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Help with Pyramid Repeater SVR-200

This forum is dedicated to helping people with questions about installing radio equipment in vehicles. This can include antenna installs, electrical wiring questions/problems, and mounting systems. Pictures of installs are welcome.

Note: Discussions regarding lighting, sirens, and other equipment now has its own forum in the 'off-topic' section below.

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pluto1914
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Help with Pyramid Repeater SVR-200

Postby pluto1914 » Mon Feb 06, 2006 3:40 pm

We have 5 of these units in service at work...I have obtained the software to program them butr am having difficulty locating the programming cable. Anyone know what type of cable it is and where I might be able to get one?? Thanks!!!

David

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kb0nly
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Postby kb0nly » Mon Feb 06, 2006 3:58 pm

I just looked on their website:

http://www.pyramidcomm.com/index.html?

The software, manual, service manual, its all available on their website. But, as for the programming cable there is only a mention of the FY-1 programming cable.

Best bet, click on contact us and ask the sales department about the cable.

Or, if you have a Moto or aftermarket rib you can make a cable to program the SVR-200 instead.

http://www.batlabs.com/svr200.html
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contacting Pyramid....

Postby pluto1914 » Mon Feb 06, 2006 5:10 pm

I sent them an email awhile ago and the have not sent me a reply. It appeas as though the connection is a 9Db serial, although one would need a gender changer to use a traditional cable. Alas...I am not using this on a motorola radio...a Kenwood (sigh) TK-6/790 dual band mobile, which I do have programming abilities

David

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Postby HumHead » Mon Feb 06, 2006 5:41 pm

To program them you have to open up the case, and slide out the circuit board. The programming jack is a 3/32" sub-mini phone jack, located on the front edge of the board near the LEDS.

There is a diagram on the main Baltabs site for the cable that will allow you to program it with a /\/\ (or compatible) RIB.

Do not confuse the jacks on the rear of the case for the programming port. The DB9 is simply the interface connector for the radio. It is not a serial port. Likewise, the 1/8" (3.5mm) phone jack on the rear is for a local speaker. The actual programming jack is located internally.

While it is possible to do it with less, properly setting these up actually takes two service monitors. The time and effort to do a proper alignment on these is what makes all of the difference in the world between them being outstanding units and disappointments.

The full service instructions are available off of their web site.

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Postby jwb8734 » Mon Feb 06, 2006 7:36 pm

I tried the cable on mine it didnt work. If you goto there web site it list distribuitors and wholesalers. http://www.pyramidcomm.com/reps.html?

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thanks...

Postby pluto1914 » Mon Feb 06, 2006 9:09 pm

humhead...i don't know if the repeaters are setup properly...after reading the service manual and your post I have come to that conclusion. The audio that comes accross the repeater freq on certain apparatus sounds terrible...almost inaudible, it's full of noise. All i was attempting to do was program in a receive PL so that we do not hear the chatter that goes on outside of my department...

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Postby HumHead » Mon Feb 06, 2006 9:55 pm

I'd almost take money on the fact that your units were not properly aligned. When they are properly aligned, the audio is outstanding. If you just plug them in and hope, the results can be pretty ugly.

You should be sure that you understand how the priority unit selection scheme works before you go and add a PL to the repeater TX frequency. You may not be happy with the results.

Here's the basic story (although it is a long one):

When you have multiple units with the vehicle repeaters in them, you can only have one active on scene at a time. If multiple units were trying to repeat simultaneously, chaos would quickly ensue.

To prevent this one unit becomes the priority unit, and the others all act as backups. When a unit first goes active it makes itself the priority unit and transmits a short tone to announce its arrival. Upon receiving the tone, all other units decrement themselves one step in the priority order. As a result, the last unit to arrive is always the active repeater, and the first unit on scene is always the lowest on the backup chain, with the others in between in reverse order.

Normally the portables are set up to transmit PL, and the repeaters are set up to transmit carrier squelch. This way the portables hear both repeater and fireground (or EMS ground, or whatever) traffic. Many systems set up the repeaters on the fireground channels, with only officers having the TX PL so that eveyrone can talk and listen locally, but only officers can go out over the repeaters.

Now, here's how the repeaters keep track of things, and why the PL / CSQ setup is important:
1) If the active prioity unit sees a transmission with the correct PL, it assumes that it should be repeated and keys up the attached radio to transmit it.
2) If the active repeater sees a transmission without the correct PL, it assumes that it is either local traffic, or interference, and ignores it.
3) If the non-priority repeaters see a transmission with the correct PL, they check the COR line from their attached radio to see if it is receiving signal. If it is, they assumes that the active priority repeater is repeating properly, and the non-priority units do nothing.
4) If the non-priority repeaters see a transmission with the correct PL, and do not see a COR indication from the apparatus radio, they will assume that the active unit has left the scene, or is otherwise off of the air. When this happens all of the non-priority units will start to increment themselves up one step at a time in the priority order until a new unit becomes the active unit, transmits its activation tone, and starts repeating.

If you have the portables and the repeaters transmitting the same PL tone, there is no way for the units to tell repeater and portable transmissions apart and keep themselves sorted out.

There is a split-tone option in the software which allows you to use one tone for the portables and a different one for the repeaters, thereby preserving the priority scheme. The drawback is that your on scene portables will only hear the repeater outputs. They will not hear other portables transmitting on scene or through the repeaters since the PL tones will not match. You could try to hack your way around this by setting up two different channels with two different PL tones, and then doing some serious mode slaved scan list voodoo, but now things are really starting to get ugly fast.

Which is why most people just live with the CSQ on the receive side...

BTW- for programming work, I use the cable shown on the main batlabs site with a Motorola RIB, and it has always worked like a champ.

While I'm at it, I'm moving this thread over to Vehicle Radio Installs, which is probably a more appropriate home for it.

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wow....

Postby pluto1914 » Tue Feb 07, 2006 5:53 am

Thank you very much for that post..I forwarded it to my chief for him to review. It appears that our repeaters are not setup properly. Regarding the multivehicle setup. I understand that when a second repeater shows up, it becomes the priorty and the first one becomes the backup. As the backup what is its functionality. Does it transmit for the priority repeeater when it receives the stronger signal? I use this example because of our highschool for example. It's a single story builinding spread out over a large area. When the command vehicle with a the SVR200 parks in the front of the building, the reception from the backside of the building is questionable. So if there was a vehicle in the back of the school with an SVR200 on the same frequency, would that repeater take over the transmission for those in the fringe area of the first repeater?? Hope that makes sense... Thanks.


David

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Postby HumHead » Tue Feb 07, 2006 9:26 am

There should only be one active unit on a scene at a time. The units acting as backups are simply standing by to take over if the currently active unit leaves the scene or goes off of the air.

You would never want to have multiple units active at the same time, even if they are on opposite sides of a large building. While you might theoretically get a situation where the two repeaters would not hear each other, it is almost certain that a good percentage of the time they would both hear a portable in the building, and would both simultaneously try to repeat the audio, with poor results.

The units assign priority based solely on the order of arrival / activation. They are completely indifferent as to what type of vehicle they are installed in. If the command vehicle was the last on scene, it will have the active repeater. If another piece of apparatus arrives on scene after the command vehicle, it will take over.

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Postby Spatch713 » Tue Feb 07, 2006 11:18 am

Does this (the priority assigning) scenario only work if the repeater is turned on at the scene (sending out the tone)? The reason I ask is I know of some departments that leave a repeater constantly on because their personnel forget to activate it.

We have a low band radio with a SVR200 connected to it. Every few seconds it drops the carrier when repeating. I was under the impresson that this is the SVR checking to see if other repeaters are on?
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Postby HumHead » Tue Feb 07, 2006 8:15 pm

The primary purpose of the drop-out pause in transmitting is to allow a portable unit to break in with emergency traffic.

However, it will also check to see if another repeater is transmitting. If an active unit detects another repeater transmitting during its receive check, it will knock itself out of the priority role and allow the other unit to handle the traffic.

This feature is implemented specifically to deal with apparatus that roll up with their repeaters already engaged and, therefore, do not transmit the activaation / lock tone.

My personal preference is to tie to repeater's activation line to the park / neutral switch (or suitable equivalent switch) so that the repeater automatically goes active when the rig is placed in park, and de-activates when the rig is rolling. It adds some additional install complexity, but it makes operation completely transparent to the end user.

One other thing worth mentioning- if the mobile radio is in scan, it will probably drop COR when it stops to check the priority channel, causing the SVR200 to also drop out of transmit, and creating big holes in the repeated audio. I always try to teach users to take the rig radio off of scan if they are planning to use the mobile repeater.

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Postby 007 » Wed Feb 08, 2006 7:32 pm

HumHead wrote:My personal preference is to tie to repeater's activation line to the park / neutral switch (or suitable equivalent switch) so that the repeater automatically goes active when the rig is placed in park, and de-activates when the rig is rolling. It adds some additional install complexity, but it makes operation completely transparent to the end user.


That's a great idea....I never thought of that, but it would be a great feature. I believe that I will try for that in an upcoming install I'm doing.

Any way of doing this thru the VIP with a Spectra/VRS set-up?
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Postby nmfire10 » Wed Feb 08, 2006 7:50 pm

The brake interconnect is brilliant. My personal experience with these is that there MUST be a way to turn it off manually. When one of them gets messed up, it wreaks havoc.

And god help you if someone rolls up with the mobile in scan. God it will make you want to blow something up in a matter of minutes.
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Postby thebigphish » Wed Feb 08, 2006 8:37 pm

or maybe an interconnect to the PTO/high idle? This way it would prevent it from coming on when the vehicle isn't in 'operations' mode, such as fueling or 'grocery' runs.... it really is a brilliant idea, humhead!

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Postby nmfire10 » Thu Feb 09, 2006 7:11 am

Heh, 90% of our calls don't requre it being in pump anyway :-?
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Postby Mikey » Thu Feb 09, 2006 7:43 am

I've got ours installed with a small DIP switch in the bottom of the mobile chargers for the portable. when the driver gets out and grabs the portable out of the charger, it activates the extender on the truck. Seems to work really well for there application.


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Postby k2hz » Thu Feb 09, 2006 8:05 am

HumHead has provided an excellent discussion of the concerns involved in Vehicle Repeater operations. It should be required reading for any agency that uses or is considering purchase of a VR system.

I was interested to see that the technolgy has not changed since an incident I was involved in over 20 years ago when multiple VRs that supposedly would sense the presence of other units on scene was a new innovation.

I did not directly observe this incident but I was one of many asked for recommendations in the aftermath.

A city FD had recenty purchased several VRs which were installed in the Chief's cars. Early experience had been marginal. Communications was considered to be not significantly better and sometimes worse than use of the VHF simplex portables.

An alarm was received for a huge cold storage warehouse, several stories high and the size of a full city block. The structure was fully involved and first due Chief immediately called 2nd and 3rd alarms to set up attack on opposite sides of the structure. An additional general alarm was called to protect exposures.

As soon as the additional Chiefs arrived on scene and set up at locations around a wide area with the structure in between, total chaos ensued on the fireground channel as 2 or 3 VRs were simultaneously active. There were either 4 or 5 VR equipped vehicles on site and they were not able to sense all the other VRs and were keying on top of each other. A very nasty fire situation was aggravated by serious disruption of communications. I believe a radio tech eventually responded and disabled the VRs.

The follow up investigation of the incident was unable to determine any way to prevent a similar situation in the future. The FD demanded that any solution had to be automatic. They did not want the Chief arriving on scene to have to be fussing with setting up radio equipment instead of concentrating on the fire. The decision was to junk the VR system.

Since then, I have never seen any VR system that users have been totally happy with. Most seem to get removed or not used after a while. The only solution that seems to work consistently is a single, manually activated, repeater in a designated scene command post vehicle.

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Postby nmfire10 » Thu Feb 09, 2006 5:11 pm

Yep. They work EXACTLY the same as they used to 20 years ago. In fact, I bet if you arrived on scene with 4 SVR-200's and 3 PAC-RT's, it would still work.

Unfortunately, having two units far enough away that they can't hear eachother is problematic. We had this at a brush fire once and being the company radio nerd, I'm the only one that noticed it. I had to manually switch things around to keep people talking.
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Postby apco25 » Thu Feb 09, 2006 9:36 pm

Jim,

There is a VIP VRS enable option available for the spectra units that will what you want.
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Postby 007 » Fri Feb 10, 2006 7:11 pm

apco25 wrote:Jim,

There is a VIP VRS enable option available for the spectra units that will what you want.


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Re: Help with Pyramid Repeater SVR-200

Postby Royur » Fri Jan 01, 2016 1:51 pm

The Icom CI-V interface works perfect for the SVR-200v http://www.cqham.ru/ci-v_icom.htm

73's

RC

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Re: thanks...

Postby Jim202 » Mon Feb 01, 2016 6:00 pm

pluto1914 wrote:humhead...i don't know if the repeaters are setup properly...after reading the service manual and your post I have come to that conclusion. The audio that comes accross the repeater freq on certain apparatus sounds terrible...almost inaudible, it's full of noise. All i was attempting to do was program in a receive PL so that we do not hear the chatter that goes on outside of my department...


My bet is on the pass through audio level from the receiver to the transmitter is set way too high. The age old problem of a repeater audio being driven way into compression.

Jim

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Re: Help with Pyramid Repeater SVR-200

Postby jackhackett » Tue Feb 02, 2016 9:48 am

In case you didn't realize it, this topic was from ten years ago.

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Re: Help with Pyramid Repeater SVR-200

Postby Jim202 » Tue Feb 02, 2016 8:36 pm

jackhackett wrote:In case you didn't realize it, this topic was from ten years ago.


It may be a really old posting, but the issues are still the same today. There are some people that still haven't learned how to set up repeater throughput audio levels and the problems the wrong adjustments cause.

Jim


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