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Racecontrol channels / flagger chatter


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Hi,

 

I'd like to purchase a second radio and/or program the radios we have now to monitor the race control traffic at races. I vaguely remember seeing the channel frequency noted before but can't find it again (maybe in old SUPPS). I've been to races where I notice other teams monitoring this traffic.

 

  1. Is this channel the same for all races or does it vary?
  2. Do any of the races broadcast this onto an AM channel?
  3. Any other info is appreciated!

 

Thanks // mp

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You can't.
But I am working on the process of transmitting all ChampCar radio chatter to our ChampCar radio webpage where you can listen via a computer or cell phone. Free.

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1 hour ago, Bill Strong said:

You can't.
But I am working on the process of transmitting all ChampCar radio chatter to our ChampCar radio webpage where you can listen via a computer or cell phone. Free.

 

Thanks. I understand not wanting to share the channel to prevent dumb-dumbs from adding to the chatter. But it would be helpful also to reduce load on the Champcar volunteers when teams ask "what is going on?" when yellow flags come about. 

 

I look forward to what you have proposed. Is there a target date this could be available?

 

br//mp

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In the past, Champcar/ChampCar provided the radio frequencies. I thought I recall that when the series communications sponsorship changed about 2-3 years back, the new system does not provide the same ease of access. Is that true @Bill Strong

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Target date? None. But the infrastructure is now setup.  It's just a matter of plugging in a CCES pitlane radio to the computer and hit send. 
Right now the station wont work, because I have nothing going to it. But it works good. Just bring a helper with earbuds to monitor the station, either on computer, or from a phone.  Once Dana gives the go-ahead, I'll post the QR code to the race supps. You will only be able to monitor CCES Channel 1. Black Flag, Pitlane, and general race stuff is on that channel. Private comms are not. Most races the pace car is done via cell, so no one can monitor that.  And if we make fun of you, don't take it personally. 


https://champcar.org/web/radio.php

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I understand ChampCar not wanting people to program a radio to listen (although you can do it as listen only) but I am curious as to why a simple scanner would not work?

Digital isn't an issue to a newer scanner. Do you guys do go through the trouble of having encryption? Also not a problem with the right equipment and key but I would find it strange and un-necessary.

 

Really just curious due to the outright dismissive "You can't" response

 

 

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3 hours ago, Bill Strong said:

Target date? None. But the infrastructure is now setup.  It's just a matter of plugging in a CCES pitlane radio to the computer and hit send. 
Right now the station wont work, because I have nothing going to it. But it works good. Just bring a helper with earbuds to monitor the station, either on computer, or from a phone.  Once Dana gives the go-ahead, I'll post the QR code to the race supps. You will only be able to monitor CCES Channel 1. Black Flag, Pitlane, and general race stuff is on that channel. Private comms are not. Most races the pace car is done via cell, so no one can monitor that.  And if we make fun of you, don't take it personally. 


https://champcar.org/web/radio.php

Can you transcribe that so I can just read a text stream.  You are not doing anything during the race anyway.  HA!

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All I know is that you can't. encryption has been mentioned a few times. as to the channel numbers. No clue. 

You want to see a race director go nuts? get on his or her channel. We had that happen last year. Luckily Ballenger was their with their handy dandy radio finder to find the team and have them change channels. 

 

Have you seen my type? You don't want me transcribing anything. There would be a lot of f*cks and s*its and all sorts of other bad words, and that's just from me trying to type fast. and hey, babysitting doc is a fulltime job.

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2 hours ago, Bill Strong said:

Have you seen my type? You don't want me transcribing anything. There would be a lot of f*cks and s*its and all sorts of other bad words, and that's just from me trying to type fast. and hey, babysitting doc is a fulltime job.

This is true folks. Not that he would remember to turn it on, anyway. Ask @Paulie who really needs babysitting....

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On 2/15/2021 at 3:45 PM, Throoster said:

I understand ChampCar not wanting people to program a radio to listen (although you can do it as listen only) but I am curious as to why a simple scanner would not work?

Digital isn't an issue to a newer scanner. Do you guys do go through the trouble of having encryption? Also not a problem with the right equipment and key but I would find it strange and un-necessary.

 

Really just curious due to the outright dismissive "You can't" response

 

 

 

It's not that we don't want you too, it's that when we got setup with the new radios they were coded for us. We don't even have the ability to look at how to tell you to scan it. Plus, keep in mind, you're only listening to us talking to ChampCar staff on pit-lane. The communication to the corner workers if handled differently at each track, sometimes the tracks use their own radio system, sometimes they hire a contractor with radios, some tracks have a closed circuit system, each one is different and we have no ability to affect that.

 

If you can figure out how to scan us on pit lane, enjoy! If Bill's idea works out, then that's great too. But it's still just pit-lane.

 

Dana

 

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3 hours ago, DuncanDana said:

 

It's not that we don't want you too, it's that when we got setup with the new radios they were coded for us. We don't even have the ability to look at how to tell you to scan it. Plus, keep in mind, you're only listening to us talking to ChampCar staff on pit-lane. The communication toDa the corner workers if handled differently at each track, sometimes the tracks use their own radio system, sometimes they hire a contractor with radios, some tracks have a closed circuit system, each one is different and we have no ability to affect that.

 

If you can figure out how to scan us on pit lane, enjoy! If Bill's idea works out, then that's great too. But it's still just pit-lane.

 

Dana

 

Dana,

Thanks for the reply. I think now there is a little bit of confusion/miscommunication going on. From everything it sounds like the new radio system is some sort of digital and not encrypted. Easy to scan with newer scanner, if the frequency is known, but I do not think we would need to listen to Champcar's radio communications.

 

And I think you are right, most people do not want to listen to Champcar workers on pitlane. However, I was not aware that Champcar didn't do the corners,  which I think is what most people would want to listen to. This is where track condidtions are communicated. People want to hear ASAP where and  when there is an incident so they can pass that on to their driver. I think this is the infomation that the original poster, MichaelPal was looking for. When I used to listen, it was the corner to corner communication that I found most interesing. Most likely these are going to be the SCCA flagger channel for that area. The common ones are 151.505. 151.625, 151.700, 151.760, 158.400, and 154.5275, plus a buch more that I don't have in front of me right now. I have been to tracks that use a party telephone type system. In that case it gets a lot more difficult unless they simulcast.

 

Slightly off topic but since we are here. Can you tell me who makes the decisions on track flag condition? I am assuming the head corner marshal or even an individal corner workers can call a red flag if necessary, but otherwise it would be an isolated to waving/standing yellows unless the event director called for a full course, right? Same with black flag decisions, head marshal communicates with event director and then lets corner workers know. Now, I MAY be interested in listeing to the radio link between the head marshal and event director if there was one, but I would venture to guess they do not use a radio.  Again no need to listen to Champcar as the flagger commincations would cover it all. 

 

It might help to publish all of the frequencies in use for a specific event in the supps so everybody knows to stay away from those channels. I would suggest it is easier to do this than to rely on Ballenger to be there with their handy dandy radio finder to find the team and have them change channels. Make it a penalty. If they don't listen and interfere with your communications and Ballenger has to track them down, then you get X number of laps.

 

Again thanks for responding, I for one greatly appreciate you taking the time to answer. 

 

Chris

 

 

 

 

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19 hours ago, Throoster said:

 

 

Slightly off topic but since we are here. Can you tell me who makes the decisions on track flag condition? I am assuming the head corner marshal or even an individal corner workers can call a red flag if necessary, but otherwise it would be an isolated to waving/standing yellows unless the event director called for a full course, right? Same with black flag decisions, head marshal communicates with event director and then lets corner workers know. Now, I MAY be interested in listeing to the radio link between the head marshal and event director if there was one, but I would venture to guess they do not use a radio.  Again no need to listen to Champcar as the flagger commincations would cover it all. 

 

This person is generally referred to as "control" and is supplied by the track along with the flaggers.

A flagger will not go red flag without being instructed to by control.

A flagger can and does go yellow before/simultaneously with calling control to explain the situation

 

Usually Control and the Champcar Event Director are seated next to each other in the timing/scoring building, and thus have no radio communications link.

 

 

19 hours ago, Throoster said:

It might help to publish all of the frequencies in use for a specific event in the supps so everybody knows to stay away from those channels. I would suggest it is easier to do this than to rely on Ballenger to be there with their handy dandy radio finder to find the team and have them change channels. Make it a penalty. If they don't listen and interfere with your communications and Ballenger has to track them down, then you get X number of laps.

 

Again thanks for responding, I for one greatly appreciate you taking the time to answer. 

 

Chris

 

Champcar does not know the frequencies used by the track at each event, particularly not in advance enough to include them in the supps.   They might in fact change during the course of the race, or maybe there will be no frequencies if the track is hard-wired for flagger coms.

 

In practice the event of radio channel overlap is pretty rare.  With digital radios its even less common.  No need to make it a big deal, certainly no teams are doing this maliciously.  

 

I'd say some teams dont even know their own frequencies.  I got my radios via an industrial surplus, and they have 3 channels, of which I dont know any of the frequencies.  If we try channel 1 and hear other teams, we just use channel 2.  NBD.

 

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2 hours ago, Chris Huggins said:

 

This person is generally referred to as "control" and is supplied by the track along with the flaggers.

A flagger will not go red flag without being instructed to by control.

A flagger can and does go yellow before/simultaneously with calling control to explain the situation

 

Usually Control and the Champcar Event Director are seated next to each other in the timing/scoring building, and thus have no radio communications link.

 

 

 

Champcar does not know the frequencies used by the track at each event, particularly not in advance enough to include them in the supps.   They might in fact change during the course of the race, or maybe there will be no frequencies if the track is hard-wired for flagger coms.

 

In practice the event of radio channel overlap is pretty rare.  With digital radios its even less common.  No need to make it a big deal, certainly no teams are doing this maliciously.  

 

I'd say some teams dont even know their own frequencies.  I got my radios via an industrial surplus, and they have 3 channels, of which I dont know any of the frequencies.  If we try channel 1 and hear other teams, we just use channel 2.  NBD.

 

As a bit of background, I was "control" (official title was Director of Event Operations) for a time trial club in the northeast for a long time, but it was many years ago. Also did some SCCA and Skip Barber stuff a long time ago. I know intimately how the corner marshal system works. Depending on the track we either supplied the corner marshals and communications, just the marshals or none of it. Most events I was both Control and Event Director. Some tracks had radios and some had hard wired systems. So I have some experience in the matter. Have never worked a corner or pit for Champcar so I was not sure how we work here. I was asking more to satisfy my curiosity.

 

As the Control/Director of Event Ops I always allowed my marshals to call a red flag if appropriate. I trusted them and would rather err on the side of caution as seconds can save lives. If it was a mistake so be it, what is lost, some track time? I will take that exchange.

 

I am pretty sure we always knew the tracks radio frequencies, as they did not want us to interfere with them. I definitely knew what we were operating on. A FCC license is required for most of the frequencies we use, except for the CB/FRS/MURS bands, so everyone should know what frequency they use. This includes the popular business band radios. If not you are subject to penalty. Just because it has not happened in the past does not mean it will not happen in the future. If one of us interferes with a critical infastucture commincation once the whole game may change. 

 

I would almost guarantee that every track knows at least a frequency range that the contract workers use and it is available when the contract is signed, again I have some experience here.  What is the harm of asking for this information and publishing it?

 

We have gotten really off topic here. The original poster was asking how to listen to race control to corner worker communication. In the end the answer is it depends on the track. If Champcar does not know or publish this information, it is probably easy to find by a Google search based off the specific track. I would also venture to guess that we could develop a database of frequencies used based off past experience. I used to have a bunch of this information but lost interest as I already listen to to a radio/scanner too much at work and need a break. 

 

 A dismissive "you can't" does not help answer the question.

 

Chris

 

 

 

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19 hours ago, Throoster said:

I would almost guarantee that every track knows at least a frequency range that the contract workers use and it is available when the contract is signed, again I have some experience here.  What is the harm of asking for this information and publishing it?

Nobody is stopping you from asking the tracks for it. Knock yourself out. It seems to me that the track is the one who makes that decision.

I personally think the answer "you can't" should have just been "no". The safety of everybody out there on the track supersedes your ability to have access to the corner workers' radio frequencies so you can listen in to chatter. 

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7 hours ago, Snorman said:

Nobody is stopping you from asking the tracks for it. Knock yourself out. It seems to me that the track is the one who makes that decision.

I personally think the answer "you can't" should have just been "no". The safety of everybody out there on the track supersedes your ability to have access to the corner workers' radio frequencies so you can listen in to chatter. 

From experience the tracks probably do not want a bunch of people calling and asking for the same information again and again, day after day. Think about the person answering your work phones, do they want to repeat some inane info four or five times a day, especially if that info is readily available for dissemination? I will almost guarantee that the track knows who is providing the marshals before the contract is signed. It is not a surprise to anyone, and given the expense of the equipment I doubt they do not know how someone can listen in. We are not the first club to ask this info. The track and the marshal contractor has no interest in shielding this infomation. 

 

As far as "The safety of everybody out there on the track supersedes your ability to have access to the corner workers' radio frequencies so you can listen in to chatter. " If you are following the law and have an FCC listen then everything is public record and available anyway. Just harder to find. If Champcar, or thier duly appointed sub contractor, does not have an FCC license....that is something I would want to know and question why. I have been too busy to look. As dues paying members we should already know this info as we are paying the infastructure to make it work.

 

 I would also say that the ability to listen, learn about potentially deadly situaitions ahead and pass that information along  supersedes any argument you may have. How would this endanger the safety of everybody out there on the track?

 

"I personally think the answer "you can't" should have just been "no"." Seriously? You are suggesting that the answer should have been a straight up no?  I beleive that  commincation over the public airways are public. Where I live, very few radio communation is encrypted. I know of no non public safety commincation that is.   Nevermind that, in the interest of appearing impartial I would give everyone access. Within the last year membership has accused Champcar of bias toward certian teams. Imagine tellling those members that they can not listen to track communicatiion. Even if no one mentions those previleged teams, the appereance should be otherwise.  If I was really interested I would question why i was told I can not listen to those communication.

 

I should be even more upset if I was told a simple "no" as you suggest. 

 

 

 

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2 hours ago, Throoster said:

Even if no one mentions those previleged teams


I want to be one of these privileged teams!  Where do I pay the membership to that club? Anybody got a list?  Maybe I can go drive for one of them sometime. 

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12 minutes ago, Burningham said:


I want to be one of these privileged teams!  Where do I pay the membership to that club? Anybody got a list?  Maybe I can go drive for one of them sometime. 

Those are the privileged teams where the track-employed corner workers conspire with Champcar (Tech? Leadership? Event Director?) to give those teams free passes on PUY and on-track shenanigans. 😆 We need to hear what the corner workers are saying because they might be giving preferential treatment to certain teams. At least that's the logic as I understand it. 

 

giphy.gif

 

 

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11 hours ago, Throoster said:

As far as "The safety of everybody out there on the track supersedes your ability to have access to the corner workers' radio frequencies so you can listen in to chatter. " If you are following the law and have an FCC listen then everything is public record and available anyway. Just harder to find. If Champcar, or thier duly appointed sub contractor, does not have an FCC license....that is something I would want to know and question why. I have been too busy to look. As dues paying members we should already know this info as we are paying the infastructure to make it work.

 

 

"ChampCar" is using Racing Radios license.

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Thank you Bill, 

 

That is helpful infomation, and now it makes sense as to why you didn't know the frequencies. 

 

Knowing this, if one was so inclined they could go the the FCC licensing page and search for Racing Radios. There it will list all the frequencies licensed to them. Guesing they probably have about 25 or so. Might take some time to sort out which frequency and it may change, but the info is out there if one was so inclined.

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