Tone outs on BCD436HP

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OrangeRider

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I've used the tone out search function to capture some local tone outs, but I have a question. I suspect there is a "tolerance" for the tone outs, based on the use of Audacity and a phone app to check a recording of a tone out test, I'm only close, but never dead on. What is the normal "tolerance" of the tone out settings in hertz?

I may be using the wrong terminology here, but hopefully you'll understand what I'm asking. In other words, if I set channel 1 tone A at 345 hz, and tone B at 425, will the tone out standby still capture a tone out on channel 1 if tone A is 349 and tone B is 422?

Thanks in advance,
OrangeRider
 

sibbley

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Yes. The A & B tones found during the tone out search will be close enough. Take a look at this chart.

http://www.midians.com/pdf/tone-signaling-charts.pdf

There many different types listed. You'll most likely be looking at Quick Call II. Find the closest tone on the chart to match what you got during the tone out search. It can be a pretty big difference but still trip during tone out standby.

I use all of the tones found during tone out search, checked with Audacity, in my commercial radios and they alert just fine every time.

Close is for hand grenades and horse shoes, and apparently A & B tones too.
 
D

DaveNF2G

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The advertised tolerance for the original FTO equipped scanners was 4%. I don't know if that spec has been refined with newer models or not.

This means that your higher tones will be further "off" than your lower tones.
 

OrangeRider

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Thanks for the help. I did see the charts before, but I overlooked the paging formats, and yes it appears the ones I'm interested in are of the Quick Call II format. I may send an email to UPMan for the tone out specs of the BCD436HP.

Thanks again,
OrangeRider
 

ofd8001

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"Most" fire departments I am aware of will use the Motorola Quick Call II format One Plus One shown on the chart. There are some "residual" tones in the Quick Call 1 Two Plus Two table that may still be in use.

Quick Call II format has more tones allowing for greater flexibility and lessens the potential for tone overlap. Tone overlapping is where a certain sequency of tones may inadvertently cause an undesired activation of a pager. For example four tones go out intending to alert departments X and Y. The second and third tones may be those that alert department Z.

If it was me, I'd see what my tone searching shows, then find the closest match on the charts and program that in my FTO on the scanner.

Both tones will come from the same chart, as in they will NOT use one Quick Call 1 and one Quick Call 2 tone.
 

OrangeRider

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Thanks. Most of the tones I captured fall pretty close to the values in the chart, but there are a few that have me scratching my head. When I get home later this evening I'll post a few example of those, and maybe someone could point me in the right direction. Also, just to be sure, it doesn't matter if the two tones are in different groups of the chart, right, as long as they're on the chart somewhere?

Thanks for your help,
OrangeRider
 

SteveC0625

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Don't overlook the Plectron, Reach, and GE tone charts. Plectron is still widely used but has mostly migrated to the standard QC-II tone timings. GE will be found infrequently. I haven't seen any Reach in quite a while but I have no doubt that it is still in use somewhere.
 

ofd8001

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Also, just to be sure, it doesn't matter if the two tones are in different groups of the chart, right, as long as they're on the chart somewhere?
That is correct. You won't find a GE tone used with a Plectron tone. (Keeping tones in the same "family" means a dispatch center needs only one tone generator).

Also it's unlikely that a Motorola tone from the Quick Call 1 chart (such as 398.1) being used with a Motorola Quick Call 2 tone (such as 349.0).

If you could post those "mystery" tones, we might be able to shed some light on them.
 

OrangeRider

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Actually, after looking closer, most of my tones aren't as far off the chart as I thought, although one I used Audacity to decipher was 674 and 2800. Looks like 2468 is the highest in the QC II 1+1 chart.

I understand the thought process to use the number closest to the one on the chart. I guess my thinking is probably flawed a little, but I'm thinking using the numbers captured using the tone out search would be better. My thinking is that even though the numbers on the chart are probably the "pure" or target tone, my scanner (or anyone's) might recognize that tone as a few hertz higher or lower, and by using the tones on the chart, you would actually be moving away from the tone it captured. And I would suspect both ways would work just fine (given there is some tolerance).

I guess another way I'm thinking about it (and could be totally wrong) is that if for example, if my scanner detects 349.0 hz as 335hz, why would I want to program 349.0, when my scanner detected that tone as 335? And please understand, I'm not advocating anyone do it this way, or that anyone else is wrong, it's just the way my simple mind thinks, and just makes for good discussion and hopefully a better understanding.

Also, I did get a number of one tone pages, whether it would have a tone for A and 0 for B, or 0 for A, and a tone for B, I did get a number of those type pages.

I appreciate the help,
OrangeRider
 

ofd8001

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I guess the "proof will be in the pudding". If your program the tones as identified by Audacity in your scanner and it alerts as it should, then all is well. If the scanner doesn't alert, it's back to the drawing board.

Nevertheless there could be reasons why Audacity interprets 349.0 as 335. I don't have much experience with searching for tones. The ones I'm interested in are those I had a hand in configuring a couple of years ago for our county fire service's pagers. So the only searching I had to do was for the spreadsheet on my computer which had them.

Those "one tone" pages you heard were most probably group call tones. Around our place, there are some 17 fire departments with more than 500 firefighters. There are a couple of these group call tones, one of which alerts all 500 firefighters with one tone. An example of that would be for bad weather notification. If we didn't have that one "All Call" group tone, it would take some 40 sets of tones to alert all firefighters. At four seconds or so per tone group, you can envision how long that would take.

Here's a snippet from the Uniden manual on how to program those one tone pages:

For one-tone pages using short tones between 1.25 and 3.75 seconds, enter tone
for tone A, and 0 for tone B.

For long-tone pages, such as group pages of more than 3.75 seconds, enter 0 for
tone A, and the tone for B.
 

OrangeRider

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Actually, at the present, the only tone outs I have programmed are the ones I captured using the tone out search. Another example is one I captured last night, tone A was 1273.8 and tone B was 2837.2. I'm still in the tone out "search and capture" mode, and will probably be there for a while.

What I've been trying to do when I really don't have time to listen (sometimes at work or while sleeping at night), is leave my scanner on the tone out search, with the delay time set to indefinite, so it holds on a find, even though some of those finds end up being a tone out already captured. I sometimes have a BC72XLT with me on the tone out frequency, while my BCD436HP is in the tone out search mode. This allows me to hear the tone out and the dispatch message on the BC72XLT, while the 436 is capturing the tones. While I have the department name for a few tone outs, it may take a while, but eventually I'll get most or all of them.

What I find strange about the single tone outs captured, is I really can't remember ever hearing a single tone on the 72, yet when I get back to the 436, I notice a single tone captured. Don't know why, but maybe someone will tell me why that happens.

I must say, I'm really enjoying using the new scanner. It's probably just as much learning something new, as it is the new scanner. I always wanted to do this, but finally making the time to learn it. Of course having a wealth of knowledgeable folks eager to help is a BIG advantage.

Thanks again,
OrangeRider
 
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