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National Incident Radio Support Cache


Contents

National Incident Radio Support Cache

This cache is maintained and used primarily for wildland fire, however, it may show up on any large incident such as floods, hurricanes, law enforcement (it was used for the Republican and Democratic National Conventions in 2004), and tornadoes. The cache is located and maintained by the National Interagency Incident Communications Division (NIICD) of the National Interagency Fire Center (NIFC) in Boise, Idaho. The use of these frequencies is coordinated by the NIICD Communications Duty Officer to avoid interference with nearby incidents.

  • All frequencies listed are narrowband FM (FMN) and carrier squelch (CSQ, no PL tone) unless noted. It is possible that P25 digital mode may be used in some areas. According to this PDF document on the US Forest Service web site, in January 2010 all aviation FM radios are required to be P25 capable.
  • Pre-assigned national frequencies are listed in Interagency Standards for Fire & Aviation Operations 2013 Chapter 15 Communications.
  • Other frequencies temporarily assigned to specific incidents may also be used.
  • Frequencies listed are be subject to change at any time and are not verified to be 100% accurate, complete or current in all areas.

Tactical

These frequencies are authorized for use in handhelds and mobiles only. Installation in base stations is not authorized.

National Interagency Fire Tactical Frequencies
FrequencyTypeDescriptionNotes
168.0500MTAC 1
168.2000MTAC 2
168.6000MTAC 3
166.7250MTAC 5
166.7750MTAC 6
168.2500MTAC 7
  • According to this pdf document on the NIFC web site 164.1375 (formerly TAC 4) is no longer available for use as of April 2011.

Command

These frequencies can be used direct (simplex), but are most commonly used with repeaters. These repeaters fit in a small fiberglass case and are placed on the ground in a high place that provides coverage to all or most of the incident. Portable antennas and solar power are normally employed.

Command
FrequencyInputTypeDescription
168.7000170.9750RCMD 1
168.1000170.4500RCMD 2
168.0750170.4250RCMD 3
166.6125168.4000RCMD 4
167.1000169.7500RCMD 5
168.4750173.8125RCMD 6
162.9625171.7875RCMD 7
169.5375164.7125RCMD 8
170.0125165.2500RCMD 9
170.4125165.9625RCMD 10
170.6875166.5750RCMD 11
173.0375167.3250RCMD 12
  • During wildland fires in Texas in 2011, the Civil Air Patrol flew HIGHBIRD aircraft with airborne command repeaters over the incident area.
  • Command Channels 8-12 are listed in the 2012 California FIRESCOPE communications plan. The possibility exists that this only applies to California. .
  • Command Channels 8-12 are in the Federal Interoperability Channel Plan as NC1 and IR1-IR4. See the NTIA Federal Incident Response Channel Plan for more information.

Logistics

  • This information was confirmed from official information as of 2009
  • The outputs can be used Simplex as well
  • Links for Aircraft are typically dedicated to Aircraft Ops
  • These frequencies may also be used for cross band repeaters and links.
  • The repeater input/output frequencies of Logistics 1 -7 are sometimes reversed for different repeater configurations and some of the inputs may be used for simplex.
Logistics
FrequencyInputTypeDescription
406.4000415.4000RLogistics 1
406.5875415.5875RLogistics 2
407.7875417.7875RLogistics 3
410.2750419.2750RLogistics 4
410.7750419.7750RLogistics 5
408.8000417.8000RLogistics 6
408.5000417.5000RLogistics 7
406.4000BMRepeater Link 1
406.5875BMRepeater Link 2
408.7875BMRepeater Link 3
410.2750BMRepeater Link 4
410.7750BMRepeater Link 5
408.8000BMRepeater Link 6
408.5000BMRepeater Link 7
411.4000BMRepeater Link 8
408.9000BMRepeater Link 9
411.5000BMAircraft Link 1
411.8000BMAircraft Link 2
412.6000BMAircraft Link 3
411.7500BMAircraft Link 4
411.9250BMAircraft Link 5
412.1500BMAircraft Link 6
412.2000BMAircraft Link 7
411.2500BMAircraft Link 8
410.2375BMAircraft Link 9
410.2375419.2375RMAircraft Link 10
410.4375BMAircraft Link 11
410.4375419.4375RMAircraft Link 12
410.6375BMAircraft Link 13
410.6375419.6375RMAircraft Link 14
411.3000BMCamp Net 1
411.4250BMCamp Net 2
411.5250BMCamp Net 3
411.5750BMCamp Net 4
414.6500BMCamp Net 5
417.9000BMCamp Net 6
  • Aircraft links provide communications for the Incident Command Post (ICP) and/or Heliports - Helispots to/from distant VHF AM ("Victor") frequency remote bases. The aircraft transmit on Victor frequencies and the ICP and heliports/helispots reply on UHF frequencies, which in turn, via the link and the remote base, transmit back to the aircraft on VHF AM. This situation exists when the size of the incident is large and/or the topography is mountainous sufficient to prevent VHF AM air to ground communications over the entire incident. VHF AM radios transmit at very low power, but the distance it covers is short.
  • In some situations repeaters are placed in high locations when the ICP and supply sources or receiving/distribution centers are in separate and distant locations.

Air VHF FM ("Foxtrot Mike") Frequencies

  • These are pre assigned frequencies for use during the initial attack phase of an incident. If the incident grows larger (extended attack) another air to ground channel, not assigned for initial attack or for another use in the area, will be assigned. Additionally a unique air-to-air (FM) or air-to-ground is frequency may be assigned. Possible frequencies are found by incident communications unit leaders using the pool of unused federal frequencies in the area of the incident. The assignment is made after approval by the Communications Duty Officer of the National Interagency Incident Communications Division (NIICD) at National Interagency Fire Center in Boise, Idaho. The frequencies might not be used on other incidents or even used in the same area in the same, or subsequent, years.
  • If an incident becomes more complex and a Type I or II incident management team is assigned, NIFC frequencies will be assigned for command and ground tactics. This is contingent of the delivery and installation of NIFC portable repeaters. Up to this point local initial attack and/or pre approved frequencies are used. Type III incident management teams exist to operate in their local area. Some jurisdictions have obtained assignments for locally managed extended attacks. The only place these frequencies are listed, contingent on them being known, is in the Radio Reference database.
  • When an incident evolves into an extended attack, the air tactics group supervisor (ATGS) makes the request for extended attack air-to-air tactics and air-to-ground frequencies be assigned When frequencies are approved it might occur while the shift is in progress. When this happens the change is announced on all the aviation frequencies in use and the command frequency, which during the initial attack phase is most often the forest net (USFS), district net (BLM), park net (NPS), refuge net (USFWS) or the fire/emergency net of any of those jurisdictions.
  • In most circumstances the unique extended attack air-to-air tactics (FM) and air-to-ground frequency change will be made effective the beginning of a shift. Shifts are 0600 to 1800 (day shift) and 1800 to 0600 (night shift). Almost all changes are effective at the beginning of day shift, as that is when most aviation activity occurs.
  • If this announcement is missed anyone monitoring a large incident that uses air support should search the federal VHF frequency band (162.000-174.000, 12.5 kHz steps) to find the VHF FM air-to-air tactics and/or air-to-ground frequencies if traffic is not received on the pre-assigned frequencies listed below.
  • National flight following is used by the majority of interagency dispatch centers, however, some of these now have their own local flight following frequency assigned for use in their areas only. These local flight following frequencies are employed when aircraft are working within a dispatch area. These frequencies will be listed in the state by state federal government listings as soon as they have been confirmed by listeners.
  • According to this document there will be two, and three in some cases, permanently assigned air-to-ground FM frequencies for each initial attack zone nationwide. This information has been taken from confirmed sources and is accurate as of February, 2013
  • These frequencies are not assigned for air to ground exclusively nationwide. Some of the frequencies may be used as National Forest, National Park, BLM District or National Wildlife Refuge primary nets or local tactical channels. Air to ground frequencies are assigned in a manner that interference with local nets is not possible due to distance and/or topography.
FrequencyTypeNameSource Information (1)States Used InNotes
168.6250BMNational Air Guard (PL 110.9 tx/CSQ rx)Nationwide
168.6500BMNational Flight Following (PL 110.9 tx/rx)Nationwide
166.6750MNational Air-to-Air Tactics 1NationwideMay be used A-G also
169.1500MNational Air-to-Air Tactics 2NationwideMay be used A-G also
169.2000MNational Air-to-Air Tactics 3NationwideMay be used A-G also
170.0000MNational Air-to-Air Tactics 4NationwideMay be used A-G also (2)
167.9500MNational Air-to-Air Tactics 5NationwideMay be used A-G also
154.3100MA/G 01GBE GBWUT
166.6375MA/G 02RM SW GBW SAKS NV TX
151.1450MA/G 03NR GBW IDGBW shows w/100.0 Tone
151.2200MA/G 04All other sources do not show this frequency or an associated area where it is used(3)
166.7500MA/G 05RMNE
166.8000MA/G 06RM SW GBWKS NV
166.8500MA/G 07RM SW SACO TXSA shows 167.850 - presumed to be an error
166.8750MA/G 08SW GBW CACA NV
166.9125MA/G 09RM NW SACO OR TX
166.9375MA/G 10NR RM SW GBEMT UT WY
151.3100MA/G 11NWORNW shows w/156.7 Tone used
167.0750MA/G 12RM NWWA WY
167.4250MA/G 13NR RM GBE SAFL ID MT NC ND WY
167.5000MA/G 14RM GBW CACA WY
167.5250MA/G 15RM SW GBE GBW SAAR CO FL ID NV PR SC VA WY
159.3450MA/G 16SW GBW SAAR AZSW shows w/192.8 Tone used
167.9875MA/G 17NR SW GBE GBWAZ ID MT
168.0125MA/G 18NR RM SW GBE GBW MT NM UT
168.1250MA/G 19RM SW GBE GBWID WY UT
168.1750MA/G 20SW GBWID NM
168.1500MA/G 21GBEUTChanged in 2013 - 2012 listed as 166.6125
166.7250MA/G 22All other sources do not show this frequency or an associated area where it is used(3)
166.7625MA/G 23NR SW GBWID MT NV
168.6375MA/G 24RM SW GBE GBW CA NWCA OR SD UT
168.7500MA/G 25RM SW GBE GBWNE NM SD UT
169.8750MA/G 26RM SWSD WY
166.8250MA/G 27RM SWAZ NM
170.0000MA/G 28RM SW NW SA EAAR CT FL IA IL IN KY LA MA MI MN MO NC NY RI SC VT WA WIThis is also National Air Tactics 4
166.9000MA/G 29NR RMMT NE
171.1375MA/G 30GBEID(4)
171.5250MA/G 31RM SWCO SD WY
166.9625MA/G 32NR RM SWAZ MT
171.5750MA/G 33RM SWAZ
167.1750MA/G 34SW GBW NWAZ WA
167.2250MA/G 35RM SW SACO KY OK WY
172.2500MA/G 36RMCO
167.3000MA/G 37NWOR
167.3750MA/G 38NW SALA OR
172.4000MA/G 39GBEID
167.4500MA/G 40NW SATX WA
167.4750MA/G 41GBW CA NW SACA OR TX WA
167.5500MA/G 42GBW NW SA AR OR
167.6000MA/G 43GBE GBW SWCA ID NM NV
167.6250MA/G 44GBE CA NW RM SW SAAR FL OR UT
167.6500MA/G 45NRID
167.7000MA/G 46NR SAMT TN
167.7250MA/G 47SWAZ
167.8875MA/G 48NRMT
168.0375MA/G 49RM GBWCO NV
168.2875MA/G 50AL |OR
168.3125MA/G 51RM GBE GBW NWNV OR UT WA
168.3875MA/G 52NRMT
168.4875MA/G 53NR SW GBW CACA ND NM NV
168.5375MA/G 54NR GBE GBW ID MT
168.5625MA/G 55All other sources do not show this frequency or an associated area where it is used(3)
168.6625MA/G 56RM SWAZ NM
168.7250MA/G 57RM GBE GBWUT
169.0875MA/G 58RM SWCO
169.1125MA/G 59GBW SW CACA
169.1250MA/G 60SWAZ NM110.9 Tone used in southwest NM
169.2875MA/G 61NR SW NWAZ ND OR
169.3625MA/G 62RM SW GBE GBW NW ID NM OR WY
171.4250MA/G 63SWAZ
171.4750MA/G 64SWAZ NM110.9 Tone used in southwest NM
172.3750MA/G 65SWAZ
166.6750MA/G 66NR RM NW SA EAWA & All States in the Eastern & Southern Areas - Exceptions AR OK TX. Primary AG for all EA StatesThis is also National Air Tactics 1
159.2250MA/G 67SAOK
159.3900MA/G 68SAOK
159.4500MA/G 69SAOK
167.9500MA/G 70NR RM SA EAAR FL IA IL IN LA MN MI MO MS OH TN WIThis is also National Air Tactics 5
168.6750MA/G 71SAFL
169.1500MA/G 72RM SA EAAR CT FL MA ME MO MS NH NY PA RH TN VT WVThis is also National Air Tactics 2
169.2000MA/G 73RM SA EAAL TXThis is also National Air Tactics 3
Notes
  • (1) Geographical Area Coordination Center (GACC): NR=Northern Rockies, RM=Rocky Mountain, SW=Southwest, GBE=Great Basin Eastern, GBW=Great Basin Western, CA=California (South Ops & N Ops), NW=Northwest, SA=Southern, EA=Eastern. Access this page to obtain GACC boundaries: http://gacc.nifc.gov/
  • (2) According to this document 170.0000 will no longer be available for use beginning in 2019. As of 2012 it has been replaced in California.
  • (3) The source wishes anonymity.
  • (4) The authorization for 171.1375 expired 4/11/11 and is no longer used as an air-to-ground. The replacement frequency is not known at this time (2/2013)

Air VHF AM ("Victor") Frequencies

  • Most areas have regionally assigned air-to-air frequencies.
  • Other locally assigned or temporary incident-specific frequencies may also be used.
Air VHF AM
FrequencyTypeDescriptionNotes
122.9250BMAA/AG/FW/RW(1)
122.8500BMAA/AG/RW
123.0250BMAA/RW
123.0500BMAA/RW/Helispots
123.0750BMAA/AG/RW/Helispots
123.9750BMNational Air Tanker Base
AA = Air to Air
AG = Air to Ground 
FW = Fixed Winged (Airplanes)
RW = Rotary Wing (Helicopters)

(1) This is a nationwide assigned frequency that may be used by any aircraft, at any time, involved in any natural resource/environmental activity, be that federal, state or local.

Smokejumping & Helicopter Rappelling

  • Air-to-Ground Frequency for Smokejumping & Helicopter Rappelling and Smokejumper Ground Tactical Frequency
FrequencyTypeToneNotes
168.5500M123.0Smokejumpers Air to Ground (1)
168.5500M110.9Rappel/RADS Air to Ground (1)
168.3500M123.0Smokejumper Ground Tactical

(1) Nationwide exclusive use authorization

Federal Government Common

  • These are used for local tacticals in some areas, however they are common for the entire Federal government.
  • See Federal Government Itinerant

Government Common

As of January, 2008 the NTIA Redbook contained direction that these frequencies are to be used as a repeater pair, with 168.350 being the input and 163.100 being the output. This repeater pair is to be used for temporary, or itinerant, repeater placement. Simplex use is permitted if the four new federal common frequencies are already in use. Some agencies are now using the new commons in place of this repeater pair.

Government Common
FrequencyInputTypeToneNotes
163.1000BM(1)
168.3500BM(2)
168.3500163.1000R
163.7125M(3)
167.1375M(3)
168.6125M(3)
173.6250M(3)

(1) Often used as air tanker base deck frequency.

(2) This shows up as "Travel Net" on dozens of local and GACC channel plans in the western states.

(3) New federal simplex common frequencies allocated in 2005.

Intra-Crew Communications

  • Hand held use only
  • Crews are encouraged to use Continuous Tone Coded Subaudible Squelch (CTCSS), or Network Access Code (NAC) while in digital operation, to reduce interference from other crews or other federal uses. This is not an exclusive assignment as these are VHF federal common frequencies and may be used by any agency at any time or location. These crew nets are to be used for crew logistics only and tactical communications are not allowed.
Intra-Crew
FrequencyTypeDescription
163.7125MNational Intra-Crew Mobilization at Crew Base & Travel Net
167.1375MPrimary Intra-Crew Communications at Incident Scene
168.6125MSecondary Intra-Crew Communications at Incident Scene
173.6250MTertiary Intra-Crew Communications at Incident Scene

Non-Federal Forest Firefighting Agencies

  • The following frequencies may be authorized to fixed, land and mobile stations operated by non-Federal forest firefighting agencies on a secondary non-interfereing basis.
  • See: NTIA Manual Chapter 4 US Footnotes US8 and 47CFR90.265(c)
  • West of the Mississippi River these frequencies are also used for air-to-ground and/or the local nets of National Forests.
Non-Federal Forest Firefighting
FrequencyTypeDescriptionNotes
170.4750BMEast of Miss. River
171.4250BMEast of Miss. River
171.5750BMEast of Miss. River
172.2750BMEast of Miss. River(1)
170.4250BMWest of Miss. River
170.5750BMWest of Miss. River
171.4750BMWest of Miss. River(1)
172.2250BMWest of Miss. River
172.3750BMWest of Miss. River
  • (1) Frequency may also be used by non-federal conservation agencies for repeater operation only.

National Wildfire Coordinating Group Standard CTCSS Tones

Tone NumberTone Frequency
01110.9
02123.0
03131.8
04136.5
05146.2
06156.7
07167.9
08103.5
09100.0
10107.2
11114.8
12127.3
13141.3
14151.4
15162.2
16192.8
  • In California FIRESCOPE (Firefighting Resources in California Organized for Potential Emergencies - a large statewide fire interagency coordinating organization) has assigned a NAC for each tone when P25 digital modulation is in use. It does not appear that this assignment is being used nationwide as of 7/1/13.

Related Links




Return to DB page: Natl Incident Radio Support Cache / Natl Interagency Fire Ctr
Return to Wiki pages: Common Frequencies, Common Public Safety, Federal/Non-Federal Interoperability, National Interagency Fire Center


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