Don't hear FireOut Tones on Trunk, but do on conventional

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kc8tmv

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Facts:
Scanner: Whistler TRX-1
Problem: This might happen on more than one trunk group, but the is the FD group I listen to 90% of the time. I have an old RS scanner listening to just the simulcast FD East Page (Dispatch), I also have the TRX-1 paused on the FD East Dispatch trunk group. When they send out the tones (fire out notification tones) I only hear them on the analog simulcast, and NOT on the P25 Trunk Group.

I "thought" I used to hear them on both. Am I nuts or missing something?

Trunked
Ohio MARCS-IP
Hamiltion Count Site 004
Trunk Group 21021 FD EAST (dispatch TG)

Conventional
460.500
FD PAGE EAST
Simulcast Dispatch side only
 

troymail

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Most counties in my area only send tones on the VHF/conventional paging frequencies. Only the voice is actually "simulcast" on both...

It varies but ultimately, unless they are alerting pagers on the trunk system talkgroup, there really isn't a reason to tone over a talkgroup.

Are you sure that system sends tones over the trunk system talkgroup?
 

kc8tmv

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Most counties in my area only send tones on the VHF/conventional paging frequencies. Only the voice is actually "simulcast" on both...

It varies but ultimately, unless they are alerting pagers on the trunk system talkgroup, there really isn't a reason to tone over a talkgroup.

Are you sure that system sends tones over the trunk system talkgroup?


Well, I was pretty darn sure they were, but I sure could be wrong.

I also notice with both the simulcast scanner and the TRX-1 paused for this test, that there a several times that I hear the dispatcher on the simulcast and "see" the T (next to signal strength) flash like crazy, but don't hear trunk group audio and don't see radio ID data, for 20-30 seconds, then you hear the (already in progress) dispatch, in sync with the conventional. I do not see the DG until I hear the audio on the trunk group.


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troymail

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I know of no reason on the TRX that you wouldn't hear whatever is sent over the trunk talkgroup (including the garbled noise of encrypted voice if that were the case).

Do you have more than one system site programmed?
 

kc8tmv

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For OHIO MARCS-IP, I have 3 sites, Hamilton County, Cincinnati City, and Clermont County. What I am listening to would be the Hamilton County Site.


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kc8tmv

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Troy, I think I stumbled on some new information. Tonight I REALLY DID hear tones on that talk group...but...it was also displaying "patch" this time. Before it was not.

Also modifying the trunked radio / Hamilton county site / data decode from 88 / 95 to 65 / 95 seems to have helped with the second issue of no audio and no "DG" for several seconds into the dispatch.

Can you or anyone help me understand these two things? I am really trying to learn.


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wa8pyr

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I think I stumbled on some new information. Tonight I REALLY DID hear tones on that talk group...but...it was also displaying "patch" this time. Before it was not.
I've heard that HamCo dispatch doesn't always patch the analog paging channel and trunked talkgroup together, which may account for this.

Also modifying the trunked radio / Hamilton county site / data decode from 88 / 95 to 65 / 95 seems to have helped with the second issue of no audio and no "DG" for several seconds into the dispatch.

Can you or anyone help me understand these two things? I am really trying to learn.
Depends on where you are (since you're trying to listen to Clermont County my guess would be out around Mariemont, Indian Hill or Newtown somewhere), but a likely possibility would be that the scanner wasn't monitoring the best site, and couldn't quite get all the data for a clean decode.

By changing the decode level for the Hamilton County site, the radio decided it liked that site well enough to lock on to it.

The problem with the newer GRE/Whistler scanners is that when all the sites are entered as a multi-site system, the radio finds a control channel it likes at the moment and stays with it, even though the scanner can hear multiple sites and the one you're on may not normally be the best. Older GRE (and current Uniden) radios allow monitoring all control channels during each scan pass.

The dreaded P25 simulcast issue may also be playing a role, although I've had practically no trouble with my TRX-1 in this regard, even around Columbus and Cincinnati both.

My recommendation would be to enter the sites as separate systems and scan only the desired site in each. The easiest way I've found to do this is to download all desired sites and the associated talkgroups and get your scan lists and so on set up. Call that system "MARCS-IP." Then, copy the system and all it's data, and rename the new system "Hamilton County." Lock out the Cincinnati and Clermont County sites in that new system but leave the scan lists alone.

Then, copy the original "MARCS-IP" system again, name the new system "Cincinnati" and lock out the HamCo and Clermont sites.

Finally, repeat again for Clermont County (but lock out the HamCo and Cincinnati sites).

Lastly, lock out the "MARCS-IP" system but do not delete it. Leave it as a clean master in case you need to start over.

This way you've minimized the amount of stuff you have to type in and the radio will scan each site separately; I think you'll find yourself hearing more stuff, more reliably. Works great on a TRX-1 in the Columbus area as well as SW Ohio (and wandering around the hills and valleys of SE Ohio).

Also, if you're a member of the MONIX group, there may be someone local who can help if you really get stuck.

http://monix.org/page2.html
 
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kc8tmv

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I've heard that HamCo dispatch doesn't always patch the analog paging channel and trunked talkgroup together, which may account for this.



Depends on where you are (since you're trying to listen to Clermont County my guess would be out around Mariemont, Indian Hill or Newtown somewhere), but a likely possibility would be that the scanner wasn't monitoring the best site, and couldn't quite get all the data for a clean decode.

By changing the decode level for the Hamilton County site, the radio decided it liked that site well enough to lock on to it.

The problem with the newer GRE/Whistler scanners is that when all the sites are entered as a multi-site system, the radio finds a control channel it likes at the moment and stays with it, even though the scanner can hear multiple sites and the one you're on may not normally be the best. Older GRE (and current Uniden) radios allow monitoring all control channels during each scan pass.

The dreaded P25 simulcast issue may also be playing a role, although I've had practically no trouble with my TRX-1 in this regard, even around Columbus and Cincinnati both.

My recommendation would be to enter the sites as separate systems and scan only the desired site in each. The easiest way I've found to do this is to download all desired sites and the associated talkgroups and get your scan lists and so on set up. Call that system "MARCS-IP." Then, copy the system and all it's data, and rename the new system "Hamilton County." Lock out the Cincinnati and Clermont County sites in that new system but leave the scan lists alone.

Then, copy the original "MARCS-IP" system again, name the new system "Cincinnati" and lock out the HamCo and Clermont sites.

Finally, repeat again for Clermont County (but lock out the HamCo and Cincinnati sites).

Lastly, lock out the "MARCS-IP" system but do not delete it. Leave it as a clean master in case you need to start over.

This way you've minimized the amount of stuff you have to type in and the radio will scan each site separately; I think you'll find yourself hearing more stuff, more reliably. Works great on a TRX-1 in the Columbus area as well as SW Ohio (and wandering around the hills and valleys of SE Ohio).

Also, if you're a member of the MONIX group, there may be someone local who can help if you really get stuck.

http://monix.org/page2.html


Sorry for not updating sooner, but I have been playing with your suggestions in and off for a few days.
Overall you are right, I seem to be hearing stuff I have never heard before.

Only "issue" I seem to have is that there are a few times that I am picking up stuff on the Cincinnati City site instead of the Hamilton County site. Only issue with that is the signal on that site is much weaker than the Hamilton County site, so it sounds a bit garbled.

If I hit skip, it scans on up to the Hamilton County site and sounds great.

I am sure if I go mobile and head toward the city, I am sure the opposite will happen.

Any thoughts on this?

BTW, thanks for the detailed instructions and explanation!



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DJ11DLN

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Just for what it's worth, on my system some agencies did simulcast the entire page, including tones, prior to the switchover from Mot2 to P25. Others didn't, simulcasting only the voice part of the message. Now nobody seems to be simulcasting tones, just voice. Which is fine because the digital encoding/decoding distorts the tones horribly -- sounded like someone trying to kill a cat with a blunt hatpin. I'm just as happy that they stopped it altogether; I can listen to them on the analog pager freqs if I want to hear 'em.

Maybe this relates to how your system is being run?
 

wa8pyr

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Sorry for not updating sooner, but I have been playing with your suggestions in and off for a few days. Overall you are right, I seem to be hearing stuff I have never heard before.

Only "issue" I seem to have is that there are a few times that I am picking up stuff on the Cincinnati City site instead of the Hamilton County site. Only issue with that is the signal on that site is much weaker than the Hamilton County site, so it sounds a bit garbled.

If I hit skip, it scans on up to the Hamilton County site and sounds great.

I am sure if I go mobile and head toward the city, I am sure the opposite will happen.

Any thoughts on this?
The most elegant solution would be to bump up the bottom number of the Decode Level setting on the Cincinnati site/system so the radio ignores it while you're outside city limits. This would take a bit of experimentation, but would work seamlessly with no user intervention while you're wandering around the county.

Alternatively, you could fiddle the scan lists so that lists 0-19 are the HamCo site/system, lists 20-39 are the Cincinnati site/system, and 40-59 are the Clermont site/system. Then, use the Scan Set feature to select only the scan lists for the site(s) you're interested in monitoring at that particular moment in time. This way you don't have to lock out any sites, but you would have to manually select a scan set.

Another alternative. . . . you could lock out the Cincinnati "system" when you're sitting in an area where the HamCo site works better. The Cincinnati site is optimized for the City itself, so once you creep outside city limits it's probably going to get flaky. CFD and CPD radios are most likely set to "prefer" the City site and only roam to the HamCo site once they get a couple of miles outside city limits. This would be a last resort, though.

BTW, thanks for the detailed instructions and explanation!
You're welcome! Buy me a chili three-way at Camp Washington next time I'm in town! :D
 
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