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Thread: Motorola radios on Harris systems

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    bang P25 Programming Woes...

    I'm going to relegate myself to the n00b area... because I feel like a dumbass.

    My questions is - can anyone think of any obvious pitfalls/screw-ups I may have missed when programming a P25 trunking system? I have been successful with multiple P25 systems (thanks to some help), but one in particular is really giving me the red ass. I've gone over this for weeks, tried multiple configurations with no success.

    The system in questions is Oakland's P25 - ( http://www.radioreference.com/apps/db/?sid=6077 )

    What am I missing?

    Things I've checked


    Took a scanner to the system, verified control channels, WACN, Sys ID, Site ID (002), RFSS - system receives with the CC info I have

    in CPS

    Trunking System:
    System ID, System Type, WACN ID, Coverage Type (SmartZone)
    Digital Modulation (CQPSK) (preamble, thresholds all left at default) - also tried C4FM - didn't work.
    RFSS ID (2)
    ASTRO 25 Channel ID (-45 MHz Tx Offset, 6.25 spacing, base 851.00625)
    Control Channels

    Trunking Personality:
    System ID
    Coverage Type (PTT ID)
    Talkgroups (ASTRO 25, Hex, all good)
    Preferred SItes (Site ID = 2, Preferred, 3 & 1 Least)

    Zone/Channel Assignment
    Seems all good, trunked modes inaccessible, conventional pointed at scan list, yadda yadda all good.
    Scan List Selection okay, Automatic Scan selected



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    Have you tried different radios?

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    No. No point. The radio functions perfectly. I don't have another one to try this with at this time anyway.

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    Is your id valid in the NM client? What does the system manager think it could be?

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    I guess I should have mentioned that I'm talking no-affiliate scanning here...

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    Have to ask, is the system narrowband, and have you successfully used the radio to listen to other narrowband systems?

    Lots of times when everything seems right but it doesn't work, it turns out to be tuning related. Some radios/systems are incredibly sensitive to proper tuning when dealing with narrowband, a radio which works fine on wideband systems will suddenly throw fits when trying to get it on narrowband system.

    Long story short, have you tuned the radio/checked to see if it's on frequency recently or ever?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Alpha View Post
    Have to ask, is the system narrowband, and have you successfully used the radio to listen to other narrowband systems?
    The radio is successfully working fine on a couple of P25 systems - all of which, I assume, are NB'd - judging by their FCC emission designators. I also use it on a wideband 3600 TRS system.

    I'm still trying to wrap my brain around emission designators to be certain I know what I'm talking about. The NB system that works carries a designation of 8K70D1E. The system I'm having trouble with has carries 8K40F1E (among others such as 8K40F1D, and 14KOF1D (MOT 3600 control channel? - which isn't used)

    I think I'm in the ballpark here, but I really need to better understand emission designators. Guinness isn't helping...

    Long story short, have you tuned the radio/checked to see if it's on frequency recently or ever?
    I haven't - but the radio has been back at the bench a little less than 2 years ago - not by me, though.

    ETA: now I'm not so sure if this system is using CQPSK. Looking at some emission designator info... it could be C4FM?!?!
    Last edited by triptolemus; Mar 09, 2013 at 11:52 PM. Reason: Guinness is amplifying my dumbassness...

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    The problem is that it's a Harris system. You won't get it to work unless you scan the voice channels and use the selective squelch approach. Not worth the trouble. Wait until they give up and join EBRCS.

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    APX or XTS/XTL?

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    Quote Originally Posted by tvsjr View Post
    APX or XTS/XTL?
    XTS

    Quote Originally Posted by Number 6 View Post
    The problem is that it's a Harris system. You won't get it to work unless you scan the voice channels and use the selective squelch approach. Not worth the trouble. Wait until they give up and join EBRCS.
    6 - You've been a great help to me here. I really appreciate your time. Could you elaborate a bit? I really want Oakland to eat some crow and join EBRCS like they should have done in the first place. I mean, seriously... what a f'd up decision - purely motivated by politics and little else.... But if it's Harris P25 or Anyone P25... how could that matter here? Maybe I just don't get it... after all, I've put myself in the n00b forum...

    What gives?

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    The system is a 9600 baud P25 trunking system, but not a Motorola Astro25 Smartzone or Smartnet system. Your radio is compatible as far as P25 goes, but the issue is with the radio not understanding the Harris trunking controller.

    Try this first. Program the voice channels using an F7E NAC and scan them. If you can hear anything from your location that way, then you know that you are within the coverage area. The coverage area is pretty bad, however, since the antennas point downward and even the local users complain.

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    Motorola is guilty of that crap, too - there is a check-box for "Use Proprietary Features" in the CPS, and other stuff like shuffle on the legacy 3600 systems.

    Forced vendor lock-in, despite the "open" standards. Feh.

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    ADP!! Motherola's free way of locking customers in, and locking radio reference out!

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    I'm confused - is this a matter of Trip's radio not having the 9600 trunking option?

    I know of Harris P25 systems out there that have Motorola radios on them - unless Oakland has set something in their system to only work with Harris radios?

    But if that was the case, then how would a scanner work on that system?

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    I'm confused, too. The radio definitely has 9600 trunking in it.

    I suppose I could try scanning the channels conventionally and use D-CSQ... but that still leaves a significant unanswered question...

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    As it was explained to me, some of the off-brand systems don't follow the standard for the NAC on the voice channels. In APX world, under Systems/Features, you can uncheck validate NAC against system ID... unfortunately, in XTS world, you're screwed.

    Scanners are crap and only look at the minimal data necessary to kinda work. Thus, no problem.

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    Well, this could explain a problem with a OBT (VHF) P25 system I've been having, just looked and it's Harris.

    Also, let me correct my other post, the other system with Motorola radios is actually EF Johnson.

    Edit: Well, (*#&*#&_+! it, just noticed another P25 system that's coming on-line will be Harris. Dammit. More fuel for the APX fire, I guess...
    Last edited by noaffiliatefan; Mar 10, 2013 at 05:41 PM.

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    This really isn't all that surprising since Motorola didn't design their Astro25 Smartzone radios to operate on a Harris system. In some Harris systems, Motorola radios will work if you allow them to affiliate, but we can't go down that path.

    I don't know if an APX will allow for no-affiliate scanning of this particular system, but neither an XTS2500 nor an XTS5000 will - unless you either scan the voice channels and listen to everything without following a talkgroup, or use selective squelch to monitor a specific talkgroup. To point you in the right direction for selective squelch monitoring, you would create an Astro conventional talkgroup, set your personality for Astro and selective squelch, strap the selective squelch to the talkgroup, program a zone with all of the voice channels using an F7E NAC, and then use that personality for scanning all of the voice channels in the zone. It's not a very elegant way of scanning, and limits you to a specific talkgroup. Using this template, you should be able to figure out more robust ways to scan.

    With enough experimentation you might stumble across a combination of trunking settings that works for this particular Harris system - maybe not - but using the standard no-affiliate scan approach that works for Motorola 3600 baud and 9600 baud systems will not work for this non-Motorola system.
    Last edited by Number 6; Mar 10, 2013 at 06:05 PM.

  19. #19
    moto462575 No Longer Registered

    Default Motorola radios on Harris systems

    Does this method (no affililate scanning) work with Harris P25 systems using a Moto radio? I would think it would.
    Last edited by Number 6; Apr 18, 2013 at 10:02 PM. Reason: Moderator edited to reference no affiliate scanning in parenthetical

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    I don't think so. Triptolemus I think was trying and couldn't get it to work.

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    Quote Originally Posted by moto462575 View Post
    Does this method work with Harris P25 systems using a Moto radio? I would think it would.
    That's an entirely different issue. We are still trying to figure out how to get a Motorola radio to understand a Harris trunking controller, if it is even possible on a reliable basis. The issue is with controller protocols since a Harris system is not a Motorola Astro25 system. Scanners work because they are dumber than Motorola radios (or smarter depending on your point of view).

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    The Harris systems dont use a basic CAI. Like Moto they have added in control words for thier radios. Unless the firmware is rewritten to recognise the words a moto will not work.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Notarola View Post
    The Harris systems dont use a basic CAI. Like Moto they have added in control words for thier radios. Unless the firmware is rewritten to recognise the words a moto will not work.
    So, one option would be to program all of the voice channels into a zone, using the correct NAC if known or an F7E NAC if unknown. You can then scan those voice channels and listen to everything. If you want to get TG specific, you would program a TG into a conventional Astro TG list and create a conventional personality with selective squelch strapped to that specific TG. The zone still has to contain all of the voice channels, which you will scan, but your radio will unmute only on the strapped TG.

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    I wonder if this explains some of the issues I'm having too. I'm attempting to scan a somewhat local Harris P25 system with an XTS2500 and I'm not receiving a thing... Yet if I program in the channels conventionally and monitor them that way I receive traffic just fine. The oddity is this.. I borrowed an XTL from a friend last weekend and I was able to do the no affiliate scan with it just fine. Worked just wonderful. Now I realize the XTS and XTL are different animals, but since both are Astro25 you would think that if one would work so would the other. Here's the other oddity: This is the second XTS2500 I used to monitor this system. At my home base I'm using an 800mhz yagi to pull in this system. Worked just great with a previous EFJohnson radio, and works great with all of my digital scanners on this system. But... hook up the XTS and nuthin. Not a peep. But! Throw the rubber ducky on and get closer to the system and the radio works fine (at least XTS #1 did, haven't tried #2 yet). I can't for the life of me understand why this is.

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    I just gave up and bought a Harris radio. I needed Openspray anyway.