• To anyone looking to acquire commercial radio programming software:

    Please do not make requests for copies of radio programming software which is sold (or was sold) by the manufacturer for any monetary value. All requests will be deleted and a forum infraction issued. Making a request such as this is attempting to engage in software piracy and this forum cannot be involved or associated with this activity. The same goes for any private transaction via Private Message. Even if you attempt to engage in this activity in PM's we will still enforce the forum rules. Your PM's are not private and the administration has the right to read them if there's a hint to criminal activity.

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    To obtain Motorola software see the Sticky in the Motorola forum.

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    For M/A Com/Harris/GE, etc: there are two software packages that program all current and past radios. One package is for conventional programming and the other for trunked programming. The trunked package is in upwards of $2,500. The conventional package is more reasonable though is still several hundred dollars. The benefit is you do not need multiple versions for each radio (unlike Motorola).

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Using a Motorola 800 Radio as a Scanner

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Fyrfgtr

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Ok. I know someone has asked this question before but I have looked everywhere and cannot find an answer to my question. I am wondering if I can use a Motorola 800 portable (ie MTS2000) or mobile (ie spectra, MCS2000) for just use as a scanner? I have heard both yes and no answers. Can someone please expain to me if this is possible.

The reason I am asking this is because I am tired of problems with commercial scanners and picking up trunking systems. Any help would be greatly appriciated. Thank you!
 

greenthumb

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In order to receive trunked systems on those radios, you will need to have an appropriate system key file for the system(s) you wish to monitor. Unless you obtain that key from the system manager of the system, you are entering some dicey waters on the legal end and potentially will be opening yourself up to civil suits from Motorola. It's not the best idea to do that even though the receivers on those radios are much better than those in scanners, but you'll keep yourself out of trouble if you stick with monitoring trunked systems on a scanner. You will want to purchase a legal copy of the programming software from Motorola for those radios, too. Motorola has hit people with civil suits for having illegal copies of their software, too.

If it's conventional, go for it, but find a good way to disable the PTT.
 

Fyrfgtr

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So its possible. I would of course disable to PTT since I have no interest in transmitting, just receiving. I guess as long as I can find a radio I want, and have someone program it and disable the PTT I should be ok, right?
 

TheZach

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In order to listen to something with a radio your radio needs to affiliate with a tower on that system.... and that would constitute unuauthorized use of the system as you are transmitting and using system resources. System Administrators tend to not like that sort of thing and it generally results in someone going to the barred hotel for a lengthy stay.

Buy a scanner. While it is possible - its also very illegal.
 

BigLebowski

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In order to listen to something with a radio your radio needs to affiliate with a tower on that system.... and that would constitute unuauthorized use of the system as you are transmitting and using system resources. System Administrators tend to not like that sort of thing and it generally results in someone going to the barred hotel for a lengthy stay.

Buy a scanner. While it is possible - its also very illegal.
Not entirely true....

Certain models of Motorola portables will let you receive talkgroups on an 800mhz system without affiliating. This works well with a smartnet system, but once you start getting into smartzone systems, it gets more difficult. In a Smartzone system, the subscriber unit (portable or mobile radio) has to affiliate with the nearest tower to bring the talkgroup activity to that tower so that you can hear it. In other words, if you don't affiliate, you won't hear anything unless a legit user is affiliated to the tower on the talkgroup you want to hear.

You can monitor without affiliating with the following radios: MTX8000, MTS2000, XTS3000, Astro Saber, STX. It can also be done with the XTS5000 and XTS2500, but it's quite a bit trickier. You would need a system key to do any monitoring of any type with an 800mhz radio. You would also be limited to 10 talkgroups to scan. There is an RSS hack that allows you to scan 15, but it's for older software.

The new scanners have audio that is almost as good and you can scan as many talkgroups as you want. I personally would go with a scanner. I'm not trying to sway you either way, just pointing some things out. Scanners can't affiliate, can't be inhibited, and are 100% legal. I would stick with a nice scanner. You'll spend as much money on an 800mhz commercial digital radio as you will on a shiny new BCD996T.
 

RKG

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In addition to all other issues, be aware that most MTS and MCS trunked radios limit the scan list to ten members plus the selected channel.
 

af5rn

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In addition to all other issues, be aware that most MTS and MCS trunked radios limit the scan list to ten members plus the selected channel.
And really, that's the only downside of using a Moto radio as a trunk scanner. Other than that, the sensitivity, selectivity, rejection, scan speed and audio are all SIGNIFICANTLY better with the Moto. Those of you who think that using a scanner works just as well have never done any serious scanning in a heavy urban environment. The Moto advantage is worth paying for.
 

WayneH

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Don't buy a commercial radio to listen to a trunked system when you don't know what's involved with getting it programmed. It's really that simple. Don't let your ignorance possibly screw it up for people who know what the heck they're doing.

If someone wants to get started, stick to conventional. Figure out which radio you can afford and then what the costs will be to acquire the programming software and hardware (not cheap). Get good at that, mingle in the Motorola (or whatever) scene and move on to trunking.
 

Fyrfgtr

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So to sum up all of this, I can purchase a MTS2000 and have it programmed (to receive only) to a trunk system and I will be ok as long as it is a smartnet system, which the ones I am wanting are. However, I can only scan up to 10 talkgroups, per system, at a time. Correct?
 

RKG

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So to sum up all of this, I can purchase a MTS2000 and have it programmed (to receive only) to a trunk system and I will be ok as long as it is a smartnet system, which the ones I am wanting are. However, I can only scan up to 10 talkgroups, per system, at a time. Correct?
In theory: correct. In practice: you won't be able to find anyone both able and willing to program it for you.

The programming software for trunked radios that is available to radio shops and self-maintaining end users requires the installed presence on the programming computer of a "system key file." This file is unique to the SysID of the trunked system in question. Motorola provides a "system key file" to the system owner, who generally does not make it available to anyone else.

If the person you ask to program your radio doesn't have a "system key file" for the particular system you are interested in, he will be unable to program any system parameters for that system in your radio.

If the person you ask to program your radio does have a "system key file," he most likely will decline to program your radio, as he has signed a contract not to do so and the consequences of violating his contractual obligation can be severe.

Over the years, there have be attempts to reverse engineer "system key files." In some early radios, these appeared to work, primarily because the RSS SysKey masking protocol was weak. So far as I am aware, no one has ever successfully reverse engineered system key files for radios as late as CPS-managed MTS and MCS radios.
 

n5ims

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So to sum up all of this, I can purchase a MTS2000 and have it programmed (to receive only) to a trunk system and I will be ok as long as it is a smartnet system, which the ones I am wanting are. However, I can only scan up to 10 talkgroups, per system, at a time. Correct?
Ignoring the legalities (of which there are few), programming an unauthroized radio for a SmartNet system is one of the quickest ways to have it disabled by the system since it must transmit to notify the networked system it is there to allow the system to send the desired talkgroup(s) to that portion of the network.

Save your money and grief and just buy a scanner.
 

Fyrfgtr

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Thanks for everyones help. Looks like I'll be sticking to using a commerical scanner from now on!!!
 

TheZach

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Ignoring the legalities (of which there are few), programming an unauthroized radio for a SmartNet system is one of the quickest ways to have it disabled by the system since it must transmit to notify the networked system it is there to allow the system to send the desired talkgroup(s) to that portion of the network.

Save your money and grief and just buy a scanner.
In Michigan there was a firechief who decided to hack the system key.... he now has his bed and meals paid for by the state.
 

CDS-INC

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LTR I would like to know about.... is there any way to monitor that safely with an HT1250LS or something similar?
I've heard that the LTR Passport systems need to have the radios serial number registered inorder to affiliate with the system, but LTR Standard i am unsure about?

this is what i found is the wiki

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/LTR_Standard
 
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ElroyJetson

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let me ask since its out their,
edacs system yes or no,

There is no straight yes or no.


My shop bought the EDACS programming software. Almost 2500 bucks! We support some EDACS
customers as a second line supplier.


Under certain conditions, we MIGHT program a radio for RX only operation. It's strictly on a case by case
basis, but we are not unfriendly to good people who just want to listen. However, there's no chance
that we'll be able to help listen to an encrypted, ESK, or ProVoice system. Just straight EDACS.


The info on programming Moto radios for scanner use is a little bit conflicted. Let's just say that it's not
easy to do it "safely", that is, in such a way that the radio never reveals its existence to the system.

System keys are a prime problem. Sure, you CAN get them, if you go "underground" to get them, but
very few people will admit to having them or will stick their necks out to use one to program somebody
else's radio.

Prior to 2001 and the post-9/11 paranoia and the Patriot Act, it wasn't such a big deal as it is now, but
these days, who knows what might happen? Do you want to be charged with "domestic terrorism",
an extremely nebulous "catch-all" charge for anything you might do that a paranoid LEO or Homeland
Security officer doesn't think much of, just because you can monitor a radio system by using a non-
copyrighted codeplug fragment that allows you to access the system?

Probably not. not these days, anyway. Really it's better to get a scanner. You might get funny looks
but there's nothing nebulous about laws concerning the use of a scanner. Meanwhile, using an XTS5000
to accomplish exactly the same functionality as a scanner COULD land you in some trouble. And then
you'd eventually end up having to plead your case before a jury of people who likely have no technical
or useful radio-related knowledge, no interest in scanning, are at least a little paranoid in the post-9/11
days, and just want to make a decision and go home.

It's a frightening prospect.

Scanners are safer but not necessarily easier.


Elroy
 
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