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Thread: Astro Plus questions

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    Default Astro Plus questions

    Okay,didn't follow the "if its to good to be true rule" and bought a vhf "k" split narrowband astro plus.Been trying to get a vhf astro for monitoring some p.d. and playing around with it on ham.I do realize the k split only goes down to 146 but figured that left me enough frequencies in the ham band to play around.

    Anyway once again jumped and bought without all the info.I see I now need a cable that programs through the mic port.I saw another post on this issue and a user on here said that these cables are available cheaply from Motorola.Well so far the cheapest one I've found is $150 and that's not cheap in my world ,plus I'm finding out I need a different cps.Does anybody have any ideas on where I can get a cable cheaper? And I don't see the software on this site.Is this still supported by Moto and is that why software is not available or did I miss it?Anyway if I have to spend $375 for software and $150 for a cable I may have a Astro Plus for sale very soon to cut my losses and try and find a non-plus model.

    Think I'll go for a walk with my tail between my legs now as this is the 2nd purchase this week that I screwed myself on lol


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    The cables used to be cheaper, they were about $70.00 a while ago, they must have raised the prices on them. The problem is they use a special 10-wire Mic connector instead of the usual 6 pin ones. That connector is ONLY available on that cable or a flash cable for regular Astro Spectras, hence the rarity and expense (apparently!). The only other way to possibly get the connector is with a Hirose-to-Spectra Keyload adapter which are also fairly rare but probably cheaper if you can find one. Then you might be able to make a cable from one of the existing RIB-less cables out there.

    Yes, you are also correct it takes the same software as the XTL series (ASTRO25 mobile) so that's why it's not here. Unfortunately, the AS+ is obsolete but since the XTL's are not, we have to respect Motorola's copyright on currently supported products.

    The lack of cables and the expense of the software is the reason these are showing up cheap. That, and the fact that there is a ****load of them out there, now obsolete. Although they get twice as many channels as the Astro Spectra, and MPL and QuickCall II, they don't display the incoming ASTRO Soft ID's! NONE of the new mobiles, XTL, APX, etc. do this. This is a deal-breaker for me, too. I upgraded my base station to a plus a while back, and I wound up switching back to a non-plus AS!

    P.S. if you're going to find another Astro Spectra, look for a "J" range - 136-162 MHz - a more Ham-friendly split on VHF.

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    Does anyone have the pinout for the cable? I've got the parts to make one but have seen squat on how to do it. Thanks!
    Keith Dobbins N8KLD
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    It doesn't appear to be a straight cable, there is a level converter IC in the middle. So it won't be that easy.

    Cheers,
    SD.

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    Making your own cable is not recommended. you can mess up the A+ easilly with bad data levels or throughput. I have a A+ vhf same split as yours. If you can locate the CPS I recommend you do the freq range mods from this site. This will give you full spectrum operation 138-174. The vco may dropout in the mid to low 140s but thats usually not an issue.

    you will need the astro25 CPS. If you decide not to persue the A+ you do have the option of just installing a regular Astro vocon and making the radio a ASTRO spectra. I have done several conversions and can help you if you decide to go that route.

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    I gave a 1 meg astro spectra vocon I would be willing to do an even trade for.

    Jason

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    Also my apx7000 does show soft ids from astro spectras.

    Jason

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    If you do get a cable and the CPS, and if it's a remote mount, you can't program through the head, only on the KVL port on the drawer. Also, the display goes blank whenever the programming cable's plugged in. It can look like something's wrong (but isn't)!

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    Quote Originally Posted by Notarola View Post
    Making

    you will need the astro25 CPS. If you decide not to persue the A+ you do have the option of just installing a regular Astro vocon and making the radio a ASTRO spectra. I have done several conversions and can help you if you decide to go that route.

    Yes that sounds like an option I may pursue at this point.I paid a lot for the radio and the sad thing is I was bidding on a plain vhf astro and stopped bidding when I saw the +'s put up for a buy it now that was close to the price that the standard astro was closing at,not realizing everything I was going to need.I am going to do a little more digging but converting it sounds the most attractive at this point,especially with JMR061's offer of trading me vocons outright.Question,are the vocons band specific? Because if not and I can sacrifice one of my 800 meggers (I have plenty) and go that route.Sorry if thats a stupid question but once again a newbie here lol.This can be so much fun when things work but a kick in the pants when you screw up.I thought for sure it would be worth eating ramen noodles for a week in return for jumping on this radio.

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    Quote Originally Posted by JMR061 View Post
    Also my apx7000 does show soft ids from astro spectras.

    Jason
    The mobiles will not display soft ID's but they will send them. A portable would display the ID sent by a mobile, but not vice-versa.

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    Quote Originally Posted by fullpwr5675 View Post
    Yes that sounds like an option I may pursue at this point.I paid a lot for the radio and the sad thing is I was bidding on a plain vhf astro and stopped bidding when I saw the +'s put up for a buy it now that was close to the price that the standard astro was closing at,not realizing everything I was going to need.I am going to do a little more digging but converting it sounds the most attractive at this point,especially with JMR061's offer of trading me vocons outright.Question,are the vocons band specific? Because if not and I can sacrifice one of my 800 meggers (I have plenty) and go that route.Sorry if thats a stupid question but once again a newbie here lol.This can be so much fun when things work but a kick in the pants when you screw up.I thought for sure it would be worth eating ramen noodles for a week in return for jumping on this radio.
    The VOCONS are not band-specific, but you'll need to overwrite the 800 Mhz codeplug with one for the proper VHF bandsplit for your radio. You may need to use one of the nameless tools out there to do that... Or if you trade/buy from someone else make sure it's has the right bandsplit in it already and save headaches.

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    A friendly FYI: The tuning partition must also be upgraded in the AS+, if changing bandsplits. Not as simple/easy as jamming in a new codeplug with Depot (which we do not support here).

    The AS+ is a nice vocon enhancement. Audio is better, firmware offers more features, and 9600 can be done on any band. Personally I love the AS+, but it definitely has its faults/limitations.

    - No Soft ID encode/decode (encode can be enabled with a tweak, but it's not something done with Depot)
    - Inability to passively monitor a TRS by setting coverage type to disabled and affiliation "On PTT". You have to do it the XTS5000 way of using conventional scan trick -- which of course restricts your ability to use priority talkgroup scanning! DOH
    - UCMs are NOT commonly available on eBay, but they are available from me as custom builds. (5-algo)

    In another 2 years or so, I predict XTLs will reach the same price-point as the AS+. Those needing VHF/UHF 9600 mobile operation will have better choices.

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    Good info, Mars. I was referring to the Astro Spectra VOCONS, which he said he had some of in 800 MHz, at least that was what I had gathered from what he said.

    However, what you said is all true and good info about the AS+ nonetheless. Although I don't like 'em there are those that do!

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    The last AS+ programming I purchased was $50 from MOL. Have not looked to see what the current price is.

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    a lot more than $50 its about $300 now more if you want both mobile and portable versions.

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    I think he meant a cable Last I checked they were around $70 as I said but apparently they want $150 now. They might be running out, they usually jack the prices as stock gets lower and lower. I remember Astro Saber cases were about $75, then $100, now $130 last time I bought one, IDK if they are still available anymore or not.

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    The current production programming cable for the AS+ is currently listed at $105 (US). HKN6155B.

    Jason

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    Yeah I was taking about the cable. Can't believe they went up so much, but it's Moto so no surprise there.

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    Actually, $105 is not that bad. They charge $250 or $350 for some USB cables, I've heard.

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    Had some time to tinker with the radio a bit,swapped in one of my non-plus (800 mhz programmed) vocons,I can get the cps to read but I guess I need a good vhf astro codeplug to load now?I'm not worried about changing the split,the "k" or 146 to 174 wil be fine at this point for my needs.But do need help with the next step.And I haven't forgot about the people asking for my + vocon.I just want to get everything working before I part with it

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    You MUST keep the same split. Unless you swap the VCO with a "J" range 1 VCO, you absolutely need to stick with a "K" range. You need a good "K" range S-record to stick in the Vocon and do remember the radio MUST be retuned, as the S-record tuning values will be all wrong for your VCO but should at least work.

    Hopefully someone can send you a good VHF "K" SREC.
    Last edited by Magnus; Nov 15, 2012 at 10:13 AM. Reason: corrected VCO to vocon

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    If I acquire the correct "s-record" is this something I can load through cps? or whats the procedure

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    If you get the correct srecord it will have the correct tuning range values in it. You will still need to tweak the levels for your particular radio.