Motorola Astro Spectra

Sccafire

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#1
I am thinking about getting one of these radios for HAM usage. For those that use them or maybe even looked in to it for themselves. Do you have any advice on what to look for? Pros/Cons?

Thanks in advance


Scott
 
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Sep 29, 2007
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Lynchburg Va
#2
I'm running an XTS2500, P25, loving it, got to make sure the radio you buy is not keyed where you have to have dongle before you can program it, think its called ASK, also if you can try to get the CPS with the radio, I got lucky and got mine from another ham with all software etc, The CPS took me a little while to wrap my head around and I'm a strong DMR programmer, I put a new housing on mine to make it look brand new, great for hot spot usage and a P-25 repeater or analog , I got the 70cm version

73
K4DUR
I am thinking about getting one of these radios for HAM usage. For those that use them or maybe even looked in to it for themselves. Do you have any advice on what to look for? Pros/Cons?

Thanks in advance


Scott
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Joined
Dec 1, 2016
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Pine Ridge, SC
#3
I use one for the UHF band for Ham radio and GMRS, and I love them. I would look for one that comes with the accessory connector, because without it, you wouldn’t be able to plug in a speaker. Also, you need the RIB box, programming cable, and Astro software to program it. Depending on where you are, some radio shops will program your radio for whatever you need for a fee (usually a fair price). The pros? You really can’t break an Astro Spectra. I read where a police officer had one in his car for years, and it survived being tortured in a center console, and having coffee spill on the control head several times! Cons? There aren’t many. It’s a heavy radio, so if it’s going in a car, don’t use flimsy Velcro to mount it. Other than that, it is an amazing radio. If I were you, I would get one. You won’t be sorry!


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vagrant

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#5
I believe that radio is analog only, no DMR or P25, which is fine depending on your needs.

You will also need a programming cable, a RIB, Motorola software, as well as a computer that runs DOS or Win95, which has regular DOS on it and not emulated DOS with a serial port.

Unless that radio offers 900 MHz, and that is what you are looking for, avoid it. You may be better served with a Kenwood or a Yaesu mobile radio for VHF/UHF communication.
 
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#6
I would get the Motorola Astro Spectra. What you have is an analog only Spectra, and like mentioned above, will require a DOS computer.


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#7
I believe that radio is analog only, no DMR or P25, which is fine depending on your needs.



You will also need a programming cable, a RIB, Motorola software, as well as a computer that runs DOS or Win95, which has regular DOS on it and not emulated DOS with a serial port.



Unless that radio offers 900 MHz, and that is what you are looking for, avoid it. You may be better served with a Kenwood or a Yaesu mobile radio for VHF/UHF communication.


The 900 MHz Motorola Spectra, without a VCO modification, is useless to a ham radio operator. Also, no Astro Spectra will do DMR. Only the XPR series will.


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Sccafire

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#8
Analog is fine for me. I live where 95% is still analog. No Digital anything close to me HAM wise.I have a Yaesu now going to put that in wife's vehicle. I will put the Motorola in my truck
 
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SCPD

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Virginia
#9
Let's not forget about the leaky cap issues. Something to consider also or always plan down road to do in event they do leak.
 

FFPM571

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Chicago area
#11
I'm running an XTS2500, P25, loving it, got to make sure the radio you buy is not keyed where you have to have dongle before you can program it, think its called ASK, also if you can try to get the CPS with the radio, I got lucky and got mine from another ham with all software etc, The CPS took me a little while to wrap my head around and I'm a strong DMR programmer, I put a new housing on mine to make it look brand new, great for hot spot usage and a P-25 repeater or analog , I got the 70cm version

73
K4DUR

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Your talking about a handheld radio..Astro spectra is a mobile
 
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#12
Two major things to verify prior to purchase (and insist that they warranty that those are indeed correct).

First and of primary importance (but generally fixable if you get them to adjust the price down to have it done for you) is "have the capacitors been replaced and any damage from them leaking repaired". The leaky cap issue affects all Spectras and is an age thing, not a use thing (even if the radio has never been used and stored in the best of conditions). The original caps will leak and if the leakage remains on the boards will eat away the traces on that board. Even if the radio works 100% without any issues, if the original caps (or caps the same type as the originals) are in the machine, the radio's a ticking time bomb and you either have replaced caps or caps that are leaking and causing damage to it. See this for more details --> Recapping the Spectra

Second, make sure that the radio you purchase covers the frequency range you need it to cover. For the most part, the VHF models should be OK, although you may have some issues the lower you go on the 2 meter ham band. The UHF models may or may not work depending on which "split" your radio is. It may not work at all on the ham bands (well, without serious modifications), may work on the low side, but not the high side, work on the high side but not the low side, or cover the entire range as is. This has some details on the various splits for the Spectra --> How to determine the range or split of your Spectra Radio

VHF Splits:
* 136-162 MHz (the one you want!!!)
* 146-174 MHz (may have issues below 146 MHz)

UHF Splits:
* 403-433 MHz (may not cover the top portion of the 70cm band)
* 438-470 MHz (the one you want)
* 450-482 MHz (may not cover the bottom portion of the 70cm band)
* 482-512 MHz (pretty much useless for 70cm use)

Be aware that the only real way to be sure of which split you have is to read the radio using the RSS software and see what it tells you. The model numbers are identical and will not indicate which split the radio is (talking the Spectra here, the Astro Spectra may indicate the split in the model number, but this would be what the radio came from the factory from, not necessarily what you will be receiving.

Decoding the Spectra model numbers --> Motorola Spectra Models
Decoding the Astro Spectra model numbers --> Astro Mobiles
 

cmjonesinc

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#13
Sccafire I've got a couple w9 system 9000 control heads, front and rear control cable, and 2 mics I would let go of cheap if you're interested. You'd just need a deck and a speaker or 2 if you run both heads. I should have the power cable as well but I'll have to dig it up. I lost my spectra moving somehow and I don't plan on buying another. PM me if you want to hammer out a deal.
 

Sccafire

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#14
Here are the Numbers on the radio:

Model: T99DX+141W_ASTRO

ID#: T04JLF9PW5AN

I tried decoding the Id number but was confused after T04J
 

Sccafire

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#16
Flash Code
:
100001-000000-7


Translates to


Q806/G806
IMBE / APCO-25 Digital Operation
H35/G48
Conventional Operation
 
Last edited:
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#17
I would get the Motorola Astro Spectra. What you have is an analog only Spectra, and like mentioned above, will require a DOS computer.


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Have to look at the model number tag. All of the Astro Spectra high power units used the same cover as the Spectra high power. Only real indicators of difference (again, without delving into the model number) is the Astro will state 2.5 kHz and the ASP will state Plus.


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