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UHF Business band repeater? Can't connect

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dubs0980

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Hey guys,

This has been bugging me and I'm hoping you guys have some ideas. My business seems to have a Motorola business radio system with a repeater (or what I assume is a repeater.) I hear traffic on 461.2875 and 466.2875. Standard uhf offset right. 466 seems to be the input. I've had my scanner listen and look for PL tones on the input and output and nothing is heard. However I still can't connect to the repeater (I'm using a commercial UHF.) I've tired wide band and narrow. Shot 40 watts at it and stood 100 yards from the repeater with a portable. The guy that apparently admins the system has no idea what they have and its 10+ years old. I guess that speaks to its reliability.

Any ideas why I can't get on it?
 

quarterwave

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OK, you said "my" business...and "seems".

Just humor us...do you mean you own the business or the company you work for?

And "seems"...have you seen the equipment? There either is one or is not one. Do you know the traffic you are hearing is "your" own businesses' traffic? Who programmed the portable? Is it one of the fleet or your own you just began to try and use?

What are you using to find the PL/DPL?

Lastly, if it's Motorola, who was it bought from? They might have some records. If you can get to the equipment it may even be marked. Are you sure of the frequency? A scanner might hear .3000 or .2750 as .2875 and if you tried to input with the radio on the wrong freq or read pl/dpl on the wrong freq...won't work.

10 Years isn't old, so this should be easy to resolve if you can get to the right person/info.
 

KB1VLA

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If you're not hearing a PL/DCS tone, it might actually be an LTR trunk, which would explain why you can't access the repeater with a standard radio.
 

jim202

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Hey guys,

This has been bugging me and I'm hoping you guys have some ideas. My business seems to have a Motorola business radio system with a repeater (or what I assume is a repeater.) I hear traffic on 461.2875 and 466.2875. Standard uhf offset right. 466 seems to be the input. I've had my scanner listen and look for PL tones on the input and output and nothing is heard. However I still can't connect to the repeater (I'm using a commercial UHF.) I've tired wide band and narrow. Shot 40 watts at it and stood 100 yards from the repeater with a portable. The guy that apparently admins the system has no idea what they have and its 10+ years old. I guess that speaks to its reliability.

Any ideas why I can't get on it?
You haven't answered any of the questions being asked so far.

The big concern here is just who controls the repeater?

The next question that is the only one that really counts, is do you have permission to add a radio onto this repeater? Just because you would like to be able to have a radio that can operate on this repeater could bring down some serious consequences on your shoulders.

Being new to the radio system there should have you walking carefully.
 

cortchubby

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cant get in?

well since you cant get in the repeater Im thinking you misread the freq with your scanner. Like the other poster said you may have read a drift freq and not the actual freq. There is a method to determine CTCSS/DPL on your given repeater. PM me for details on that.

As for getting on the system ask the admin if you can have a peek at the equipment and like others said check for markings.

the other way is to get a freq counter and hang out waiting for the repeater to key so you can get the correct output then do the math ( +5.0) as for getting in trouble. the only way you would see "trouble" is if this isnt your repeater, you dont have permission to access the system or you get on causing interference.

Remember this isnt a hamster repeater this is real commercial radio, so you dont have to go thru the gauntlet of "radio nazis" to get on the air but you DO have to go about it the correct and legal way

your best and safest bet here is to talk to the system admin and go from there.
 

dubs0980

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Sorry guys. Long weekend. Thanks for the reply's. To ease anyone's concerns this is the warehouse and maintenance radios for the business I work for (definitely our traffic.) I have access to a radio if I need it and its nothing critical or during any busy times. Mainly it's just an exercise of I thought they were just simplex business band radios and now I'm just curious. I've been using my pt 90 ham and a cs700 trying to connect. The 'admin' is just one of our IT guys who has never had to work on the system. He's not a radio guy what so ever. The only work he said he's done was move the repeater when we added some space to the warehouse.

I'm using my 396xt and got the frequencies with the close call feature in the first place. After I got the frequencies programmed in I did a search for ctcss on the 'input' and 'outputs'. It's worked before and I figured it would work this time. Still no PL's show up on the input 466 or output 461. I'm curious on the drift idea? I know strong signals can overwhelm the scanner but these are actually pretty weak after they get to my area. Any of my other radios seem to hear them well on 461.2875 as well which the scanner shows.

I don't hear any LTR bursts or data on the frequencies and its always the same traffic on 461.2875 and 466.2875. There is another pair of frequencies on 492.9125 and 497.9215 which is our maintenance guys.

I'm certainly not looking to step on anyone's toes. It's just bugging me to know we have a system here and I don't know how it works. Further more we have fcc resisted frequencies that seem to be a dual DMR repeater setup that we never use and I've never heard a peep on.

thanks for the advice guys and sorry for the late reply.
 

mmckenna

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If your scanner is only capable of displaying standard CTCSS/PL tones, that could be your issue.

It's entirely possible that the repeater is using DTCSS/DPL tones. A 10 year old system would more than likely have that capability.

You'd need to find a way to figure out what the DPL tone is, if that is what is really being used. Check for markings on the repeaters and check with your IT guy to see if he has any documentation.

Other possibility is that your scanner is only capable of decoding the standard TIA PL tones. There are other "non-standard" tones that could be used.

The repeater -should- be running in narrow mode. That is the requirement in the USA. Doesn't mean it's following the rules, though.
 

dubs0980

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If your scanner is only capable of displaying standard CTCSS/PL tones, that could be your issue.

It's entirely possible that the repeater is using DTCSS/DPL tones. A 10 year old system would more than likely have that capability.

You'd need to find a way to figure out what the DPL tone is, if that is what is really being used. Check for markings on the repeaters and check with your IT guy to see if he has any documentation.

Other possibility is that your scanner is only capable of decoding the standard TIA PL tones. There are other "non-standard" tones that could be used.

The repeater -should- be running in narrow mode. That is the requirement in the USA. Doesn't mean it's following the rules, though.

Hmm I thought the 396xt would pull them back. I've seen it pull back dcs and ctcss on the county fire radios when searching, However I just used my SDR and a ctcss program and its showing 67 hz on the input and 118.8 on the output, and I'm not getting anything with the scanner right next to it. Thanks for the thoughts!
 

robertpearsall

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What model Motorola radio are they using that might help out about age of system and what type of system also if you tell us the name of to company and what state somebody may already have the info you are trying to find.
 

dubs0980

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Most of them seem to be Moto PR400's. We are a little company and doubt anyone really wanted to talk to our warehouse guys. I'm starting to think the system is a little more robust, but am quite lost on the commercial radio in's and out's. Obviously.
 

jhal94

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Most of them seem to be Moto PR400's. We are a little company and doubt anyone really wanted to talk to our warehouse guys. I'm starting to think the system is a little more robust, but am quite lost on the commercial radio in's and out's. Obviously.
>PR400

Definitly LTR then
 

mmckenna

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The PR400 is definitely LTR capable, but that doesn't mean they are running an LTR system. The radio will do analog FM.

67hz and 118.8 are both valid CTCSS tones.
 

jhal94

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The PR400 is definitely LTR capable, but that doesn't mean they are running an LTR system. The radio will do analog FM.

67hz and 118.8 are both valid CTCSS tones.
True, although I have gotten false CTCSS tone readings before ( I know they were false because the radio was set up as CSQ).
 

mmckenna

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The data stream from LTR can be mistaken for CTCSS, but it's usually closer to 150Hz.
Would be interesting to see what this actually is. It'd be interesting if they are running a single channel LTR system.
Wouldn't be the fist time a radio shop oversold someone on a radio system. My son's school has an analog UHF channel. For some reason the shop decided the CP200's they used just weren't enough, they had to sell a public school XPR-6550's for a single analog channel. Wish I could get my hands on that sales guy's neck.
 

dubs0980

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I'm thinking the ctcss tones are a mistake even though the input is always showing 67 and output 118.8. The 396xt can and does pick them up along with any dcs tones and it's not, even with strong signals. I'd like to get out to the repeater but I'm not sure how far up there it is and if I need a lift. I was messing with a radio yesterday and the thing is on lock down. One button is programed for the backlight and everything else just switches channels. Only the two channels I found, General (warehouse stuff) and Maintenance. Are there other types of tones or connectivity methods a commercial repeater uses? I may use the SDR dongle today and see if there is an LTR decoder that picks something up. I'd like to get my hands on a codeplug but I'd assume whoever we buy the stuff from send the radios out pre loaded to our system.
 

ramal121

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A CTCSS decoder can lock onto LTR data and give odd tones so don't rely on what you are seeing.

A quick check to see if this is operating LTR. Do the radios beep when you press PTT? Although the beep could be disabled. Also, watch the transmit led. It should flash once or more before it locks on solid to talk out. If the radios don't do this I'd lean back toward a conventional repeater.

Are there other types of tones or connectivity methods a commercial repeater uses? If you are using PR400s, then you would be limited to CTCSS, DCS, or LTR.
 
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