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Programming a MOTOROLA CDM1550-LS+

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dj0321

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Does anyone know how to program a MOTOROLA CDM1550-LS+? I want to use it for transmitting, and I also want to use it for monitoring some channels. Also do they a small trunk antenna for this radio ? If so, could you please provide me the link to it.
 

mmckenna

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Yes.

To program a Motorola CDM model radio, you need the Professional CPS software that is available from Motorola.
You also need a programming cable to interface the radio to your PC. Programming cables vary, and you can use USB cables that directly interface between the PC and radio, or you can use the older Motorola style that need a R.I.B. (Radio Interface Box) to work.

A legal copy of the software is going to run you upwards of $300. After market cables (these can be a real crap-shoot) can run for $30 or so on up. A "real" Motorola cable can be $100 or more.
If you are just going to program this radio once, you may want to consider having a radio shop do it. It isn't impossible to do yourself, but it isn't necessarily cheap or easy for the first timer. Many people figure out the programming software on their own, however you need to be VERY careful if you haven't done it before. Making and error and accidentally causing interference to other radio systems can get you in some trouble.

Antennas:
Yeah, pretty much whatever you want. You do need to know some things first:
Most of all, you need to know exactly what frequencies you will be transmitting on. The antenna needs to be tuned to work on those frequencies. Again, this may be something you'd want to talk to a shop about, but it isn't hard to do on your own.
Antenna mounts are available in magnetic mounts, trunk lip mounts, permanent mounts, brackets, etc, etc…..

I'd suggest getting an NMO style mount and antenna, it is pretty much the de-facto standard for professional radio systems and will give you the most flexibility. The mount needs to have enough cable to reach from where your radio will be mounted to where your antenna goes. It also needs to have the "mini-UHF" style connector on the end of the cable to match the antenna connector on the radio. You can purchase the mounts with the connector already installed (strongly recommended if you haven't installed coaxial cable connectors before.

Power: You need to have a suitable power supply for the radio. In a vehicle you need to feed that preferably comes directly off the battery, fused at the battery end, safety and securely run to the location where the radio is mounted.
Tapping into existing wiring in a vehicle can be problematic. Noise issues, overloading the circuit, etc. are all things to consider. There are cigarette lighter power adapters for CDM radios, but you need to pay attention to the power consumption of the radio and what the cigarette lighter socket will provide. This can still result in noise issues.

For the antenna mount and antenna, take a look here:
"L" bracket mount with Mini-UHF connector: http://www.theantennafarm.com/catalog/laird-tech-mb8umi-lbt-1675.html
Magnetic mount with Mini-UHF connector: http://www.theantennafarm.com/catalog/larsen-nmommrmpl-1092.html

You didn't say which band you will be using this radio on, so it's not possible to recommend a specific antenna. You will want an NMO base antenna to match one of the mounts above. CDM1550's come in VHF Low Band, VHF High Band, 220MHz band, UHF band or 700MHz band. You will need to select an antenna that is designed to work on the frequencies your radio works on:
http://www.theantennafarm.com/catalog/antennas-191/mobile-antennas-192/

It's not difficult to do this, it just takes some research and patience. Don't be slow to ask for help, and don't be afraid to talk to a radio shop if you are not comfortable doing this yourself.

Also, as I'm sure you know, you need a valid license to use these radios, no exceptions. Land Mobile, Business, Public Safety, Amateur Radio, GMRS, etc all require licenses in the US. In other countries, the rules and frequencies may vary, but it's a good idea to check with the proper authorities.

Nothing wrong with just listening though. These radios have great receivers and they'll often outperform a consumer grade scanner.

Good luck!
 

dj0321

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Thanks for all of the information. It is very detailed and informative. With the license part of it, how do I obtain one. I am new to amateur radio so bare with me here. Or can I take another approach without having to get a license. Possibly a different type of radio.
 

mmckenna

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It really depends on what you want to do with the radio. Each radio service is intended for a different use, so without knowing what you want to do, it's impossible to make a recommendation.

Amateur radio is good if you are looking to talk to different people as a hobby. The license requires a very basic technical test. If you go that route, the CDM probably isn't your best choice for a radio. Getting a radio designed for amateur use will make your life a lot easier. They can be programmed without programming software, and are generally less expensive.

GMRS is a service in the US and Canada, although the rules are different. If you are in the US, a GMRS license allows you to use a handful of UHF frequencies and the license covers you and your immediate family.

If you are looking for a radio to use for business, then you need a license from the FCC (If you are in the US) and you will need to work with a frequency coordinator to find a suitable frequency.

MURS (Multi Use Radio Serivce) is a less expensive option that doesn't require an FCC issued license, however the FCC still has rules that you must follow. It's limited to 2 watts on 5 frequencies in the VHF band, so a radio like the CDM would not be suitable. Hand held radios are available.

FRS, or the low end consumer radios are the same way, no FCC license is issued, but there are still rules you need to follow. They are low power (1/2 watt) and relatively short distance.

CB radio is always an option. Same as FRS and MURS, no license is issued, but there are rules. Radios are cheap ($50 or so).

So, basically it depends on exactly what you are looking to do with the radio.
 

dj0321

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I just need a radio that I can program to pick up transmissions. We can disregard the transmitting part of it. And also this radio will be going inside of a car, so that is why I want a radio so I can mount it instead of a scanner.
 

mmckenna

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Is there a reason why you cannot use a mobile scanner? It'll be cheaper and easier to program, as well as much more flexibility. A CDM will only do a single band, (on UHF, only a portion of the band).

Using a mobile scanner with a good external antenna will work quite well. A single band radio will often work better, but the limitations are a major issue.
 

mmckenna

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Not really, I haven't purchased a scanner in about 10 years. You are in the right place though, there are lots of people who can.

What they'll need to know is where you are and what sort of stuff you want to listen to.
 

W9BU

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This thread is kinda all over the map, but I'm moving it to the Motorola forum since that is the original topic of the thread.

If you want learn about antennas for commercial radios, go here:

Commercial Radio Antennas - The RadioReference.com Forums

If you are interested in becoming an amateur radio operator, go here:

Getting Your License / New Operators - The RadioReference.com Forums

If you are interested in GMRS, go here:

GMRS / FRS - The RadioReference.com Forums

If you are interested in purchasing a scanner, go here or one of the manufacturer-specific scanner forums:

General Scanning Discussion - The RadioReference.com Forums
 
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