• Effective immediately we will be deleting, without notice, any negative threads or posts that deal with the use of encryption and streaming of scanner audio.

    We've noticed a huge increase in rants and negative posts that revolve around agencies going to encryption due to the broadcasting of scanner audio on the internet. It's now worn out and continues to be the same recycled rants. These rants hijack the threads and derail the conversation. They no longer have a place anywhere on this forum other than in the designated threads in the Rants forum in the Tavern.

    If you violate these guidelines your post will be deleted without notice and an infraction will be issued. We are not against discussion of this issue. You just need to do it in the right place. For example:
    https://forums.radioreference.com/rants/224104-official-thread-live-audio-feeds-scanners-wait-encryption.html

Fire tone out

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oneworld

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Any one in Windham County / Tolland County using a 396t and a correct fire tone out? I have my frequencies right, but seems that Im getting another town. Another queston if all these towns change to alpha paging will they still use the same frequencies. ex 33.800?
 

CT22

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I can probably help you out wit the tones. What town and service are you looking for?

I seriously doubt tone and voice paging will ever go away. The alpha system is extremely old and at least for my department very unreliable due to co-channel interference. It may not affect the towns more north and east of my location but for East Hampton we get hammered by Gaylord Hosptial and Yale New Haven Hospital all of which are on the alpha paging frequency 152.0075. It should also be mentioned that all of these alpha systems on 152.0075 are stand alone systems / no interconnect. So if Gaylord send a page at the same time East Haddam FD gets alpha paged the POCSAG data packets will clash and there WILL be problems. This could range from a garbled page to no page at all. Now if it was Woodstock then it probably would not effect them... its all about location!

Another thing, the equipment on 152.0075 uses crystals for the transmitter simulcast calcualtions where newer stuff uses GPS... this is bad because crystals drift if they are not pampered (correct temperature, humidity, shielding, etc). The result of the simulcast timing off is pretty obvious... poor system performance.

Ok, rant mode off.
 

oneworld

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Thanks for your reply. I have in my system Ashford, Ashford Ambulance & Eastford. Should the frequency in tone out be 33.800 or 152.0075? I have confermed my A & B tone settings. thanks for the help.
 

cristisphoto

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Also guys for an expanation on how to get the August copy of Monotoring Times..
Warm Regards,
Crista
 

dittrimd

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spatch713.

As I understand it KX has not gone to alpha paging yet but is planning to with the renovations of the dispatch center. Have you been doing some testing prior to system implementation? How do you know about the intereference and the problems it causes otherwise? I the interference you are talking about when you are trying to hear a tone and voice message and you hear the digital POSCAG transmission? Or are you getting al lot of garbled alpha pages? This may not be the hospitals at all. We at TN have been having the same problems. Becuase the tone and voice is a single site usually strapped off a 33.80 base and the alpha paging is simulcasted off all sites and there is not busy channel lock out except for three sites. Somers, Tolland, Coventry, you could be hearing the QV alpha paging system coming off another tower. Your situation in East Hampton could be that you are getting tone and voice off of Buckley Hill and are hearing alpha off of Birch Mountain.

I also know that the analog tone and voice could be simulcasted but becuase of improper timing the overlap zones are pretty much incoherent. On the digital side however I have tested the system extensively and I would say 99% of the time I get the complete and correct message.

Also on the radio hardware the radio is both analog and digital. Analog for the tone and voice and digital for the paging. The system is primarily linked on a couple of 75 mhz frequencys but also ustilizes some state police MW sites.

As far as the age of the system define old? Most of the stuff that TN, WW, KX and QV are currently using for communications is 70's 80' vintage stuff (Motorola PURC's 250 watt lowband). Lately there has been some movement to purchase Daniels electronics Radios which are the best on the market as far as I am concened. The harware for the alpha paging system is mid eighties commercial grade paging harware that is pretty easy to maintain and has been very reliable. Yes the simulcast technology has improved over time but the fact that QV has over 1600 users and WW and KX are now going to the system must say something. I have heard KX is not only buying into the system but is buying pagers for all of its departments. TN is dragging its feet on the system for a plethora of reasons that should be in anther post all together.

Ultimately the system while older provided many improvements over tone and voice.

1. Cost is less for departments as Minitor 5 pagers are 500.00 a piece and a alpha pager is ~100.00 a piece (Great for those smaller vollie depts. who are always strapped for cash!!)
2. Alpa paging is quicker and more efficient. Structure fire tones do not take minutes rather seconds with Alpha.
3. No more toning over other dispatch centers becuase the dispatchers either cant here them or were not listening.
4. County or Multicounty wide paging capability through multiple cap codes. ( If you have ever heard TN tone out for a major incident like the dive team activation the tones can take up to three minutes to put out tones for every department. Alpa paging would be instantaneous.
5. Seamless back up for each dispatch center with all of us on the same system.
6. Simulcast means dispatch centers do not have to tone of multiple towers to get complete coverage for a single town.

On and on ... hands down it is a better way to go.
 

CT22

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I agree that it is good but not really. What do you do if that main hub goes down? Rely on the backup right? Thats nice but there is only one guy who really knows the in's and out's of the setup and thats Al RS-3. There are many parts of the system that can fail: the 72 mhz, 75 mhz and the individual 152.0075 transmitters. here are a lot more links, etc that can fail. Your telling me that if TN goes down that some other agency can seamlessly pick up the extra work? Possibly, but It doesnt happen that easily speaking from experience behind the console. The few times situations like these came up was during strong storms where everyone was getting hammered and it was hard keeping up with departments you normally dispatch. After all you would have to manually type all the info into the CAD or whatever your center is using to send the page. Try doing that while handling a ton of other towns and taking more calls with only two people is a bad idea. And unless you can think of a way for your local EOC or FD to be able to cost effectivly access the system its just easier to stay with tone and voice.

I am NOT against the POCSAG but I think they both have their place. You should also look into whether or not this is even an ISO recognized system. I would assume it would be since its not a third party owned/maintained system. Also check NFPA 1221 i believe they have a clause about alpha paging as well.

All of the KX towns are in the testing phase right now so whoever told you we dont have alpha pagers is wrong. We have had them for at least 6 months some of us longer.

How do I know about the system interference? Simple a PC, receiver, discriminator audio, terminal program and a yagi. I just watch the pages go and clash on a constant basis. Its even worse with a standard whip antenna that comes with your everyday scanner. The yagi is great for this reason.

Buckley Hill and Birch Mt. do not affect us for the most part. Our tone and voice is off Baker Hill in East Hampton and the POCSAG coverage is off Cobalt and Buckley, maybe some Birch Mt depending on your location.

The cost of the pagers is really a great selling point but you really have to think about losing the capability to monitor local communities activity, losing your fireground frequency if you have a 2ch pager, losing in some cases the amplified charger (some companies like Swissphone have this option), and the durability of a /\/\ tone/voice pager. Just losing the ability to monitor the operations/fireground frequency is a BIG problem in my eyes. Not every FF/EMT is into radios and most dont understand them so they rely on that pager to hear important stuff while enroute to a call (scene unsafe, driver needed, call cancelled, etc). Some other minor issues: you have to free up your hands to read the message and a low alert level (may not wake you up).

Keep up the good discussion!
 

NeFire242

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I would be one to have to agree with the fact it would be scary to see any department rely solely upon alpha paging for fire alerting. I wouldn't mind seeing that as a secondary means as in not only would I get the QCII alert and the voice to my fire pager, but an alpha page sent to my alphanumeric pager. This would allow those without stored voice, etc to copy the address or get an update for the call.

Alpha paging should be in addition to, not replace QCII and voice paging options. :)
 

dittrimd

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spatch713,

I did not realize you were doing testing that is why the question about how you knew about the interference. All I had heard was that KX was going to the system. I like the setup you have for testing. With this I agree you can see what is causing the collision. Most of the people I have to deal with do not have any where near the level of expertise or equipment you have that is why I had to ask.

Yes equipment can fail but not everyone has a back up tone and voice radio either. If (1) one 152 transmitter goes down all is not lost. Due to the fact that the system is simulcasted you could still get the alpha page of one of the other towers. In some cases there are towns in TN that do not have complete coverage on two tone and voice radios so if their primary transmitter goes down some of their members will not be able to get pages. For this I say the alpha gives you a better back up capability.

As for Al he is not the only one who knows how to service the equipment. The guy purchases the equipment (CJ) from can work on the system. This is all pretty standard commercial paging equipment originally Quintron who is now owned by Glenayre equipment that is still supported by the manufacturer. Yes there are two hubs one in Danielson and the other in Coventry. If all the dispatch centers have the same interface to the system they can send out the alpha pages automatically. All dispatch centers have a primary and complete secondary 72/75 MHz transmitter. There is complete redundancy in the system and since the system has been in place there have not been any major problems. I know this since when TN asked QV what the annual maintenance cost were QV did not know since they had not had any. Al does have to go out every 6 months to tune the VCO's at all sites to ensure the best operation for simulcasting but that is pretty much it.

I have never been a dispatcher so I will not presume to know anything thing about the difficulties you face on a day to day basis. As I remember the last time TN had a major hit in 2001 we sent at least one dispatcher to KX to help out. TN was out for close to a week while the phone company fixed the problem as I remember. I am not garunteeing it would be easier but it would be more difficult if we had a separate system from KX. And yes the coordination would have to be put in place for local EOC to help support in times of heavy traffic. We do this in our towns now even when TN is running well. Last fall during the floods for instance Ellington, Tolland, Vernon put EOC's online. Again not easy but easier if we are all on the same system.

I am pretty sure that the system is NFPA compliant although I have not verified this myself in the code. And for the record I am completely against any type of third party commercial system to support public safety. Be it commercial alpha paging or VoIP etc. No vested interest in public safety only money, no backup system on and on... Which this system is not. It is owned and operated by a public safety entity who’s primary interest is public safety not money.

As for the pagers themselves my experience has been that the Minitor series has gotten worse since the Minitor 2's. Our department was using all low band 2 channel Minitor 2 pagers. We had the usual problems with knobs and belt clips and battery door breaking but the radio part of the radio worked flawlessly. Descent ground plane and good reception. Good audio and tight receivers. We purchase 35 3's on VHF back in 2003 and they have been less than reliable. Many have gone back to mother M for the circuit board solder problem. The knobs fall off continually and the clips and battery doors are no better. The 4's at least have better knobs but that is all it is pretty much a 3 with new knobs. The 5's have gotten better but changed shape so none of our M3 amplified bases work. They use a nonstandard battery that cost $12.00 each. Not to mention that the low band version receiver does not perform nearly as good as the M2's. I attribute it to the reduced size of the ground plane. Compared to the M2 it is greatly reduced. We have multiple complaints from departments who have stayed with low band M5 pagers on reception and they always want it to be the dispatch centers paging radio at fault. When my department switched to 152 Tolland did not have its 154.7400 radio up and running so we just gave up the convenience of a second channel or some individuals bought a scanner. To me tone and voice or alpha is all for the same purpose, call alerting not scanning.

Ultimately I believe that alpha paging is the future. I have no problem maintaining tone and voice on 33.80 and give the departments the choice. QV did just this and guess what. Most if not all of their departments are all on alpha 1600+ users!! I spoke with one of their dispatchers who on a weekend shift forgot to put out the tone and voice on four (4) calls and did not get one call or complaint!!

Now if you are getting destructive interference where you located in E. Hampton then yes I agree this system may not be for you. On you testing in the last six months how many pages have you missed? How many have been garbled? And out of how many test pages. When we did our testing at TN I had close to 40 test pages in various locations around eastern Connecticut. I never missed one and only two were garbled. One was garbled beyond recognition. What kind of data have you been getting in your testing?

I looked at the licenses for Gaylord and Yale. I am surprised that a signal over 10 miles away could cause problems for you in East Hampton with a site located in your town. I am not saying I doubt your findings but I am surprised. I mean Yale and Gaylord are closer to each other than either one of them are to you. You would thing they would have more problems with co channel usage between each other before you would with them.

Thanks for the info and please keep me updated as I am always interested in these types of thing.

Mark.
 

CT22

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I cant reply to all of this right now but the tower in Cobalt (part of East Hampton) is not very elevated and is surrounded by hills. There is a UHF link on the site as well and you cant hear it more than about 3 miles away... just for some background.

I guess I could send you a copy of a daily log and then you can see for yourself.
 
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