01 April 2012

LA County Fire, actually starts narrow-banding.

Well it was no April fools joke, I woke up this morning and noticed something was different, there was no 0700 "wake up call" on LA County Tac 19. That's because Tac 19 is no more.

For years there has been a daily 7:00 AM test of the old Quick Call alerting system on what was a remnant of the original VHF dispatch system for LA County Fire. In recent years the 154.400 MHz frequency, called Tac 19, has been used for communicating between LA County dispatch and various County Fire and LASD Air Rescue helicopters, not to mention by USFS, Cal Fire, and Search and Rescue personell on the ground during emergencies.

With the 2013 Federal narrowband mandate just around the corner (at least in government terms) LA County Fire is one of the last agencies to make the switch. Today, April 1st 2012, has been a long coming date when LACo Fire would start implementing the process, first with their VHF frequencies, and further down the line with their primary UHF frequencies. The details of what exactly would be changed hasn't been verry clear to the scanner community, or to outside agencies that utilize the County VHF frequencies for interoperability.

Tac 19 went off the air at 0600 to let the technicians change over the hardware to the narrowband system, and came back online around 0800 as "L.A. County Air to Ground".
It's unsure, at least to me, what else will change now that the bandwidth and names of the VHF frequenies have changed, it also looks like with the new names, are coming new battalion assignments. It's clear 154.400 will remain primarily an air to ground frequency, but will it still be a backup dispatch channel?

Radio Reference has a good list of how the old VHF channels are being changed, and also the five new VHF command frequencies that are being set up.

I guess tomorrow morning I'll get to find out if LAC A/G has the same 0700 wake up call or if it's just a thing of the past.

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