Yellowstone Natl Park - ? direct channels ?

zerg901

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per 2016 info at https://www.readygallatin.com/downl...nts/18-FI-11011100-027__SCZOP_FullySigned.pdf - Yellowstone uses the following direct channels - unknown if this is field unit to field unit only - or if it is field unit to office/dispatcher

North Direct - 166.325 - PL 167.9

SOA Direct - 167.15 - PL 206.5

Lamar Direct - 166.375 - PL 192.8

South Direct - 165.5875 - PL 110.9

West Direct - 166.875 - PL 136.5

typically this info matches the output and PL of the primary repeater in each district - but there seems to be 4 repeaters that do NOT have an associated direct channel

Anyone have further details? I did not see this mentioned in the RRDB nor the RR Wiki

(I tried to run a search for the info at RR but got blocked by extension or whatever)
 

es93546

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Each frequency has a direct, with associated tones making such possible. This is for field units communicating with each other or when a ranger station is in direct communications range, employees may use direct. I think this would be the exception, but would work real well in the Mammoth and Old Faithful areas. The repeaters on each net do not have a remote base located there. I think everything is linked to dispatch and offices in Mammoth via a remote base on Mt. Washburn, which can hear each repeater. I believe that all dispatch and other offices communicated with field offices via the repeaters, unless the unit was very close to the ranger stations/visitor centers. The exception might be on Mt. Washburn, it is possible that on the North and Larmar nets have a remote base there. I've not returned to Yellowstone since the fires of 1988 and never traveled up to the park HQ area at Mammoth. A few days hanging around Mammoth and the northern portion of the park would allow someone the opportunity to figure out the system better.

When I was on the fires at this park in 1988, I tried to play around with their system by programming each net into my handheld. That is where I got this impression, however that has now been 32 years ago. In addition I was assigned to the North Fork Fire, that burned in the western portion of the park and on portions of the Targhee NF. I couldn't hear or work the southern repeaters or those along the eastern boundary of the park. I was in the "lurk and kerchunk mode" when the fire situation allowed, which wasn't all that often. We were based in a satellite camp of about 2,000 people in Island Park and the repeater coverage on the park system was limited.
 

BATT4410

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If this is what you are referring to, it’s correct. The direct channels you refer too are the output freqs on the repeaters in question. Receive is what you get from the repeater, transmit is what you talk into the repeater on.

Repeaters do not have a direct mode, your radio does. If repeaters operated in direct mode, would they be called “directors”?

Most radios in the Wildland realm have the capability to either push a button or flip a switch to go into direct mode, thus eliminating the repeater function. Agreement documents like this are used for agencies to program non-Wildland oriented radios to operate within the different jurisdictions when required, most likely on non field programmable radios. A non-wildland radio will have 4 separate channels for each repeater, just as outlined in the agreement. A Wildland oriented radio will normally only have 1 channel per repeater, and will use OST (operator selectable tones) to switch repeaters and a button/switch to use direct.

When you read the entire agreement, it pretty much spells it out. Some of the listed agencies do not respond initially to various types of calls, unless the AHJ is responding also. It doesn’t sound like a true boundary drop/auto aid situation, so that’s why the radio program is laid out in such a manner.

Additionally, much of the frequency information is outdated as soon as the next fire season arrives, or an new agreement is put in place. Personally, I would NEVER rely on a document that’s over a year old unless I’m physically able to confirm that the frequencies still work. I got embarrassed one time with an old frequency document while leading a strike team in Southern California, and swore it would never happen to me again.

My feelings are the same about the database. I would never add information unless I confirmed it was correct, or you’re just wasting the administrators time publishing bad information.
 

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es93546

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If this is what you are referring to, it’s correct. The direct channels you refer too are the output freqs on the repeaters in question. Receive is what you get from the repeater, transmit is what you talk into the repeater on.

Repeaters do not have a direct mode, your radio does. If repeaters operated in direct mode, would they be called “directors”?

Most radios in the Wildland realm have the capability to either push a button or flip a switch to go into direct mode, thus eliminating the repeater function. Agreement documents like this are used for agencies to program non-Wildland oriented radios to operate within the different jurisdictions when required, most likely on non field programmable radios. A non-wildland radio will have 4 separate channels for each repeater, just as outlined in the agreement. A Wildland oriented radio will normally only have 1 channel per repeater, and will use OST (operator selectable tones) to switch repeaters and a button/switch to use direct.

When you read the entire agreement, it pretty much spells it out. Some of the listed agencies do not respond initially to various types of calls, unless the AHJ is responding also. It doesn’t sound like a true boundary drop/auto aid situation, so that’s why the radio program is laid out in such a manner.

Additionally, much of the frequency information is outdated as soon as the next fire season arrives, or an new agreement is put in place. Personally, I would NEVER rely on a document that’s over a year old unless I’m physically able to confirm that the frequencies still work. I got embarrassed one time with an old frequency document while leading a strike team in Southern California, and swore it would never happen to me again.

My feelings are the same about the database. I would never add information unless I confirmed it was correct, or you’re just wasting the administrators time publishing bad information.
Repeaters do not have a direct mode, your radio does. If repeaters operated in direct mode, would they be called “directors”?

They are called remote bases. They transmit and receive on one frequency, then are linked back to the rest of the system via phone lines (internet included in some cases), UHF (in the NPS, USFS, etc.) or microwave. I don't know of many state repeaters or remote bases (CDF, DPR, DFW, Caltrans, CHP, OES) that aren't linked into the state's microwave backbone. That is probably what you are accustomed to. Microwave is in the minority on federal natural resource agency systems.

Most radios in the Wildland realm have the capability to either push a button or flip a switch to go into direct mode, thus eliminating the repeater function.

I retired quite a number of years ago and at the time none of the federal BK radios had a direct/repeat switch. I'm not sure they do now as I've never heard any direct traffic on any of the 3 nets on the Inyo NF. Most forests in R5 have a direct channel in the radios for forest, admin and sometimes service net. The direct channels are the odd numbered ones on the radio. Example CH1 is direct forest net, CH2 is repeater forest net, CH3 is direct admin net, CH4 is repeater admin net and CH5 is direct CH 6 repeater. If they had a direct/repeater switch on the radio, this simplex channel would not be needed, leading me to believe the federal radios don't have this switch. The same is true for the NPS and BLM radio programs. I know I hear direct traffic on Caltrans radios, both mobiles and handhelds, with frequent traffic where someone says "You're all broken up on direct, switch to repeater." I had a Caltrans radio at home for evenings while supervising the cleaning of a state rest area for a few years. It did not show separate channels for repeat and direct on it.

I think zerg was thinking that each repeater site had a remote base as well. Most of my experience is with with federal natural resource agency systems, which are different than most state and local systems. I worked in 4 states and 3 USFS regions, interfacing with 2 large national parks (Grand Canyon and Yosemite), one small national monument, the BLM in one state, 4 state governments, 8 counties and private comm providers; both large [ATT and MCA (now Sprint)] and small; in remote, rural counties. I could compare the fed, with state and the local systems.

The federal systems are different.

First, there are few remote bases, most often just one for an entire park, forest or BLM district. Some might have a couple more when terrain requires it. The Inyo NF has two, one for the north net on Silver Peak near Bishop and one on Mazourka Peak for the south net. Both are line of sight to the comm center in Bishop. Each have repeaters at them as well. The number of remote bases on the Angeles and San Bernardino NF's is unusual in my experience, It all depends on the topography of the unit, the distances involved and the work loads (i.e. more work more radio traffic).

Second, the federal systems, on average cover rougher topography over wider areas. Sometimes this requires different nets for different areas, common in the Pacific Northwest and in the Northern Rockies, some of those having 2-4 nets on one national forest. National parks are installing more "multicast systems" as well, with each repeater having a different frequency pair, or some that have a common input frequency that is linked and uses voting to send the best signal to all the other repeaters. In some national parks fire and admin have different nets. The workload and topography of Grand Canyon National Park requires law enforcement, medical, admin, fire and tactical repeater nets, each on 3 sites that are multicast, two more that are not networked currently and not on all nets and 2 more sites proposed for all the nets. All the repeaters have, or will have, a common input frequency for each net. The existing system uses 24 frequencies for the repeaters and I'm not entirely sure how they are linked.

Third the linking is different. Microwave linking is expensive to install and maintain, plus is best when commercial power is available. Commercial power is not that common on mountain peaks in National Parks and National Forests, so solar powered 400 MHz linking is more common. Microwave requires a more substantial tower and larger, more obtrusive dishes, not compatible with scenic view goals on many peaks. A small beam is the only additional antenna required for UHF linking. Another issue concerning federal natural resource systems are repeater sites are in wilderness areas, where either Congress draws a small circle around the repeaters that are not included in the wilderness designation legislation or the bill lists the repeater sites as known exceptions to the Wilderness Act of 1964's "no permanent structures" clause. The repeater sites are allowed to remain as long as they aren't upgraded physically from that in existence when the bill of wilderness designation was signed. In some cases, a 2-3 repeater sites outside a wilderness area were added to replace one site in a wilderness that needed upgrading and/or was tough to get to. These replacement sites would be vehicle accessible and not helicopter, horseback and hiking/climbing sites. Linking (UHF and microwave) takes more power, so most of the time a repeater site is stand alone, without linking and thus no remote bases used. As an example the Sequoia National Forest was using a lot of microwave links at one point, many or all of those provided by the State of California. That got to be quite expensive and I understand there was some USFS 400 MHz linking put back into the system as federal natural resource agency budgets plummeted. In California microwave linking popped up on the forests with the highest budgets, which frequently came with a lot of "timber money," those forests with a lot of timber cutting, e.g. the Plumas, the Sequoia, the Sierra and the Stanislaus. I think the Shasta-T is included, but I'm not sure. The Klamath is likely in that position as well, but I'm not familiar with their linking at all. That is no longer true as timber sales have been dialed back to match the levels that ecosystems can sustain. How the Angeles got so much microwaving, I can't explain.

There isn't a "one size fits all" type of system in the NPS, USFS, BLM and USFWS. There are some similarities, but topography, workload and budgets have a great deal of influence. If a person's experience, both working and listening, is on state/local systems, you have to put on a different thinking cap when considering federal natural resource systems.
 
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BATT4410

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Repeaters do not have a direct mode, your radio does. If repeaters operated in direct mode, would they be called “directors”?

They are called remote bases. They transmit and receive on one frequency, then are linked back to the rest of the system via phone lines (internet included in some cases), UHF (in the NPS, USFS, etc.) or microwave. I don't know of many state repeaters or remote bases (CDF, DPR, DFW, Caltrans, CHP, OES) that aren't linked into the state's microwave backbone. That is probably what you are accustomed to. Microwave is in the minority on federal natural resource agency systems.

Most radios in the Wildland realm have the capability to either push a button or flip a switch to go into direct mode, thus eliminating the repeater function.

I retired quite a number of years ago and at the time none of the federal BK radios had a direct/repeat switch. I'm not sure they do now as I've never heard any direct traffic on any of the 3 nets on the Inyo NF. Most forests in R5 have a direct channel in the radios for forest, admin and sometimes service net. The direct channels are the odd numbered ones on the radio. Example CH1 is direct forest net, CH2 is repeater forest net, CH3 is direct admin net, CH4 is repeater admin net and CH5 is direct CH 6 repeater. If they had a direct/repeater switch on the radio, this simplex channel would not be needed, leading me to believe the federal radios don't have this switch. The same is true for the NPS and BLM radio programs. I know I hear direct traffic on Caltrans radios, both mobiles and handhelds, with frequent traffic where someone says "You're all broken up on direct, switch to repeater." I had a Caltrans radio at home for evenings while supervising the cleaning of a state rest area for a few years. It did not show separate channels for repeat and direct on it.

I think zerg was thinking that each repeater site had a remote base as well. Most of my experience is with with federal natural resource agency systems, which are different than most state and local systems. I worked in 4 states and 3 USFS regions, interfacing with 2 large national parks (Grand Canyon and Yosemite), one small national monument, the BLM in one state, 4 state governments, 8 counties and private comm providers; both large [ATT and MCA (now Sprint)] and small; in remote, rural counties. I could compare the fed, with state and the local systems.

The federal systems are different.

First, there are few remote bases, most often just one for an entire park, forest or BLM district. Some might have a couple more when terrain requires it. The Inyo NF has two, one for the north net on Silver Peak near Bishop and one on Mazourka Peak for the south net. Both are line of sight to the comm center in Bishop. Each have repeaters at them as well. The number of remote bases on the Angeles and San Bernardino NF's is unusual in my experience, It all depends on the topography of the unit, the distances involved and the work loads (i.e. more work more radio traffic).

Second, the federal systems, on average cover rougher topography over wider areas. Sometimes this requires different nets for different areas, common in the Pacific Northwest and in the Northern Rockies, some of those having 2-4 nets on one national forest. National parks are installing more "multicast systems" as well, with each repeater having a different frequency pair, or some that have a common input frequency that is linked and uses voting to send the best signal to all the other repeaters. In some national parks fire and admin have different nets. The workload and topography of Grand Canyon National Park requires law enforcement, medical, admin, fire and tactical repeater nets, each on 3 sites that are multicast, two more that are not networked currently and not on all nets and 2 more sites proposed for all the nets. All the repeaters have, or will have, a common input frequency for each net. The existing system uses 24 frequencies for the repeaters and I'm not entirely sure how they are linked.

Third the linking is different. Microwave linking is expensive to install and maintain, plus is best when commercial power is available. Commercial power is not that common on mountain peaks in National Parks and National Forests, so solar powered 400 MHz linking is more common. Microwave requires a more substantial tower and larger, more obtrusive dishes, not compatible with scenic view goals on many peaks. A small beam is the only additional antenna required for UHF linking. Another issue concerning federal natural resource systems are repeater sites are in wilderness areas, where either Congress draws a small circle around the repeaters that are not included in the wilderness designation legislation or the bill lists the repeater sites as known exceptions to the Wilderness Act of 1964's "no permanent structures" clause. The repeater sites are allowed to remain as long as they aren't upgraded physically from that in existence when the bill of wilderness designation was signed. In some cases, a 2-3 repeater sites outside a wilderness area were added to replace one site in a wilderness that needed upgrading and/or was tough to get to. These replacement sites would be vehicle accessible and not helicopter, horseback and hiking/climbing sites. Linking (UHF and microwave) takes more power, so most of the time a repeater site is stand alone, without linking and thus no remote bases used. As an example the Sequoia National Forest was using a lot of microwave links at one point, many or all of those provided by the State of California. That got to be quite expensive and I understand there was some USFS 400 MHz linking put back into the system as federal natural resource agency budgets plummeted. In California microwave linking popped up on the forests with the highest budgets, which frequently came with a lot of "timber money," those forests with a lot of timber cutting, e.g. the Plumas, the Sequoia, the Sierra and the Stanislaus. I think the Shasta-T is included, but I'm not sure. The Klamath is likely in that position as well, but I'm not familiar with their linking at all. That is no longer true as timber sales have been dialed back to match the levels that ecosystems can sustain. How the Angeles got so much microwaving, I can't explain.

There isn't a "one size fits all" type of system in the NPS, USFS, BLM and USFWS. There are some similarities, but topography, workload and budgets have a great deal of influence. If a person's experience, both working and listening, is on state/local systems, you have to put on a different thinking cap when considering federal natural resource systems.
OK. I’ll defer to your vast knowledge of these systems. You definitely seem to have all the answers.

I only spent my career with the State, having had the opportunity to work in and supervise 2 Command Centers. I even helped write the original interoperability radio load with Alan Columbro after he served on the Blue Ribbon Commission after the 2003 Fire season. I do know a small bit about the state radio system.

After my retirement, I went to work for the Federal government. I use Federal radio systems on a daily basis, so I do have a tiny understanding of how they work. I totally understand the need for multiple channels assigned to different uses on forests and parks. I talk to Yosemite on a regular basis on all 5 of their assigned channels, with 2 of the repeaters being mixed-mode (analog & P25) capable. One of their repeaters uses encryption on an frequency/channel I will not share.

The radios of today (and the way they are programmed) are vastly different that those of 1988. The radios in use now are a mix of Midlands and Bendix Kings. I think the current channel capacity sits at 5000, and with the capability to do P25 mixed mode and trunking. Radios in Region 5 are a different animal entirely due to the interoperability requirement.

I have also written multiple agreements like the one referenced, and know exactly why they are written that way.

Lastly, who should I call to have the user programmable DIRECT button de-programmed on my mobile, and the DIR button removed from my HT?
 

es93546

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OK. I’ll defer to your vast knowledge of these systems. You definitely seem to have all the answers.

I only spent my career with the State, having had the opportunity to work in and supervise 2 Command Centers. I even helped write the original interoperability radio load with Alan Columbro after he served on the Blue Ribbon Commission after the 2003 Fire season. I do know a small bit about the state radio system.

After my retirement, I went to work for the Federal government. I use Federal radio systems on a daily basis, so I do have a tiny understanding of how they work. I totally understand the need for multiple channels assigned to different uses on forests and parks. I talk to Yosemite on a regular basis on all 5 of their assigned channels, with 2 of the repeaters being mixed-mode (analog & P25) capable. One of their repeaters uses encryption on an frequency/channel I will not share.

The radios of today (and the way they are programmed) are vastly different that those of 1988. The radios in use now are a mix of Midlands and Bendix Kings. I think the current channel capacity sits at 5000, and with the capability to do P25 mixed mode and trunking. Radios in Region 5 are a different animal entirely due to the interoperability requirement.

I have also written multiple agreements like the one referenced, and know exactly why they are written that way.

Lastly, who should I call to have the user programmable DIRECT button de-programmed on my mobile, and the DIR button removed from my HT?
I'm sorry I offended you. I wasn't trying to question your knowledge. My knowledge is not vast, I worked a 25 year career with the USFS, had assignments on 100+ fires and helped with the design of new radio systems on 2 of the 4 national forests I worked on. I spent all but 7 years in the field, first as an FPT, then as a field supervisor. I had to understand how the comm system on each forest worked as well as those on surrounding jurisdictions as I worked alone in some fairly remote locations. My knowledge is limited to what I gained during those experiences.

I was actually trying to provide zerg901 with the information he needed as he doesn't seem to understand how these federal natural resource agency systems work. He lives in Massachusetts and doesn't get the chance to listen directly (he listens to a lot of western radio systems, the USFS included) and doesn't seem to know the circumstances that drive system design much. I did not make it clear that the info was for him. Everything below the paragraph that starts with " I think zerg was thinking " was for him, not you. I should have written separate posts to him. I understand your reaction if you thought I was making these comments for you. I indicated what year I observed the things I mentioned. I fully understand that things could have changed, including the main point of contention, if I've assessed properly. That would be the direct/repeat switch on the Bendix-King and King radios. I retired in the early 2000'and acknowledge that many things have changed, but try to keep up using contacts within the USFS and by getting radio system user guides that are current. I have several of them from all over the country and most are current from 2020.

My main point with what you posted is that if the USFS radios have this switch, then why do they waste a channel to program a simplex channel, when a mere flip of that switch could allow the radio to be operated simplex on any repeater channel? I haven't heard anyone of the two forest nets and service net on the Inyo NF using direct for many years, perhaps 15. This coincides with the removal of the simplex channels for these nets They all use R5 project net for simplex. I know that radios on California state systems have had a direct/repeat switch on them for a very long time, probably back to the early 80's when I transferred to the state from New Mexico.

I'm going to reread all those user guides to see if any of them mention the direct/repeat switch. I will take a look at the radio specs NIFC has on their website. If they include such a switch it will confirm what you say and I have no problem with that. I've been wrong before and will be wrong again. It will still leave me wondering why the USFS, NPS and BLM use an additional channel for simplex when this switch eliminates the need to do so.

I'm now in my 70's and don't seem to communicate at all times as well as I did just a few years ago. Unfortunately, I seem to get into significant miscommunication situations more often than before, now about 5-6 times per year when it used to be no more than 1-2 per year.

olives-branch-with-leaves_87414-3896.jpg ?
 
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BATT4410

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Here is the key set up as defined in February 2020:
EEFC495F-6F03-4023-92C6-37242260152E.jpeg
It clearly shows PL disable, as well as 2 additional blank keys for other functions.

I think you are confusing the Radio Channel Load with the capabilities of the radio itself. If any Forest chooses to use the ancient frequency load method to set up their radio, thus wasting channel space, that’s totally up to them. I see this all the time. Some choose to use the capabilities of the radio to their advantage, and can have quite a bit more flexibility in its use. The radios come set up as per NIFC specs, and then the Forest radio techs mess with them even further. That’s why you have so many variables in everything in the field. Technically, the radio still meets NIFC specs, but it’s set up for local use.
That’s where I run into a problem with your hard line stance that everything is the same on every Forest. I can assure you that it’s not by any means. If you are of the mind that everyone is following NIFC standards to the letter and programming radios to follow suit, you are very mistaken.
 

zerg901

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no no no - dont drag me into this - just because I live in Massachusetts

my question has not changed - if there are 10 repeaters, why are there only 6 direct channels? can the dispatchers monitor the direct channels or not? it makes a difference to scanner users (some of them)
 

BATT4410

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no no no - dont drag me into this - just because I live in Massachusetts

my question has not changed - if there are 10 repeaters, why are there only 6 direct channels? can the dispatchers monitor the direct channels or not? it makes a difference to scanner users (some of them)
Each set of repeaters listed is on the same RX/TX frequency, separated by different PL’s. The RX frequency on the repeater is used at the direct frequency.

For example, there are 14 repeaters on my Forest with different PL’s, but there is only 1 direct frequency. They do not go through the repeater or any receivers, and yes, the dispatcher can hear them if we are close enough.

Take another look at the list. There are 10 total repeaters, each on the same frequency, separated by different PL’s. There are 5 associated direct frequencies which is correct. The fire cache ops and NPS direct frequencies are in direct mode all the time, they are not repeated.

Also, for scanner programming, you always use the RX frequency anyway. Unless you assign it PL protection on that channel, you will hear everything that goes through all of the repeaters if you are in range.
 

es93546

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I think I know what zerg901 is thinking, so I will take a stab at this. BATT4410, I will try to explain this in a way that zerg might be thinking. You and I have used systems similar to Yellowstone's for decades, but zerg has not. I understand your last post, but zerg may not as he apparently does not have have the same level of experience we do.

There are 6 nets at Yellowstone NP, if you include the Fire Cache Ops direct net. The other five nets are: North, Larmar, South, West and SOA (Scene of Action). There are 11 repeaters assigned to those 5 nets. Each repeater transmits the input tone on the output frequency.

I believe zerg thinks that each radio has a separate channel for each repeater. Therefore, to have simplex channels they too must have the input and output tonea of each repeater in it, which would require 11 simplex channels.

However, this is not the case. The radios are probably programmed with a channel for each net, with no tone guarding on the receive. This enables the radios to hear all of the repeaters on each net, without a separate channel for each repeater. The radio has a tone switch to select input tone for each repeater, but zerg might think at this point, then why have the input tone transmitted on the output frequency? This is done so the base radio consoles, located at dispatch for sure and maybe some of the base stations at ranger stations and visitor centers, will display the repeater transmitting. If mobile and handheld radios had a channel for each repeater, along with tone guard on the receive, they would not hear the other repeaters when the radio is on a single channel. That is not done on these systems as everyone needs to hear every repeater when the radio is on the channel for a particular net. zerg might be thinking that if separate channels for each repeater is in a radio, that the user can hear all the repeaters if the radio is scanning. That to is not how these systems, like Yellowstone's, are set up.

Yellowstone is not unique in having an output tone for each repeater. On the Inyo National Forest, just like Yellowstone, the input tone is transmitted on the output frequency of each repeater. On the Sierra NF, a different tone is transmitted on each repeater. Example, mobile/handheld radios use Tone 54 (146.2) to select the repeater at Shuteye Peak, but this repeater transmits a different tone on its output, I think 82.5 (a non NIFC standard tone), if memory serves me correctly. This 82.5 tone is not listed in the radio guides used by field personnel because it does not affect the operation of their radios. Why use a different output tone than the input on each repeater. I was once told this is done so a "radio hacker" can't use a scanner to find the output tone, then put it in a radio to transmit on that repeater. That is not my opinion, it is just what I heard.

zerg901, if you look at frequency listings for different federal natural resource agencies you will find some systems similar to Yellowstone's. In the Northern Rockies Geographical Coordination Center Frequency Guide it is the only one. None of the other national parks and national forests list transmitting any tone on the outputs of each repeater. They might have some other means of identifying repeaters on the linking systems they use, but we don't know that as this is the part of each system that field personnel have no need to know. It works and personnel only need to know the locations and input tones for each repeater. I have no idea how the four national forests in southern California identify each repeater in use as they all have Tone 8 (103.5) on the output of every channel, repeater of direct. Like BATT4410 posted, there are a lot of different systems, with variable design features.

Lastly, zerg901, I was not trying to pick on you for living in Massachusetts. I was just acknowledging that you can't use a scanner to listen directly to these systems and be able to observe directly how they work. Massachusetts has a little less than 6.8 million acres, that is about the size of 4 smaller national forests. The Humboldt-Toiyabe NF is nearly 6.3 million acres, containing 24 designated wilderness areas. The radio systems are very different than what you likely listen to at home.
 

es93546

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no no no - dont drag me into this - just because I live in Massachusetts

my question has not changed - if there are 10 repeaters, why are there only 6 direct channels? can the dispatchers monitor the direct channels or not? it makes a difference to scanner users (some of them)
I didn't address you second question "can the dispatchers monitor the direct channels or not?" This is hard to answer as we don't have information about the park's remote bases. There is at least, a remote base on Mt. Washburn and the dispatchers would be able to hear the direct channels in the range of that location. I would guess that there is at least one more. In my experience remote bases are located on peaks with commercial power, that may not be the case here.

I have 2 items to share. These are all based on a website I think is now unavailable, "Secret Yellowstone." I have drawn in the best info I've been able to get.
 

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es93546

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Here is the key set up as defined in February 2020:
View attachment 92323
It clearly shows PL disable, as well as 2 additional blank keys for other functions.

I think you are confusing the Radio Channel Load with the capabilities of the radio itself. If any Forest chooses to use the ancient frequency load method to set up their radio, thus wasting channel space, that’s totally up to them. I see this all the time. Some choose to use the capabilities of the radio to their advantage, and can have quite a bit more flexibility in its use. The radios come set up as per NIFC specs, and then the Forest radio techs mess with them even further. That’s why you have so many variables in everything in the field. Technically, the radio still meets NIFC specs, but it’s set up for local use.
That’s where I run into a problem with your hard line stance that everything is the same on every Forest. I can assure you that it’s not by any means. If you are of the mind that everyone is following NIFC standards to the letter and programming radios to follow suit, you are very mistaken.
I have a picture of a current BLM handheld that doesn't show a "direct/repeat" switch. Thank you for pointing out that most federal radios now have a switch of that. I went back to some recordings I made from my scanner. All the Inyo NF nets are in the scanner, as well as Cal Fire nets (San Bernardino Local 3 and Command 1). I have hours of it. I've heard on three communications, the unit or the dispatcher saying "do you copy direct?" I hadn't noticed that when the transmission were live, or I was out range of my scanner and the two remote location speakers I have, one in the garage and the other in the living room. I now see that some forests, like the Inyo NF, are removing the old "odd channels are direct" traditional programming. I wonder if the other forests still have radios without the direct/repeater switch. They also may be bound by tradition and still program in direct as a separate channel. As you pointed out, that is a waste of channels.

I stand corrected here. I should not have been so sure of what I thought was the current situation, based on how things were when I retired. A mistake for sure. You have more current information. I looked back in my R5 directories and noticed that the Inyo stopped programming a simplex channel when, in 2010, they established north and south nets. I would guess that at the time they also obtained radios equipped with the switch. I wish I didn't get so pig headed at times, my fault.

Edit: here is that picture of a BLM radio:
 

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BATT4410

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Here is exactly what I was getting at:

5D719859-2D94-4D28-8359-FFEF80231EF0.jpeg

‘This is the button that is most often used, but any of the OPEN buttons can be programmed for Direct use:

4DFCD810-EE0D-48AE-A75B-25365CF9D976.jpeg
There are even more changes coming. It NEVER ends....
 

zerg901

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I just looked over the freq info again. Users of the Cooke, Top Notch, Bechler, Holmes Ridge, SOA2, and SOA 3 repeaters cannot hear any direct comms. That does not seem to make any sense. (Please dont say that users can turn off their receive PL - that makes even less sense)

The channel load is developed based on field radio capabilitys, coverage goals, usage goals, operator simplicity, linkage infrastructure, organizational setup, topography, etc.

We really need an up to date channel load to examine.

NOTES

Yellowstone is "exclusive" NPS jurisdiction iirc. Meaning that NPS has full responsibility for all local and county government functions in the Park. (Maybe Yosemite is the only other National Park Service site with exclusive jurisdiction). Therefore the Yellowstone NPS radio system supports police, structural fire, wildland fire, SAR, EMS, technical rescue, publics works, etc users.

Yosemite fire units include approx 5 structural fire engines plus 1 helo plus 2 wildland pumpers. EMS units might be 5 ambulances. I suspect that the "fire cache" channel is used just by the wildland fire units. Unknown if a paging system is used in the Park.

The Yosemite fire helo might also be tasked with EMS responsibilitys. iirc the Grand Canyon NPS fire helo is also tasked with EMS response dutys. Which raises the question - which channel does the Yosemite helo really use on a day by day basis?

Repeaters can be primarily used to extend the range of field units - and/or they can be primarily used to provide comms between field units and dispatchers. Maybe this has a bearing on the given channel load from 2016.

-----------------

MAYBE the repeaters only have tones on the outputs so the dispatchers know which repeater is being used. Maybe the field units ALL operate with their receive PL disabled (aka CSQ aka PL 0.0)
 
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BATT4410

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Are you talking about Yellowstone or Yosemite? For Yosemite, I can tell you this:

Yosemite does not have an assigned fire cache or SAR cache frequency. They use the assigned incident TAC net when activated. Fire cache frequencies are used by those that staff and distribute the cache contents. Units will not normally operate on the frequencies on a daily basis.

Yosemite uses a paging system for various responses, i.e., structure fires, SAR missions, etc. This is simply to alert the park employees who are volunteers for the various functions. There isn’t any sort of station alerting systems, just belt worn pagers assigned to the volunteers.

The Yosemite helicopter (Copter 551) does not do EMS work, per say. They are not appropriately staffed to do so as their primary mission is fire response. They will retrieve the patient via short haul, LZ pickup, etc, and then transport them to rendezvous with the local private EMS ship. Anything more than that is a violation of the Pressler Bill. Copter 551 operates on whichever frequency is being used for the incident. SAR missions are usually on the LE frequency, fires on the Fire frequency, etc. They stay on the fire frequency during the day, but usually get dispatched by a phone call from dispatch.

All radios on the Forest that I work on operate with CSQ on the receive side, as you described. The wild card here is if the radio load in question is in a separate radio in the console, which is only used in auto/mutual aid scenarios, or programmed into a selected bank in the radio which is designated for these responses.

Either way, for scanner folks, programming everything with no PL’s will allow you to hear everything.
 

BATT4410

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Here is what’s listed in the 2020 Aviation Guide for the Gallatin NF and Yellowstone:

5F672C2A-84D9-4D70-9B66-A27137521F4D.jpeg
 

es93546

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I just looked over the freq info again. Users of the Cooke, Top Notch, Bechler, Holmes Ridge, SOA2, and SOA 3 repeaters cannot hear any direct comms. That does not seem to make any sense. (Please dont say that users can turn off their receive PL - that makes even less sense)

The channel load is developed based on field radio capabilitys, coverage goals, usage goals, operator simplicity, linkage infrastructure, organizational setup, topography, etc.

We really need an up to date channel load to examine.

NOTES

Yellowstone is "exclusive" NPS jurisdiction iirc. Meaning that NPS has full responsibility for all local and county government functions in the Park. (Maybe Yosemite is the only other National Park Service site with exclusive jurisdiction). Therefore the Yellowstone NPS radio system supports police, structural fire, wildland fire, SAR, EMS, technical rescue, publics works, etc users.

Yosemite fire units include approx 5 structural fire engines plus 1 helo plus 2 wildland pumpers. EMS units might be 5 ambulances. I suspect that the "fire cache" channel is used just by the wildland fire units. Unknown if a paging system is used in the Park.

The Yosemite fire helo might also be tasked with EMS responsibilitys. iirc the Grand Canyon NPS fire helo is also tasked with EMS response dutys. Which raises the question - which channel does the Yosemite helo really use on a day by day basis?

Repeaters can be primarily used to extend the range of field units - and/or they can be primarily used to provide comms between field units and dispatchers. Maybe this has a bearing on the given channel load from 2016.

-----------------

MAYBE the repeaters only have tones on the outputs so the dispatchers know which repeater is being used. Maybe the field units ALL operate with their receive PL disabled (aka CSQ aka PL 0.0)
Maybe Yosemite is the only other National Park Service site with exclusive jurisdiction

There are many more, although I've searched many times to find a definitive list, with no success. I've searched for them individually by park. In California Sequoia-Kings Canyon and Lassen Volcanic National Parks are exclusive jurisdictions. This is not a complete list but, Mt Rainier, Olympic, Glacier, Crater Lake, Rocky Mountain, Big Bend (Texas), Mammoth Caves, Great Smoky Mountains, Shenandoah, and Hawaii National Parks are all exclusive jurisdictions. Here is a link to the federal laws establishing national parks, national recreation areas, national conservation areas and other special areas on federal lands.

Federal Law Establishing Units of the National Park System and other Special Management Areas on Federal Land

I've only gotten about half way through this in several sessions in the past few years. My list of exclusive jurisdictions is limited and there are likely more. I also have not gone to the point of determining the jurisdiction types of the non-exclusive national park system units, those being either concurrent or proprietary. Maybe, with your extensive web searching skills, you can find a listing of National Park System units by jurisdiction types.

MAYBE the repeaters only have tones on the outputs so the dispatchers know which repeater is being used. Maybe the field units ALL operate with their receive PL disabled (aka CSQ aka PL 0.0)

This is not a maybe. Both BATT4410 and I have used similar natural resource and wildland fire agency radio systems extensively in California. BATT4410 has experience with the design and specifications of state and federal radio systems. His knowledge is extensive and he access to a significant amount of information. During my 3 decade career with the USFS, 110 fire assignments, temporary work assignments and numerous personnel misconduct investigations I've monitored and used the radio systems on 9 national forests in California, 3 in Arizona, 3 in New Mexico, 2 in Nevada and 1 in Idaho, as well as 4 national parks. I've traveled and backpacked in all 11 western states and most of my monitoring has been of natural resource/land management agencies. I've been a resident of 4 western states. All of this gives me direct experience with a significant number of the radio systems of these agencies. The Yellowstone radio system is no different than most national forest, national park, state forestry agency state fish/wildlife/game agencies. They all work with unique tones to access repeaters, with the absence of tone guarding on the receive side of the net channels in the system. I will repeat here, if tone guarding was used on the receive side, people would not be able to receive all the traffic on a net that is within range of their radios. In my experience that would be dangerous as situations and incidents in other areas of a park or forest affected me continuously.

I don't know how to answer your original question any better than I have. You don't seem to believe what BATT4410 or I relate to you.
 
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zerg901

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to es93456 - dont see any list of areas - but this document says there are 4 types of Federal Facilities Juridictional Status - https://disposal.gsa.gov/resource/1531922197000/FederalFacilitiesJurisdictionalStatus

note the mention of "Inventory Report on Jurisdictional Status of Federal Areas Within the States" - lets see if we can find that online - here is 1962 version - https://publiclandjurisdiction.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/01/NCNORT2.pdf

looks like the inventory has not been updated since 1962 -"Inventory Report on Jurisdictional Status of Federal Areas Within the States" - Google Search
 
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es93546

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I just looked over the freq info again. Users of the Cooke, Top Notch, Bechler, Holmes Ridge, SOA2, and SOA 3 repeaters cannot hear any direct comms. That does not seem to make any sense. (Please dont say that users can turn off their receive PL - that makes even less sense)

The channel load is developed based on field radio capabilitys, coverage goals, usage goals, operator simplicity, linkage infrastructure, organizational setup, topography, etc.

We really need an up to date channel load to examine.

NOTES

Yellowstone is "exclusive" NPS jurisdiction iirc. Meaning that NPS has full responsibility for all local and county government functions in the Park. (Maybe Yosemite is the only other National Park Service site with exclusive jurisdiction). Therefore the Yellowstone NPS radio system supports police, structural fire, wildland fire, SAR, EMS, technical rescue, publics works, etc users.

Yosemite fire units include approx 5 structural fire engines plus 1 helo plus 2 wildland pumpers. EMS units might be 5 ambulances. I suspect that the "fire cache" channel is used just by the wildland fire units. Unknown if a paging system is used in the Park.

The Yosemite fire helo might also be tasked with EMS responsibilitys. iirc the Grand Canyon NPS fire helo is also tasked with EMS response dutys. Which raises the question - which channel does the Yosemite helo really use on a day by day basis?

Repeaters can be primarily used to extend the range of field units - and/or they can be primarily used to provide comms between field units and dispatchers. Maybe this has a bearing on the given channel load from 2016.

-----------------

MAYBE the repeaters only have tones on the outputs so the dispatchers know which repeater is being used. Maybe the field units ALL operate with their receive PL disabled (aka CSQ aka PL 0.0)
Death Valley and Grand Canyon have concurrent jurisdictions. In each park the NPS provides all the services you mentioned, with the county and states providing some in specific incidents. For example, a state highway provides east to west access in Death Valley. There is a parcel of private land at Furnace Creek. The CHP, Caltrans and Inyo County all have personnel living at the Cow Creek interagency work center just north of Furnace Creek. Inyo County does not patrol the extensive dirt road system of the park and does not have any EMS personnel stationed in the park. The NPS provides EMT's/paramedic and transport ambulance services and nearly all law enforcement services outside Furnace Creek. Quite often NPS protection rangers are first on scene on incidents on the private land at Furnace Creek. There is a Furnace Creek volunteer fire department staffed by employees of these agencies and Xanterra Parks & Resorts, the owner of the private land. At Grand Canyon, Coconino County and the State of Arizona have little presence for emergency services and people control. The highways in the park are not built or maintained by the state, even though some maps show the Arizona State Highway 64 number within the park, which is erroneous.
 

es93546

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to es93456 - dont see any list of areas - but this document says there are 4 types of Federal Facilities Juridictional Status - https://disposal.gsa.gov/resource/1531922197000/FederalFacilitiesJurisdictionalStatus

note the mention of "Inventory Report on Jurisdictional Status of Federal Areas Within the States" - lets see if we can find that online - here is 1962 version - https://publiclandjurisdiction.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/01/NCNORT2.pdf

looks like the inventory has not been updated since 1962 -"Inventory Report on Jurisdictional Status of Federal Areas Within the States" - Google Search
Thanks for your effort zerg! The 1962 report is cumbersome to work with. So many park units have been added since then and some new national forests have been established since then as well. When you go through the reference I provided some show parks changing jurisdictions from concurrent to proprietary, and some the opposite. A lot of these changes have occured post 1962. This report won't show the parks in Alaska as they didn't exist at the time, with the exception of Denali, which is likely listed as "Mt. Mckinley National Park."

I would think that the NPS would have a single, comprehensive list available to the public and if they don't have an internal list I would be very surprised. If an officer is transferring, traveling to temporary assignments or on incident assignments it would be necessary information.
 
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