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Fire Tones & Scanners

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mikie333

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I tried searching but couldn't find anything specific enough.

I'm on a FD that uses minitor pagers. For those unfamiliar- when the tone 'hits' it sets off an alarm and opens the fq up.

Is there a way I could do that with a scanner? Have it set to the fq. but only 'open' when my department gets dispatched?

Thanks
 

Portable14

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Yes you can, You would need a scanner with "Fire tone-out" capabilities, Such as the uniden BCD396T (I also believe that some of the newer GRE models have this feature). on the 396T, you enter the frequency that the tone is sent over, and the frequency of the tone itself, The only bad thing about this feature on this scanner is that if you're using it, That's the only thing it will do, Meaning it can't do that and scan at the same time, Although I am not familiar with the GRE models, So I honestly can't tell you if they work the same way.
 

andy404ns

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Grog said:
You're old school yo' :D

lol that part of my response of course came with the disclaimer that you may "accidentally" damage your departments $400 pager. But considering what I've seen some chiefs do to, oh I don't know, THE TRUCKS, that probably won't be such a huge deal.

Actually I think looking at the tone reeds would be the easiest way to go. That's pretty sad huh?
 

Grog

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I'm just thinking that all the /\/\ since the Min II don't actually have reeds anymore, those darn computers make it too easy.


My station (back in the old days, 93-99) had a bunch of the shinwa checkmate IIIs (I think they were the III) and they were so easy to open up and play with, I sorta troubleshot the pagers before they were sent to the deal that really worked on them. I got bored and switched the tones around to see if anyone in or county used that set of tones, they didn't :lol:


Yes, I did put them back in there the right way before storing it, would not have been good to have a pager get sent and to see the reeds reversed :D
 

ScanTheFreqs

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Portable14 said:
(I also believe that some of the newer GRE models have this feature).
nope, unfortunately they dont, just the 396t
 

bravo14

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The only scanners does FTO is 396 and 996. If you have a recording software, a tone counter , scanner, computer and a cable that has both males ends like the head phone jack plug you can get that a radio shack. If you can record the tones and save them as a wav file and send them to me I can figure out the tones.
 
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GTR8000

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And now for the reality check:

The few scanners that have this feature cost over $500. The Fire Tone Out feature is extremely limiting in that the scanner must remain on the dispatch channel, and cannot be in scan mode if you want to use this feature.

If you're going to upgrade or buy new, and you want/need all the latest technology like digital trunking and P25, then picking up one of the models that has Fire Tone Out is fine. However, if you're going to buy one of these scanners just for the Fire Tone Out feature, and you don't want/need all the other bells and whistles...save your money.

In no way, shape or form is it worth spending $500 on a "scanner" with the Fire Tone Out feature that won't even actually scan when the feature is activated. Especially if you're looking to use it as a replacement for or to supplement a fire pager, and the frequency/tones have a very low likelihood of changing anytime soon. It's also not recommended practice to use a scanner as a replacement for a pager if you're going to depend on it for actual alerts you will be responding to.

The bottom line is that you can pick up a used pager for half the price or less, depending on the model. I've seen plenty used Minitors on eBay for less than $200. A nice amplified desktop charger with external antenna, and you'll have a better setup with better receive sensitivity than a $500 scanner could ever give you.


(And a technical clarification: Minitor II's used active tone filters, not reeds. Most Minitor I's used tone reeds, although there were later models produced that used active filters also.)
 

andy404ns

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Grog said:
I'm just thinking that all the /\/\ since the Min II don't actually have reeds anymore, those darn computers make it too easy.


My station (back in the old days, 93-99) had a bunch of the shinwa checkmate IIIs (I think they were the III) and they were so easy to open up and play with, I sorta troubleshot the pagers before they were sent to the deal that really worked on them. I got bored and switched the tones around to see if anyone in or county used that set of tones, they didn't :lol:


Yes, I did put them back in there the right way before storing it, would not have been good to have a pager get sent and to see the reeds reversed :D
I love how I'm just way to impatient to send any scanner/pager back to the company for a repair. I always pop them open and try to fix them first. On the plus side, I usually can fix the problem. On the other side, I can rarely get them back together in less than 4 or 5 hours because some dumb small piece will fall out along the way or the casing won't fit properly. But at least I have a hobby right?
 

bwhite

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Just a diff slant,
If I had one of these scanners, which I don't, I'd use it for regular scanning by day and FTO during sleep (if I didn't have a pager).
 

UFEMTFF

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res6cue_dot_com said:
And now for the reality check:

The few scanners that have this feature cost over $500. The Fire Tone Out feature is extremely limiting in that the scanner must remain on the dispatch channel, and cannot be in scan mode if you want to use this feature.

If you're going to upgrade or buy new, and you want/need all the latest technology like digital trunking and P25, then picking up one of the models that has Fire Tone Out is fine. However, if you're going to buy one of these scanners just for the Fire Tone Out feature, and you don't want/need all the other bells and whistles...save your money.

In no way, shape or form is it worth spending $500 on a "scanner" with the Fire Tone Out feature that won't even actually scan when the feature is activated. Especially if you're looking to use it as a replacement for or to supplement a fire pager, and the frequency/tones have a very low likelihood of changing anytime soon. It's also not recommended practice to use a scanner as a replacement for a pager if you're going to depend on it for actual alerts you will be responding to.

The bottom line is that you can pick up a used pager for half the price or less, depending on the model. I've seen plenty used Minitors on eBay for less than $200. A nice amplified desktop charger with external antenna, and you'll have a better setup with better receive sensitivity than a $500 scanner could ever give you.


(And a technical clarification: Minitor II's used active tone filters, not reeds. Most Minitor I's used tone reeds, although there were later models produced that used active filters also.)
I'm sorry, but some of what you said was incorrect.

The BCT-15 and 330T both support FTO and are not $500 scanners. A BCT15 can be had for < $250. Also, it should be mentioned that a scanner FTO can alert for multiple stations while in "pager" mode. So, if you're someone who has 5 different pagers set up at home, then, one of these might be a good option for you.

Obvioulsy, if pager is your main form of notification of emergencies, I wouldn't trust my life with a scanner. Just my $.02.
 

bravo14

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UFEMTFF said:
I'm sorry, but some of what you said was incorrect.

The BCT-15 and 330T both support FTO and are not $500 scanners. A BCT15 can be had for < $250. Also, it should be mentioned that a scanner FTO can alert for multiple stations while in "pager" mode. So, if you're someone who has 5 different pagers set up at home, then, one of these might be a good option for you.

Obvioulsy, if pager is your main form of notification of emergencies, I wouldn't trust my life with a scanner. Just my $.02.
I forgot about the bct15 & 330T does FTO. I like the 10 scanning FTO since a fire pager does 1 or 2. And the scanner you can program the Tones A&B if you visit another city if someone has the tones listed if not then you would be out of luck.
 

GTR8000

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bravo14 said:
I like the 10 scanning FTO since a fire pager does 1 or 2.
Minitor III/IV does 4 two-tone and 2 group call on each channel. Minitor V does 8 two-tone and 4 group call on each channel. You could even setup a V with F1 and F2 set to the same frequency, with the pager in Silent Scan mode, which would effectively double the amount of alerts to 16 two-tone and 8 group call.
 

UFEMTFF

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res6cue_dot_com said:
Minitor III/IV does 4 two-tone and 2 group call on each channel. Minitor V does 8 two-tone and 4 group call on each channel. You could even setup a V with F1 and F2 set to the same frequency, with the pager in Silent Scan mode, which would effectively double the amount of alerts to 16 two-tone and 8 group call.
But, to program anything above a Minitor II, you would need the cradle, cable and software (and knowledge) or a tech or the department to do it for you.

For me, a ~$250 scanner that I can program myself with software included isn't a bad deal.
 

Grog

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UFEMTFF said:
Obvioulsy, if pager is your main form of notification of emergencies, I wouldn't trust my life with a scanner. Just my $.02.


Actually, you're not trusting your life with a scanner, you are trusting your ability to hear a call. If you're not issued a pager/page capable radio, well they really can't blame you for not showing up, can they? :p


When I first started my old department, we didn't have a pager or radio for me so I just locked a scanner on dispatch channel. After awhile I could pick out my stations calls while sleeping through the others :D
 

SlGlNT

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I used ComTekk 2-Tone Decoder to determine the tones in my community. I just downloaded the software and had dispatch test my depts pagers. There are a number of places you can get this software. Just google "ComTekk".
 
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