Friday, February 27, 2015

Best Strategies For Monitoring and Storing HF Volmet and ARINC Frequencies

This author has been studying commercial aviation communications since at least the early 90s.

Everyone who monitors HF frequencies eventually finds something they like. For some people, it's the CW portion of the amateur bands, for some it's numbers stations, and for's listening to aircraft criss-cross the globe.

If you're new to this, it's important to know that you need a shortwave receiver with SSB coverage. SSB is upper and lower sideband.

If you're going to invest in an HF receiver, choose wisely. This author recommends Sangean, Kenwood, Yaesu, and Icom.

IF you REALLY have money to spend, there are two or three high end models out here that you should invest in. Those brands are AOR, Icom, and JRC.

Which models should you buy? AOR makes the AR - 8200 MK 3-B (Hand portable), and the AR - 8600 MK 2-B (Base). ICOM makes the R-75 and R-9500. JRC is also a great radio! Anything  you buy from JRC is a great investment!

With radio recommendations spoken for, we can now discuss strategies for monitoring and storing commercial aviation HF oceanic communications frequencies.

The first thing you should know is that commercial aviation oceanic comms are spread out by region.

On the west coast is Hawaii Volmet, and San Francisco ARINC. On the east coast is New York Volmet, and New York ARINC. All frequencies used by the two Volmet stations run by the FAA, and all of the ARINC frequencies are used in SSB, specifically USB (upper side band)

The next thing you need to know and commit to memory is that the frequencies used are divided by daytime and nighttime usage. Higher frequencies for daytime, lower frequencies for nighttime.

The BEST strategy this author has found to monitor both of the volmet centers and both of the ARINC centers is to program daytime volmet frequencies first, followed by daytime ARINC frequencies according to ARINC region.

Whether you go west to east, or east to west doesn't matter. Keep in mind that one of these methods is highly recommended so you can keep your memory channels and memory banks orderly.

ARINC regions are organized by "Network region".

New York ARINC regions are:

Network North Atlantic "A"

Network North Atlantic  "E"

Carribean Network "A"

Carribean Network "B"

As you see, the east coast of the U.S. ARINC system has a total of four networks.

The west coast ARINC system gets a little more complicated because they have to break up the Pacific Ocean into more strategic coverage areas.

The west coast ARINC networks are:

Central East Pacific Network 1

Central East Pacific Network 2

Central West Pacific Network

South Pacific Network

North Pacific Network

After much study, thought, and experimentation, this author found that the following memory program will more likely work for most people. All said and done, you'll need 90 memory channels since we're also going to add U.S. HF-GCS frequencies. An explanation for that will come later.

Memory Channel Assignment

WWV Daytime 1 - 20.000

WWV Daytime 2 - 15.000

WWV Daytime 3 - 10.000

WWV Nighttime 1 - 5.000

WWV Nighttime 2 - 2.5000

HNL Volmet Daytime - 13.282

New York Volmet Daytime 1 - 13.270

New York Volmet Daytime 2 - 10.051

New York Network "A" Daytime - 13.306

New York Network "A" Daytime 2 - 17.946

New York Network "A" Daytime 3 - 21.964

New York Network "E" Daytime 1 - 11.309

New York Network "E" Daytime 2 - 13.354

New York Network "E" Daytime 3 - 17.952

Carribean Network "A" Daytime - 11.396

Carribean Network "B" Daytime - 11.330

Carribran Network "B" Daytime 2 - 13.297

Carribean Network "B" Daytime 3 - 17.907

SFO ARINC Central East Pacific Network 1 Daytime - 10.057

SFO ARINC Central East Pacific Network 1 Daytime 2 - 13.354

SFO Central East Pacific Network 2 Daytime - 11.282

SFO Central East Pacific Network 2 Daytime 2 - 13.288

SFO Central East Pacific Network 2 Daytime 3 - 21.954

SFO Central West Pacific Network Daytime - 11.384

SFO Central West Pacific Network Daytime 2 - 13.300

SFO Central West Pacific Network Daytime 3 - 17.904

SFO Central West Pacific Network Daytime 4 - 21.985

SFO South Pacific Network Daytime - 13.261

SFO South Pacific Network Daytime 2 -17.904

SFO North Pacific Network Daytime 10.048

SFO North Pacific Network Daytime 2 - 11.330

SFO North Pacific Network Daytime 3 - 13.273

SFO North Pacific Network Daytime 4 - 13.339

SFO North Pacific Network Daytime 5 - 17.946

SFO North Pacific Network Daytime 6 - 21.925

At this point you'll notice a system pattern of grouping east to west and lowest daytime frequency to highest daytime frequency.

You'll notice that WWV daytime frequencies are listed first, followed by WWV nighttime frequencies. That was done as a good idea in the event you don't have a clock nearby or your clock stops'll always have a quick way to know what time it is.

WWV is also a nice way to test propagation at any given time.

Suggested Nighttime Volmet and ARINC programming / monitoring list:

HNL (Hawaii) Volmet Nighttime 1 - 2.863

HNL Volmet Nighttime 2 - 6.679

HNL Volmet Nighttime 3 - 8.828

New York Volmet Nighttime 1 - 3.485

New York Volmet Nighttime 2 - 6.604

New York ARINC Night North Atlantic Network "A" - 3.016

New York ARINC Night North Atlantic Network "A" 2 - 5.598

New York ARINC Night North Atlantic Network "A" 3 - 8.906

North Atlantic Network "E" Nighttime 1 - 2.962

North Atlantic Network "E" Nighttime 2 - 6.628

North Atlantic Network "E" Nighttime 3 - 8.825

Carribean Network "A" Nighttime 1 - 2.287

Carribean Network "A" Nighttime 2 - 3.455

Carribean Network "A"Nighttime 3 - 5.550

Carribean Network "A" Nighttime 4 - 6.577

Carribean Network "A" Nighttime 5 - 8.846

Carribean Network "B" Nighttime 1 - 5.520

Carribean Network "B" Nighttime 2 - 6.586

Carribean Network "B" Nighttime 3 - 8.918

SFO (San Francisco) Central East Pacific Network Nighttime 1 - 3.413

Central East Pacific Network Nighttime 2 - 3.452

Central East Pacific Network Nighttime 3 - 5.574

Central East Pacific Network Nighttime 4 - 6.673

Central East Pacific Network Nighttime 5 - 8.843

Central West Pacific Network Nighttime 1 - 2.998

Central West Pacific Network Nighttime 2 - 4.666

Central West Pacific Network Nighttime 3 - 6.532

Central West Pacific Network Nighttime 4 - 8.903

South Pacific Network Nighttime 1 - 3.467

South Pacific Network Nighttime 2 - 5.643

South Pacific Network Nighttime 3 - 8.867

North Pacific Network Nighttime 1 -2.932

North Pacific Network Nighttime 2 - 5.628

North Pacific Network Nighttime 3 - 5.667

North Pacific Network Nighttime 4 - 6.655

North Pacific Network Nighttime 5 - 8.915

North Pacific Network Nighttime 6 - 8.951

So far, if you're paying attention and keeping track of the Volmet and ARINC system layouts, you've noticed this overall pattern of system design and usage:

HNL Volmet has a total of 4 frequencies

N.Y. Volmet has a total of 3 frequencies

North Atlantic Network has a total of 12 frequencies

Carribean Network has a total of 12 frequencies

Central East Pacific Network has a total of 10 frequencies

Central West Pacific Network has a total of 8 frequencies

South Pacific Network has a total of 5 frequencies

North Pacific Network has a total of 12 frequencies

Now we move forward to the LDOC frequencies. LDOC is Long Distance Operational Control. These frequencies are used by flight crews who need to send messages to their operations centers.

There are a total of 6 LDOC frequencies, 4 daytime and 2 nighttime frequencies.

11.342 daytime

13 348 daytime

17.925 daytime

21.964 daytime

3.494 nighttime

6.640 nighttime

For an even more detailed technical explanation of these, and other frequencies along with a more exhaustive INTERNATIONAL listing of HF aeronautical frequencies, see the February 25th, 2015 update at the B-Town Wide Spectrum Monitor Blog by Larry Van Horn N5FPW (President Teak Publishing Company)

With all of that out of the way, let's add the U.S. HF-GCS frequencies to this list. These should be part of monitoring strategy since military aero activity and other military matters impact commercial aviation travel.

U.S. HF-GCS Daytime frequencies:

11.175 - main

13.200 back - up

15.016 back - up

U S. HF-GCS Nighttime frequencies:

4.724 back - up

6.739 back - up

8.992 - 24 hours

That's it! Hopefully, all of you enjoyed this and find it useful!

Thursday, January 15, 2015

Global 24 Radio - Failure at The Outset?

Global24 Radio launched as a new shortwave service on October 31st, 2014. as with any other Halloween event, it seems that Global24 was in an eerie place from the start.

It was said that Global24 was going to revitalize shortwave radio, and Jeff White, who owns WRMI in Miami, Florida, said he was excited to see a long overdue commercialization of shortwave.

It is now the middle of January 2015, and none of these things are even close to happening. PCJ Radio International said they will no longer update their programming slot on Global 24 because of broken / unfulfilled promises on their deal with PCJ.

Here's a Global24 Forum thread where a listener calls Global24 out on their many promises that never came true, and a Global24 station staff member saying that it will be many more months:

Listeners have repeatedly told Global24 that they could not hear them, and listeners are also complaining that there has been a cold response or even a non-response to their reception reports. This Global24 forum thread reveals those woes:

One of GLOBAL24'S worst choices was to pick only one frequency for a 24 hour broadcast operation. 9395 kHz is the 31meter band, good for overnight and early morning broadcast, whereas a higher frequency is needed for daytime operation, preferably the 21 or 25 meter bands.

Rumor has it that Jeff White advised them that they needed to do something like what was described above.

At this time, we know that Global24 started broadcasting without a schedule firmly in place per their own admission. At this time, the perception is that Global24 was put together haphazardly and without much forethought.

Open Letter to The FCC - Education and Diversity in Amateur Radio

To whom it may concern at the United States Fedteral Communications Commission,

Over the last many years, amateur radio has been suffering from an image problem unlike any other form of communications media. The median age of licensed amateurs in the United States is between 50 and 90 years old. This age demographic is mostly males. There are well over 700,000 licensed amateurs in the U.S.

Out of the mostly male crowd in amateur radio, there are an unknown number of which are suffering from substance addiction, domestic violence issues in which the male partner committed great harm to the female partner, or who suffer from other problems involving a lack of basic education, secondary education, and unemployment.

The case of Brian Crow - K3VR is an example of male dominant behavior in amateur radio mostly stemming from lack of proper education.

Michael D. Elder of the Rush County V.E.C. with Jennifer Myles Dishman, recently posted a photo of themselves in a Facebook group. Above their photo together was a caption in mostly upper-case lettering. The caption was horribly misspelled, lacked proper sentence structure, lacked proper punctuation, and was overall a horrible mess to even attempt to interpret.

The referenced posting on Facebook was one more piece of evidence that the education level of U.S. amateur radio operators is on the decline. Amateur radio operators are there to help bring about international goodwill, grow the pool of electronic and communications expertise, and provide a last means of emergency communications.

How can any of the above take place when there is a lack of education? Currently, the FCC has no requirement for license applicants to prove that they possess educational competence of any kind.

Amateur radio operators who actively practice, regularly expose themselves to more than enough electricity to kill themselves, and expose communities to potential danger if their stations are not properly engineered, and if their antennas aren't safely assembled.

The study material for the FCC Amateur Radio Technician test is itself at least at the college level. Given that fact, it stands to reason that the FCC needs to start questioning how license candidates are passing these exams if they don't even have a high school language and spelling competency!

This should in no way bar a disabled person from studying for or taking any FCC exam with reasonable accommodation.

All of this begs the suggestion for the FCC to impose rulemaking that requires FCC license candidates to prove that they possess at least a college level language arts, spelling, and grammar level.

High school students still in school can be waived with a certified copy of their official school report card with no lower than a "B" average.

Along with these concerns, amateur radio suffers from a shocking lack of diversity of operators from various cultures, races, ethnicities, national origins, income levels, religions, sexual orientations, gender identities, etc.

Over time, the facts have revealed that if an amateur operator reveals themselves to be non-white, low income, non-christian, or of anyother minority / marginalised group, they face great hostility and even threats to their personal safety from their fellow radio ops. TheFCC is likely not aware of this because no one is speaking up for fear of their safety.

With this now made public, we hope that our fellow licensed radio amateurs will take a step back and ask how they can help eliminate bias and bullying from amateur radio. Maybe firming a new partnership with the ARRL can be of value here.

We also ask the FCC to step in to ensure progress is made towards a heightened requirement for education and diversity.

Monday, October 6, 2014

Timothy Alan Dick (Tim Allen) of Last Man Standing Files False/Misleading information with FCC

The story recently broke that Timothy Alan Dick (legal name), also known as Tim Allen on several popular TV programs of international acclaim, has taken and passed his FCC Technician - Amateur Radio exam. Tim received FCC callsign KK6OTD.

The callsign comes back registered to a "Tim Dick" which is not the legal name on his State ID. Alan also furnished the FCC with more false information. The address listed as 11500 Hart St
North Hollywood, CA 91605 isn't a physical address. A Google Earth search of the address shows the address to be an empty paring lot with no capability of receiving any sort of mail. See photo below.

How or why Mr. Dick is allowed to have an amateur radio license is in question at this moment,  as he has drug related criminal convictions. On October 2, 1978, Dick was arrested in the Kalamazoo/Battle Creek International Airport for possession of over 650 grams (1.43 lb) of cocaine. He subsequently pleaded guilty to drug trafficking charges, and provided the names of other dealers in exchange for a sentence of three to seven years rather than a possible life imprisonment. He was paroled on June 12, 1981, after serving 2 years and 4 months in Federal Correctional Institution, Sandstone in Sandstone, Minnesota. Dick had the Federal Bureau of Prisons Register # 04276-040.   

Restricted and Commercial Operator, and General Mobile Radio Services, on page 11, the appicant has to certify the following in certification#4: 

The Applicant / Licensee certifies that neither the Applicant / Licensee nor  any  other  party  to  the  application is subject to a denial  of Federal  benefits  pursuant  to Section  5301  of the  Anti-Drug    Abuse Act of 1988, 21 U.S.C. § 862, because  of a conviction  for possession  or distribution  of a controlled substance. 

This certification does  not  apply  to applications filed in services exempted under Section  1.2002(c) of the rules, 47  CFR §   1.2002(c).  See Section  1.2002(b)  of the rules,  47  CFR § 1.2002(b),  for the definition of “party to the application” as used in this certification.

It is unknown at this time whether or not the U.S. Federal Government will file perjury or other charges against Mr. Dick. 

Friday, September 26, 2014

ZAU Center Arson Incident - Exclusive ORD Coverage

 Shortwave America was at ORD today to witness the aftermath of an act that grounded more than 2,000 flights. According to a joint FBI, ATF, and FAA investigation, we know the following details about an arson that took place at Chicago's FAA ZAU Center in Aurora, Illinois:
  • The main and only offender is Brian Howard, 36, of Naperville, Illinois
  • Mr. Howard started the fire in the basement of the Aurora facility, known as the ZAU Center, around 5:40 a.m.
  • Howard is an eight year employee of the contract company at ZAU Center
  • Just prior to the fire, Howard posted an angry rant on Facebook saying  “Take a hard look in the mirror, I have. And this is why I am about to take out ZAU (the radar center) and my life…So I’m gonna smoke this blunt and move on, take care everyone”
  • Howard entered the center at 5:06 a.m., according to the center’s keycard tracking system
  • The 911 call for emergency crews to respond to ZAU center was placed at or around 5:42A.M.
  •  When medics found Howard, he was trying to slit his own throat
  • Howard is currently unconscious at a hospital, in stable condition
 Over at Flyer Talk, user milepig said that they had a conversation with an air traffic controller who told them,  "All the controllers have been put on administrative leave and are not to report to the facility for foreseeable future. They were told to call their supervisors on Monday for the latest instructions. I can confirm this having just talked to a controller."
The FAA put out a press release that gives this statement:

"The Federal Aviation Administration evacuated its Chicago En Route Center in Aurora, IL just before 6 a.m. local time on Friday, September 26, because of a fire reported in a basement telecommunications room. Air traffic controllers immediately transferred airspace management to adjacent air traffic facilities and the FAA put other steps in place to manage the traffic.

The Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives are investigating the incident and the FAA is supporting the investigation.

The FAA has conducted a preliminary damage assessment, and expects to gain access to the telecommunications area this evening to conduct a more thorough assessment. After technicians fully review the damage, they will be able to develop a timeline for repairs, replacement, and full restoration of services at the facility.

The FAA currently is managing Chicago Center traffic through adjacent high altitude radar centers in Cleveland, Indianapolis, Kansas City, and Minneapolis. Those facilities are working with the Chicago Terminal Radar Approach (TRACON) facility in Elgin, Illinois and other surrounding large TRACONs in areas such as South Bend, IN, Rockford and Moline IL, and Milwaukee, WI to track flights on radar and manage departures and arrivals in Chicago Center airspace. The FAA is re-routing overflights around the airspace.

Flights are currently arriving and departing in the Chicago area at a reduced rate. The FAA is using all of its available air traffic tools to maximize capacity at the Chicago-area airports. The FAA will continue working with operators through the weekend to reduce disruptions. Travelers are encouraged to contact their airlines for further information about specific flights."
Read the U.S. Federal criminal complaint and search warrant affidavit here. (PDF file)

Upon arrival at ORD, the first observation was an empty airfield. American Airlines aircraft could be observed parked by one of the hangars on the airfield not far from the United Airlines hangar. The ORD pedestrian walkway between terminals was almost filled to capacity with passengers who were already at the airport and droves arriving by way of the CTA Blue Line.

Baggage areas were only somewhat busy, with the bulk of crowds occupying the ticket counter areas on the departure level. 
Terminal conditions were beyond crowded at ORD, as passengers, airline personnel, and airline contractor employees worked together to get passengers where they needed to go. The tensions at ORD could be felt even on the upper-level departure curb. Media staging was at the Terminal 3 ATS area inside the terminal between the ATS escalators, just across from the American Airlines ticket counters.   

The ATS (Airport Transit System) train between terminals was at, or beyond capacity on each trip. OATS (the ATS company at ORD) did not add extra trains even though there certainly was a demand for it.

 In the photos above, media vans line the middle median at ORD Terminal 3.

American Airlines ticket agents and gate agents were rewarded for their performance in this crisis today. The management of American Airlines treated their employees to free pizza from Giuseppe's by the baggage cart loads! 

As of print time, the Chicago Center official FAA webpage is still up, but the links there are all inactive.

Some ZAU Center facts:

The Chicago ARTCC (ZAU) started at Midway Airport in the late 1950's. As the need for increased personnel and equipment arose, Aurora, Illinois was selected for the new operating location for ZAU. The building was completed in a period of 5 years and personnel transitioned into the new facility in 1962.

ZAU is a level 12 facility providing service to the Chicago and Milwaukee Metropolitan area and 16 underlying approach control facilities. The center's 9 areas of specialization are comprised of 24 high altitude sectors and 24 low altitude sectors. (courtesy of Radio Reference)

ZAU, one of 22 FAA air route centers, stretches east from Des Moines to Fort Wayne, and north from central Illinois to Oshkosh, Wisconsin. ZAU controls all aircraft arriving and departing several major airports, including both Chicago O’Hare, Midway, Milwaukee, Wisconsin, and Fort Wayne, Indiana. (Courtesy of  Aviation Week)

ZAU is also known as "Chicago Center". 

Chicago Center is the 5th busiest ARTCC in the United States. Between January 1st, 2012 and December 31st 2012, Chicago Center handled 2,343,281 aircraft operations.[3] Chicago Center covers approximately 91,000 square miles of the Midwestern United States, including parts of Illinois, Indiana, Wisconsin, and Iowa. Chicago Center lies adjacent to 4 different Air Route Traffic Control Centers, including Minneapolis Air Route Traffic Control Center, Kansas City Air Route Traffic Control Center, Indianapolis Air Route Traffic Control Center, and Cleveland Air Route Traffic Control Center. ZAU overlies or abuts many approach control facilities (including, but not limited to, Chicago, Milwaukee, Madison, Cedar Rapids, Des Moines, the Quad Cities, Peoria, Springfield, Indianapolis, and Grand Rapids approaches). (Courtesy of Wikipedia)

See the CARMA Chicago Center Sites PDF file for frequency coverage

Sunday, August 24, 2014

Northern California Earthquake - South Napa 6.1

At around 3:20 A.M. this morning, the Northern California area was shaken by one of the largest earthquakes since the late 90s. The USGS told ABC News that dozens of aftershocks followed, with one reaching 3.6 magnitude. Many thousands of people are without gas and electric service, per the Pacific Gas and Electric Company.

Queen of the Valley Medical Center in Napa has been receiving dozens of injured people from this event, minor injuries are so far numbered at 70. No deaths have been reported, but we do know of 2 MAJOR injuries in which those victims are said to be in critical condition.

"I've been through a few of these and I've never seen anything like this, particularly in downtown Napa," Dodd said, according to ABC News Radio. "The county building is just in total disrepair, and they've moved it down to the sheriff's office -- so that's where the coordinating all the emergency services for the county."

The fault that generated this quake has been dormant of activity for 1.6 MILLION years. The Earthquake Track website is reporting that there have been multiple earthquakes from northern to southern California over the last few days.

See these screen shots below detailing activity for the last 48 hours previous to today's event:

ABC Television News has this video: 

Watch more news videos | Latest from the US


Published on August 24, 2014 @ 10:38:55 UTC
Northern California Seismic System (NCSS) operated by UC Berkeley and USGS
Version 0: This report supersedes any earlier probability reports about this event.

Magnitude: 5.96 Mw (A strong quake)
Time: 24 Aug 2014 03:20:44 AM, PDT
24 Aug 2014 10:20:44 UTC
Coordinates : 38 deg. 12.85 min. N, 122 deg. 19.15 min. W 38.2142 N, 122.3192 W
Depth: 6.7 miles ( 10.8 km)
Quality: Excellent
Location: 4 mi. ( 6 km) NW of American Canyon, CA
8 mi. ( 13 km) NNW of Vallejo, CA
Event ID: NC 72282711

STRONG AFTERSHOCKS (Magnitude 5 and larger) - At this time (immediately after the mainshock) the probability of a strong and possibly damaging aftershock IN THE NEXT 7 DAYS is approximately 54 PERCENT

EARTHQUAKES LARGER THAN THE MAINSHOCK - Most likely, the recent mainshock will be the largest in the sequence. However, there is a small chance (APPROXIMATELY 5 TO 10 PERCENT) of an earthquake equal to or larger than this mainshock in the next 7 days.

WEAK AFTERSHOCKS (Magnitude 3 to 5) - In addition, approximately 30 to 70 SMALL AFTERSHOCKS are expected in the same 7-DAY PERIOD and may be felt locally.

This probability report is based on the statistics of aftershocks typical for California. This is not an exact prediction, but only a rough guide to expected aftershock activity. This probability report may be revised as more information becomes available.

Background Information About Aftershocks

Like most earthquakes, the recent earthquake is expected to be followed by numerous aftershocks. Aftershocks are additional earthquakes that occur after the mainshock and in the same geographic area. Usually, aftershocks are smaller than the mainshock, but occasionally an aftershock may be strong enough to be felt widely throughout the area and may cause additional damage, particularly to structures already weakened in the mainshock. As a rule of thumb, aftershocks of magnitude 5 and larger are considered potentially damaging.

Aftershocks are most common immediately after the mainshock; their average number per day decreases rapidly as time passes. Aftershocks are most likely to be felt in the first few days after the mainshock, but may be felt weeks, months, or even years afterwards. In general, the larger the mainshock, the longer its aftershocks will be felt.

Aftershocks tend to occur near the mainshock, but the exact geographic pattern of the aftershocks varies from earthquake to earthquake and is not predictable. The larger the mainshock, the larger the area of aftershocks. While there is no "hard" cutoff distance beyond which an earthquake is totally incapable of triggering an aftershock, the vast majority of aftershocks are located close to the mainshock. As a rule of thumb, a magnitude 6 mainshock may have aftershocks up to 10 to 20 miles away, while a magnitude 7 mainshock may have aftershocks as far as 30 to 50 miles away.

Northern California Earthquake Summary

Location and Magnitude contributed by: Northern California Seismic System, UC Berkeley and USGS Menlo Park

Event Time

2014-08-24 10:20:44 UTC
2014-08-24 03:20:44 UTC-07:00 at epicenter
2014-08-24 05:20:44 UTC-05:00 system time


38.215°N 122.318°W depth=10.7km (6.6mi)
Nearby Cities

6km (4mi) NW of American Canyon, California
9km (6mi) SSW of Napa, California
13km (8mi) NNW of Vallejo, California
14km (9mi) SE of Sonoma, California
82km (51mi) WSW of Sacramento, California

The earthquake is located between two major, largely strike-slip fault systems. The Hayward-Rodgers Creek Fault system, which is approximately 7 km (4 miles) west of the site, generated damaging earthquakes in 1868 and probably in 1898. The Concord-Green Valley Fault system, which is 12 km (7 miles) east of the site, produced a M5.5 earthquake in 1954; while it has not generated a large historical event, there is strong evidence for recent pre-historic activity. The 1999 Working Group on California Earthquake Probabilities (WG99, 1999) concluded that the Hayward-Rodgers Creek Fault system has a 32 percent probability of generating a large earthquake (M6.7 to 7.4) by the year 2030, and the Concord-Green Valley Fault system has a 6 percent chance of generating a large earthquake (M≥6.7) in the same time period.

The earthquake occurred near the north shore of San Pablo Bay. The bayshore areas in the San Francisco Bay region are underlain by landfill and bay mud and have experienced disproportionately greater damage during historic earthquakes. Such damage is caused by soil failure in the fills and amplification of ground shaking by the soft bay mud.

Incoming On-Scene facts:

Credible news sources, and those on the scene in the northern California historic district are saying that historic buildings have sustained significant to major damage in this morning's earthquake.

Rail Service Infrastructure: 

The Amtrak Capitol Corridor service has been shut-down between Roseville and San Jose' due to track inspections and to keep Amtrak passengers and personnel safe.

Evacuation  centers: 

Napa High School gym

Grace Church

Communications Infrastructure:

Communications instructions: DO NOT USE LANDLINES! Emergency agencies are stating that those in the area affected by this event should use other means of communications.

Amateur Radio Service Activity: None heard on the Win System, and no reports of amateur radio playing any role in this event at this time.

This coverage will be updated as more information is verified. 

Friday, August 8, 2014

Chicago Police Unlawful Arrest - Video Recording

These two sworn members of the Chicago Police Department might very well find themselves in more legal trouble than they bargained for. There is video of this incident, but it starts out AFTER police come on-scene, and the context of this event is hard to establish. At the beginning of the video, we see a man talking calmly as he says "I been there for all my life", followed by a woman speaking calmly, professionally, and with great personal restraint with the on-scene police supervisor. The Supervisor appears to be a Captain.

The audio of the woman starts with "Cause you're in a tough area....I need to figure out a way to address this. Honesty..." Captain interrupts and says "I  understand what you're saying." The woman goes on to remark "we just can't keep, like right now, everybody's leaving and tomorrow's another day. Everybody's gonna come back here tomorrow and it's gonna be the same thing."

As the woman continues to speak, she says "so, we really, just address it so we can do whatever you want us to do." The Captain's response is "Right now, we're just trying to reduce crowds, reduce any potential for violence. So, these guys out here drinking and smoking weed, that's the potential for violence."

Woman: "Well, my thing defense to what you're saying, you'd need to check the call records as far as calls that you get where there has been calls where there's been violence or fighting or anything. Everybody up here is like a family, so, if we do see something that is out of line or out of place, people speak up, this is a like a community, so, I really do not understand, I feel like this is not justified. If there's kids drinking..." and she's interrupted by someone else at the scene saying something that can't be easily made out.

The man doing the video recording now turns the camera to a while car leaving the scene, and says "Alright man, got y'all, for the people, baby" and now a police squad drives by with a uniformed officer inside. The cameraman was already seen by dozens of officers who are quite aware that he's doing the video recording, and they say nothing to him, and the Captain says nothing the entire time.

The woman stats speaking after the squad passes by "where, like, you disperse us, and then everybody goes back, like when you have ten officers walking up and down this area...there's never been a problem with that. I feel like if you've got everybody in one area where they know, they see your presence, and and, you know, that's been going on. And there's nothing going on, you can be here, we don't mind you guys getting out the cars and walking up and down the blocks, and engaging and interacting with us. We don't mind that. We don;t want you to come here and say hey...everybody just leave, because we have nowhere else to go. This is our last place to go where we feel safe. We don't want to go anywhere else on somebody's block where now we're in a range where we can get shot. There's too much shooting going on. But, over here, this is out safety.

I've been doing massage, if you look at this chair, I've been doing massage here for Chicago Public Schools. I service 70 Chicago Public Schools, I service 2,000 teachers. So, hat chair, I wouldn't be here with my chair if I didn't feel like I was safe here, that I could turn my back an do a..."

At this time, a plainclothes female officer with dark black hair pulled back, wearing a grey t-shirt with a black bulletproof vest on top of it, and her name tag on her right on the front of the vest, get out of car# 6408 (car has no beat tag on top, a violation of Chicago Police Department policy), and she yanks the phone / camera out of the camera man's hands, cuffs him, and ask him if he had her permission to record her. The officer then starts speaking spanish in reference to his I.D. The video ends there.

The Legal Aspects of This Case  

In 2012, 300 arrests were thrown out in reference to Chicago public parks, trespassing, and closing hours, after that number of protesters were arrested for being present in a Chicago Public Park. The court held that the statute was unconstitutional on its face and as applied. This is explained by Attorney Jerry Boyle in this video: 

The City of Chicago is appealing this case, and the case is still in court. Cook County Circuit Judge Thomas M. Donnelly ruled that the city unfairly singled out protesters for violating an 11 p.m. curfew in Grant Park on October 2011, when police arrested hundreds of people. The judge said the curfew itself was a violation of the public's right to free assembly.

This piece of case law applies because we don't see the police rounding up anyone else, just these people, and for reasons that are unclear and overly vague. When it comes to time and place restrictions on gatherings, free speech, gathering and dissemination of information, and other protected activities, police have to give orders that are clear, and have a compelling governmental interest. Without such, the police order to disperse is unreasonable and therefore unconstitutional on its face and as applied.

Saying that there is a mere potential for x, y, or z, is not a factual finding of a reasonable person in any capacity, it's conjecture and speculation. THAT IS a factual finding of any reasonable person. The police seem to think that a person has to be an attorney to defend themselves or argue factual findings at circumstance, and factual findings at law. Illinois requires that the laws be such that a person of ordinary intelligence can read them, understand them, and make factual findings about what conduct is prohibited, when it's prohibited, and why it's prohibited.      

There are also these pieces of case law in regards to the Illinois Eavesdropping and Wiretapping acts, which also apply directly to this incident: 

People of the State of Illinois Vs. Malongo, which references the court case in which the Cook County State's Attorney got her rear end handed to her by the circuit court, appellate courts, and finally, State Attorney Alvarez's appeal was rejected by the U.S. Supreme Court in a clear statement made by way of the rejection itself.

The Supreme Court denied certiorari to Anita Alvarez v. ACLU of Illinois in its list of orders, allowing to stand a federal appeals court’s injunction against the law, which prohibits audio recording of any part or all of a conversation unless all parties agree to the recording. In 2010, the American Civil Liberties Union of Illinois challenged the legislation when applied to recording police officers conducting official duties, saying the First Amendment protects individuals’ right to openly record the officers.

In the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals decision in May, Judges Diane Sykes and David Hamilton stopped short of overturning the law entirely, but prohibited enforcing the law while it was sent it back to lower courts. Sykes wrote: “The Illinois eavesdropping statute restricts far more speech than necessary to protect legitimate privacy interests; as applied to the facts alleged here, it likely violates the First Amendment’s free speech and free-press guarantees.” Judge Richard Posner dissented. (While the appeal was pending, several news organizations filed a brief urging the 7th Circuit panel to block enforcement of the law.)

See U.S. Supreme Court denial of certiorari here on line 12-318 (PDF File)

Relevant portions of Malongo in the Illinois State Supreme Court:

¶ 20
The constitutionality of a statute is a question of law that we review de novo
People v. Madrigal
, 241 Ill. 2d 463, 466 (2011). We presume that a statute is constitutional and, thus, the party challenging its constitutionality bears a burden of clearly establishing that the statute violates the constitution.

People v. Kitch
, 239 Ill. 2d 452, 466 (2011). In addition, if it is reasonably possible to construe the challenged statute in a manner that preserves its constitutionality, we have a duty to do so.

People v. Hollins
, 2012 IL 112754, ¶ 13.
¶ 21 As an initial matter, we reject the State’s suggestion that the trial court’s ruling in the present case was based entirely on due process. The defendant’s motion raised a first amendment challenge. The trial court gave careful consideration and significant weight to the Seventh Circuit’s opinion in Alvarez, a first amendment case. Finally, in its written order, the trial court specifically described the statute as “vague” and noted that it subjects innocent conduct to prosecution; in effect, the court found the statute to be overbroad. While vagueness and overbreadth may be considered in a due process challenge, they are also properly applied in the first amendment context. See,
People v. Sharpe
, 216 Ill. 2d 481,
527 (2005) (if first amendment rights are not at stake in a vagueness challenge, “due process is satisfied if: (1) the statute’s prohibitions are sufficiently definite, when measured by common understanding and practices, to give a person of ordinary intelligence fair warning as to what conduct is prohibited, and (2) the statute provides sufficiently definite standards for law enforcement officers and triers of fact that its application does not depend merely on their private conceptions” (internal quotation marks omitted));

City of Chicago v. Pooh Bah Enterprises, Inc.
, 224 Ill. 2d 390, 442 (2006) (“[W]hen a law threatens to inhibit the exercise of constitutionally protected righ ts such as those protected under the first amendment, the Constitution demands that a more stringent vagueness test be applied. In such a scenario, a statute is void for vagueness if it reaches a substantial amount of constitutionally protected conduct.”).

Moving forward, there are also these gems from case law archives: 

People v. Ceja, 204 Ill. 2d 332, 349-50 (2003) (holding that consent under the eavesdropping statute may be express or implied; implied consent is consent in fact, inferred from the surrounding circumstances that indicate the individual knowingly agreed to the recording). Clark, 2014 IL 115776, 22. and United States v. Stevens, 559 U.S. 460, 473 (2010) (a statute may be invalidated as overbroad if a substantial number of its applications are unconstitutional when judged in relation to the statute’s legitimate sweep). 

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Chicago Amateur Radio Operator Openly Admits to Abusing Neighborhood Watch Position

Earlier today,  one of the more popular amateur radio operators in Chicago, Illinois, was heard conversing on the Chicago FM Club UHF amateur (ham radio) repeater system (443.750Mhz), when he openly stated that he routinely "hides and peeks around local street corners" then saying this: "I have a cell phone, ya know, and I call 911 for the neighborhood watch, we help the police and they appreciate it. We have a cellular phone network. We patrol and sneak around, we follow people around to see what they're doing, and then we call the police when they commit a crime."

The radio op is not being named to protect his safety.

1. Following people around creates BIG problems!! According to Illinois Law, said operator admitted to placing people under unlawful surveillance, hence, (720 ILCS 5/12-7.3) (from Ch. 38, par. 12-7.3)Sec. 12-7.3. Stalking. 

(a-3) A person commits stalking when he or she, knowingly and without lawful justification, on at least 2 separate occasions follows another person or places the person under surveillance or any combination thereof

2. When people do this, the police oftentimes find that the cases they worked so hard on end up getting dismissed due to the stupidity of their so-called "supporters".  This includes those 911 calls that result in arrests, all because the defense attorney finds out that some ill-informed and badly trained volunteer from "neighborhood watch" did something such as place people under unlawful surveillance by way of following the defendant around without proper training or proper authorization.

3. The CPD beat facilitators and Court Advocacy committee has repeatedly told these neighborhood watch types about taking things too far, about placing themselves at risk they don't need to take, and about the impact it has on various cases the police are actively working on. Too many times we walk into the court room just to find that the ASA, the arresting officer, and others involved in the case have had their time wasted in the court room because the defense attorney did his homework and found out that the neighborhood watch screwed everything up by acting outside of their simple task of only being a set of eyes and ears.

When we have to explain to the victim and their family that their offender is going free because neighborhood watch screwed up, we ALL look bad! Each time someone is arrested, the system goes into debt, because that 911 call costs money, the response costs money, the paperwork costs money, the paperwork processing costs money, locking up the defendant costs money, the court proceedings cost money for the work done by the ASA, the Judge, the Court Reporter, the Sheriff's Department personnel who man our courtrooms, and prisoner transport costs money.

The next issue is this: neighborhood watch calling 911 for misdemeanors that fall well below the priority level CPD is currently functioning at! STOP Calling 911 for STUPID things and start worrying about the bigger felony problems such as felony violence (things like shootings, attempted murder, armed robbery, felony gang crimes, felony narcotics offenses that involve a huge dealing operation or involve weapons, human trafficking, and those sorts of things)

Calling 911 because someone is black or hispanic, or a group of young people who are non-white but not doing anything more than simply existing is a HUGE problem with CPD neighborhood watch, and the operator being referred to has been guilty of making these sorts of calls.

The things that neighborhood watch calls in as "suspicious" are usually things that no one else in a reasonable frame of mind would even associate with suspicious activity. Examples of some of the sillier things that get called in by neighborhood watch: a black guy pulls out a pack of smokes and grabs one for his friend, hands it to him, and all of a sudden the watch folks think it's a "drug deal", then there's the car with a couple people sitting in it waiting for a friend to come out from their house so they can go grab a bite to eat together, and the parent at the park with their kid who has a facial disfigurement, or the gender non-conforming person whose only crime is being gender non-conforming and being out in public going from point - A to point - B. There's also the calls made about people the watch folks don't particularly like, so they make something up and call 911. How about the innocent diabetic community member who is only guilty of taking his/her insulin injection in public, but to the watch folks, they're a drug abuser until proven otherwise.

Oh, can't forget the calls made to 911 about a metally ill community resident who hasn't done anything wrong except to go out in public, but no, neighborhood watch can't have that, they have to call this innocent person in and make sure they hassle them simply for being mentally ill. GET A CLUE: The mentally ill are more likely to be a VICTIM than an offender!! 

Nice set of values at CPD neighborhood watch, huh?  
Court Advocacy has its own problems such as Court Advocates not paying attention to violent felony offenses, and opting to go to misdemeanor court instead to deal with petty quality of life crap. This problem is widespread through CPD, and someone at 35th street needs to start getting on top of this. Victims of violent crime, including the deceased who pass away from victimization, and their families are going without the support they need because Court Advocacy is too busy paying attention to less important things.

The bottom line is that you don't abuse your position of public trust, even if it IS a volunteer gig.You don't use it to judge people and discriminate, you don't use it to hassle people, you defintely don't use it to play "special agent" and follow people around with your cell phone at the ready to call 911 when you have no clue what you're looking at!!! LOOK, LISTEN, and THINK before you call in someone and cause them all sorts of unneeded trouble. Would be nice to see some of these over-the-top watch people get charged with false calls to 911 sometimes.