This list contains ALE address, voice call signs, and frequency information that have been observed on the COTHEN HF ALE Net. Additional information on COMMSTA Kodiak and other logged USCG ALE nets also included.
Last updated by previous list owner Mark Cleary was in March 2018. Mark announced that it was his last. So, to my friend, thank you for sharing and your passion for listening to this part of the hobby.
It is my intent to maintain Mark’s list on this blog in the years to come. I want to thank the dozens of monitors who have contributed updates to both Mark and me over the years to keep this list current. Your support has been sincerely appreciated.
Author's Note: Anyone who has used/viewed this list over time knows based on intercept dates that there are a lot of old ALE addresses in this list. I have started purging to the end of this list any old individual ALE address or series of ALE addresses that have not been spotted on the network in the last decade. I will continue to purge these addresses to the bottom of the list and at some point, will declare them deprecated and remove from this list if they have not been spotted in the last 15 years. I will also start purging old frequencies that no longer appear to be used very soon after researching and monitoring them for activity.
Send updates, additions, & corrections to Larry Van Horn (teakpub at frontier dot com).
COTHEN Background Info
COTHEN (Cellular Over The Horizon Enforcement Network) is a tactical long-range HF ALE communications network that uses landlines to connect nineteen transmission sites spanning the nation to form one unified coverage area. Currently, the network has 19 sites, 89 remote communications consoles (RCC’s), and a TSC in Orlando, FL.
Back in 1984, the design for an ultra-sensitive U.S. Customs radio network was conceived. It combines a radio, computer, and a tactical voice privacy unit into a state-of-the-art communications system that meets the demanding requirements of Customs' tactical interdiction aircraft and boats in their fight against smuggling activities.
COTHEN's first fixed station transmitter near Memphis, Tenn., became operational in 1985. The Blue Lightning Operations Center was the first command office and its marine vessels were the first tactical platforms to have COTHEN radios. This initial deployment proved so successful that COTHEN grew to include all U.S. Customs aircraft.
This national/international network is comprised of land-based, fixed station transceiver systems, remote command and control systems, marine mobile systems, airborne mobile systems, transportable transceiver systems and many special purpose ancillary systems controlled by cellular switching technology. Each system that comprises COTHEN is specifically designed to support tactical law enforcement officers. The network is completely frequency adaptive and employs voice type 1-3 encryption. COTHEN is a primary means of long-range communications for many agencies.
COTHEN now provides communications support for hundreds of aircraft, marine interdiction vessels, command offices, and numerous agencies including the U.S. Coast Guard, Drug Enforcement Administration, Border Patrol, Army, Army National Guard, Navy, and Joint Interagency Task Forces.
COTHEN's Technical Service Center (TSC) provides real-time on-the-air support services and guarantees communications between users. The Telecommunications Specialists who operate the TSC have many innovative diagnostic tools used to ensure communications, including a telephone patch (TRICS), a platform tracking and location system (TRACS), and over-the-air-rekeying capabilities (DARK).
The TSC constantly monitors all communications using the network by tracking the radio calls of all assets. The TSC operators ensure that communications are established, and that links are optimal. This is done by observing which land site a radio call is using to establish the link. If the link is not the best one possible, the TSC operator can remotely change the site, improving the quality of the communications.
The TSC is an important aspect of COTHEN because it provides a central hub for the network and because it is staffed by highly experienced operators. There is a back-up control site for the TSC in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. Having a secondary control site protects COTHEN against any terrorist attack or natural disaster, such as a hurricane.
Each 1-kW transmission site has two antennas; Omni TS 530 and a Directional TS 540.
2008 documents list 19 transmitter sites in the COTHEN network:
Site I.D - Town
ABQ - Stanley NM
ATL - Warm Springs GA
CDI - Cedar Island NC
CDR - Marion IA
CR1-CR8 - Omaha NE
DEN - Agate CO
FTM - Sarasota FL
KCM - Raleigh NC
LUV - Lovelock NV
MEM - Senatobia TN
OKO/OKD - Chichasha OK
PR1 - Islote PR
RNO - Simpson NV
RSH - Concord NC
SAR - Limestone FL
SEA - Clinton NC
SS1 - Cedar Rapids IA
VGS - Longandale NV
11-2015 - Service Center states on air there is a new COTHEN antenna in Honolulu.
These site locations were selected by Customs to give optimum coverage in their area of operation.
December 23, 2009 - Service Center reports, over the air, there are 14 channels in the COTHEN net. Mentions it again on June 22, 2011 and January 21, 2011
June 2009 - Regular COTHEN traffic now also appears on 4614.5 5909.5 12222.0 13312.0 14582.0 20662.0 kHz ALE/USB
Original COTHEN Frequencies: 5732.0 7527.0 8912.0 10242.0 11494.0* 13907.0 15867.0 18594.0 20890.0 23214.0 25350.0 kHz ALE/USB Note: * - 11494 kHz was also a U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) frequency which accounts for occasional USDA traffic
ATL COTHEN Atlanta Remote Transmitter - Warm Springs GA 01-19-18, also ATLPRI 07-13-10, ATLSEC 03-10-09
AV7 Unknown 06-29-18
BAC Unknown 11-13-16
BES Unknown 07-30-15
BGRNG Army National Guard (ME) AASF - Bangor ME (also BGR) 10-11-16
BOS COTHEN Remote Communications Transmitter - Possible Boston, MA 07-14-18
BROOK Army National Guard (FL) AASF #2 - Brooksville FL (Brooksville-Tampa Bay Regional Airport) 01-25-18
BUA USCG Unknown w/LNT 07-30-15
C## US Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) ground stations and mobiles
The Corps of Engineers has 15 Deployable Tactical Operations System Emergency Command and Control Vehicles and three Mobile Communications Vehicles used to support FEMA and DHS communications during a crisis/disaster. There are 15 ECCVs located across the continental U.S. as follows: 6-Mobile AL; 3-Sacramento CA; 1-Baltimore MD; 1-Nashville TN 1-St. Louis MO; 1-Ft. Worth TX; 1-Los Angeles CA; 1-Portland OR. There is one MCV at each of the following locations: San Juan PR; Mobile AL; Baltimore MD. Three were used at the World Trade Center after the 9/11 attack.
KHLN National Guard (MT) AASF Helena Airport w/R26135 02-01-16
KRV COTHEN Remote Transmitter - Possible Riverside CA 07-02-18, also KRVPRI 06-15-10
KST Unknown w/EST 10-27-09
KY4FEM FEMA Kentucky State EOC - Frankfort KY 02-03-09 - Voice Call: WGY994
KYAASF National Guard (KY) AASF - Frankfort KY 09-28-12
L1126 US Army unit w/BGRNG 02-05-16
LAB COTHEN Radio Lab - Unknown location 10-03-13, also LAB1PRI 11-06-08
LAB2PRI Unknown - Unknown location 11-06-08
LB1 USCG Unknown (Mil-Std 188-110) w/FSE 04-21-12
LB2 USCG Unknown w/FSE, LT2 03-31-14
LCW Unknown w/N03 10-26-16
LGV USCG Unknown 2-13-19 (ALE identity has been moved to unknown. At one point M. Cleary assigned to the USCGC Northland c Intl c/s NLGF. Even had ALE LGV1 address small boat associated with it. Some say now it is a remote.) LHV USCG Unknown w/F04, K33, N03, N13 04-10-14
TSC CBP Customs National Law Enforcement Communications Center -- Technical Service Center / COTHEN Regional Expansion Node - Orlando, FL (Uses DVT encryption w/USCG units 10-24-18, also TSC1 w/P99, TSC2 w/TSC 08-15-15
WJO National Guard (UT) AASF - South Valley RAP (West Jordan), UT 12-02-15
WRLNG National Guard (CT) AASF - Bradley IAP CT 10-18-18
WST COTHEN Western Regional Expansion Node w/D42, T10, T53 10-09-18
X2C Unknown w/TSC 11-22-08
X## - Unknown Series
Note: In 2018 a new ALE Address series has popped up on the COTHEN network. Currently the jury is out as to who or what this new series represents. A new X## series, an old Army X series making a comeback or as some have theorized that some of the Coast Guard HC-27J may be using this ALE addresses format.