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W1RHW

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I can tell you it may be hard to find them. If you are talking about the equipment that is one thing, I know of some departments that use the stuff, but as far as the MOTOTRBO TDMA technology, most departments are being steered towards FDMA/TDMA P25 stuff for APCO compliance. Plus if you want federal grant money for radio infastructure, you have to spend it on Project-25 complaint equipment. It makes sense to stay P-25 complaint for the purposes of interoperability as well. I know Holmes County, OH installed it for roads departments, but they have complaints, and from what I have heard they sometimes have to switch to the old conventional system.

On that note, if you search around places like the watch desk and firehouse forums, a lot of people discuss them regularly, and the answer is typically, if you want digital, just stay compliant.

Most importantly, the BIGGEST complaint about the gear is that it is not "public safety grade". It is durable, but just won't hold up the way the public safety equipment Motorola sells will. I haven't really read any NIOSH reports that mention it, but I would not be surprised if substandard radio equipment that isn't rated for firefighting prevents a firefighter from being able to make an important call, whether the call is a "near miss" or something more serious.

Any reason you ask?
 

W2NJS

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When TRBO radios first appeared, Motorola stated on the brochures that the system was not intended for use in Public Safety work. After a while this advice disappeared as more and more agencies began to use the TRBO systems as they are much less expensive than the P25 stuff at any level. I have an XPR6500 HT and its quality appears to be first rate, but the one thing it will never be is compatible with any P25 system. I guess it's all in the marketing process, as well as a disregard for any interoperability requirements.
 

W1RHW

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It is all in the salesmen. Motorola says push TRBO to them so companies (Kenwood, ICOM, etc) that want to build radios so that people will have an option other than Motorola have to license the technologies. Hence, Motorola would rather push proprietary stuff than easily interoperable stuff. I should be careful with that because Motorola corporate material doesn't advertise it for public safety, rather security and public works divisions, maintanence, etc.

Read this thread on FirehouseForums: Radios - Page 3 - Firehouse Forums - Firefighting Discussion

I started on page 3, but all you missed was one Asst. Chief mentioning they were changing over to TRBO, and then the flame war goes from there, but some strong points about TRBO, and why it shouldn't be used for public safety are made.
 

superfreak

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Open up the case up tbro repeater... crap. cheap non motorola power supply, two mobile radios... I wouldn't depend on it. We have see power supply failures.
 

PJH

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I will tell you after using the equipment last month, having real time coast to coast converstations with better than IMBE voice quaility, the stuff sounds and works great. Sounds better than my ASTRO25 gear.

No, its not intended for public safety. However at cheaper prices for everything, you will see some installations just like LTR.
 

JRayfield

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MOTOTRBO is designed for public safety use and Motorola (the company) is advertising it for public safety use.

The radios meet the same specs as the HT-series and CDM-series of radios, which have been sold for, and used by, thousands of public safety agencies for many years now (10 years or so). No one has ever denied the fact that these 'Pro-series' radios were designed for public safety use. The XPR-series radios are comparable. Actually, that's not true - the XPR-series portables are submersible, which exceeds the standards of the HT-series radios. Also, the XPR-series radios are intrinsically safe, if ordered with an intrinsically safe battery.

The functionality of the MOTOTRBO systems is very similar to P25. In fact, if you compare the functions available in a MOTOTRBO system, to the 'required specs' for a P25-compliant radio, you'll find that MOTOTRBO includes most of those 'required specs'.

For fire-service use, MOTOTRBO is MUCH better in handling high levels of background noise, as compared to most P25 radios (the Motorola APX7000 is at least as good, if not better - it should be, for $7000).

Are the XPR-series radios as durable as the XTS and XTL radios? No, probably not. But, they're just as well-suited for public safety as the HT-series and CDM-series radios. And they cost less than the HT-series and CDM-series radios, especially the analog-only versions.

John Rayfield, Jr.


I will tell you after using the equipment last month, having real time coast to coast converstations with better than IMBE voice quaility, the stuff sounds and works great. Sounds better than my ASTRO25 gear.

No, its not intended for public safety. However at cheaper prices for everything, you will see some installations just like LTR.
 

PJH

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TRBO radios are DESIGNED for the BUSINESS community. Although they may share, or have specs that are similar to PUBLIC SAFETY radios, they are not expressly marketed to those users.

From Motorola itself (emphasis are mine)

"The next-generation professional two-way radio communications solution is here, with more performance, productivity and value - and more opportunity for you. With better basics and enhanced features, MOTOTRBO is Motorola’s first digital two-way radio system specifically designed to meet the requirements of professional organizations that need a customizable, business-critical communication solution using licensed spectrum. In addition, MOTOTRBO is built to the globally recognized Digital Mobile Radio (DMR) standard; DMR is widely backed by major manufacturers of digital professional two-way radio communication equipment. So with MOTOTRBO, you can be assured that you are getting a robust and future-ready digital radio solution."
If you talk to the Motorola guys (the ones that are actually paid by Motorola at the industry trade shows, sales managers, etc) they will tell you they DO NOT market to public safety. This does not mean that public safety will not purchase them (again, like LTR). I have not looked to far into it, but I recall when they were introduced they did not meet APCO16 compliance.

They are backwards compatible to analog SMARTNET trunked systems which are, so who knows. I really don't care.

By going to the digital mode of TRBO, you are also cutting out any mutual aid compatibility if your inbound neighbors are not TRBO equipped. The TRBO users will have to step down to an analog simplex channel, or repeated analog.

The top of the line dual/tri mode P25 Phase 1 and 2 radios can do 11K0F3E, 16K0F3E, 8K10F1D, 8K10F1E, 8K10F1W, 20K0F1E emissions whereas the TRBO can only do 11K0F3E,16K0F3E, 7K60FXD, 7K60FXE.

In addition you cannot say that they are P25 compliant as the Phase 2 specs are not finalized last I heard...so you can't have something that isn't published yet (even though its basically done). Since there is no IMBE in the radio it cannot be compatible with any P25 radio on the market now.

Neat radio and design? Yes.
Would I trust it in a fire or in a LE situation? No.

Besides the mobiles and portables, you have to look into the infrastructure and site equipment as a whole. There is NOTHING remotely close in the TRBO system than what there is in a real public safety system.

There is a reason why a TRBO repeater doesn't cost $20,000.
 

JRayfield

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Conventional analog doesn't meet APCO 16 either, since APCO 16 references trunking. Yet I never see anyone claiming that conventional analog isn't designed for public safety.

As to Motorola promoting MOTOTRBO for public safety, you're simply wrong. Motorola has recently put out a case study, for marketing purposes, of a countywide MOTOTRBO public safety system in Georgia. And other marketing materials are available that clearly promote MOTOTRBO for public safety (including the accessories brochure for MOTOTRBO, which shows the 'public safety microphones' specifically targeting them at public safety. It's true that, at one time, Motorola was not targeting public safety with MOTOTRBO, but that has changed.

Would you trust an HT-1250 in a fire or in a law enforcement situation? If so, then there's no reason not to trust a MOTOTRBO radio in the same situation. Actually, if you want to talk analog only, the XPR-series radios are great radios. Digital mode adds many additional features (not all, but most of those that are found in P25 systems).

As to 'high priced repeaters'.....the MTR2000 has been used in thousands of public safety systems and no one has ever indicated that it's not good enough for public safety. That repeater is now being replaced with the MTR3000, which will operate in analog or MOTOTRBO (including mixed mode).

I'm continually amazed at the people who try to say that MOTOTRBO (even the equipment) isn't good enough for public safety, yet have never complained that conventional analog radios such as the HT-1250's weren't good enough for public safety. And I've brought this up before and no one has ever explained their reasoning. Wonder why?

John Rayfield, Jr.
 

Cskib32087

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Yes their are 10 of thousands HT1250s out there being used for public safety. MOTOTRBO equipment is better than the 1250s. TRBO also has alot of new things like emergency interupt so the dispatcher can stop a conversation to put out emergency traffic...sound like something to really look into
 

PJH

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APCO-16 doesn't apply to conventional...
 

JRayfield

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Good point about emergency transmit interrupt.

Motorola just keeps adding more and more 'public safety' features to MOTOTRBO. Just about every major release includes something new along those lines.

John Rayfield, Jr.

Yes their are 10 of thousands HT1250s out there being used for public safety. MOTOTRBO equipment is better than the 1250s. TRBO also has alot of new things like emergency interupt so the dispatcher can stop a conversation to put out emergency traffic...sound like something to really look into
 

Badatt

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Need Help & Opinions

I can tell you it may be hard to find them. If you are talking about the equipment that is one thing, I know of some departments that use the stuff, but as far as the MOTOTRBO TDMA technology, most departments are being steered towards FDMA/TDMA P25 stuff for APCO compliance. Plus if you want federal grant money for radio infastructure, you have to spend it on Project-25 complaint equipment. It makes sense to stay P-25 complaint for the purposes of interoperability as well. I know Holmes County, OH installed it for roads departments, but they have complaints, and from what I have heard they sometimes have to switch to the old conventional system.

On that note, if you search around places like the watch desk and firehouse forums, a lot of people discuss them regularly, and the answer is typically, if you want digital, just stay compliant.

Most importantly, the BIGGEST complaint about the gear is that it is not "public safety grade". It is durable, but just won't hold up the way the public safety equipment Motorola sells will. I haven't really read any NIOSH reports that mention it, but I would not be surprised if substandard radio equipment that isn't rated for firefighting prevents a firefighter from being able to make an important call, whether the call is a "near miss" or something more serious.

Any reason you ask?
I am currently a Fire Chief in Holmes County (mentioned in Harrison's post above) > It is true that our County Road Dept. went to the TRBO system and had / has issues with coverage in certain areas. Our county is a rural county that has many peaks and valleys. So any system our county installs will have "dead" areas. My Concern is >> Our County Sheriffs office decided to also go with a TRBO system and since all communications and paging is done through the local S.O., it appears that our counties Fire & EMS is going to be pushed into this system.

We have been testing for 2 months now and I have been carrying an XPR 6550. I love how the radio operates on BOTH Digital and Analog. My major concern is > > If we adopt this system into the county Fire/EMS we will CUT OFF any possible federal funding we could receive.

I have seen mentioned P-25 Phase II, that may deal with TDMA technology such as the MOTOTRBO system. Can anyone point me in the direction to get "GOOD" information on this or give me some advise?

It appears I am the only chief (out of 7) in the county that thinks this TRBO system is not the way to go and we will have re-percussion's in the future.

Thanks in advance!!
 

JRayfield

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Contrary to what some people claim, Federal Grant money does NOT have to be used for P25 equipment, in all cases. This is made very clear in the Grant Guidance document from Safecom. The final decision is often left up to the state (such as here in Missouri). For example, here in Missouri, an agency can purchase portables and bases/repeaters, using federal grant money, that are not P25, as long as that agency meets certain requirements to have 'access' to the upcoming state P25 trunking system. That can be done in several ways, including through a dispatch center. Mobiles purchase with federal grant money must either be P25 trunking capable, or upgradeable to P25 trunking (not just conventional P25).

As a side note here, just because a radio is "P25 compliant', that does NOT mean that it is interoperable with other P25 compliant radios. Obviously, two radios must be on the same frequency band to be able to communicate with each other. But even if two radios are on the same frequency band, a conventional P25 radio can NOT communicate with a P25 trunking radio, unless the P25 trunking radio is switched to a P25 conventional channel. And many P25 trunking radios (such as the Motorola XTS portables) can NOT scan between trunking systems and conventional channels. I keep seeing some people use the term "digital island" when referring to someone using MOTOTRBO, but the truth is, if an agency goes to P25 trunking, they also are on a "digital island", since no one with a P25 conventional radio will be able to talk to anyone on the P25 trunking system, without using some kind of 'bridge' (which can also be used between MOTOTRBO systems and P25 systems (conventional OR trunking) to provide 'interoperability' between MOTOTRBO and P25 (or analog)).

P25 Phase 2 will use TDMA. It's won't be exactly the same as MOTOTRBO, but will operate very similarly (and I would hope, as well, too). For example, the speed of the digital data stream for MOTOTRBO is 9.6 kbps. For P25 Phase 2, it will be a bit faster, at 12 kbps. There are other differences, too, so the two won't be capable of 'communicating' with each other, directly.

But, the P25 Phase 2 standard is not yet completed, and I haven't heard any dates as to when it might be done. Discussions on P25 Phase 1 were started in 1989 and I think equipment started to show up between 10 and 15 years ago. And parts of the P25 standard still aren't 'complete' (published, so that manufacturers can produce compatible equipment). So it's really heard to say how long it will be before P25 Phase 2 actually 'hits the street'.

John Rayfield, Jr. - CET-ma


I am currently a Fire Chief in Holmes County (mentioned in Harrison's post above) > It is true that our County Road Dept. went to the TRBO system and had / has issues with coverage in certain areas. Our county is a rural county that has many peaks and valleys. So any system our county installs will have "dead" areas. My Concern is >> Our County Sheriffs office decided to also go with a TRBO system and since all communications and paging is done through the local S.O., it appears that our counties Fire & EMS is going to be pushed into this system.

We have been testing for 2 months now and I have been carrying an XPR 6550. I love how the radio operates on BOTH Digital and Analog. My major concern is > > If we adopt this system into the county Fire/EMS we will CUT OFF any possible federal funding we could receive.

I have seen mentioned P-25 Phase II, that may deal with TDMA technology such as the MOTOTRBO system. Can anyone point me in the direction to get "GOOD" information on this or give me some advise?

It appears I am the only chief (out of 7) in the county that thinks this TRBO system is not the way to go and we will have re-percussion's in the future.

Thanks in advance!!
 

PJH

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"And many P25 trunking radios (such as the Motorola XTS portables) can NOT scan between trunking systems and conventional channels."

This is untrue. I currently have a XTS5000 and an APX7000 sitting here going back and forth between conventional and trunked operation in a scan mode. Its all about the programming and what the admin wants the end user to be able to do. The tradeoff is scan capacity.

I also know that the Thales Liberty will scan across bands and trunked systems (P25P1).

Last time I looked at DHS grant information (albeit its been a couple of years) part of the requirements is that it had to be P25 capable (did not specify conventional or APCO25 Phase 1 or 2 the the lean was on Phase 1) and that it had to be narrowband capable (which is already a FCC requirement). The first requirement left out (initally) the OpenSky radios but firmware/system enhancements have worked around it, last my PA counterparts have told me.

The radios did not have to talk to any specific system in the state, as it was mostly pointed to the NIFOG type of use (which is 90% analog/narrowband operation) except for some of the law enforcement (aka federal) that does specify P25 conventional operation.

Now for larger systems, I cannot speak of as we have had our P25 trunked system in operation for some time now. Any grants that we are applying for work into the 700 band along with expanding the userbase for interop/system access.

As for the MOTOTRBO radios, last I heard at a confernece is that they are not elligable due to its properitary backend. Its simply not an APCO25 Phase 2 system. Kenwood is trying the same route with its NEXGEN radios, etc etc. This is all similar to how towns went to LTR radios and found out they were not able to secure most grants.

In the end, your going to do what is best for YOUR agency and its needs. It can be as simple as operating simplex or as complex as a multisite trunked system with data. Do what is best for your area and look at ALL makes and MODELS. Don't always listen to the sales guy. TALK to the service guys as well. They tend to know what really works and what doesn't...problems they have had to contend with, etc.

Case in point... We had a cell tower come into town and we put our antennas on it (part of the deal they would pay for everything). Well, sales guys talked to them and set up all the stuff they would need. They never talked to the service guys. Low and behold before we really knew it..the antenna system was installed without any vertical seperation. Finger pointing came later when we noticed a drop in db on transmit while rx'ing on another channel.

To this day the array remains the same with some modifications.
/Story
 

JRayfield

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That's very interesting on an XTS portable operating on a P25 trunking system and at the same time scanning conventional channels. NO one at Motorola (technical or sales) has said that this type of operation would work. They've been very specific - that the XTS won't do it and that the APX will do it. I would be very interested in knowing the 'programming trick' that you've found that enables this type of operation. It's always fun to 'stump the engineer' at Motorola. :)

While DHS Grant Guidelines encourage P25, they do not mandate it completely, unless it's a complete new system (and I suspect that this might be worked around, based on further language in the guidelines). There are exceptions allowed in some cases, and the individual states are given some 'say' in this, too.

I'm not sure what you mean by the FCC requiring narrowband - that is not a 'requirement' for anything with the FCC, yet. Wideband licenses are still being issued (until Jan. 1, 2011) and wideband capable equipment will still be manufactured/imported/sold until Jan. 1, 2013.

MOTOTRBO radios also operate in analog mode, so aren't any different than any other analog radio, with regards to DHS grant money. They are acceptable, in some cases.

I understand about the problem of sales people not knowing enough to 'design' a radio system (even just getting the antennas set up correctly on a tower). But I've also seen technical people that were just as bad.

John Rayfield, Jr. CETma



"And many P25 trunking radios (such as the Motorola XTS portables) can NOT scan between trunking systems and conventional channels."

This is untrue. I currently have a XTS5000 and an APX7000 sitting here going back and forth between conventional and trunked operation in a scan mode. Its all about the programming and what the admin wants the end user to be able to do. The tradeoff is scan capacity.

I also know that the Thales Liberty will scan across bands and trunked systems (P25P1).

Last time I looked at DHS grant information (albeit its been a couple of years) part of the requirements is that it had to be P25 capable (did not specify conventional or APCO25 Phase 1 or 2 the the lean was on Phase 1) and that it had to be narrowband capable (which is already a FCC requirement). The first requirement left out (initally) the OpenSky radios but firmware/system enhancements have worked around it, last my PA counterparts have told me.

The radios did not have to talk to any specific system in the state, as it was mostly pointed to the NIFOG type of use (which is 90% analog/narrowband operation) except for some of the law enforcement (aka federal) that does specify P25 conventional operation.

Now for larger systems, I cannot speak of as we have had our P25 trunked system in operation for some time now. Any grants that we are applying for work into the 700 band along with expanding the userbase for interop/system access.

As for the MOTOTRBO radios, last I heard at a confernece is that they are not elligable due to its properitary backend. Its simply not an APCO25 Phase 2 system. Kenwood is trying the same route with its NEXGEN radios, etc etc. This is all similar to how towns went to LTR radios and found out they were not able to secure most grants.

In the end, your going to do what is best for YOUR agency and its needs. It can be as simple as operating simplex or as complex as a multisite trunked system with data. Do what is best for your area and look at ALL makes and MODELS. Don't always listen to the sales guy. TALK to the service guys as well. They tend to know what really works and what doesn't...problems they have had to contend with, etc.

Case in point... We had a cell tower come into town and we put our antennas on it (part of the deal they would pay for everything). Well, sales guys talked to them and set up all the stuff they would need. They never talked to the service guys. Low and behold before we really knew it..the antenna system was installed without any vertical seperation. Finger pointing came later when we noticed a drop in db on transmit while rx'ing on another channel.

To this day the array remains the same with some modifications.
/Story
 

PJH

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A point of clairification...

XTS radios can scan multiple systems under the Talkgroup mode of scanning. This allows the mix of trunked and conventional systems together.

25 KHz equipment can no longer be imported or type accepted as of 1/1/2011. Equipment that can do 12.5/25 switchable CAN be until 1/1/2013, but the 25khz mode must be able to be disabled by software and not user selectable after 1/1/2013 (ie, firmware or software upgrade that disables the option to 25khz).

In part: FCC DA 09-2589 Released: December 11 said:
Can previously certified multimode equipment be manufactured or imported after January 1, 2011?Yes, under certain circumstances. The equipment certification for previously certified multimode equipment containing a wideband 25 kHz mode will continue to be valid, and such equipment may continue to be manufactured and imported, only if the modes of operation are enabled primarily through software rather than firmware or hardware, and users are not provided with the programming software necessary to activate the wideband 25 kHz mode.
TRBO's can operate in analog, but will not meet the definiation of a P25 capable radio as it will not do IMBE in the convetional mode of operation. Althought it uses AMBE as used in the trbo mode of trunking - is not an APCO25 Phase 2 TDMA accepted mode of operation.
 
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ResQguy

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That's very interesting on an XTS portable operating on a P25 trunking system and at the same time scanning conventional channels. NO one at Motorola (technical or sales) has said that this type of operation would work. They've been very specific - that the XTS won't do it and that the APX will do it. I would be very interested in knowing the 'programming trick' that you've found that enables this type of operation. It's always fun to 'stump the engineer' at Motorola. :)
I don't know who you have been talking to at Motorola, but you successfully stumped them. Time to find a new contact, I think. There is no trick necessary. We have been using "talkgroup scan" for years to monitor simplex fireground channels in case someone goes out of range, and although it does have limitations- it does work. If your firmware is high enough, you can even enable multi-system scan (which is really really limited).

From the help file:

Scan Type
(Scan List, General)

Talkgroup: Both Conventional and Trunking Scan List member channels may be selected.
Note: Ten Scan List Members are possible.
 
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JRayfield

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Thanks for the info on the XTS scanning. It's odd that no one at Motorola that I've spoken with, is familiar with this. I'll have to visit with them about this.

The 1/1/2011 deadline for manufacturing/importing wideband-capable equipment has been changed to 1/1/2013. New equipment can't be type-certified for wideband operation after 1/1/2011 and there will be no new wideband licenses issued (or modifications made to wideband licenses that result in a change in "area of operation"), but existing models (such as the HT-series, CDM-series, and XPR-series just to name a few Motorola models) can still be manufactured, with wideband capability, until 1/1/2013.

I'm quite familiar with MOTOTRBO and what it is and is not. I never said that it would meet any kind of 'definition of P25'.

Simply put, DHS grant money can be used to purchase these radios (or any other non-P25 radio), in some cases.

John Rayfield, Jr. CET-ma

A point of clairification...

XTS radios can scan multiple systems under the Talkgroup mode of scanning. This allows the mix of trunked and conventional systems together.

25 KHz equipment can no longer be imported or type accepted as of 1/1/2011. Equipment that can do 12.5/25 switchable CAN be until 1/1/2013, but the 25khz mode must be able to be disabled by software and not user selectable after 1/1/2013 (ie, firmware or software upgrade that disables the option to 25khz).



TRBO's can operate in analog, but will not meet the definiation of a P25 capable radio as it will not do IMBE in the convetional mode of operation. Althought it uses AMBE as used in the trbo mode of trunking - is not an APCO25 Phase 2 TDMA accepted mode of operation.
 
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JRayfield

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This is actually kind of 'cool'. :) I really do like to play "stump the engineer". :)

I wish I had a P25 trunking XTS2500 codeplug. I would love to look at the programming on one of these. As it is, I only have Smartnet codesplugs available (I do know that they'll scan conventional channels and still operate on the trunked system).

John Rayfield, Jr. CET-ma

I don't know who you have been talking to at Motorola, but you successfully stumped them. Time to find a new contact, I think. There is no trick necessary. We have been using "talkgroup scan" for years to monitor simplex fireground channels in case someone goes out of range, and although it does have limitations- it does work. If your firmware is high enough, you can even enable multi-system scan (which is really really limited).

From the help file:

Scan Type
(Scan List, General)

Talkgroup: Both Conventional and Trunking Scan List member channels may be selected.
Note: Ten Scan List Members are possible.
 
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