Bill's Nova Scotia Radio Site
This page describes or depicts a service or system that is no longer in use and is posted here for historical interest only.
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 fuctional 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.
RCMP (H Division) VHF NETWORK
Last updated August 3, 2016
This system was a lodger component of the NS Integrated Mobile Radio System, which was replaced by the 800 MHz NS Trunked Mobile Radio System and subsequently the 2nd phase 700 MHz P25 system. This system is denoted as a lodger system in that most of its repeaters were collocated with the provincial government grid repeaters on their towers but they were not under the control of the province nor were they linked in the same way. The provincial grids had linking that was user-operated so that a user in Yarmouth could dial up the repeater at the other end of the province without using an operator. In the RCMP system a user wishing to communicate outside his own area had to call the communications centre (dispatch centre) for the local region and request a patch to the distant repeater. 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 actually 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:
IN THE 70'S AND 80'S: I arrived in Nova Scotia in the mid-70's and obtained my first programmable scanner (a PRO-30) in the early 80's. 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.
In the 80's there were only 7 repeater channels and two simplex (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. I recall many instances of mobiles from elsewhere in province accessing the local repeater, and as well occasions where skip (DX) from outside the region did the same thing.
IN THE 90'S
During the 90's the channels were essentially doubled by the addition of two input CTCSS tones (123.0 and 151.4 Hz). 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 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 (???961), Truro (XJE82) and a fourth centre in Sydney. 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, 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. It is possible that one or more of the closed centres may still exist for backup. 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, a unit wishing to contact the dispatch centre (telecoms centre) would send a 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 fairly close 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.