operations will usally see a repeater being used, another channel for simplex operations, and the aircraft channel, channel 4 (149.5375 MHz) being used also.

Radios have Virginia State Police and Virginia Department of Emergency Management VHF-high band frequencies as well as National Park Service frequencies for communication with these agencies.






Frequencies
Civil Air Patrol

Virginia Wing

Virginia Wing will be upgrading to Project 25/analog mixed-mode radios in the near future.

Frequency Type Tone Alpha Tag Description Mode Tag
148.15000 RM 1 Operations Primary (PL varies) FM
148.12500 RM 2 Operations Secondary (PL varies) FM
148.13750 M 100.0 PL 3 Local Talk-Around FM
149.53750 BM 100.0 PL 4 Aircraft-to-Base FM
122.90000 BM CSQ Air-to-Air Secondary AM
123.10000 BM CSQ Air-to-Air Primary AM
 

KF4ZTO

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If my memory serves me correctly (and they are changing to P25 and possibly changing frequencies with it) but the airborne repeaters are on 148.150 (CAP channel 1) and 148.125 (CAP channel 2) with 203.5 PL. That could have been changed as they like to mess around with their radio stuff from time to time. I'm still hearing 415.225 here in Richmond, however. No voice, just a carrier.
 

KF4ZTO

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a question, has anybody in that area been scanning the VDOF frequencies? namely 159.285?. I'm pretty sure STARS has coverage there but I don't know how that figures into interoperability with USFS and North Carolina.
 

musicman

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It occurs to me that, if the CAP were flying an airborne repeater in support of the forest service, it would be a forest service repeater and not a CAP repeater. Just a thought.

Back to the 415.225 repeater that we are hearing in the Piedmont region -- I am thinking that it is a unit on Poor Mountain that is repeating comms from the national forest operations further north. I do not routinely copy mountaintop repeaters from Allegheny County, where the comms are originating. I suspect that is true also for Mr. Hartmann down in the Danville region. Since we both have good copy on this transmitter, I suspect we are hearing a southern part of what may be a network of repeaters for the USFS.
 

John

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From what I have heard, the airborne repeaters that CAP is flying are actually forest service repeaters and not property of CAP. However, they are using the aircraft mounted antennas which are VHF.

John
 

CCHLLM

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Back to the 415.225 repeater that we are hearing in the Piedmont region -- I am thinking that it is a unit on Poor Mountain that is repeating comms from the national forest operations further north. I do not routinely copy mountaintop repeaters from Allegheny County, where the comms are originating. I suspect that is true also for Mr. Hartmann down in the Danville region. Since we both have good copy on this transmitter, I suspect we are hearing a southern part of what may be a network of repeaters for the USFS.
That would help explain why it's in the noise here in NW Forsyth County, NC. I can hear some of the UHF and VHF sources on Poor Mtn pretty consistently, though how readable they are depends on sky conditions.
 

W4UVV

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I'm convinced there's more

The Civil Air Patrol is operating airborne repeaters for the Dismal Swamp Fire.

source: http://www.wtkr.com/Global/story.asp?S=8557033


"The Cessna's fly with a device called a repeater, continually circling the fire area for sometimes 3 hours at a time. The walkie-talkie's signals bounce off the repeater and allow the firefighters to report back to the command center and to get vital instructions from that center too. Normally, the Forest Service is able to place these repeaters up in mountains or put them up on a high tower, but in the Dismal Swamp there are no mountains and a tower would sink in the swampy marsh. So the flying repeaters are the only answer. The Civil Air Patrol becomes the mountain."
I am sure the WTKR-TV story was correct as far as it went but I think there's more to the story. But if accepted at face value, I guess what I have been hearing on the Dismal Swamp Fire Command and Control NON-CAP repeater output frequency known by the fire personnel as "channel 9" for the past two weeks from a ground based repeater was just a figment of my imagination. I am not convinced that's the sole and total C&C repeater operation. I base this conclusion on my other previous monitoring experiences of C&C comm operations.

Yesterday afternoon I heard an on scene firefighter inform C&C he had a media representative with him and was asking for guidance and an escort. I wonder who that media representative was? No, it couldn't be. Too much of a coincidence. That CAP aircraft repeater pilot sure has done flawless job for the past two weeks relaying signals. I didn't miss a word.

What puzzles me is how consistent that CAP(?) airborne repeater reception is at my location especially early in the morning when no aircraft are airborne but yet I hear good Dismal Swamp C&C comms to include some HTs readable, some noisy and others not making the repeater...sorry the CAP airborne non-airborne plane's repeater parked on the ground 10-20 miles away. Spotter pilots(i.e., "Lead 9") and other fire fighting related pilots check in with C&C in the mornings providing an estimate as to when he/they will be airborne. The closest airfields probably are Currituck, NC, or Blackwater Ops. near Manteo. This is one reason I think there is more to the operation than just a CAP airborne repeater.

Here's another puzzle. If there were two repeaters operating, one ground based and the other airborne, based on the other air firefighting comms I've heard so I know it is possible reception, the stronger FM repeater output signal would desense my R7000. But I don't hear two repeaters, just one. Could it be there are two repeaters operating, one ground based and the other CAP one airborne, assuming a milliwatt repeater output, that fire personnel are hearing at the fire area but not at my location? I doubt it but it is possible. Never once in the past two weeks listening to the C&C control repeater comms has the CAP(?) airborne repeater's signal strength wavered here. I never heard the Cessna pilot inform C&C every 3 hours that he was landing to refuel and there would be no repeater comms available for the next 30 minutes. That would mean no continuity of comms. C&C does not shut down every three hours for a pilot to refuel. Maybe the CAP has two airborne repeater aircraft and one relieves the other. That's possible. I think there is more to the story. The CAP(?) airborne repeater signal has been a consistent S3-4 average at my location from morning to early evening when I shut down...no fading..no flutter..no signal peak spikes or nulls...amazing for a non-ducting airborne FM signal! It is like listening to a ground based repeater operation which is what I am convinced I am hearing. Maybe there is a different explanation or supplemental information that would be helpful. I don't dispute the CAP airborne repeater operation but I think there is more information that would be helpful explaining the total operation.
 

resqpig

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Some traffic I heard yesterday while in Jefferson National Forest and around Buchanan on 415.225. It was very clear just south of Buchanan.

1342 hours: Talking about incoming storms and "green blobs" passing through Massanutten.

1730 hours: Law enforcement (LE) talking about warrant and alcohol violation from Parkway

1856 hours: Unit 21

1859 hours: "Unit 42 to 21 zone 3"..."73 will be enroute and will be your contact" (sounds like LE)

1701 hours: "Are you in the parking lot or up @ the dam on foot....I'm in the parking lot" (sounds like LE)
 
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