Fire Tone Out (FTO) Am I doing it right?

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Roveer

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My county radio system dispatches about 15 or more towns on a single FM frequency. Since my town is pretty small the ratio of traffic that is specific to my town is pretty low. probably < 5%. Most of the time I like to just listen to calls related to my town which is 3 Fire Departsments, and 3 First Aid Squads. So I set out to experiment with Fire Tone Out.

First I recorded about a weeks worth of traffic using my 536HP's recording feature. Next I grabbed a free utility called TwoToneDetect by Andy Knitt. I found it here: http://sites.google.com/site/radioetcetera/twotoneprogram

After running the program on my laptop I played back all the tone outs for my town and made a list of the frequencies. In the weeks worth of recording's I got all of my Fire and First Aid except 1. I'll probably continue to record and see if I can catch the last missing set of tones.

Here's what my list looked like:

First Tone Second Tone Department

1371 989 Ralston Fire
???? ???? Ralston EMS
1371 715 Mendham Township EMS
1371 844 Mendham Township Fire
1199 1102 Mendham Borough Fire
1199 715 Mendham Borough EMS

1134 559 Nightly Test
1134 715 Nightly Test

Dispatch Frequency FM 476.2875

I went into Sentinal, labeled and entered the tones into the tone out section. I uploaded that to my scanner and went to the menu and told it to scan my FTO. It seems to be doing it, If i don't get any traffice this afternoon I'll check it at 6:30 for my nightly radio test. Those were seperate tones but I put them in as well.

So my question is this. It seems that the radio is only scanning for those fire tones and not anyting else (my other channels). Does the FTO feature basically only allow the scanner to scan the single frequency looking for those tones or can it also scan my law frequencies as well? I'm a little confused on this. Actually not a huge problem for me if it did because I mostly have the scanner just set for FIRE/EMS but I would think that would be a bummer for those who want to scan other things and also just hear a "filtered" tone dispatch. Help set me straight on this. Also if there was a better way to have set this up, please let me know. I know there is a search feature but I'm guessing all it does is help capture the tones and show you the frequencies you'd have to be in front of the scanner to hear the traffic to decide if it was one you want? The recording method worked pretty good for me except I had to sit through a few days of dispatches to cull out my towns traffice. That took 2 hours.

Thanks

Roveer
 
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detroit780

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Tone Outs

You could have used your 536 to record this too. Enter the frequency in the Tone out section, enter no tomes turn on record and all the tones on that frequency will be recorded and you can go back and review later. I never used this feature till I bought the 436 and tried it out searching for tones.

I am a beginner as far as fire tone out but believe you can't perform a scan while in fire tone out. You must remain in that mode to use that feature.

If I am incorrect hopefully someone will pipe in and we will both learn something.

Les


My county radio system dispatches about 15 or more towns on a single FM frequency. Since my town is pretty small the ratio of traffic that is specific to my town is pretty low. probably < 5%. Most of the time I like to just listen to calls related to my town which is 3 Fire Departsments, and 3 First Aid Squads. So I set out to experiment with Fire Tone Out.

First I recorded about a weeks worth of traffic using my 536HP's recording feature. Next I grabbed a free utility called TwoToneDetect by Andy Knitt. I found it here: http://sites.google.com/site/radioetcetera/twotoneprogram

After running the program on my laptop I played back all the tone outs for my town and made a list of the frequencies. In the weeks worth of recording's I got all of my Fire and First Aid except 1. I'll probably continue to record and see if I can catch the last missing set of tones.

Here's what my list looked like:

First Tone Second Tone Department

1371 989 Ralston Fire
???? ???? Ralston EMS
1371 715 Mendham Township EMS
1371 844 Mendham Township Fire
1199 1102 Mendham Borough Fire
1199 715 Mendham Borough EMS

1134 559 Nightly Test
1134 715 Nightly Test

Dispatch Frequency FM 476.2875

I went into Sentinal, labeled and entered the tones into the tone out section. I uploaded that to my scanner and went to the menu and told it to scan my FTO. It seems to be doing it, If i don't get any traffice this afternoon I'll check it at 6:30 for my nightly radio test. Those were seperate tones but I put them in as well.

So my question is this. It seems that the radio is only scanning for those fire tones and not anyting else (my other channels). Does the FTO feature basically only allow the scanner to scan the single frequency looking for those tones or can it also scan my law frequencies as well? I'm a little confused on this. Actually not a huge problem for me if it did because I mostly have the scanner just set for FIRE/EMS but I would think that would be a bummer for those who want to scan other things and also just hear a "filtered" tone dispatch. Help set me straight on this. Also if there was a better way to have set this up, please let me know. I know there is a search feature but I'm guessing all it does is help capture the tones and show you the frequencies you'd have to be in front of the scanner to hear the traffic to decide if it was one you want? The recording method worked pretty good for me except I had to sit through a few days of dispatches to cull out my towns traffice. That took 2 hours.

Thanks

Roveer
 

whsbuss

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You could have used your 536 to record this too. Enter the frequency in the Tone out section, enter no tomes turn on record and all the tones on that frequency will be recorded and you can go back and review later. I never used this feature till I bought the 436 and tried it out searching for tones.

I am a beginner as far as fire tone out but believe you can't perform a scan while in fire tone out. You must remain in that mode to use that feature.

If I am incorrect hopefully someone will pipe in and we will both learn something.

Les
You are correct.
 

Roveer

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So are we saying that if you use the FTO feature than the rest of the scanner is basiclly disabled and it becomes a fancy plectron? I basically waited for and bought the 536 for 2 things. One was FTO (which I should have researched a lot more, and the APP or ability to use wifi to listen to the scanner anywhere. Hopefully the APP appears soon. I'm a little dissapointed in the FTO feature, but again for night use I only scan FIRE/EMS anyway but have to reconfigure the radio to do so (this is where a schedule feature would be great). Features always sound better when someone else is talking about them. I should have come here and peppered the forum with FTO questions and learned exactly how it worked and it's limitations.

My ultimate goal was to get a scanner that only sounded my local police and fire. You know like back in the old days when each town had its own frequency.

So with my police I share the channel with 5 other departments and unless I can come up with a comprehensive list of RID's than I have to accept what I get. (If that will even work)

With the fire it's the same thing. I thought FTO would have allowed me to filter the broadcast of the fire dispatch but it basically becomes a dedicated fire only radio when you do that. Oh well. Maybe I have to buy 2 536's and sit them side by side to do what I want.

If we can get the garbled P25 transmissions cleaned up, I'll be happy. That's had me unhappy since i took the 536 out of the box
 

LIScanner101

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I too am amazed and shocked that the scanner basically becomes a pager when in FTO mode. I dont like that either/or option. But this may limited by technology - I don't know.
 

RBMTS

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So are we saying that if you use the FTO feature than the rest of the scanner is basiclly disabled and it becomes a fancy plectron?
This is correct. Like a pager, the scanner needs to listen to the single frequency and catch an entire tone page combination or single tone for timing purposes and sequence as the transmission occurs. Otherwise it will not be able to decode properly and the FTO would not operate or alert you. This is not a weakness in the scanner or the design.

Here is a suggestion for you: if you have the funds pickup a used BC15T that has the FTO feature. Slave that as an FTO alert monitor and use your more expensive digital scanner for listening to everything else.
 

Roveer

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Well 6:30 rolled around and I had my pro106 turned on for nightly test. The pro106 got it but the 536 sitting in FTO mode rolling through the different items in the list never made a noise. Any ideas on what I did wrong?
 

banditt2344

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I have my dispatch channels such as "Fire Dispatch" in a certain favorites list. And also have the dispatch ones set to priority as well. This seems to work out pretty well for me and I can hear the tones as well as what's dispatched.
 

Eng74

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I know our two tone system which for the stations is a backup for a ztron system but the batt chiefs still get the on air tone out for their pagers. Every morning there is a test of both systems. The all call is 3rd tone that is loaded into all the stations and pagers. That might be why you are not hearing the test. Set one of your spots in the FTO for search and set it there before they do the test and you should get the tone.
 

LIScanner101

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This is correct. Like a pager, the scanner needs to listen to the single frequency and catch an entire tone page combination or single tone for timing purposes and sequence as the transmission occurs. Otherwise it will not be able to decode properly and the FTO would not operate or alert you. This is not a weakness in the scanner or the design.

Here is a suggestion for you: if you have the funds pickup a used BC15T that has the FTO feature. Slave that as an FTO alert monitor and use your more expensive digital scanner for listening to everything else.
What you just said above explains it better than I have ever seen it explained before! THANK you for your excellent explanation. Now I understand that it has to be this way and there is no work around.
 

RBMTS

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I believe that 2ToneD has given you tone frequencies that are rounded off. While there are tones that are whole numbers as you state, many tones have a decimal place as well. Example 410.8, 510.5, 1472.9. You probably don't have the exact HZ tone frequency to allow the FTO function to trip.

Like ENG74 suggests, you might want to watch the tone search function and see what the actually scanner displays when the tones are dispatched. You might want to look at this webpage and see if you can match frequencies to something closer than what you have: Motorola Quick Call 2 - Pager Codes
 

RBMTS

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If you have a .wav or mp3 recording of the test dispatch, place it into a zip file and post it into this thread and we can better decode it for you.
 

Roveer

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OK, after the failed 6:30 test I decided I was going to set the scanner up as a "search" as recommended in one of the later posts. I just went to one of the unused FTO slots, put in my freq and set it to search. It's been a quiet night but I just had an alert (not my town but the town next to me). I took a look and noticed that the freq's displayed both had a decimal. This may be my problem.

So Here's a recorded session for 3 of the 5 tone sets I currently have. Lets see what they decode to if someone can give it a shot. I did use a freeware decoder but I do believe it had a decimal spot, but who knows.

https://drive.google.com/file/d/0Bx3CYGe_X6-qelVNU0Y5djYyeHc/edit?usp=sharing

Also, is there anyway to play back my recorded tones into the 536 so I could see what it thinks the tones are? I've kept them all at this point

Roveer
 
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Roveer

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I notice when I'm searching on an empty list entry I'll get the tones on the screen. Are they being recorded anywhere and is there any relation to a system recording if I have that feature turned on or is this only good for when you are sitting in front of the scanner and see them real time? I'm fuzzy on how this feature works. My town doesn't get that many calls so it's not likely I'm going to ever be able to capture all 6 sets by being in front of the scanner. Actually 8 sets if I count the 2 for the nightly test.

Roveer
 

RBMTS

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From your recording here is the tone frequencies
Tone Set 1:
Tone A = 1357.6
Tone B = 707.3

Tone Set 2:
Tone A = 1357.6
Tone B = 832.5

The third set of tones are alert warble tones, not paging tones.

Tone Set 4:
Tone A = 1185.2
Tone B = 1092.4

Quite a bit different from what you had. I set my system up to these tones and replayed your wav file through my system and the monitor alerted.

Hope this helps you.
 

Roveer

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From your recording here is the tone frequencies
Tone Set 1:
Tone A = 1357.6
Tone B = 707.3

Tone Set 2:
Tone A = 1357.6
Tone B = 832.5

The third set of tones are alert warble tones, not paging tones.

Tone Set 4:
Tone A = 1185.2
Tone B = 1092.4

Quite a bit different from what you had. I set my system up to these tones and replayed your wav file through my system and the monitor alerted.

Hope this helps you.
Can you tell me what you did to play the tones back through the system? I'd like to do the same.

Also. I captured tones for the first set and they came out on my scanner as:

1357.8
707.6

Different than yours. How sensitive is the scanner I wonder. Will it work with the decimal number being off. Guess I should capture the tones on my scanner for best possible result
 

RBMTS

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Your tones are close enough. A hertz or two won't make very much difference.

I have a special setup for testing radios and analyzing audio, so my setup is a bit different. However you can find some free programs on the internet that you can install on a PC and look at the frequencies of tones. Nothing will ever be exact as it depends on how clean the audio is being transmitted by the station of origin and how well you actually receive (and record) the audio sample. Tone sets for Motorola and Plectron are pretty standard so once you have the general range of frequency you can look at the actual tone reference sets and come up with what the actual tone should be. Again, a tenth of a hertz (two or three) is not going to be critical with the Uniden scanners.

It sounds like you can now be in the ball park with the tone search feature. So you should be good to go. If you aren't successful with something just send me a PM.

Have fun!
 

Roveer

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Thanks so much for your help tonight.

I've got my radio recording my FTO monitor so I think I'll be able to play it back and see the tones. You gave me 3 of my 8 and in a few days I'll have the rest. I already looked at the list from the mot website and will use their values as was suggested.

Thanks again.

Roveer
 
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