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Thread: Interfacing Quantars to Astro-Tac 3000

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    Default Interfacing Quantars to Astro-Tac 3000

    I'm trying to get a couple Quantars to talk to an Astro Tac (all on the bench so nothing but wires in between).

    First, here's what I have to work with in the Quantars:

    Station Control Module:
    TTN4094
    F/W 20.14.034

    Wireline Board:
    CLN6955
    w/V.24 card TTN4010
    F/W 20.14.003

    Astro Tac:
    F/W 03.18.003
    2 WLBs in it for a total of 4x V.24 ports running F/W 03.18.000


    I managed to get the Quantars talking to each other back-to-back over the V.24 ports with the same cable I describe below. I confirmed this with two radios on the different channels, by watching the data stream with a scope and watching the PA Full LED on both units.


    1) What is the proper RJ45 cable pinout for a direct Quantar to Astro Tac connection? What I have now is:
    Clock: 1 - 3
    Clock: 3 - 1
    Gnd: 4 - 4
    Data: 5 - 6
    Data: 6 - 5

    2) I set both the Astro Tac and Quantars to use their internal clocks for V.24 Tx Data timing. I enabled the digital idle link check feature on the Quantars and set the Comparator option to Astro Tac. Using a banjo to breakout the connections on the RJ 45, I used a scope to watch the clock and data lines. The clock signal is working both ways and there is a regular interval pulse train both ways on the data lines but I do not see any actual astro data like I did when I had the 2 Quantars back-to-back.

    3) When I connected the Quantars back-to-back, the blinking V.24 light on the SCM goes to steady on. I also get the steady V.24 light if I connect a Quantar to either port 1 or 2 of the Astro Tac. However, if connected to port 3 & 4, it's still blinking. I have all 4 ports in the Astro Tac set to V.24 only. When looking at the status screen on the Astro Tac, it shows all 4 ports as "failed". One interesting thing to note is that when unplugging the RJ45 cable, the lights stays steady for quite a bit longer from the back-to-back configuration then when unplugged from the Astro-Tac ports 1 and 2.

    5) I see there is a default transmitter steering address setting on the Astro Tac which is set to 3F. I haven't seen anywhere to set that on the Quantar- is that hiding somewhere? What other settings might be tripping me up?

    I know there's an Ah-Ha moment in here somewhere. I had a medium Ah-Ha today when I got them working back to back.

    Thank you in advance oh great Quantar gurus.


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    Normally you want the RT/RT Configuration=disabled for communication with an AstroTAC or DIU, and you want it set to enabled for back-to-back stations. You might check that...

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    I did enable that setting to get them working back-to-back and it's now disabled for using the Astro Tac.

    Quote Originally Posted by tbiggums View Post
    Normally you want the RT/RT Configuration=disabled for communication with an AstroTAC or DIU, and you want it set to enabled for back-to-back stations. You might check that...

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    Quantar Hardware Config

    Station Type: Astro CAI Capable
    System Type: Conventional
    Site number: 1 for station #1 and 2 for station #2

    Wireline Settings

    Wireline tab:
    Comparator: Atro-Tac

    Astro tab:
    Wireline Interface: V.24 only
    Digital Idle Line Check: Enabled
    External transmit clock: Disabled
    RT/RT Configuration: Disabled

    The RJ45 are wired the same on the Atro-Tac and the Quantar. The wiring you need to test with will look like:

    RJ45 on Quantar

    1 RX clock to Quantar from Astro-Tac TX clock pin 3
    2 CD input to Quantar from Astro-Tac RTS pin 8
    3 TX clock from Quantar to Astro-Tac RX clock pin 1
    4 GND to GND pin 4
    5 RX data to Quantar from Astro-Tac TX data pin 6
    6 TX data from Quantar to Astro-Tac RX data pin 5
    7 CTS to Quantar from Astro-Tac RTS pin 8 (also goes to Quantar pin 2)
    8 RTS from Quantar to Astro-Tac CD pin 2 and Astro-Tac CTS pin 7

    Link (Aux) LED should come on and stay on.

    Then report back!
    Last edited by Astro Spectra; Jun 05, 2013 at 09:45 AM. Reason: Fixed handshake pins
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    I checked a CP on a mixed mode station that I have in service with an Astro_TAC3000 and I have the Wireline set to 4-wire on the Hardware configuration tab. That is the only difference that I see from my archived CP that have similar settings to what Astro Spectra posted above.

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    Success!! I knew I was asking the right people. I made two cables just like you said Astro Spectra and BAM. I already had my settings right, it was just the cable snagging me up.

    After looking at how it should be wired, I realize you can spoof the Astro Tac into working by wiring pins 2,7,8 together on the Astro Tac end of the cable. I think that's what I'll be doing since the ultimate interconnections will be over DS-961DG intraplex cards which only support the timing and data lines. There is also a Terminal Timing Pin on those cards, which I'm unsure if that's useful in this application. Anyone have experience on interconnecting a Quantar/Astro-Tac network on those cards?

    As far as PTT Priority goes in the Quantar, I know that R=Repeater, W=Wireline, L=Local
    but what are M & D?

    One last peculiarity on one of my Quantars- When I power it on, it starts the usual sequence of lights and sometimes instead of coming online and all green like normal, it rapidly alternate flashes the RX2 and RXFail lights and the station never comes online. If I power cycle it after this happens, it comes online everytime. It seems to only do it after it's been powered down overnight or for more than a few hours. Obviously, it's not a good sign since it's intermittent. I wonder what the problem could be. I only noticed it after upgrading the firmware/adding the SIMM. I tried re-seating the SIMM and cleaning the contacts but it didn't seem to make a difference.

    And finally, what does the Parallel Audio feature in the Astro-Tac do? Will that mix digital audio streams together from separate receivers?

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    M = Phone Patch
    D = Fast key-up

    The Quantar RSS (CPS) has a decent help file which explains certain fields. Simply click on the arrow/question mark, then drag it to the field-in-question, and click. The help dialogue will pop up.

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    You should wire 2, 7, and 8 together at each end so that both the Quantar and Astro-Tac see CD and CTS asserted when RTS is asserted.

    Setting the system up over your Harris system is straightforward but hard to describe, also I don't have the '961card config guide. In general there are two setting (Quantar tx clock internal or external) depending on how you want the clocking set and restrictions set by the backhaul between the Intraplex boxes. Are you using NetExpress over IP or something else?

    Lastly the flashing LED issues looks a bit like a failed flash upgrade. Sounds like you upgraded the 4094 SCM by installing a flash SIMM (you did pull the old eproms?) But did you check that the WL memories were flash 29C020 parts and not eprom 27C010 devices under the labels? This is important because the SCM flashes the WL and complains if it can't.

    Rather than pull the station apart just carefully check the firmware revs of both WL cards. Also post the Exciter firmware while you're at it. The station will operate with out of sync firmware but sometimes the odd error creeps in. Of course your issue may be something else alltogether.
    Last edited by Astro Spectra; Jun 06, 2013 at 12:18 PM. Reason: clarity
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    We're using old school TDM for the intraplex back haul I believe (Another guy handles that part of the system).

    For the flashing LED- Yes, I did pull the old proms....lol. Exciter firmware is 20.09.018 (was upgraded along with the SCM). As for the WLB, it did take the flash upgrade. However, this blinkin' problem is present even with the wireline board removed entirely (with codeplug configured to no WLB as well) which eliminates that as a potential source. Also, the firmware on the SCM/WLB/Exciter is exactly the same for both Quantars.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Mars View Post
    M = Phone Patch
    D = Fast key-up

    The Quantar RSS (CPS) has a decent help file which explains certain fields. Simply click on the arrow/question mark, then drag it to the field-in-question, and click. The help dialogue will pop up.


    I take it that the M = the MRTI port on the back?
    What exactly is Fast key-up? I did check the popup and even manual but it only had L,W,R defined.

    One of my parameters with this network is for P25 to take priority over anything analog. So if an analog user is talking and someone keys up P25 on another machine in the network, everything switches to P25 immediately and overrides all analog traffic. In our networks current configuration which has stand-alone P25 and networked analog, this is the case and I'd like to keep it that way.

    Each Quantar is going to be interfaced using an external analog repeater controller (either through wireline or MRTI port) and a WLB w/ V.24 interface for astro data (going to an Astro-Tac). My current setup is I interface the external controller on the analog wireline ins/outs with some wildcard tables to configure the PTT & COS interface. I played with it a bit today and it works great with the external controller for analog and the V.24 for astro. Only thing is that it seems there is no way to differentiate the PTT priority between astro and analog- it treats the analog and astro as wireline and whichever is first in captures the unit.

    Is there a way using the wildcard options to make astro always have priority over the analog wireline traffic? Or should I just interface the external analog controller through the MRTI port and use the PTT priority option to put wireline over MRTI. Something like L>W>M>R>D ?

    How is everyone interfacing their external analog controller? MRTI or wireline board? Any caveats to doing it over MRTI?

    I'm learning a great deal here from you guys and playing with the stuff on my own. I'm fortunate to have enough equipment on the bench to really be able to work the bugs out. Thanks again!

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    Prioritizing traffic might be accomplished through scanning; set up a P25 only priority channel and an analog only non-priority channel and let it scan instead of using a single mixed-mode frequency. I don't know if there is any other way to do it short of an external code detector to indicate when you are in digital vs. analog modes.

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    What's the purpose of the analog controller?

    Fast key-up is for data applications, ignore it.

    If a strong enough analog signal is on the Quantar input it's not going to pick up a weaker P25 signal, unless as Alpha has suggested it's on a different input frequency and you have a second receiver and a scan setup.

    Have you resolved the start-up fault?
    Last edited by Astro Spectra; Jun 08, 2013 at 08:22 PM.
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    Actually, I was thinking of scanning the same frequency with one mode for digital and one for analog with priority on the digital mode. That would give a little priority to digital in that once it's locked on to the digital priority channel it won't look for analog at all. Of course, both signals are still subject to the laws of physics with a 6 dB capture/fade margin (i.e. it takes 6 dB stronger signal to capture one over the other) so the stronger signal will always win out.

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    Of course the laws physics apply with regard to analog & P25 on the same freq. Strongest signal wins always. This feature would be intended to function when someone keyed up P25 on another Quantar receiver (or from a DIU3000) so it would essentially take over the system for the duration of the P25 transmission. We do this already on the currently standalone P25 setups- if someone is talking analog on another repeater in the network, we just key up P25 on the repeater we're using and override them and the analog user is none the wiser.

    Alpha, that's an interesting approach of using a scanning setup for the receiver channels. Only thing is that I don't think it will take over the transmitter on the same Quantar the analog user is talking in on. It would work on the rest of the machines though.

    The overall network will consist of two totally separate link paths to each repeater: 1) Full duplex analog and 2) V.24 Astro (w/Astro Tac)
    The analog and astro only meet at the individual repeaters and that's where the switching priority comes into play.

    I have not resolved the start-up issue yet....it's actually been behaving itself with the latest round of tests, but you never know. After I figure out the proper codeplug config, I'll try swapping the SIMM to another SCM to see if the problem follows.

    Astro, the purpose of the external controller is to put in courtesy tones and allow DTMF control over each inidividual repeater. If one repeater goes bad or has interference, it can be taken out of the system. Our analog linking is accomplished old school w/ 4 wire interface cards at each site. Using audio mixers and a transistor switching matrix for E&M, the whole analog link is arranged as a bus configuration instead of a star. There is no VOIP linking between the sites (with 1 exception)...no IRLP or Allstar or Echolink. We do, however, run 1 Allstar node at the main site which serves to link the entire system to other nodes.

    So no experience with the MRTI port?
    Last edited by mizzotch; Jun 08, 2013 at 11:59 PM.

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    Only on the DIU not the Quantar.
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    I guess I'll have to do some exploring. I know the guy who sells the Quantar controller cables on the bay uses the MRTI port and know some other guys on the SCOM 7330 group are doing it that way as well.

    I'll try out the MRTI approach next week and see how that goes. If it will allow me to prioritize that MRTI PTT separately from the wireline, then I think it'll be a winner.

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    I got it worked out today as to how I'm going to wire the external analog controller and the astro tac to each quantar. It takes some wildcard trickery, PTT priority setting, the MRTI port, a logic output on the 50 pin telco and the V.24 connection.

    It looks like the MRTI port is the way to go for the analog external controller...

    With this I can have an external controller for analog, astro tac for P25, and back up in cabinet repeat for only P25 if the V.24 link is lost.
    And the best part is it's setup so that P25 takes instant priority so we can always talk over. Should work systemwide wherever there is a quantar....still have some Micors up in here!

    I actually had to disable the Fall Back In Cabinet Repeat under the comparator selection because it would also repeat analog and bypass the external controller (even if ext. controller was intentionally disabled). Maybe could tweak a bit more to streamline the connections. I'll post the final details when I get it all tweaked, but I'm definitely on the right track.

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    For the setting below going from a quantar to a co-located comparator

    For the port control in the comparator would you want internal or external clock on the comparator and the quantar



    Quote Originally Posted by Astro Spectra View Post
    Quantar Hardware Config

    Station Type: Astro CAI Capable
    System Type: Conventional
    Site number: 1 for station #1 and 2 for station #2

    Wireline Settings

    Wireline tab:
    Comparator: Atro-Tac

    Astro tab:
    Wireline Interface: V.24 only
    Digital Idle Line Check: Enabled
    External transmit clock: Disabled
    RT/RT Configuration: Disabled

    The RJ45 are wired the same on the Atro-Tac and the Quantar. The wiring you need to test with will look like:

    RJ45 on Quantar

    1 RX clock to Quantar from Astro-Tac TX clock pin 3
    2 CD input to Quantar from Astro-Tac RTS pin 8
    3 TX clock from Quantar to Astro-Tac RX clock pin 1
    4 GND to GND pin 4
    5 RX data to Quantar from Astro-Tac TX data pin 6
    6 TX data from Quantar to Astro-Tac RX data pin 5
    7 CTS to Quantar from Astro-Tac RTS pin 8 (also goes to Quantar pin 2)
    8 RTS from Quantar to Astro-Tac CD pin 2 and Astro-Tac CTS pin 7

    Link (Aux) LED should come on and stay on.

    Then report back!

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    If you're hooking a Quantar directly to Astrotac Comparator, you use internal clock on both (External Transmit Clock DISABLED).

    You use external clock when the serial is being transported by modem, T1, Cisco, etc. The device providing the serial transport should be controlling the timing.

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