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Programming Encryption

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Sconnick

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Hello all,

I'm trying to familiarize myself a bit with encryption as one of the agencies in my jurisdiction is anticipating a move to encrypting their radios in the near future. Currently, I'm using Motorola Astro 25 Portable CPS to program a two Dallas Avionics TDFM-7000-series radios. The bands in the radio are a mix of VHF, UHF, and 800, and the frequencies are a mix of analog and digital (mostly the former).

None of the agencies that we communicate with are currently encrypted, and as such, the programming has been pretty straight-forward thus far. I anticipate having a sit-down with the radio shop that does the agency in questions contracts with for all their commo needs.

Is there anywhere I can go for a quick primer - or can anyone provide one - on encryption, especially with regard to the software/hardware that I'm using?

I don't even know what an encryption key looks like.

Thanks in advance, radio gurus!
 

FFPM571

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Encryption can not be programmed with CPS it has to be keyloaded with a keyloader and that is usually done by the key owner. Or over the air if the radio has that option
 

KK4JUG

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If you could program your radio to read the encrypted signals, it would defeat the purpose of encryption.
 

Sconnick

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If you could program your radio to read the encrypted signals, it would defeat the purpose of encryption.
So "programming" isn't the right word, then I guess... But the encryption key, which is software-based, is loaded into the radio. Though not through CPS. Am I following so far?
 

mmckenna

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So "programming" isn't the right word, then I guess... But the encryption key, which is software-based, is loaded into the radio. Though not through CPS. Am I following so far?
Look up Motorola KVL-3000 or KVL-4000. This is a stand alone "Key Variable Loader" that loads the encryption key(s) into the radio. It's completely separate from the CPS programming/reading.
 

N4DES

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Encryption can not be programmed with CPS it has to be keyloaded with a keyloader and that is usually done by the key owner. Or over the air if the radio has that option
But even with OTAR it still has to be touched with a keyloader to put in the UKEK. OTAR won't work without it.
 

yaknamedjak

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Encryption can not be programmed with CPS it has to be keyloaded with a keyloader and that is usually done by the key owner. Or over the air if the radio has that option


This is only true if they are using hardware-based encryption. Software-based encryption like ADP has a key loaded via the software.


Anyhow basically you need the key. It is loaded in all the radios. Radios that don't have the key cannot decrypt traffic. That is the essential.


I don't know any the about those radios but in Astro 25 CPS usually the encryption settings are setup in the "secure" menu. Then the personality is set to be secure and a key is chosen.


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
 

Sconnick

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Look up Motorola KVL-3000 or KVL-4000. This is a stand alone "Key Variable Loader" that loads the encryption key(s) into the radio. It's completely separate from the CPS programming/reading.
Ahhhh... Thank you. I wasn't aware of that piece of hardware. This makes more sense. Functioning virtually independently of my CPS software. And then, if they choose to change the key - sorry - REKEY, it can be done OTA assuming the radio will accept that.

I don't know any the about those radios but in Astro 25 CPS usually the encryption settings are setup in the "secure" menu. Then the personality is set to be secure and a key is chosen.
I did see that section in the CPS as I was rooting through it this evening. And I also see a tab now for OTAR in the CPS. I've been under the assumption that the guts of the tactical radios in our aircraft are Motorola as that's the CPS that we've been using. The manufacturer is Dallas Avionics, though ours are branded as "Technisonic." They're basically one control head containing 4-5 independent radios (V-V-U-U-800). We're an RF-generating machine!


Thank you all so much for the quick replies. There is a ton of knowledge here on these forums and I do appreciate the input. I anticipate that I won't be able to land my helicopters in the parking lot at the radio shop, so I guess they'll have to come to the airport when everything rolls out.
 

mmckenna

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I did see that section in the CPS as I was rooting through it this evening. And I also see a tab now for OTAR in the CPS. I've been under the assumption that the guts of the tactical radios in our aircraft are Motorola as that's the CPS that we've been using. The manufacturer is Dallas Avionics, though ours are branded as "Technisonic." They're basically one control head containing 4-5 independent radios (V-V-U-U-800). We're an RF-generating machine!
Right, if you opened up the radio deck, where ever it's mounted in the aircraft, you'd just find a couple of Motorola XTS-x000 radio guts in there. So, while it's a Dallas Avionics/Tecnisonic radio, it's Motorola RF with a custom controller.


I anticipate that I won't be able to land my helicopters in the parking lot at the radio shop, so I guess they'll have to come to the airport when everything rolls out.
Right, same way we used to do fire engines. Drop by the station and program the radio. Radio guys still make house calls.
 

K4RMN

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Seconded, Techsonics can be reprogrammed via a laptop on-site, at least the TDFM-136's that CAP uses. With those, there is a little cover port dead center on the face which hides a mini-DIN 6 serial port that the laptop hooks into, either via serial or USB. CAP went the extra step and also added a 9-pin D serial port to the Techsonic for some reason to standardize programming equipment.
 

rescue161

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If the radio doesn't have a UCM, then it cannot accept a key. Even if it does have a UCM, then you have to have the correct algo in the UCM for it to work. As mentioned before, if the agency is using OTAR, then it can be filled with a UKEK and then the end-user can request re-keys via the radio menu. Once you lose the UKEK, then it will have to be re-keyed with the KVL.
 

Sconnick

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If the radio doesn't have a UCM, then it cannot accept a key. Even if it does have a UCM, then you have to have the correct algo in the UCM for it to work. As mentioned before, if the agency is using OTAR, then it can be filled with a UKEK and then the end-user can request re-keys via the radio menu. Once you lose the UKEK, then it will have to be re-keyed with the KVL.
I got OTAR and KVL...

UCM and UKEK?
 

Sconnick

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Seconded, Techsonics can be reprogrammed via a laptop on-site, at least the TDFM-136's that CAP uses. With those, there is a little cover port dead center on the face which hides a mini-DIN 6 serial port that the laptop hooks into, either via serial or USB. CAP went the extra step and also added a 9-pin D serial port to the Techsonic for some reason to standardize programming equipment.
According to our specs, it's an 8-pin mini DIN that we use. Yes, programming is easy, we've been doing that for quite a while now. The encryption, though, is all new to me.
 

rescue161

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UKEK is the unique key encryption key. It is loaded into the radio via the KVL via Astro25 mode.

UCM is the universal cryptographic module. It's the hardware peice that must be in the radio and is what handles the encrypting and decoding.
 

Sconnick

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UKEK is the unique key encryption key. It is loaded into the radio via the KVL via Astro25 mode.

UCM is the universal cryptographic module. It's the hardware peice that must be in the radio and is what handles the encrypting and decoding.
Thanks! Usually I'm the one talking in acronyms and catching heck for it!
 

kayn1n32008

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According to our specs, it's an 8-pin mini DIN that we use. Yes, programming is easy, we've been doing that for quite a while now. The encryption, though, is all new to me.
More of an FYI than anything, the radios you have contain XTS5000 portables inside the chassis. One for each band you have can receive or transmit on, hence using Astro25 portable software to program it. The latest and greatest from Technisonic can hold up to 6 APX 7000 dual band portable radios.

As far as Airborne LMR radios go, they are THE cats meow. You just really do not want to be the one that is paying for it!
 

Sconnick

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More of an FYI than anything, the radios you have contain XTS5000 portables inside the chassis. One for each band you have can receive or transmit on, hence using Astro25 portable software to program it. The latest and greatest from Technisonic can hold up to 6 APX 7000 dual band portable radios.

As far as Airborne LMR radios go, they are THE cats meow. You just really do not want to be the one that is paying for it!
Funny you should mention it - I found that reference on one line in the manual about an hour ago.

Motorola XTS-5000 Model III (x5) make up our TDFM-7300.

I don't even want to think of the cost of cramming 6 APX 7000 into one chassis!
 

N4GIX

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As far as Airborne LMR radios go, they are THE cats meow. You just really do not want to be the one that is paying for it!
I suspect that if compared to any of the newer aircraft avionics systems available, the cost of the radio equipment will be a pitiful, paltry pittance in comparison... :lol:
 

Sconnick

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I broke a small, guarded toggle switch once in the aircraft (nobody told me it was guarded).

That was a $3,000 replacement.
 
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