Miscellaneous 160 MHz traffic

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n1zyy
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Miscellaneous 160 MHz traffic

Post by n1zyy »

I'm curious if people will find this post interesting or just aimless ramblings. Periodically I leave the scanner sweeping through part of the band for a while and catalog what I find. While reviewing, I usually take notes somewhere and then come here to post any reconfirmations or interesting finds. Figured I'd try just keeping the log here and see if anyone's interested in reading it and chiming in on the stuff I can't ID.

I live fairly close to train tracks and used to ride the Commuter Rail regularly, but am not much of a railfan so a lot of what I'm hearing on the rail frequencies is foreign to me.

160.0200, D311 - EMS (ALS at least) dispatches. Signal is a bit weak here. We apparently have this in the wiki as a Cataldo/AMR frequency circa 2012, due for a reconfirmation. Only matching callsign for this is WNZL697 (AMR). I am having a hard time parsing out addresses to figure out which town(s) are still covered.

160.1250, PL 107.2 - "Truck 4 to the office." PL puts this as "Johnny Prescott & Son" in Concord, NH, last confirmed in 2017. Looks like they have a repeater atop Plausawa Hill. Surprisingly good coverage.

160.2050 CSQ - This must be 160.2075. I got 520 hits and only 15 seconds of audio; it seems like a lot of random noise. I think this reading is basically junk.

160.2975, PL 156.7 - I have a single one-second long keyup, pretty strong with only slight hiss, recorded. Absolutely no other usage, and nothing on the wiki. FCC search for within 35 miles of me returns nothing.

160.3200, PL 77.0: A little bit weak, with an occasional DTMF tone at the end of transmissions. This shows in the wiki as "Boston East/Valley dispatchers (Northside)" (recently reconfirmed) which matches what I'm hearing, except that I captured a 77.0 Hz PL. I captured 55 hits that filled the 300-second buffer this way. I also have 19 hits, totaling 7 seconds, with no PL; they're all very weak. Wondering if PL depends on where they are transmitting from or something? (Or do they simulcast from all their towers?)

160.3350, CSQ - I captured a bunch of CWIDs here. My CW is embarassingly bad but it sounds like the callsign ends in -80 or -90. Eversource NH has KUO825 licensed here; the MBTA has a bunch of licenses but none on this frequency with a matching callsign. The only things I captured were CWIDs.

160.3350, PL 141.3 - Someone saying "T145" and a couple random keyups. Matches Eversource "Hooksett Line," but I'm again reluctant to call it a reconfirmation without hearing some meaningful traffic. This is probably the above and either ID'ing under a different callsign, or my Morse is even worse than I thought.

160.3800, CSQ - Weak CWID, possibly ending -07. Not seeing anything that matches that callsign.

160.4100, PL 77.0 - "CP21 to CP11," Bishop Street. Last IDd late 2015 as "Worcester Line" (CSQ), but I don't have nearly enough context to confirm this is the same usage.

160.4550, CSQ - Only two transmissions; one saying "Track 10" and one undecipherable. Wiki has this as Amtrak "Boston South Yard" (last confirmed 2014) but I'm skeptical that South Station would be audible up here.

160.5900, CSQ - Mixed signal strengths; some unreadably weak and some fairly strong. I suspect this may be Keolis (they and Amtrak both show some usage on the wiki). References to North Billerica and Wilmington. "Waltham for the next group out"?

160.5900, PL 77.0 - Strong signal, seemingly one-sided. Surely the above but with PL.

160.5900, PL 146.2 - Same as above with a PL. "Boston West, over." Talking about tracks. Are they just using random PLs? "Interlocking limit" discussed a lot.

160.5900, PL 77.0 - Same freq. as above, but with a PL. Strong signal, one-sided. "Between Tenney and CPFW12"?? Got a few random "i" characters in Morse Code. Talk about releasing tracks; Wilmington.

160.8450, PL 100.0 - Two keyups, no real audio. See this reconfirmed about a year ago as Eversource in Farmington, NH. Don't want to "reconfirm" on only hearing a keyup, though.

160.8700, CSQ - Dead carrier, fading in and out. 160.8675 is the closest valid frequency. I'd write it off as noise but the varying signal strength is interesting to me.

161.4150, PL 77.0 - 76 hits, 300 seconds. ID'd as Keolis "Northside Terminal" (recently reconfirmed). This matches the 77.0 Hz PL I heard on 160.3200 as well. Someone reading track closures or something of the sort, not a particularly strong signal here.

161.1600, CSQ - I have some background noise on this frequency that keeps getting picked up, but also periodic bits of very strong signal. I am hearing what sounds like the dispatcher. Amtrak and Springfield Terminal both have usages on the wiki. The latter has a North Billerica dispatch center close by me, so I'm inclined to think that's what I'm hearing. Someone told they were OK to go through Fitchburg. "How many empties you got?" which hopefully refers to rail cars and not beer cans in the cab. ;) Heard a reference to "District 3" without knowing what it means, which matches the Pan Am page. (Pan Am and Springfield Terminal are seemingly related in some way?)

161.4000, CSQ - Nice strong signal about track operations, some weaker signals. Bet this is Pan-Am "Ch.02 Yard/Switch Ops".

161.4600, PL 77.0 - Talk about swapping out parts; smoke from a cylinder. Matches the recently-reconfirmed "Mechanical Help Desk" description.

161.5200, CSQ - Pam-Am and Amtrak usage on wiki, both a few years old. "CPF303" and "District 2" mentioned. The train side of 160.1600; my inexperienced guess is that this is Pan-Am and not Amtrak. A lot of reading back long orders.

161.9500, CSQ - This one's interesting! "Inflatable VHF antenna, the Shakespeare ???" in an advertising-y female voice, then someone saying "Radio Check." Also "??'s automated radio check service" in the same advertising-y voice. This is the shore side of Marine VHF channel 27, apparently. Wonder where this is based; I'm not exactly coastal.
Matt, N1ZYY ★ Lowell, MA

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schwab
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Re: Miscellaneous 160 MHz traffic

Post by schwab »

MBTA/Keolis base stations generally will transmit a 77.0 Hz tone to lock out the other base station when the dispatcher is transmitting, to prevent feedback in the dispatch office. Some trains will transmit a 146.2 tone, but those channels are officially carrier squelch.
Pan Am/ST duplex system is indeed 161.16 for the bases, and 161.520 for the mobiles. When Amtrak (Downeaster) is on their property, they'll communicate with Pan Am on those frequencies.
The relationship between the entities of the Pan Am family is complex; all their employees are "Springfield Terminal" employees, they will ID on the radio as "ST District x" for the dispatcher, and trains "ST train x." This arrangement is due to certain union agreements, dating back to some nasty strikes in the mid 1980s.
Jacob
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Re: Miscellaneous 160 MHz traffic

Post by Medic Responder »

160.020 is used by Atlantic EMS for their North division (Newburyport area). This is their Channel 1A. The dispatcher simulcasts on this and Channel 1 (South) on 152.990.
161.9500: What you are probably hearing is the VHF Digital Short Message Service. This is like text messaging for marine radios. Here is an article on it: http://continuouswave.com/forum/viewtopic.php?t=2082
Gabriel Ricker

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ecps92
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Re: Miscellaneous 160 MHz traffic

Post by ecps92 »

Wow - how to break this up and provide specific answers.

Well 161.9500 is easy
The FCC auctioned off the old Marine Operator channels and the various “AAA” of the Oceans took many of them over for Advertisement and "Automated Radio Checks”
Record and Play Back

https://www.seatow.com/service-locator

I am going on out on a limb, but sure our RailRoad Techs will confirm
77.0 is a PL used to disable the adjacent consoles at Dispatch from feed-back and you/we only hear 77.0 from Dispatch, the Trains are CSQ



n1zyy wrote:
19 May 2020 23:58
I'm curious if people will find this post interesting or just aimless ramblings. Periodically I leave the scanner sweeping through part of the band for a while and catalog what I find. While reviewing, I usually take notes somewhere and then come here to post any reconfirmations or interesting finds. Figured I'd try just keeping the log here and see if anyone's interested in reading it and chiming in on the stuff I can't ID.

I live fairly close to train tracks and used to ride the Commuter Rail regularly, but am not much of a railfan so a lot of what I'm hearing on the rail frequencies is foreign to me.


161.9500, CSQ - This one's interesting! "Inflatable VHF antenna, the Shakespeare ???" in an advertising-y female voice, then someone saying "Radio Check." Also "??'s automated radio check service" in the same advertising-y voice. This is the shore side of Marine VHF channel 27, apparently. Wonder where this is based; I'm not exactly coastal.
Bill Dunn N1KUG
Cruise Ship Frequencies
http://scanmaritime.com

"The tougher it is to find a frequency, the more it makes me want to work to find it. - I've learned to use the SEARCH Button"

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ecps92
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Re: Miscellaneous 160 MHz traffic

Post by ecps92 »

Should be Cataldo, who took over the AMR Contract in 2012/2013 they maybe leasing the license from AMR or never filed to transfer

n1zyy wrote:
19 May 2020 23:58
I'm curious if people will find this post interesting or just aimless ramblings. Periodically I leave the scanner sweeping through part of the band for a while and catalog what I find. While reviewing, I usually take notes somewhere and then come here to post any reconfirmations or interesting finds. Figured I'd try just keeping the log here and see if anyone's interested in reading it and chiming in on the stuff I can't ID.

I live fairly close to train tracks and used to ride the Commuter Rail regularly, but am not much of a railfan so a lot of what I'm hearing on the rail frequencies is foreign to me.

160.0200, D311 - EMS (ALS at least) dispatches. Signal is a bit weak here. We apparently have this in the wiki as a Cataldo/AMR frequency circa 2012, due for a reconfirmation. Only matching callsign for this is WNZL697 (AMR). I am having a hard time parsing out addresses to figure out which town(s) are still covered.

Bill Dunn N1KUG
Cruise Ship Frequencies
http://scanmaritime.com

"The tougher it is to find a frequency, the more it makes me want to work to find it. - I've learned to use the SEARCH Button"

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n1zyy
Posts: 112
Joined: 29 May 2017 20:56
Location: Lowell, MA

Re: Miscellaneous 160 MHz traffic

Post by n1zyy »

Should have known you folks would be all over this! :)

ecps92 wrote:
20 May 2020 11:21
Wow - how to break this up and provide specific answers.

Well 161.9500 is easy
The FCC auctioned off the old Marine Operator channels and the various “AAA” of the Oceans took many of them over for Advertisement and "Automated Radio Checks”
Record and Play Back

https://www.seatow.com/service-locator
I think it was exactly Seatow that I heard! For some reason I assumed I was hearing some sort of acronym like CTOW, not that the name was "Seatow." It sound to me like someone actually called in a radio check and it replied with their voice plus advertisements.

Got to say I'm not a fan of ads on the marine channels...


[/quote]
Medic Responder wrote:
20 May 2020 10:39
160.020 is used by Atlantic EMS for their North division (Newburyport area). This is their Channel 1A. The dispatcher simulcasts on this and Channel 1 (South) on 152.990.
The Essex County EMS page shows this as last being reconfirmed in 2012, so it's probably quite due for a reconfirmation. It's a pretty weak signal here; I can try to let it run for a while and confirm what towns they're still dispatching for, but if someone closer or more familiar wants to take it, that's great too.

schwab wrote:
20 May 2020 10:12
MBTA/Keolis base stations generally will transmit a 77.0 Hz tone to lock out the other base station when the dispatcher is transmitting, to prevent feedback in the dispatch office. Some trains will transmit a 146.2 tone, but those channels are officially carrier squelch.
Pan Am/ST duplex system is indeed 161.16 for the bases, and 161.520 for the mobiles. When Amtrak (Downeaster) is on their property, they'll communicate with Pan Am on those frequencies.
The relationship between the entities of the Pan Am family is complex; all their employees are "Springfield Terminal" employees, they will ID on the radio as "ST District x" for the dispatcher, and trains "ST train x." This arrangement is due to certain union agreements, dating back to some nasty strikes in the mid 1980s.
Ah-ha! I had seen CSQ and figured they had since transitioned to tones, but then it seemed intermittent. I guess it's more "Sometimes there's a tone, but for technical reasons and you shouldn't rely on it."
Matt, N1ZYY ★ Lowell, MA

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Re: Miscellaneous 160 MHz traffic

Post by KB1KVD »

As for radios that you are hearing that are transmitting a 146.2 pl tone. That is strictly for satellite receivers that Amtrak had installed along the Northeast Corridor and a future install for the commuter rail system. Most railroads for use CSQ for road operations (Trains & Crew) for the purpose of interoperability with other railroads. As for non road functions, that depends on the various railroads. Non road functions (mechanical, C&S, B&B and etc.) don't interchange with other railroads so they can be toned even digital. Pan Am, CSX, Mass Coastal, P&W and other railroads in New England operate carrier squelch for road functions. The only railroad I know of that isn't that way is New Hampshire Northcoast, where they're running NXDN but only on their own territory. Once they get onto Pan Am and later MBTA they're on the respective road channel for that section of railroad.
Jason,KB1KVD/WQQQ874/C&S R103/Communications Department Roadmaster.
Radio Maintainer Out....

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