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Thread: Mid Band Motorola MX360 Radios - Information Required

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    Default Mid Band Motorola MX360 Radios - Information Required

    Hi everyone, this is my first post on this forum.

    I was looking for any information for the midband (66-88 MHz) MX series of portables. I was able to get a couple of these recently, shipped from Italy, and believe they were made in the 80s sometime. They use crystals, not eproms.

    As we know, ITU Region 2 does not have any amateur allocations for the 4 meter band, as they do in Europe (maybe one day, who knows, as the TV broadcasting industry has largely vacated the 66-88 MHz band when they went digital, at least here in Canada).

    Anyways, I do enjoy tinkering on the bench with odd things like this, and I was wondering if anyone has any info for these unusual radios. For example, is the entire 66-88 MHz range broken into sub bands for the MX? Is there a service manual available?

    Any help would be appreciated, thanks.


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    Good luck with your quest. While I can't offer practical help, I have a few MX series radios in my collection. I'll be watching your thread with interest.

    Can you share some details of your purchase, eBay perhaps? Some pictures of the internal modules or at least a list of the module numbers would be interesting too.

    Lastly, please take a moment to tell everyone about yourself in the Introduction Area.
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    Interesting find. expect the radios to be in a couple of splits. The 30-50 radios were in 3 so i would expect the same idea for the 66MHz. Knowing Moto as I do back then their documentation was great. look for low split 360s I would be surprised to find the SM has both the 30 and the 66 mhz stuff in it.

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    30-50 MHz, you have a reference for that? AFAIK the MX300 was not available in low band.
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    Default Mid Band Motorola MX360 radios - Information required

    Quote Originally Posted by Astro Spectra View Post
    Good luck with your quest. While I can't offer practical help, I have a few MX series radios in my collection. I'll be watching your thread with interest.

    Can you share some details of your purchase, eBay perhaps? Some pictures of the internal modules or at least a list of the module numbers would be interesting too.

    Lastly, please take a moment to tell everyone about yourself in the Introduction Area.

    Yes, it was on eBay. I think I'm too new here to be able to post any photos yet, but the model umber is H42AAU3160AN. Just clarify, I have not actually got them yet, but they have been shipped. Yes, I did do a short intro in the introduction area recently. I will update after I receive these, maybe in about two weeks or so.

    Great site, thanks!

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    I too have never heard of low band (30-50) MX's. Would love to find one but I don't think they ever made them in that band. The only other "Weird" mid-band radios were the original Saber (and possibly the Systems Saber) which also came in mid-band. IIRC they were something like 72-88 MHz or something close to that.

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    I sit corrected. I was thinking of the MT series. I used to have a Mt1000. I guess thats what happens when you get senile . What was I talking about ??? Oh yes now I remember LOL

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    Over the years there was usually a mid-band radio available but it never appeared in the mainstream advertising, as the market was limited to some special industrial customers with licenses in the 70 MHz range. Most of the mid band equipment was for foreign markets where it was used by police and fire services. Getting the documentation for this equipment is a real pain because of the scarcity. Same with new antennas. I have a 70 Mhz Motrac mobile around here somewhere and several 70 MHz HT-220's. The HT-220's are engraved with the name of one of the major steel companies in the east and they seem to have been associated with railroading. A 70 MHz HT-200 was made for the British police forces but didn't catch on in large numbers.

    I don't think there were any synthesized 70 MHz MX's manufactured, at least my suitcase programmers believe there were not.

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    Default Mid Band Motorola MX360 Radios - Information Required

    Quote Originally Posted by WB6NVH View Post
    ...the market was limited to some special industrial customers with licenses in the 70 MHz range...
    Most of what I ran across years ago in the 72-76 MHz band was links, etc. But I had heard that there were some factories that were licensed in the United States on some of those frequencies. Was most of it simplex or were repeaters allowed? Also, was it capped at a modest power level?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Alpha View Post
    I too have never heard of low band (30-50) MX's. Would love to find one but I don't think they ever made them in that band. The only other "Weird" mid-band radios were the original Saber (and possibly the Systems Saber) which also came in mid-band. IIRC they were something like 72-88 MHz or something close to that.
    VHF midband in Australia is roughly 70MHz-87MHz, I assume most of Europe is similar so that split would make sense.

    50W repeaters (with a 2.5MHz split), 25W mobiles, 12.5KHz channels (mandatory since 1991, 25KHz before that.)

    Portables were never especially popular on that band. Antenna efficiency is a bit of a joke at those frequencies.

    Midband has mostly been abandoned in favour of UHF (and to a lesser extent, VHF high band). An agency I'm involved with uses VHF midband as a backup in mountainous areas where the UHF P25 trunking network doesn't reach.

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    I've got a midband MX-300R but I'm terrified of opening it up. The rubber outer housing is super fragile at this point, so it just sits in a display case in my office.


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    Even with the standard MX300 the internal foam plastic usually has often decayed by now so while still operable they are becoming increasingly fragile and in the category of working museum exhibits (like my HT220 slimline) rather than daily drives.
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    It's been a very long time since I last logged in into this forum (deployment sucks), but as I have a little bit of spare time and (as other said, quite scarce) infos about these, I hope to shed some light.
    I saw these too on eBay seller sim0571 store, but decided against bidding since I'm more into Racal stuff nowadays. Glad it is a CS member who got them. and me think approx 30 C$ was a good price, but I digress...

    According to the old sale brochure I found (fairly sure I still can't post pictures with my posts count, sorry !), it's written 68-88 MHz for the H22AAU & H32AAU. I'm 99% sure these radios will not cover the whole split without mod and/or realignment (the MX serie where about 6 MHz "bandwidth" IIRC) : to be more accurate, the brochure said "Frequency separation (no degradation) 11 MHz for the Transmitter and 2 MHz for the Receiver (single-conversion Sensitron ?), if that help... This brochure is for channel element MX and I wonder too if they ever were made in Synthesized version (Nope if I believe WB6NVH's R-1801).

    For the record, these radios were used in a 80s' James Bond (OctoP**sy) by the USAF guards of the fictional Feldstadt AFB in West Germany (moment before 007 defuses the nuclear warhead, sorry for the spoiler guys ^^ ). This is not surprising as they were German made radios (as were the later Midband MX1000/Saber, Motorola Otaku has or had one IIRC) especially built for the Military/Police market (called BOS in Germany [As everyone knows, Midband was popular for that in Europe in the 80s'])

    And btw Alpha, MidBand Saber were 66-84 and 74-88 MHz splits, (I have a picture with that beast of a Model III with an antenna as long as an arm before the switch to ECCM-FH capable radios; in the 90s' those Sabers were everywhere, from the Army to the Firefighters [which are now on a digital trunked system, much to their dismay ^^...])

    BTW klondikeJeff, are you the same person as seller KlondikeJoe ? If yes, I just saw your beautiful MX330 and MX360SP90 from the Mass A.G.O and wow, such beauties ! Me think I'll have to complete my collection one of these days ;-)

    As always, a pleasure to discuss with people who really know what they are talking about ^^ !

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    Default some clarifications about Secure MidBand MX300

    If I may add to the topic, according to the documentation I have...

    The standard V/UHF, channel-element, DES-Securenet capable MX radios were marked USGEID 00000002 (H388 option to replace the DVP module), DES-XL not supported, product discontinued in January 1984.

    The standard V/UHF, Synthesized, DES-Securenet capable MX-S radios were marked USGEID 00000005. H388 option for the "old" DES module or H795 option for the "new" DES-XL one, must be ordered to replace the DVP module. My doc is from 1992, price was 425$ for H388 and "contact Moto" for the H795.

    Same attributes (same USGEID...) as the MX-S for the MX-R, except the H499 option for the ruggedized housing (206$).



    Quite surprisingly, the MidBand model of the MX series has its own USGEID, Number 00000007.

    More surprisingly, and unlike the other models in the series, the documentation does not specify whether it is a channel element or synthesized version, although the model numbers later listed remove all ambiguity, listing only "2A" existing so obviously Cristal-bound models !

    As this doc also lists Saber models, I am fairly confident in affirming that MidBand (at least Secure ones) MX were never made in Synthesized version (thus confirming WB6NVH feeling with his suitcase programmers); But remember, we are talking about good ol'school Motorola here, we'll never know for sure what weird SP model for a mysterious customer they were capable to build !

    I will add that the channel-element MidBand version was still available at least 8 years after the discontinuation of the crystal V/UHF version and its replacement by the PROM version, further hinting that they were never made in "S" version. (If I believe the "1992" indicated on the documentation)

    Even more surprisingly this time, this version is available with H388 DES(for 500$ this time) AND H795 DES-XL option, whereas this same option is not available for the V/UHF range of the channel-element version ! (still no indicated pricing for the DES-XL here though).


    For MidBand, these options were apparently not available for the very low-power H22 (1 Watt) model as the doc only lists the following model numbers :

    [H32AXU1120_NSP
    H32AXU1140_NSP
    H32AXU3120_NSP
    H32AXU3140_NSP
    H42AXU1120_NSP
    H42AXU3120_NSP]

    KlondikeJeff's radios are certainly NOT Securenet capable as he listed H42AAU3160AN as his model number, but who knows...

    [If my calculations are correct, with this one I will have my 5 posts, and so will now be able to support my comments with pictures, Marty !]

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    Here is a couple of pictures from the MX sale brochure, courtesy of G1JWG [Go to radiohistory.uk , ex-pmrconversion.info if you want to find a lot of useful infos about old UK PMR and CNR (Pye, Racal...)]
    Attached Images Attached Images

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    "The standard V/UHF, Synthesized, DES-Securenet capable MX-S radios were marked USGEID 00000005. H388 option for the "old" DES module or H795 option for the "new" DES-XL one, must be ordered to replace the DVP module. My doc is from 1992, price was 425$ for H388 and "contact Moto" for the H795.

    Same attributes (same USGEID...) as the MX-S for the MX-R, except the H499 option for the ruggedized housing (206$)."

    RadioSkaf. I have a couple UHF MX300S radios with DES modules, the first from Mecam Electronics which I transplanted into an PX300S chassis a year or so back, not sure of the radio origin, but suspect it was non federal UHFR2. the second is an ex USSS UHFR1 which seems to be the latest version as the rotary selector has 24 positions if I recall..

    I suspect but cannot confirm, that these modules may be DES-XL capable. The PX300S project seems to be working in DES mode with my Systems Sabers. How can I tell if these are XL capable? How was the XL turned on in an MX was it just another jumper? Is there nomenclature like an SP number on the module?

    I would like to get XL working. I raised this question a year back and No one had an answer.

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    A follow on. If I have an MX300S operating in DES-XL and a Saber with XL switched off, will they work together, albeit with some robbed bits in the mix?
    Last edited by RFI-EMI-GUY; 1 Day Ago at 05:49 PM.

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    AFAIK that only steers transmit. It auto senses XL on receive if its an XL capable module. If your Saber is XL capable, turn it on, and transmit XL and see if the MX can receive it or not. If nothing try turning off XL in the Saber and try again to confirm that it's working in DES-CFB (non -XL) mode. AFAIK all DES-XL modules are backward compatible and will receive regular DES-CFB on an XL module with no problems.

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    Thanks not wanting to hijack the thread but sensing a great deal of knowledge here.

    RadioSkaff, please see this old thread of mine about the NLE9010D and NLE9010DSP01 modules I have.

    Trying to figure if either or both D version modules have XL and how to enable it.

    https://communications.support/threa...hlight=px300-s

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    Just a quick follow-on, I don't want to hijack the thread either.
    Thanks for the link, very interesting !

    Reposting the meager infos I had discussed in PM for readers' sake :
    The doc I cited in my previous post is more of a commercial listing (similar to the NIJ Guide 104-00) so there's no real technical infos in here. IIRC I found it on DTIC [Public unclassified section of course !], as I'm an avid reader of their technical stuff.

    Regarding the MidBand Models, I checked the MX Series Theory and Maintenance manual, and also the NST servicing training course booklet, and AFAI can read there's not a word about Midband models in them. Plenty of V/UHF, even the 800 Crystal, but nothing about MidBand... (The first manual is dated 1977, the second is from the early 80s). Maybe I have overlooked/missed it though, corrections welcome !

    RFI-EMI-GUY, I will write the very scarce infos I have found in another post, as to facilitate the work of the moderators if they want to move the message to another section, or remove it

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    Default Securenet -XL

    @RFI-EMI-GUY

    Regarding your radios, It's very complicated, infos are reaallyy scarces !
    Take my post with a pinch of salt, nearly everything I'm gonna say here is educated guessing to the best of my knowledge and the few docs I have found.

    Although the feds were angry about the 30% reduction range and mostly retrofitted their equipments to -XL modules, nothing here can indeniably prove your ex-USSS is -XL capable.
    Not so long ago, I was persuaded they were no XL modules for the MX300 series, that is to say.

    Here the infos I have, again this is listing-type docs without technical details, sorry !

    -Motorola NLD 7890A DVP VHF
    -Motorola NLD 8570A DVP VHF, supersedes NLD 7890A

    -Motorola NLD 7900A DES VHF
    -Motorola NLD 8470A DES VHF, supersedes NLD 7900A

    -Motorola PLE 7110A DES UHF, precedes NLE 9010(A)
    -Motorola NLE 9010D DES UHF

    -Motorola NLE 9020D DVP UHF

    -Motorola PLN 6864A Bypass/Dummy module

    I found references on the Net (just reference, no infos either) about PLN 6022A DVP & PLN 6433A DES too ?? (maybe they are -XL)

    Regarding the fact that they specify VHF or UHF, IIRC that's because there's differents modulations considerations between the two (VCO stuff, can't remember)

    I have no indications regarding -XL modules, maybe the latest generation (9010 vs 7110) of the modules (aka Flex-O-Pack in /\/\ parlance) listed here is -XL capable, but I doubt it.


    Here's my theory
    IIRC, the early/first modules/hybrids were built with "discrete" (for lack of a better term) components (flip-flop and all) and the latter were based on the SOV (Son-Of-Vulcan) reprogrammable chip. As you already know, [just recalling it for the readers] SOV can be Vulcan/Linus/DES...

    So it's possible to have a MX300 DES module based on SOV, but plain DES not XL, maybe that's why; the 7900/7110 is discrete components, the 8470/9010 is SOV based, and all four are just plain DES... Just a wild guess ! (seen a plain DES MX module dated early 1990, one would have thought that they would have concentrated on impending Astro stuff)

    The real way to be 100% sure would be to open the module and see if there is the extra REX (Range Extender -XL) IC, although I cannot recommend doing that to a museum piece and I can fully understand your reluctance of doing so.


    Disclaimer : You guys have way more knowledge on the subject regarding Securenet than me ! Although I'm very interested by this type of legacy crypto (along with GE Voice Guard and Racal modules). I'm using my limited knowledge on prehistoric self-synchro (CTAK) 16 kbps stuff as an extrapolation for Securenet, so can't help much. Better ask MattSR on that.

    Regarding the effect of XL transmission on a non XL receiver, I wonder what will be the result ... The stream is no longer self-synchronising since this time it employ a 20something millisec timing tick and header scheme, right ? One can think the CTAK module will not be able to decipher the stream, or do big Moto carefully designed the header scheme to be at least partially compatible ?
    I'm so uneducated on this scheme, I only know the bit-robbing stuff, any infos about the in-depth "protocol" formatting would be most welcome [Yeah, I know there's some infos floatting around here, but I can't read them without my 25 posts count :'-(]

    Apart from opening it, can you look at the transmitted RF stream with an (maybe SDR) analyser, to see if there's the repetitive tick pattern of bits or not ?
    Better follow Apha idea for testing I believe...

    Can't help on SP stuff, way too disparate and complicated to find proper infos on that.


    That's all I've got, and it's only hypotheses ! (God, I hate not being able to have proper technical sources !)
    Sorry guys, can't help much more than that, but I'm very interested by what you will find if you decide to experiment ! (But it would probably be better to open a new thread in the crypto section ^^)

    As a side note, Does anyone have any infos about the level of compliance to FIPS 46 and FED-STD-1027 regarding DES/DES-XL Securenet implementation ? (As they have an USGEID number)...