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Motorola Forum - For general discussion of Motorola land mobile radio equipment and their trunking technologies.

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Old 07-08-2011, 7:40 PM
bezking's Avatar
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Exclamation Do you want to monitor a Trunked system with a Moto? Read This!

Since the existing sticky thread on this topic has taken a dive (or several), I though I would summarize the group's findings here, and leave the existing thread open for discussion.

Here are the key facts that you need to know about monitoring a TRS with your /\/\otorola radio:
  • Programming of Motorola Radios is done with software called CPS - see the sticky in this forum for info on how to legally obtain it - it's actually quite easy; Motorola is glad to sell it to you.
  • Normally, to even program the radio to sit on the TRS, you need a software file or hardware object called a System Key, which is provided by Motorola to the operator of the system only. Who is allowed access to it is at the discretion of the System Operator - unless you have been personally authorized, there is no chance that you will be able to obtain the system key.
  • It is possible to bypass this step, by generating your own system key. This is not to be discussed here as it involves the use of proprietary tools that should not be available outside of Motorola's repair facilities and labs.
  • Assuming the radio is programmed correctly, there remains a hurdle to be cleared: Affiliation. When the radio is placed on a Trunked system, it sends an announcement to the system controller containing its Radio ID (which you must define in the programming) to let it know that it's there. If the system administrator notices that your radio is unauthorized, s/he can send a command over the air to kill your radio, turning it into an unusable brick. The only way to recover from this is to use special tools that would normally not be accessible outside of Motorola.
  • If you programmed your radio with an ID number that matches a legitimate radio's ID, you put the operator in serious danger of missing critical communications or being unable to call for help - this can lead to injury or death!
  • Another thing: When your radio sends that affiliation signal, it had to transmit it, obviously. What does this mean? You transmitted on a law enforcement frequency. That's a federal crime.
  • In a special case it is possible to trick the radio into not affiliating - ElroyJetson describes his method in the thread linked below. You must program the radio exactly as he prescribes. Additionally, it's possible to scan a TRS by programming the channels in as conventional with an RX only personality using CQPSK modulation and the unmute rule set to "Digital CSQ." However, on a busy TRS this is not desirable because you won't be able to reliably track communications on any one given talkgroup.

If you'd like more info on any of these points, please take the time to read the existing thread (see link below), where each concept is discussed in depth.

In the end, it is possible to use a Motorola for monitoring a trunking system. But before you drop several hundred dollars on it, ask your self - what's the risk vs the return? The return is slightly better audio quality from a Motorola Radio. However, you risk committing a federal offense, endangering Emergency Services personnel, and having that $700 radio taken away from you. Oh, and that Motorola can scan no more than 10 or 15 talkgroups at once - vs the hundreds that a digital scanner can handler. Is it really worth it?

This is what I have said many times before: if you need to ask here how to program a Motorola radio for receive-only on a trunked system, you probably aren't qualified to be doing it.

Here is the existing thread - please only post information of a technical, not legal, nature in the thread. Off-topic replies will be deleted or moderated without warning.

Edit: since my request above was not being honored, that thread has been closed. If you have any new or updated information on this topic, please create a new thread. Thanks!
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Last edited by bezking; 10-28-2011 at 10:55 PM.. Reason: per member advice - thanks kb0uxv and Batwings21!
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