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Harris / MA/COM / GE / Ericsson Forum - For general discussion of MA/COM EDACS and ProVoice systems, including equipment.

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Old 11-09-2017, 8:34 PM
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Default Low Band Orion with AEGIS?

First of all please forgive my ignorance... I have always been a Motorola guy and have virtually zero experience with GE and M/ACom gear.

Looking at a Low Band Orion since I need to cover 35mhz and 43mhz frequencies and I donít want to mess with an X9000 and the associated programming headaches. I would also prefer something encryption-capable.

I know that AEGIS was not technically available on low band Orions, but can they be made to do AEGIS somehow or some form of actual encryption? AEGIS would be enough for what we need to do without adding DES into the mix.

Thanks in advance!
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Old 11-09-2017, 10:55 PM
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Yes.
The VHF-Lowband and 900 MHz models are FCC Type Accepted for Digital Voice (Voice Guard and AEGIS) operation, but were never sold domestically due to a marketing decision.

However, they can be upgraded if you know what you are doing... )
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Old 11-10-2017, 8:02 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kb4cvn View Post
Yes.
The VHF-Lowband and 900 MHz models are FCC Type Accepted for Digital Voice (Voice Guard and AEGIS) operation, but were never sold domestically due to a marketing decision.

However, they can be upgraded if you know what you are doing... )
Well that is promising news!

So what all would be involved in taking a 35-50 60w or 110w Orion from eBay and making it into a System Model capable of Analog, AEGIS, and DES? I assume there would be a hardware board for the DES and I would need a GE keyloader of some sort.

Would there be any compatible portables capable of all that as well?
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Old 11-10-2017, 4:01 PM
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  • Find an 800 AEGIS Orion’s on eBay, and purchase,
  • Copy the feature data in the 800 radios.
  • Remove the ESN chip from each 'donor' radio.
  • Remove the Digital Voice daughter board.



  • Copy the feature data in the 35-50 MHz radios.
  • Remove the ESN chip from each 'recipient' radio.
  • Install the 800 MHz radio's ESN chip into 'recipient' radio.
  • Install the Digital Voice board into each 'recipient' radio.
  • Replace the [original] non-digital feature code in the 35-50 MHz radios with the digital feature code of the 800 MHz radio.
  • Reprogram the 35-50 MHz radios with new enhanced personality, reloading the flashcode (I strongly recommend Group 30 flashcode), and adding the correct ADI code to support the newly installed Digital Voice board.
    • (01000 for DES encrypted AEGIS, 02000 for unencrypted AEGIS, 02200 for VGE Encrypted AEGIS)

Keyloading will be required if they are DES or VGE encrypted.


  • Now, with the ‘donor’ 800 radios, installed the harvested ESN chips from the lowband radios.
  • Load the non-AEGIS feature code into the 800 radios, for each specific ESN chip.
  • Reprogram the radios for non-digital use, reloading the flashcode, and removing the ADI code since a Digital Voice board is no longer present.
  • Resell the 800 Orion's on eBay to recoup some of your funds.


Life Is Good…



There are no VHF-Lowband Aegis capable radios.
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Old 11-10-2017, 5:27 PM
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Thanks for the info you posted.. that is great stuff. I do have a few questions about this process though before I start buying equipment... I know next to nothing about GE gear, the only GE stuff I have is a pair of pocket mate portables and an old Mastr Hi-Power.

When you say "Copy the Feature Data" and "Install the feature data", is this done with some sort of special utility or is that something I can do with the regular software? Is this the same with the flashcode process or do I need to do something special there as well?

As far as the ADI code is concerned... If I go with the 01000 DES encrypted AEGIS, will I be able to run clear AEGIS as well as clear analog?

Is the ESN chip something I will need an advanced surface-mount chip soldering station to deal with or can I just unplug and plug them in?

Thanks again for the information!
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Old 11-11-2017, 9:34 AM
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When you say "Copy the Feature Data" and "Install the feature data", is this done with some sort of special utility or is that something I can do with the regular software? Is this the same with the flashcode process or do I need to do something special there as well?


[kb4cvn] This is done with the standard Maintenance Utility program, included in the software package.


CAUTION: Reading and Writing Feature Data (or Tracking Data) in a radio is a standard maintenance function. But, unless you are familiar with working with this software, you can brick a radio in a heartbeat !!!

My humble suggestion, get comfortable with the software before attempting something advanced.


====================



As far as the ADI code is concerned... If I go with the 01000 DES encrypted AEGIS, will I be able to run clear AEGIS as well as clear analog?


[kb4cvn] ADI02000 only does Unencrypted AEGIS. ADI01100 and ADI02200 do their respective encryption algorithms (both AEGIS and VoiceGuard formats) AND Unencrypted AEGIS.



There is no Unencrypted VoiceGuard.


====================


Is the ESN chip something I will need an advanced surface-mount chip soldering station to deal with or can I just unplug and plug them in?

[kb4cvn] Surface mount chip. Requires a hot air station, or someone very skilled with low wattage soldering pencil and a vacuum solder removal tool.


====================






By the way, most people not accustom to GE and Harris radios will have a welcome surprise when using digital. The range in digital (all formats) is 20 to 40% further than in analog. This is due to the lower baud 9600 rate (vs. Motorola's 12k baud) and the error correction of the decoded digital voice stream. This is compared to Motorola (and clones) using the 12k data rate, where the range in digital is 30-40% less.




When I ran experiments in 2004 with Lowband ProVoice (IMBE) on 40 MHz, we were getting an average of 90 miles range, mobile to mobile in the mountains of Virginia. 35% greater distance than in analog in the same locations.







I hope this helps.
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Old 11-11-2017, 11:19 AM
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Fantastic information, thanks so much!!
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Old 11-11-2017, 8:54 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kb4cvn View Post
When I ran experiments in 2004 with Lowband ProVoice (IMBE) on 40 MHz, we were getting an average of 90 miles range, mobile to mobile in the mountains of Virginia. 35% greater distance than in analog in the same locations.
Does this mean Provoice is possible through the same methods?
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Old 11-12-2017, 11:16 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BigLebowski View Post
Does this mean Provoice is possible through the same methods?
YES.

And this is not limited to Lowband. If you need X number of radios, all with the same digital voice features, regardless of bandsplit, you just have to 'harvest' the donor radios to obtain the parts you need to upgrade the radios in the desired bandsplit and model. Labor intensive? Yes, but the final results do pay off in time.


Also, keep in mind, ProVoice is only possible with a radio containing a 512k Control/Logic Board. An older 256k radio only supports AEGIS and VoiceGuard formats.
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Old 11-12-2017, 1:31 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kb4cvn View Post
YES.

And this is not limited to Lowband. If you need X number of radios, all with the same digital voice features, regardless of bandsplit, you just have to 'harvest' the donor radios to obtain the parts you need to upgrade the radios in the desired bandsplit and model. Labor intensive? Yes, but the final results do pay off in time.


Also, keep in mind, ProVoice is only possible with a radio containing a 512k Control/Logic Board. An older 256k radio only supports AEGIS and VoiceGuard formats.
Looks like I have radios to acquire!

Is it safe to assume most M/ACom branded Orions have 512k boards?
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Old 11-13-2017, 6:01 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BigLebowski View Post
Looks like I have radios to acquire!

Is it safe to assume most M/ACom branded Orions have 512k boards?


NO.
Radios manufactured prior to 1996 were 256k. (Orions & M-RK portables too)

[Most] Radios manufactured after 1996 were 512k. However, is some of the lesser used bandsplits (378-406, 406-440, 470-512), you might find some post 1996 radios which were 256k, as the 512k models were not sold until the [warehouse stock] of 256k in those bandsplits radio depleted, and shipment of the 512k models in these bandsplits started.

I placed a $4M order for Orions & M-RK's in 1996 when I was still running a municipal radio system (pre-Ericsson days).

Roughly 50% of the 806-870 MHz Orion radios delivered were 256k !

In the case of the M-RK's, to the best of my (rusty) memory, about 20% were 128k, 40% were 256k, and the remaining 40% were 512k models.
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Old 11-14-2017, 10:03 PM
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To help you out, here is a pic of at Orion low band tag. The red box indicated that this is a 1996 model year radio. This date format is still used today on the latest and greatest, now its preceded by a "SD". But the first two digits are the year, I believe the next two are week and last one is day (Monday=1, Friday = 5). The downside, is a lot of the low band radios listed on our favorite site are in the hands of electronic recyclers and finding out from them if the radio is 256 or 512 could be tough.
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Old 11-14-2017, 10:14 PM
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Originally Posted by snoopyII View Post
To help you out, here is a pic of at Orion low band tag. The red box indicated that this is a 1996 model year radio. This date format is still used today on the latest and greatest, now its preceded by a "SD". But the first two digits are the year, I believe the next two are week and last one is day (Monday=1, Friday = 5). The downside, is a lot of the low band radios listed on our favorite site are in the hands of electronic recyclers and finding out from them if the radio is 256 or 512 could be tough.
How do you tell if it is 256k or 512k? Is It a menu option if you power it on or do you have to open the radio up and look for something specific?
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Old 11-14-2017, 11:16 PM
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It's been a looonng time since I messed with an Orion, but I think it is a menu option, you don't need to crack open the radio. I remember that the 512's will display the features enabled and the 256's wont. It might be in the "revision" (?) menu, somebody will have to weigh in on this.
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Old 11-15-2017, 2:10 PM
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Flashcode is a avenue to see what it is, and can be seen under REVISIONS:

OGxx300's is a 256k radio.
OGxx400's is a 512k radio.
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