knox box tones

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knox box tones

Postby DAL-COM » Sat Mar 01, 2003 10:03 pm

Can anyone suggest an inexpensive (<$300) tone encoder that can generate Knox box tones?
Thanks
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Postby KG6EAQ » Sun Mar 02, 2003 12:09 am

Don't know where to get one and not to sound like a total jerk but what legal use do you have for one? Anyone that has spent the money to setup this system would already have the encoder....
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Postby nmfire10 » Sun Mar 02, 2003 1:30 am

KG6EAQ wrote:Don't know where to get one and not to sound like a total jerk but what legal use do you have for one? Anyone that has spent the money to setup this system would already have the encoder....


Ditto.
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Postby The Pager Geek » Sun Mar 02, 2003 3:14 am

Knox box tones are modified DTMF tones. You will have to get your specific dual tones for each digit, then try to decode them in order to regenerate them... nothing I know of is "ready-made" to do this.

See above 2 posts for further comments...

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Postby RADIOMAN2002 » Sun Mar 02, 2003 10:30 am

Other than being the actuall licensed(yes they do license each departments tones seperately) I don't belive there is any way to generate them,They are modified DTMF and special timing is required. I too have been looking to do it. I have about 25 of them under contract, and its a real pain to get my County Fire Control to constantly repeat the tones till I find a problem in the box or the radio,
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Postby ExKa|iBuR » Sun Mar 02, 2003 10:34 am

I was waiting for someone else to ask.

But.

What is a Knox Box?


Where I live, the fire department sends out what sounds like DTMF over their radios as well... I remember someone telling me that those tones are used to access a key??

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Postby JAYMZ » Sun Mar 02, 2003 10:53 am

I don't think it's the same thing that is being discussed here but a knox box in the fire service(at least around here) is a box of keys for an apartment complex, nursing, or other commercial building. The fire department gets a couple of copies of the master key to get into the knox box... thus gaining access to the whole building. Most businesses or building supers don't like it when you take a halagen tool to a door jam for a smoke investigation.
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Postby Bob » Sun Mar 02, 2003 11:22 am

Yes, it is the same thing. Some boxes use key access, and some boxes use tone access. it was briefly discussed here not too long ago:
viewtopic.php?t=10242&highlight=knox+box

You can also find Knox Box info at: http://www.knoxbox.com/
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Postby nmfire10 » Sun Mar 02, 2003 11:36 am

We have tone activated Knox Sentra-Locks in our apparatus that releases the key for the boxes on the buildings. It is not information that will ever be given away to anyone but Radio Service and the manufacturer. The key that it releases is not a copiable key either.
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Postby ExKa|iBuR » Sun Mar 02, 2003 11:44 am

Well, what would it take for someone to make a recording of the tones over the air with say, an FT50, and re-play them over the air...the box wouldn't know the difference...


I'm confused though. Do the tones open a box inside the fire truck to get the key, or do the tones open the actual box on the building to get the key?


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Postby KG6EAQ » Sun Mar 02, 2003 12:05 pm

They open the box on the truck. That box contains the key for the one on the buildings.
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Postby nmfire10 » Sun Mar 02, 2003 12:23 pm

NorthYork20 wrote:Well, what would it take for someone to make a recording of the tones over the air with say, an FT50, and re-play them over the air...the box wouldn't know the difference.



1. Box will not open without the truck being on
2. Each truck has a different tone
3. Everyone will hear the tones go out over the air without being requested.
4. Someone will then notice you running up to the truck, jumping in, and then running away. The box only stays unlocked for so long.
5. We all have axes and haligan bars and are very protective.
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Postby mastr » Sun Mar 02, 2003 3:07 pm

The recording method might work, if the speed of the playback was very precise. It would certainly be worth a try as a legitimate service tool. I believe that it is safe to assume that DAL-COM would not be posting this question in an open forum if he intended to steal the contents of the "knox box".
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Postby nmfire10 » Sun Mar 02, 2003 3:56 pm

mastr wrote:I believe that it is safe to assume that DAL-COM would not be posting this question in an open forum if he intended to steal the contents of the "knox box".


This may be true. However, when asked without any legitimate reason given, it is like asking "Hey, who will tell me where the key to town hall is hidden?"
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Postby Jonathan KC8RYW » Sun Mar 02, 2003 4:23 pm

nmfire10 wrote:
mastr wrote:I believe that it is safe to assume that DAL-COM would not be posting this question in an open forum if he intended to steal the contents of the "knox box".


This may be true. However, when asked without any legitimate reason given, it is like asking "Hey, who will tell me where the key to town hall is hidden?"

Try under the front mat.
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Postby DAL-COM » Sun Mar 02, 2003 5:42 pm

It is not hard to find the tone chart for Knox equipment on the Web. I have also learned that several manufacturers of consoles offer Knox tone encoding. One of my fire dept customers is interested in using Knox boxes, but I don't believe their dispatch supports it. I was curious to know if anyone had found an inexpensive encoder, but apparently not. I will check with Midian and Comm-spec.
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Postby GMC » Sun Mar 02, 2003 7:07 pm

What console do they have????
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Knox Box

Postby 2wayguy » Sun Mar 02, 2003 8:39 pm

I just installed one last week that used QCII off of a CDM1250. But in addition to the proper tones it also required the use of an electronic key fob at the same time the tones activated the box..
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Postby AngelFire_91 » Sun Mar 02, 2003 9:10 pm

Our department use a what sounds to be like a packet burst followed by the Knox tones. Our box's are located on the officers side right smack in the middle of his dashboard. I would assume the Packet burst is Acquiring the specific box's attention (so to say) and then the tones open that specific box. Good luck ever getting a hold on the packet information, and then we have the tones to beat. 8) Our box's only have four keys in them, they are the N, S, E, and W, keys. any guess as to why they are labled that.......You got it; North, South, East, West key's as to what part of the city your in it opens the Knox box on the building. That was our old system, Now we are using ASTRO radios and the Knox Channel is Astro Encrypted. So good luck ever hearing the Knox packet or tones anymore inless your in the rig.


Also a couple of us guys down at the station one night had an old Box not being used anymore so we tried to see if we could break into it. Let's just say it's not easy at all, we eventually had to get the magnisium cutting torch out of the truck and burn our way into it. It still wasn't a cake walk.
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Postby tom IL » Sun Mar 02, 2003 9:53 pm

How much does one of these units cost? All of the depts I have seen that use Knox boxes keep the key in a combo lock box that they buy at the hardware store (quality boxes but all you need is the combo). Is the intent of the tones to keep a record of when they key is taken out?
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Postby OX » Mon Mar 03, 2003 3:56 am

The purpose is to allow Emergency Personnel to enter a locked building without busting out a window or door.

I've seen two scenarios:
1) Each Battalion Chief and Fire Inspector carries a Knox key so that when there is an incident that requires entry to the building, they can have easy access. In this case you have to actually trust your PS officials in that they won't just walk in and clean you out.

2) Each rig is equipped with a secure box with an electronic lock. The electronic lock is connected into the rig's radio. Inside the box is a Knox key (typically). Upon arrival at an incident that requires entry into a secure building, the dispatcher can authorize the rig's box to unlock by encoding a series of tones and/or data (I've only heard of the tone version but someone has mentioned a data packet goes out as well).

With the Knox key, the official can unlock the knox box on the building and have use of the building master key. This is typical of my area, I'm shure some areas differ. Also, there is a tampered version of the Knox Box (for the building) that can be hooked into the building security alarm to notify when someone has opened the box and/or ripped the box from the wall.
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Postby firemed9 » Mon Mar 03, 2003 5:51 am

Knox boxes are indeed either key access or tone access. the tone access varies on department needs. You can order them with either a QC-II tone, DTMF tone, or knox has its on encoder which sends a packet out that is box specific. that is the most common method for the knox boxes. Each box setup is set up to a code that is determined between the sales associate that has contracted the install (or their authorized dealer), and the fire chief of the department. the radio shop is contacted if there is question if the equipment being used in dispatch can work with the system being installed. Most reps are familiar with the most common dispatch systems, and they can do most if not all the work without anyone from a radio shop.
These tones, however, are supposed to be kept on an extreme need to know basis. Some departments do keep a box on the truck with the master key for the boxes, other departments actually have them installed on the buildings they need to access. you see this more often in smaller towns.
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Postby GMC » Mon Mar 03, 2003 8:20 am

ALMOST always the tone type systems are installed on rig, and the master key type are installed on the buildings. By the way I have also seen the tone systems installed on ambulances for certain narcotics that could only be accessed upon orders of the med control or hospital that they get there orders from .

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More

Postby RADIOMAN2002 » Mon Mar 03, 2003 12:17 pm

Getting into it more deeply, there are 2 ways of operating, as with our department, we have appx 25 Knox-box security key holders installed on our engines and chiefs vehicles. The old version has a key sticking out of it that can be removed for security purposes, this key is required to unlock a second key, when the box receives the proper sequence of tones. The newer version has a key fob that must be placed over the sensor creating the same situation as the key above. Once the security key has been removed it is used to open the box located outside the building you want to get into.
Now with a service key you CAN open the unit and we have tested it, so we know that the security key, the on that opens the box attached to the building, which contains that building's key can be removed with some fiddeling. So I have now made a signout log for that key anytime I need it for repair, I must sign it out from the deparments, main office and return it by the end of the day, My protection and the departments.
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Postby Burner » Mon Mar 03, 2003 6:57 pm

Chief officers in my department have the tones in their HT1250's under a separate zone to utilize for training and if communications is busy or if we are in an area that other interference hampers the tones. We feel this is better than just giving out a backup key, We have no problem releasing the key from the sentralock
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The tone frequencies

Postby Twisted_Pear » Wed Mar 05, 2003 8:00 pm

Just type in "knox box dtmf tones" on Google. Look under rec.radio.scanner for a post by Rich Carlson.

Off the top of my head....I'm sure you can locate sound recording software to generate the dual tones by frequency. What you do afterwards is up to you to think of.

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Knox Box tones

Postby Cowthief » Fri Mar 07, 2003 2:19 pm

Hello.

I, for one, have broken the knox box.

The way to open the box is to record the tones, then play them back, on the repeater output, at very low power, this way no one else will 'hear' the tones.
The lock, made by mechanical devices company MEDECO, is NOT copy proof, the bi-axial simply needs a 3 axias cutter, and the correct blank.

I post this, not so much to inform the crooks, they will figure this out soon enough, but in the hopes that the system be made "more" secure.
I have "broken" the MEDECO, as well as Abloy, and Papaz locks, have " cracked" several bank safes, in Texas, there were a LOT of failed banks in the 80's.
My average time, to pop a car, from square one, with alarm, is around 90 seconds.
I know, strange hobby.
The type 4 seal that is put on some government loads that are transported by truck, takes me around 30 minutes to remove and reinstall.

Point being, never think anything is secure.

Thank You.
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Re: Knox Box tones

Postby nmfire10 » Fri Mar 07, 2003 3:39 pm

Cowthief wrote:I post this, not so much to inform the crooks, they will figure this out soon enough, but in the hopes that the system be made "more" secure.



And just like FRS, no bad people will hear you say this because of the PL on the Bat Board, right?
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re

Postby litsnsirn » Fri Mar 07, 2003 3:48 pm

I think that Zetron makes an encoder, but I'm not sure, I remember after getting some new ones needing to have Zetron burn a new prom.

I used to get everyone at work riled up because I used to spread around that I used the Knox box to get into my friend's(actually a /\/\ engineer, at the time) apartment all the time. What I didn't say was that the process was to climb up onto the gas meter, one foot on the Knox box, stand and pull yourself up onto the balcony. Worked like a charm.
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Postby MO_TRASHER » Sat Mar 08, 2003 12:30 pm

I think everyone is on the mark here. Our shop put in some boxes for a local FD a couple years ago. The dispatchers punch out a key on the Centracom and it dumps the DTMF sequence and POOF!! key is released.
If memory serves, it's standard phone co DTMF tones (at least it is for my customer) about 10 digits long?? We tested them at the shop using a signal generator with DTMF encoding. I can't remember the on-off intervals, but it seemed pretty quick.

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Postby nmfire10 » Sat Mar 08, 2003 12:42 pm

Ours use DTMF, whether it is standard or some proprietary modified version, I have no idea. It is a very rapid DTMF as well. A neighboring town uses it as well and theirs is a very slow DTMF of some kind.
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Postby OX » Sat Mar 08, 2003 8:27 pm

I haven't heard the tones lately but I thought they sounded like the access tones used in a Blue Box (similar to DTMF but the tone grid was modified).
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tones

Postby RADIOMAN2002 » Mon Mar 10, 2003 9:30 am

From my conversations with Knox there are at least 2 versions of tones, standard DTMF and a series know as F-1. F-1 is DTMF with different tones within the dual tone . kinda like the old motorola 2+2 format of the 70's.
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Postby Ett1033 » Wed Mar 12, 2003 11:31 am

If you are using Knox Sentraloks, they have several settings and codes that each agency might have set up different. Some are encrypted, so recording the DTMF would not work. They sell an encoder for 795.00 that will connect into your console and release accordingly. If your dept. uses Sentralok, they will sell you the encoder, if not, you may have to purchase a system. The encoders, however, need professional installation. Find more info at Knox website.
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