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Morse Code on Police Frequencies

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KeithBogut

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#1
I'm new to scanning and confused as to why I periodically hear morse code signals over police frequencies. I thought it might be Ham operators, but that doesn't seem likely. Can anyone explain?
 

bob550

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#4
Is your scanner an older model? Typically, since most scanners produced within the past decade or more have CTCSS encoded squelch, these id's are usually not heard. For example, I will hear these id's on my 25 year old RadioShack PRO-2006, but not my newer RadioShack PRO-163 or Uniden BCD996xt.
 

KeithBogut

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#5
My scanner is a brand new Uniden BC125AT, but it runs on 2012 software, version 1.04.02. The manual doesn't say anything about upgrading it. I don't really understand CTCSS codes. My understanding was that if I didn't program them into my scanner, I'd receive all transmissions on that frequency. I don't hear the morse code on all frequencies, just a couple.
 
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#6
Is your scanner an older model? Typically, since most scanners produced within the past decade or more have CTCSS encoded squelch, these id's are usually not heard. For example, I will hear these id's on my 25 year old RadioShack PRO-2006, but not my newer RadioShack PRO-163 or Uniden BCD996xt.
That depends on how the repeater is configured. A small percentage are set up so they broadcast CTCSS/DCS during voice traffic, but not during ID morse code or FTO paging tones. But most repeaters either do not use CTCSS/DCS tones or broadcast them whenever the repeater is keyed, regardless of whether it is voice traffic or not.
 

wtp

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#7
my old line

"we pause now for station identification"
in the 80's i used to travel with a co-worker and i would say this once i heard any morse code.
 
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#9
98% of Part 90 Repeaters use Tone on both the input and output. Otherwise it would be a free-for-all of repeaters getting keyed up by other users.

With a proper Tone Board/Identifier, the Morse ID is sent CSQ

Might you be referencing Amateur where some regions still are CSQ, yet other regions now regularly use Tone to keep the band opennings from keying up a repeater.
That depends on how the repeater is configured. A small percentage are set up so they broadcast CTCSS/DCS during voice traffic, but not during ID morse code or FTO paging tones. But most repeaters either do not use CTCSS/DCS tones or broadcast them whenever the repeater is keyed, regardless of whether it is voice traffic or not.
 
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#10
With a proper Tone Board/Identifier, the Morse ID is sent CSQ.
Every repeater I've monitored that has a tone and an IDer sends the tone during the ID and voice traffic. The same is true for FTO pages. It would be nice if the repeater dropped the CTCSS during ID and FTO, but that's actually a pretty rare. So we hear a lot of IDs and fire tones when scanning.
 
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#11
It would be nice if the repeater dropped the CTCSS during ID and FTO, but that's actually a pretty rare.
Most repeater controllers have the capability to do this. It's just whether it is programmed to do such. Most repeaters in my area send it with PL, a few others send it CSQ.
 
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#12
Doesn't matter if the capability is there, if the majority of users don't bother to enable the feature.
 
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#13
Guess we are lucky that folks have programmed them correctly in my monitoring area. :cool:

Every repeater I've monitored that has a tone and an IDer sends the tone during the ID and voice traffic. The same is true for FTO pages. It would be nice if the repeater dropped the CTCSS during ID and FTO, but that's actually a pretty rare. So we hear a lot of IDs and fire tones when scanning.
 

bob550

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#14
My scanner is a brand new Uniden BC125AT, but it runs on 2012 software, version 1.04.02. The manual doesn't say anything about upgrading it. I don't really understand CTCSS codes. My understanding was that if I didn't program them into my scanner, I'd receive all transmissions on that frequency. I don't hear the morse code on all frequencies, just a couple.
You won't hear the Morse code on all frequencies. I never did when I was using scanners without CTCSS or DCS activated squelch. If you utilize RR.com to download and program frequencies for your scanner, these will already come set with the proper code. If you're manually programming your scanner, you can use the database on this website to determine the correct code.

My local town utilizes the Morse code ID's. Only using newer scanners now, I never hear those annoying interruptions any more. But if I fire up my 25 year-old PRO-2006, there they are again.
 
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#15
The FCC requires transmitting stations to broadcast their callsign on regular intervals. Every 10 minutes for ham radio operators and every half hour for commercial stations like what you hear on the car radio. I believe they have relaxed this rule, but a lot of stations will repeat their callsigns more frequently. Especially true for FM stations who play music, talk or sports. It's self promotion for them.

Station identification used to be required by voice in English or Morse code. I believe ethnic stations are still held to this rule, no matter what language their format is. Helps a lot to identify distant stations on the AM band at night when the propogation changes.

I don't find the short burst of Morse code annoying. I can tune it out with my ears by not paying attention to it, or quickly try to read the callsign. I used to be able to copy 15 wpm comfortably in my head.

Now at a hamfest, when someone tunes in code on a radio they're selling and the volume is too high, then it becomes a problem. Just more 'noise' in the room which impedes a normal conversation between the vendor and a customer. Continuous dits and dahs at high volume serves no purpose. Same for the loudspeakers announcing prize winners or other information. You have several hundred technical guys all around you, but they can't get the PA system to work properly. Pretty ironic.

Back on topic, try learning to read Morse code. It's tough, but a lot of fun!

Cheers,
Mitch
 
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#16
Actually, in FCC jurisdictions, it's top of the hour for broadcast stations, every 10 minutes for amateur, every 15 minutes for commercial land mobile, and every half hour for public safety.

Most technicians & system managers are either too inept to program the callsign into the station, or just don't care so it never gets done, and the stations never identify (which goes against FCC regs).

Most Motorola repeaters & base stations automatically encode the CWID (Morse Code) without PL (CTCSS), though other manufacturers (Vertex, etc.) don't support CWID without PL. It varies manufacturer to manufacturer.

Hams love hearing that crap, so 99.9% of the time, their systems are configured to encode PL when identifying.
 

kmi8dy

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#17
i've been hearing it all my life, listening to vhf / uhf. not hearing it now would be very strange and disconserning. in the good ole' days the dispatcher would have to verbalize after each and every transmission.
 
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#18
Most Motorola repeaters & base stations automatically encode the CWID (Morse Code) without PL (CTCSS), though other manufacturers (Vertex, etc.) don't support CWID without PL. It varies manufacturer to manufacturer.
The Kenwood stuff I have supports CWID without PL. I'd drive all my users nuts if they had to listen to that crap.
 
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#19
And to add...(might have changed) but the ID is only required on the Lowest output Frequency(Repeater) for a TRS....if memory serves me...which was what Trunker always reported :)
The FCC requires transmitting stations to broadcast their callsign on regular intervals. Every 10 minutes for ham radio operators and every half hour for commercial stations like what you hear on the car radio. I believe they have relaxed this rule, but a lot of stations will repeat their callsigns more frequently. Especially true for FM stations who play music, talk or sports. It's self promotion for them.

Station identification used to be required by voice in English or Morse code. I believe ethnic stations are still held to this rule, no matter what language their format is. Helps a lot to identify distant stations on the AM band at night when the propogation changes.

I don't find the short burst of Morse code annoying. I can tune it out with my ears by not paying attention to it, or quickly try to read the callsign. I used to be able to copy 15 wpm comfortably in my head.

Now at a hamfest, when someone tunes in code on a radio they're selling and the volume is too high, then it becomes a problem. Just more 'noise' in the room which impedes a normal conversation between the vendor and a customer. Continuous dits and dahs at high volume serves no purpose. Same for the loudspeakers announcing prize winners or other information. You have several hundred technical guys all around you, but they can't get the PA system to work properly. Pretty ironic.

Back on topic, try learning to read Morse code. It's tough, but a lot of fun!

Cheers,
Mitch
 
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#20
And to add...(might have changed) but the ID is only required on the Lowest output Frequency(Repeater) for a TRS....if memory serves me...which was what Trunker always reported :)
That is correct. It's referred to as the "BSI" channel (Base Station Identification).
 
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