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Looking for 800mhz radio help

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CCRS53

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Messages
15
Location
Lineville, AL
Hey all, So I'm no stranger to basic radio programming, I do programming for my local public safety agencies running non trunked VHF and UHF systems. I'm having trouble though tracking down info on motorola 800 mhz stuff though. I work for an EMS agency that's on an 800 system using motorola XTS 2500 radios, but they're honestly wearing out and I hate having to go in to work and see if I get a "good" radio, so I'm wanting to purchase a good used one for cheap if I can. I've found some cheap motorola MTS 2000 radios that are 800 mhz, but I have no idea if they're compatible with my system at work. For reference, it's the P25 system in calhoun county, AL. I know I'll need a system key and radio ID for the system from the 911 administration, I just need help getting a good radio with the right features. Any help would be greatly appreciated!
 

jim202

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Joined
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Messages
2,670
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New Orleans region
Hey all, So I'm no stranger to basic radio programming, I do programming for my local public safety agencies running non trunked VHF and UHF systems. I'm having trouble though tracking down info on motorola 800 mhz stuff though. I work for an EMS agency that's on an 800 system using motorola XTS 2500 radios, but they're honestly wearing out and I hate having to go in to work and see if I get a "good" radio, so I'm wanting to purchase a good used one for cheap if I can. I've found some cheap motorola MTS 2000 radios that are 800 mhz, but I have no idea if they're compatible with my system at work. For reference, it's the P25 system in calhoun county, AL. I know I'll need a system key and radio ID for the system from the 911 administration, I just need help getting a good radio with the right features. Any help would be greatly appreciated!
Don't take this the wrong way, but some good advice at this point is to cool your jets.

Your first stop is to talk with the systems administrator and ask a simple question to begin with. Ask just what brand and model radios are compatible and allowed on the system. When the systems administrator calms down and peals himself off the ceiling, I would guess your the one that is next to get put on the hot seat.

Most radio systems administrators will not allow individuals to do any radio programming. It is too easy to mess up and cause a system problem if it is a trunking system. Some radios require to have a minimum firmware version to be installed in user radios to function correctly on a trunking system. EFJ radios are one of them.

Many older model radios don't play at all or play poorly on trunking systems. The other issue is many radio system administrators just don't want any other radio brands or models than what they are currently using. They have probably been through issues in the past and don't want to end up going there again.

If the radios your currently using are having problems, I would first point the finger at just how they are being treated. XTS2500 radios are a good radio. Just what king of problems are you trying to say your having with them?

Many departments issue radios to individuals just so they take care of "THEIR" radio. If the agency is sharing radios, then they are just asking for problems. That causes poor handling of the radios and the people just don't care about how they are treated. If the agency started making the people pay for the repairs, THE PROBLEMS WOULD STOP.

Let the group on here know how you made out talking with the radio systems administrator.
 

mmckenna

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I run an 800MHz trunked system, and I'll echo what Jim said.

You should not be programming agency radios unless you have been specifically permitted to do that by the license holder. As an employee of the agency you are NOT the license holder and you would not be covered under the license as an individual. The FCC Part 90 rules clearly state that the licensee is the one under control of the system. Programming radios on their system without their knowledge can easily get you in some serious trouble. The type of trouble that can drastically shorten careers.

I specifically do not allow anyone to program radios on my system, under any circumstances. Reason being is that these systems are complex and require specific knowledge and access to the system controllers to set everything up.
If this is a trunked system, the radio ID will need to be programmed correctly into both the radio and the system controller to work. "Borrowing" a radio ID that is already in use can cause issues and will usually draw the attention of the system administrator, and not in a good way.

Programming digital and/or trunked radio is very much different than programming an analog radio.

I would strongly encourage you to not do what you are suggesting. The proper way to do this is what Jim suggested. Start by talking to your supervisor about your concerns with the radios. If it's ok with him/her, then talk to the system administrator about the radio issues. The answer will probably be something along the lines of buying a new radio and having the system administrator properly program them for you.

As stated the MTS-2000's are analog radios and will not do P25.
Also, the MTS-2000's are decades old, they came out in the late 1980's/early 1990's. Most of the ones on the used market and thoroughly trashed. Usually the pixels in the displays are dropping like flies. If you are lucky, you might find one that has been flashed for rebanding, but don't count on it. As stated, won't do P25, so it's pointless.
 

APX7500X2

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Dec 13, 2010
Messages
759
Location
NY/CT
Hey all, So I'm no stranger to basic radio programming, I do programming for my local public safety agencies running non trunked VHF and UHF systems. ....P25 system in calhoun county, AL. I know I'll need a system key and radio ID for the system from the 911 administration, I just need help getting a good radio with the right features. Any help would be greatly appreciated!
I see from your post that you have basic understanding of programming and that you know you have to go to the administration of the system to get the radio correctly on the system.
So no need to post and lecture you on that.
Looking at the system you are operating on you could use an XTS but the system also has TDMA talk groups on it so an APX would be needed for those

I would go the system admin and ask 2 things, 1-Can I get my own radio for the system? 2-If yes what radio features do I need for it to work on the system.

I work on 11 different trunking systems, many systems allow personal radios, after they have been approved, programmed and locked down by the administrator
 

lskipper

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Premium Subscriber
Joined
Dec 16, 2003
Messages
7
Just my 2 cents. But the comment "hoping to get a good radio" when he shows up to work. That would lead me to believe that one of the issues are the radios. We migrated to P25 recently and found that while all of our radios were P25, they had not been tuned since they were first purchased. A lot of reception issues were cleared up by tuning the radios. Everyone was blaming the new system, when the issue was old radios.
But getting administration to get the old radios tuned might be an issue, as well.
As a system administrator, our policy is not to allow personal radios on our system. Like the others mentioned, there are too many issues, coming from that.


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CCRS53

Member
Joined
Jan 13, 2016
Messages
15
Location
Lineville, AL
To the couple guys talking about me doing the programming, I have no plans of doing it myself on this system, I was just saying I have some knowledge of programming prior to this, but I'm lost with the settings and features I'd need for this system. I plan to go through my work to get proper programming. I've already talked to the system admin who was rather vague, he just said at this point they allow any radio with p25, but only motorola so far is able to both encrypt and decrypt at the far ends of the county. My EMS agency currently shares radios among all our employees, they're given out at the start of the shift, and turned back in at the end, so they get abused a lot by the different crews. I appreciate all the constructive replies about the different models out there that would work. Also a good point, our radios have probably never been tuned properly after the system was put in place several years ago...
 

RFI-EMI-GUY

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Dec 22, 2013
Messages
4,540
Just my 2 cents. But the comment "hoping to get a good radio" when he shows up to work. That would lead me to believe that one of the issues are the radios. We migrated to P25 recently and found that while all of our radios were P25, they had not been tuned since they were first purchased. A lot of reception issues were cleared up by tuning the radios. Everyone was blaming the new system, when the issue was old radios.
But getting administration to get the old radios tuned might be an issue, as well.
As a system administrator, our policy is not to allow personal radios on our system. Like the others mentioned, there are too many issues, coming from that.


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I did a small study some years back and found that the aging rate of the TCXO in most 800 MHz NPSPAC portable radios had them out of tolerance in 18 months. Despite this Motorola refused to allow field service techs to readjust the radios in the shop, demanding any such radios be sent to depot. That is BS, with a controlled temperature environment, they can be adjusted properly in the field.

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rescue161

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Jun 5, 2002
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3,237
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Hubert, NC
Every single radio that comes through our shop gets aligned prior to leaving our shop. It doesn't matter if the radio came in for repair or just to be reprogrammed. The XTS2500 is a good radio and if they are having problems, they can be put back to factory specs by a competent tech if they have access to the appropriate test equipment and the correct parts. The only time that we send radios to the depot is if the radio is not behaving correctly after an alignment. Sometimes we'll get a radio that will have zero power out on certain softpots. This would be a prime candidate for depot service. Otherwise, we can replace any switches (side switches and/or volume/channel switches) and SMA connectors.
 
Joined
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Messages
3,640
Location
Texas
Every single radio that comes through our shop gets aligned prior to leaving our shop. It doesn't matter if the radio came in for repair or just to be reprogrammed. The XTS2500 is a good radio and if they are having problems, they can be put back to factory specs by a competent tech if they have access to the appropriate test equipment and the correct parts. The only time that we send radios to the depot is if the radio is not behaving correctly after an alignment. Sometimes we'll get a radio that will have zero power out on certain softpots. This would be a prime candidate for depot service. Otherwise, we can replace any switches (side switches and/or volume/channel switches) and SMA connectors.


I actually sent a XTS5000 off last week for low power output that couldn't be fixed in an alignment.

I don't align every radio…I do check the radios against spec and ensure proper trunking operation though.

OP on the encryption side, sounds to me as if the county is using ADP encryption. It not proprietary to Motorola but not all vendors support it but Motorola was originally the only manufacturer to support it (no longer he case though).


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