What are they doing when the disp says "sending your tones"

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stchamber11

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Every now and then at various towns (here in central connecticut) the dispatcher will tell of an emergency. Then she (ok usually a she) will say, "I will now send your tones" . What are they doing?
 

stchamber11

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Ok, then this is more interesting than I thought. Pagers, I thought all fire personal had some scanner of some sort in there house to hear the calls. what would the pagers be used for?

Knox box tones - what is that? Do the lock boxes have some sort of tone or is it like a phone dial tone to get the code. I did hear one fire and they were mentioning a lock box.
 

kruser

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or

could be sending knox box tones so the fd personnel can obtain keys to a business.

we would need more info from you to be more accurate
Never heard of tones for knox boxes. I would not think that would be very secure as any person with malicious intents could easily record and reproduce the tones and gain access to many buildings.
Plus, I would think many knox box's are mounted in places without power or are the padlock style.
Now maybe the main truck could have a radio activated knox box mounted in the cab that would only allow access to the physical keys when the dispatcher sends the tones. I could see that.
I've installed many Knox products but can't say I've ever seen a radio activated one yet!
Our old fire district had some weird setup in their main pumpers that required the truck to be in reverse before the Knox keys could be removed. I don't think the keys were in a Knox branded enclosure within the truck however. The fire marshall explained that all to me and he said the super loud backup beeper drew attention so they would always turn to look at the truck and I guess to see if someone was trying to steal the keys.
If I'm not mistaken, the driver removed the truck key from the truck upon arrival and that key was needed to shift the truck into gear. Of course the truck would remain running, it just could not be moved.
Our fire district has changed since then and I don't know that the new company has such a policy for the knox box keys. I seem to see them simply hanging around their necks.
I haved two knox boxes on my mian building. The old one could not be removed without damage so we left it. The current districts keys do not fit the old districts box's.
 

rdale

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My local FD used to send out tones and the FF would put the radio up to the knox box for activation.
 

ibagli

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Ok, then this is more interesting than I thought. Pagers, I thought all fire personal had some scanner of some sort in there house to hear the calls. what would the pagers be used for?
The pager probably is the "scanner of some sort" you're thinking of.

Now maybe the main truck could have a radio activated knox box mounted in the cab that would only allow access to the physical keys when the dispatcher sends the tones. I could see that.
I'm pretty sure that's what at least one department here does. I think the Knox key is locked away in the truck and the tones (DTMF or something like it) unlock it, and that key opens the Knox Box.
 
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kruser

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Ok, then this is more interesting than I thought. Pagers, I thought all fire personal had some scanner of some sort in there house to hear the calls. what would the pagers be used for?
Around here they often carry pagers. The pagers are activated by the same two tone system as the house alerts. When the guys drive the trucks to get groceries and peform building inpections they do have at least one guy that carries a portable while the rest of the crew usually carry nothing or some have the pager. Our chief always has a pager only when he is doing building inspections. It is the kind that sounds an alert first and then opens an audio channel so he can hear the call.
If it is important then he will leave quickly to his car were he does have a mobile installed.
I'm thinking the common pagers were by Motorola and were the Minitor series but I could be way off on that. I do know pagers are fairly common for our districts in the county areas to this date.

My local FD used to send out tones and the FF would put the radio up to the knox box for activation.
Wow, that seems so insecure! How long ago did they do this?
I recall some time back hearing about someone setting off a counties storm warning sirens. They did exactly what I'd said and had simply replayed the recorded activation tones on the sirens frequency. I'm not sure were that happened but it may have been right here in St. Louis county. It was several years back. I have not monitored our warning system frequency in a long time but it used to be standard DTMF tones. I think it is all digital now as they installed all new sirens and control boxes a few years back. They still have a small VHF whip up on top of the control box. Speaking of pagers, I recall the same frequency used for the storm warning system also had paging two tone tones on it. I don't recall hearing any voice on it so it must have been used just too activate the alert on the pagers. I carried one of those for years. It sucked as you had no idea who paged so you had to find a phone (pre cell days) and call the office. We finally bought the pagers like the fire guys carry but if you had your car stereo too loud, you would miss the audio message and still have to find a pay phone! They did not have a way of storing the 15 or 20 seconds of audio back then.
 
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I've never heard of the Knox boxes themselves (the boxes mounted on a building) being radio controlled, but some departments in my area have radio controls for the box in the apparatus where the Knox key is kept. They're using a digital code, over a special talkgroup just for that purpose. The whole system is quite secure, since the signal to release the key in the apparatus has to be requested over the radio to the dispatcher, all of which is taped.
 

fineshot1

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Never heard of tones for knox boxes. I would not think that would be very secure as any person with malicious intents could easily record and reproduce the tones and gain access to many buildings.
Plus, I would think many knox box's are mounted in places without power or are the padlock style.
Now maybe the main truck could have a radio activated knox box mounted in the cab that would only allow access to the physical keys when the dispatcher sends the tones. I could see that.
Yes - that is how it's done for the radio controlled knox boxes. I think there is a direct connection
from the radio receiver to the knox box so ambient noise will not interfere with opening of the
box.

I've installed many Knox products but can't say I've ever seen a radio activated one yet! Our old fire district had some weird setup in their main pumpers that required the truck to be in reverse before the Knox keys could be removed. I don't think the keys were in a Knox branded enclosure within the truck however. The fire marshall explained that all to me and he said the super loud backup beeper drew attention so they would always turn to look at the truck and I guess to see if someone was trying to steal the keys. If I'm not mistaken, the driver removed the truck key from the truck upon arrival and that key was needed to shift the truck into gear. Of course the truck would remain running, it just could not be moved. Our fire district has changed since then and I don't know that the new company has such a policy for the knox box keys. I seem to see them simply hanging around their necks.
I haved two knox boxes on my mian building. The old one could not be removed without damage so we left it. The current districts keys do not fit the old districts box's.
Details of which I do not know about.
 

radioman2001

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Knox-Boxes are almost, and in our departments case always installed in the engine. County Control sends out a DTMF string assigned to that engine. A key mounted in the box is released and that key allows you to access a lock box located on the building, which contains keys for that building only. The DTMF string is non-standard tones. I suppose you could record and retransmit the string, but we have enough trouble with them working with transmissions from the county. Some now also require a key fob in addition to the DTMF string to access the key.
 

brian209

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"Sending Tones"

While I believe the original question has been answered above, being in Connecticut and having heard that phrase, here is the specifics. There are a number of Regional Dispatch Centers in Connecticut, among them are Tolland County known as "Station TN", Quinepaug Valley dispatch, "QV" and a few others, "Station WW" in Windham County and "KX" in Colchester.

These areas are served primarily by Volunteer Fire Departments, or some limited number of paid positions augmented by Volunteers. The setup varies from place to place, but in general there are two flavors of radio setup. One flavor is that there is one radio frequency assigned as the Dispatch Frequency, for instance, 33.80 MHz is one of them. All departments are alerted to a call on that frequency. Every member is assigned a tone activated voice pager, usually a Motorola Minitor pager. After dispatch, the department operates on a different frequency.

Sometimes the dispatcher will announce the call over the operating frequency, and then indicate that they are "Sending your Tones" to indicate that they will be activating the pagers and announcing the call on the Dispatch frequency.

I mentioned that this is not how all of the regional dispatch systems are set up, the other flavor is that the regional has thier own dedicated Alpha-Numeric pager system set up, and they will send the dispatch to the department on the members Motorola Advisor type pagers.

Hope this helps clear it up the message you are hearing.

Brian
 

w8jjr

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Rochester Hills MI
Also could be used for this. We use Knox-Boxes installed in the engines. Comm sends out a DTMF string assigned to that engine. A key mounted in the box is released and that key allows you to access a lock drug box located on the engine, .
 
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stchamber11

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Berlin, CT
I will say this as a new scanner listener. There is much going on that one would not expect, and this keeps getting mroe interesting everyday. I got the tone thing, now I know somewhat what is happening.
 
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