BCD396XT Blocks fire Dept tones

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avgas

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Hey Guys

I was wondering if anyone can help me.

When the fire dept gets toned out in my city there are tone that come over the radio. For some reason the tones are being blocked by the BCD396XT. I would like the tones to come across so it alerts me that there is a fire call. The fire dept uses a single frequency P25 set up. I have an older Radioshack Pro-96 and the tones come through just fine on that scanner. I have looked for a setting and cant seem to find anything.

Thanks,
 

kruser

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The 396XT actually has a fire tone out feature. It allows you to setup the same tones used by your department and have the scanner alert you just like a fire department radio or pager does.

I've never tried it though so I'm no help setting that up.
A lot of people may find the tones annoying so maybe the 396 has a way to mute them which is what it sounds like yours is doing.

One day I shoud try it as our departments here still use the tone out feature for activating the station house audio on the radios.

I wonder if yours is turned on but nothing is entered so that maybe mutes the tones.
I'm sure someone that uses this feature will chime in with some help.

edit: have you ever looked through the easier to read manual at Marks Scanners? It is an excellent resource and may contain your answer.
Here is the link: http://marksscanners.com/396XT/396xt.shtml
 
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hiegtx

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Hey Guys

I was wondering if anyone can help me.

When the fire dept gets toned out in my city there are tone that come over the radio. For some reason the tones are being blocked by the BCD396XT. I would like the tones to come across so it alerts me that there is a fire call. The fire dept uses a single frequency P25 set up. I have an older Radioshack Pro-96 and the tones come through just fine on that scanner. I have looked for a setting and cant seem to find anything.

Thanks,
You didn't specify the system. Is this it?

What may be happening is that if you have the NAC code set up, in your 396XT, you hear normal traffic. However, when there is a fire tone-out, they may not be using any NAC code (or, perhaps a different one). Since the Pro-96 does not have NAC capability, you hear both the normal radio comms, as well as tone-outs. But on the 396XT, if they are not using the NAC (when there is a tone-out), you don't hear the tones. (It's also possible the tone-outs are sent as analog, which the Pro-96 would ignore the difference.)

Try programming the frequency a second time on the 396XT. Set it as digital audio type, with the NAC set as "Search". If you then start hearing the tones, but don't see a NAC code flashing in the lower right corner of the display when a tone-out is occurring, then none is being used.

If you still don't hear the tones, change the frequency you just entered to "analog" audio type, and set the PL tone/DCS code to "Search". See if you hear the tone-outs, and if so, if a PL tone or DCS code is displayed.
 

Jay911

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If they're using a P25 system, are you sure they're not using Call Alert? That protocol sends a message to the radio to tell it to make some noise (tones). No tones are actually generated over the radio waves in that case.
 

avgas

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It is a P25 system and Medicine Hat is the correct area.
My PRO-96 picks up the tones but the uniden is blocking them. The tones come over the radio then they say what the call is. I had the fire channel set to recieve digital only and have now changed it to recieve any. I have also removed the nac from that channel. I guess now I will wait untill the next fire call. Thanks for the help! I will keep you posted.
 

kruser

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Thanks for the tips hiegtx!
This is something I've wanted to try ever since purchasing the 996XT.
Never messed with it though so now I'll have an idea if I run into problems.
 

Jay911

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That's interesting avgas - is it actually two-tone signaling like you hear on other fire departments (one shortish, usually 1 second long, then another longer, about 3 seconds)? If so, I'd be looking for a VHF or UHF pager channel that they might have patched the 800 to, as there isn't an 800 pager that I know of on the market. As you probably know, there's a small handful of 150-159MHz freqs in the TAFL for MHFD.
 

avgas

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It is interesting. I am going to keep the Pro-96 running and see what happens not with the new scanner. I hope by setting it as both digital and analog signal recieve i will have the problem solved.

I have notice a bunch of 150-159 freqs listed, I think most of them are for interac fire alarms in building through out the city going by some of the addresses that are listed with them. I know for a fact that the old fire dept repeater system is still fully operational but nothing ever is tx over it.
 

avgas

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Today I updated my firmware and have the channel set to recieve both digital and analogue signals. I think it is now working. I was sleeping at the time the tones came over the radio and I think they were there.LOL. I have set another scanner to the same freq to see if I can get the tones. I guess now i wait! My radio is set to NFM if what I have done does not do the trick I will try switching it.
 

avgas

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Well guys, It seems that the fire tones and the dispatch of the fire call is is analogue. Setting my radio to recieve both digital and analogue allow the tones to come through. I also had an older scanner set on there freq and the tones and the dispatch came across but the rest of the communications was digital.
 

Jay911

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Wild. Don't suppose you had CTCSS search on to see if there was a CTCSS tone transmitted did you? ;)

You should submit to the database that this is a "mixed mode" analog/digital freq. One way or another we need to capture that in the DB, even if we just have two copies of the channel, one with CSQ (or whatever tone is used) and one with 293 NAC.
 

hiegtx

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Well guys, It seems that the fire tones and the dispatch of the fire call is is analogue. Setting my radio to recieve both digital and analogue allow the tones to come through. I also had an older scanner set on there freq and the tones and the dispatch came across but the rest of the communications was digital.
I'd suggest that you program the channel both ways.
One is with the audio set to digital, with the NAC.
The second is analog audio, and tone/code search. As Jay has suggested, they may be using a tone or code on the analog dispatches (maybe on the tone-outs, maybe not). But if they are, using a tone or code, you can see it & enter it (and also submit it as also suggested).

Also, this would be a good place to use the display alert. You could set the display color to, say, cyan (or whatever) for normal (digital) communications. And, for the analog dispatch and tone-out receptions on the second channel entry, use an alternate color (say red or yellow). You could also make the backlight flash, or use one of the audio alerts.
 

avgas

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I am going to try and figure out what the tones are that they are using. I will hook my Scanner to the computer and let it run. I hope that the log will show me something. I will keep you guys posted on what I find. The problem around here is the fire dept does not stay very busy. I guess thats also a good thing,
 

avgas

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Well guys I have tried several times to get a tone and have had zero luck. My guess is they are not using one. It would be nice if they would be. Maybe someone else will have better luck than I have had.
 

mark2117

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Sorry to bump an old topic but I was wondering if there was any progress here? I'm in the Hat as well and have the same issue with fire tones on my 396XT..
 

clutchdisk

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Fire tones

Interesting. I'm trying to figure out how to stop the fire tones on the bcd 396t. When they start it will come on fairly loud. Sound like someone pressing on a phone key pad. Short and long burst that last 3 to 8 seconds. Then the voice will start with "station 5, station 5 (location) upon arrival change to 4a. The tones vary both in pitch, duration, and at times tone. I figure that each fire station has it's tone. Me, I rather not hear the tones and can't figure out how to stop that part of the transmission. Guess Im a little weird with the tone thing. I'm in Fayetteville, NC outside of Ft.Bragg and at times the fire responders are jumping through the hoops. Sorry I'm no help. But if you figure out how you turned your radio on to fire tones let me know so I can do the opposite.
 

UPMan

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Best practices on the transmit side is to use CTCSS/DCS for normal transmissions and to not use them during a tone-out (the subaudible tone and audible tones can combine to make tone-outs not work on system pagers under certain circumstances). If they are in fact doing that, then you can suppress the tones by programming the channels with the CTCSS/DCS tone they use during a normal transmission. If they are not doing that, then there really isn't anything you can do.
 

The_B_Chief

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This might be along the same lines of what Jay911 was talking about. I have noticed that with some P25 fire department systems that have an analog channel for pager and station alerting, the quick-call tones also go out over whatever talk-group is linked to that analog channel. However, on the P25 side not all tones can be heard or they will cut-out. I would imagine that the reason for this is the same as why not all sound frequencies are translated into data and then back into audio. The reason for that far exceeds my knowledge and technical expertise of digital radio technology. However, I can offer some other examples of when I have noticed the same issues. For example, you don't normally hear the sirens or engine exhaust in the background on a digital system like you would on an analog system. This is a great thing when trying to convey a clear message but when the radio cuts off your message because of too much ambient noise, not so much. Plus I will say I miss hearing those old Detroit’s and Jacobs engine breaks in the background, but that is another subject for another forum. Also, many times I have heard these radios cut-out when a male with a deep voice is talking or more often when the common background noise of a fire ground is present. Noises like saws running, regulators vibrating, tools banging and so on. Just a thought.
 

clutchdisk

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Don't think I can do anything about it. I did look at the ctcss/dcs setup and I think I would have to add channels to give them specific alert tones. Looks like I will just have to roll with the the tones. Btw these tones are from the dispacher side. When answered by the fire trucks voice and sirens are heard. Thanx to all that had given me a few ideas as possible changes to the transmitting fire alert tones. I think that the fire stations monitor and listen for their special alert tones so that they are ready to respond and await instructions. Think I just answered my own question. I can't lock out the tones. All fire stations alert to the tones transmitted, then voice commands immediatly follow. Got my wires crossed on alert tones for frequency's that you program into the sanner uppose to the transmitted alert tones from dispatch. Thank you for making me wake up and think about it.
 
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