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What are use-cases for DTMF & ANI sidetones in GMRS? (and related menus on KG-935G)


plarkinjr
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HI folks,

I really don't understand the purpose/function of sidetones (or the 1750Hz alert tone burst for that matter).  Note:  This is mostly in context of KG-935G software & settings, but I see related items in CHIRP for Baofengs.

None of the GMRS repeaters I have encountered require any DTMF or "tone burst".   So what is the use-case for DTMF and ANI in the GMRS context?   I've set ANI to transmit a code (305), and I hear it being sent.  But why (aside from a "custom" roger beep)?  There are several settings in the KG-935G which, despite RTFM, don't make sense to me.

  • SIDETONE: can be set to DTMF, ANI, both, or none.  Why/when would someone select each of these?
  • RING:  can be set to a value between 1second and 10seconds, or off.  "time to prompt when DTMF signals have been decoded".   Huh? Why?
  • Call Settings:   I can define & name 20 combinations of "ANI" codes.  (e.g. Call Group 1 is set to "111" and I named it "CGrp1".  There's a drop down at the top to select "Current Group".   What does this do?
  • Sidekeys can be programmed to "SELEC CALL" which "allows you to send a call to a specific calling group."    Why/How? 

Is there a video or other document which demonstrates how and why such features work?
 

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22 hours ago, plarkinjr said:

the 1750Hz alert tone burst

The 1750 tone burst is widely used in Europe the same way that CTCSS/PL and DCS is used for repeater access in the US. I used tone burst exclusively when living in Germany. Tone burst never caught on in the US.

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HI folks,
I really don't understand the purpose/function of sidetones (or the 1750Hz alert tone burst for that matter).  Note:  This is mostly in context of KG-935G software & settings, but I see related items in CHIRP for Baofengs.
None of the GMRS repeaters I have encountered require any DTMF or "tone burst".   So what is the use-case for DTMF and ANI in the GMRS context?   I've set ANI to transmit a code (305), and I hear it being sent.  But why (aside from a "custom" roger beep)?  There are several settings in the KG-935G which, despite RTFM, don't make sense to me.
  • SIDETONE: can be set to DTMF, ANI, both, or none.  Why/when would someone select each of these?
  • RING:  can be set to a value between 1second and 10seconds, or off.  "time to prompt when DTMF signals have been decoded".   Huh? Why?
  • Call Settings:   I can define & name 20 combinations of "ANI" codes.  (e.g. Call Group 1 is set to "111" and I named it "CGrp1".  There's a drop down at the top to select "Current Group".   What does this do?
  • Sidekeys can be programmed to "SELEC CALL" which "allows you to send a call to a specific calling group."    Why/How? 
Is there a video or other document which demonstrates how and why such features work?
 


Very good question. I am utterly amazed there has not been more talk about this topic. While I am not an expert on the subject I will share what I do know.

- There is no official need for DTMF in GMRS. It is a feature that can be used when you have a special need for it.
- DTMF codes are commonly used to remotely control repeaters and to control other electronics that might be monitoring the frequency.
- In some radio circles (outside GMRS) some repeaters and other radios might require both a tone burst to trigger a remote receiver to open up. This is a feature that equipment that long pre-dated CTCSS and DCS sometimes needed for operation. I know of no cases in GMRS where is applicable today. Perhaps someone else will have a current day example where it is being used.
- Sidetones refers to the feature of your radio that allows you, the operator, to hear the tones that your radio is sending out. This could be your radio’s ANI-ID, manual DTMF from button presses, or even select-call calling tones. The term ‘Sidetone’ comes from telephony and refers to the sound emitted from the ear piece portion of the phone. If you press a button on the phone’s keypad you will hear the tones from the ear piece. In your radio, when sidetones are not active you could very well be sending out DTMF tones and have no idea that you are. If you are using DTMF for anything, turn sidetones on so you know when and what you are sending.
- The ANI-ID on your radio is a number that you establish that identifies your radio. You have six digits available and values must be greater than 101.
- If you have ANI-ID turned on, when you press and/or release your PTT, your ANI-ID is sent out. The BOT, EOT and BOTH values you see in one of you radio’s function menus determines if your ANI-ID is sent out when you press PTT, release PTT or press and release.
- If a receiving radio has a DTMF decoder within it, your ANI-ID will appear on their display suggesting to them which radio is transmitting.
- The ‘Ring’ feature is one that, when properly enabled, allows other radios in your group to cause your radio to ring to attract your attention. For this to occur, the transmitting radio must have a valid ANI-ID value configured, the receiving radio must have an ANI-ID configured, and the transmitting radio also needs to have the receiving radio’s ANI-ID entered into the Call Group it is using. So, for example, if you have two radios, one with an ANI-ID 101 and another with an ANI-ID 102, radio 101 can cause radio 102 to ring, and radio 102 can cause radio 101 to ring. The Call Group fields are where you enter the ANI-ID of the various radios you want to be able to call/ring. Think of them like speed-dial memories. For radio 101 to call 102, radio 101 would have 102 in one of its Call Group cells.
- When you have one of your PF buttons configured to make a Call, that button causes two things to be sent out in rapid succession: your ANI-ID and the receiving radio’s ANI-ID. Using the 101 and 102 radio example above, this takes the form of ‘101#102’.
- Some wildcards are supported in Call Groups. Instead of entering ‘101’ in a Call Group, you could enter ‘1**’. The later would case all radios whose ANI-ID begins with ‘1’ to ring.
- Ringing is not enabled by default on Wouxun radios. One must expressly enable it.
- One way to enable ringing is to set the current channels SP-Mute mode to “QT*DT” or ‘QT*DTMF”. Since SP-MUTE is a channel-by-channel setting you can have some memory channels configured to ring when called and others that do not.
- ANI-ID needs to be programmed, but it does not need to be turned on to always send out to use the Select call feature.

I have found zero Wouxun documentation or videos that covers this. Admittedly I struggled for sometime trying to piece it together. Thanks to [mention=5881]IanM[/mention] who provided some enlightenment to help me bring it all into focus.

I have found some BF stuff that covers the subject a little, but terminology is slightly different.

These features have, in my view, practical use in large organized group and family outings. They have also had merit, and perhaps still do, in some LMR circles.

I recently have been configuring all my radios to have unique ANI-ID, and setting up Calling Groups.

I have yet to work to work out the specific details of the SP-Mute mode called ‘QT+DT’ or QT+DTMF. But my current understanding is that the radio will not break squelch until it hears an ANI-ID in DTMF form and then when it does there is some other unique behavior. I will soon be exploring that and documenting its behavior.

Hope this helps.


Michael
WRHS965
KE8PLM

Edit: If you to do some experimenting and to see things work with little complication do this:

1) Configure multiple Wouxun radios. Give each a unique ANI-ID starting a 101 and going up. Use 101 in your KG-935G.
2) Set each radio to GMRS channel 01 (462.5625), low power.
3) Make sure all radios are using the same CTCSS. Say 67.0 Tx and Rx.
4) Set the SP-MUTE mode for channel 01 on all radios to QT*DT.
5) On your KG-935G radio, enable sending out of the ANI-ID each time the PTT is pressed.
6) Turn all radios on.
7) Press PTT on the KG-935G and immediately press 102# and watch what happens. Then repeat using the ANI-ID for all other radios. This simulates a select call.
8) Press PTT on the KG-935G and immediately press 1** and watch what happens.
9) Press PTT on the KG-935G and immediately press *# and watch what happens.

When you have made it this far and have seen ANI-ID show up on the radio displays and you have successfully experienced ringing, then move to programming your call groups in the radios if you decide you want to use them.

You may also wish to explore the different behaviors you get if some radios are in the 100 series, some in 200 series and some in the 300 series of ANI-ID values.

BTW, Despite PTT-ID being a menu option on the 805G, the ID is never sent out of that radio, nor will the radio ever display one if it receives one.
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DTMF is used by the AllStarLink network of amateur radio repeaters. DTMF may sound familiar because it is from the touch tone dialing you do on your phone. AllStarLink uses a VoIP based backend server. To connect to remote nodes and do other things you issue it DTMF sequences, kinda like dialing in to check your voicemail you might say. There maybe other repeater systems that use this as well.

So, what does that have to do with GMRS? Well, GMRS as an ecosystem, does not really stand on its own. It may someday. But manufacturers and software for GMRS radios are really repurposed from other business units. Not everything has been designed by a product manager for the vertical GMRS market. Maybe it shouldn't be. But whatever, it is what it is, so you have this mishmash of features. The manual won't say, "this feature does not apply to GMRS". If it did, you would be directed to question the segmentation.

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On 11/3/2021 at 7:54 PM, mbrun said:

- When you have one of your PF buttons configured to make a Call, that button causes two things to be sent out in rapid succession: your ANI-ID and the receiving radio’s ANI-ID. Using the 101 and 102 radio example above, this takes the form of ‘101#102’.
...
- One way to enable ringing is to set the current channels SP-Mute mode to “QT*DT” or ‘QT*DTMF”. Since SP-MUTE is a channel-by-channel setting you can have some memory channels configured to ring when called and others that do not.

Thank you @mbrun  for your excellent writeup!   These two key points were settings that were unclear to me, but now make sense, and complete the picture.    Also, thanks for the walk-thru on how to demonstrate these functions.    I only have one 935, but I did try (and fail) to simulate it last weekend with another piece of equipment talking to the 935.   Based on your example, and with the understanding of the ANI#DEST, and SP-Mute, I'll try my simulation again perhaps this weekend.    

And thank you all who've contributed to this thread!

(BTW, I set my ANI as the last 3 digits of my callsign.   BOT helps force me to wait a moment before speaking, and EOT is a bit of a "signature" Roger Beep.  Currently they're set to BOTH.   Not sure if I'll continue using them as such... I guess it depends on whether folks on repeaters I use raise a big stink over it or not.)

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