Friday, September 27, 2013

Editorial - Navy Firefighters Claim Radios Failed During Shooting Incident -Update

Emergency personnel respond to a reported shooting at the Washington Navy Yard, Monday, Sept. 16, 2013 in Washington. Police and federal agents from multiple law enforcement agencies responded to the scene. Ambulances were parked outside, streets in the area were closed and departures from Reagan National Airport were temporarily halted for security reasons. (AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta)
Failures have been documented since 2010

Update: DHS has issued a new version of their National Interoperability Field Operations Guide (NIFOG) publication and is available at Most of the frequencies in this pub are accurate and it is a good resource to have in your shack and programmed in your scanner regardless where you live here in the U.S. And to all you Feds, you need an interop freq then use this guide. It is all there for the taking, duh!

9/23/13 Editor Note: The radio system that this article refers to is the Joint National Capitol Region 380-400 MHz trunk radio system (TRS). Informational, frequencies and talk groups can be found at

WASHINGTON (WUSA9) - We've got more details after explosive accusations suggest lives could have been spared at the Navy Yard shooting if the first rescuers inside were able to communicate.

We are specifically referring to the U.S. Naval District of Washington Fire and EMS Department and reports that their emergency radios failed them during the Navy Yard shooting incident.

STATter911: Navy firefighters: Failure of NDW radio system impacted saving lives following Navy Yard shooting rampage.

Audio: No Medic Units Available During Navy Yard Shooting

"I would say there is a great likelihood that more lives could have been saved ," said Gregory Russell with the National Capitol Federal Firefighters. He is the president of the National Capitol Federal Firefighters Union. He is also a fire inspector with the U.S. Naval District of Washington Fire, and EMS Department. That's the same department responsible for fire and EMS services at the Navy Yard.

Full story at

And then there is this from

For example, Naval District of Washington officers could not use their radios to call for help that morning -- they had to call 9-1-1 on their cell phones.

Improving inter-agency communication became a nation-wide goal following 9/11, but Maybo said many smaller police departments and federal bureaus in the District can't secure the type of funding that D.C. Police have.  

"Some police agencies have radios that are meant for tow trucks and cab drivers," he said. 

You have to be kidding me but I'm not laughing.

First, this does not surprise me. I predicted this in the pages of Monitoring Times after the debacle called Hurricane Katrina in New Orleans. At that time, Tyco who sold the city of New Orleans the EDACS ProVoice system that couldn't even communicate with the next parish, tried to demonize me for blasting their non-complaint radio system. When the final hammer came down ProVoice and the entire EDACS trunk radio system was replaced with a P25 compatible system, I was vindicated and Tyco ended up selling their radio business. They should have stuck with toys.

Are the elected politicians in San Antonio, Texas, listening. It is only a matter of time before you have the same issue. You fools are using an EDACS Networked Standard w/ESK with ProVoice and Analog system voice. Keep your eye on the Gulf cause that is probably when it will happen in the Alamo city.

Another stupid example is from the federal government in DC. Who's idea was it for the Smithsonian and National Zoo to purchase a Analog LTR Passport trunk radio system? Did anyone send them the memo that government radio system purchased with US taxpayer money had to be P25 compatible?

We have spent billions on these trunk radio systems in the National Capitol Region and they still can't communicate with each other? Maybe it is time that the federal government to find leadership, intelligence and some sanity in all this (yea right)!

It is called Interoperability! Heck DHS even spent taxpayer money to make up a kids coloring book on Federal radio system interoperability. Another federal waste of money and I'm sure the kids were riveted.

Anyway, we don't need a new system unless it is not P25 compatible. We need to use the frequencies we have set aside for interoperability. Don't you bureaucrats in DC read your own regs and instructions? Guess not. So let me help you. Here are some of the NCR area federal interop channels you morons.

DHS Common Channels
166.4625 s DHS/Treas/Fed-Common 1
166.5875 s DHS/Treas/Fed-Common 2
165.8375 r/s DHS Common (p/w 170.7875)
168.5875 s DHS Common
412.4375 s DHS Common
417.2875 r/s DHS Common (p/w 408.2875)

Federal Common-Use Channels These common-use frequencies are available for use on a shared basis by any federal agency: 163.1/168.35, 163.7125, 168.6125, 173.625/167.1375, 407.525/416.525, 409.05/418.05, 409.075/418.075, 409.3375/418.3375, 412.825, 412.8375, 412.85, 412.8625, 412.875, 412.8875, 412.9 and 412.9125. The older wide-band channels are: 408.4, 418.05, 418.075 and 418.575.


Courtesy of the Capitol Hill Monitors:

Each civilian NCR jurisdiction maintaining a trunked net-work has a cache of 700/800 MHz spare radios for use during emergencies and special events. The radios are programmed with trunked and conventional channels used by other jurisdictions in the NCR.

There are more than 80 nationally designated mutual aid channels. In addition, the NCR has its own unique mutual aid channels. The mutual aid channels have been assigned (and reassigned) different designations, which has led to confusion.
The National Public Safety Telecommunications Council (NPSTC) provides this helpful spreadsheet listing the national mutual aid channels on its Website.

The National Interoperability Field Operations Guide is useful reading on interoperability radio communication.

Repeated channels are often given an "R" suffix, and "D" is for direct, for example, UCALL40-D. Unless otherwise noted, all channels in this section are analog with a CTCSS of 156.7 Hz or carrier squelch.

123.0250 s Public Safety Helos (helicopter common)
154.2800 s Fire Mutual Aid 2 (VFIRE21)
154.2950 s Fire Mutual Aid 1 (VFIRE23)
155.4750 s National Law Enfo Emer Freq (VLAW31)
462.4000 r D.C. Hospital Mutual Aid [CTCSS 77.0]  

But heck there are a lot more interop freqs, but I won't bore you here listing them. Let me refer you to the official document published by DHS for the full list of interop freqs and channel numbers.

Hell taxpayers pay for this stuff, I'm like many others and tired of DC bureaucrats putting their regs  on the shelf after they have mandated them to the rest of us peasants.

It is time for the American taxpayer to put DoD, DHS, NTIA, the MDW and any other federal agency in the District that keys a radio on the hot seat. So I'm throwing the fraud, waste and abuse red flag. My Congressman is fixing to get another ear full.