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More Minitor Protramming Questions

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Jan 20, 2008
So just when I finally thought I had figured my minitor out, our dispatching decided to change over the weekend! I want to run this by knowledgeable people (aka you guys!) to see if what I'm thinking makes any sense now.

Our dispatch comes off of a main frequency of 159.5xxx. The problem is that the tower is so far away that our pagers often miss pages when we're indoors (ironically our pagers don't work inside the station unless they are in a amplified charger which is jerry rigged to an external antenna--the same one, i think, our plectron sits on). To alleviate this problem, the dispatching agency about 2 years ago decided to build us a new tower... that's just as far away on the opposite side of us. It's helped with transmission and receiving on scene for those parts of our run district, but obviously it doesn't help with reception in the station or in buildings in the town we are in. Also, it doesn't help that we're using 151-158 band plan pagers on a 159.5xxx system. Theoretically, the degradation for using it out of band should only be like 20-30% at most, but if we're already that far away, even 5% could mean the difference between the pager alerting and not alerting. FWIW, i we have a few 159-167 pagers(including mine) and it picks up about 50% of the time.

This past weekend, they decided to turn the old police radio tower into a repeater for the main dispatch channel. We're using the EMS Tac 2 Channel (since it's rarely ever used for anything) on 154.xxxx off of the lower powered tower in town. So when we are within city limits, we tune our walkies to EMS Tac 2, and when we are out of town, we use the main dispatch channel as we always have. Because our trucks have repeaters on them, we still always transmit on the main dispatch channel so the EMS Tac 2 channel is used as an "output only" channel right now.

So, what's the best way to do this pager-wise with the Minitor IV's and V's?

My initial thought: because the 159-167 pager is further from the 154 channel, we should use a 151-158 pager and program the 159 channel out of band as we have been doing for years. It's only a problem inside buildings within city limits. The other 199 square miles of our coverage area, the 151-158 pagers pick up just fine.

Current settings:
SW-A: Alert (SelCal) for our department
SW-B: Monitor with alert for our department
SW-C: Monitor with alert for our department plus all of the township fire departments that we provide EMS for (using onduty/off-duty mode or for 2 frequency pagers, using F2 programmed to the same frequency with an expanded set of tones)
SW-D: Vibra-Alert, Push To Listen (SelCal) for our department (Tactical Mode/Church Mode)

I'm thinking that we can set-up our 151-158 pagers to get the same results as we currently have by doing this:
SW-A: Silent Scan - Alert for our department tones
SW-B: Normal Scan - Alert for our department tones
SW-C: Normal Scan - Alert for our department and all affiliated township departments
SW-D: Silent Scan - VibraPage, PTL for our department (Tactical/Church Mode)

There's debate as to whether or not this will work. SW-C isn't necessary and is only there as a convenience. If a rescue incident is called 30 miles over, it gives members time to wrap up what they are doing knowing that in a few minutes there will probably be EMS tones going off when the rescue finds injuries. It also allows for members living further out to be able to head toward the station and not have to use L&S on their POVs but still make it to the station on time.

One proposal is to make SW-B and SW-C priority scans, one for F1 (the main channel) and one for F2 (the local repeated channel). The reason for this is the concern that if in normal scan mode, the pager may get some static on F1 and freeze there when it doesn't have good enough fidelity to hear the tones and not flip over to F2 to continue to listen for tones. And SW-A and SW-D as what is in my current plan.

One other proposal is to make the pager a "full manual" pager so you could always force it to what you wanted.
SW-A would be Alert F1 (for when you're not in town)
SW-B would be Alert F2 (for when you are in town)
SW-C would be Church Mode F1
SW-D would be Church Mode F2
and "if someone wants to monitor, tell 'em to get a darn scanner!"

Are any of these options viable? Or am I completely heading down the wrong path here?


May 11, 2014
Centerville, WA
I'm going through some of the same issues with our new simulcast system.
My understanding is that Priority Scan F1 will only alert on F1. If there is a matching tone on F2 it does not alert. I've done some experimenting to confirm this.
Based on what I've been able to determine, I can not rely on Priority Scan to alert on F2, AND I can not rely on Normal or Silent scan to reliably alert on a tone if there is also traffic on the other frequency.

From what I've read of the Minitor 6, it appears the same limitations are in place. Pretty disappointing.
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