unitrunker issue

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pdeveau2010

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Hi I am using unitrunker with 1 dongle and sdr sharp, it works, sdr sharp is able to follow the frequencies fine, but it won't stay on the frequency for more than 1 second, so i use the delay retune box and it just stops and stays on the control channel even though unitrunker is still following channels, no matter if i use squelch or the signal option. any clue as to why that is. thanks.
 

aspicer

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Hi I am using unitrunker with 1 dongle and sdr sharp, it works, sdr sharp is able to follow the frequencies fine, but it won't stay on the frequency for more than 1 second, so i use the delay retune box and it just stops and stays on the control channel even though unitrunker is still following channels, no matter if i use squelch or the signal option. any clue as to why that is. thanks.
If you get that answered let me know too. If you set the priority for your important TALK GROUPS they should not be shifting off of them for something of lower priority. 50 seems to be the default priority.

How did you get 1 device? 1 dongle ... to work in both Unitracker and SDR Sharp? I tested that and Unitracker gets the 1 and SDR Sharp gets nothing ... crashes ... burns ... doesn't work.
 

aspicer

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Debug receiver sends PARKED too fast ... cutting off most dispatch calls. Anybody know how to change something so it doesn't do that? There must be a setting for how fast to park? Or what triggers PARKED? This surely isn't the Repeater (The frequency the GROUP is currently on) dropping. PARKED is taking SDR# off the frequency to the parking frequency. This is even without any new GROUP that's not locked out to be signaling for it to change.
 

aspicer

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Watching the Site 1 Primary window in Unitrunker ... (the one with the health display bar graph) The top section is LCN, Frequency, and Audience, etc. ... When the DISPATCHER is talking the channel seems to fade from *green* with the Audience and such data to frequency in black and the other data fades. It does this while dispatcher is still talking. And this is when the channel is dumped by Unitracker so we go to parked until the next person keys a microphone fresh. It doesn't seem to happen to the mobile units on longer transmissions like it does to the dispatcher. Does this mean we have detected the wrong kind of Motorola system or something? That actions does not at all seem correct.
 

SCPD

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Unitrunker was built for monitoring the control channel first, and following voice calls second. You'll need a second physical receiver for voice following.
 

aspicer

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Unitrunker was built for monitoring the control channel first, and following voice calls second. You'll need a second physical receiver for voice following.
I hoped you would go in this thread and answer to this issue. I do have a 2nd receiver in my setup. SDR# will not even work if I don't have 2 RTL-SDR dongles in the computer.

The question still is ... why would the frequency show GREEN and the talk group (and source) data ... then fade out ... while dispatcher is still talking? It seems that due to this the debug receiver throws PARKED and the tracking just died while dispatcher is still talking. Doesn't seem to happen when the mobile units are talking. A good percentage of the voice gets dropped due to this. And it's pretty much not worth listening to. For example a dispatcher says to a unit "copy a signal 4 (accident) at ..." and the tracking gets dropped before she says or finishes the address. In my mind that frequency should remain valid and active for as long as the dispatcher is talking. After she un keys her microphone ... the control can them move the talk group to another frequency, and that often happens. But why does a frequency FADE OUT from being active while dispatcher is still talking? I would not think that would be normal behavior. And it would affect any receiver that gets used, I would think, with Unitracker. Maybe this specific to Broward County Public Service trunking system? Or do I have something set wrong? It's Motorola system - no encryption. I'm pretty sure I have the best CONTROL CHANNEL frequency for this system for the Main #1 site.
 

SCPD

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If you have misconfigured SDR# to respond to voice tuning and act as the signal receiver for control channel data - you will have this problem. The receiver leaves the control channel to follow a voice call. The decode rate on the signal receiver's input drops to zero since it is no longer on the control channel.
 

aspicer

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Let's assume for a minute that I'm not an idiot ... just for fun. I already said I am not using the same usb dongle to do two purposes ... as a matter of fact it seems impossible for me to do so. Windows will not allow that device to be used by two different software programs.

So what's next?

It has happened a little bit less since I changed the control channel setting testing to see if any of the other possible control channels would work. None of them do except for the one I am using.

Are you familiar with the functionality that I describe? Once the control channel is initially locked onto and decoded a nice SITE window pops up. It has the frequencies at the top. As users transmit it updates what Talk Group is active, if any, one each frequency. So if I am watching only a few talk groups - it's not hard for me to watch that window and see what happens when the dispatcher or a user (both are actually users?) is transmitting and the group is active on any particular frequency. THE FREQUENCY is GREEN while user is transmitting. Turns black when the stop stransmitting ... and the Audience and other fields *fade* ... in other words the CONTROL released that frequency. This is the CONTROL we are watching right? Not some movie on HBO and not what SDR# is doing. Pretend SDR# doesn't exist. Pretend we are just watching the CONTROL with Unitracker. WHAT IT HAS BEEN DOING is while a user, say the dispatcher, is still talking - the frequency turns from GREEN to BLACK and the data on that line fades as if user stop transmitting ... but I don't think they did. So the transmission gets lost. The other user, say the police mobile unit, acts and talks as if this didn't happen. They act as if they heard everything. So in their radios this bad thing did NOT happen. But in Unitracker it did happen. I see with my own eyes. I also see in Debug RX where it throws PARKED. So obviously now if we add SDR# back into the mix ... you also heard with your ears (well my ears) the transmission getting cut short. Getting cut off.

Anyway if you are actually UNITRACKER as in a programmer that wrote the code ... perhaps there is a LOG I can capture of this happening ... and I can send it to you. Maybe this is BUG and you will want to get Grace Hopper on it right away. :)
 

SCPD

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Alan;

Let's assume for a minute that I'm not an idiot ... just for fun.
I just re-read your earlier post. I took it to mean the signal strength bar (which is green on a good decode) turned black - indicating loss of control channel signal. You were describing a voice channel.

However, you also made this comment:
It seems that due to this the debug receiver throws PARKED and the tracking just died while dispatcher is still talking.
When the debug receiver - which should be driving the voice following instance of SDR# - is parked, that instance of SDR# will move to the parked frequency. If that instance of SDR# was actually the one providing control channel data - you've just tuned away from your control channel - which fits the symptoms you described.

Anyway if you are actually UNITRACKER as in a programmer that wrote the code ...
I know not of this "Unitracker". I also did not create the plugin the allows Unitunker to assert tuner control over SDR#. Other people can help you with that.

THE FREQUENCY is GREEN while user is transmitting. Turns black when the stop stransmitting ... and the Audience and other fields *fade* ...
If the frequency is green, that call has been selected for voice following. Your voice following receiver should be tuned to that frequency. The bottom of the receiver window will display the call information.

You mentioned Broward county. Is this the system?

Broward County Public Services Trunking System, Broward County, Florida - Scanner Frequencies

Try this: delete the debug receiver. Run only the discriminator signal-role receiver. Does the traffic appear normal. Does the signal strength stay in the green or does it turn yellow, red, or even black? Is SDR# tuned to a single frequency or is it doing something else - like scanning a list of frequencies?

When you re-add the debug receiver, make sure the plugin that drives SDR# is only present on one of the SDR# instances. That generally means running them from different folders.

Good luck.
 

aspicer

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Alan;

I just re-read your earlier post. I took it to mean the signal strength bar (which is green on a good decode) turned black - indicating loss of control channel signal. You were describing a voice channel.
Right ... the relationship between a Frequency and a "voice channel" I think would be more correct. But you are right I was NOT talking about the signal strength. Sometimes my signal strength does go into yellow and even red. But hits green pretty often. You might be onto something I'll have to watch more closely. When a conversation gets cut off ... did my signal strength just take a dive also? So maybe I'm losing control channel data? Hmmm. I really need to get proper coax adaptors - I'm trying to use a vertical antenna up 25 - 30 feet cut for 440 Mhz and 144 Mhz dual band. But I'm probably not coupling into the coax connection very good.

However, you also made this comment:
When the debug receiver - which should be driving the voice following instance of SDR# - is parked, that instance of SDR# will move to the parked frequency. If that instance of SDR# was actually the one providing control channel data - you've just tuned away from your control channel - which fits the symptoms you described.
Not using two instances of SDR#, only one. One Unitrunker and 1 SDR Sharp - each one gets its own RTL-SDR radio dongle.

I know not of this "Unitracker". I also did not create the plugin the allows Unitunker to assert tuner control over SDR#. Other people can help you with that.
Yah but I think you know I just typo'd or brain farted on that one. So change Unitracker to Unitrunker. So are you the author of Unitrunker or not? I am KA4UDX, Alan Spicer. You can look me up on Google and QRZ.com. Just trying to establish who I am talking to. At least what role you play with Unitrunker.

If the frequency is green, that call has been selected for voice following. Your voice following receiver should be tuned to that frequency. The bottom of the receiver window will display the call information.
Yes, and all of that works. But it then turns black sometimes while a user is still transmitting / talking. Usually it is a dispatcher on 4368 talk group. That's what I listen to. Turns black and then the data on that line does a slow fade away. Meanwhile the Voice Following has been dropped with a PARKED situation.

Yes it is. And I am on the Site #1 Primary and on the only CONTROL CHANNEL that seems to work: 855.66250.

Try this: delete the debug receiver. Run only the discriminator signal-role receiver. Does the traffic appear normal. Does the signal strength stay in the green or does it turn yellow, red, or even black? Is SDR# tuned to a single frequency or is it doing something else - like scanning a list of frequencies?

When you re-add the debug receiver, make sure the plugin that drives SDR# is only present on one of the SDR# instances. That generally means running them from different folders.

Good luck.
I will try that ... but I think I have done that many times already. I may not have observed closely for my problem that I've describe though while having done that. I'll try again. Also I will try and get better signal coupling into my signal-role receiver and see if that helps. The little coax cable and antenna they give you with the dongles isn't very good for 800 Mhz ... and putting it into So-239 with an Alligator clip lead isn't exactly wonderful either. It was a temporary measure.

May take me a few days to sort all of that out. Thanks for the help.

Alan Spicer
KA4UDX
 

aspicer

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This was originally pdeveau2010's thread on here. The ? originally was "Why doesn't Delay Retune work"? I do realize that is a Trunker *Plugin" question ... but I don't want to post the same content to multiple threads.

You would think that the reason for having "Delay Retune" would be to help with the exact problem that I'm seeing. and the I think pdeveau2010 was seeing. For some reason the frequency that a particular TARGET (GROUP) in Unitracker is ON times out before the conversation is finished. (I don't know if for pdeveau2010 he has too many things same priority or lower? But I do NOT.)

I've been trying to find out how the exact CONTROL channel decode happens ...

Is there a timeout? In other words ...

1.) GROUP MEMBER begins transmit
2.) Frequency is assigned for GROUP
3.) Timer loop begins
4.) Timer loop runs out and expires Frequency for GROUP
5.) Else ... Member stops transmitting and expires Frequency for GROUP.

For some reason this phenomena is happening ... and it's not my control channel signal level. And I'm not crazy. :)

How does the CONTROL protocol do it? Is it decoded that the frequency is actually expired? Because it sure appears from listening to the voice ... that the actual intended USER is hearing the whole transmission. Because they never say 10-9? What did you say? you got cut off!!!! (Although that does happen from time to time when two USERs collide and transmit on top of each other.)

The frequency gets dropped in the middle of a longer transmission ... it never gets picked back up because there is no NEW CALL until they finish transmitting. The replies after come through ok because a new CALL occurs which assigns a new frequency for the group.
 

aspicer

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I've captured some debug logging. I can't find any OSW that is telling to disconnect. I see the channel grant messages and continuation messages.

Tonight after midnight ... it seemed to work a little bit better. But still dropped some conversations. And the parties to the conversations went on as if they didn't miss anything. When a channel and hence a voice following drops ... it doesn't pick back up again, it seems, until another channel grant.

I'm trying now to understand the Debug Receiver. It's a receiver, right? So it's receiving the voice channel right? Does it detect something like the handshaking on the voice channel and disconnect tones? Or what does Debug Receiver do besides write the file that SDR# uses to switch frequencies? Is Debug Receiver or Signal (RTL receiver) what is dropping the voice and the frequency?

How is debug receiver working off of only one RTL-SDR dongle? I'm guessing it can do that within the software ... but doesn't that take it off the control channel? Or can it do both at the same time.

Sorry for such seemingly dumb questions ... but there's nothing in the software or elsewhere to tell me how this actually works. I'm trying to figure out for myself why this is broken for me. At least partially broken.
 
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