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Recomendations for legally learning and training on motorola RSS/CPS

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cnyncrvr

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Long time lurker but decided to make my first post today.

Often times I read many threads of people asking how to do this, how to program that on Motorola commercial radios and nearly every time it seems that people tell the poster asking the questions to give up, your not qualified, its beyond your capabilities, don't do it. I know that there is a lot of underground information out there on how to do certain things with these various radios but what I have not seen is anyone explain how to go about gaining the information and experience by legal above the board means.

So my hope for this thread is that it will serve as a kind of information portal for people who are "certified" to work on and program these radios to share what it takes to become "certified" or proficient. Maybe share the information about how you got into this hobby/line of work, why you decided to get trained/certified/ the process you took to actually learn this IE: Motorola factory training, Apprenticeship in a certified repair shop. Things like that.

I hope that this can serve as kind of a road map for those of us who have an interest in learning the software/systems/techniques involved to be competent in working on/programing/operating the commercial versions of these radios.

Again let me be clear. This is for those of us who want to take the correct and legal steps into this realm, this thread is not meant for someone who just purchased/wants to purchase a radio and program it for personal use and it is not meant for those who do not want to put in the time and effort to study/learn/take advice/seek factory training in becoming proficient at this.
 

KG4INW

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I've been professionally involved with Motorola radios and associated systems for 8 and 1/2 years now. I started off as a junior technician and learned from the senior technicians along with being sent to Motorola in Illinois for factory training. That said, I believe a lot of the "don't do it" posts involve people trying to program their radios to listen to trunked radio systems passively, that they have no association with.

Motorola never intended for their trunked radios to listen to a TRS without affiliating. However, through some clever programming and tools that were never meant to be out in the public, they can be made to. It really takes a lot of knowledge, skill, and making certain everything is exactly correct but those "tools" are the sticking point.

For conventional use of radios though, anyone should be able to legitimately be able to procure the software, cables, etc. and program your radios for hobby use. It can be tricky to setup an account with Motorola (they don't always make it easy for whatever reason) but once done, you can purchase software directly from them.

Motorola factory training is excellent but expensive. If you don't have someone to teach you, then sitting in front of the computer with your radio, teaching yourself isn't impossible. The help files are usually helpful and trial and error can yield good results (after saving the original, unedited codeplug in a safe place!).
 

mmckenna

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and nearly every time it seems that people tell the poster asking the questions to give up, your not qualified, its beyond your capabilities, don't do it.
Yeah, I concur, most of that is directed at people that buy a trunking capable radio and are attempting to put it on a system they do not have authorization to use. Even in receive only mode, the radio can affiliate and cause a lot of issues that are way beyond what someone inexperienced can comprehend.

I've been working with Motorola software for over 20 years now. I took over management of a trunked system and was taught to use the old DOS based RSS programming software for programming our own radios. I was taught by the previous system manager. Took a full day for him to go over the software. Then the recommendation was "lock yourself in a room for a week and experiment with it until you are comfortable".

Other than that training and some specific training from Kenwood on some of their systems/software, it's been self taught using the extensive documentation from the manufacturer. Once you've been doing the work for a few years, you learn the terminology and can read the help files or documentation and start to figure things out on your own.

Manufacturers will do training on software, but it's not always directly offered to the general public. Usually it's offered to those buying large systems or large quantities of radios.
 

mikewazowski

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Again let me be clear. This is for those of us who want to take the correct and legal steps into this realm
The only people who can take correct and legal steps to program up a radio onto a trunking system are those people that have a legitimate need and are authorized to be on the system. If that's the case, it's doubtful that they will require any help from us. They'll either turn to their radio shop or they are the radio shop.
 

cnyncrvr

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The only people who can take correct and legal steps to program up a radio onto a trunking system are those people that have a legitimate need and are authorized to be on the system. If that's the case, it's doubtful that they will require any help from us. They'll either turn to their radio shop or they are the radio shop.
I will have to respectfully disagree with you in part on this subject. I feel that perhaps your answer is based on the assumption that everyone who aqquire's one of these radios is a civilian who simply wants to turn it into a glorified scanner which I can agree that you would be right in saying a lot of people want to do just that. But my post was not about that and maybe my post was just to vague to articulate that.

My post is for of us who are curious, inquisitive and genuinely want to learn things the right way. A good example is while P25 systems may have been designed as government/military/public safety systems and that has been their role for years, these systems have started to trickle down into public and amateur use. This may be a slow trickle but it is still starting to show up. These are not rogue or illegal systems. They are systems that were removed from government/military/public safety use and have been put back into service legally and legitimately as amateur systems. \

Not everyone has the money, desire, or need to send their repeaters and radios to a shop and not everyone that uses these systems is a shop themselves. To make this statement is in my opinion biased. Some people have a genuine desire to do things themselves and not have to pay or depend on others to do things for them.
 

mikewazowski

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My post is for of us who are curious, inquisitive and genuinely want to learn things the right way. A good example is while P25 systems may have been designed as government/military/public safety systems and that has been their role for years, these systems have started to trickle down into public and amateur use. This may be a slow trickle but it is still starting to show up. These are not rogue or illegal systems. They are systems that were removed from government/military/public safety use and have been put back into service legally and legitimately as amateur systems.
I'm a bit confused at this point. My initial thought was that you are talking P25 trunking systems and that's what my comments were directed at. At this point I don't believe there are any amateur P25 trunking systems as the cost of putting such a system on the air would be cost prohibitive so I'll have to assume you are taking about conventional P25 and conventional or Capacity Plus DMR systems.

In that case, than most members here don't mind helping.
 

KG4INW

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Yes, I don't quite follow either. There are many and varied posts here on RR that answer people's questions directly, when involving conventional operation. Conventional can be analog or digital (any flavor, P25, DMR), stand-alone or linked. Trunked radio systems are not used in the hobby realm (like Mike, I'm not aware of any) so the proper ways to go about learning how to work on them, is to be involved with and directly affiliated with whatever organization owns that system. Can you point to previous threads where someone is chastised for trying to use LMR equipment on the ham bands/conventionally/etc.?

I use LMR gear almost exclusively on amateur bands but there's nothing controversial about that. For trunking, I only use agency-owned equipment and in the capacities that I'm authorized to.
 
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cnyncrvr

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Thank you both for your response. Maybe it was my confusion (I admit I am still very new to Amateur radio) I was under the impression that P25 systems were pretty much all trunked systems. And that was where I was coming from in wanting to learn the ins and outs of them in a legal, ethical and legitimate manner.

With that said let me ask your opinions on the future possibility of trunked systems filtering into the public domain. As history has shown us many times things from around the world that were initially designed and intended for military,government, or public safety use have eventually found their way into civilian hands and have become widely adopted by the civilian market as older systems become outdated for official uses, technology develops and therefore prices fall to affordable levels do you think hypothetically if this ends up at some point being the case with P25 will there be legal avenues available for civilians to gain the knowledge required to maintain and deploy these systems?
 

kayn1n32008

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There is at least one LCP ham system Deployed that I know of

P25/Con+/Tier 3/Cap Max/NXDN Type C Don’t lend them selves to ham use due to the huge up front cost of buying the controllers and other needed parts to build a trunk system along with needing at least 2 or 3 RF channels to have a Functional system. Then everyone needs compatible radios. For most hams, just the subscriber gear is a barrier to entry when they complain about the price of something like a TH-D74 or even a FT-60, and they insist on buying Baofeng garbage.

I could see a Motorola Type 2 system being put on ham bands, but again it is a complex system requiring at minimum 2 RF channels. If you can even acquire the system software.
 

mmckenna

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I could see a Motorola Type 2 system being put on ham bands, but again it is a complex system requiring at minimum 2 RF channels. If you can even acquire the system software.
Mmmm, 6809 controller, leaky capacitors and all.
I e-wasted mine when it was finally replaced. I really hope that some poor ham-op didn't pick it up.
 

mikewazowski

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With that said let me ask your opinions on the future possibility of trunked systems filtering into the public domain.
If we're talking about P25, probably never. Hams don't really need the features, can't afford the equipment and there's not enough frequencies to properly implement a trunking system.
 

mmckenna

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With that said let me ask your opinions on the future possibility of trunked systems filtering into the public domain.
…...
do you think hypothetically if this ends up at some point being the case with P25 will there be legal avenues available for civilians to gain the knowledge required to maintain and deploy these systems?
Well, there's a lot of non-public safety trunked systems, so it's not just a government/public safety thing.

As for amateurs, one of the benefits of a trunked system is to make the most efficient use of limited channels. Amateurs really don't have that problem. It's a fun exercise (maybe…) but it doesn't really solve many issues that hams have, other than maybe controlling access to the system.
In many highly populated urban areas, there may be a good argument made for trunked on amateur to make use of limited repeater pairs. We know there are a lot of "paper repeaters" tying up pairs needlessly. But we also know there are a lot of under utilized repeaters. So, the benefit of a trunked system in a heavily populated urban environment runs headlong into the requirements of having a few available frequency pairs, that may or may not be available. Would be interesting to talk to repeater coordinators about what they felt, if pairs were available, and if they'd permit it. Getting multiple existing repeater owners to cooperate and build out a system might be something that could happen, but those owners would have to release sole control of the system over to whoever or which ever group was administering the system.

Management of the system can become an issue. In some older systems, there needs to be system keys. Unless the system manager was going to program every radio that was going to access said trunked system, that system key would need to be distributed. Hams would eventually leak that out on the internet, and then the system key could be in everyones hands. Gets harder to control a system when everyone has the key to the front door. You can control individual radio access, but then someone has to assign radio ID's and try to keep those from getting cloned.
Each radio user is going to need a radio that is capable of supporting the trunked protocol. That can narrow down the options. Programming trunked radios is a lot more challenging than programming a conventional repeater, and there are a lot of places to make errors. Essentially I see this as a barrier.
Then you realize that you're tying up multiple repeater pairs for a trunked radio system that requires a specific model(s) of radio, specific programming software, specific keys, specific knowledge, and it starts to look like a system that would have limited access for the average ham.


DMR does this stuff a bit better, a lot of the above is based off years of running a Type IIi system and all the headaches that came with that. Your milage may vary.

So, yeah, sure I'm sure there is some hams out there that would happily take this on. It could absolutely be done. Other than the pure challenge of it, I'm not sure I see much of a need on the ham side, but when has that ever stopped a ham.
 

paulears

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Suddenly ham radio popped up - where from I have no idea. The ham community are quite happy for people to experiment with P25 and any digital mode, but the big problem is the person at the other end - often there isn't one and talking to yourself is futile!

If you become a ham, with the extra study and electronics content - programming and experimenting with digital is everyday stuff now. The grief is programming radios to operate where it's simply illegal. Most people have an ethical or morals issue here, some don't. Expecting people to help do what they consider wrong just doesn't work. I used to get asked to programme radios to channels I knew people were not allowed to use, and I always refused. I find my ham background still comes in handy, despite being inactive for 20 years. Commercial radio engineers simply hate infiltrators. asking them for information on programming is not going happen - they don't want to give the info out, even if they have it.
 

mmckenna

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I used to get asked to programme radios to channels I knew people were not allowed to use, and I always refused.
Me too. I've programmed a lot of Motorola and Kenwood gear for hams. I require a look at their license, and I will not program anything they are not licensed for or the radio is not type accepted for. I have standards and I have a commercial license I need to protect.

Commercial radio engineers simply hate infiltrators. asking them for information on programming is not going happen - they don't want to give the info out, even if they have it.
I've shared info on my systems here on this database, but I don't share CTCSS/DCS codes, no need for people to have the repeater input tones. I've had hams at work ask me for info to program our PD and Fire systems. I'll provide the repeater output frequency, but that's it. When they push it, I send them to the chief and tell them to bring me written authorization. 20 years and never had anyone get it. And I absolutely don't share anything about the trunked systems, even though it's pretty secure. Hobbyists/hams don't belong on those systems.
 

JimD56

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I'm quite confused reading this thread? Why does an individual not employed by Motorola or a Motorola authorized reseller/install repair shop need to program commercial professional radios??
 

chrismol1

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Ham trunked systems, instead of 1 dead repeater we'll have 1 dead repeater using 3 or more frequencies, sounds good!
Then theres the commercial gear thing. Ive found some hams have quite the hostility towards commercial gear, especially online groups you can get ostracized except for the moto groups
TDMA DMR is great for ham right now imo, you get 2 timeslots, internet linked you can have roaming setup really nice in some areas like a multisite system, brandmeister is nice and even thats undertilized in my area except for a bunch of kerchunking all throughout the day and mostly baofeng or anytones. hotspots makeup a lot of it everyones doing their own thing
 
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kayn1n32008

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I'm quite confused reading this thread? Why does an individual not employed by Motorola or a Motorola authorized reseller/install repair shop need to program commercial professional radios??
I own an XPR6550, XPR7550, and XPR5550. All used for ham radio. I am NOT going to pay a radio shop to program my gear.
 

mmckenna

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I'm quite confused reading this thread? Why does an individual not employed by Motorola or a Motorola authorized reseller/install repair shop need to program commercial professional radios??
Many of us that run systems do all our own radio programming. I'm not going to farm that out to a local shop to push a file into a radio, taking a few minutes at most, and then get charged at the going bench rate. That's a huge waste of taxpayer money.
And for my own personal stuff, I'm still not going to pay someone else to do it.
 

SteveC0625

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I'm quite confused reading this thread? Why does an individual not employed by Motorola or a Motorola authorized reseller/install repair shop need to program commercial professional radios??
I have a significant quantity of Professional and Commercial Series radios in my agency’s inventory and in my personal stock Some are ham or GMRS. Others are properly licensed public safety or local government frequency units. I’m not paying a radio shop for occasional reprogramming to add or change a frequency.

I had some hands-on guidance from a Motorola tech early on plus a whole bunch of tips and tricks shared by some of most competent radio folks online, including several in this conversation. (A huge thanks to you! You know who you are.)
 

K4EET

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I used to program all of the portable radios in our department before retiring and have been following this thread with interest. However, I would like to inject two thoughts at this point...
  1. I would like to welcome cnyncrvr to Radio Reference even though they are a long time lurker but because this is their first thread.
  2. I would like to ask cnyncrvr if their overall inquiry has been addressed sufficiently?
The title of the thread is "Recomendations for legally learning and training on motorola RSS/CPS" to which has been answered. You either attend Motorola training or you learn from your peers if you work for an agency/company/organization that uses Motorola radios and has personnel already trained on RSS/CPS applications. I was an ex-Motorola employee before joining the police department and had the best of both worlds.

That being said, I think we have determined that perhaps the question does not deal with Motorola RSS/CPS for trunking as was originally envisioned by the OP (cnyncrvr). So has this thread been answered or does the OP still have a question and/or need assistance with programming some other piece of Amateur Radio equipment? Perhaps a DMR Tier II radio for example. If that is the case, maybe the OP should start a new thread with a refocused title to avoid confusion.
 
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