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AstroTac Configuration

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ldanna
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AstroTac Configuration

Postby ldanna » Sat Sep 23, 2017 1:56 pm

Hi Group,
I am working on configuring an Astrotac 3000 comparator for use on an Amateur Radio repeater system which we are converting to P25. I cannot seem to get a V.24 link from either a receiver or base station working on ports 3 thru 10 Ports 1 and 2 on wire-line card next to the control board seems to link up.
Here is the setup. 4 Quantar satellite receivers and Base Quantar all collocated with the comparator. No modems involved. V.24 boards in RX's and Base all set for internal Clock with the dip switches (s101 S102 ) on the Base and Comparater WL cards set for Dip 1 on dip 2 off . Ports 1 + 2 seem to link. Plugging Rx and base into ports 3-10 with same dip settings and software set for internal clock same as ports 1+2 I get a link fail from ports RX or Base are plugged in.
Connections are via RJ45 V.24 crossover cables
another observation with Base connected to port 1 Sat Rx connected to port 2 when I Tx on the sat rx freq the rx shows activity but Astrotac shows no activity nor is it voted even though it is only Rx connected

I am winging it as I have no manual or installation manual or guide for the Astrotac 3000. If anyone has that info or any clues I can try out to get this working all help is appreciated.

Thanks

Larry

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Re: AstroTac Configuration

Postby ldanna » Sat Sep 23, 2017 6:09 pm

Update
Here is something quirky to add
On one of my systems I run P25NX. The quantar in that system connects to a Cisco router via the Quantar's V.24 connection. I moved that router connection from the quantar to the Astrotac and it appears to establish a link on the port 3 where the quantar failed . How's that for confusing is there some configuration of the quantar that is needed to allow it to properly communicate with the Astrotac?
LARRY

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Re: AstroTac Configuration

Postby motorola_otaku » Mon Sep 25, 2017 10:35 am

Some light reading:
viewtopic.php?f=10&t=114382#p498998

viewtopic.php?f=10&t=113948

You would also have better luck over on the commtechforums.net board, there's a bigger brain trust there for Quantar linking than there is here.
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alex
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Re: AstroTac Configuration

Postby alex » Mon Sep 25, 2017 4:20 pm

ldanna wrote:Update
I moved that router connection from the quantar to the Astrotac and it appears to establish a link on the port 3 where the quantar failed.
LARRY


You probably have a clocking or cabling issue if the above is working as you mention.

The AstroTac's are pretty easy to get going and should generally work if the cables are configured correctly. Without the cables and the boards set right you won't get very far. I have a feeling it is probably the dip switch settings. You may have to play with them.

viewtopic.php?t=102319 has a few more hints.

Another image I have kicking around:

Quantar/Comparator (S101):

Local 1 OFF, 2 ON
Remote: 1 ON, 2 OFF

AstroTacRX (S100)

Local 1: ON, 2 OFF
Remote: 1 OFF, 2 ON.

Alex
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Quantar V.24 Card Switch Settings

Postby ldanna » Tue Sep 26, 2017 12:55 pm

UPDATE,

Well we are on the way to success. Thanks to all for the great information.
In the end several items were mis-configured. the S101 S102 switches were critical I found dip 1 off 2 on 3 & 4 off was the combination that worked on all V.24 boards including the AstroTac. crossover cable also was needed. the one thing that made the most difference was that things started working when I did a codeplug upgrade of all the receivers. System is showing no link fails on the voter and will vote the 4 Rx's in the system and activate the repeater. Currently set for Digital only , hoping to move to a hybrid mixed mode as the next step. One item of curiosity . The Rx's have a aux LED that is neither showing as solid or blinking, is there a setting on the wire-line or SCM or a software setting to activate this led? My repeater aux LED does show solid and blinks when link is lost when I remove the cable. All the receivers aux LED are dark always. Minor I know but would be nice for visual troubleshooting.

Again Thanks for the great response.

Regards
Larry

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Re: AstroTac Configuration

Postby ldanna » Fri Sep 29, 2017 10:48 am

Next Problem Help Needed.
I changed the AstroTac 3000 to hybrid mode. Digital voting still works. When I test analog I am having a problem.
With the repeater reset the first analog transmission is OK but the voter shows TX disable and a Rx disable LEDs but still votes and repeats to the Tx. after that transmission ends the Aux LED on the repeater starts blinking at about a one second rate. I believe this indicates a loss of the analog link. Am confused why there is an analog link loss. I can reset the repeater Quantar and Aux LED is solid till I make an analog transmission .
Has anybody experienced this and can offer a solution?

Thanks
Larry

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Re: AstroTac Configuration

Postby motorola_otaku » Fri Sep 29, 2017 10:55 am

Is it looking for a guard tone, maybe?
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Re: AstroTac Configuration

Postby ldanna » Fri Sep 29, 2017 1:42 pm

I thought so too so i programmed the 2175 tone same behavior. Also looking closer i missed ihe / on the led silk screen i thought it was indicating the rx and tx was disabled , not so. The leds indicate a rx signsl present and it was on transmit mode. Need better glasses
Problem appears with loss of analog link
On a wim i swapped out the SCM in the repeater
Guess what Analog link now stable. I swapped firmware, condition stayed with original board. Now last issue is lack of sufficient deviation in analog voting digital is fine . funny other SCM board had good deviation. Next step to again swap out SCM maybe 3rd time will be charm


Still looking for documention on AstroTac 3000

Larry

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Re: AstroTac Configuration

Postby motorola_otaku » Mon Oct 02, 2017 7:59 am

The 3000 manual was never made available as a PDF. I had to buy it hard copy from MOL earlier this year... I want to say I paid $40 for it.
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Re: AstroTac Configuration

Postby alex » Mon Oct 02, 2017 2:35 pm

Interesting: I was under the impression from a friend of mine that the comparator did not do any status tone voting. The system relies on the v.24/astro modem data streams to know that analog audio is present and matched the and/or rules for passing it down the wireline. I could be very wrong on that too.

I know some people have seen low audio and the need to do some boost in the quantar to get the levels up a bit to satisfactory. The cheat there has been to connect a tone generator up to the input wires on the quantar, drop in to service mode, and calibrate the wireline up/down a bit from what the status tone level is. That will cause the card to boost the signal a bit. You might want to try doing it on the station side vs comparator side.

Alex
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Re: AstroTac Configuration

Postby ldanna » Mon Oct 02, 2017 7:16 pm

Yes I had to cheat the Quantar to get the level up. Now 3 Khz in gives about 3.5 khz out of the quantar. It allows just a bit of compression of the analog signal. Also it is correct that the AstroTac doesn't use the 2175 status tone from the Rx's so far I am experiencing the V.24 digital link is necessary for either digital or analog voting.

With regard to the Manual is there a Motorola number on the one purchased? If So I will try to see if it is still available. I always like to have documentation on my equipment.

Thanks

Larry

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d119
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Re: AstroTac Configuration

Postby d119 » Tue Oct 03, 2017 8:53 am

Larry,

The ASTROTAC Comparator uses 1000Hz as a status tone. That is why very rarely you'll hear a blip of 1000Hz over the air seemingly from nowhere.

I have no experience using non-Quantar or non-ASTROTAC receivers with an ASTROTAC comparator, so your mileage may vary.

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Re: AstroTac Configuration

Postby chartofmaryland » Tue Oct 03, 2017 9:08 am

Afternoon Larry,

The DIU provides a guard tone (think single tone lockup) to the Astro-Tac to advise the comparator that no analog audio is present

This is the same for all of the hardware which when configured for mixed mode will also be sending the guard tone via the analog wireline when using astro modems, no guard tone, no analog and as I last experienced a failed site.

Best method for your endeavor is to keep all of the equipment local which will be passing the Astro modem traffic within the site saving the pain of trying to pass the analog guard tone and recovering the V.24 from remote locations

FYI, this is firmware dependent to have analog transmissions over 4.0Kc as most all cases of this configuration were for 12.5Kc projects, not 25Kc.

CoM
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Re: AstroTac Configuration

Postby ldanna » Tue Oct 03, 2017 5:09 pm

That answers some questions. I noticed the 1K tone even though I turned off the 2175 . Thanks for the info.

Larry

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Re: AstroTac Configuration

Postby MattSR » Thu Oct 05, 2017 10:45 pm

" The Rx's have a aux LED that is neither showing as solid or blinking, " <--- This is down to the firmware version running in the device. That feature was only added in later FW versions.

motorola_otaku - why did you pay for the manual? :D

Cheers,
Matt

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Re: AstroTac Configuration

Postby motorola_otaku » Mon Oct 09, 2017 10:00 am

ldanna wrote:With regard to the Manual is there a Motorola number on the one purchased? If So I will try to see if it is still available. I always like to have documentation on my equipment.

6881098E20
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Re: AstroTac Configuration

Postby ldanna » Mon Oct 09, 2017 7:42 pm

Got it

Thanks
Larry

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Re: AstroTac Configuration

Postby d119 » Tue Oct 10, 2017 7:26 am

alex wrote:Interesting: I was under the impression from a friend of mine that the comparator did not do any status tone voting. The system relies on the v.24/astro modem data streams to know that analog audio is present and matched the and/or rules for passing it down the wireline. I could be very wrong on that too.

I know some people have seen low audio and the need to do some boost in the quantar to get the levels up a bit to satisfactory. The cheat there has been to connect a tone generator up to the input wires on the quantar, drop in to service mode, and calibrate the wireline up/down a bit from what the status tone level is. That will cause the card to boost the signal a bit. You might want to try doing it on the station side vs comparator side.

Alex


The reason for this is that the comparator needs some means of knowing that the analog link is still up. Otherwise a failure of the analog side of the house (but not the digital side) would never be known.

I don't have an ASTROTAC comparator to experiment with (anyone care to donate?), but I'm curious if the comparator can be configured for analog-only voting. I would not think so, but it may be possible to force it to do that using v.24 looparounds in the front panel connectors.

Curious. But again, no comparator to play with.

I'd also like to play with a JPS SNV-12 :)

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Re: AstroTac Configuration

Postby motorola_otaku » Tue Oct 10, 2017 8:09 am

d119 wrote:I don't have an ASTROTAC comparator to experiment with (anyone care to donate?)

If you can get your hands on 3000 firmware and load it into a SIMM it will plug-and-play in an ATAC 9600, and they've been running around ~$300 on Ebay as of late. Tested and verified. :)
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Re: AstroTac Configuration

Postby wa6ylb » Thu Oct 19, 2017 3:25 pm

"The reason for this is that the comparator needs some means of knowing that the analog link is still up. Otherwise a failure of the analog side of the house (but not the digital side) would never be known."

*This is function is refered to as "Analog Idle Link Check" (located on Wireline Configuration, Astro Tab). Its typically turned on within the Quantar / Astro Tac Rx, with both the receiver and comparator sending 1000 Hz across the 4 wire path. I looked in the ATAC3K comparator and don't see anyway to turn off the Analog Idle Link Check or DIgital Idle Link Check function. We leave this and Digital Idle Link check "Enabled" at all stations. On later versions of firmware, the Link light (last LED) will blink at a 2 hz rate if both Analog and Digital link checks have failed. If one of the two tests has failed, then the LED blinks at a 1 hz rate, or 1/2 slower than both missing. To troubleshoot, unplug (one at a time) V.24 or 4 wire audio and see which one causes the LED to blink at a faster rate. If the one you just unplugged causes it blink faster, then thats not the one with the issue - its the other one. (v.24 or 4 wire audio)


"I don't have an ASTROTAC comparator to experiment with (anyone care to donate?), but I'm curious if the comparator can be configured for analog-only voting."

*Yes - it will do analog only voting, ah, to mean, you can have a bunch of receivers hearing analog and it will vote these. *But*, not without the
V.24 circuit to each receiver being in tact. The S/N ratio value of each receiver is transmitted on the V.24 circuit. You will also want to do the RSL calibrate function on each receiver, to make sure the -90 dbm is calibrated. (if-90 is what was asked for on the tab) We have seen several receivers be off by more than a few DB.


I would not think so, but it may be possible to force it to do that using v.24 looparounds in the front panel connectors.

* This won't work. The comparator would never see status from the receivers. I have a protocol analyzer tool and need to set it up to see if I can decode the data stream as to "signal levels" from the receiver. MIght be fun.

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Re: AstroTac Configuration

Postby ldanna » Thu Oct 19, 2017 6:52 pm

I have a followup question about the analog and digital voting. In my configuration all of my links are Quantar repeaters at each receiver location and relay back to a central point via RF where the comparator lives. No Astro modems in between. So my question has to do with how the comparator determines which Rx to vote. Does the S/N info flow from the sat Rx over the RF link and ultimately reaches the comparator or does the comparator only see the S/N from the co located link Rx. Since all the links are solid with a lot of headroom all the local Rx's would look the same to the comparator or if the originating Rx signal quality is passed thru the link there should be no issue. So which is it?

With regard to the Status tone , Yes I have monitored the sat Rx feeding the Astro Tac and do observe the 1000 Hz idle tone. Also I have a base station connected via the V.24 link but without an Analog connection. When an analog signal is received the comparator shows Analog voice active but does not vote. When that same base receives a digital transmission it indeed does vote

Regards

LArry

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Re: AstroTac Configuration

Postby motorola_otaku » Mon Oct 23, 2017 8:58 am

You would need some method of IP or T1 transport between sites for the V.24 link... no way around that. Factory-built systems used T1 via TenSR banks, but IP transport is much easier to set up especially with all the work that's been done with Cisco STUN.

If you have line-of-sight between sites and the interference level isn't too bad you could even use license-free microwave radios for the IP hops. Look at Ubiquity... they make some pretty simple and versatile stuff.
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Re: AstroTac Configuration

Postby ldanna » Mon Oct 23, 2017 10:32 am

Hmmm ip transport would be nice but not feaseable yet problem with either getting internet or not being able to install an antenna

Will work on it i suspected that was the case
Anyway i am learning more as this project progressess

Thanks

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Re: AstroTac Configuration

Postby d119 » Tue Oct 24, 2017 9:13 am

After doing some research and thought on this, v.24 is required as that is where all the signalling and keying occurs. AFAIK, there are no analog outputs on the comparator to provide keying, etc.

The AstroTAC is not feasible for analog only voting. SpectraTAC, DigiTAC, JPS SNV-12, and MLC 8000 are about your only options.

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Re: AstroTac Configuration

Postby motorola_otaku » Tue Oct 24, 2017 9:25 am

d119 wrote:and MLC 8000

The MLC8000 is a pretty slick little device. It can vote analog audio but it can also transport analog and V.24 over IP.

Only downside on the analog side is it can only accept 4 inputs: https://www.motorolasolutions.com/conte ... _sheet.pdf
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Re: AstroTac Configuration

Postby d119 » Fri Oct 27, 2017 8:57 am

I wonder if it has the nice clickety-clack like the older comparators, or since it's a software device, if that's all stripped...

I believe it can vote digital audio as well? And I know it can function as an IP-based simulcast system for both digital and analog modes.

It's also the same hardware as the MCD5000 RGU, just different software.

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Re: AstroTac Configuration

Postby ldanna » Fri Oct 27, 2017 9:13 am

No clickety clack but does vote analog amd digital
Larry

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Re: AstroTac Configuration

Postby motorola_otaku » Mon Oct 30, 2017 11:02 am

The general gist I got was that it's basically a cheap CCGW (GGM8000) that doesn't need an Astro25 core to operate, and also an answer to the RIC-M.
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Re: AstroTac Configuration

Postby alex » Mon Oct 30, 2017 3:56 pm

d119 wrote:I wonder if it has the nice clickety-clack like the older comparators, or since it's a software device, if that's all stripped...


No, it won't do that sadly. No more Spectratac/Digitac clicks. What most people don't know is that MLC8000 voting = Motobridge Voting (yes! you could use those as voters....)

I believe it can vote digital audio as well? And I know it can function as an IP-based simulcast system for both digital and analog modes.


It is an IP Link Converter for the v.24 side of the house. The box will not do the actual voting. You will need the CGM8000 for the actual voting. There is now a GCP8000 for the analog side of the house which does a lot of the fancy SP's you could do with SpectraTac but could not do. Example: No summed audio on a MLC.

Another thing to note according to the pre-sales folks is you can do IP analog simulcast voting with MLC and not need the GGM routers. Once you want to do P25 voting / simulcast it requires the use of the GGM's. I think it has to do with tunneling multicast audio and ensuring that the RP structure is in place.

It's also the same hardware as the MCD5000 RGU, just different software.


I hear this as well and visually seems to correlate that one is the same as the other. The one fact that backs it up is the RGU manual says that POE is supported. The MLC manual says POE is not supported.... If you give an MLC POE it lights up perfectly. Thank you moto!
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