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Alan Henney (,
Willard Hardman (,
and Mike Peyton (

For the second time in history, the son of a former President will be inaugurated.  George W. Bush will be sworn in as President of The United States of America on 20 January 2001.  But what frequencies should we monitor for his inauguration?  At about this time last year we were programming our scanners with frequencies for Y2K doomsday scanning.  This year it's not a computer glitch or power failure for which we're preparing, but a new presidential administration, surrounded by controversy.  A number of special interest groups have threatened demonstrations.  This should only make scanning more interesting.

As civilian and military agencies, along with private companies, scramble to complete their inauguration plans, the city's population, as well as its radio activity, escalates as Inauguration Day, 2001 approaches.  Few events offer scanner listeners so much variety monitoring over the course of a few days -- including parades, protests, pomp, and presidential motorcades.  To help organize our scanning efforts, we have taken a look at past events in the Nation's Capital, and offer this scanner guide for the 2001 Inauguration.

After looking at recent history in four-year increments, it's startling how much our hobby has evolved.  This inauguration we're going to see a tremendous increase in the kinds of technologies employed -- many of which are dreaded by scanner hobbyists -- Nextel, digital trunked, and encrypted conventional radio systems, and increased use of "voice-less" computer networks for what had once been transmitted over the radio.

On the day of the swearing-in ceremony you might want to take your scanner and head for Capitol Hill.  Or perhaps you may prefer to stay warm at home.  Regardless of where you are, we hope this frequency profile will add to your listening enjoyment.

This profile is just to help get you started.  Please take the next step and track down frequencies and other information we have yet to discover.  And don't forget, we want to hear from you!  Please share your experiences and findings with the rest of us.  Check the Scan-DC e-mail list for any updates.

The presidential inauguration is a major production that involves nearly every federal agency.  The three major players are the Presidential Inaugural Committee (PIC), the Joint Congressional Committee on Inaugural Ceremonies (JCCIC) and the Armed Forces Inaugural Committee (AFIC).

For details, visit their Web sites:

If you have not already done so, call the US Capitol (202-224-3121) and ask a Congressional representative for inaugural passes.  Don't give up, some representatives have tickets left while others claim to have long run out.


U.S. Capitol & Congress

Capitol Police channel usage varies from day to day.  The department tends to use the first three channels for routine dispatch operations, and its last two for specialized

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The NPS is divided into 12 management units in the National Capital Area.  Only those directly involved with the inauguration are listed.  Many of these frequencies, however, are shared, so you may hear traffic from other locations.

US Park Police (NPS)
166.7250  r/s  CH1 & CH6 Secondary
166.9250  r/s  CH2 & CH7 Dispatch
167.0750  r/s  CH3 & CH8 Administrative
166.8500  s    CH4 Tactical

National Park Operations - National Capital Area
168.4250  s/r  NPS-Parks East
      (Fort Washington)
172.4750  s/r  NPS-Parks Central/Rock Creek        Park (includes National Mall)
172.7500  s/r  White House Maintenance Unit
171.6500  s    White House Visitor Control Ops
411.6750  r     White House Liaison
168.3000  s/r  C&O Canal Park Rangers
464.8875  s    Kennedy Center Staff/Shuttle Bus

Kennedy Center security used 461.325 prior to switching to Nextel.  The center is licensed on 463.7125/468.7125, 463.8125, 464.7625/469.7625, 466.5875, 467.8125, 468.5375 and 469.4125 (none of which have been reported in use).


The GSA Federal Protective Service (FPS) digitized its primary radio system in November.  Additional frequencies are used at specific sites as well as those used by contractors.  GSA prepared the 90,000-square-foot transition headquarters at 1800 G Street NW (former Y2K headquarters).  Installed are 300 work stations (240 more are available if needed), complete with computers, telephones, copiers and fax machines.  In addition to the space, furnishings and computers, GSA also provides the information technology, telecommunications, payroll, financial and other management support for the transition team.  GSA provides similar services to support the inauguration.

163.1750  s    GSA HQ Transportation
168.5750  s    GSA Region Building Maintenance
415.2000  r/s  CH1 & CH3 FPS (Astro)
417.2000  r/s  CH2 & CH4 FPS (Astro)
411.2750  r/s  CH5 & CH6 FPS (Astro)

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NTIA-Coordinated Trunked System
(AKA Federal SMR and DC1)

This is a Motorola trunked radio system popular among both civilian and military federal agencies in downtown Washington, D.C. including various museums, the National Archives, FDA, GSA, NDW, Bolling AFB, etc.  The system has over 50 talk groups, and more may be added for the inauguration.

406.8500  Control/Voice
408.4500  Control/Voice
408.7000  Control/Voice
408.9000  Control/Voice
406.2500  Voice Only
406.7500  Voice Only
409.7500  Voice Only
410.3750  Voice Only
Rx 406.1 (start); Channel Spacing 25 KHz


169.0500  s  Motor Pool
169.2000  r/s  CH1 & CH2 Security

Several Smithsonian museums communicate on the NTIA-coordinated trunked system.  The National Zoo, also a part of the Smithsonian, has completed its move to the NTIA-coordinated trunked system. 


168.3500  r  Administration
406.5500  r  CH1 Security
408.0000  s  CH2 Security & Safety


The medical teams, a recent addition to the special-event landscape in Washington, have used both channels during recent events in the city.  They employ an analog scrambling system.

407.1250  r
409.0000  r


FBI involvement is somewhat limited.  They will be active providing intelligence and advice as required.  In addition, their hostage teams and other similar units will be on stand by should they be required.  The vast bulk of FBI radio traffic is encrypted.

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Secret Service agents protect the president, past presidents, foreign heads of state/government, and others as directed.  Much of their radio traffic is encrypted.  In addition, 165.6875 is mostly digital (Astro).  Treasury Common, 166.4625, is often a federal command post channel.  One may find the Secret Service or an allied agency using additional frequencies.  Some of the ad hoc channels which have been used in Washington have included: 166.0625, 166.8, 167.0, 168.1, 168.2, 168.725, 168.975, 169.1, 169.45, 169.55, 169.7, 169.75, 170.1 and 173.625.  Try the White House Communications Agency channels listed in the military section too.

165.7875  s    Baker
165.3750  s    Charlie
165.2125  s    Mike
164.8875  s    Oscar
164.4000  s    Papa
164.6500  s    Tango
165.6875  r/s  Washington Field Office
166.4625  s    X-Ray, Treasury Common

Uniformed Division, Secret Service (UDSS)

The UDSS provides external guard services to the White House and selected US and foreign facilities in the Washington area.  The first two channels, which are mostly encrypted, are used by the White House Branch.  414.675 is the primary dispatch for the Foreign Missions Division.  UDSS radios used for training and other purposes may be pressed into service.  Try 414.8, 415.1, 415.675, 415.75 and 415.8.

418.7750  s    CH1
418.3500  s    CH2
414.6750  r/s  CH3 & CH4
415.9750  r/s  CH5 & CH6
414.8500  r/s  CH7 & CH8
415.6500  r/s  CH9 & CH10
407.9250  s    Canine Tactical

Selected Executive Branch/Congressional
Security/Driver Details

Many of these frequencies are often encrypted.  Not all cabinet secretaries have a security detail, and in some cases, a specially trained driver doubles as the

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AFIC's Joint Operations Center (JOC) overlooks the Air & Space Museum from the second floor of the federal building at 600 Independence Ave SW.  Ten wide-screen TVs line the front wall of AFIC's JOC.  They are labeled as follows: CBS, CNBC, CNBC, C-SPAN2, Fox, MSNBC, NBC and the Weather Channel.  The two larger center screens are CNN and CNN-Live.  Major Carnell said they can bring up Web or other sources on the screens if necessary.

The JOC has 24 positions (excluding two supervisor positions in the rear of the room).  The JOC participants are similar to those in 1997, including representatives from the military, D.C. government, PIC and key law enforcement agencies.  Carnell said the FBI, Secret Service and many of the other agencies have their own JOCs.  The Secret Service is the lead law enforcement agency. 

During the 1997 inauguration AFIC command and control nets operated on the Department of Defense UHF trunked system (AKA, Belvoir system, below).  Localized activity primarily remained on the older VHF channels.  We verified AFIC on the following six frequencies during both the 1993 and 1997 inaugurations: 143.875, 148.375, 148.875, 149.125, 149.275 and 149.875. (148.475 and 143.15 have already been noted in very limited use as of December 2000)

These additional frequencies were used in 1997: 138.35, 138.5, 138.9, 139.7, 139.725, 139.8, 139.975, 140.0, 140.375, 140.85, 141.575, 141.65, 141.725, 141.75, 141.8, 141.85, 141.9, 142.125, 142.175, 142.2, 142.25, 142.65, 143.025, 143.85, 143.95, 148.425, 148.475, 148.675, 148.725, 148.75, 148.825, 149.15, 149.175, 150.225, 150.3 and 150.325.

And in 1993 we found AFIC on 138.325, 141.925, 142.325, 142.4, 142.45, 142.475, 143.375, 148.55, 148.7, 149.775 and 150.425.  The general trend during both inaugurations was to use frequencies below 141.7 as inputs and those above 148 MHz as repeater outputs.

In 1997, 17 talkgroups were allocated for AFIC's use on the same trunked system used by Fort Belvoir.  Because of AFIC's close relationship with the Military District of Washington (MDW), which also uses the same trunked system, we anticipate that AFIC's radio backup will include use of this system as well.  Given the substantial changes in technology that have occurred, use of the old VHF radios is doubtful, but possible as back-ups.

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406.5250  Control/Voice
407.9500  Control/Voice
409.2500  Control/Voice
406.2000  Voice Only
406.3000  Voice Only
406.7750  Voice Only
407.0250  Voice Only
408.8500  Voice Only
411.2000  Voice Only

Rx 406.2 (start); Channel Spacing 25 KHz

This trunked system has a great volume of encrypted transmissions.  The primary encrypted user, however, should be relatively quiet during the inauguration.  There are a number of other military users on this system that will not be directly involved, such as Fort Belvoir, Defense Logistics Agency, CECOM, and others.


The Army's MDW has overall responsibility for the coordination and operation of DoD participation in government ceremonies in the capital area.  MDW will be busy in almost every aspect of the ceremonies from security to transportation to logistical support.

MDW is a primary user of the DoD system noted above.
The command, operations and logistics nets of the MDW (known as "State Sword") talk groups will carry a large volume of radio traffic.  All MDW radio has migrated to the trunked system.  VHF is no longer in use.  Included will be several specific temporary talk groups for  the inauguration.  However, the regular talk groups for Military Police, Engineer, Transportation, Comunications-Electronics, and Logistics will be quite active.  Of particular note will be the talk group for "ASA" - Army Support Activity (which also identifies as "CP").

White House Communications Agency (WHCA)

Another important military element which provides support to the inauguration as well as the President is the White House Communications Agency (WHCA). 

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Numerous agencies are involved in staging this quadrennial extravaganza.  Although it is a federal function, local government becomes involved as well.  Of primary concern to the District government will be protest and crowd control, general law enforcement, fire/EMS services, creating a more positive city image by keeping the homeless and prostitutes off the streets, and assisting federal agencies with the protection and movement of dignitaries.


The District fire/EMS department says it plans to have its digital Motorola trunked radio system fully implemented during December.  Keep the VHF channels just in case (dispatching will continue on 154.19).  System frequencies are as follows: 852.6125, 852.6375, 852.6625, 852.6875, 852.7125, 852.7375, 852.7625, 852.7875, 855.2125, 855.2375, 855.4625, 856.9875, 857.9875, 858.9875, 859.9875 and 860.9875.  The department earmarked three talkgroups for special events, they are: 2096, 2112 and 2128 (all digital).

154.1900  r/s  CH1 & CH5 Dispatch
154.2350  s    CH2 EMS Coordination
154.2800  s    CH3 Fire Mutual Aid 2
154.2050  s    CH4 Fireground


DC EMA uses digital talkgroups on the same trunked system as D.C. fire/EMS but in the 33000-34000 range. Supposedly it has retained its former channels, 45.6 and 45.56, for special events because of the abundance of old inexpensive radios. 


460.1, 460.275, 460.325, 460.4 and 460.45, which are routinely used as tactical and citywide channels, will be reassigned to various details and elements as required, including MPD's Civil Disturbance Units (CDU), Traffic Division, vending, prisoner control, and Special Operations Division (SOD) officers, and the Command and Information Center (CIC).  The older VHF channels have in the past been put to use for special events.

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MPD channel plans vary depending upon the radio.  Frequencies for only three of the seven police districts are listed since most inaugural sites and visitor locations are within the 1st, 2nd and 3rd districts.

158.7900  r    CH1 Support Services
158.8500  r/s CH2 & CH3 CID
155.3100  s CH4 Surveillance 4
155.4150  s CH5 Surveillance 5
154.8900  s CH6 Surveillance 6
460.3500  r 1st District
460.2500  r 2nd District
460.0250  r 3rd District
460.1000  r/s Tac 1
460.4000  r/s Tac 2
460.4500  r Tac 3
460.4250  r Command Channel
460.2750  r Special Operations Div "A11"
460.3250  r Citywide 1
458.3500  s SOD ERT Surveillance 1 (Astro)
458.7000  s SOD Surveillance 2
465.0000  s SOD ERT Surveillance 3 (Astro)
453.3125  s Citywide Surveillance 1
458.3125  s Citywide Surveillance 2


The District's public works crews will be involved in cleaning streets, facilitating VIP movements, blocking roads, and assisting the National Park Service and the Architect of the Capitol.  The public works mostly uses Nextel, although you will still hear some chatter on the department's old channels (37.1, 37.94, 453.45 and 453.75).


47.4200  s  American Red Cross
161.0000  r  D.C. National Guard
452.1000  r  Downtown Business Improvement       District
462.6750  r  REACT
464.3500  r  Hypothermia Vans
495.4375  r  CH2 Parking Enforcement
453.8750  r  CH3 Motor Pool/Parking

Armory Board (RFK Stadium & Armory)
153.9800  s
453.5250  s  DC Protective Service
464.3750  r  CH1
464.6750  s  CH2

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The Capitol Hill Monitor

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