Friday, May 23, 2008

Weekend Events

The holiday weekend is certainly full of events. Here are three highlights:
  • Sunday evening: National Memorial Day Concert on West Lawn of the Capitol. The Capitol Police frequencies should be active. Also search both the 162-174 and 406-420 band for additional non-public safety frequencies used on the Capitol grounds. (Inputs to frequencies from 406-411 are 9 MHz higher.) There may also be some use of business-band frequencies by organizers coordinating seating, VIPs, etc. Search 461-470 MHz.
  • Sunday evening: "Summer Blast-Off" Concert at Wolf Trap. I have a couple of frequencies for Wolf Trap. 417.9750 [CSQ] (input 411.7750) is used by the Park Rangers. I've been advised that this channel is now P25 digital, however. (Frequencies are supposedly the same.) If anyone can confirm and possibly snag a NAC, it would be appreciated. Wolf Trap has also used 461.4250 [d712] for staff. In addition to this simplex frequency, they are also licensed for 464.8000, 466.4250, and 469.8000 (all simplex).
  • Monday at two: The National Memorial Day Parade on Constitution Avenue. In 2006, 151.5125 [173.8] was used for Parade Order/Scheduling, and 156.5150 [d114] was used for Golf Carts/Escorts. These frequencies were in rented radios from Blandchard's USA Radio Rentals. It's unknown if they'll be using the same frequencies, or even the same radio rental provider. Also note that USA Radio Rentals also rents UHF radios, so they might use that band. Check the DC Fire Special Events talkgroups for possible use, as well as MPD's SOD or Citywide 2 talkgroups. Finally, since this parade has many military ceremonial units, check the Ft. Myer trunked system for activity.

Arlington's New Project 25 System

After the Nats game on Wednesday night, I spent a little time listening to Arlington's P25 system. The audio quality was decent from near Capitol Hill, using the Radio Shack 800 MHz antenna on the BCD396T. There was some audio distortion and the like, but this is to be expected with a simulcast digital system. Overall, not too bad.

Since it was fairly late in the evening (10:30-11:15 or so) there wasn't a lot of traffic on the system. The Police and Fire talkgroups were correct as noted at RadioReference for some time. The Sheriff was active on talkgroups 62 and 66. 66 may be used for the jail. Police units made heavy use of I-calls, as they had on the analog system.

By the way, the analog system is still on the air, albeit in a diminished form. Arlington chose to keep an analog system active so that other jurisdictions can talk to them in mutual aid situations, etc. Smart (and necessary) move. As of that night, Falls Church Police are still on the analog system. It's unknown if they'll be migrating to the digital system.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Nat'l Museum of Crime and Punishment FCC App

The National Museum of Crime and Punishment, which opens on Friday near the Verizon Center, has an FCC application for two simplex frequencies (463.2500 and 463.2750).

Monday, May 19, 2008

Marine Corps Historic Half Marathon

Here what I found yesterday at the MC Historic Half in Fredericksburg:

Temporary Trunked System (System ID: 335 Site: 101 WACN: BEE0A):

386.0250, 386.1750, 386.3250, 386.4750, 386.6250, 386.7750, 388.5250*

5019 Organizers (encrypted)
5020 Organizers (encrypted)
5021 Organizers (encrypted)
5022 Organizers (encrypted)
5023 Organizers (encrypted)
5025 Organizers (encrypted)

146.4900 [ CSQ] Amateur Radio Support
155.9250 [131.8] Fredericksburg Police Tac (street closures)
158.8350 [203.5] Fredericksburg Fire Channel 2 (medical, bike teams, etc.)
451.3500 [ d143] Organizers (S)
463.7000 [ d152] Organizers (Channel 4) (S)

The temp P25 trunked system was a surprise, since the MC has a site right in the Fredericksburg area that I thought they'd be using. This trunked system has never been seen before. (The System ID is not listed in RadioReference.) The system was very low power. Maybe it's a new military system that will be transported around the region/country for special events...? Unfortunately, all transmissions were encrypted.

As noted in the list above, two UHF biz-band frequencies used by race organizers were also found. These may have been used by some kind of race-event production company that was assisting the Marines in running the Historic Half.

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Andrews Airshow

Beautiful weather for the airshow today. See this page for what I found (scroll to the bottom).

Friday, May 16, 2008

Weekend Events

There's one big event this weekend--the Andrews Air Force Base Airshow (if you don't count the Preakness in Baltimore). For an event this big, there's almost too much to monitor. For aviation frequencies, see this page at RadioReference. (It already lists a few 2008 freqs, since the teams practice in advance.) The Andrews 380 MHz trunked system will be busy, as it was last year. It's not known how much use the old analog 406 MHz trunked system will get. Most operations appear to have transitioned to the 380 system. Prince George's County Police and Fire/EMS provide public safety support. Look for them to use one or more of their tactical channels, in both repeater and simplex modes. Finally, search FRS/GMRS/business band for miscellaneous users, such as vendors, concessions, flight teams, spectators, etc.

The annual Monitoring Times Airshow Guide (PDF) has frequencies for the Blue Angels, Golden Knights, and many other teams that will be performing this weekend.

On Sunday in Fredericksburg, the Marines will hold the inaugural Marine Corps Historic Half Marathon. The Marines may use site 405 of this trunked system to communicate. The talkgroups for Marine special events are usually in the 63xxx range. Note that for the Marine Corps Marathon, most of the transmissions have been encrypted. It's unknown whether they'll be using encryption for this event, but it wouldn't be surprising. Fredericksburg Police and Fire/EMS will be providing public safety support. Fredericksburg Police may use their Tac channel (155.9250 [131.8]) for street closures.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Arlington County Finally Moving to P25 System

By this time next week, Arlington County should be using their Project 25 system for all services. (Only public works-type users are on it now, not public safety.) Here's a message from Lisa Thompson, the radio system manager:

The Emergency Communications Center (ECC) will move to its new location on Tuesday, May 20th. In order to transition the Public Safety radio users off of the old analog system onto the new digital system (which you have been using since last summer), we are asking that ALL RADIO TRAFFIC BE KEPT TO AN ABSOLUTE MINIMUM ON 5/20/08 FROM 0600 – 0900 HOURS. We need this because we will be systematically turning off radio channels on the old system and turning them ON in the new system. After the field users (police, sheriff, fire/ems), make the transition to the new radio system, ECC will be required to perform a roll call of each unit. This will unnaturally overburden the new system. After 0900, unless something unfortunate occurs, all radio channels will be up and functional, and normal operations can commence. I appreciate that this request will make operations difficult, and I thank you in advance for your cooperation. We are similarly requesting that all public safety radio users only transmit in urgent circumstances while we reduce their channel availability prior to cutover, and that they remain as silent as possible after cutover so we can assure that everyone is on the
right system.

Thank you !
Lisa Thompson
Radio System Manager

Congressional Country Club Frequencies

Someone on Scan-DC posted a great list of frequencies for Congressional Country Club. These will be very useful for the AT&T National Golf Tournament in early July. Here are the frequencies:

152.4050 [ d115] Security
151.8650 [ d115] Grounds
151.5200 [ d115] Clubhouse/Food & Beverage
151.5200 [ d311] Golf
154.5150 [ d115] Athletics
151.9550 [ d311] Spare 1
151.7750 [ d311] Spare 2
152.4050 [ d311] Management

Southern Maryland Blue Crabs FCC App

The Southern Maryland Blue Crabs, a new minor league baseball team that plays in Charles County, submitted an FCC application for five simplex frequencies. The frequencies are:


Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Weekend Recap

Here are some frequencies found from this past weekend:

DC101 Chili Cookoff 2008:
461.4250 [103.5] Organizers (radio rentals probably from USA Radio Rentals)
461.5125 [d152] CSC Event Staff (security/crowd control)
464.8125 [d155] Audio/Visual
DC Fire/EMS used talkgroup 2112.
Metropolitan Police used talkgroup 21232.

RFK Stadium (women's national soccer match):
451.2750 [d464] General communications among staff
451.3750 [d464] General communications among staff
461.5125 [d152] CSC Event Staff
464.5875 [d412] (probably a DC United frequency used for this game)
464.6250 [d152] (DC United frequency used for this game)
464.6500 [d412] (DC United frequency used for this game)

Other finds:
  • H&M security officers at their downtown location use 469.7625 [d155].
  • Shakespeare Theater Company's Harman Hall uses 452.7125 [d503] for guest services.
  • The Donovan House Hotel uses 463.3625 [d343] for housekeeping. 463.4375 [d343] is confirmed in use (unknown which department uses). Both frequencies are simplex.
See the website for even more frequencies found.

Washington Court Hotel FCC Application

The Washington Court hotel has submitted an FCC application for an additional frequency. The hotel is applying to operate a repeater on 464.3250 with thirty 4-watt mobile units.

The hotel currently operates a repeater on 464.4250 [d162]. This frequency appears to have all the hotel departments on it, so maybe they want another frequency to ease radio congestion.

Article in Post about Security at Nat'l Harbor

There's an article in today's Washington Post about security at the National Harbor development. It includes a picture of the "command center."

The article mentions that if there is a security issue, the dispatchers know where the closest officer is through use of GPS. This might be accomplished through an integrated GPS unit in their MOTOTRBO radios.

Friday, May 9, 2008

Tornado in Stafford Co. Last Night

There was some serious weather last night (to say the least) and I was listening for several hours on the (handheld) scanner. Stafford County's channels were the busiest I've ever heard them. It almost seemed at one point that they could have used another repeated channel or two on the Fire side. I'm sure the simplex equivalents of all the repeated channels were in heavy use, but for the most part I couldn't hear those from my location in Spotsylvania.

Stafford requested aid from as far away as Fairfax and Henrico. I'm not sure if the Henrico units ever showed up, but the much-respected Technical Rescue Operations Team (TROT) from Fairfax came to help. This team has expertise in confined-space rescues and searching for people in collapsed structures. Other jurisdictions helping out were Fredericksburg, Spotsylvania, Quantico Marine Corps Base, Prince William, and Fauquier.

Here are some frequencies/talkgroups monitored last night and today:
  • Stafford appears to be using 489.3125 [156.7] on the Sheriff side and 489.1125 [156.7] on the Fire side for command post operations as of today. The simplex equivalents of these channels are also being used heavily. When the storm was at its peak, all of Stafford's Fire channels were in use constantly.
  • Spotsylvania Fire used talkgroup 00-103 (Channel 4) for storm-related operations when the storm was at its peak. A lot of the traffic was dealing with clearing trees and checking flooded roads.
  • STARS talkgroup 2407 (VA Department of Emergency Management Ops 1) was active very briefly this morning with a unit saying that he was doing a storm survey in Spotsylvania. I searched for the 800 MHz control channel of the STARS mobile site (thinking that it may have been dispatched to Stafford), but did not find it.
  • VDOT active on 47.4000 [114.8].
  • Dominion Virginia Power active on 451.2750 [114.8].
  • Rappahannock Electric Cooperative active on 153.7100 [156.7].
  • 145.2700 [79.7] was active today with some traffic from hams manning an emergency operations center in conjunction with Stafford authorities and the Red Cross. Surprisingly, little to no traffic monitored last night during the storm.

Events This Weekend

Here are three notable events in DC this weekend:
  • The Women's National Soccer Team plays an exhibition against Canada at RFK Stadium at 7 PM Saturday. This is the first time either U.S. National team has played at RFK since 2003. RFK uses 464.3750 [110.9] for ops. Here are some DC United freqs:
      • 464.5000 [d412] DC United Ticketing/Box Office (Channel 6)
        464.5500 [d412] DC United "Corona party"
        464.6125 [d364] DC United "crowding Gate A"
        464.6250 [d152] DC United Engineering?; "check scripts"
        464.6500 [d412] DC United "play video"; "send ceremonial kickers"
        464.7250 [ ] DC United
        464.7500 [d152] DC United (Channel 5?)
        466.8250 [d412] DC United Media (Channel 3)
        469.5000 [d152] DC United Audio/Visual
  • The Chili Cook Off, a fairly large musical event, is Saturday at 11th and G NW. The organizers will probably use rented radios. The most recent info (2006) for this event that I have on my website indicates the radios may have been from USA Radio Rentals. 154.6400 [d131] was used by Operations/EMS (frequency may have been 154.6350). CSC event security used 461.5125 [d152], and audio/visual people used 464.8125 [d155]. Also check DC Fire for a talkgroup on their trunked system or a simplex frequency.
  • The Nationals are in town for a series against the Florida Marlins.

Thursday, May 8, 2008

Last Weekend Recap

It's almost next weekend, but here's some stuff found from last Saturday:
  • Nationals Park:
    • 464.5625 [91.5] Mentioned a "dugout." This was active for Saturday's game versus the Pirates. Maybe it's used by Pirates staff, as I've never seen it pop up at RFK or Nationals Park.
    • DC Fire was using 867.7625 [156.7] simplex for inside operations, and talkgroup 2096 for outside operations. I wonder if this is what they'll be doing from now on?
    • I didn't find any frequencies specifically for the concession manager, Centerplate. I did see at least one Centerplate employee using a MOTOTRBO radio, so maybe the Nationals have simply allocated Centerplate channels on their system.
  • Other DC finds:
    • Bed, Bath & Beyond is using 463.8125 [d116] at their Gallery Place location (for anyone who cares!)
    • Found a frequency for the new Harman Hall across from the Verizon Center: 464.5500 [d125]. I don't know if their previously-found UHF frequencies are obsolete. They are licensed for six UHF simplex frequencies--nothing found on those. More listening required.
    • Found a few more items for the Holiday Inn Capitol (the one near Air & Space). 461.7750 [d734] in use; unknown user. And 464.1000 is a repeater, and probably used by security.

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Fannie Mae Application

Fannie Mae, which is based in Washington, has an application for two UHF trunked systems. They will probably be LTR systems. One will be located at 7700 Wisconsin Ave. in Bethesda, and the other will be at 2115 Wisconsin Ave. in DC. The application indicates each system will have three frequencies.

Friday, May 2, 2008

Events This Weekend

Here are two events this weekend that will probably provide some monitoring:
  • The National Cathedral holds their annual Cathedral Flower Mart Friday and Saturday. (It's apparently much more than just flowers--it's kind of a festival, with many activities.) Anyway, here are some frequencies for the Cathedral:
      • 462.0250 [d445] Operations (Engineering?--may not be used by Cathedral)
      • 463.2250 [107.2] Security
      • 463.9500 [d131] (Housekeeping?--may not be used by Cathedral)
      • 467.7125 [233.6] Tour Guides
  • On Sunday, the U.S. Air Force Cycling Classic winds its way through Arlington. Arlington's analog (and maybe P25) trunked system should be quite active. Try analog talkgroup 33840, which is the Motors channel. Crystal City security uses 451.7750 [ d205].
The Nats finish up their current homestand this weekend against the Pirates. There are several big events outside the DC Metro area. In Spotsylvania, there is a Battle of Chancellorsville reenactment on Saturday and Sunday. In The Plains (VA) on Saturday, there is the Virginia Gold Cup. And in Richmond on Saturday, there is a NASCAR race.