SCOTIA RCMP (H Division) VHF NETWORK
Last updated Oct 2, 2021
This page describes or depicts a service or system that is no longer in use and is posted here for historical interest only. There are no issues of confidentiality.
This VHF system evolved over time and what is listed and described here is thought to be its structure when it was replaced by the Nova Scotia Trunked Mobile Radio System in and around 2000. A few of the repeaters listed here did remain in place and functional for up to several years after their termination for operational use. Whether this was intentional with the view of perhaps desiring to maintain a backup system, or simply a decision to not go to the trouble and expense of removing them is a moot point. It is known that some repeaters were used for a few years sporadically by Citizens on Patrol, and in particular the Dartmouth East repeater was functional until at least 2014, but it is thought that in 2016 none of these repeaters are now functional.
This VHF system operated in the 1970ís (or perhaps earlier) through to 2000 when the RCMP migrated to the TMR system. It was in a constant state of increasing numbers of repeaters and heightened sophistication. The chart below shows the system at the very end of its existence, and due to the fact that lists were never released to the public, there may be errors or omissions. In the middle 1970ís there were only 7 repeater channels and many fewer sites. Tones either did not exist or there was perhaps only one tone used. I do recall commonly hearing cars on high ground at considerable distance accessing the repeater in Lower Sackville, when the intent was to be speaking through a repeater on the same channel in the Annapolis Valley. I also seem to recall hearing interference from the USA in times of heightened propagation, which does indicate that in those earlier days there was no CTCSS tone protection.
The RCMP network was not actually part of NSIMRS but was a lodger component of that system. By that I mean that it was not under the supervision of Shubie Radio, nor did Shubie have direct access to it, but many of the repeaters were on NSIMRS towers, and it was possible for Shubie and the RCMP dispatch centres to link the RCMP network repeaters with NSIMRS repeaters.
Unlike the NSIMRS system in which a user could dial-up a distant repeater, an RCMP user would request his or her dispatch centre to set up a link through to the distant area. The 10-code nomenclature was 10-61 to request a link, and 10-63 to end the link. This was done even between adjacent repeaters where it was possible that the user could instead switch his radio over to the not-too-distant repeater and communicate directly. This practice was discouraged as it would mean that the member was not on the channel for his own area, whereas with a patch he was still on his own area repeater as well as on the distant one.
Frequencies and channel numbers reflect the situation just prior to the force moving to the NSTMRS 800 MHz trunk system. This is the set of frequencies in use throughout the 80's and 90's. Prior to that time there were only 9 frequencies (7 repeater and 2 simplex).
IN THE 70'S AND 80'S: I arrived in Nova Scotia in the mid-70's. At that time I did not have a programmable scanner, and therefore did not actually know the frequencies of the traffic I heard. My understanding of the system when I arrived is minimal but I did observe something called "the trunk". This seemed to be a frequency, around 155 MHz, which carried the traffic from distant repeaters to the telecoms operators in Halifax. If any reader has more information on this system please share your knowledge. Once I had obtained the programmable scanner with its exact frequency readout, this "trunk" had apparently disappeared. Presumably it had been replaced by a microwave link system.
In the 80's there were only 7 repeater channels and two simplex frequencies (155.67 and 155.46). The 7 repeater frequencies were as shown below as channels 1 to 7 except that channel 5 was 155.405 and Channel 6 was 155.39 [which do not conform to the North American VHF band plan as they are both offset from the legitimate frequency of 155.40] however in the 80's Channels 5 and 6 changed to those shown. In these earlier years it might be that there were no CTCSS tones, with all repeaters being CSQ.
IN THE 90'S
During the 90's thechannels were essentially doubled by the addition of a second input CTCSS tone. It is thought that the already-existing one was 123.0 Hz, and the new one 151.4 Hz, but it is possible that there were no tones at all before this, and therefore both would be new. In any event, most of the existing channels were divided into two.
∑ This was done for Channels 1, 3, 4, 5, and 6, with the 123.0 toned channel retaining the previous number and the 151.4 channel receiving a number 10 higher. For example the old Channel 1 on 155.70 MHz was divided into Channel 1 with a tone of 123.0, and Channel 11, with a tone of 151.4.
∑ For an unknown reason, Channel 2 on 155.73 MHz was not divided and used only the 123.0 Hz tone.
∑ Channel 7 on 155.97 was divided as the others, but its 151.4 variety became Channel 12, not Channel 17.
∑ In addition, a Channel 10 was introduced on 148.945 MHz, a frequency far removed from the basic 155 MHz series. I am conjecturing that the radios in use at the time had a 16 channel capacity. Channel 10 was used in Sackville, replacing 155.88 that had previously been in use there, and as well it was used at Granite Village, to serve the Queens/Shelburne border area.
At one time there were four dispatch centres or telecommunications centres for the NS RCMP (often referred to as "telecoms"), each with its own call sign. These were Halifax (XJE416), Yarmouth (XJD961), Truro (XJE82) and Sydney (XJE30) Since the 1980's these dwindled away, first when the establishment of the Cape Breton Regional Police took away RCMP service in that area, then the Yarmouth centre was closed in 2005, and finally when the Halifax Regional Municipality began to be dispatched by the Halifax Regional Police, all provincial RCMP dispatch was consolidated in Truro. With the arrival of the trunk system in 2000 the old XJE82 call sign in Truro was replaced by VFX355. Telecoms generally identified themselves by the numerical part of the call sign only. I have never heard a local detachment office use its official call sign. In most cases each detachment had its own frequency under supervision of its telecoms centre, and this continues with the trunk system, except that in some cases several offices are now on one talk group instead of one frequency.
On the VHF system, the telecoms operator did not continuously monitor the local channels. A unit wishing to contact the dispatch centre (telecoms centre) would send an RTT (Request to talk) tone that would alert the dispatcher which repeater was involved. The dispatcher would reply by naming the repeater, rather than the particular unit or the detachment in the area. For example, if a Chester car called for the dispatcher, the dispatcher replied by saying something like "Sherwood - 416", as Sherwood was the location of the repeater for the Chester and Lunenburg area. There were no data bursts identifying the calling unit to the dispatcher. As far as everyday operations were concerned, the detachments communicated locally on the local repeater and were not allowed to switch over to a nearby repeater without permission. Members received assignments (complaints) on occasion from the local detachment office but more often from the telecoms centre. This was because when people call for help (emergency or otherwise) their call more than likely was routed to the telecoms centre, rather than the local offices, which are often unmanned. Each case or incident is called a "complaint". In the RCMP system at the time, the dispatcher sending out a complaint to a detachment with multiple cars would not actually assign the task, but rather announce it and then one or more of the local members would accept it, as opposed to the urban police practice of specifically directing an assignment to a particular member or unit. This difference accounts for the fact that the civilian members at the telecoms centre were never actually referred to as dispatchers, but rather as operators.
For those interested in the distribution or frequency coordination aspect of the system, it does seem odd that Kejimkujik and NRC which are relatively close together would be on the same frequency, just a different tone. Also, regarding frequencies, it may be interesting to note that several of these output frequencies, including some identical pairs, were and are used in New Brunswick. In fact, some pairs were used at one time virtually across Canada, for example Channels 1, 2 and 8.
Information on the following chart comes from a wide variety of contributors over the past decades, and unfortunately I no longer remember who contributed what, but it should be substantially correct, if perhaps to some extent incomplete.
RCMP Simplex ("Local') 155.67
RCMP Drug/GIS Simplex ("Clear") 155.46 (Channel 9)
|IMRS Site #||Rptr Site||Area Served||Channel
|Frequency (out)||Input frequency||CTCSS Tone||Offset|
|Wilkins Lk *||E. Shelburne||1||155.70||154.95||123||-0.75|
|2||East Kemptville||Yarmouth County||12||155.97||155.37||151.4||-0.60|
|3||North Range Corner||Digby County||15||155.40||154.74||151.4||-0.66|
|Granite Village||West Queens||10||148.945||148.135||123||-0.81|
|9||Willow Hill||West Hants||16||155.805||154.515||151.4||-1.29|
|Dartmouth East NSP||Cole Harbour||5||155.40||154.74||123||-0.66|
|11||Jerusalem Hill||Musquodoboit Hbr||12||155.97||155.37||151.4||-0.60|
|Dean (area)||Upper Musquodoboit||14||155.64||155.07||151.4||-0.57|
|Ecum Secum||Ecum Secum||6||155.805||154.415||123||-1.29|
|15||Nuttby Mtn||Colchester County||1||155.70||154.95||123||-0.75|
|16||McLellan's Mtn||New Glasgow||14||155.64||155.07||151.4||-0.57|
|Pleasant Hill||Port Hawkesbury||1||155.70||154.95||123||-0.75|
|21||Rear Boisdale||This IMRS location thought to be not used by RCMP, which instead used its own site at Lingan Road.|
|22||Kiltarlity Mtn||Inverness County||16||155.805||154.515||151.4||-1.29|
|24||Money Point||Cape North||1||155.70||154.95||123||-0.75|
** Note that the existence,
location and tone of Wilkins Lake is unconfirmed and tentative
*** This repeater pair later was used at Halifax A/P for security services (not specifically RCMP)
^ The Halifax repeater on 159.90 MHz was rarely heard, except that it was used extensively in 1981 when the Halifax City Police force was on strike and the RCMP temporarily took over policing on a stop-gap basis.
Note also that, in the absence
of a separate article on the Halifax Police, that in the early 1970's they
operated on standard 150 MHz VHF, then migrated to 140 MHZ frequencies which
were less likely to be heard on scanners, then that was replaced by the 800 MHz
Halifax City Motorola Type I trunk, then to the provincial 800 MHz Motorola Type
II trunk in 2000 or shortly thereafter. It was not until the advent of the
provincial 700 MHz P25 trunk system in 2015 that HRP became fully encrypted.