by Alan Henney (

Well, at least the end of the millennium is!  So you're already planning to monitor the routine police and fire channels this New Year's Eve, right?  But what about those obscure emergency networks?  With the end of the year approaching, we may hear some of the area's seldom-used emergency network frequencies come to life, just maybe.

Like an approaching hurricane (but hopefully not as devastating), emergency managers have had advance warning to establish command centers for this occasion... and there's no doubt when this storm is coming ashore!

Hopefully many of the armchair warriors will volunteer to work and man the radios so we can finally hear some activity on these often-quiet frequencies (assuming we don't lose power!).

Here are some frequencies to consider as you craft your final scanner list for the century.  Keep in mind the usual police and fire channels that are commonly used during celebrations like the 4th of July.  For D.C., see the visitor's guide (

You may also wish to monitor emergency radio groups such as REACT (often 462.675), ARES, MARS, RACES, Skywarn and others.  Check out the T-MARC webpage ( for the latest list of coordinated ham repeaters.

The 47 MHz state highway channels, covered in most every scanner directory, may be worth monitoring (contact Alan if you need a list).  Try 47.42 and 47.62 for Red Cross chapters that may be on standby.

Don't forget the deluge of local, regional, state and

national mutual aid channels.  We're finally starting to hear some action on the 800 MHz channels.  Mutual aid channels used in this area include, fire (NoVA 154.265, Metro DC 154.28 and 154.295), police (Metro DC 453.55/866.3625, Md 39.1 and 155.475, Va 39.54), National (Calling 866.0125, Tac 1 866.5125, Tac 2 867.0125, Tac 3 867.5125, Tac 4 868.0125) and DC COG:
1 - 868.5125
2 - 866.8375
3 - 867.2375
4 - 867.4875
5 - 866.8625
6 - 867.7625

Y2K Frequencies
27.2750s [        ]  Baltimore City Civil Defense
37.5800s  [ 412 ]  PEPCO Generating Station
       Emergency Net
44.7400s  [110.9]  MSP Civil Defense Net
       (medevac also)
44.9000s  [110.9]  MSP Nuclear Power Plant
       Emergency Net
45.5600s  [151.4]  D.C. Mayor's Cmd Ctr Ch. 2
       (see note)
45.6000s  [151.4]  D.C. Mayor's Cmd Ctr Ch. 1
       (see note)
47.5000s  [         ]  Maryland Emergency Manage-
       ment Agency (see note)
47.6200s  [         ]  P.G. Emer Prep "F4" X.25         Packet Data
143.0400s  [ None]  Maryland EOC Net
153.4400s  [         ]  BGE Nuclear Power Plant Emer        Net
155.3400s  [         ]  Richmond Hospital Emer Net
155.8200s  [ 91.5 ]  Va EOC Alternate
155.8950r  [ 91.5 ]  Va EOC Primary
155.9400r  [100.0]  P.G. Emer Prep F2:
       Shared Gov't   
158.9250r  [141.3]  Baltimore City Civil Defense
158.9400s  [100.0]  P.G. Emer Prep F1: Admin
161.0000r  [MANY]  D.C. National Guard
161.7600s  [         ]  Richmond area EAS
161.7900s  [         ]  Baltimore City Civil Defense
166.2500s  [         ]  Calvert Cliffs EAS

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167.9750d  [         ]  FEMA (see note)
170.1500s  [         ]  D.C. EAS (Frederick/         Calvert Cliffs too)
171.1875d  [         ]  FEMA (see note)
455.7500s  [         ]  Baltimore Area EAS
462.4000r  [ 77.0 ]  D.C. Hospital Emer Net
855.2125r  [136.5]  D.C. Mayor's Cmd Ctr
       Ops. 3 (see note)
855.2375r  [136.5]  D.C. Mayor's Cmd Ctr
       Ops. 2 (see note)
855.4625r  [136.5]  D.C. Mayor's Cmd Ctr
       Ops. 1 (see note)
868.5125r  [156.7]  Mont Co Hospital Emer         Net/DC Metro RINS

Now, some notes....

Through a cooperative agreement, MSP allows MIEMSS (the EMS medevac helicopter system) to use 44.74, the MSP Civil Defense Network.  47.5 is a licensed but unused backup for 47.66, MIEMSS's "heli-med" channel.  To complicate matters, the Maryland Emergency Management Agency (MEMA) also licensed 47.5 years ago (it appears to be a link between the state's EOC and the Frederick County EOC).  If anyone knows why just Frederick County, please let the rest of us know!

All EOCs in Maryland purportedly have access to 143.04.  Two other frequencies, 141.06 and 143.5, have both been reported as alternates.  But all three frequencies, just below the 2-meter ham band, appear as "black holes" in federal and FCC databases (anyone know why?).

Virginia's Department of Emergency Services (ES), with its primary headquarters at the Virginia EOC near Richmond, is the state's "civil defense" agency (see article in this issue's NewsScan).  155.82 and 155.895 are the primary channels used by ES for administrative and emergency communication mostly in the Richmond area.  The Virginia Health Department also coordinates statewide activities on 155.82 and 155.895 with ES personnel.  The Virginia EOC commonly coordinates EMS communication for Richmond area paramedics, medevac aircraft and medical facilities.  Has anyone heard the Virginia National and State Guard?  Please try 148.65 and 148.775 and let us know.

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An HF SSB net known as Operation SECURE is the radio backup for WACC.  Prior to this HF net, FEMA employed a local VHF system nicknamed "Channel G."  Stations that used the Channel G duplex radio circuit talked to FEMA on 167.975 and heard back from FEMA on 171.1875.  FEMA tested this radio circuit on a daily basis years ago, then net control for WACC transferred to the District, and that was the last we heard of Channel G.  FEMA reportedly remotely activated the old air raid sirens on 171.1875.  Anyone know what happened to these two frequencies?  They were at least partially replaced by Operation SECURE.

Speaking of FEMA, we've seen a hoard of frequencies reportedly used by FEMA's local offices over the years, but have had no confirmations in recent times.  If anyone wants to look for FEMA, try these: 138.225, 138.575, 139.45, 139.825, 139.95, 140.025, 140.9, 140.925, 141.725, 141.875, 141.95, 142.375, 142.4, 142.425, 142.925, 142.975, 143.0, 143.25 and 143.625.  Don't be surprised if you hear the military instead of FEMA because many of these channels are not exclusive FEMA allocations.  FEMA's CTCSS is 118.8 (or so we're told).

On the local level, Baltimore City emergency managers may now take to the city's new digital trunked system.  But their licensed frequencies include several listed above (are they still used?).  158.925 is also used by the jail.  In Prince George's County, emergency preparedness personnel now routinely share 158.94 with other county agencies who have been hard pressed for more talk channels.  Often a popular alternate for the Red Cross, 47.62 was intended for X.25 packet transfer by P.G.'s emergency managers, but has anyone heard it used?

So far, the District's Mayor's Command Center appears to be the sole user of the city's only multi-agency trunked system.  It's primary talkgroup on the Motorola Type II system is 08304 (207 hex).  No word yet as to the status of their old 45 MHz channels.  The three 855 MHz trunked channels are also available for use as conventional repeater pairs.  Here are the trunked frequencies for those with trunk capability: 855.2125, 855.2375, 855.4625, 856.9875, 857.9875, 858.9875, 859.9875 and 860.9875.

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the frequencies.  If we forgot any pipeline, please let us know.  We especially need CTCSS/DCS tones.

152.9150  Smplx     [         ]

454.0000  Rptr      [         ]  Temporary/              Portable Repeater
464.5000  Smplx  [         ]  Mobiles
464.5500  Smplx  [         ]  Mobiles
469.5000  Smplx  [         ]  Mobiles
469.5500  Smplx  [         ]  Mobiles

Colonial owns the world's largest-volume refined liquid petroleum products pipeline.  The Atlanta, Ga.,based company operates more than 5,349 miles of underground pipeline that delivers a daily average of 80 million gallons of gasoline, kerosene, home heating oil, diesel fuel and national defense fuel to 267 marketing terminals in 12 states and the District of Columbia from Gulf Coast refineries.

33.3800  Smplx [167.9]  Pipeline Systemwide
451.6000  Smplx  [         ]  Cove Point Plant             (portables)
451.7000  Smplx [         ] Cove Point and Arcola           Plants (portables)
456.6000  Smplx [         ]  Cove Point Plant             (portables)
456.7000  Smplx [         ] Cove Point Plant             (portables)
457.5250  Smplx  [         ]  Cove Point Plant             (marine radio)
457.5500  Smplx [         ]  Cove Point Plant             (marine radio)
457.5750  Smplx  [         ]  Cove Point Plant             (marine radio)
457.6000  Smplx [         ]  Cove Point Plant             (marine radio)

Columbia's 2,400 employees provide gas transmission and storage services for 72 local distribution companies serving more than 7 million customers, as well as to hundreds of large-volume customers in the eastern half of the country.  Columbia's 12,500-mile natural gas pipeline spans across 10 states.  Columbia and PEPCO jointly own and operate the liquefied natural gas (LNG) receiving terminal and gas storage facilities at Cove Point, Md, and the underground pipeline that links the facilities to two in

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terstate pipelines in Loudoun County.  The Cove Point plant is one of the largest LNG import, storage and peaking facilities in the nation.

Columbia took-over Commonwealth Gas Services which provided propane and natural gas to customers in Loudoun and Prince William counties.  Commonwealth operated on a Nextel trunked system (851.9375, 854.6375, 854.8125, 856.6125, 856.9125, 857.9125, 860.7875, 861.8875, 862.8875, 863.8875, 864.3125, 864.8875, 865.3125 and 865.8875).  Anyone hear them still?

49.1600  Smplx  [     ]  Richmond-Newington           Sites
451.7500  Rptr      [     ]  Richmond-Newington           Sites

The Plantation system consists of approximately 3,100 miles of pipelines connected to 130 shipper terminals in eight states.  Refined petroleum products - including different grades of motor and aviation gasoline, commercial and military jet fuels, heating oil and diesel fuels - enter the pipeline from nine refineries in Mississippi and Louisiana, from other products pipeline systems, and via marine facilities on the Mississippi River.  The company, headquartered in Atlanta, Ga., was founded in 1940.

48.7400  Smplx [     ]  Pipeline Systemwide
173.3375  Telem  [     ]  Systemwide (2w port)

The majority of Transco's 1,800-mile mainline system consists of four parallel pipelines, totaling 10,274 miles.  The supply originates at the Gulf coast and the market areas receiving it are the eastern and southeastern states.  Approximately 8 percent of all natural gas consumed in the country is delivered through the Transco system.  Transco successfully constructed the longest natural gas pipeline in the world in 1950, stretching from Hidalgo County, Tx, in the Rio Grande Valley, to 134th Street in New York City.

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ING ON TRUNKING.  Motorola and Ericsson/GE are providing estimates to Worcester County for a trunked radio system, reports the Ocean City Today.  But the county is also considering piggy-backing on Ocean City's existing EDACS trunked system.  The county sheriff and fire/EMS officials are already testing talkgroups on Ocean City's system.  Sharing with Ocean City would reduce the need for another tower in the county's north end.  Ocean City has its primary site in Ocean Pines.  The county received a license for 10 channels for testing purposes, 855.9625, 856.4625, 857.4625, 857.7125, 858.4625, 858.7125, 859.4625, 859.7125, 860.4625 and 860.7125.

Meanwhile, Bill Zittle reports that Wicomico County has its analog trunked system operational.  The switch-over is anticipated sometime during November.  The county's new EOC should be finished soon (if not all ready) and the final tower is up.  Antenna sites are licensed in Quantico, Salisbury and Pittsville.  The county holds a license for five trunked channels: 857.9875, 858.2375, 858.9875, 859.2375 and 860.2375; and three conventional channels: 856.7125, 856.9625 and 856.9875.

FCC GIVES GREEN LIGHT TO INTELLIGENT TRANSPORTATION SYSTEMS.  In October the FCC made radio spectrum available for intelligent transportation systems (ITS) operations.  The FCC, states a DOT press release, allocated a range of 5850-5925 MHz for dedicated short range communications (DSRC) between vehicles and electronic systems on the roadside, such as at toll booths or intersections.

This can support ITS activities such as intersection collision avoidance; transit or emergency vehicle signal priority, which allows an ambulance to command a green light approaching an intersection; electronic parking payments; and commercial vehicle clearance and safety inspections that can be done at highway speeds instead of requiring trucks to pull off the road.

DELDOT PURCHASES BROADCAST STATION.  The Delaware Department of Transportation is paying $280,000 for WAMS (AM 1380) - a 500-watt classical music station - to advise motorists and residents of traffic conditions in New Castle County, the state's northern-most county.  It is part of what is called an Intelligent Transportation Management plan, states the Sept. 14 Delaware State

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News.  DelDOT has been considering the idea of replacing or supplementing its eight 10-watt AM transmitters with a full-power radio station able to reach from south Philadelphia to central Delaware.

The station was a pre-programmed classical station with no disc jockeys.  The station would be the latest addition to the department's high-tech traffic management system, which includes Internet cameras and electronic message boards.  If the project goes as planned, DelDOT will become the first state highway department in the country with that kind of broadcast power.

DELAWARE'S AILING TRUNKED SYSTEM.  Articles appearing throughout the summer in Delaware papers hammered away at the state's new and ailing trunked radio network.  During September, state lawmakers announced they will launch a formal probe into why the new emergency communications system has widespread problems.

The $52 million 800 MHz system was designed to allow firefighters and police officers to communicate from any outdoor location in the state.  According to news reports, the system was never designed to work inside large buildings, a fact that angered many legislators who voted for the network.  In a letter to the editor that appeared in the Delaware
State News Sunday, the governor claimed that public safety radio users in the past, especially in large buildings, relied on talk-around channels where those inside communicated directly by radio to someone immediately outside who could relay the message to a dispatcher if necessary.  This approach, the governor wrote, "had worked effectively for many years."

Furthermore, the governor's letter continued, "Earlier this year, some in our state - apparently at the prodding of Motorola - wanted to pour millions of additional dollars into this new system to 'fix' coverage problems in the five areas and also achieve total in-building coverage.  But Motorola hasn't fully determined the cause of the current coverage problems and can't guarantee 100 percent in-building coverage, even if new towers are built."

Motorola claimed the state knew it was getting a system that worked outside and was only guaranteed to provide 95 percent coverage of the state.  State officials say the test was flawed.  The test

set up grids in every county made up of quarter-mile squares.  A square passed if a special radio picked up a signal on any 40-foot section of street in the grid and if a voice could be heard.  Under the contract, if 95 percent of the grids passed, Motorola fulfilled its obligations.

The state never hired anyone to study what type of system it needed, observed the
News Journal, an unusual decision for such an ambitious project.  A Motorola spokesperson told the paper that normally a public agency hires a consultant to decide what kind of network it needs.

Baltimore, which also recently installed an 866 MHz system, observed the
News Journal, has 10 towers for its 90 square miles.  Delaware has 10 towers for 2,000 square miles, but unlike Baltimore, Delaware has few high-rise buildings.

The bid work and construction of the towers to support the project continued despite repeated questions raised before the FCC dating back to Dec. 26, 1996, reported the
Delaware State News.  The system encroaches as much as 50 miles into the state of Maryland and the adjacent public safety review committee had asked the commission to halt the project three years ago.  It didn't and the state continued building the system.

Once completed several months ago, five areas in Delaware experienced outdoor coverage troubles after the 10 planned sites were operating.  To fix the problem, Motorola proposed a series of "intelli-repeaters" and channel locking systems which keep radios honed-in on their local signals.  Motorola agreed to give the state the "intelli-repeaters" to try to eliminate the outdoor dead spots (but in-building coverage will be another project).

The first of the five areas to see improvement was Rehoboth Beach where a five-channel trunking "intelli-repeater" system was operating just before Labor Day weekend.  An "intelli-repeater" site in Hartly (just east of Queen Anne's County) was operating by mid-September.  But proposed "intelli-repeaters" needed to fix the other outdoor problem areas have been delayed because new frequencies needed to repair the system are unavailable because they are being claimed by other jurisdictions.
The governor said it is unfair to blame the system's

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