Plectrons and Early Fire Alerting

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Gregg Johnson and I discuss Plectrons and early fire alerting methods before portable radios and pagers were commonplace.

We discuss the history of Plectron receivers and how volunteer firefighters were alerted to calls before they had in-home radio alerting or portable receivers.




What You Need To Know

  • Plectrons are one of the earliest types of home receivers ever used for volunteer firefighters.
  • The plectron had a different name back in the beginning, and in 1955 it was called FYRCALL. It was the first model that they made.
  • Plectrons was the first widely used in-home unit that allowed firefighters to be activated and keep the radio-quiet.
  • Similar to today’s alerting receivers, the dispatcher would generate set tones that would set the receiver to activate.
  • Plectrons were analog devices and required reads in the receivers.
  • These reeds needed to be tuned by a radios shop and would resonate to the paging tone.
  • If the resonate frequency matched, the Plectron would alert.
  • Plectrons are a piece of radio history and many are still in use today.
  • Scanner Radios with “Fire Tone Out” can mimic what early Plectron receivers were.

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Links and Sources from this session:

East Coast Pagers

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