Using bc796d as audio for trunker

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simka

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I'm a newbie using a tap and data slicer from Brett (who is very helpful) on a pro96. I'm running trunker from the ms dos prompt in Windows 98. Trunker seems to be working as I see the radio frequencies being tracked on the computer screen from a control channel. I would like to use the bc796d as the secondary radio for audio. I've set the trackscan=bc895, set the radio to PC-Clone-Slave. So far I just see "waiting for data" on the bc796d. Any ideas to get this working? Thanks Joe
 

SCPD

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I don't know if Trunker directly supported the '796. It would need to be smart enough to place the radio in P25 mode before sending an RF command for any digital calls. Since you've configured it as an '895, you'll get analog calls only.

Check the usual suspects - baud rate, port number, data bits, and parity.
 

loumaag

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Another point to consider is that the 796d does not have to be in clone/slave mode for this. It will accept commands when scanning, indeed that may be part of the problem, it is looking for a specific header block that it is not seeing. The radio protocols for the 796d are close to the 895 but even closer to the BC245. So, try just putting the radio in scan mode, pick a "park frequency" in Trunker and make sure the baud rate is the same and that it is set up as data=8, stop=1, parity=none and no flow control then give it a try that way.
 

simka

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Your right Lou, the clone setting was preventing the scanner from working. The 796 scanner is tracking the frequencies from the computer but no audio yet. The control channels I'm using are smartnet if that makes a difference?
 

loumaag

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I am not sure why you are not getting audio. If Trunker steers the 796d to an active voice channel, then the audio should flow (given that the radio's volume is up and the squelch not too tight). The radio can be in scan mode when you start but it can just as early be in "Hold" on a conventional channel. Indeed it should not be scanning the same system you have Trunker working on.
 

simka

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Well if it's not supposed to track the same frequencies as trunker, then there's something wrong. That's what it is doing. Unless someone has any other ideas or can confirm that the 796 will work as audio maybe I should be looking for a different scanner for audio. Any recommendations?
 

loumaag

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I think you misunderstood what I said. Basically what is assumed by what you described so far is this:
  • You have a radio, with a discriminator tap, feeding the control channel information to Trunker via a slicer into a serial port on your computer.
  • You have your computer, via a second serial port, using Trunker, to steer the BC796D to the voice channels that Trunker finds.
If the above does not generally describe what is going on then you need to be more detailed in what you have going, as the above is the general way things work. Now, although I have not run Trunker in several years, I have used it in exactly that scenario using a tapped PRO-2067 as the control channel monitor and a 796d as the steered radio and the setup worked just fine, both on 800 MHz and VHF trunked systems.
 

simka

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I have the pro96 with tap going to a data slicer from Brett. Running Trunker 3.83. The rs232 cable goes from the data slicer to the 796. The data slicer is supposed to handle both scanners using the one com port. I am new to this so I am sort of in the dark. Thanks for your patience. Is it possible I don't have trunker set up to handle the smartnet control channel?
 

loumaag

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I have the pro96 with tap going to a data slicer from Brett. Running Trunker 3.83. The rs232 cable goes from the data slicer to the 796.
I have never run a setup this way.

The data slicer is supposed to handle both scanners using the one com port.
My slicer is home built (I built it over 10 years ago) and I don't remember if that was ever an option, so I guess it is possible but I am not sure how.

I am new to this so I am sort of in the dark. Thanks for your patience. Is it possible I don't have trunker set up to handle the smartnet control channel?
Trunker needs no special setup to track any Motorola system. 3.8.3 should just automatically figure out which system it is listening to and adjust accordingly.

If, without the 796 hooked up, Trunker seems to be functioning correctly, in other words, it is reporting frequencies properly and showing TGs as they become active and fading out as they finish, then I suspect the expecting of the same port handling both communication functions is probably the problem. If you have another physical port available and a serial cable try hooking the 796 to the second port and see if that doesn't solve the problem.
 

Comint

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I have the pro96 with tap going to a data slicer from Brett. Running Trunker 3.83. The rs232 cable goes from the data slicer to the 796. The data slicer is supposed to handle both scanners using the one com port. I am new to this so I am sort of in the dark.
It is possible to run both scanners through the same "com port" because data-slicers don't really use RS-232.

Data-slicers usually use pins 4, 5 (GND), 7, and 8, and

The RS232, to control the second scanner, uses pins, 2, 3, and 5 (GND).

Many years ago, I built a box containing a Data-slicer, and a CI-V interface, and it also served as a "breakout box" to feed the RS-232 to the second scanner via the CI-V interface.

I just used a standard RS-232 cable (all pins wired) between the PC and the Box, and successfully used that setup for many years. I suspect the Brett data-slicer works in a similar fashion.


Is it possible I don't have trunker set up to handle the smartnet control channel?
If 3.8.3 is displaying the correct frequencies, etc, on the screen, and is telling the 796 to go to the correct voice channel, then you have the program set up correctly.

--
Comint
 
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Comint

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Trunker needs no special setup to track any Motorola system. 3.8.3 should just automatically figure out which system it is listening to and adjust accordingly.
Trunker only automatically figures out Motorola 800 MHz systems, as that is the only standardised band. Motorola UHF and other systems require manual intervention.

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Comint
 

loumaag

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Trunker only automatically figures out Motorola 800 MHz systems, as that is the only standardised band. Motorola UHF and other systems require manual intervention.

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Comint
Good point! GIven his indicated location, I should have realized that he probably is trying for one of the VHF or UHF Govt. systems. And as Comint points out, Trunker would require you to plug in the frequencies for the various LCNs reported by Trunker.
 

Comint

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Simka

A bit more information would probably make helping you a lot easier.

What frequencies/system are you trying to monitor.

While Trunker will "automatically" detect Standard Motorola 800 MHz Type II systems, it needs some help with Type I, and "splinter" systems, and with UHF and VHF systems.

I notice the 796D Manual says the scanner should be in "PC Control" mode, when controlled by a PC, but if you are already seeing the scanner going to the correct Voice channels, then this is not the problem.

You say the system is Smartnet, but I am wondering if it is a Mixed Mode system, and the Voice channels are P25 digital - have you got TRACKDIGITAL set to 1.

Perhaps you can post a copy of your TRACKENV file.

--
Comint
 

loumaag

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...I notice the 796D Manual says the scanner should be in "PC Control" mode, when controlled by a PC
...
That is incorrect, indeed there is no port on the "side" of the scanner. The scanner, when in normal operation can interface with a PC (with the appropriate software of course) through the serial port just fine. I firmly believe this was copied, incorrectly, from a previous manual.
 

Clark

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Why not use Unitrunker ? It's a lot simpler and uses a sound card and only one Com port. The BC796D
is supported for voice following. No data slicer needed.

Clark
 

simka

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Thanks for the posts Comint. I've set the trackdigital=1. The control channel is from the RR database, Ontario provincial Gov't Zone 1, site 17 (142.905). It's bell fleetent smartzone, analog and p25 digital. The trunker program runs showing type II 76.76hz(17), sys ID 782d. Bottom of trunker shows 89 groups, 119 radios and 10 patches. The frequencies range from 851.xxx to 863.xxx and these are the same frequencies that are sent to the bc796 showing FM. The trackenv.txt is set as: trackslicerport=com1;trackslicerpin=dsr;trackslicermode=invert;trackscanport=com1;trackscan=bc245;trackscanpark=851.0000;newradio=10;newgroup=8;filterlog=1;trackscanbaud=9600;trackdigital=1.
 

N7OLQ

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Were you able to try it with a good antenna hooked to the voice scanner?

Brett
 

Comint

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. . . The control channel is from the RR database, Ontario provincial Gov't Zone 1, site 17 (142.905).

. . . The frequencies range from 851.xxx to 863.xxx and these are the same frequencies that are sent to the bc796 showing FM.
There is your main problem.

Most Trunked Radio Systems only broadcast Channel Numbers, and NOT the Frequencies, as the Mobiles already know the frequency of each channel.

Scanners, and programs such as UniTrunker, and similar programs, generally default to the 800 MHz Bandplan, and have to be told the Band Plan and frequencies if the System is not in the 800 MHz Band, as is the case here.

You need to tell UniTrunker that the Ontario System requires a Custom Band Plan (3 x Base, Step, Offset, which is shown on the RR Database), and then UniTrunker and the 796 should be showing the 142.xxx frequencies listed in the RR Database, instead of the 851.xxx to 863.xxx ones.

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Comint
 

simka

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Thanks Brett, I ordered a BNC tee adapter and pigtails so I can run the 2 scanners from the d130nj discone antenna. For now I have that antenna for the voice scanner, the only control channel I receive with the extender antenna on the tapped 96 is the gov't smarrtzone channel, 99% reception. Comint can you guide me through teliing trunker 3.83 the custom plan ( I see the 3x settings in the RR database)?
 

loumaag

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It has been quite a while since I used Trunker, but I dug back in my archives and the following was extracted from the documentation that comes with the program:
By default, Trunker will interpret frequency assignments according to the standard 800MHz map. Use the following process to initialize the xxxxSYS.TXT file for 900MHz, UHF systems, or other systems that do not conform to the standard mappings:

With no xxxxSYS.TXT file in the current directory, start Trunker.
Once the SysId appears, stop Trunker with the 'q' command.
Edit the xxxxSYS.TXT file. Delete all frequency entries.
Add one of the following lines to the file, in uppercase and beginning in column 1, or edit one if it exists already:
PLAN=8 for US 800MHz frequency plan
PLAN=9 for US 900MHz frequency plan
PLAN=0 for all other plans including UHF and custom 800/900
Save the file.
Run Trunker again and accumulate frequencies until the list is stable.
Stop Trunker with the 'q' command.
Edit the xxxxSYS.TXT file as appropriate, replacing any hex values with the frequencies you have determined are appropriate. This may require searching a database of frequency assignments etc. If you set PLAN=8 or PLAN=9, most of the frequencies will be computed already by Trunker. If your system uses non-standard mappings, it will be necessary to edit any incorrect lines.
Special step only for systems that broadcast both the input and output frequencies: notice when pairs of frequencies are energized in synchrony at the beginning of a conversation, and record those pairings. Then move the input frequency to the 'input frequency' column of the output frequency's entry, and delete the line for the input frequency. For example, if 0x015 and 0x207 are related, and 0x207 represents 407.05, carefully change the file entries:
From:
[blank][blank]v0x015[3 blanks],15,ffff
[blank][blank]v0x207[3 blanks],207,ffff
To:
[blank][blank]v407.0500,207,15
Basically what it says is that for your VHF system, you will have to allow it to collect (after setting plan to "0") the LCN numbers, then you will have to edit it to fill in the actual frequencies. As I said, it has been a while since I used it, but I seem to remember that on Smartzone systems, the actual frequencies (LCNs) show up in separate files from the SYS file, but other than that, the above is applicable.
 
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