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Kenwood & ICOM NXDN Compatibility Issues

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TheRealTVGuy

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Hi there,

This is my first post here, but I've acquired some excellent knowledge while scanning through the site. Meanwhile, I'm getting closer and closer to thinking that the idea of "NXDN Interoperability and compatibility" between brands is nothing more than marketing nonsense from both ICOM and Kenwood. Supposedly the two brands can speak to each other over NXDN, but no one can tell you how. The internet is scarce on details, most dealers only have experience with one brand or another and aren't really interested in helping you after the sale, so I'm a little disenfranchised, and VERY disappointed with both companies.

Basically I have a Kenwood NX-800h that for various reasons, we're trying to interface with an ICOM system. Both are running NXDN in a conventional, non-trunked mode. I have all the frequency and encryption info set up in the KPG-111DN software, but I'm still having issues.

When we have encryption enabled on both the ICOM and the Kenwood radios, the ICOM can see and hear the Kenwood. But when the ICOM is transmitting, the Kenwood only sees that the channel is keyed and no audio is heard.

After some digging, someone suggested that it may be because these particular ICOMs are using Common Air Interface (or CAI) v1.2, and that the Kenwood is using CAI v1.3. Can anyone tell me if I can verify what the Kenwood is using, using the KPG-111DN software, and if it's possible to put it into CAI v1.2 mode?
 

mmckenna

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NXDN is a standardized protocol used by many manufacturers, not just Kenwood and Icom.

Radios from the two different brands are compatible, and many have made it work just fine.

I run a trunked system with about 400 Kenwood NXDN radios on it. Due to it being on 800MHz, I can't use Icom radios, as they do not produce any 800MHz products. If they did, I'd have one to give it a try.

Anyway, on VHF and UHF, many have been able to make them work just fine. The only issue I've ever heard of was with the encryption. I don't have an answer for you as to why yours are not working. The NXDN standard includes the 15 bit encryption, so it -should- be compatible. I think the issue likely lies in the way the different manufacturers have set it up in the programming software. I think it's mainly a setup issue, although I have no way of proving that.

What I do know is that it's required that the key data, key ID all need to match between radios. In other words, Key ID # 47 with Key Data 36459 needs to be the same on all the radios. Setting up the same key data (code) with a different Key ID can be an issue.

Again, I don't have any Icom radios I can test this with, but I know I've been able to "break" it with the Kenwoods.

A good resource for you might be over at the NXDN Forum page: NXDN Forum Website
I haven't had time to sift through all that info on there to see what the issue might be, just too much going on at work.

As for the KPG-111dn software, no, you can't change the CAI mode in the radios.

I did do some searching through the Kenwood service manuals, in-depth manuals, etc. and I haven't been able to locate anything that tells me what version of the CAI they use. I doubt they wouldn't be backwards compatible. Considering the 15 bit encryption is part of the standard, they should be compatible between brands. When Icom, Kenwood and the other manufactures were developing the NXDN standard, the intent was always for interoperability between brands. I'd be surprised if they'd shoot themselves in the foot with the encryption. One of the reasons for interoperability between brands was specifically so open procurement could be done to eliminate being locked into one vendor. This is a big deal with government purchasing contracts, and what was a big deal with the old Motorola SmartNet/SmartZone trunking.
 

TheRealTVGuy

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Thank you for taking the time to research and reply! I'll triple check to see if I have some of the Key info in the wrong place.

-But if magnets only belong on refrigerators, how do you temporarily apply an antenna to your vehicle without damaging it?!
 

cmdrwill

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Thank you for taking the time to research and reply! I'll triple check to see if I have some of the Key info in the wrong place.

-But if magnets only belong on refrigerators, how do you temporarily apply an antenna to your vehicle without damaging it?!

You put the Magnet UNDER the antenna........
 

mmckenna

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-But if magnets only belong on refrigerators, how do you temporarily apply an antenna to your vehicle without damaging it?!
What is this "temporary" you speak of? You either need an antenna or you don't.

But, I -do- have a mag mount I use for the occasional test. It's never used for more than a few hours. If the location works, the drill comes out. If it doesn't, I keep trying until it does, then the drill comes out. Said mag mount gets stuck back on the side of the cabinet in the shop, holding up the calendar, where it belongs.
 

kayn1n32008

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What is this "temporary" you speak of? You either need an antenna or you don't.

But, I -do- have a mag mount I use for the occasional test. It's never used for more than a few hours. If the location works, the drill comes out. If it doesn't, I keep trying until it does, then the drill comes out. Said mag mount gets stuck back on the side of the cabinet in the shop, holding up the calendar, where it belongs.
We really need a like button...
 

toastycookies

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Is this simplex or a repeater system?

If it's simplex I could try some things to help you out.

I have a Kenwood NX-820H and a couple of Icom IC-F4161DTs that would be up to the task.
 

ScanWI

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If you are trying to use your Kenwood on a ICOM repeater make sure you are using Verry-Narrow Bandwidth. The ICOM repeaters only do 6.25 and the kenwood radios do both 12.5 and 6.25.

On a side note the new Icom IDAS radios all do 12.5 and 6.25


For the Encryption this is how I have it set up in the different radios

ICOM List ID-2 ENC Key-12345
Kenwood - Key Data-12345 Key ID-2

Key ID in the Kenwood has to match the slot in the encryption list from the ICOM, You also need to use Encryption Type 2
 
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mmckenna

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So, I pulled some files off the NXDN forum and started reading....

The encryption/scrambling is standardized. As is everything else.
There are 2 bits of Cipher Type, followed by 6 bits for the Key ID in the packet headers.
So, that would mean that the the Cipher Type and KEY ID would need to be the same in each radio, and the KEY DATA would need to match.
Cipher type shouldn't be an issue. The NXDN 15 bit encryption type is the same. The only time you'd need to be concerned with this was if you had AES or DES modules installed.

Since I don't have any Icom radios to test this with, and I don't have the programming software to see exactly how they do their Key ID's and Key Data, I can't help, but maybe ToastyCookies can?
 

toastycookies

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Since I don't have any Icom radios to test this with, and I don't have the programming software to see exactly how they do their Key ID's and Key Data, I can't help, but maybe ToastyCookies can?
mmckenna is the pro here, I am just a hobbiest with way too many radios.


mmckenna: I would be happy to lend you a 4161 and programming cable for a few weeks. Legally I can't do much software wise, but this authorized icom dealer has it for $15.

Icom F3161/F4161 Programming Software



 

Josh

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Your encryption issue will be solved if you set the Key ID in your kenwood for '0' (zero).

I had the same issue with a Kenwood/iCom interface (and even asked about it here on the board with no answer [Icom forum]). I had to figure it out through trial and error and it comes down to the icom not caring about key ID.

Same goes with the NXR radios where all you can enter is a key in the channel detail screen. It defaults as Key ID 0 as well, kinda sucks if you want to run multi-key, especially in the NX5000 series where you cannot select the same key id more than once... the NX7/8xx series doesn't seem to care.
 
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