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Tones?

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dustyboots

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New guy here,

Needing information on tones RX and TX. If there are no TX and RX tones and you are using a handheld radio does the frequency become line of sight only? Please explain.....
 

RKG

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Presuming you are referring to what are commonly known as PL and DPL tones, all they are is a means of programming a radio to be selective about un-muting audio on a given frequency. What it means is that if there are multiple co-channel users of a frequency (or pair), each user only has to listen to his own people.

Back in the 60s, before PL came along, commercial Part 90 licensees had to listen to all of the traffic on the channel. And this was exacerbated by the fact that, back then, most users were on VHF low band, so the range of other people's transmitters was far greater than on higher bands. What would happen is that your people would get so sick and tired of listening to drivel from other users that they would either turn their radios off or turn the volume so low that they'd miss calls. Continuous Tone-Controlled Squelch Systems were introduced by Motorola (under the name "PL" (for "Private Line")) and GE (under the name "Channel Guard") to deal with this problem.

For radio hobbyist listeners, PL has another advantage. Most consumer-grade, multi-band receivers have such wide open and non-selective front ends that, if you program a channel without tone (known as "CSQ" for "Carrier (only) Squelch"), not only will you hear everyone transmitting on the channel, but also you will hear interference and images caused by people transmitting on other channels.

Use of PL has no effect on the strength of a signal emitted by a transmitter or the sensitivity of a receiver.
 

dustyboots

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Feb 21, 2012
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Right on man,

I appreciate the answer. So if a frequency has no tones, lets say 168.000 TX and RX (VHF) and two people are communicating using handhelds. If the frequency isn't unlocking a repeater or trunked. It then becomes (my wording) a line of sight frequency in that how ever far the handhelds reach (1-3 miles)? Right?
 

Duster

CA/NV/KS/NE DB Admin
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If I'm grasping what you are asking, I'll see if I can clarify this...

The PL/DPL/CTCSS/DCS has nothing to do in "standard" radio system setups with whether a frequency is repeated or simplex (line of sight).

A channel that is the same frequency (168.000) both transmit and receive will be line of sight (with the only exception I can think of being a very rare simplex repeater system -- not commonly used in public safety). These are known as 'simplex' systems. Simplex system ranges are heavily influenced by radio power output, antenna height and location, and geographic features.

A channel that uses a repeater will have one frequency input [TX] and a second frequency output [RX]. (ie: 168.000 TX, 172.550 RX). The exception to this is the above-mentioned simplex repeater system; again, not very common. These systems are commonly known as 'semi-duplex' or 'repeater' systems. These systems are more stable for range and clarity, because all users receive the signal from the central antenna location. Terrain and transmit power still have a influence, especially if your line-of-sight to the antenna is blocked, you are an extreme distance from the antenna, you are using a low-powered radio, or any combination of these factors.

Radio systems using either of these methods MAY or MAY NOT be protected with CTCSS or DCS codes, although most systems nowadays have some kind of tone protection simply due to frequency congestion.

Expected transmission range varies significantly based upon many different factors. We can give you generalities here; you really need to consult a local radio professional who is familiar with your local terrain, etc, to get more reliable answers.

I hope that helps you...

Duster
 
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