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Since ComTekk uses your computer's sound card to generate page tones, they will be played through the speakers, if connected. Therefore, the easiest way to transmit page tones is to simply hold a radio microphone up to the speaker while playing the tones.
You can try this with a handheld, but it's very likely that RF will get into the speakers and possibly into your computer, which can potentially cause it to crash, or at least make a terrible sound through the speakers. It's best to use a radio with a hand-mike and keep the antenna as far away from the computer and speakers as possible when transmitting. Before proceeding however, there are a few things that must be taken into account:
First, you need to be sure you're transmitting on the same frequency the pagers receive on. If your department uses a repeater, your radio should be tuned to a simplex or talk-around channel, so you don't broadcast to the whole district. To test this, press the monitor button on your pager while transmitting from your radio to see if it comes through.
Another important consideration is the range of your transmission. Obviously, if you're just testing, you don't want to trigger an alarm or upset the dispatcher! The best way to avoid this scenario is to connect a "dummy load" to the antenna jack of your transmitter. NEVER transmit without an antenna or load connected! This will cause transmitted power to reverse back into the radio and can cause serious damage. For more info, see the section on dummy loads below.
With a dummy load attached, transmit range will be reduced from miles to feet, which will usually prevent it from being heard much beyond the fire house. Be sure to notify all personnel within the immediate vicinity what you are doing, as their pagers will likely be activated also.
NOW you can safely test fire pagers to your heart's content without any unwanted side effects. :-)
Reach VIP III
There are only two requirements here. First, select a load which is rated to handle the same or more power than your radio puts out. Most handhelds produce 5 - 7 watts. Mobiles are typically from 40 - 100 Watts.
Second, be sure the dummy load you select will mate to the antenna connector on your radio. Don't worry, there are adaptors for virtually any combination.
There are some "budget" type radios that will not accept a dummy load because they have no shield on the connector, i.e. it is a single-conductor connection and will only operate with the antenna supplied. Here is one example (inset: note the solid one-piece connection on the antenna):
The connector shown here is basically just a bolt, with no center conductor.
Suppliers of Dummy Loads:
Adaptors & pigtails:
L-Com adaptors (mouse-over to see pictures of connectors)
You can also order pigtails (short cable with different connectors on each end). Once you know the type and gender, use the drop-down list under "Select Pigtail by Connection Type"
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