14 June 2019 Charleston/Beaufort Road Trip Scanning Report

On Friday morning, I called an audible and took a short road trip to Charleston, SC to visit Patriot’s Point and the North Charleston Fire Museum, then spent the night in Beaufort, SC before going back home on Saturday morning. As usual, I had the mobile station radios going but it was hard to pay them a lot of attention due to the massive amount of traffic I ran into during the afternoon in Charleston and the evening in Beaufort. The Whistler TRX-2 and Uniden Home Patrol 2 were recording what they heard, however, so I was able to go back and listen to what I’d missed. It turned out that there was plenty to digest from Charleston in regards to the Department of Defense TRS used by Joint Base Charleston and Naval Support Activity Charleston.

One of the good things about traveling around or through South Carolina as a radio hobbyist is the ease of public safety monitoring. For the most part, you really only need to monitor one trunked system – the Palmetto 800 system – and occasionally a handful of conventional frequencies. In the Charleston area the system is, as one would expect, quite busy. The automated dispatch system is also something I have to adjust to every time I visit (a computerized voice does the initial dispatch for Fire/EMS calls, with human dispatchers on the incident channels).

1930s Fire Station Dispatch Office display at the North Charleston Fire Museum

Palmetto 800 TRS
TG 516 – Beaufort FD Admin
TG 550 – Hilton Head Fire/Rescue Dispatch
TG 552 – Hilton Head Fire/Rescue Tac 1
TG 704 – Beaufort County FD Dispatch 1
TG 1628 – Charleston County Incident 7
TG 1721 – Mount Pleasant FD Ops Dispatch
TG 1723 – Mount Pleasant FD Training
TG 1765 – Lincolnville FD Dispatch
TG 1805 – North Charleston FD Ops Dispatch
TG 2030 – Charleston FD Ops 1
TG 2051 – Charleston County FD/EMS Dispatch
TG 2053 – Charleston County West Ops FD/EMS Dispatch
TG 2054 – Charleston County Incident 1
TG 2055 – Charleston County Incident 2
TG 2056 – Charleston County Incident 3
TG 2057 – Charleston County Incident 4
TG 2066 – St Pauls FD Ops
TG 2931 – Colleton County Fire/Rescue Dispatch
TG 4165 – Dorchester County FD Dispatch
TG 6541 – Jasper County FD Dispatch
TG 6542 – Jasper County FD Tac 1
TG 6543 – Jasper County FD Tac 2
TG 10394 – Meducare Helo
TG 51704 – MedTrans SC

Unsurprisingly, due to all of the military bases near Charleston and Beaufort – MCAS Beaufort, Joint Base Charleston, Shaw AFB, and JNGB McEntire – there was plenty of MilCom activity to be heard in the area. The recordings yielded one mystery frequency: 236.250. It’s used by Grumman in St. Augustine, FL, but in this case, it was in use by fighters doing air-to-air combat training. None of the recordings caught any callsigns and it didn’t seem to match up to any recordings from the offshore SUAs or area Military Operating Areas.

There are also sites for the Department of Defense TRS in Charleston and the US Marine Corps TRS in Beaufort. The Department of Defense TRS sites in Charleston provided a surprise; when I was last in Charleston in 2016, Joint Base Charleston and what was then Naval Weapons Station Charleston and now Naval Support Activity Charleston were using talkgroups in the 28### range. On this visit, none of those talkgroups were heard, instead, the activity was on 7##, 8##, and 9## talkgroups. After listening to the recordings, I think checking the System ID of the sites in Charleston is in order to determine whether they’re still on the DOD TRS or if they’re now a different one. This trip was also my first opportunity to listen to the USMC TRS sites in Beaufort with something that won’t skip over the encrypted talkgroups. Everything I head was encrypted with the exception of what seemed to be one radio on one of the talkgroups. Interestingly, the recordings didn’t catch any of the unencrypted MCRD Parris Island talkgroups I’ve heard on past visits to the area.

Radio III, one of 14 radio rooms aboard the USS Yorktown (CV-10) at Patriots Point in Charleston

MCAS Beaufort
123.700 – Beaufort Approach/Departure
292.125 – Beaufort Approach/Departure
225.875 – VMFA-115 Tac 2
234.075 – VMFA(AW)-533 Tac 1
299.300 – VMFA(AW)-533 Tac 2

USMC TRS (MCAS Beaufort sites)
TG 2401 – unknown; enc/unenc
TG 3501 – unknown; enc
TG 5500 – unknown; enc
TG 5502 – unknown; enc
TG 5513 – unknown; enc
TG 9401 – unknown; enc
TG 9410 – unknown; enc
TG 9436 – unknown; enc
TG 9438 – unknown; enc
TG 9439 – unknown; enc
TG 14507 – unknown; enc
TG 14519 – unknown; enc

Joint Base Charleston/Charleston IAP
126.000 – Tower
239.000 – Tower
119.300 – Charleston TRACON
120.700 – Charleston TRACON
306.925 – Charleston TRACON
379.925 – Charleston TRACON
134.100 – Joint Base Charleston Ops
349.400 – Joint Base Charleston Ops
123.325 – Boeing Charleston Ops

US DOD TRS
Naval Support Activity Charleston site
TG 752 – unknown; enc/unenc (JB/NSA Charleston FD?)
TG 787 – unknown; unenc (Naval Support Activity docks?)
TG 841 – unknown; unenc
TG 860 – unknown; enc
TG 862 – unknown; enc/unenc (Navy Munitions Command Atlantic Unit Charleston?)
TG 884 – unknown; enc
TG 910 – unknown; enc
TG 920 – Unknown Quarterdeck; unenc
TG 950 – unknown; enc
TG 954 – unknown; enc
TG 966 – unknown; unenc (Nuclear Power Training Unit?)

Joint Base Charleston site
TG 752 – unknown; enc/unenc (JB/NSA Charleston FD?)
TG 834 – unknown; enc
TG 837 – unknown; enc
TG 841 – unknown; unenc
TG 860 – unknown; enc
TG 910 – unknown; enc
TG 950 – unknown; enc
TG 967 – unknown; enc

Shaw AFB/McEntire JNGB
125.400 – Columbia TRACON
318.100 – Columbia TRACON
254.250 – Shaw AFB Tower
252.100 – 20th FW SOF
273.700 – 77th FS Ops
139.825 – 77th FS Air-to-Air
262.000 – 77th FS Air-to-Air
320.525 – 79th FS Ops
253.500 – McEntire JNGB Tower
276.150 – 79th FS Air-to-Air
298.300 – 169th FW Ops
141.825 – 169th FW V14
140.125 – 169th FW V15
143.250 – 169th FW V16

Op Areas
120.950 – SEALORD North Primary
284.500 – SEALORD North Primary
376.900 – W-137 Discrete
127.725 – Doubleshot Primary
258.400 – Doubleshot Discrete
279.725 – Doubleshot Discrete
228.400 – Townsend Range Control
343.750 – Bulldog MOA

Misc MilCom
324.600 – AR-207
327.600 – AR-202
236.250 – unknown
-unid ref snapshot drill, expendables, BFM type comms

ARTCC
277.400/126.750 – Jax Center Brunswick Low
282.200/124.675 – Jax Center Jekyll Low
285.650/126.125 – Jax Center Statesboro High
290.350/132.425 – Jax Center Hunter Ultra High
317.550/134.375 – Jax Center Charleston Low
319.200/127.875 – Jax Center Aiken High
351.700/124.075 – Jax Center Summerville High
363.200/132.925 – Jax Center Allendale/Savannah Low
370.950/133.625/281.550 – Jax Center Georgetown High
322.325/128.100 – Atlanta Center Augusta Low

What’s a road trip without good food? As always when I visit Charleston, I had to eat at East Bay Deli, one of my favorite sandwich shops anywhere. One of my favorite hot sandwiches is a Cuban, and East Bay Deli serves a great one. After settling in at the hotel in Beaufort, I decided to go supper at Lady’s Island Dockside and I wasn’t disappointed. It’s busy, very busy indeed, and I had to wait 20-30 minutes or so for a table, but it was worth it. The food was excellent and even though they were busy the service was still friendly – they were quick without acting rushed. I chose the Seafood Pasta (shrimp, scallops, and crab in a parmesan sauce over linguini) and it was excellent; the scallops were quite possibly the most tender I’ve ever had. Their cornbread is also worth a mention – it’s plain no frills cornbread, incredibly moist and delicious.

Over the next couple of days, I’ll be adding some blog posts about my visits to Patriot’s Point, including the USS Yorktown (CV-10), USS Laffey (DD-724), and Vietnam Experience Exhibit and the North Charleston Fire Museum.

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