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ASTRO vs. P25

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Sorry for the newbie style question. My FD has primarily Kenwood radios, all P25 capable (VHF Conventional). Long story short, I was trying to program some of our State Police channels as RX-only into these radios. I assumed that they were of a standard P25 implementation, mostly founded on the fact that my P25 capable scanner works like a charm receiving them. When trying to program them into the Kenwood radio, the radio would show traffic on the channel via a LED indicator but would not open up. I was told by a very competent radio tech that State Police had deployed Motorola ASTRO rather than P25 and the Kenwoods could not be programmed. Neighboring FDs that have Motorola radios work just fine.

Could someone explain the technical differences between Moto ASTRO and P25? I searched this forum, RR and straightforward Google searches without much luck. I had never before heard that there was a technical difference between the two.

In an interesting side note, nearly 100% of the mobile and portable radios for PD, EMS and FD in the state were purchased via a single DHS grant for interoperability – the grant is managed by the State Police.

Thanks in advance,
/Jeff
 

Chris-KH2PM

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Maybe the NAC (Network Access Code) is not programmed correctly? Something to look into for starters.

Which system are you referring to ? Post a link to the Radio Reference page for the system you're trying to
set up here.
 
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Here’s the link: Department of Safety Scanner Frequencies and Radio Frequency Reference

I tried the identified NAC (826), and F7E as well as 293. For example, I don’t have the NAC for my local PD tactical freq but F7E works (RX only obviously) and I’m told that the Local PD is a standard P25 implementation (although curiously they refer to it as “astro”). I also tried multi-mode for the State Police - the radio did open up but all I got was the ‘noise’ of the digital transmission.

I’ve been involved with (fire-based) public safety communications for 20+ years, amateur radio, and large scale VoIP telephony designs and deployments. I never really spent much under the covers with P25 and I made a gross assumption that all P25 implementations were interoperable. That was one of APCO’s goals, was it not?

Finding detailed specifications and technical differences between what was described to me (by a radio guy I trust) as an incompatibility between Manufacturers’ P25 implementations is annoyingly absent. It’s my impression that a Motorola radio can ‘do’ P25 but also may be enhanced by a Motorola derivative called ASTRO with P25-like functionality with specific brand features. Hence the query here.

Thanks,

/Jeff
 

mancow

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Astro was/is a product line offered by Motorola that referred to units that are digital capable. The very first used the VSELP vocoder until the IMBE vocoder was released. You can't simply see the Astro label and assume that the unit will be capable of whatever task you have in mind. The fact is says Astro on it simply means it has the means to operate in digital VSELP or IMBE mode. The unit will first have to have the appropriate firmware installed and then the desired options will need to be turned on via a flash code. This is less of an issue with the newer ASTRO25 series products (XTS2500, XTS5000 etc...) as most all have basic conventional IMBE digital capability enabled.

A friend ran into a similar issue recently using a Tait radio. He found that his issue was due to a wide vs. narrow filtering/modulation option that was somewhat obscurely labeled in the software.

I am not familiar with the Kenwood products but I know that with the Motorola units there is a digital carrier squelch option that can be selected in the receive characteristics tab which allows all digital signals to be received regardless of NAC code.

I would be your issue is a simple programming one.
 

N4DES

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mostly founded on the fact that my P25 capable scanner works like a charm receiving them.
If this is the case then you have a programming issue with the Kenwood radio. VSELP which was mentioned earlier can't be monitored by a scanner and pretty obvious that they aren't encrypted.
 
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Figured it out with the help of someone more intelligent than I. The system in question is programmed P25 in Digital Modulator Type as Wide. Kenwood doesn't allow a wide type, it assumes narrow once P25 is selected. I'm assuming that this is a Motorola option and why my scanner doesn't care on RX.

/Jeff
 

jaaredmond

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Tennessee
Anyone find out if the kenwoods, taits and others, using C4FM can work with the moto's ASTRO voice?

I've been wanting to set up our quantar repeater for ASTRO but wasn't sure if the motos were the only radios that would work or not....
 
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