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Thread: Kenwood System Keys

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    Default Kenwood System Keys

    Whats the story with Kenwood System Keys? Is it just a file or is it actually some sort of encrypted file?

    The reason I ask is that I see its not possible to edit conventional channels without the system key if the radio has a trunking system programmed in.

    I know I might be treading on some bad juju by asking that, but I have such a radio I just need to edit the conventional frequencies and AGC, not the trunking portion.


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    What software are you using? Also what level of license key do you have ie: dealer, or system operator?

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    I've done some reading up on this. There's not much info outhere on this particular subject, but from what I have gathered, the software key is an encryped file, its included with the purchase of the network level ID package, it contains both your system ID and your matching network level ID. So having the network level ID alone does you no good. There also are 2 types of hardware system keys, this is only supported in Ver. 3 radios. One is called a access key (kenwood part#KWD-ANK-AK)which must be activated by a SYSOP Master Key (kenwood part#KWD-ANK-MK). To obtain either one your system manager or operator will need to submit their credentials and network info in writing directly to Kenwood. But since you already have trunking in your radio, somebody already has a kenwood system key for your system. Time to start calling in favors.

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    The system keys are actually created using the KPG-110SM NexEdge system manager software. It is true they are Network specific (ie: a key created for System 1234 will only work for Radios programmed onto System 1234). Kenwood goes a step further and also makes them CPS specific. When you create the key, you enter in the installation serial number of the KPG-111D package you want it to work with. That key will not work with any other KPG-111D installed with a different serial number. Pretty slick, as it allows system admins to pick & chose what dealers might be able to program a field radio as one key doesn't fit all. It also goes a step further than the Moto legacy keys, by not allowing you to view any of the radio information. It'll read the entire codeplug, then give you an error window to the effect that the proper system key wasn't found, and then simply discard the codeplug.

    The hardware dongles are only needed to run the KPG-110SM system manager software. As said above there are two levels of hardware key. Both give you full management of the entire NexEdge system with no restrictions, including the ability to create system keys. The only difference is one allows you to change repeaters within sites. For instance, if a repeater goes down & you need to replace it with a spare, you need two things. One, the 'activation file' (needed for KPG-110SM to run, dongle or no dongle) must contain the serial number of the repeater...yes, Kenwood even tracks all repeater SN's and won't allow any that don't exist in the activation file to be a part of the system. Two, you need the higher level 'Master' dongle in order to make the changes & write the database successfully afterwards.

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    ...and I thought Motorola were anal?

    ~ Kenwood even tracks all repeater SN's and won't allow any that don't exist in the activation file to be a part of the system ~
    I wonder how many cases of people adding unauthorized repeaters to other people's systems there have been... ever? Talk about overkill...
    Andrew

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    The motorola keys are a lot more flexable. Having to worry about making sure that the radio editing software (kpg111) is using the same key as the kpg110 whats would be a relal pain.

    thank you Ice T for that very usefull information.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Notarola View Post
    The motorola keys are a lot more flexable. Having to worry about making sure that the radio editing software (kpg111) is using the same key as the kpg110 whats would be a relal pain.

    thank you Ice T for that very usefull information.
    No problem, and just to be clear, it's not the same 'key as the KPG-110SM'. The key is created with 110SM, and you manually enter in the applicable installation serial number during creation. Multiple dealers or persons could also be able to program radios for example system 1234, each of their keys would just be unique to them, even though it's for the same system.

    It was only after re-reading through the thread that I realized I just assumed the OP was referring to NexEdge radios. I suppose he could have meant P25 keys...but I have no experience with Kenwood P25 radios, or if they even use system keys.

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    I was assuming the OP was refering to P25 radios. Although, that thought had crossed my mind if the NexEdge keys were indeed the same as the P25 keys.

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    The OP WAS referring to a NexEdge system.

    Ice-T thanks for the great info, the part about the KPG-111D installation serial number is what will cause an issue with people who have modified the FPU for engineering mode (on a side note I can't get 2.90 engineering mode working).

    GS

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    Quote Originally Posted by GS4 View Post
    The OP WAS referring to a NexEdge system.

    Ice-T thanks for the great info, the part about the KPG-111D installation serial number is what will cause an issue with people who have modified the FPU for engineering mode (on a side note I can't get 2.90 engineering mode working).

    GS
    Ooh, engineering mode for KPG-111D? Do tell! :-)

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    Quote Originally Posted by GS4 View Post
    The OP WAS referring to a NexEdge system.

    Ice-T thanks for the great info, the part about the KPG-111D installation serial number is what will cause an issue with people who have modified the FPU for engineering mode (on a side note I can't get 2.90 engineering mode working).

    GS
    try uninstall your KPG and reinstall it with this ID
    [edit by Mars: Sorry, but I think Kenwood would have a fit if they saw this posted here. Feel free to PM others with the info, but I'm not comfortable with it being advertised here. Thanks!]

    G'luck

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    Quote Originally Posted by toshix View Post
    try uninstall your KPG and reinstall it with this ID


    G'luck
    So engineering mode can be enabled with specific install ID's? If so, cool!

    I might as well expand a bit on the system side of things. As mentioned earlier, KPG-110SM is the system manager software for NexEdge systems. The software itself is 'generic' and not system specific. There are a couple of things you need to use it though, and they are both system specific.

    First, there is the mentioned USB hardware key. The key contains the System ID. Without a hardware key, the 110SM won't even start up. In Japan, all the information resides on the system key...total number of repeaters, specific number of sites, etc. If you want to make a change to your system (add a repeater, add a site, etc), you need to request & get sent a new key from Kenwood Japan. In North America, it was decided that's way too cumbersome. Instead, the key only contains the System ID. All the other information resides in an "activation file" which you point the 110SM software to upon first starting it up with a legit hardware key. This way if you want to make a change, you can just get a new modified activation file emailed to you from Kenwood. Once you point it to the activation file, the software will tell you it's shutting down & that you need to restart it for the changes to take effect.

    Assuming you have a matched set of hardware key & activation file, the 110SM will (finally) start up and you need to define whether it's a "standard" system (1-16 sites) or an "intermediate" system (1-30 sites). I'm assuming it's a different hardware key or activation file to choose a "large" system (1-48 sites), as I haven't seen that choice.

    Once you choose your size of system, you essentially get presented with a blank screen with the usual 'file', 'edit', etc menu items along the top. At this point you either begin building your system database, or load a saved 'smx' file, which contains the entire system database. This 'smx' file is extremely important, obviously. The software will by default auto-save a current copy when you exit the software, under a default file name. It's recommended you also save a file after making any changes, typically using the date as part of the file name, and save that in a few different places.

    Worst come to worst, if you lose or somehow corrupt the saved database, you can take your trusty null modem cable & read the database via serial port from any of the repeaters in the system, as they all contain a copy of the last database written to the system.

    Serial is the 'only' way to read the data from the system if you don't have a saved smx file, since the software has no idea of the IP addresses in the system. It's also how you load the repeaters initially in a new system build. Once you've loaded the database into the 110SM, you can then connect to the system via LAN for your changes.
    Last edited by GS4; Aug 31, 2012 at 08:45 AM. Reason: Removed the Kenwood S/N from the quote.

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    Sorry for the late reply guys, but thanks for the information!

    Its interesting how Kenwood goes to lengths to restrict programming; you would think they would have something like ASK where you can at least allow the customer to program their own conventional frequencies...

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    How did you get KPG-110SM to run? I can't get past the Secure key.

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    Quote Originally Posted by NCRadioTech View Post
    How did you get KPG-110SM to run? I can't get past the Secure key.
    Are you asking me? I have secure keys & activation files for our demo/training system and a couple of customers. It won't run otherwise.

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    Figured it had to be something like that.

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    Interesting update: Kenwood now has a version of KPG141, with a DNK suffix. The K in the part number allows the system key to be embedded with the executable and be issued to end users via the dealer/system operator so they can program their own conventional radios directly. This solves our problem.

    However, there is also a KPG141DK that permits wide and narrow operation for users in Canada and Mexico that also has the embedded key option. The SAR Group I am of course for conventional has ham repeaters we use time in addition to the NXDN system we use, so we actually asked our system operator if they could order the KPG141DK for us via Kenwood, and of course, got a polite "No, silly, you are in the US!"

    Is there someone in Canada or Mexico that can help order it for us? Or knows how to get Kenwood USA to allow us to order it?

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    So Ice-T I am curious about learning NXDN and there is a system that I want to try and tackle. The problem that I am wondering is that can you passively monitor a NXDN system like using the hidden talkgroup method with Motorola radios? I have been very proficient on using the hidden talkgroup method. Sounds like you know a lot about NXDN by your posting.

    Not sure if it can even be done?
    Remember to not take life so seriously. Nobody ever gets out alive....

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    NXDN trunked subscriber radios are coded to mute any transmissions that originate from an NXDN repeater carrying traffic from a trunked NXDN system if a system key is not present. It's in the firmware. No way around this.
    I took training on NXDN at Kenwood last year, and I can tell you (unlike Motorola) without a system key and being added to the NXDN system you cannot passively monitor. Kenwood learned from Motorola's blunders.

    You can however, passively monitor a single site NXDN conventional repeater if it is not using encryption or subscriber authentication.

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    Quote Originally Posted by MTS2000DES View Post
    You can however, passively monitor a single site NXDN conventional repeater if it is not using encryption or subscriber authentication.
    So this is like scanning a TRS, single site, by putting the voice channels into a conventional scan list and using DCSQ or the correct NAC?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Mars View Post
    So this is like scanning a TRS, single site, by putting the voice channels into a conventional scan list and using DCSQ or the correct NAC?
    If the repeater is passing trunking traffic, the NXDN radio will not unmute. I have not studied the voice packets of trunked versus conventional NXDN, but I can tell you that an attempt to simply put the voice channels in a simple conventional scan list with the RAN set to 0 (the equivalent of digital carrier squelch in P25 speak) results in no traffic being heard. Stopping on an active channel manually, you will see the RSSI indicator and RX LED on, but the radio stays muted. Something in the packets "tell" the subscriber radios "this is a trunking system. No key=no workie) and it just sits there quietly.

    The Kenwood instructor (who worked for Kenwood USA HQ in GA) would not tell me exactly how it worked (I asked, but it was in a classroom setting), but he told me this was in the radio's operating system firmware and there is no way around it. It's a security feature to further prevent unauthorized programming of an NXDN subscriber radio on an NXDN trunking system. They are locked down tighter than a nun's vagina in a convent. They did it right.

    I confirmed this when trying to scan an NXDN VHF TRS south of me using an NX210 and setting up a conventional scan list of the voice channels with RAN set to 000. It did exactly as intended. My radio was silent.

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    Provided you are using the right software, Using a valid radio, just add in another TG on the system and assign it to another channel position. Works without an issue both sitting the radio on that TG or adding it to it's scan list....

    Just make sure its a VALID ID or you will cause all sorts of issues to somebody else!!!!!.....

    Quote Originally Posted by MTS2000DES View Post
    If the repeater is passing trunking traffic, the NXDN radio will not unmute. I have not studied the voice packets of trunked versus conventional NXDN, but I can tell you that an attempt to simply put the voice channels in a simple conventional scan list with the RAN set to 0 (the equivalent of digital carrier squelch in P25 speak) results in no traffic being heard. Stopping on an active channel manually, you will see the RSSI indicator and RX LED on, but the radio stays muted. Something in the packets "tell" the subscriber radios "this is a trunking system. No key=no workie) and it just sits there quietly.

    The Kenwood instructor (who worked for Kenwood USA HQ in GA) would not tell me exactly how it worked (I asked, but it was in a classroom setting), but he told me this was in the radio's operating system firmware and there is no way around it. It's a security feature to further prevent unauthorized programming of an NXDN subscriber radio on an NXDN trunking system. They are locked down tighter than a nun's vagina in a convent. They did it right.

    I confirmed this when trying to scan an NXDN VHF TRS south of me using an NX210 and setting up a conventional scan list of the voice channels with RAN set to 000. It did exactly as intended. My radio was silent.

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    Quote Originally Posted by mtp850 View Post
    Provided you are using the right software, Using a valid radio, just add in another TG on the system and assign it to another channel position. Works without an issue both sitting the radio on that TG or adding it to it's scan list....

    Just make sure its a VALID ID or you will cause all sorts of issues to somebody else!!!!!.....
    Right, which is the "Motorola" equivalent of using Depot CPS, and using an active ID on the network, both of which are taboo.

    When it comes to passive monitoring on NXDN trunking, it cannot be done with "off the shelf" tools or straying into breaking the law.

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    No actually It's the equivalent of using the motorola hidden talkgroup scan method and nothing to do with a depot version of software..

    If you are a LEGIT user on the network with a VALID ID/RADIO it will work without an issue

    Quote Originally Posted by MTS2000DES View Post
    Right, which is the "Motorola" equivalent of using Depot CPS, and using an active ID on the network, both of which are taboo.

    When it comes to passive monitoring on NXDN trunking, it cannot be done with "off the shelf" tools or straying into breaking the law.

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    Quote Originally Posted by mtp850 View Post
    No actually It's the equivalent of using the motorola hidden talkgroup scan method and nothing to do with a depot version of software..

    If you are a LEGIT user on the network with a VALID ID/RADIO it will work without an issue
    Again, this precludes someone who is NOT an authorized user- which is why NXDN is superior to Astro 25 in all respects when it comes to preventing "passive" monitoring.
    No validated radio ID=no access to the network, passive scanning or not.

    This isn't the case with the passive scanning method on Astro 25. You can have a completely bogus ID in an XTS of all zeros or FFFFFFFE or whatever and passively scan Astro 25 all day long, because your subscriber ID is never validated if done corectly. Not the case with NXDN trunking.