For FY 23 the Forest Service and BLM have standardized all BK radio firmware and software as shown:
Model Firmware Software
BKR-5000 5.8.65 5.8.20
KNG2-P150 5.5.0s 5.8.20
KNGP-150CMD 5.5.0s 5.8.20
KNG-P150 5.5.0s 5.8.20
KNG-P150S 1.6.1 1.2.0
KNG-M150 5.5.0s 5.8.20
KNG-M150R 5.5.0s 5.8.20
DPH5102X Group99 Patch 3.5.5
DPHX5102X Update #103 3.5.5
DMH5992X Update #102 1.1.3
NIRSC Cache radios will be updated accordingly. Legacy Cloning Issues still exist. It is recommended that only like models be cloned to and from (i.e. P150 to P150).
Contact CDO for more information.
New frequency resource categories have been added to IROC. Please consult this How To guide to ensure the correct frequency resource is ordered and the required documentation is provided in special needs.
Contact the CDO with any questions.
The G/ECC cloning cable is no longer being manufactured due to parts obsolesce. Starting immediately, the NIICD will be replacing missing or damaged G/ECC cables with LAA0700 Same Series cloning cables when refurbishing kits. Therefore, depending on the kits you receive you may get either cloning cable.
With the LAA0700 you can only clone within the same series, DPH to DPH or GPH to GPH.
Contact Kent Gale for more information.
See BKSB-1074 Service Bulletin for extending the warranty on KNG2-Pxxx, KNG-Mxxx, KAA0660 and KAA0670 radios not powering up when first turned on.
Contact Kim McCutchan for further information.
A fixed CTCCS tone of 110.9 has been added to the transmit and receive of all UHF equipment in the cache. This includes the UHF link side of the command repeater, aircraft link and cross band link. Additionally the UHF logistics radio kits default channel plan now has a transmit and receive tone of 110.9. This change prevents repeater system lock ups and noise caused by interference opening unprotected repeater UHF side receivers inadvertently. Strong interference can still affect receiver sensitivity so site placement remains critical. For best performance, avoid deploying repeaters adjacent to other transmitting antennas.
Contact the CDO for further information.
A NFES 4150 SLA Battery kit must be ordered with all NIRSC repeater and remote kits (4312, 4248, 4370, 4330, 4330EX). The 7.5V alkaline batteries these kits use to use are no longer available. A SLA charger is provided in every kit that requires a 4150 SLA Battery kit. To ensure enough batteries are available for all NIRSC repeater/remote kits, a limit of two NFES 4150 SLA Battery kits may be ordered per repeater/remote kit. This allows one 4150 SLA Battery kit to be charged in camp while the other 4150 SLA Battery kit powers the repeater/remote. Each NFES 4150 SLA Battery kit contains 2 ea 35 Amp hour batteries. When used in parallel this should give the equivalent battery life of a 7.5V single stack of batteries (4 ea 7.5V alkaline batteries). If additional batteries beyond this configuration are necessary then purchase batteries locally through the buying team.
The NFES 4390 Starter System includes 5 each 4150 SLA battery kits, one for each piece of equipment in the starter system (4312, 4248, 4370, 4330 x 2). Back up 4150 kits must be ordered separately, please only order what is necessary. When ordering additional equipment such as a 4312 command repeater, remember the 4150 SLA battery kit (max qty 2) must also be ordered, it is not included by default.
Questions contact the CDO.
The contents of the NFES 4100 Mountain Top Kits have been merged in to repeater kits and can no longer be ordered. Questions contact the CDO.
A surge protection device has been added to the UHF side of all repeater equipment at NIRSC. The surge protection device provides a DC short between the center pin and ground to prevent static build up on the UHF antenna. On the VHF side there is a built in DC short to ground provided by the VHF antenna and VHF duplexer so a separate device is not needed. Static buildup is the suspected cause for repeated failures in the UHF transmitters. The surge protection device is preinstalled and requires no changes to existing setup procedures. Questions contact the CDO.
See BKSB-1071 Service Bulletin to correct a vulnerability and incompatibility issue with KNG-Pxxx, KNG2-Pxxx, KNG-Mxxx, KAA0660, KAA0670 and BKR5000 radios using RES version 5.8.14 or older.
Contact Kim McCutchan for more information.
See Product Announcement Cancellation Notice: KNG2-P150 VHF Series for message from BK Technologies canceling the KNG2-P150 Portable VHF Radio. This radio is replaced by the BK Technologies BKR5000 series radio. The BKR5000 series radio is a fire approved radio.
Contact Kim McCutchan for more information.
For reliable operation with repeater voiceboards and RAWS stations, configure radios with the following DTMF settings:
DPHx: Under Global set DTMF Deviation to 3000Hz. Enable DTMF in Zone Settings ANI/DTMF
KNGP150S: Under Global->General set DTMF Deviation to 3000Hz. Enable DTMF in Zone Settings ANI/DTMF
KNG/KNG2P150: Under Global->Conventional->Analog Signaling set Deviation to 70% and enable the checkbox for Tx DTMF Preemphasis. Enable DTMF by enabling DTMF Live Dial Global in Global->Conventional->General.
These settings result in a DTMF deviation of approximately 1.5KHz which has been found to give the most reliable performance.
Contact Bill Forsyth for more information.
It is recommended to avoid cloning between KNG/KNG2 and DPH radios because of the following cloning issues until a fix is identified. BK is aware of the issues and working on a solution.
1. When cloning from KNG/KNG2 P150 to DPHx5102x, the user code guard gets activated on the target DPH (fixed in KNG firmware 5.6.1 or later).
2. When cloning from KNG/KNG2 P150 to DPHx5102x transmit power on the target DPH gets locked to low power instead of being selectable.
3. When cloning from DPHx5102x to KNG2 transmit power on the target KNG/KNG2 radio gets locked to high instead of being selectable.
Cloning between KNG P150”S” to/from DPH and KNG P150"s" to/from KNG/KNG2 P150 do not have the above issues.
Firmware and software used to replicate:
DPHX5102X with firmware 30fb1f53
KNG2 P150 with firmware 5.5.5.f and software RES 5.5.9
KNG P150"S" with firmware 1.5.4 and KNG editor 1.2.0
Contact Bill Forsyth for more information
BK intends to cancel production of their KNG series of radios by 7/31/2020. This will not affect their KNG2 series of radios which will still be manufactured. Contact Kim McCutchan for more information.
All radio equipment issued by the NIRSC has been cleaned and disinfected prior to shipment from the NIRSC. Some manufacturers have provided their own instructions to clean and disinfect radio equipment. These instructions are being provided to NIRSC radio equipment users if they feel the need to clean and disinfect radio equipment during use. Use caution when applying liquids to radio equipment as many items are not waterproof and can be damaged when liquid makes contact with internal electronic components.
Radio Equipment Disinfecting Procedures Vendor Recommendations
BK Radio Service Bulletin BKSB-1058
Motorola Solutions Document MTN-0038-20-GL
Follow the link for instructions for cloning between legacy and KNG radios. Contact Bill Forsyth for more information.
The voiceboard audio output degrades at cold temperatures or cuts out completely when temperatures are in the low forties (degrees F) or below. The problem has been found to be an improperly low bias voltage to the audio amplifier in the voiceboard. A fix has been identified and when repaired the voiceboard functions down to -30degC (-22degF) without issues. Unfortunately the fix will not be fully implemented until winter, therefore this problem will still be an issue for the upcoming 2019 fire season. The problem can be mitigated by querying the voiceboard in the evening at the end of operations when temperatures are warmer rather than first thing in the morning before operations when temperatures are coldest. Contact Bill Forsyth for more information.
DOI and USDA WO Frequency Managers are now requiring the CDO to submit NTIA Interference Reports for all radio interference issues that adversely impact incident communications.
Radio interference must be reported to NIFC CDO (or COMC when assigned. Minimum reporting information: location, radio frequency, time and date (including interference duration), and sound or intelligent audio source for interference.
Public Notice, DA 18-283 March 22, 2018
PUBLIC SAFETY AND HOMELAND SECURITY BUREAU ANNOUNCES NEW PROCEDURE FOR NON-FEDERAL PUBLIC SAFETY ENTITIES TO LICENSE MOBILE AND PORTABLE UNITS ON FEDERAL INTEROPERABILITY CHANNELS
By this Public Notice, the Public Safety and Homeland Security Bureau (Bureau) announces a streamlined procedure for the Commission to authorize non-federal public safety entities to use the forty channels that the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) has designated for interoperability.
This will mean that some of the repeaters used by the NIRSC to support project fires and All-Risk Incidents C8 - C17 and L8 - L14 (Federal Interoperability Channels) may be subject to interference. It is our understanding that if non-federal public safety entities who cause interference when identified have 24 hours to shut down.
The FCC has offered to train the NIICD staff on how to use their portable direction finding equipment to track down any interference issues on project fires.
Public Notice DA 18-980, Enforcement Advisory No. 2018-03
TWO-WAY VHF/UHF RADIOS MAY NOT BE IMPORTED, ADVERTISED, OR SOLD IN THE UNITED STATES UNLESS THEY COMPLY WITH THE COMMISSION’S RULES
OPERATORS MUST ALSO COMPLY WITH FCC RULES
"The Enforcement Bureau (Bureau) of the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has observed that a growing number of conventional retailers and websites advertise and sell low-cost, two-way VHF/UHF radios that do not comply with the FCC's rules. Such devices are used primarily for short-distance, two-way voice communications and are frequently imported into the United States.
Many of these radios violate one or more FCC technical requirements. For example, some can be modified to transmit on public safety and other land mobile channels for which they are not authorized, while others are capable of prohibited wideband operations. Such radios are illegal, and many have the potential to negatively affect public safety, aviation, and other operations by Federal, state, and local agencies, as well as private users. Because these devices must be, but have not been, authorized by the FCC, the devices may not be imported into the United States, retailers may not advertise or sell them, and no one may use them."
There have been reports of IMT's purchasing and using these types of radios (Wouxun and Baofeng) for inter-team communications. Theses radios are very cheap, are field programmable and operate on the same frequency bands used by the federal government both VHF and UHF. Teams must discontinue the use of these radios even in camp.
Violators may be subject to substantial monetary penalties.
Several NIFC kits are currently capable of using external power. To make adapter cables to power NIFC repeaters from external power sources use the part numbers and connector pinouts from the following drawings: Battery Cable Drawing (alkaline) and Solar Panel Cable. External power should be capable of supplying 4 amps (maximum) and a voltage of between 12.3 VDC to 16 VDC. Although the repeater will run on voltages down to 10 VDC, the external power source must initially be above 12.3 VDC to overcome hysteresis in the voiceboard. Once the hysteresis is overcome, the voiceboard will power the repeater from the external power source down to 10.2 VDC. Contact Bill Forsyth for more information.
All NIRSC equipment has been reprogrammed to meet the National Telecommunications and Information Administrations (NTIA) 2019 requirements.
DO NOT use old frequency pocket cards written prior to 2018.
All 2018 NIICD frequency schemes for NFES 004381 and 004244 radios have the official markings "Controlled Unclassified Information//Basic" and must be stored and disseminated accordingly. They may be sent to interagency email addresses but not to non-official emails (i.e. Gmail or AOL email accounts). COML or COMT personnel should contact their GACC for the new frequencies. The GACC can then inform them how to access their secure site to obtain this information, or they may send it to a government email account.
This information will also be stored on the NIFC FPT site under the radio_management folder 2018 frequency information. Access to this folder will require a NAP user name and password. The NIFC CDO Coordinator (Kim Albracht) and several others in the NIICD will be able to grant access to this folder on the FTP site. This can be done with an email to request access. Once the email is received the personnel granting permission will inform the individual requesting access the steps that have to be taken to be granted access.
Contact Kim Albracht for more information.
Subject: NMAC Correspondence 2017-16 Frequency Distribution Requirements Update
NMAC Correspondence 2017-16
July 14, 2017
To: Geographic Area Coordination Groups, Incident Management Teams, Communications Unit Leaders, and Communications Technicians
From: National Multi-Agency Coordinating Group
Subject: Frequency Distribution Requirements and Air Tanker Base Directory Update
The purpose of this memo is to provide information about new requirements for radio frequency distribution. It also serves to inform the community of the misprinted Air Tanker Base Directory and corrective action taken.
All documents that contain frequencies must be labeled at the top and bottom of each page with a disclaimer that says, Controlled Unclassified Information//Basic. Steps are being taken to update I-Suite to meet these requirements in the future. Additionally, work is being completed to edit any ICS forms hosted by NWCG while also coordinating with DHS/FEMA and FireScope. Any locally/personally controlled versions of ICS documents that you may have, that contain frequency information, must also display this disclaimer at the top and bottom of each page.
Errors were found in the Air Tanker Base Directory printed May 2017. This issue has been corrected and the directory is being republished. Please ensure that the version dated "June 2017" is used. The corrected electronic version is currently on the NIFC FTP site as well as secure password protected sites at various GACCs. All versions now contain the Controlled Unclassified Information label.
/s/ Dan Buckley
Relm/BK will no longer support four older models of radios due to these radios reaching the end of their life cycle. These radios are: DPH5102X, GPH5102X, GMP5992X and GPH5992R. These four radio types will still be accepted as Fire Approved. Contact Kent Gale for more information. See the attached information from Relm/BK.
Daniel's repeaters no longer have a CTCSS on/off switch. To disable tones turn Switch A to position 16. To enable tones turn Switch A to position 1 thru 15. See Daniels Switch Configuration (pdf) (4.4 MB)
COMC, COML, COMT, COM Refresher, and P25 aviation radio training courses are available. Visit the Technical Training page for more information.
NIRSC/NIICD staffing and radio equipment support for training events must be coordinated well in advance of planned events. Our support for training events is dependent upon equipment and staffing availability. It is NIICD policy that equipment issued for training purposes be accompanied by a NIICD specialist. Generally, costs associated with the use of our equipment for training are paid by the training sponsor. Contact Kirk Maskalick for incident communications training support, Mike Tuominen for field training support, and Frank Smith for aviation training support. (11/09)
Family Radio Service (FRS) communications equipment shall not be used by anyone associated with federal wildland fire incidents or in instances that safeguard human life or property. This applies to agency, military, and contractor personnel. NTIA Manual, section 7.5.8, states: “federal entities may not purchase and operate FRS radios for planned communications operations that safeguard human life or property”. Additionally, the Departments of Agriculture and Interior have policies limiting the use of FRS radios.
There is a viable option called Intra-Squad Radio (ISR). These radios are used by the United States Marine Corps (USMC) for tactical communications and the NIICD has been given authorization to operate on the frequencies. For those personnel and crews who may have been operating with FRS radios and wish to utilize ISR, please contact the Communications Duty Officer (CDO) or Mike Tuominen for more information. (4/20/09)
The NIRSC User's Guide now contains Radio Programming Pocket Guides for all the NIICD handheld radios. Radio programming pocket guides, can be found on the NIICD Documents page. Contact Jose Lopez for more information. (3/12)
See Incident Radio System Diagram PDFs to be used in the design and organization of an incident's communication system. (2/12)
Under the authority of the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA), the DOI and USDA have designated specific frequencies nationwide for assignment and use by NIFC to support their all-risk management missions. The radio frequency assignments are Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) release-exempt and are to be protected as "Sensitive Data."
If you have any questions concerning the above, feel free to contact the Communications Duty Officer (CDO) or Kim McCutchan.
Current Radio Software Versions (as of 2/2022):
|Radio||Software in Radio||Channel Programming Software||Radio Tuning Software|
|Cobham (aka NAT) NPX136D||1.50||1.00||N/A|
|Codan (aka Daniels) "D"||N/A||Version 1.1||N/A|
|Codan (aka Daniels) "R"||N/A||Version 2.9.1||N/A|
|Codan (aka Daniels) "E" Receiver||N/A||Version 18.104.22.168||N/A|
|Codan (aka Daniels) "E" Transmitter||N/A||Version 22.214.171.124||N/A|
|Motorola XTS 2500||R17.01.01||R20.00.00||R05.04.03|
|Technisonic TDFM-136B||Main Code 1.7.3||2.6.0||N/A|
Most radios display the radio's operating software version when the radio is first turned on.
For Motorola XTS2500 & XTS 5000:
View software version by: Turn radio on. Press 2nd gray button (it has 2 dots) on left side 5 times. Radio enters service mode. Software version is the first number displayed. Turn radio off and then on again to reset after checking software version. DO NOT USE your radio until it is reset.
Contact your local radio technician to update your radio's software.