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  #1 (permalink)  
Old 07-07-2005, 4:44 PM
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Default Official Fire Tone-Out Discussion

There is a lot of good info spread amongst several threads. With at least one more scanner coming that includes the tone-out feature, and quite a few people asking basic "how to" questions, I'd like to see this thread set as a Sticky.

In version 1.06.00 of the BCD396T firmware you need to enter the following information for paging:

RX Freq, Modulation, Attenuation, Tone A, Duration A, Gap, Tone B, Duration B, Alert Type, Alert Level

You can only select one tone-out to alert on during standby mode.

In all later versions of the firmware for the BCD396T and all other models, you only need to enter the following information for paging:

RX Freq, Attenuation, Modulation Tone A, Tone B, Alert Type, Alert Level

When you select a tone-out, all other tone-outs that have matching RX Freq, Attenuation, and Modulation settings are also selected. Any matching tone-out will trigger an alert. So, you could have up to 10 alerts in standby mode.

Also, in versions after 1.6.00, you can set the scanner to page on single tones as follows:

TONE A: Value
TONE B: 0
Alert on short tone (<3.75 seconds)

TONE A: 0
TONE B: Value
Alert on long tone (>3.75 seconds)

Where do I find Tone-Out Information?
Eventually, the database section of RRDB will have a collection. If you have tone-out information, help everyone out by sharing your info.

Meanwhile, if you don't have access to the information directly from the source, you'll need to determine the settings on your own. Several tools are available for doing this.

Scanrec is a program that will record scanner audio to WAVE files. Each transmission is saved in its own file. This software should serve to capture the tone-outs. Scanrec can be found at http://www.davee.com/scanrec/

counter is a program that will display the tone frequency. It can be found at: http://www.tetrascanner.com/downloadfreqcounter.zip

Note that I have not personally used counter (not much tone-out in my area). Perhaps someone who has used both tools can follow up with a step-by-step on capturing the tone and determining the frequency.

Joe M (Voyager) posted some standard tone charts over on the BCD396T thread. Perhaps he can repost them, here...
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Old 07-07-2005, 5:03 PM
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This is absolutely fantastic!!

Having the ability to alert on multiple tone pairs helps me as I run with neighboring fire companies. Also, having single tone capabilities works well where townships/boros/etc have a common tone among their different responding companies.

Great Work!!
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Old 07-07-2005, 5:12 PM
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Made it a sticky
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Old 07-07-2005, 5:28 PM
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Why not just use Scanner Recorder to listen to the audio for a tone out :idea: That way you can go on listening to something else and review the recorded file for tones and the actual dispatched station 8)

You may just hit the mother load and catch all the tones at once in the daily "Test" of all fire monitors.

http://www.davee.com/scanrec/
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Old 07-07-2005, 5:34 PM
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Has anyone had a succesful tone out on the 396???

I'm pretty (95%) sure i have mine programmed right, but Its not triggering the scanner when the station I'm on standby for gets a tone.

EDIT EDIT

I have posted this before, can anyone tell me which kind of paging system this by looking at the cap codes??

http://www.afn.org/~afn09444/scanner/acfrcapc.txt

I used this http://www.genave.com/mot_quick_call_2.htm

Posted by Joe (voyager) to put tones in place of the 3 digit codes for tone A and tone B.

But if the cap codes etc. are not a motorola quickcall system, that could be why my tone outs arent working.

My counties CAP codes are four digits, on the link above it looks like it only works for 3 digit CAP codes.

Sorry if I'm confusing anyone, I'm kinda in over my head!!! :shock:

Any input appreciated,
Brandon G.
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Hey, is at least one scanner on right now???
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Old 07-07-2005, 5:35 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by whooey
Has anyone had a succesful tone out on the 396???

I'm pretty (95%) sure i have mine programmed right, but Its not triggering the scanner when the station I'm on standby for gets a tone.
Yes, it's working on Motorola tones here.
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Old 07-07-2005, 6:44 PM
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I have a question. Why can't the scanner (new firmware update would be required) just detect any tone a frequency. For instance, I could just program my freq 155.5500 and set it on tone standby. The scanner detects any tone and it opens the freq and you receive the page. It could decode the tones without having to program them, sorta like CTCSS/DCS search. Is this at all possible?
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Old 07-07-2005, 8:14 PM
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I finally got my test station to tone out and I knew the tone was coming because the dispatcher reads the box first. I am pretty positive I programmed the 396 correctly with the proper HZ frequencies, duration, gap, etc. - - it was all measured using Adobe Audition software.

However, I was following the earlier advice and I had hit the 'hold' button (the display said TONE-OUT DETECT" instead of "TONE-OUT MODE") so I could hear the dialog and know the tone was coming. It was my understanding that the 396 would still alert even in "TONE DETECT" mode. It did NOT. Nothing happened except for me hearing the dispatched tone I was waiting to hear for 2 days.

So one of two things are happening. Either the 396 will NOT alert while in "TONE DETECT MODE", i.e., it is a bypass to hear audio on the programmed channel and it will NOT sound the alert....or.... something else is wrong.

I need to now wait for another tone-out while in "TONE-OUT MODE"

If the 396 will not alert while in "TONE-OUT DETECT".... this will be a dissapointment. I would like, for example, to have the volume set to 3 or 4 and listen to chatter, but at a tone hit the alert would sound at full volume.

Has anyone gotten an alert while in "TONE-OUT DETECT" mode?
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Old 07-07-2005, 8:23 PM
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Default Re: Official Fire Tone-Out Discussion

Quote:
Originally Posted by UPMan
With at least one more scanner coming that includes the tone-out feature


Mike
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Old 07-07-2005, 8:30 PM
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Upman,

In later versions of the firmware for the BCD396T, the multiple tone-out revision is a great thing. BUT, can you turn on and off each individual alert, i.e., once all the tones are programmed, it would be great to choose any or all of the 10 presets to monitor, instead of an all or nothing approach. For example, I may want to monitor the five local stations near my residence, or instead turn off 4 of them and keep only the closest station in tone-out mode during the overnight hours.

just a thought....
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Old 07-07-2005, 8:34 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 1080iAddict
Upman,

In later versions of the firmware for the BCD396T, the multiple tone-out revision is a great thing. BUT, can you turn on and off each individual alert, i.e., once all the tones are programmed, it would be great to choose any or all of the 10 presets to monitor, instead of an all or nothing approach. For example, I may want to monitor the five local stations near my residence, or instead turn off 4 of them and keep only the closest station in tone-out mode during the overnight hours.

just a thought....
a lockout and delete function would be great :idea:
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Old 07-07-2005, 8:38 PM
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Default I have a tone generator

I believe 1080I is in Maryland. I am also in Maryland and am in the radio
business. I have sold the Shinwa pagers and own a tone test generator so that I will be able to really test the various combinations. I sell the BCD396 and my shipment arrives tomorrow. A number of the County
fire departments are interested in buying this unit so I will be glad to work
with a few of you in the Baltimore/Washington area to make sure this
feature works. I know Paul and can feed any issues to him.

If several of you want to post the tones and settings that you can't get to
work, I will try to test this out with my tester together with the 396.

Mike
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Old 07-07-2005, 9:32 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 1080iAddict
I finally got my test station to tone out and I knew the tone was coming because the dispatcher reads the box first. I am pretty positive I programmed the 396 correctly with the proper HZ frequencies, duration, gap, etc. - - it was all measured using Adobe Audition software.
Hi can you share how to deturmine and measure a tone recording in HZ? I have Cool Edit and Audacity editing programs but am not sure how to measure the tone in HZ??

Anyone familar with this? :?:

Thanks
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Old 07-07-2005, 9:40 PM
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Default Re: Official Fire Tone-Out Discussion

Quote:
Originally Posted by UPMan



Also, in versions after 1.6.00, you can set the scanner to page on single tones as follows:

TONE A: Value
TONE B: 0
Alert on short tone (<3.75 seconds)

TONE A: 0
TONE B: Value
Alert on long tone (>3.75 seconds)
When?????? I didn't just pay $550 to wait for new software that doesn't exist yet.... (yes, I'm unhappy that this doesn't work for me right now).

Also - I agree with the note from someone earlier - if I program in several
stations from my county, it's nice that it will alert on all of them. But what if I on;y want it to alert on one of them after midnight???? Can I have my cake and eat it too?
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Old 07-08-2005, 12:27 AM
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Default Re: Official Fire Tone-Out Discussion

Quote:
Originally Posted by UPMan
Joe M (Voyager) posted some standard tone charts over on the BCD396T thread. Perhaps he can repost them, here...
Absotively. 8)

Joe M.
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Old 07-08-2005, 12:36 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by whooey
Posted by Joe (voyager) to put tones in place of the 3 digit codes for tone A and tone B.

But if the cap codes etc. are not a motorola quickcall system, that could be why my tone outs arent working.

My counties CAP codes are four digits, on the link above it looks like it only works for 3 digit CAP codes.
Are they four digits for the entire paging sequence? You may be dealing with an entry code which is not always the same as the tone capcodes.

Post what you have and maybe we can help you out.

Whooey, this next part isn't necessarily for you, but is intended as general reference.

TONE TIMING
BTW, someone was asking about timing. MOST paging will be standard 1 second - 0 gap - 3 second timing for an individual page (individual company, that is, not necessarily one person), and 8 seconds for a group page (that would be programming the tone into the B slot in the newer firmware version).

Joe M.
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Old 07-08-2005, 8:16 AM
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> MOST paging will be standard 1 second - 0 gap - 3 second timing for an
> individual page

Let's see if I understand this correctly:

In a standard system, 1 and 3 second are for Duration A and B respectively, making one two-tone page 4 seconds long?
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Old 07-08-2005, 8:25 AM
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Quote:
In a standard system, 1 and 3 second are for Duration A and B respectively, making one two-tone page 4 seconds long?
Yes, but in practice all sorts of variations are found. The county system here has a large collection of agencies on channel, some using very old equipment. Most are Plectron but there are some Motorola and a few that use non-standard tones. Evidently they determined that to make everything work the timing needs to be 2 seconds for tone A and 3 seconds for tone B. That's the way every tone out is transmitted on the system. Fortunately all this timing stuff will be of no concern once the new firmware is released.
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Old 07-08-2005, 8:36 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nyscan00
Quote:
Originally Posted by 1080iAddict
I finally got my test station to tone out and I knew the tone was coming because the dispatcher reads the box first. I am pretty positive I programmed the 396 correctly with the proper HZ frequencies, duration, gap, etc. - - it was all measured using Adobe Audition software.
Hi can you share how to deturmine and measure a tone recording in HZ? I have Cool Edit and Audacity editing programs but am not sure how to measure the tone in HZ??

Anyone familar with this? :?:

Thanks
Hello,

You can use Audacity directly to figure out the tone frequencies. I use a method of finding frequency by using the period of a cycle of the waveform. Period is converted to frequency by the equation Frequency = 1/Period. With the Audacity audio editor you can find the period by doing a mouse click to put the cursor at a positive zero crossing and, while holding down the mouse button, drag the selection over to the next positive zero crossing. At the bottom are selection time values and the period is the difference time shown in the parentheses. You can use any point of the cycle to the same point in another cycle, but I use the zero crossings to make it easier. I zoom up to display 11 cycles or so, select 10 cycles and then divide the difference time (period) by 10 to get a more accurate count. Another nice feature with Audacity is you can zoom the vertical scale up to see the area around zero. This allows more accurate determination of the zero crossing.

By using the time marks you can measure tone times as well.

I was able to figure out what system my local fire department was using after a few Pages. They are using QuickCall 2. To make things easier I precalculated the periods for the tones in the Groups I am interested in.

I find this method easier than using a frequency counter. It is more direct and eliminates any errors from the frequency counter. You can still get good readings on distorted or noisy waveforms if you use the same point on each cycle to make the measurement. Frequency Counters can have problems if the waveform is not a clean sine wave.

I use Scanner Recorder to record the tones. I recorded using 44.1 16-Bit bit Mono WAV. I figure that using compression may affect frequency accuracy.

73 Eric
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Old 07-08-2005, 10:20 AM
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The following were helpful in determining tones-- similar to what Joe M posted.

http://www.wpascanner.com/tones.htm
http://www.genave.com/two-tone_paging.htm

The easiest way to determine tones is crack open those Minitor II pagers.

I use GoldWave's expression evaluator to generate 3sec/1sec tones using an equation such as this:
.5*sin(2*pi*x*t)*(step(t-.1)-step(t-1.01)) + 1/(1+t)*sin(2*pi*y*t)*(step(t-1.02)-step(t-4.02))
where 'x' is Tone A and 'y' is Tone B, both in Hz. If you're ambitious (or silly), you can play it by ear-- literally, and compare the knowns from the list to a recorded sample. I guess Eric's method with Audacity would get you close (with Goldwave anyway) as I came up with about 2439 Hz when it should have been 2575 (unless the HT1250 used to generate it was off some).

Here's East Brunswick's as an example:
Fire (33.820 Mhz)
General Fire Tones: 2575 Hz (#33) / 910 Hz (#23)
Dist. 1-- Old Bridge Volunteer Fire Dept: 2575 Hz (#33) / 1082 Hz (#13)
Dist. 2-- East Brunswick Independent Fire Co: 2575 Hz (#33) / 992 Hz (#11)
Dist. 3-- Brookview Volunteer Fire Co: 2575 Hz (#33) / 1180 Hz (#15)
EMS (150.950 Mhz)
Standby (AKA Primary, "Night Crew"): 2575 Hz (#33) / 2361 Hz (#31)
General: 2575 Hz (#33) / 1403 Hz (#19)
Officer: 2575 Hz (#33) / 2807 Hz (#35)
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