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  1. #26
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    ^ Bump.

    I want to ask you a bunch of questions. And I want to have them answered immediately.

    I got my hands on a Bao Feng UV-5R.

    1) Can I use this to tune in on patrol radio channels?

    2) If so, how? Are these a preset frequency/range (kinda like NOAA having their shit on 162.4xx- 162.5xx) or do I need to figure this out for each ski area?

    Grassy-ass

  2. #27
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    Feb 2009
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    Each resort will have it's own radio license and unless you have a source on the inside I doubt they will tell you what the frequencies are. You will have to search to find the information and do some work yourself (e.g. listen in to work out which of their frequencies are used by patrol, operations, etc). Dunno about the USA but you can find Canadian ones online at https://tafl.mckie.ca/ (often the company name or the registered address can be a bit obscure, don't expect to find an entry like "Whistler ski patrol")

  3. #28
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    Quote Originally Posted by nickinbc View Post
    Each resort will have it's own radio license and unless you have a source on the inside I doubt they will tell you what the frequencies are. You will have to search to find the information and do some work yourself (e.g. listen in to work out which of their frequencies are used by patrol, operations, etc). Dunno about the USA but you can find Canadian ones online at https://tafl.mckie.ca/ (often the company name or the registered address can be a bit obscure, don't expect to find an entry like "Whistler ski patrol")
    Found the generic Safety Patrol channels. Probably have a double secret Patrol-only channel

    Whistler:
    https://www.radioreference.com/apps/db/?aid=8876

    Looks like Patrol does have their own double secret channels:
    https://forums.radioreference.com/th...valley.273753/

  4. #29
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    Jun 2009
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    In a pineapple and wants to ski
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    All the Whistler Blackcombs are in the clear, patrol, groomers, taxis, heli, etc.

    There is a Canadian government page that lists all the assigned frequencies, repeaters etc.:

    https://sms-sgs.ic.gc.ca/frequencySe...execution=e1s1

    Download that into a spreadsheet, sort/filter and then you can import that into a device as named frequencies by zone for scanning, etc.

    Unless you are peeping non frs/gmrs frequencies, or want encrypted DMR, or want to HAM
    ... the convenience of small retail handhelds is undeniable.

  5. #30
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    Nov 2016
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    Radio bands aren't secrets... you can easily find out what channels the ski patrol, SAR, Sheriff's Department, DOT or anyone else work on because they all have a license to operate on that band. Those licenses are all searchable on the internet.

    Once you figure out the frequency for whatever agency or group you're trying to monitor or talk to, it's easy enough to program that on your Baofeng. You obviously should not speak on frequencies you aren't licensed to speak on. You will get prosecuted if you intentionally or unintentionally start broadcasting on the Sheriff's channel, even in the case of an emergency (there's precedent for this. just because it's an emergency for you does not mean they won't come after you for stepping on their signal).

    I have a couple of different Baofeng profiles stored on my computer depending on where I'm skiing, with all the relevant local channels programmed into the profile. Before a trip, I just update the radio to have the most relevant profile (including ski patrollers, DOT avalanche control channels, local SAR, and local repeaters). I don't have a HAM license, so each profile has the same channels designated to the FRS band channels which are the ones I use to speak to the skiers in my group. We always talk on 1-10 (the channels I've programmed in all profiles to align to the open FRS bands that we're permitted to talk on). The next group of channels are VHS channels (Marine channels, same in all locations), and then the channels after that change depending on where I'm going. Technically, you shouldn't broadcast on the VHS bands from land, but that's pretty much impossible to enforce. In coastal mountain areas, you'd be surprised at how far away you can pick up and transmit VHS, so having the VHS channels on there can be handy. The list of channels ends up being pretty long, so I have a laminated card that I carry that decodes the channel numbers to the agencies for each location. That system has worked well for me so far. If for whatever reason I lose the card, I know I'm always safe to talk on the first ten channels and that the next set of channels is VHS, but not to go into the high channel numbers unless I'm really really really desperate. Essentially, moving up the channel list as I get increasingly desperate.

    If you want to go a similar route, you'll need to get the programming cable ('cause you sure as hell don't want to program this all on the radio itself... it'd take forever).

  6. #31
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    Oct 2020
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    If your trying to listen in on ski patrol or other channels that you should not be speaking on, you can set your transmit to a channel different than the receive channel. This would avoid an accidental transmit on a channel you shouldn't be communicating on. You'll have to check the manual for how to do this as each handheld is different in how to set this up.

  7. #32
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    Sep 2018
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    1
    One nice option with the replaceable antennas on some of the hand held radios is that you can make a packable j-pole antenna that can greatly increase your range.

    We have had good success hanging a j-pole antenna in a tree or avy probe and using it to pick up the morning weather reports being broadcast to the back-country huts.

  8. #33
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    Apr 2007
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    Quote Originally Posted by cbxomnt View Post
    If your trying to listen in on ski patrol or other channels that you should not be speaking on, you can set your transmit to a channel different than the receive channel. This would avoid an accidental transmit on a channel you shouldn't be communicating on. You'll have to check the manual for how to do this as each handheld is different in how to set this up.
    With a UV-5R (among others), Chirp allows you to set duplex to "off", which I strongly recommend for channels you want to scan. If you really want to be able to broadcast on those freqs in case of emergency (despite the legal repercussions), I'd program a second channel with the duplex enabled. Even when I'm coaching (which usually involves carrying a radio that can summon patrol), I get rather nervous about listening in on the ops/patrol channel unless I'm very, very confident that I'm not going to bump the transmit button.

    The FCC database does have all licensed frequencies in the U.S.; however, it doesn't include tone data, nor are all licenses obvious (sometimes a third-party radio-services company actually owns the license, for example). and I've also been at least one place where either my search skills were failing, or the ski area was "borrowing" a frequency not allocated locally.

    Also, most ski areas probably use UV-5R-compatible channels, but I'm aware of at least one with an 800Mhz system that is outside of the UV-5Rs capabilities.

  9. #34
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    Apr 2007
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    Quote Originally Posted by Steve Bennett View Post
    One nice option with the replaceable antennas on some of the hand held radios is that you can make a packable j-pole antenna that can greatly increase your range.

    We have had good success hanging a j-pole antenna in a tree or avy probe and using it to pick up the morning weather reports being broadcast to the back-country huts.
    Ohh, using a probe is an excellent idea. I've got a j-pole and can vouch for it usefulness in hilly, forested terrain (hoist a string over a high tree branch and you can haul up the j-pole to get much better reception), but I hadn't thought of the avalanche probe as a makeshift antenna mast.

    FWIW, I have one from https://n9taxlabs.com/

  10. #35
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    Feb 2009
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    N.B. setting duplex off doesn't mean you won't be heard if you accidentally transmit. You won't be relayed by the repeater but you will be heard by any unit in line of sight as you will be transmitting on the downlink frequency.

  11. #36
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    Vernon BC
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    its not like it really matters.... there isn't anyone out there triangulating the position of people who broadcast without a license, so they can swoop in and detain you.

    Industry Canada estimates that upwards of 90% frequency users are operating without a license, and no fucks seem to be given.

    Granted, the level of freedom in Murica is much higher... so they probably have their own dedicated detainment unit for unauthorized radio users.
    "Its not the arrow, its the Indian" - M.Pinto

  12. #37
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    Quote Originally Posted by mrkbrnblm View Post
    Radio bands aren't secrets... you can easily find out what channels the ski patrol, SAR, Sheriff's Department, DOT or anyone else work on because they all have a license to operate on that band. Those licenses are all searchable on the internet.

    Once you figure out the frequency for whatever agency or group you're trying to monitor or talk to, it's easy enough to program that on your Baofeng. You obviously should not speak on frequencies you aren't licensed to speak on. You will get prosecuted if you intentionally or unintentionally start broadcasting on the Sheriff's channel, even in the case of an emergency (there's precedent for this. just because it's an emergency for you does not mean they won't come after you for stepping on their signal).
    I'd be interested in the citation that supports that someone was actually prosecuted (not just threatened) for transmitting in a true emergency, even on the sheriff's channels.
    The CFR regarding this is here:
    https://www.law.cornell.edu/cfr/text/47/97.403
    I'll quote.
    ---
    97.403 Safety of life and protection of property.
    No provision of these rules prevents the use by an amateur station of any means of radiocommunication at its disposal to provide essential communication needs in connection with the immediate safety of human life and immediate protection of property when normal communication systems are not available.
    ---
    So provided you meet those criteria, I think it would be impossible to prosecute under federal law and I don't believe state law could preempt federal law in this area. (Not a lawyer, so I'm not going to even try to try to "prove" any of that.) But the intent is clear. In an emergency, where there's no other communication method available, all frequencies should be available. They probably won't like it, and it may actually hinder getting help, but there shouldn't be any legal jeopardy.

    The FCC database does have all licensed frequencies in the U.S.; however, it doesn't include tone data, nor are all licenses obvious (sometimes a third-party radio-services company actually owns the license, for example). and I've also been at least one place where either my search skills were failing, or the ski area was "borrowing" a frequency not allocated locally.
    This part is absolutely true and IMPORTANT. My local resort uses *input* tones (and probably output too.) So even though I know what frequency is the "input" for the repeater, I couldn't use it without knowing the CTS/DTS (analog/digital tone) needed to have the repeater actually "repeat" the transmission. Obtaining tone data requires some effort too.

    So, knowing frequencies is totally great for listening - but in many cases, you won't be able to use any of those frequencies, even for an emergency without the tone data. (Rather, you *can* use them, but no one will hear you.)

    Ham repeaters probably become the better option here - for emergency use. But many HAM users are crusty, old, cranky geezers who love trying to enforce the rules as they see fit. So just be prepared to get some attitude. They usually aren't total jerks, and once they realize you have a legit emergency they will help. (I'm getting to that age where I'm sure I'm starting to look like one of those old crusty grumps too - at least to some.) But again, an emergency isn't. "I'd like a hot sandwich." It's; "I might well die, or have serious injury if I don't get help right away."

    Finally, all radios have pretty severe limitations the further out from populations you get. An inreach for emergency response is, IMO, **FAR** better than a radio. That ham repeater that only has 5 users that listen during the day, isn't going to be helpful if everyone is in bed at 2a when you break your leg on that mission. Or, if it's down for maintenance. Or you can't reach it because you're in a radio shadow like a canyon etc. For those, inreach seems far superior. Plus the inreach folks are going to know who to call next. Ham Fred who usually talks about mowing the grass will probably be far less effective at getting you help, especially fast. (And that's ignoring location data that IR is going to have.)

  13. #38
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    Quote Originally Posted by cmcrawfo View Post
    its not like it really matters.... there isn't anyone out there triangulating the position of people who broadcast without a license, so they can swoop in and detain you.
    Depends what you mean by really matters. A prolonged accidental keying of the mic could interfere with literally vital communications.

  14. #39
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    Quote Originally Posted by nickinbc View Post
    Depends what you mean by really matters. A prolonged accidental keying of the mic could interfere with literally vital communications.
    Ok, sure.... but I am going to assume we are not talking to a bunch of fucking muppets in this thread. You would have to be both ignorant and dumb if you are listening into to a frequency that you have no reason to be transmitting on and manage to lay into the PTT button for a prolonged period.... Professionals who are using bandwidth in an area that is likely to have interference should have a protocal to switch to an alternative frequency in the event of this. Particularly professionals who are relaying literally vital coms.

    If you just want to monitor a frequency, most radios can be set up for a dual watch function... where by you can listen/transmit on your primary frequency and only listen to a secondary frequency.

    and my comments are more directed at the notion that a license is even remotely important.
    "Its not the arrow, its the Indian" - M.Pinto

  15. #40
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    Jun 2009
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    In a pineapple and wants to ski
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    Quote Originally Posted by anotherVTskibum View Post
    Ohh, using a probe is an excellent idea. I've got a j-pole and can vouch for it usefulness in hilly, forested terrain (hoist a string over a high tree branch and you can haul up the j-pole to get much better reception), but I hadn't thought of the avalanche probe as a makeshift antenna mast.

    FWIW, I have one from https://n9taxlabs.com/
    https://edsantennas.weebly.com/

    I can vouch for the DBJ-2 (ham) dual band roll up antenna kit.
    Well tuned stuff, expertly designed.

    But seriously, you can pickup SKI OPS in your hotel room usually, they all broadcast over repeaters on all the high points of the ski area. And even repeat on different channels in the valleys for far flung lifts.

    It is easy to find the ones for your ski area or just do a scan with a good radio (not a Bao Fun sorry) . Something that can actually scan 10 to 15 channels per second should let you build a frequency list fairly fast (i.e. That entire morning you decided to hole up in the condo instead of skiing in the rain, that insta-shamers later posted photos of 2 foot deep powder at the top).

    It is quite entertaining to listen to sometimes, and concerning sometimes too!

    Still, frs/gmrs blister pack radios are far more useful if you are just skiing with pals and want to keep in touch. Because they have such a limited frequency range, the antennas and chips are all optimized to do that very well.

    I've got all the repeaters (ham) near my ski hill input, as well as patrol, as well as some lady's FRS channel that broadcasts Ouija board sessions live on Friday nights from 50 miles south on some repeater channel.

    Are you really going to pack a rollup antenna in your backcountry kit and pray for reception when an IN REACH will actually get you through and perform other functions?

    *And remember, a HAM roll up J-pole or similar, is for HAM channels. One for FRS/GMRS will need to be tuned for those channels or you might as well not use the roll-up and just use a standard 1/4 wave flex antenna. Edsantennas are some of the best on the market and he will also make you one for FRS/GMRS if you want to listen to those from farther than they normally reach.

  16. #41
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    Jun 2009
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    Quote Originally Posted by gregorys View Post
    ...
    My local resort uses *input* tones (and probably output too.) So even though I know what frequency is the "input" for the repeater, I couldn't use it without knowing the CTS/DTS (analog/digital tone) needed to have the repeater actually "repeat" the transmission. Obtaining tone data requires some effort too.
    So, knowing frequencies is totally great for listening - but in many cases, you won't be able to use any of those frequencies, even for an emergency without the tone data. (Rather, you *can* use them, but no one will hear you.)

    Ham repeaters probably become the better option here - for emergency use. But many HAM users are crusty, old, cranky geezers who love trying to enforce the rules as they see fit. So just be prepared to get some attitude. They usually aren't total jerks, and once they realize you have a legit emergency they will help. (I'm getting to that age where I'm sure I'm starting to look like one of those old crusty grumps too - at least to some.) But again, an emergency isn't. "I'd like a hot sandwich." It's; "I might well die, or have serious injury if I don't get help right away."
    Just listen to the repeater input channel. I mean if you really want to break all the rules and use the ski area repeaters for your emergencies.

    Force majeure - I don't think any HAM is going to mind you calling
    Mayday Mayday Mayday
    if you have a real May Day to call in.

  17. #42
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    Quote Originally Posted by gregorys View Post
    I'd be interested in the citation that supports that someone was actually prosecuted (not just threatened) for transmitting in a true emergency, even on the sheriff's channels.
    I did some cursory searching and couldn't find anything, so I may very well be wrong! Your link looks to be strongly worded and state unequivocally that you wouldn't be prosecuted in a case like the one I mention, so I'll retract my statement to the contrary unless I can find proof. Only thing that was clear from my googling is that enforcement mechanisms are laughably weak so whether or not you're in violation of a law it doesn't seem at all likely that you'd be caught and prosecuted.

    But, yes, no question... A satellite messenger is generally a better solution than a radio for emergency use if you only have one option. It just won't help you find out when they're dropping the rope on your favorite line or keep you in communication with your buddies while you ski.

  18. #43
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    Sep 2015
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    @mrkbrnblm
    enforcement mechanisms are laughably weak so whether or not you're in violation of a law it doesn't seem at all likely that you'd be caught and prosecuted.
    I think I'd characterize it like this; The FCC (the bear) takes a ton of work to get motivated to do anything. But once you enrage the bear, it's really likely to do crushing damage to you.

    So, yes, I think in general you are unlikely to have the FCC pursue you, unless you're being stupid, or if they want to punish you to make an example, or for some other reason they hate you. But even trivial offenses, once they are motivated enough, will hurt.

    And as far as a sherriff/police dept. being nasty about using their frequencies. I can totally see them being pissed off and threatening - or even perhaps finding some other pretext to punish you. So, I'd guess there's probably something to the story. I was mainly interested in the back-story - because the language about allowing use is so absolute. (Like, did they find some way to claim there were other communication methods [like smoke signals!] so we're going to get you...etc.)

  19. #44
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    Quote Originally Posted by gregorys View Post
    @mrkbrnblm

    I think I'd characterize it like this; The FCC (the bear) takes a ton of work to get motivated to do anything. But once you enrage the bear, it's really likely to do crushing damage to you.

    So, yes, I think in general you are unlikely to have the FCC pursue you, unless you're being stupid, or if they want to punish you to make an example, or for some other reason they hate you. But even trivial offenses, once they are motivated enough, will hurt.

    And as far as a sherriff/police dept. being nasty about using their frequencies. I can totally see them being pissed off and threatening - or even perhaps finding some other pretext to punish you. So, I'd guess there's probably something to the story. I was mainly interested in the back-story - because the language about allowing use is so absolute. (Like, did they find some way to claim there were other communication methods [like smoke signals!] so we're going to get you...etc.)
    From what I've read, I'd agree with the FCC-bear analogy. One other point: again based on what I've read, they don't seem have a lot of resources available for enforcement, but there are plenty of ham operators out there who are more than willing to make their primary goal of the week/month/year to track down an illegal signal, particularly if you step on a licensed signal that the ham cares about. So if you're using decent Part 90 gear on a frequency that is unallocated in your area, not stepping on anything that is licensed, and otherwise not bothering anyone, you're far more likely to get away with it versus stepping on someone else's frequency allocation.

    As far as the local law enforcement goes, the anecdotes I've heard from people I knew in multiple small towns, in multiple states, boil down to this: in a small town, you don't want law enforcement pissed off at you. They invariably lack the enforcement resources to strictly enforce all laws all the time, but if you make yourself a target, they might just manage to strictly enforce all laws all the time as applied to you. So whether or not they can nail you specifically for something like 'interfering with access to emergency services', they can probably find plenty of ways to make you regret pissing them off. Is that selective enforcement and possible grounds for a lawsuit? Probably, but it's still going to make your life suck. (Obviously, this applies mostly if you are local to the area, rather than just passing through).

  20. #45
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    Sep 2015
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    Quote Originally Posted by anotherVTskibum View Post
    From what I've read, I'd agree with the FCC-bear analogy. One other point: again based on what I've read, they don't seem have a lot of resources available for enforcement, but there are plenty of ham operators out there who are more than willing to make their primary goal of the week/month/year to track down an illegal signal, particularly if you step on a licensed signal that the ham cares about. So if you're using decent Part 90 gear on a frequency that is unallocated in your area, not stepping on anything that is licensed, and otherwise not bothering anyone, you're far more likely to get away with it versus stepping on someone else's frequency allocation.
    To this point, and this is only my opinion, the very best choice would be to use GMRS frequencies at modest power (<5w), or FRS @ <1W. Yes, using a non part 95 cert radio isn't "technically" within the regulation, but IMO, you've done your best to stay within the spirit of the regulation. (i.e. Keeping transmit power low, and not interfering with other users/adjacent frequencies.) And getting a GMRS license wouldn't hurt. [You knew there was a GMRS license, right? It's $75 per family, for 10 years]

    Further, other than physically looking at your radio, there's no real way to determine if you have a certified radio or not - so triangulation and all the rest really don't apply. Lastly, I generally hear the the FCC is simply not doing anything around enforcement of the FRS/GMRS channels unless the offense is really egregious.

    My point is, using the GMRS/FRS spectrum is, IMO, "better" than using some unused 400mhz commercial-licensed spectrum, or the like. (Unless of course you have some authorization to use that spectrum - but then this is a pointless conversation anyway.)

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