Whistler TRX-2 Added to the Mobile Station and Further Observations on the Whistler TRX Scanners

Earlier this year, I bought a Whistler TRX-1 handheld scanner. My experiences with it over the last few months recently led me to add a TRX-2 to my mobile station. Specifically, a trip to northeast Georgia, a trip to Fernandina Beach and Jacksonville, Florida, and using the TRX-1 in the shack to gather P25 conventional UIDs have further shaped my opinion of Whistler’s two flagship scanners. I definitely prefer Uniden’s user interface and I’m still not pleased with the P25 trunking performance (particularly in the 700/800 MHz band) of Whistler’s TRX line, but they do other things quite well, so the TRX-2 is a good tool to add to the mobile station.

The Uniden Home Patrol 2 remains in the mobile station; the Whistler TRX-2 has joined it to give the station added capability. The strengths of the Home Patrol 2 are its simple, touch screen user interface and superior P25 trunking performance so it will handle Aviation, MilCom, and P25 trunking duties. It’s inconvenient at best to manually tune a channel on a TRX-1 or TRX-2 under normal conditions and practically impossible to do it while driving. I’ve found that when I’m monitoring Aviation or MilCom communications, it’s not unusual to manually tune to a channel to follow communications, so the touch screen and user interface of the Home Patrol 2 makes this no more difficult than changing channels on the car stereo. Doing the same with a TRX-1 or TRX-2 would involve so many button presses and navigation through menus that it would be too distracting to do while driving and therefore just too dangerous. The strengths of the TRX-2 are its DMR and NXDN capabilities and its ability to display P25 conventional radio IDs (UIDs) so it will handle conventional public safety, DMR, and NXDN scanning. The Home Patrol 2 offers neither DMR or NXDN reception and I’ve recently found myself traveling through areas that use those modes, so I needed to add something to the station that would add them. I just haven’t been satisfied with the DMR performance of my Uniden BCD436HP and BCD536HP (and NXDN capability has only recently been added to them) so I couldn’t see mounting either one. On the other hand, the TRX-1 has done a great job on DMR and NXDN and also displays radio IDs on P25 conventional frequencies (which the Uniden radios don’t do), so a TRX-2 was the radio to add.

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Radios in the mobile station: from top to bottom: Yaesu FT-8800, Uniden HP2, Whistler TRX-2 on the bottom left, Yaesu FT-857D on the bottom right.

With the exception of the Home Patrol 2, mobile scanners are large and bulky relative to modern car interiors. In that area, the TRX-2 also came with another positive: it comes out of the box with a detachable control head, the BCD536HP does not. I put the radio itself under the driver’s seat and mounted the control head (as seen in the photo above) on a RAM mount under the Home Patrol 2 and next to my Yaesu FT-857D mobile HF radio.

Since I first offered my observations on the TRX-1, further use and experience with it and now the TRX-2 have modified some observations and led to others.

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The Whistler TRX-1 (center) flanked by the Uniden BCD396XT (left) and Uniden BCD436HP (right) for size and display comparison (disregard the talkgroup showing on the 396, the other two radios are set up to skip that talkgroup)

TRX-1/2 Positives

  • I really haven’t had the opportunity to compare the NXDN performance of the Uniden and Whistler radios, but so far my experience is that the Whistler TRX-1 and TRX-2 are easier to use with DMR systems and perform better than the Unidens on DMR systems. Additionally, with the Uniden BCD436HP and BCD536HP, it’s critical that you know the logical order of the frequencies in a DMR trunking system in order to program it, you don’t with the Whistlers.
  • The TRX-1 and TRX-2 receive both DMR and NXDN out of the box. The Uniden Home Patrol 2 does neither and there are separate DMR and NXDN paid upgrades for the BCD436HP and BCD536HP. The upgrades cost $60 apiece, so if you want to add both DMR and NXDN capability to your 436 or 536, you’re adding $120 to a $400-500 scanner. This is something that Uniden intends to carry over with their new SDS-100 and something that they really should reconsider because it significantly increases the price of the radios compared to the Whistlers.
  • The TRX-1 and TRX-2 offer the ability to stop on encrypted transmissions while the Uniden BCD436HP and BCD536HP don’t. The 436 and 536 skip encrypted transmissions, but you can set the TRX-1 and TRX-2 to not ignore encrypted transmissions and pass the encryption noise or a busy-tone similar to a telephone busy signal. This is particularly helpful if you’re searching for frequencies or talkgroups or want to know when an encrypted frequency or talkgroup is active.

TRX-1/2 Negatives

  • The Whistler TRX-1 and TRX-2 displays just don’t display as much information as the Uniden Home Patrol 2, BCD436HP, or BCD536HP displays do. The Uniden displays are larger, offer longer and more useful alphanumeric tags, and to me are just more readable. On the other hand, those with vision impairment may find the larger, bolder type of the Whistler display easier to read.
  • The Whistler user interface is more complicated than the Uniden user interface, particularly when used as a mobile scanner. Manually tuning a channel (or in Whistler’s parlance, an object) is far more involved than either the BCD436HP or BCD536HP, which offer tuning knobs and more involved than the Home Patrol 2 which you navigate through a touchscreen.
  • The TRX-1 and TRX-2 just don’t track P25 trunking systems, as well as the Uniden scanners, do, particularly in the 700/800 MHz range. In side-by-side tests, I’ve watched the Whistlers miss transmissions that the Unidens don’t. With both the TRX-1 and TRX-2, I’ve found that I have to adjust the data decoding thresholds on P25 trunking systems in the programming software to improve system tracking and even then they tend to miss transmissions.

In my first post of observations on the TRX-1, I wrote about how much of a problem the programming software for the TRX-1 is. Although the TRX-2 uses a separate program from the TRX-2, it’s basically the same program optimized for the TRX-2. The interface is still clunky and counter-intuitive to most Windows-based software. One of the main issues is that you can’t cut and paste information from one program to another, you can only utilize the software’s import feature. Another of my complaints about the Whistler software was about its transfer speed. When you connect the radio to the computer to program it, the transfer speed is astonishingly slow compared to connecting the Unidens to a computer to do the same. I have discovered that removing the SD card from the TRX-2 and inserting into my computer’s card reader significantly increases the transfer speed. With the TRX-2, that’s not a huge problem as the SD card inserts into the radio behind the control head. With the TRX-1 it is a problem because its micro SD card inserts into the side of the scanner under the battery compartment cover which is in turn under the radio’s protective case. It just isn’t as convenient or easy to remove the TRX-1’s memory card as it is to remove the TRX-2’s memory card. One design change I would suggest to the TRX-2 is relocating the memory card slot to the control head since they’ve designed the radio with remote mounting the head in mind. The rest of the radio, particularly in a mobile installation, isn’t always in the most easily accessible place.

One thing that hasn’t changed since I wrote about my observations on the TRX-1 is the lack of aftermarket software. Aftermarket software from companies such as Butel and ProScan is available for Uniden’s software and even though Uniden offers their own software for their radios, they cooperate with the aftermarket companies. Whistler does not; they have refused to share their programming protocols with outside software developers, so you’re stuck with their software. When I wrote about that in February, my opinion was that I probably wouldn’t have bought a TRX-1 if I had known about how bad the software was and that third-party software wasn’t available for the TRX-1. I have since come around to the opinion that some of the benefits of the radio in regards to DMR/NXDN performance and the ability to read P25 radio IDs outweigh the lack of third-party software. Third-party software or better factory software is still desired and I have made my opinion known to Whistler on several occasions.

When comparing the Whistlers with the Unidens, it really isn’t like comparing Chevrolet and Ford or Coke and Pepsi. It doesn’t come down to brand preference, Whistler’s scanners and Uniden’s scanners follow different methods of doing a similar task and don’t do all tasks well. When making a decision about which one to buy, you need to consider what you’ll be using it for and what you’ll be listening to. I have written a blog post that considers which radio you might want to choose if you live in the coastal Georgia area.

Fernandina Beach Road Trip Scanning Report; 16 April 2018

Fernandina Beach, FL – Yesterday I took a day trip down to Fernandina Beach, Florida to visit Fort Clinch State Park. Another purpose of the trip was to do some monitoring of the Naval Submarine Base Kings Bay and Naval Station Mayport areas. The first part of the trip was visiting Fort Clinch in the morning, followed by driving down to have lunch at the Sandollar Restaurant near the St. John’s River Ferry for lunch. My parents rode along to visit a friend in the area, so I let the Uniden HP2 and Whistler TRX-1 in the mobile station do the bulk of the radio monitoring work.

 

 

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The entrance to Fort Clinch

 

 

Five amateur radio repeaters were active throughout the day as we visited Fort Clinch State Park, Fernandina Beach, and the Naval Station Mayport area. 147.000+ (PL 127.3), a wide coverage repeater sites in Callahan with multiple voting receiver sites and 442.900+ (PL 127.3) in Yulee, part of the Florida Statewide Amateur Radio Network, provided the best coverage throughout the area we visited.

147.195+ (PL 118.8) – W6EMA, Kingsland, GA
147.000- (PL 127.3) – W4NAS, Callahan, FL
442.900+ (PL 127.3) – KC5LPA, Yulee, FL*
146.700- (PL 127.3) – W4IZ, Jacksonville, FL
146.955- (PL 131.8) – AA4QI, Jacksonville, FL

*Indicates the repeater is part of the Florida Statewide Amateur Radio Network

 

Public Safety-wise, most of the activity in Nassau County and Duval County are on P25 systems: the Nassau County Phase I trunked system and the Jacksonville First Coast Phase I trunked system. Both counties do, however, simulcast initial dispatches on conventional analog frequencies. The Forestry services in both Georgia and Florida use analog conventional VHF repeaters as do the Fort Clinch and Little Talbot State Parks in Florida. I didn’t hear Fort Clinch on any of the frequencies listed for it at RadioReference, but I did find them on a different VHF repeater than the one listed.

Public Safety Conventional
155.8800 (PL 118.8) – Camden County Fire Dispatch
155.9250 (PL 156.7) – Nassau County Fire/Rescue Dispatch
460.5750 (PL 146.2) – Jacksonville Fire/Rescue Dispatch
154.2200 (PL 156.7) – Jacksonville Beach FD Dispatch

159.1200 (DCS 054) – Georgia Forestry D5 Repeater
151.0100 (PL 103.5) – Little Talbot State Park Repeater
159.2400 (PL 97.4) – Florida Forest Service Field Unit 7
159.4425 (PL 151.4) – Fort Clinch State Park Repeater

Nassau County P25 TRS
TG 1001 – Nassau County Fire/Rescue A1 Dispatch
TG 1002 – Nassau County Fire/Rescue A2 FG-1

Jacksonville First Coast P25 TRS
TG 149 – Jacksonville Fire/Rescue Patch
TG 1085 – Jacksonville Fire/Rescue A1 Main
TG 1087 – Jacksonville Fire/Rescue A2 Dispatch

 

As far as FedCom goes, from Camden County and Nassau County, I could hear the Okefenokee NWR East repeater quite well, especially during the morning. The Coast Guard was very active on both of the Sector Jacksonville frequencies, CG 111 and CG 409, but unfortunately, all of it was encrypted. There was some analog activity from the USCG on Marine VHF Ch. 81, but not very much that I could hear.

Federal
164.6250 (PL 103.5) – Okefenokee NWR East

157.0750 – Marine VHF Ch. 81
162.3250 ($293) – CG 111, Sector Jacksonville (encrypted)
412.9750 ($293) – CG 409, Sector Jacksonville Air Ops (encrypted)

 

The primary focus of the day’s radio monitoring was NSB Kings Bay and NS Mayport. Both bases utilize the Department of Defense P25 Phase II trunked system for their land mobile communications.  NS Mayport is also home to McDonald Field, which is home to four MH-60R squadrons, including one of the Navy’s MH-60R fleet replacement squadrons, HSM-40. A number of the aircraft were active during the day as AIRWOLF ##. During lunch at the Sandollar, I could watch the MH-60Rs doing pattern work just across the St. John’s River at McDonald Field. While we at lunch, the HP-2 happened to log some audio that identified a talkgroup on the Department of Defense TRS as an HSM-40 talkgroup; while reviewing the logs and audio, I heard one of the MH-60Rs pass a report on their Base frequency which was then relayed to another station over talkgroup 28318. During the morning while we were visiting the fort, the HP-2 also logged some unidentified activity on two Marine VHF frequencies that sounded like possible H-60 air-to-surface communications. During the trip down I-95, F-35Bs from VMFAT-501 and F-16CMs from the 169th FW were training at Townsend Range in McIntosh County, GA and you could even hear some of the activity from Fernandina Beach. F-35Bs from VMFAT-501 were also active off of the coast training in the W-137 Special Use Area.

Department of Defense TRS
TG 28059 – NSB Kings Bay unknown (encrypted)
TG 28065 – NSB Kings Bay unknown (encrypted)
TG 28081 – NSB Kings Bay unknown (encrypted)
TG 28082 – NSB Kings Bay unknown (encrypted)
TG 28087 – NSB Kings Bay unknown (encrypted/unencrypted)
TG 28146 – NAS Jacksonville Fire Dispatch
TG 28178 – NS Mayport or NAS Jacksonville FD?
TG 28318 – HSM-40
TG 28264 – NS Mayport Tower
TG 28267 – unknown
TG 28318 – unknown
TG 28344 – unknown
TG 28346 – unknown
TG 28527 – Alarm Technicians?
TG 28551 – NS Kings Bay VTG HVAC
TG 28557 – Regional Fire Dispatch Southeast 1
TG 28585 – unknown
TG 28589 – unknown
TG 28591 – unknown
TG 28593 – unknown
TG 28603 – unknown
TG 28614 – RDC Fire Tac 2
TG 29411 – NAS Pensacola/NAS Whiting Crash/Fire Dispatch

Air Traffic Control
118.750/239.300 – NS Mayport Tower
118.300/340.200 – Jacksonville IAP Tower
126.100 – Cecil Field Tower
284.600 – Jacksonville Approach/Departure
254.325 – Jacksonville ARTCC Taylor Low
269.025 – Jacksonville ARTCC Waycross Low
269.250 – Jacksonville ARTCC Ocala Low
277.400 – Jacksonville ARTCC Brunswick Low
282.200 – Jacksonville ARTCC Jekyll Low
307.250 – Jacksonville ARTCC St. Augustine Low/High

MilCom
250.900 – HSM-40 Base
264.350 – HSM-46 Base
310.200 – NAS Jacksonville Base Ops
306.000 – VP-30 Base

228.400 – Townsend Range
289.200 – Pinecastle Range Ops
267.500 – SEALORD South Primary
284.500 – SEALORD North Primary
349.800 – W-137 Discrete
376.900 – W-137 Discrete
326.700 – VMFAT-501 Tac 1
349.225 – VMFAT-501 Tac 2
140.125 – 169th FW V15

156.425 – Marine VHF Ch. 68; USN H-60 Air-to-Surface comms?
156.725 – Marine VHF Ch. 74; USN H-60 Air-to-Surface comms?

150.5625 (PL 151.4) – Civil Air Patrol

 

 

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The Seafoood Alfredo – fettuccine alfredo with shrimp, scallops, and blue crab – at the Sandollar Restaurant. The Sandollar is right next to the St. John’s Ferry on A1A across the St. John’s River from Naval Station Mayport

 

 

 

The Sandollar Restaurant was an excellent choice for lunch. I chose the Seafood Alfredo, which is fettuccine alfredo with shrimp, scallops, and blue crab and thoroughly enjoyed it. There were no complaints from my parents about their fried shrimp and grilled shrimp and scallops either. While you eat, you have a beautiful view of the St. John’s River. You can watch the boats and ships go by as well as watch aircraft come and go from NS Mayport, which is right across the river. If you find yourself in the area at at lunch or supper time, you can’t go wrong stopping in for a bite.

Savannah, GA to Clarkesville, GA Road Trip Scanning Report; 5/6 March 2018

Clarkesville, GA – On Monday and Tuesday I had to make a trip up to Clarkesville, GA for work; it’s an almost five-hour drive from Savannah, so it was good to have the radios in the car to keep me company on the way up. My route of travel was I-16 westbound from Savannah to US 1 in Swainsboro to SR 17 in Wrens to overnight in Lavonia and the to Clarkesville via SR17 on Tuesday morning. The trip home on Tuesday evening was a reverse of the trip up. The route took me through an area along SR 17 that featured a lot of public safety DMR trunking systems as well as some NXDN systems, so it was a great opportunity to get some more experience with DMR and listen to some NXDN traffic for the first time. During the trip, I used a Uniden Home Patrol 2, a Uniden BCD436HP, a Whistler TRX-1, and a Yaesu FT-8800 transceiver.

The Whistler TRX-1 definitely outperformed the Uniden BCD436HP on DMR, especially when all of the DMR TRS parameters were unknown. Although I haven’t been particularly pleased with the TRX-1 on 700/800 MHz P25 trunking, I was definitely pleased with its VHF DMR and NXDN performance during this trip. The audio from both DMR and NXDN was crisp, clear, and perfectly readable.

 

Amateur Radio

With the exception of one 70cm repeater, all of the repeaters I heard active during the trip were 2 Meter repeaters. It seemed that throughout the trip I was within the range of at least one repeater at all times. In hindsight, as well as I was hearing public safety traffic from the South Carolina counties bordering Georgia, I probably should have programmed in some repeaters from the South Carolina side of the Georgia/South Carolina border; the next time I make this trip I plan on doing so.

146.790 (CSQ) – Swainsboro (Emanuel Co)
147.000 (PL 156.7) – Twin City (Emanuel Co)
145.190 (PL 71.9) – Appling (Columbia Co)
147.120 (CSQ) – Wrens (Jefferson Co)
146.625 (CSQ) – Elberton (Elbert Co)
146.835 (CSQ) – Thomson (McDuffie Co)
146.715 (PL 100.0) – Lavonia (Franklin Co)
145.250 (PL 71.9) – Toccoa (Stephens Co)
147.330 (PL 127.3) – Toccoa (Stephens Co)
442.500 (PL 88.5) – Toccoa (Stephens Co)
147.180 (CSQ) – Baldwin (Banks/Habersham Co)

 

Public Safety

If you’re going to travel up SR 17 through east Georgia and/or northeast Georgia and want to monitor public safety communications along the way, you’ll want to use a DMR capable scanner or you may miss a considerable amount of traffic. Although some counties simulcast primary dispatch for Fire/EMS communications on an analog frequency, far more traffic is on the DMR and in some instances NXDN systems in Banks, Habersham, Jefferson, Lincoln, McDuffie (encrypted), Stephens (encrypted) Washington, and White (encrypted except for Dispatch) counties

Local Conventional/Single Frequency TRS
154.3250 (PL 146.2) – Banks County FD Dispatch
154.0100 (PL 173.8) – Burke County FD/EMS Dispatch
154.2200 (PL 179.9) – Elbert County FD Dispatch
154.3700 (PL 167.9) – Franklin County FD Dispatch
155.3100 (PL 186.2) – Habersham FD Dispatch (Simulcast with DMR TRS)
154.2350 (PL 156.7) – Habersham EMS Dispatch (Simulcast with DMR TRS)
156.1650 (PL 97.4) – Clarkesville FD Dispatch (Habersham Co)
154.2950 (PL 218.1) – Madison County EMS Dispatch
154.3850 (PL 103.5) – Madison County FD Dispatch
151.4075 (NXDN) – McDuffie County FD; enc
154.4300 (PL 146.2) – Rabun County FD Dispatch
155.2050 (PL 100.0) – Rabun EMS/Rabun Hospital
155.6625 (PL 192.8) – Rabun County 911
154.2500 (PL 85.4) – Stephens County FD Dispatch
155.715 (CSQ) – White County FD Dispatch (simulcast with NXDN)
152.5325 (NXDN CC 15, TG 154600, SL 1) – White Co FD Dispatch South; enc/unenc
152.5475 (NXDN CC 15, TG 154600, SL 1) – White Co FD Dispatch North; enc/unenc
154.4450 (PL 210.7) – Wilkes County FD Dispatch
154.0100 (PL 179.9) – Abbeville County FD FD 1 (SC)
153.9500 (PL 151.4) – Anderson County FD Dispatch (SC)
155.5650 (D 464) – Anderson City FD Dispatch (Anderson Co, SC)
156.1950 (PL 162.2) – Belton FD (Anderson Co, SC)
158.8050 (D 464) – Honea Path FD (Anderson Co, SC)
154.1300 (PL 103.5) – Oconee County FD Dispatch (SC)
150.8050 (PL 103.5) – Oconee County FD Tac (SC)
453.4000 (PL 136.5) – Jackson County FD Dispatch (NC)

State Conventional
159.1200 (PL 127.3) – Georgia Forestry District 1 Repeater

Banks County NXDN TRS
TG 80 – Banks County Fire/EMS Dispatch

Bulloch TRS
TG 2224 – Statesboro FD Dispatch

Habersham County DMR TRS
TG 100 – unknown
TG 152 – unknown
TG 180 – unknown
TG 300 – Fire/EMS Dispatch
TG 602 – unknown
TG 604 – School Bus Dispatch

Jefferson County DMR TRS
TG 109 – Jefferson County FD Dispatch
TG 115 – Public Works?
TG 116 – Public Works?

Washington County DMR TRS
TG 42 – unknown
TG 700 – unknown

Palmetto 25 (Richmond County, GA)
TG 55242 – Richmond County FD Tac 2

North Carolina VIPER TRS
TG 52109 – NC Wildlife Resources District 9

 

FedCom

For those interested in FedCom monitoring, there are a number of agencies in east and northeast Georgia to listen to. East Georgia offers some opportunities with from the US Army Corps of Engineers at Strom Thurmond Lake and the Department of Energy from the Savannah River Site TRS.  Northeast Georgia offers opportunities from the National Park Service at the Great Smoky Mountains National Park and the US Forestry Service at several National Forests.

Conventional FedCom
169.5500 ($4C5) – NPS, Great Smoky Mountains Natl Park, Clingman’s Dome
170.8375 ($4C5) – NPS, Great Smoky Mountains Natl Park, Fry Mountain
173.5375 ($100) – USACE, Strom Thurmond Lake
171.5500 (PL 103.5) – USFS, Nantahala Natl Forest Zone 2 East

Savannah River Site TRS
TG 48240 – Savannah River Site FD
TG 48592 – unknown
TG 48624 – unknown
TG 49072 – unknown
TG 49392 – unknown (enc)
TG 50032 – unknown

 

Aviation/MilCom

I didn’t hear nearly as much MilCom traveling through east and northeast Georgia as I normally do in coastal Georgia, but you do have great signals on the Bulldog MOA in East Georgia as you’re practically underneath the MOA in some areas. I was hoping to get some signals on the Fort Gordon sites of the US Army TRS, but it wasn’t to be, I never heard a bit of it. On the other hand, I was within easy range of Augusta Regional Airport and Fort Gordon related aircraft that were using it. You’re also within the range of Shaw AFB, McEntire JNGB, and Charleston AFB during parts of the trip.

If you’re interested in civilian aviation, you’re in great luck as you’ll be on the east and northeast sides of Atlanta’s airspace, making it an extremely target rich environment. As far as the airports along the route go, all of them with the exception of Augusta Regional use Unicom frequencies, although Athens does have an approach/departure frequency before aircraft switch to its airport’s Unicom frequency.

339.500 – VMFA-115 Tac 1
225.675 – VMFA-115 Tac 2
258.900 – VMFA(AW)-224 Tac 2
349.225 – VMFAT-501 Tac 2
341.825 – VMFAT-501 Tac 3
354.325 – MAG-31, VMFT-401 Air-to-Air
361.800 – MAG-31, VMFT-401 Air-to-Air

318.100 – Columbia, SC Approach/Departure
141.900 – 55th FS Air-to-Air

318.100 – Columbia, SC Approach/Departure
298.300 – 169th FW Ops
141.825 – 169th FW V14

132.475 – Athens Approach/Departure
122.950 – Unicom; Athens

118.700 – Augusta Regional Tower
119.150 – Augusta Approach/Departure
126.800 – Augusta Approach/Departure

119.300 – Charleston Approach/Departure
120.700 – Charleston Approach/Departure

124.200 – Atlanta Approach/Departure, Warner Robins/Macon
293.525 – 116th/461st ACW “PEACHTREE Ops”

122.700 – Unicom; Cornelia/Washington/Wrens/Oconee
122.800 – Unicom; Toccoa/Jefferson/Thomson/Elberton
122.900 – Unicom; Canon/Waynesboro/Louisville/Millen
123.000 – Unicom; Sandersville
123.075 – Unicom; Gainesville
123.600 – Unicom; Anderson, SC

119.375 – ZTL Macon High
120.425 – ZTL Georgia High
120.450 – ZTL Tiroe Low
121.350 – ZTL Logen Low
123.950 – ZTL Sinca Low
124.325 – ZTL Clark Hill Ultra High
124.375 – ZTL Lanier High
124.425 – ZTL Charlotte High
124.875 – ZTL Allatoona Ultra High
125.025 – ZTL High Rock Ultra High
125.575 – ZTL LaGrange High
125.625 – ZTL Spartanburg High
125.825 – ZTL Hampton Ultra High
126.425 – ZTL Dublin High
126.675 – ZTL Crossville High
128.100 – ZTL Augusta Low
129.925 – ZTL Burne High
132.050 – ZTL Dalas Low
132.625 – ZTL Shine Low
132.975 – ZTL Pulaski High
133.100 – ZTL Departure North
133.150 – ZTL Locas Low
133.175 – ZTL Rocket High
133.600 – ZTL Hinch Mountain Low
134.075 – ZTL Blue Ridge Ultra High
134.500 – ZTL South Departure Low
134.550 – ZTL Moped Low
134.800 – ZTL Commerce Ultra Low
135.350 – ZTL Unarm Low
263.125 – ZTL Unarm Low
269.100 – ZTL Spartanburg High
269.175 – ZTL Burne High
269.625 – ZTL Sinca Low
291.750 – ZTL High Rock Ultra High
296.600 – ZTL Lawtey Ultra High
322.325 – ZTL Augusta Low
353.925 – ZTL Lanier High
360.750 – ZTL South Departure Low

343.750 – Bulldog MOA

284.500 – SEALORD North Primary
349.800 – W-137 Discrete
376.900 – W-137 Discrete

364.200 – NORAD AICC

324.600 – AR-207

 

If it wouldn’t have been such a quick trip, 600 miles over two days, it would have been a wonderful road trip, but as it was it wasn’t all that bad. Getting to see the mountains was quite the departure from the normal coast scenes of coastal Georgia. While in northeast Georgia, I took the opportunity to visit both the Currahee Museum in Toccoa and Tugaloo State Park between Toccoa and Lavonia; I’ll have a post up about that later. I definitely want to get back up to northeast Georgia and spend some more time, so it’s been added to my vacation to-do-list.

 

 

Museum of Aviation at Robins AFB Trip Monitoring Report; 30 December 2016

SavannahYesterday I posted about the trip my nephew I took to the Museum of Aviation at Robins AFB.; this post is a monitoring report about what I was able to hear on the trip from Savannah to Warner Robins and back. Since I had a passenger on this trip, I didn’t do a lot of listening (I didn’t do any amateur radio on this trip either for the same reason); I mostly put the Home Patrol 2 in the mobile station in record mode and let it do most of the work.  While at the museum, I also put my BCD436HP in record mode on the Houston Peach Regional Radio System, the Central Georgia Regional Radio System, and the Robins AFB TRS.

During my last visit to Robins and the museum in October 2015, I discovered that the base’s trunked radio system and been changed from a Motorola Type II system to a Motorola P25 system. On that visit, I wasn’t able to identify much in the way of talkgroups except for ALC talkgroups because of how busy they are. On this trip, I locked out what I had previously identified as ALC talkgroups and was better able to make some IDs on airfield Base Ops and the control tower as well as one for the base Crash/Fire department (and of course a few more ALC talkgroups). In the post from October 2015 I link to above, a radio hobbyist from the central Georgia area passes on in the comments section that encryption has recently been noted on the system as well.

It’s the end of the year holiday, so there weren’t a lot of military aircraft in the air and there wasn’t a lot to listen to in the way of military communications (unless you enjoy listening to the ALC at Robins AFB, they were busy as usual). That said, we did hear some F-16s in Bulldog MOA but we never caught their callsign and F-35Bs from VMFAT-501 were heard working in Townsend Range (in McIntosh County) from all the way in Dublin (Laurens County).

Public Safety wise, it wasn’t altogether unproductive. The Home Patrol 2 caught morning radio checks and some transmissions from three different AirEvac helicopter bases: Dublin, Statesboro, and Vidalia. During the morning trip up, there wasn’t a lot of traffic on the roads and not a lot of fire/rescue traffic on the airwaves, but once we got up to Warner Robins, the traffic began to pick up and the crashes did as well. We heard the fire departments around the Warner Robins area working a number of crashes, including several on I-75 (thankfully we were using GA 96, GA 358, and I-16!). On the way back to Savannah two smoke plumes were visible, one in Georgia Forestry’s District 11 area and one in the District 10 area; both of those district repeaters were active with related traffic.

As far as civilian aviation goes, the only Atlanta Center frequencies I scanned were the low-level sectors around Warner Robins and Macon; that close to Atlanta, the higher level sector frequencies would have been non-stop with commercial traffic coming and going to Atlanta.

Jax Center
124.675 – Jekyll Low
126.125 – Statesboro High
126.750 – Brunswick Low
127.575 – Waycross Low
132.425 – Hunter Ultra High
132.925 – Millen/Savannah Low
133.300 – Moultrie Ultra High
135.975 – Alma High
282.200 – Jekyll Low
363.200 – Millen/Savannah Low

Atlanta Center
123.950 – Macon Low
128.100 – Augusta Low
322.325 – Augusta Low

MOAs/Ranges
228.400 – Townsend Range
343.750 – Bulldog MOA

MCAS Beaufort
253.100 – VMFA-122 Base
354.325 – VMFA-122 Tac 2
299.275 – VMFAT-501 Base
315.300 – VMFAT-501 Tac 1
319.500 – VMFAT-501 Tac 2

Robins AFB
124.200 – Atlanta Tracon
124.800 – Atlanta Tracon
279.600 – Atlanta Tracon

Robins AFB TRS
TG 56072 – Robins AFB ALC
TG 56080 – Robins AFB ALC
TG 56092 – Robins AFB ALC
TG 56121 – Robins AFB Base Ops
TG 56122 – Robins AFB Tower
TG 56123 – Robins AFB Crash/Fire
TG 56192 – unknown
TG 56193 – unknown

Bulloch TRS
TG 2224 – Statesboro FD Dispatch
TG 2704 – Bulloch County FD Fireground 1
TG 2736 – Bulloch County FD Fireground 2

Houston-Peach TRS
TG 16 – Houston County FD Dispatch
TG 17 – Houston County FD Fireground 1
TG 61 – Warner Robins FD Dispatch
TG 91 – Centerville FD Dispatch
TG 121 – Perry FD Dispatch

Laurens County
154.070 (PL 186.2) – Laurens County FD Dispatch

CGIRRS TRS
TG 132 – Macon Bibb FD Dispatch 1
TG 134 – Macon Bibb FD Scene 2
TG 136 – Macon Bibb FD Scene 4

AirEvac
151.730 (DCS 115) – AirEvac 91, Vidalia
151.910 (DCS 072) – AirEvac 95, Statesboro
151.850 (DCS 047) – AirEvac 102, Dublin

Georgia Forestry Commission
159.225 (PL 100.0) – District 10 Repeater
159.240 (PL 167.9) – District 11 Repeater

Mobile MilCom; 15 March 2016

SavannahWhile visiting the Savannah NWR yesterday I was also able to get in some good mobile monitoring time, and there was plenty to listen to yesterday. Using the BC780XLT and new Home Patrol 2, I was able to catch a variety of activity including AWACS, air to air combat training, close air support training, F-35B training, and approach training from visiting aircraft.

  • CHALICE (E-3C, 82-0006, 963rd ACCS) was one of the two AWACS in the area yesterday morning and it worked with Air Force F-16s from Shaw AFB off of the South Carolina coast on 279.275 and 258.400. Later in the morning, they worked with Florida ANG F-15s from Jacksonville off of the GA/FL coast on 293.600 and 316.300.
  • DARKSTAR (E-3, 965th ACCS) also showed up in the area and worked with Air Force F-16s from Shaw AFB in the Bulldog MOA on 343.750 and 346.825.
  • HAWK 8# flights, F/A-18Ds from VMFA(AW)-553 at MCAS Beaufort worked with a JTAC using the callsign VAGRANT at Townsend Range on 228.400 and 252.900.
  • SWEDE flights of F-35Bs from VMFAT-501 at MCAS Beaufort were out throughout the morning doing training flights with air-to-air traffic on 315.300 and 319.500.
  • On the way home from the Refuge, I caught NOMAD 13 (C-130T, 165313, VR-62) from NAS Jacksonville (temporarily Cecil Field while NAS Jacksonville’s runway is being resurfaced) on approach to Hunter AAF with Savannah Approach/Departure on 120.400 and Hunter Tower on 124.975. I was even able to catch a photo since I still had a zoom lens on the camera from the Refuge visit.
NOMAD 13 (C-130T, 165313, VR-62) on approach to Hunter AAF in Savannah, GA
NOMAD 13 (C-130T, 165313, VR-62) on approach to Hunter AAF in Savannah, GA