capturing a repeater code

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emclean
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capturing a repeater code

Post by emclean » Wed Jan 15, 2014 3:46 pm

i work at a hospital that has a repeater for both security and plant. my department has one radio for four of us, so i would like to be able to use my HT on the company repeater. only problem is that no one around here has any idea what i am talking about, and the vender won't give me the info.
is there a easy way to use the department radio to determine the sql code?

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Re: capturing a repeater code

Post by TacAir » Wed Jan 15, 2014 4:17 pm

I'll assume, for now, that you have sought and received permission to use your radio on the system in question.

What does "my radio" mean? Is it the same brand/make/model radio as used by the facility or something else?

What kind of radio is it? Is the system owned by the hospital or is it a leased system?

Without knowing more about the system itself (repeater and licensee) I cannot offer any suggestions.

Since the vendor won't provide information, it would, at first glance, seem that use of a privately owned radio may not be allowed...hard to say given what's posted.

Can you provide more any information? If you have the licensee and location, we can check FCC records for more clues...
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Re: capturing a repeater code

Post by CitizenZ » Wed Jan 15, 2014 5:15 pm

It is technically possible, but not legal. It violates several FCC rules, and the license for the repeater/radios. Your HT, I'm assuming, is an amateur radio. You are not allowed to use it on business frequencies or repeaters. Different services, different radios, different license and rules. The possibility of interfering with hospital services, security and their continued permission to have a radio license is not something you should risk.

You can use it to listen, but not transmit.
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Re: capturing a repeater code

Post by emclean » Wed Jan 15, 2014 6:16 pm

it would not be interfering with hospital services, it would be for the hospital.
for example, and what made me think to ask, today we had a fire alarm from a bad water flow sensor. my office is a few doors down from the mechanical room where the pumps were. if I could transmit I could have informed the boiler room that the pumps were not running, and they could have informed the fire department.

we (the hospital) own the uhf systems, the vendor likes charging $50 - $100 to touch a radio, and will not respond to my inquiries. they want us to spend $650 for another radio.

I got the idea from my bosses boss who is a long time ham, so i assumed he knew what he was talking about. (vendor won't share the info with him either)

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Re: capturing a repeater code

Post by Tater Raider » Wed Jan 15, 2014 6:34 pm

Amateur radio (also called ham radio) is the use of designated radio frequency spectra for purposes of private recreation, non-commercial exchange of messages, wireless experimentation, self-training, and emergency communication. The term "amateur" is used to specify persons interested in radio technique solely with a personal aim and without direct monetary or other similar reward, and to differentiate it from commercial broadcasting, public safety (such as police and fire), or professional two-way radio services (such as maritime, aviation, taxis, etc.).
Can't legally do it. Sorry.


The only exemption for this is a teacher who holds class using amateur radio.

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Re: capturing a repeater code

Post by CitizenZ » Wed Jan 15, 2014 6:58 pm

it would not be interfering with hospital services
You can't be sure of that. Just because you can get your HT to operate out of band does not mean it will work without interference. Just a little bit of noise or harmonics on your signal could be enough to cause interference with other radios at the hospital or other business radios nearby that you are totally unaware of. That is why you're not allowed to do what you suggest. The vendor is probably the one who is responsible for your business radio license and is aware of these things. He is required to coordinate with the other nearby radio systems and verify that each radio operates correctly to avoid interference. Only type accepted radios can be used on business bands, and they must be programmed by the licensed contractor. End users are not allowed to program their own radios for exactly this reason. The rules are very strict, and vendors don't work for free. There is usually a fee for doing any work, just like any business. You are not allowed to use Ham radios on the business band. There are technical and legal reasons why.

There are cheaper radios than $650, but there may be a reason he wants you to get those. If the hospital doesn't like the service they can find another vendor, but these things are usually more complicated than what one employee wants. I suggest you use the fire alarm example to convince your bosses to find the money to buy you the correct radio rather than the money they wasted on the false alarm. Or, how it usually works, is to give the new $650 radio to the head of security, manager, etc and you get the hand me down used radio.

As Ham's we have very broad privileges to use almost any radio we can get to work on Ham frequencies, modify, reprogram and hack them up as we see fit. Only Hams have these privileges because it is the individual that has the license. Business radios are more tightly controlled and the end user is not allowed to change anything because the individuals do not have a license. The business and vendor are responsible for the ensuring compliance with the license and the law.
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Re: capturing a repeater code

Post by TacAir » Wed Jan 15, 2014 7:01 pm

My questions still stand.

Is "your radio" a ham set or an FCC type accepted/type approved radio that, perhaps, you found on Ebay?

Do you have permission from the licensee to use the system? I assume you do or wouldn't ask the question. Always best to have that in writing should issues with interference come up.

If you do have the 'right' kind of radio, it is possible to determine the CTCSS codes remotely.If the system is trunked , SMR or otherwise controlled by the 'vendor', then ya, you are SOL.

To be fair to your vendor, they likely have a lot of test equipment, and overhead to maintain the system, they need to eat as well. I worked for a small LMR operator years ago and it was a hand-to-mouth existence for the whole outfit.
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Re: capturing a repeater code

Post by Das Sheep » Wed Jan 15, 2014 8:20 pm

What brand of radio is it, and do you guys have a site lens or the like connected to your repeater, or does the compay that installed/maintains it bring that out?

Also good radios are expensive. $650 is really not that much in the world of radio's. Motorolla 5000 series can run a good bit more than that, depending on the features.

Anyway there are a bunch of ways to add your radio, if its compatable, to the system, but if you work for a hospital you should probably just get them to buy you some more radio's. Hospitals have a lot of money. Also the people maintaining the equipment probably have a contract with the hospital, and probably will not like you adding a radio.

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Re: capturing a repeater code

Post by emclean » Wed Jan 15, 2014 8:41 pm

Das Sheep wrote:Hospitals have a lot of money.
a few do, not most. I will leave it at that.

as 3 of the 4 respondants have pointed out the illegal nature of what I wanted to do, I guess we are done descussing it.

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Re: capturing a repeater code

Post by Tater Raider » Thu Jan 16, 2014 2:47 am

Wish I could have helped.

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Re: capturing a repeater code

Post by gary in ohio » Thu Jan 16, 2014 6:32 am

Lots of issues and questions with this. You need to know the band/freq if its analog or digital. You need permission from the license holder (DONT assume its the hospital) and the hospital. You need the license holder to have enough license to cover your radio being added. You need a radio that is fcc approved for whatever radio band the repeater is on. You need it programmed.

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Re: capturing a repeater code

Post by rpc » Thu Jan 16, 2014 11:18 am

It's possible that what the original poster wants to do is illegal. And it's possible that it's legal. We don't know enough information, and I'll go on the assumption that it's legal.

Assuming it's some sort of tone squelch or digital squelch, then the easiest way to figure out what "code" they are using is to simply use the process of elimination. Chances are, your radio (which I assume is FCC certified for the service in question) has the capability to both encode and decode the squelch. Let's assume that the "code" in question is CTCSS (commonly called "PL"). From the menus, set the radio to "tone squelch" or whatever the manufacturer calls it. Then, guess a tone, and set the radio to monitor the INPUT frequency of the repeater. If you hear signals that are being transmitted, then you've guessed right. If you hear nothing, but know that there are signals there, then try another code. Eventually, you'll stumble on the correct tone. There are only a few dozen, so it won't take forever.

If it's a digital squelch, repeat the same process. It's possible that none of them will work, however.

Once you've found the correct tone or code, then set up your radio to transmit that code.

I know that some radios will do this process automatically. And you could undoubtedly do it with some test equipment. But if you're patient, I would just use the process of elimination.

You could also use the process of elimination by repeatedly transmitting codes until you get the right one. That's more problematic and less legal, because each time you do so, you're interfering with other traffic on that frequency.

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Re: capturing a repeater code

Post by bae » Thu Jan 16, 2014 6:25 pm

It's not illegal, if you have type-approved equipment and have the proper license.

I program the cheezy Chinese type-approved radios all the time for this sort of thing, *but*, I am doing it for the agency that holds the license, for their licensed purposes. We simply can't afford to hand out everyone who needs a radio a very expensive Motorola or BK , so people who don't need that level of quality/robustness get stuck with something far cheaper.

Now, if you don't have the necessary tones/codes, many modern radios will listen to transmissions and tell you what the magic numbers are. The agency you are doing this for probably has the information *somewhere*, or can get their vendor to cough it up easily enough.

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Re: capturing a repeater code

Post by crypto » Thu Jan 16, 2014 7:22 pm

Most of the posters in here are assuming the OP is using a Part 97 ham radio, when I'm betting its a Part 90 approved Wouxun or Baofeng, which should make this use case legal, provided he has permission to use the repeater from the license owner.
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Re: capturing a repeater code

Post by CitizenZ » Thu Jan 16, 2014 8:50 pm

Nope. Any radio that can be reprogrammed by the end user does not qualify and can only be programmed by the authorized Frequency Coordinator (or authorized vendor) for your region. If you're programming your own radios on the business band... that's a violation of FCC rules and the license.
There are cheap radios and used radios, but buying your own open radio and programming them yourself is not allowed. Doesn't matter if it's a $2000 Motorola or a $30 Chinese radio. The individuals are not licensed and not allowed to modify or make these kinds of changes. It's a business license.
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Re: capturing a repeater code

Post by zommoz10 » Fri Jan 17, 2014 12:14 pm

I've seen people lose their job or be demoted for this very thing.

You work in a hospital.
Don't fuck around.

If you need a radio, ask for a radio.

If the vendor won't give you the info then you aint authorized. Case closed.

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Re: capturing a repeater code

Post by RadioShooter » Sat Jan 18, 2014 2:34 am

Nope. Any radio that can be reprogrammed by the end user does not qualify and can only be programmed by the authorized Frequency Coordinator (or authorized vendor) for your region. If you're programming your own radios on the business band... that's a violation of FCC rules and the license.
There are cheap radios and used radios, but buying your own open radio and programming them yourself is not allowed. Doesn't matter if it's a $2000 Motorola or a $30 Chinese radio. The individuals are not licensed and not allowed to modify or make these kinds of changes. It's a business license.
If the hospital holds the license and owns the repeater, and the hospital's responsible party gives him permission, then none of the above applies. If the repeater/license belongs to the radio vendor, then you can't show up on their system because a fee is charged per month per radio. You are correct about front panel programming. See FCC Part 90.203 about this. It doesn't matter if it is a $5,000 Moto, Thales, Harris, etc, if the frequency can be adjusted from the keypad, it loses it Part 90 approval. The Baofengs, Wouxun, etc, must have the frequency mode locked by software before it can be used legally on a Part 90 (business, public safety, etc) system.

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Re: capturing a repeater code

Post by CitizenZ » Sat Jan 18, 2014 5:27 pm

All usage and changes must be coordinated through the Frequency Coordinator for the region, not just the person managing the license (which is usually the vendor). Before a new radio can be added it must be verified that it complies with the license (operates within spec, correct programming and locked) and written notification to the regional Frequency Coordinator.
RadioShooter wrote:
If the hospital holds the license and owns the repeater, and the hospital's responsible party gives him permission, then none of the above applies. If the repeater/license belongs to the radio vendor, then you can't show up on their system because a fee is charged per month per radio. You are correct about front panel programming. See FCC Part 90.203 about this. It doesn't matter if it is a $5,000 Moto, Thales, Harris, etc, if the frequency can be adjusted from the keypad, it loses it Part 90 approval. The Baofengs, Wouxun, etc, must have the frequency mode locked by software before it can be used legally on a Part 90 (business, public safety, etc) system. RS
"Victory awaits him who has everything in order, luck people call it. Defeat is certain for him who has neglected to take the necessary precautions in time; this is called bad luck"- The South Pole, Roald Amundsen - 1912

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Re: capturing a repeater code

Post by CitizenZ » Sat Jan 18, 2014 5:57 pm

§90.175 Frequency coordinator requirements.

Except for applications listed in paragraph (j) of this section, each application for a new frequency assignment, for a change in existing facilities as listed in §90.135(a), or for operation at temporary locations in accordance with §90.137 must include a showing of frequency coordination as set forth further.

(a) Frequency coordinators may request, and applicants are required to provide, all appropriate technical information, system requirements
, and justification for requested station parameters when such information is necessary to identify and recommend the most appropriate frequency. Additionally, applicants bear the burden of proceeding and the burden of proof in requesting the Commission to overturn a coordinator's recommendation.

...

§90.203 Certification required.


(e) Except as provided in paragraph (g) of this section, transmitters designed to operate above 25 MHz shall not be certificated for use under this part if the operator can program and transmit on frequencies, other than those programmed by the manufacturer, service or maintenance personnel, using the equipment's external operation controls.

(f) Except as provided in paragraph (g) of this section, transmitters designed to operate above 25 MHz that have been approved prior to January 15, 1988, and that permit the operator, by using external controls, to program the transmitter's operating frequencies, shall not be manufactured in, or imported into the United States after March 15, 1988. Marketing of these transmitters shall not be permitted after March 15, 1989.

(g) Transmitters having frequency programming capability and that are designed to operate above 25 MHz are exempt from paragraphs (e) and (f) of this section if the design of such transmitters

(1) Is such that transmitters with external controls normally available to the operator must be internally modified to place the equipment in the programmable mode. Further, while in the programmable mode, the equipment shall not be capable of transmitting. The procedures for making the modification and altering the frequency program shall not be made available with the operating information normally supplied to the end user of the equipment; or

(2) Requires the tramsitter to be programmed for frequencies through controls normally inaccessible to the operator; or

(3) Requires equipment to be programmed for frequencies through use of external devices or specifically programmed modules made available only to service/maintenance personnel; or

(4) Requires equipment to be programmed through cloning (copying a program directly from another transmitter) using devices and procedures made available only to service/maintenance personnel.


http://www.ecfr.gov/cgi-bin/text-idx?c= ... .0.1.1.3.1" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;
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Re: capturing a repeater code

Post by CitizenZ » Sat Jan 18, 2014 6:15 pm

Record keeping requirements;
§90.443 Content of station records.

Each licensee of a station in these services shall maintain records in accordance with the following:

(a) For all stations, the results and dates of the transmitting measurements required by §90.215 of this part and the name of the person or persons making the measurements.

(b) For all stations, the dates and pertinent details of any maintenance performed on station equipment, and the name and address of the service technician who did the work. If all maintenance is performed by the same technician or service company, the name and address need be entered only once in the station records.

90.215 Transmitter measurements.

(a) The licensee of each station shall employ a suitable procedure to determine that the carrier frequency of each transmitter authorized to operate with an output power in excess of two watts is maintained within the tolerence prescribed in §90.213. This determination shall be made, and the results entered in the station records in accordance with the following:

(1) When the transmitter is initially installed;

(2) When any change is made in the transmitter which may affect the carrier frequency or its stability.
(b) The licensee of each station shall employ a suitable procedure to determine that each transmitter authorized to operate with an output power in excess of two watts does not exceed the maximum figure specified on the current station authorization. On authorizations stating only the input power to the final radio frequency stage, the maximum permissible output power is 75 percent for frequencies below 25 MHz and 60 percent of the input power for frequencies above 25 MHz. If a non-DC final radiofrequency stage is utilized, then the output power shall not exceed 75 percent of the input power. This determination shall be made, and the results thereof entered into the station records, in accordance with the following:

(1) When the transmitter is initially installed;

(2) When any change is made in the transmitter which may increase the transmitter power input.

(c) The licensee of each station shall employ a suitable procedure to determine that the modulation of each transmitter, which is authorized to operate with an output power in excess of two watts, does not exceed the limits specified in this part. This determination shall be made and the following results entered in the station records, in accordance with the following:

(1) When the transmitter is initially installed;

(2) When any change is made in the transmitter which may affect the modulation characteristics.

(d) The determinations required by paragraphs (a), (b), and (c) of this section may, at the opinion of the licensee, be made by a qualified engineering measurement service, in which case the required record entries shall show the name and address of the engineering measurement service as well as the name of the person making the measurements.

(e) In the case of mobile transmitters, the determinations required by paragraphs (a) and (c) of this section may be made at a test or service bench: Provided, That the measurements are made under load conditions equivalent to actual operating conditions; and provided further, that after installation in the mobile unit the transmitter is given a routine check to determine that it is capable of being received satisfactorly by an appropriate receiver.
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