This list contains ALE address, voice call sign, and frequency information for the COTHEN ALE Net. Additional information on COMMSTA Kodiak and other logged USCG ALE nets is also included. Send updates, additions, & corrections to Mark Cleary (mjc843 at gmail dot com) or Larry Van Horn (teakpub at frontier dot com). Photos courtesy of CBP. Latest updates by Larry Van Horn, N5FPW in Brasstown, NC. Last updated by Mark on 14 February 2016.
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 in order 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, 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 - Latitude / Longitude - Town
ABQ - Stanley NM (35º 08' 39" N / 105º 54' 31" W east of Albuquerque)
ATL - Warm Springs GA (32º 55’ 18” N / 84º 39” 33” W south of Atlanta)
CDI - Cedar Island NC (34º 57' 30" N / 76º 16' 36" W southeast of Raleigh and east of Jacksonville)
CDR - Marion IA (42º 00' 26" N / 91º 29' 43" W east of Cedar Rapids)
CR1-CR8 - Omaha NE (42º 01’ 54” N / 91º 38’ 15” W)
DEN - Agate CO (39º 26' 26" N / 103º 57' 31" W southeast of Denver)
FTM - Sarasota FL (26º 33’ 38” N / 81º 25” 00” W)
KCM - Raleigh NC (38º 36' 06" N / 93º 36' 35" W)
LUV - Lovelock NV (40º 05' 21" N / 118º 31' 57" W northeast of Reno)
MEM - Senatobia TN (34º 36”59” N / 90º 04 53" W south of Memphis)
OKO/OKD - Chichasha OK (34º 51' 46" N / 97º 51' 47" W southwest of Oklahoma City)
PR1 - Islote PR (18º 29’ 08" N / 66º 37' 59" W west of San Juan)
RNO - Simpson NV (38º 52' 00" N / 119º 24' 38" W southeast of Reno)
RSH - Concord NC (34º 49' 02" N / 78º 07 55" W east of Fayetteville)
SAR - Limestone FL (27º 21' 15" N / 81º 52' 25" W east of Sarasota)
SEA - Clinton NC (34º 58' 07" N / 78º 23' 32" W east of Fayetteville)
SS1 - Cedar Rapids IA (42º 00’ 26” N / 91º 29’ 43” W)
VGS - Longandale NV (36º 35' 44" N / 114º 29' 27" W northeast of Las Vegas)
These site locations were selected by Customs to give optimum coverage in their area of operation.
Unmanned COTHEN transmit site with omnidirectional antenna system. (Photo courtesy of the Customs service)
ATL COTHEN Remote Transmitter - Warm Springs GA 1-26-16
ATLPRI COTHEN Remote Transmitter - Warm Springs GA 7-13-10
ATLSEC COTHEN Remote Transmitter - Warm Springs GA 3-10-09
ATT2 USCG Attu Island AK (Tentative) w/709 10-3-07
ATU USCG Attu Island AK (Tentative) w/NOJ 7-17-05
AV7 Unknown 6-2-15
AWH USCGC Hawk (WPB-87355)
AXP USCGC Haddock (WPB 87347) 4-3-09
AYL USCGC Dolphin (WPB 87354) 3-11-09
AYS USCGC Brant (WPB 87348) 8-27-14
AYT USCGC Shearwater (WPB 87349) 3-19-15
AYU USCGC Petrel (WPB 87350) 1-15-16
AYV USCGC Fir (WLB 213) 3-3-10
B02 Unknown w/TSC 10-6-05
BCQ USCGC Bertholf (WMSL 750) 4-19-13
BCU USCGC Sawfish (WPB 87357) 1-18-10
BES Unknown 7-30-15
BGN USCGC Waesche (WMSL 751) 12-19-14
BGN1 USCGC Waesche (WMSL 751) small boat 12-10-14
BGRNG USAR National Guard (ME) AASF - Bangor ME w/29M, MEJT01, R23997, R26191, R26668, R26671, REDHWK 2-8-16
BHF USCGC Sequoia (WLB 215) 8-7-13
BNW USCG Sitkinak (WPB 1329) 3-15-13
BOB CBP Customs National Law Enforcement Communications Center - Technical Service Center Orlando FL w/MVT, CS4, IKE, DL1 1-14-05
BRF USCGC Osprey (WPB 87307) 6-19-14
BUA Unknown w/LNT 7-29-15
C## US Army Corps of Engineers 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.
C01 USAR Corps of Engineers Rapid Response Vehicle 3-17-10
C01A USAR Corps of Engineers w/C02A, C10 3-27-13
C02 USAR Corps of Engineers Rapid Response Vehicle 12-5-14
C02A USAR Corps of Engineers w/C01A, C03A, C32 12-5-14
C03 USAR Corps of Engineers Rapid Response Vehicle - Voice "RRV 03" 3-17-10
C03A USAR Corps of Engineers w/C02A, C10 6-15-15
C04 USAR Corps of Engineers Rapid Response Vehicle 8-11-04
C05 USAR Corps of Engineers Rapid Response Vehicle 1-26-11
C05A USAR Corps of Engineers w/C06A, COE 3-13-15
C06 USAR Corps of Engineers Rapid Response Vehicle 2-19-09
C06A USAR Corps of Engineers w/C05A 1-23-15
C08 USAR Corps of Engineers Rapid Response Vehicle w/CRB 4-9-14
C08A USAR Corps of Engineers w/C99 9-17-15
C09A USAR Corps of Engineers w/C10C 2-9-11
C10 USAR Corps of Engineers Tactical Operations System - Mobile AL w/C01A, C32, C33A 1-11-16
C10A USAR Corps of Engineers 5-4-11
C10B USAR Corps of Engineers w/COE 4-26-11
C10C USAR Corps of Engineers w/C09A, C10, COE 2-9-11
C11 USAR Corps of Engineers Emergency Command and Control Vehicle 9-21-08
C11A USAR Corps of Engineers w/C10 4-16-14
C12 USAR Corps of Engineers Emergency Command and Control Vehicle 5-20-11
C13 USAR Corps of Engineers Emergency Command and Control Vehicle 2-9-05
C20 USAR Corps of Engineers Communications Office - Mobile AL w/C99 6-14-14
C21 USAR Corps of Engineers TOC - Mobile AL 9-14-06
C22 USAR Corps of Engineers TOC - 5-16-07
C23 USAR Corps of Engineers TOC - Mobile AL 6-8-05
C24 USAR Corps of Engineers TOC - Honolulu HI
C26 USAR Corps of Engineers EOC - Chicago IL - Voice "Charlie 26" w/COE, LRD1 3-5-08
C27 USAR Corps of Engineers EOC - Pittsburgh PA - Voice "Charlie 27" w/COE 11-3-04
C30 USAR Corps of Engineers EOC - Anchorage AK w/COE, TSC 6-3-15
C31 USAR Corps of Engineers w/ROOAA 6-19-14
C31A USAR Corps of Engineers 11-20-15
C32 USAR Corps of Engineers w/C02A 5-18-11
C32A USAR Corps of Engineers w/C10 9-27-13
C33 USAR Corps of Engineers 1-22-15
C33A USAR Corps of Engineers w/C10 1-22-15
C35 USAR Corps of Engineers ROC - Vicksburg MS - Voice "Charlie 35" w/COE 1-9-07
C36 USAR Corps of Engineers 8-4-03
C37 USAR Corps of Engineers w/CS5 10-25-03
C46 USAR Corps of Engineers EOC - Kansas City MO 7-12-06
C47 USAR Corps of Engineers EOC - Omaha NE 7-12-06
C50 USAR Corps of Engineers Operations Center - Washington DC w/8JF, ADD, C10, COE, PNR 2-5-15
C54 USAR Corps of Engineers
C70 USAR Corps of Engineers Deployable Tactical Operations System Backup - Mobile AL 9-15-14
C80 USAR Corps of Engineers w/C12 2-15-06
C99 USAR Corps of Engineers Portable radio unit w/TSC, C08A, C10, C20 4-8-14