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Motorola CPS training materials?


Lscott
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I'm thinking about maybe adding some Motorola radios to my collection. Looking to buy a buddy's UHF XPR6550, and later adding in the VHF version. Before doing so I want to be sure I can even program Motorola radios, otherwise they'll just be expensive paper weights.

I located and installed Mototrbo CPS V16 build 828, with the wide band (25/20 KHz) and full Canadian frequency hack. It seems to work but is considerably different than any other radio programming software I've used. My question is there any good written training materials for download showing how to use it? The actual code plug editor I'm sort of figuring out, playing with one of the sample code plugs, but creating radio "templates" using the Radio Manager app I'm getting nowhere with it. I added what I think are some radios but I can't seem to locate or add in the so-called templates.

The software looks like the aim is for fleet management of radios. Maybe it's just not what I should be worrying about.

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I have CPS V16 build 827 that I use for my XPR7550 and XMR5550 UHF radios. I can understand the consternation since it has a TON of stuff that we won't need and would never have use. It's simply cluttering up the UI.

It is primarily aimed a DMR usage, but is quite adequate for analog use as well.

For the best source of information on Motorola, visit Batwing Laboratories (batlabs.com)

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There are Motorola training videos if you have an MOL subscription *oops, MOL is going away, replaced by PartnerHub and the Learning Management Platform.

I will tell you that the Motorola training videos don't really show you much of how to build a codeplug for any specific purpose. They're very general, and they'll give a few pointers, but most of what I've learned over 15+ years messing with DMR has been by poking around and experimenting. Analog is pretty simple and straightforward, but the Digital stuff can drive you nuts until you figure what ticking one checkbox does to 10 other parameters.

There's a few videos on the Utube that will help you out for a few specifics like setting up IP Site Connect or building a Capacity Plus codeplug, and there are sample codeplugs out there for some of the more popular DMR Ham platforms that will get you 90% of the way to what you want without spending a bunch of nights typing in 1000 contacts and 15 zones.

You can also give Wayne Holmes blog a look, he's probably the best free resource you'll find for Motorola. He's also got a few videos online that are better (In my opinion) than what Motorola puts out.

https://cwh050.blogspot.com/

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Oh, and Radio Management & templates is probably not something you want to mess with for basic codeplug builds on one or two radios. As you surmised, it's more of a fleet management tool. It is good if you want to push out OTAP codeplug updates to 100+ radios, without having to lug around a laptop and cables to touch each radio.

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1 hour ago, Radioguy7268 said:

Oh, and Radio Management & templates is probably not something you want to mess with for basic codeplug builds on one or two radios. As you surmised, it's more of a fleet management tool. It is good if you want to push out OTAP codeplug updates to 100+ radios, without having to lug around a laptop and cables to touch each radio.

I'm with you on that account.

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3 hours ago, n4gix said:

I have CPS V16 build 827 that I use for my XPR7550 and XMR5550 UHF radios. I can understand the consternation since it has a TON of stuff that we won't need and would never have use. It's simply cluttering up the UI.

It is primarily aimed a DMR usage, but is quite adequate for analog use as well.

For the best source of information on Motorola, visit Batwing Laboratories (batlabs.com)

The version I found on-line has some modified DLL files to enable the Canada full frequency range for programming anything above 866MHz for radios in that part of the UHF band, enabling the 25/20 KHz bandwidth and by-passing any code plug passwords that might be set.

The password thing looks like it works because I downloaded a sample template. Using the RM app, I think I tried, to edit the template it wanted a password. I followed the patch instruction to type in anything and it will work, which it did.

After playing with the Radio Manager app I have to agree it's NOT for working with just a few radios, but a rather large fleet. I had it installed so might as well play with it. Looks like I can just ignore it now.

The Motorola stuff works different than any of the other CPS systems for my other radios.

I do have the D878UV and built a code plug from scratch with both analog and DMR channels. That got me somewhat familiar with DMR concepts. Looks like most of that applies to the Motorola radios. Just have to sort out whatever the differences are in the terminology. At least the help files aren't too bad.

I'll be talking to my buddy about buying his XPR6550 if he doesn't want way to much for it. Some of the used ones on eBay look pretty good price wise, at least not crazy expensive.

One thing I quickly found out using the Motorola CPS, when they say the frequency range for a given model is 403 to 470, they mean it. You can't enter anything outside of that range. Kenwood radios are not like that. They will let you enter in an out of range frequency but you have to click through a warning message each time you do it. 

Looking at used XPR6550's on eBay I'm checking the FCC ID numbers to make sure exactly whats being sold. One seller has a radio up for sale, but all the ID stickers are very obviously missing.  You figure out what that means.

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17 hours ago, Lscott said:

Looking at used XPR6550's on eBay I'm checking the FCC ID numbers to make sure exactly whats being sold. One seller has a radio up for sale, but all the ID stickers are very obviously missing.  You figure out what that means.

I wouldn't touch any radio from which the original tags had been removed... 🙄

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How did your buddy program them?  I'd have figured he'd be including CPS.

Anyway, there's ways to work around band limits on many Motorola radios (even 1st gen XPR).  It requires reading the radio and changing variables in that blank, generic code plug with a hex editor.  You can edit and write the modified code plug all you want. 

The pain is it makes using CPS no longer a completely seamless affair in the future.  If you don't have access or lose the original code plug file when you read the radio CPS will revert the code plug back to the default band limits for the radio and you have to start back at square one with hex editing.

It's also important to note that just because two radios are both UHF the different band splits mean they may not necessarily be identical.  So extending the limit up or down a couple of MHz is usually fine but forcing a 450-512 down to 403 might be way beyond the filter skirts and not work even if you trick the radio into tuning it.  If you're just trying to make a radio tune for RX it shouldn't hurt anything.  It may not be very sensitive way out of band though.  Now trying to transmit that far out of band might be damaging, you need to be careful.

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4 hours ago, WRNA236 said:

How did your buddy program them?  I'd have figured he'd be including CPS.

Anyway, there's ways to work around band limits on many Motorola radios (even 1st gen XPR).  It requires reading the radio and changing variables in that blank, generic code plug with a hex editor.  You can edit and write the modified code plug all you want. 

The pain is it makes using CPS no longer a completely seamless affair in the future.  If you don't have access or lose the original code plug file when you read the radio CPS will revert the code plug back to the default band limits for the radio and you have to start back at square one with hex editing.

It's also important to note that just because two radios are both UHF the different band splits mean they may not necessarily be identical.  So extending the limit up or down a couple of MHz is usually fine but forcing a 450-512 down to 403 might be way beyond the filter skirts and not work even if you trick the radio into tuning it.  If you're just trying to make a radio tune for RX it shouldn't hurt anything.  It may not be very sensitive way out of band though.  Now trying to transmit that far out of band might be damaging, you need to be careful.

My buddy didn’t program the radio. He purchased it from another Ham who had gotten it from a guy that worked for the FBI, I believe he said, tonight at our weekly coffee meet.

I’ve seen a person selling a service doing exactly what you mentioned, hacking the code plug, in this case to drop the lower limit to 440 from the normal 450.

I’ve hacked some Kenwood code plugs, the ones I played with used simple XOR encryption, to see what they really contain. The idea was to hack a code plug for one of the cheap ProTalk radios, the ones where you can only select frequencies from a predefined list, to enter some GMRS channels. I don’t have one so I sort of dropped the idea for now.

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BTW, hex editing on the XPR radios will have stability issues. IMO Its just better to buy the right split on UHF for the 6550 (or SL7550) The 7550 doesn't have split on UHF, only one model covers the entire UHF band.

BTW, I have 3 VHF XPR6550 if you are interested, all three work perfect.

G.

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7 minutes ago, gman1971 said:

Lscott seems like he is joining the Motorolian fleet... welcome aboard ! :) You can always ask around, if tutorials, etc, don't cut it.

G.

I thought I would get a few cheap ones to experiment with and see what happens.

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3 minutes ago, gman1971 said:

BTW, hex editing on the XPR radios will have stability issues. IMO Its just better to buy the right split on UHF for the 6550 (or SL7550) The 7550 doesn't have split on UHF, only one model covers the entire UHF band.

BTW, I have 3 VHF XPR6550 if you are interested, all three work perfect.

G.

The hex editing was for the XPR6580. Apparently there is a code plug hack where the embedded frequency limits can be modified. The hack i specifically for putting the radio on the Ham 33cm band.

I picked one up for $45. One of the parallel battery contact fingers is broken off. It still seems to work, at least it power up. Since I've never opened one of these up I have no idea how hard the connector is to replace.

A few of the Kenwoods are a B___h to work on. I have a TK-3173 with a flaky volume control. I've opened up the VHF model, TK-2170 because it had a broken flex cable, it's sitting in the junk box at the moment. These radios are a pain to work on. I'm in no big hurry to work on the radio with the flaky volume control since you just about have to yank the whole guts out to get to it.

I'm cheap, I guess it depends on what you want for them. They don't go for that much on eBay unless they are in like new pristine condition with chargers, battery packs etc. I have a VHF one that should arrive in the next few days.

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3 minutes ago, gman1971 said:

Nice!

BTW, VHF XPR radios are going to be more expensive than their UHF counterparts, now, I am not sure exactly why, but its usually a 2:1 ratio, on average.

G.

The VHF one I have coming was only $75. The seller shows about $100 each but took my offer for less.

This is the eBay item number if you want to look it up. Looks like he's sold out too.

324758091416

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Nothing wrong with looking for bargains. I got some radios for dirt cheap, they needed some cleanup, or a new housing, after a housing transplant the radio is pretty much brand new.

The XPR radios are a breeze to work on. They literally slide out of the housing, everything is modular. While the XPR 6550 has two torx screws on the chassis, the XPR7550 series do not, and they just slide out with a small pry-bar. I've replaced a dozen or so housings on those, super easy, and several SL7550 radios too, those SL7550 are a little bit more involved, but not really that much. You can strip a XPR7550 down to bare housing in less than 10 minutes.

G.

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Thanks Scott. VHF 6550 for 75 is a good deal. That would make it about 100 with charger. So that is good! :)

I really think you should get an XPR7550e. The audio on the XPR7550e is much better than the 6550... but again, I started with a bunch of 6550 before I decided to "upgrade"

G.

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Oh, yeah I've noticed that just about any commercial VHF HT sells for a lot more. I managed to snag a TK-2170 for a good deal, about $15. The guy whol sold it said the radio turns on, the beeps when you press the PTT button, shuts down then turns back on. He though the radio was screwed. That what they do with a nearly dead battery pack. When I got it, yup, that's what the problem was. Worked perfectly with a freshly charged pack and reprogrammed.

I think the reasons why the VHF radios cost more than the UHF models, one there aren't that may out there because most business use UHF anyway. Second is the typical band split, 136 to 174, which is perfect for the popular Ham 2m band, MURS, VHF marine and NOAA frequencies.

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6 minutes ago, gman1971 said:

Thanks Scott. VHF 6550 for 75 is a good deal. That would make it about 100 with charger. So that is good! :)

I really think you should get an XPR7550e. The audio on the XPR7550e is much better than the 6550... but again, I started with a bunch of 6550 before I decided to "upgrade"

G.

I already have a charger and some battery packs. Just got my programming cable yesterday from "blueMax49ers".

One question about the battery packs. Is there some chip in them that stores info about the pack? One radio showed something about service life and the date the pack was first put into service. Never seen anything like this on any Kenwood radio I have.

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Yes, IMPRES batteries do have a chip that has a lot of info on them. I purchased the battery fleet management program, along with a 6-bay IMPRES 2 charger with an LCD and USB to hook up to the computer, so you can see all the data on the computer (or the LCD display) about the batteries, and you know if you are being scammed, or not. With the program you can assign names to each battery, and place them in groups, etc. You can also do WiFi battery fleet management too, there is a whole lot of stuff you can do in that regard... pretty cool IMO.

Now, be aware that Motorola has batteries that are still genuine Motorola but are not IMPRES capable. Those will show on the charger as Motorola, but not IMPRES, so you don't see the number of cycles, the service life, etc..

G.

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2 minutes ago, gman1971 said:

You're probably right, but VHF also reaches a lot further than UHF; and under most circumstances I can get a lot further in VHF business itinerants on 25w than I can on GMRS on 50w... as in, a LOT further. 

G.

Yes, I'm not surprised. That has to do with what is called "Path Loss", which is not exactly what you would think it means.

When you TX the voltage component for the RF signal is independent of the frequency and is only a function of the power level. You see it expressed as volts/meter, the "E" component or field strength. However our radio's receiver also responds to that same component, but it has to come from the antenna. Since we must use resonate antennas the UHF one is about 1/3 the length, on 70cm, compared to the 2m band. With the UHF antenna being 1/3 the length the voltage induced is only 1/3 too. Power is the square of the voltage so the power is about 1/9! So if all other things being equal a UHF radio would need to generate 9 time the power of a VHF radio for the same signal strength.

Looking at a typical 5 watt VHF HT you would need about 45 watts out of the UHF radio.

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9 minutes ago, gman1971 said:

Now, be aware that Motorola has batteries that are still genuine Motorola but are not IMPRES capable. Those will show on the charger as Motorola, but not IMPRES, so you don't see the number of cycles, the service life, etc..

G.

I saw that on one of the packs, no info. That's why I was curious about what was going on. You explained that well. Thanks.

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Yep, about a 10dB advantage in free space vs UHF. Obviously UHF has some advantages since it can fit over smaller openings, but to me, I think a 900MHz FHSS radio is a better alternative to UHF 462mhz, especially for operating inside buildings, or metal structures, b/c the smaller 900mhz wavelength allows it to literally get through a lot better, (about half the size of GMRS) but for open terrain raw range I believe VHF is the only way to go... IMO. And those XPR7550e on VHF have receivers that are out of this world good... 

G.

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