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Introductory Information on the MaxTrac, Radius
and GM300 series radios, the DeskTrac station, and the
GR300, GR400, GR500, GR1225, R1225 and RKR1225 series
Compiled By Mike Morris WA6ILQ from information provided by
Neil Johnson WBØEMU, Scott Lichtsinn KBØNLY, Bob DeMattia K1IW, Eric Lemmon WB6FLY, Robert Meister WA1MIK, Jeff Kincaid W6JK, and Don Best N6ALD
Photos by WA6ILQ unless noted.
Corrections and additional contributions are invited.
Maintained By Robert Meister WA1MIK
This page is oriented towards the USA marketed radios, simply because it was compiled by USA residents; we described the radios we are familiar with. If anyone would care to share information on the non-USA radios we'd be happy to add them on this page, or even create a region-specific page.
The MaxTrac, Radius and GM300 series fathered additional radio designs that are/were sold all over the world, and the products were customized for the local marketplace with region-specific model numbers.
As one example the UK/European region has models that are never seen in the USA (like the GM900), and the Australian market has models that are never seen in Europe or the USA.
As one specific example of non-local radios, Moto Australia makes 64 channel Radius mobiles and 16 channel GP300 handhelds that cover 220-240 MHz for the Asian market (specifically the Philippines). Those radios would be very popular in the USA Amateur market for the 219-225 Mhz band. If anyone has a way to bring them into the USA, even in small quantities, that would be interesting as well... just contact the author.
Next, an eBay warning:
1) No matter WHAT the model tag says, no MaxTrac, Radius, M-series or GM300 mobile will ever operate over the entire frequency range listed on its model tag / label. Each unit will do only a portion of that model tag frequency spread, called a "split", a "bandsplit" or a "range". This is due to the design, and the design follows the laws of physics. In short, if you buy the wrong range radio for your application (one example is a GM300 built for 490-520 MHz and you want to use it on a 462 MHz GMRS frequency) you will have a nice doorstop. It is not practical to range-change a MaxTrac, Radius, or GM300 series radio.
On the MaxTrac (which includes the Maxtrac 50 and Maxtrac 300 models), the Radius "LRA" (which includes the M100, M120, M204, M208, M214 and M216 models) and GM300 series (which includes the M10, M130 and GM300 models) radios the third character in the model number indicates the frequency band where a 1 indicates 30-50 MHz (low band), a 3 indicates 136-174 MHz (high band), and a 4 indicates 406-520 MHz (UHF). A 5 indicates either 800 or 900 MHz, later on 5 was reserved for 800 MHz and a 7 indicated 900 MHz.
3) If you are going to use one of these radios as a repeater, point-to-point link, IRLP node or remote base transmitter you do NOT want to use a Maxtrac or Radius LRA mobile. Find yourself a M10, M130 or GM300. Why? If you read further down, you will discover that the Maxtrac and the Radius LRA use a microprocessor firmware routine to reduce the power to protect the PA deck from overheating. The GM300 family uses a thermistor and hence "knows" if you put a fan on the PA deck (and you should).
Repeater, point-to-point link, IRLP node and remote base transmitters tend to have long transmit times - and it has been my experience that a mobile radio is not a good choice. If you ARE going to use one then as a repeater or point-to-point link it only has to talk on one channel so you can use a cheap ebay M10 or M130 - but pick a 33 and 34 series radios (the lower power ones) as it is a better choice than a 43 or 44 series as they use the same heat sink casting. But any Maxtrac, Radius or GM300 is still a 10-15% duty cycle mobile radio with a mobile-sized heat sink.
See the paragraph below titled "Limitations".
Any Motorola prices mentioned on this page (or on any page at this web site) should be taken only as a rough guideline. Motorola adjusts prices quarterly, and offers one set of prices to their dealers/service shops (the so called "NSO" Pricing ("National Service Organization")), another on their telephone order desk (i.e. retail sales), and a third to "self-maintaining" fleet customers (i.e. those that have their own radio shops... cities, counties, police departments, fire departments, etc). Prices are changed quarterly, so use the mentioned prices only as a rough indication. If you encounter a large price change on anything where we've mentioned a price we'd appreciate an emailed update.
Overview and History:
On this web page we are going to attempt to provide an overview of several series of radios. The MaxTrac series of radios is a synthesized dash mount mobile radio that was originally designed to be a "second tier" or commercial / business radio (a "first tier" radio is a public safety grade radio).
As it was related to me, the MaxTrac history can be traced back to the Motorola GmbH (also known as Motorola of Germany) product line called the MC‑Micro (anybody have some details on the MC‑Micro, or a few external and internal photos of a mobile ?).
By the way, the Motorola GmbH MC-Micro radio was also the first repeater-in-a-box (also called the MC-Micro), which interestingly enough, was available as a factory 220 MHz unit. The exciter was an MC-Micro RF board with the receiver components missing, and the receiver was another RF board with the exciter components missing. The MC-Micro Repeater was later marketed in the USA as the R100, but the RSS was very poor and would fail if run on anything faster than a 12 MHz 286-based machine. Despite that it remains a popular unit and many are still in service. They do have a few problems but field fixes (either by Moto themselves or by individual 2-way shops) are available for all of them. Courtesy of Mike Morris WA6ILQ we have the manuals for the German R100 and the American R100 on the R100 page here at repeater-builder.
When Moto USA marketing needed a simple-to-install dash mount radio (think "as easy as a CB radio") the USA engineering staff "americanized" the German MC‑Micro design (sometimes referred to as the German MaxTrac).
Later on, when they decided to sell through retail and mail-order channels they created the Radius product line just for that retail sales channel. They took the MaxTrac 50, 100, and 300 models and did both a front panel cosmetic update and a firmware update and rewrite and came up with the "Radius LRA" units (these are the models with "LRA" in the center of the model number). Over 70% of the boards and parts in LRA series are identical to the MaxTrac product line and many can be mixed, matched, and swapped between the two radio series. See the Radius M100, M206, M208, M214, M216 radio models and board info article by WA1MIK in this section for a breakdown of model numbers, board numbers, etc. Note that while a few of the Moto manuals state "M100 and M200", there is no M200 model, the valid names are M100, M206, M208, M214 and M216. The M100, M206 and M214 models were introduced in the first wave, the M208 and M216 replaced the M206 and M214 in the second wave. There were no "official" 32 channel Radius mobiles, they topped out at 16. If you needed 17 or more channels they wanted you to sell your Radius and buy a Maxtrac (or a Spectra).
At the time these radios were on the current sales sheets, the MaxTrac was a "Motorola direct sales channel" product. At that time, trunking products were more or less reserved for direct sales (system engineering was involved), so initially the Radius LRA line did not have any trunked models. The Radius LRA series was marketed by Moto for many years as a retail and mail-order product with no system engineering other than a salesperson on the far end of a phone call.
When the 800 MHz band was taken from TV and allocated to business Moto took the existing MaxTrac chassis and designed an 800 MHz RF board to plug into it and a final amp to drop into the afterburner position... and then had to live with the problems that were created in using a logic / audio board that couldn't handle some problems that trunking created (note that while Moto calls it the "Logic" board in all the documentation, it's really a logic and audio board).
When 900 MHz came along the designers came up with a 900 MHz PA and RF board, and the 2.5 KHz deviation required the designers to redesign the audio / logic board to work with it. They didn't have enough circuit board real estate for the audio compander circuitry so they were forced to redesign one of the two front panel boards as well. As such the 900 MHz Maxtrac and LRA Radius have very few parts in common with any other radio.
The GM300 series was designed after the Maxtrac and Radius LRA models and based on them. As mentioned above the GM300 was labeled both as a GM300 and as a "Radius GM300". For the purposes of this article we are going to divide the product lines into Maxtrac, Radius (the LRA radios) and GM300 (the M10, M120, M130 and GM300 radios).
The GM300 was a hardware redesign to both update the electronics and to fix some of the ongoing problems that were the result of initial design oversights (like adding a temperature sensing thermistor to the PA deck, and an attenuator (switchable on a per-channel basis) to the receiver to reduce the intermod).
The result of the redesign is the single channel M10, the two channel M120 and M130 and the 8 and 16-channel GM300 radios. The RF side of those four models is the same, the differences are in the logic board and the front panel.
The GM300 family of radios was only made in high band and UHF, Moto never made GM300s on low band, 800 or 900 MHz (but I have seen Maxtrac and Radius LRA radios on those bands with GM300 front panels). Usually model numbers superceed model names, as labels on the front plastic are (or the front plastic itself is) easy to swap. However a common mod / upgrade is to place a 32 channel front panel and logic board in a 2 channel chassis... and that chassis keeps the original 2 channel model number.
Since at the hardware level the GM300 is so very different from the Maxtrac and the Radius LRA mobile we will consider it a completely separate family in this article.
Because MaxTrac was the first series marketed in the US, and the later Radius and GM300 series radios are so similar to them some people have used the term "MaxTrac" (or "MaxTrac family") to refer to just the MaxTrac series while others use the term to apply to all three series of radios collectively. So don't be surprised if someone points to an Radius LRA or a GM300 radio and refers to it as a MaxTrac.
The table below is in technical groupings, not marketing grouping. Technically, there was a lot of crossover, for example, the M10, M120 and M130 were derived from the GM300 and over 70% of the MaxTrac and Radius LRA hardware is identical. On this web page we are only concerned with the technical similarities so we can intelligently work on and program the radios.
Note that the hyphenated model names (i.e. "M-10", "M-100" or "GM-300") are improper, it's "M10" "M100" or "GM300". Very few Moto model names have an embedded dash / hyphen.
If anyone has the information to replace the "?"s below
please send an email to the page maintainer above.
|Model Names||Model Number Strings
(See note 1 and 2)
(See note 3)
(See note 4)
|MaxTrac||MaxTrac, MaxTrac 50, 100, 300, any 8xx||"MGA", "MJA", "MQA", "MWA"||RVN4019 or 4020||R07.02.00a,
|MaxTrac, MaxTrac 50, 100, 300, any 8xx||"MGA", "MJA", "MQA", "MWA"||RVN4043||?|
|MaxTrac LS (800 & 900 MHz trunking)||"UGQ", "UJQ", a very few "LRA"||RVN4152||?|
(See note 5)
|Radius M100, M120, M206, M208, M214, M216, and VR100||Almost all "LRA", and a very few "MJA"||HVN9173||R08.00.00
|GM300||Radius M10 (single channel) and M130 (two channel) radios||"XVC" (M10), "XQC" (M130)||HVN8177||R05.00.00
|Radius M130 (two channel) and GM300 (6, 8 or 16 channel) radios, plus GR300, GR400 and GR500 repeaters (see note 6)||"GMC", "GMK", "GMR"|
|There were also some data radios that were
based on various MaxTrac, Radius and GM300 models (including the M10).
We have no information on these or on the VR100... Contributions are welcome.
1) The strings referred to are the ones in the center of the model number. "MGA" was a typo of MJA" - see the "MaxTrac VHF, UHF, and 800 MHz radio models" article. A typical model number is M33GMC09C3AC which is part of the GMC series.
If a model name conflicts with a model number then you have to check the boards inside and the PA deck... sometimes someone swapped a front plastic, but sometimes someone swapped a 16 or 32 channel logic board and front panel into a 2-channel radio.
2) The MJA, GMC, and GMR series are conventional, the MQA was trunking-only, the MWA series was dual mode (trunking and conventional for talk-around). I'm not sure if the UGQ and UJQ were trunking only or dual mode.
3) The RVN4018 came on 5.25 inch floppies, all the rest came on 3.5 inch disks. For additional information on RSS please see the "Programming and the Radio Service Software (RSS)" section below.
4) The column is headed as "Most Recent", but since all of these radios are discontinued I might as well have headed it as "Last". Some documentation refers to it as "Version", some as a "Revision". By the way, the "Version Numbers" or "Revision Number" by itself means nothing without the model number / part number of the RSS itself since when referring to the version or revision number one must be careful to specify which RSS part number is being considered. For example, "R05.00.00" by itself means nothing, since HVN8177, RVN4023, RVN4043, RVN4175, RVN4077, HVN9007, and RVN4001 (to name just a few) have all been issued in version "R05.00.00", and all are for different radios and are completely incompatible.
5) The Radius name was originally intended for the radios that Moto sold through retail outlets, like sporting good stores, or via telephone sales organizations. Almost anyone could get a Radius dealer agreement. Once the sales channel was in place Moto started selling all kinds of stuff as "Radius" products. Since we are limiting ourselves to one particular mobile radio here we are specifically saying "Radius LRA". And we are pretending that the GM300 was never marketed as the "Radius GM300" or the GRnnn repeaters (where nnn was 300,400 or 500) were never marketed as the "Radius GRnnn" repeaters.
6) The GR series repeaters were normally shipped with GM300 family radios, but these repeater cabinets have been seen with every possible combination of radios that have 16-pin accessory connectors - and you can build an adapter cable to use a radio with a 5-pin acessory connector as the transmit radio.
Does anyone have a original Maxtrac, GM300, M10, M120 or M130 brochure?
The original Radius LRA mobile brochure is here.
One of the differences between the MaxTrac / Radius product line and the GM300 product line is that the Maxtrac and Radius radios control the RF power output with a timer that watches the PTT key-down time, where the GM300 series actually measures the PA deck temperature with a thermistor.
A second difference is that the front end has a local / distant attenuator to cut the intermod, and the channel data has a data bit (that was set in RSS) to switch it in and out.
A third difference is that the Maxtrac and Radius products had nothing that covered between 420 MHz and 449 MHz. The GM300 has a 438-470 MHz range.
Another difference is in the data sheets and RSS only... Moto Marketing reduced the maximum channel count from 32 in the MaxTrac to 16 in the GM300 in an effort to force the folks who needed more than 16 channels into a "first tier" radio like the Spectra. But they didn't tell the radio itself that - the average 8-channel GM300 will do 12 channels, I've seen a 16-channel GM300 do 24, 32 or even 40 channels just fine (but you need the high-end logic board in it, and have to patch the RSS, and there is an article on that in this section).
The designers used the fact that the Radius LRA mobile was a born-again Maxtrac to do a update on the firmware and resolve a few bugs. They took advantage of the fact that the Radius line would be all conventional and removed the trunking functionality from the logic board microprocessor firmware, freeing up some program space. This let them fix a few bugs and add a few features - one of which is remote frequency select from the digital input control lines in the 16-pin accessory port - called "channel steering" by the marketing folks. The "channel steering" feature makes it possible to use a Radius (or a GM300) as a frequency agile (or PL agile) remote base or link transciever controlled by the digital output lines from your repeater controller.
The channel steering feature in the Radius LRA mobile requires a 16-pin logic board and Version 21.01 firmware or later. The Radius RSS and firmware only offers three channel select input lines, not five like the GM300 (one line gives you 2 channels, two lines gives you 4 channels, three gives you 8, and four gives you 16). The three channel select lines on a Radius limits you to 8 channels (channels 1 through 7 plus whatever the front panel has selected - and while it usually stays where you leave it, I don't count on the front panel selection staying put during a power cycle... especially on a mountaintop remote base).Let me repeat myself in fewer words - Maxtracs can't do channel steering, the Radius LRA can do limited channel steering and the GM300 it can do it better (if you have the high-end logic board in it).
If you have a Maxtrac and can locate a copy of the Radius version 21.01 firmware, the matching RSS and the matching Lab RSS you can brain-wipe your Maxtrac and make it a Radius.
The GM300 offers a much more flexible channel steering system - but the capability is dependent on the logic board inside. If you have the HLN8074 series logic board you are limited to 8 channels. If you have the HLN8070 series board you can do 16 channels. Fortunately you can tell from the model number which board is installed. The MnnGMC20xxxxx are 8 channels, the MnnGMC29xxxxx is 16 channels. If you are going to use a GM300 as a remote base you really want the 16 channel version. Look for the "9" in the model number (there can only be one).
If you patch the RSS to allow 32 channels supposedly you can channel steer with five input lines allowing 32 channels... I've not tried to. If you can get by with 15 channels you can have one additional input function - transmit PL inhibit, for example). Personally, I only channel steer with 7 or 15 channels, the 8th or the 16th is whatever the front panel was left in, and I don't trust that to stay put after power has been removed and restored.
This document describes the I/O connector settings and shows one way of handling channel steering. You can also use multiple logic lines from a repeater controller to do the binary selection. The Scom 7K controller has six output lines (originally intended for CTCSS tone selection) that is ideal for this.
One last comment on channel steering: Many folks use the feature to implement a frequency agile remote base on their repeater, for example a VHF GM300 programmed with 2m channels on a UHF repeater. Repeater sites usually do not need high power on their remote bases as the range is usually limited by geography and topography. The low power and high power Maxtracs, Radius LRAs and GM300s use the same heat sink casting. Hams tend to have long transmit times - and it has been my experience that the extra power is not worth the extra heat, and the trip back to the site to replace a fried radio! Despite this warning if you are going to use a Maxtrac, Radius or GM300 as a remote then please consider running your remote base radios at around 2/3 to 3/4 rated power and when possible use the lower power (25 watt) D33 / D34 / M33 / M34 radios.
There are some frequencies that the Maxtrac, Radius and GM300 just don't work on due to internal birdies. Robert Meister WA1MIK did a very nice writeup on this phenomenon.
As an aside, all three product lines are based on a single-synthesizer design, which uses a single VCO. Due to this fact none of these radios will operate full duplex (this is why the DeskTrac tabletop base station and the GR300, GR400 and GR500 series repeaters used two separate radio chassis inside the box).
The low band, high band and UHF MaxTrac and Radius logic / audio boards are pretty much identical and interchangeable within their own product lines, but all of the boards and firmware used in the 900 MHz radios are unique to that radio with the exception of the display board. In other words, the 900 MHz radio design is very unique and except for the display board you can't mix parts between it and any other band.
From an email to repeater-builder:
There's an article in this section on upgrading a standard 42-50 MHz MaxTrac to an Ontario Hydro configuration. Couple that with the low-band MaxTrac to Six Meter conversion article (in the MaxTrac section) and you would have one very nice 60 watt dash mount 99-channel 46-54 MHz radio that could cover the 47 MHz Red Cross channels, the 49 MHz National Guard channels plus 6 Meter amateur radio (simplex and repeaters) all in one box (something that would normally take a trunk mount MaraTrac or M400). Just remember that low band mobile antennas only cover about one megahertz without adjusting/retuning, you'd need a screwdriver-type antenna if you wanted to actually cover even 1/4 of the range of the 46-54 MHz radio while mobile. And there aren't many screwdriver antenna controls that actually read the frequency of the transmitter and adjust the antenna... most (like Kenwood and Icom) get frequency info from the radio via a serial data link.
Another unique MaxTrac that doesn't mix parts well is the famous (or infamous, take your pick) Ontario Hydro low band MaxTrac. (Ontario Hydroelectric is the electrical power utility for the province of Ontario, in Canada). The model number is ACD51MJA9HA5AK, where the AC signifies Canadian manufacture, the rest is a regular model number. Really, it should have been either an "-SP", an "S" or an "X" model (see the "Figuring out what you have" page at this web site on how to break down a radio model number).
The Ontario Hydro MaxTrac is / was a special 42-50 MHz radio with a standard 42-50 MHz RF board and power amplifier mated with a very interesting logic board derived from the standard HLN9313A unit.
The stock MaxTrac/Radius/GM300 logic board uses a 2 kilobyte 24-pin EEPROM in a 24-pin socket, soldered into a 28-pin PC board layout (leaving the top four pins of the 28-pin circuitry unused). Obviously the designer of the HLN9313 planned on someday needing expanded EEPROM space so he or she included it from the beginning. The Ontario Hydro radios use an 8-kilobyte 28-pin EEPROM in a 28-pin socket, soldered into the same 28-pin PC board layout location in the PC board and then two jumpers (implemented with zero-ohm surface-mounted resistors) are moved around. The firmware is a special chip labeled VLN5443A. All of this is described in the manual revision 6802950A44-A, part of the 68P80102W84 MaxTrac manual, described below.
A standard HLN9313A logic board
The 24-pin EEPROM chip socket is soldered into
the bottom 24 pins of a 28-pin EEPROM layout.
The special 99-channel logic board
A 28-pin EEPROM chip fills all the pins
The RSS is also special - VVN4167A for 5.25 inch floppies or VVN4168A for 3.5 inch floppies. Several people have tried swapping an Ontario Hydro logic board into a high band or UHF radio and they claim that it does not work. Apparently when the RSS was modified for 99 channels it was stripped down to the 42-50 MHz range only. I've been told that someone could just add additional entries to the MDF file for 99 channel VHF and UHF radios, but I think it would take someone with an advanced debugging package that could "look" into the 68HC11 CPU chip and the RSS and see where the problems/limitations are before you could have a 99 channel high band or UHF MaxTrac.
Many stock 42-50 MHz MaxTracs and Radius LRA radios have been upgraded to the Ontario Hydro configuration - all it takes is a 42-50 MHz radio with the standard HLN9313A logic board (the only one with the 16-pin accessory connector), the special firmware, the special RSS, a 28-pin socket, the larger EEPROM chip, and some time to swap the sockets, chips and move two chip resistors on the bottom of the board (used as jumpers). The biggest problem is locating the special firmware and the special RSS - everything else is simple.
And if anyone has modified a HLN9313 logic board and then patched the RSS to support a 99 channel configuration on high band or UHF (it should be possible) and would like to do an article then let us know - even anonymously. WA6ILQ has received more than one CD in the snail-mail with a note saying "for repeater-builder" and no return address on the envelope.
The GM300 radio was offered in factory wideband and narrowband models. Occasionally it was necessary for a service shop to convert an RF board. Due to this situation Moto parts made up narrowband conversion kits for the GM300 / M10 / M120 / M130 mobiles. The parts kit numbers are HLN9575 for VHF and HLN9576 for UHF. The price list note says "UHF 12.5K CONVERS/MOBILE" and "VHF 12.5K CONVERS/MOBILE". Both of the kits are about $80 (2007 price).
From an email to repeater-builder:
These conversion kits can be used on limited versions of the Radius M100 / M200 and the Maxtrac mobile radios. Kit HLN9575 is for VHF RF boards and they must be HLD4321C or later (136-162 MHz) and HLD4322C (146-174 MHz) or later. Kit HLE9576 is for UHF RF boards and must be HLE9310B (449-470 MHz) or later.
The kit contains all surface mount components and this is why the kit is limited to the later (surface mount) RF boards. The kit contains the narrow IF filters as well as some caps and resistors and some instructions. The instructions that comes with the kit was scanned and is here.
The UHF kit documentation mentions a limited number of frequency ranges - it would lead you to believe that the GM300 series radios do not operate in the 403-433 MHz range and the GM300 465-495 MHz and 490-520 MHz models do not exist, despite the fact that lots and lots of radios were built in those ranges.
Note that if you convert a radio to narrowband it is not switchable - it's either wide (with the original parts) or narrow (with the new parts).
One major thing to remember is that the radio won't program on the new "in between" narrowband frequencies since the kit only narrows up the receiver IF amplifier, compensates for the lower level of receiver audio recovery and reshapes the exciter modulation. The synthesizer step does not change, so the newly narrowbanded radios will not do the "in between" or offset channels. The modified radio is useful only on the channels it would program on before and the lack of the smaller synthesizer step will be an issue if you expect to be able to progran the new "in between" frequencies into your radio.
Remember to readjust the transmitter modulation level and receiver squelch settings after you install the kit!
There is some disagreement as to if the radio will be type accepted for narrowband service after the mod is done. No type acceptance sticker is provided with the kit. Note that the Maxtrac and Radius model numbers do not have a narrowband option, only the GM300 series model numbers do (the seventh character is a "2" for factory wideband, a "0" for factory narrowband). For example, the M44GMC20D3AA is a wideband radio, the M44GMC00D3AA is the same radio in narrowband.
Please do the next guy that works on the radio a big favor - use with a Sharpie style marking pen and put a note inside the radio chassis that says that the radio has been narrowbanded with the (part number) kit, and the date. And put it inside the radio, NOT on the inside of the lid / cover... I've seen them end up on the wrong radio.
I've not looked at the schematics in detail, but I suspect that you could take the parts list from the information above and acquire the similar through-hole parts and with them you could narrowband the older RF boards. Such a kit would work on the Maxtrac as well as the Radius LRA M100 / M2xx series since once you get past the through hole vs. surface mount issue from the wideband / narrowband aspect the RF boards are esentially the same between the GM300, Maxtrac and the Radius LRA. I also think the kits will work on the Maratrac since the receiver and exciter are basically a 5-pin MaxTrac mounted in the Maratrac chassis.
Programming and the Radio Service Software (RSS):
No matter if you have a Maxtrac, Radius or GM300 family radio, or which band radio you have, the synthesizer is controlled by the radio's internal microprocessor whose operation is controlled by the codeplug (a block of binary data) which is generated with the Radio Service Software (RSS) and loaded into the radio through the Radio Interface Box (RIB). To do any reprogramming of the radios you need the correct RSS, a RIB, the appropriate cables, and a slow PC with a real serial port.
The MaxTrac was designed in the days when the bleeding edge software development computers were 25, 33, 50 or 66 MHz 486-based machines and the average user had a 16 or 20 MHz 386. The MaxTrac and Radius RSS requires a real serial port as it talks to the serial port hardware directly. The earlier version of RSS run only on slow computers as it uses software timing loops to create critical delays (the last revisions of the RSS are less sensitive to this than the earlier ones). You must have an appropriate older computer booted into pure MS-DOS or PC-DOS (version 5 or later) and this does NOT mean a DOS window in any version of Windows!!! If RSS, the RIB or DOS is a new topic to you I suggest that you see the Motorola RSS and RIB page at this web site. There are more details including some "old computer" notes there.
The MaxTrac, Radius and GM300 series are programmable radios as opposed to crystal based. Their internal processor runs a program that is contained in either the CPU chip or in a Programmable Read-Only Memory (PROM) chip (referred to as firmware). If you are going to be doing any upgrading, or you are converting a trunking radio to conventional, you will need a PROM-based radio (which leaves out the HLN9123 low-end 5-pin logic board) and a 27C256 PROM chip programmed with the correct firmware image. you will need to look at the model number table to determine which radios have the expanded logic board. And if you take a logic board from a cheap 800 MHz eBay radio it is most likely going to have trunking firmware, so you will need a replacement conventional firmware chip anyway (or a firmware chip image file if you plan on erasing and reburning the existing chip).
Speaking of trunking, if you find a firmware chip in a radio that has the name "Scholer-Johnson", "SJI", "CVT-2-400", "ver. 2.14", or any combination thereof then you have one of the radios that was converted to LTR trunking (usually 800MHz, but occasionally seen on UHF or even high band). To convert it back to a regular radio you need the stock conventional firmware, and then you get to blank and reinitialize the logic board. Occasionally you find the stock firmware in an antistatic wrapper stuck inside the radio but that is extremely rare. If you want to do anything with a SJ trunked radio (even just to reprogram the frequencies) then you need the Scholer-authored RSS to talk to it. If you don't have it then all you can do is to swap firmware and do a full realignment from scratch (since without it you can't read and save the tuning data before you blank the board).
If anyone is familiar with the SJ-equipped trunking radios, or a SJ-to-regular conversion would like to write an article on it, we'd love to have it. Contact the page maintainer above.
At the time of this writing the latest (and probably the last)
MaxTrac conventional firmware (version 5.34) is available from Motorola,
part number HLN5569A and it supports the max channel count in a low band,
high band or UHF radio. The 900 MHz conventional radio uses a different
logic board, and uses different firmware - it's FVN4019A version 30.03
(or later). The last pricing on either part number had was about $25. There
have been reports that Moto is lo longer selling firmware chips and people
have had to acquire them elsewhere. More notes on firmware, including a
list of 10 different part numbers, is in the "Introduction to..." article
in this section.
If you need a PROM / EPROM programmer I've used the Pocket Programmer and never had a problem. The original ones used the parallel port, the newer ones are USB.
Disclaimer: I'm not related to that company in any way, just a very satisfied customer.
The MaxTrac-specific RSS is part number RVN4019 (on 5.25 inch floppy disks), or RVN4020 (on 3.5 inch floppies). Neither will work on the MaxTrac LS (trunking) models. Later versions were offered on 3.5 inch disks only. The most recent version was used in preparation of the articles in this section. It is Moto part number RVN4019K, identified on the startup screen as Revision R07.02.00a, and dated 25-Jun-97. This version is known to work on Pentium processors as fast as 800MHz.
The Radius M100, M206, M208, M214, M216, and VR100 radios use a different RSS, model HVN9173H, version R08.00.00 dated 05-May-1993, commonly called RADMBL (short for Radius Mobile). It was available on 3.5 inch media only.
The GM300 series, which include the M10, M120, M130 and GM300 mobiles and the radios in the GR300, GR400 and GR500 desktop repeaters use RSS HVN8177. As of this writing the current version is R05.00.00, dated 01-OCT-94. This RSS is only available on 3.5 inch diskettes.
A DeskTrac is a tabletop station that was shipped containing either one
(a base) or two (an intermittent duty repeater) Maxtrac mobile radio chassis
and uses RVN4079, which also has the MaxTrac software as part of it (either
RVN4019 or RVN4020). Yes, the DeskTrac RSS contains two separate RSS packages,
one for the radios and the other for the control board.
But look inside the case before you go looking for RSS - I've seen surplus DeskTrac cases with Radius LRA and GM300 radios in them!
Note that the white plastic case that was designed for the DeskTrac was also used for the Spectra series radios under a different marketing name. The Spectra Consolette (desktop station) is covered on the Spectra page at this web site.
Since the stock Desktrac uses Maxtrac radio(s) the Maxtrac section of the ebay warning notes above regarding operation below 449 MHz applies to the Desktrac as well (unless you put a 438-470 MHz GM300 in it).
More Desktrac notes are in the text below.
To do any logic board swapping in a MaxTrac you will need the MaxTrac Lab RSS, a totally different package. And there are at least two different versions of the Lab software "out there".
The RSS reads the radio and looks up the model number in an internal table that "knows" what the band limits are. Programming any frequencies outside the preprogrammed limits requires using the "Shift" trick or patching the limits in the RSS (i.e. hex editing the RSS file). Operation outside the band limits CAN result in the power control and deviation control functions in the radios going totally berserk - one of the most common results is that the transmitter goes to full uncontrolled power output - I have seen a 60 watt low band Maxtrac put out 109 watts... and you couldn't turn it down. The frequency range was 42-50 MHz and the owner was trying to program Red Cross frequencies in the range of 47.40 MHz to 47.550 MHz as well as 6 meter frequencies near 52 MHz and 53 MHz. Below 50.00 MHz the power control functions worked just as they should, above that the radio ran wide open. There is an article by Bob Meister WA1MIK on the Maxtrac page describing the fix to this problem - and the fix applies to all bands.
The transmitter deviation level is also controlled by the RSS and the radios microprocessor. The total deviation level can also go a little crazy when the radio is programmed outside the limits. Bob has another article on getting the 900 MHz MaxTrac to fully cover 902-928 MHz and the deviation fix is in that article. While the article is written for the 900 MHz radio the circuitry used in the deviation fix applies to all bands.
It's interesting but Moto's RSS software can do things the radio can't - so make sure you don't have the same function (i.e. PL decode out, COS out, etc.) programmed for more than one pin on the accessory connector at the same time. While the RSS will let you do it (the programmer forgot to check for that), the radio doesn't work right if you do... And the symptoms are not what you would expect... So in your programming procedure add a step right before you write to the radio: if you've changed any of the I/O pins go through them one by one, and make sure that no function is duplicated. The radio will do strange things if any are.
People missed this when I had it in standard sized font, so...
On any radio that is new to you you need to download the existing codeplug (the existing frequency, tone and radio-wide data) and archive it. It's better to have a backup and never need it than to need it and not have it.
Before you reprogram your new radio you need to TEST the radio on it's original frequencies BEFORE you do anything to it. Make sure the receiver receives properly, and the transmitter makes proper power and modulates correctly. You don't need to reprogram it or modify it and discover it has problems and you don't know if the radio was good to start with.
On any radio that is new to you do NOT assume that any accessory connector pin programming is present, or if it is there, is correct for your radio environment.
Always plan on reprogramming any newly acquired radio to meet your own requirements.
When you acquire your MaxTrac or Radius radio remember to download and save the original (i.e. commercial frequencies) code plug (for one thing, it contains the tuning information). If you screw something up you will want to be able to backstep to something that is known to be good. If you have access to Lab software make a second backup using that as the Lab backup copies a lot more data to the saved file. And remember, a floppy disk is NOT a good long term archival medium. Hard drive space is CHEAP. Personally I copy any code plug that I want to archive to an archive directory on my hard drive, using both regular and Lab software (each to a different disk file), and that archive set gets copied to a USB backup hard drive and two different CD-RWs (with the media from different manufacturers). More details and some CD-RW media suggestions are on the RSS / RIB pages at this web site.
Final note: If you have problems programming a radio, and nothing
seems to work, open it up and look at the part number of the logic
board and the RF board, then compare that to the radio model charts.
You may find that the model number tag is wrong!
From a posting a while back on the repeater-builder mailing list:
I have found out that my radio is NOT a Maxtrac M100 as the model number tag on it says. It is actually a Radius M216 with a Maxtrac M100 PA and tag on the back. Apparently someone along the line had swapped the original PA with one from a M100 (i.e. swapped the front panel, logic and RF boards into an M100 chassis / PA assembly).So his Maxtrac M100 is actually a Radius in Maxtrac clothing. He had to use Radius "RADMBL" RSS to program it. And this is not a unique situation, I have seen a GM300 front plastic mated to a VHF Radius LRA radio and in another situation a GM300 front plastic was on a 900 MHz Maxtrac.
Above all, remember that the MaxTrac, M-series, Radius LRA series and GM300 are MOBILE radios, made with minimal heat sinks, and while they can be used quite readily as a low-to-medium performance repeater receiver, or as a link receiver, you can NOT use it as a repeater transmitter, as a link transmitter or as an IRLP node radio without due consideration to the normal mobile radio limitations on RF power and duty cycle.
Remember that the beauty of a repeater is that it is a device that allows one-to-many communications rather than a cellphone, which is limited to one-to-one. As such, while any individual user may only transmit for 10 to 30 or even 60 seconds the repeater is transmitting for the duration of the transmissions of all of the users continuously one after the other. And if it's an IRLP-linked repeater then the user count - and transmit time - just increased to add all the users on the other end of the link or reflector.
As a 10% to 15% duty cycle radio the MaxTrac, Radius and GM300 (and the GR series repeaters that were made from them) are designed to transmit for no more than 10 to 15 seconds out of each 100 seconds. This is not to say that you can't transmit for three minutes, but the transmitter is going to get hot, and the longer it talks the hotter the mobile radio gets. These radios were designed for a 10% to 15% transmit duty cycle, and the internal power control circuitry is the only thing preventing the radio from burning itself up.
The MaxTrac and Radius radios have power control circuitry that turns the transmitter power down if you talk too long (all it does is measure PTT time), where the GM300 series radios actually measure the PA deck temperature with a thermistor (hence they "know" if there is a fan present or not). Due to the timer design the MaxTrac and Radius radios assume that there is no fan.
The MaxTrac and Radius power control timer can create a situation where the transmitter goes into power shutdown on its own, which can happen in the middle of a conversation. This WILL happen in a long transmit situation. The radio might not be hot (due to a strategically placed fan), but the microprocessor "knows" it has to be, and steps the transmitter power down to zero. It'll recover for a few minutes after it's unkeyed, then do it all over again until it has adequate time to rest. You really don't want your repeater fading out during something important like a search and rescue operation, or even a 911 autopatch call. The article on Manual Power Control (in this section) shows how to address this problem by bypassing the shutdown control. Just make sure you have a suitable external temperature control system in place (fans, etc). And it would still be a good idea to put a thermal snap-action switch on the heat sink and use it to trigger a backup fan - and maybe a repeater controller announcement.
Despite these comments, if you ARE going to use one then pick a 33 and 34 series radios (the lower power ones) as it is a better choice than a 43 or 44 series as they use the same heat sink casting.
In short, with very, very few exceptions, any mobile radio (Motorola or otherwise) used as a link or repeater transmitter is a recipe for failure, especially if the system includes EchoLink or IRLP... as I said above, the repeater is transmitting for the entire conversation of all the users, one after the other, however with a linked system the user pool now includes everybody on the local system plus everybody on the far end node, or if connected to a reflector then every person on every node that is connected to the reflector.
I've seen a photo of a 110w Spectra trunk mount mobile where the power control failed and let the transmiter run at full blast for as long as PTT was held down. Then one day the driver sat on the microphone for an hour during a road trip. The transmitter PA burned itself up and the radio was not economically repairable (which is why you program the idiot timer into any mobile radio that has one).
The "Executive Summary": If you are going to put up a repeater (or a point-to-point link that will have a similar duty cycle), don't use a low-end low duty cycle mobile radio (from any manufacturer) as the transmitter. It's one thing to use a mobile radio based repeater like a GR300 (or similar) in a shopping mall environment to talk to the rent‑a‑cops or to tell housekeeping to clean up little Johnny's spilled ice cream cone, but you want something with a higher duty cycle as your primary area repeater.
These radios were designed for a range of RF power - for example, the D44 (or M44) series is a 40 watt radio, and is designed to run from 25 to 40 watts, which means not more than 40, but also not less than 25. If you run outside that range, it will be inefficient and run hot. Yes, strange as it may sound, a D44 run at 15 watts runs hotter than when run at 30 watts.
Even this DeskTrac tabletop base (which has a Maxtrac inside and
also came in a repeater version with two Maxtrac radios inside)
has the MOBILE limitations.
Using an external power amplifier: If you want to use one of these radios to drive an external power amplifier, look for a D03, D04, M03 or M04 radio. Those are specifically designed as two watt radios and that is plenty to drive an external amplifier to whatever power level you can afford.
If you have a Maxtrac, Radius LRA or GM300 series radio with a dead PA deck then you can use the exciter output directly into an amplifier that is designed for that power level. The exciter output (from the RF board) on MaxTracs, Radiuses, and GM300s is anywhere from 20 to 50 milliWatts, depending on the operating band (220 mw on 900MHz).
The schematic diagrams show signal levels of +13dBm to +17dBm for various VHF/UHF/800 MHz radios (that's 20-50mW), but +23.5dBm for the 900 MHz models (there's where you get 220mW). These power levels have been confirmed by actual measurement. The exciter output connector on the RF board is a female Taiko-Denki connector. The male connector require a unique crimping tool to be installed properly, and they are designed to fit only a few types of coaxial cable. We've been told that TenTec Corporation (the same folks who make HF gear) down in Tennessee will make RG174 cables with T-D connectors professionally crimped on one end for very reasonable prices (under $10). So get a jumper with a T-D on one end, and a single-hole female BNC on the other and you are good to go.
Initial Checkout, Repair, Tools, and Hardware Oddities:
(This section covers the mobile radios - see the DeskTrac Overview article in this section for additional information on the tabletop station.)
LET THE SMOKE OUT !
The earlier Motorola mobile radio products mostly used push-pull audio power amplifiers and audio output transformers, and drove the speakers as a hot wire to ground. The Maxtrac, Radus, GM300 and many later radios eliminated the audio transformer and they run the the speaker as the push-pull load directly ... both sides floating off of ground. This quirk is significant on your workbench: any audio test equipment that connects to the speaker (such as you would use to make a quieting measurement) must be on the far side of a audio isolation transformer. Motorola has a low-power one as part number SLN6435 in their test equipment catalog (being "test equipment", it's high priced - at about $80), and they also include a cheaper but higher audio power one in every tabletop base station (part number 2580188B01, about $35 in late 2006) since common wireline remote controls expect ground-referenced audio to drive the remote sepakers.
In a pinch you can connect a 2 watt resistor of any value from 8 to 22 ohms to the radio as a speaker load, and use a 600 ohm to 600 ohm line transformer between the radio and the test equipment. I've had good luck with 600 Ohm-to-600 Ohm transformer (like a Triad TY145 - available from Mouser Electronics (p/n:553-TY145P) under $4 as I write this). Note that the audio bandpass characteristics of whatever isolation transformer you use will have to be wider than the audio frequencies you hope to pass through the radio. The Triad TY145 is a broadband audio transformer and if you use that one you won't have to worry about that.
In short, if you ground one of the speaker leads the odds are better than 75-25 that you will let some of the magic smoke out of your radio. So use an audio isolation transformer to prevent this - just put the transformer between the radio and any load that isn't a floating (an ungrounded) stand-alone speaker.
Some radios have this sticker, some don't. Believe it and heed it.
Run all MaxTrac, Radius LRA and GM300 radios with ungrounded (floating) speakers.
The radios that have a 16-pin accessory connector DO NOT have the internal speaker connected by default - it takes a jumper plug to enable it. More details (including a photo) will be found below and in the Interfacing articles.
You will need T8, T10 and T15 Torx™ screwdrivers to open and work on the radios. Torx head fasteners are getting more and more common in the automotive world and most tool stores, even Home Depot, Wal-Mart and Harbor Freight now carry the screwdrivers and bits. Note that the T8 is less common in the prepackaged kits... I've seen a number of bubble-packed kits that started at T10 and went up in size so you may need to hunt a little for a set that includes the T8 size. Personally I avoid the sets with a single handle and changeable bits as my primary bench tools - it seems that you spend as much time changing bits as working on the radio. And after a while the bits get loose in the handle and won't stay put, so you spend more time looking for the dropped bits on the floor (or wedging a piece of paper or foil into the handle to keep the bit in place).
To open the radios you will need to remove the two screws from the control panel (T15) and the four flat-head screws from the sides (T10). Pull the control panel outwards from the front of the radio just a little to free up the top and bottom covers, then pry the covers off. They are identical and split in the middle of each side. Sometimes they're hard to get apart, but nothing else holds them together. Usually you can get them going by using a flat blade screwdriver and starting in the front where the edge is exposed over the metal chassis. If you need to remove the logic board you will need a T8 screwdriver to remove the small flat-head screws that hold the logic board's heatsink to the side of the chassis.
If you acquire a radio and don't know it's history, as you do the initial bench check you will want to check it for frequency accuracy - and test both the receiver and the transmitter separately. First check to make sure all the screws that hold the boards in place are tight. If they are at all loose you will have an unstable microphonic radio. If you find a stripped hole then you will have to install a HeliCoil™ to salvage the threaded hole or relegate that radio to the "to be cannibalized" shelf (i.e. use it for spare parts).
If your new-to-you radio is off-frequency AND it is shock / vibration sensitive you will find that in many cases if you clean the pins and jack between the boards very well the problem goes away. Once the pins are clean a microdrop of a product called "Stabilant-22" (also known as "Tweek") on each pin helps a lot. The 15 mL bottle size is carried by Motorola Parts as part number 1180369E78.
If the entire radio is waaaay off frequency (both transmitter
and receiver) and cleaning the pins doesn't help AND it is NOT
vibration sensitive... well, this is very rare these days, but
does show up once in a while...
The RSS contains a "warp" adjustment to bring the reference oscillator (the main frequency determining circuit in the radio) back on channel, but Motorola had a bad batch of the 14.4 MHz reference oscillator crystals that drifted beyond the ability of the warp adjustment. The story that I heard from two independent sources is that the offshore crystal manufacturer tried to cut one too many corners and didn't fill the crystal cases with dry nitrogen during manufacture, but nobody knows for sure (or if they do, they aren't talking). The crystals passed receiving inspection, were assembled into radios and shipped to customers. Within a year or two they had drifted to the point of being almost unusable. Any surplus MaxTrac is old enough now that any bad crystal has probably already been changed out by the time it is in an amateur radio operators hands, but you occasionally find one that has been a shelf spare all its life. While a crystal house like International, Bomar or JAN is one source for a replacement, Motorola Parts is cheaper in this case (and since it's a stock item you won't have to wait for it). The part number for the 14.4 MHz crystal is 4880174D05 (when you get it don't be surprised if it's labeled "14400.00", "14400", or "14.4"). The part number is the same in the MaxTrac, Radius and GM300 series and it will set you back around US$14. In the GM300 manual Moto says this crystal is not field replaceable but it obviously was in the days of the mass swapout under warranty (supposedly Moto was shipping out thousands of replacement crystals per month for several months). There is a paper tag glued to the side of the factory crystal with an 8-digit number that contains the temperature coefficient information that needs to be typed into the RSS (see this photo), and naturally a new crystal will be different than the old one, but the data on the label on your old crystal should be a good starting point. See the paragraph titled "Reference Oscillator Coarse Adjustment Procedure" on the GM300 info page in this section.
If the transmitter is on frequency then the main crystal is fine. If just the receiver is off frequency (or seems dead) then you will need to check the frequency of the second oscillator crystal. The VHF high band, UHF, and 800 MHz MaxTracs and Radiuses use a 44.645 MHz, crystal, part number 4880008K02, which has been replaced with 4880606B02 for about $20US as of August 2008. If you have a M10, M120, M130 or GM300s look carefully at the old crystal before you order the replacement as some used the 44.645 MHz crystal and some used a 44.845 MHz crystal (part number 4880908W04). The VHF low band radio uses the same 14.4 MHz master oscillator but it uses a 10.245 MHz crystal (part number 4880908W01). The 900 MHz MaxTrac uses the same 14.4 MHz master oscillator but it uses a 38.695 MHz crystal (part number 4808005K21) that no other model uses. Again, in each case the "real" Moto part is probably the cheapest (and since it's a stock item you won't have to wait for it).
There is one exception to the "off frequency" info above. If you have a trunking 900 MHz MaxTrac that has been converted to conventional, and it is about 12.5 KHz off frequency, check the firmware chip part number ! For example, if it's programmed to 927.5000 and you find it transmitting on or near 927.4875 or 927.5125 (and it's consistently off the same amount across the band) that's the second thing you check (the first, as mentioned above, is the pins that connect the two boards). The 900 MHz radios use unique firmware and having a VHF / UHF / 800 MHz chip in a 900 MHz radio will cause multiple problems, but the most visible and easiest to check is that its off frequency ! DO NOT just "make do" and program the radio 12.5 KHz off so that it lands on your target frequency, use the correct firmware ! The off-frequency problem is just the most visible of the problems you will have with using VHF / UHF / 800 MHz firmware in a 900 MHz radio.
If you are not going to be using the accesory connector in the radio (i.e. you will be using it as a mobile) then you can ignore the next couple of paragraphs. On the other hand, if you are going to be using it as a link receiver, as a control receiver, or as an IRLP radio, then you need to pay attention.
There is a 3-pin jumper on the logic / audio board of all the MaxTrac, Radius and GM300 radios that selects the mode of pin 11 in the accessory connector of all the non-900 MHz radios. A shorting jumper selects the "A" position or the "B" position. Note that this jumper does not affect the speaker audio, it only affects one pin in the accessory connector. In the "A" position the pin is fed a constant level of un-muted flat audio (i.e. not de-emphasized). In the "B" position (the factory default) the pin is fed a constant level of squelch-muted normal audio (i.e. de-emphasized) which makes it ideal as a source of receiver audio for feeding to a port on a repeater controller, or to an IRLP card. Needless to say, unless you specifically want de-emphasized audio you want this jumper in position "B". So the first time you have any new-to-you radio open for the first time you will want to verify the setting of this jumper (and in reality, all of the jumpers).
Some other notes on 900 MHz Maxtrac and Radius LRA radios...
Courtesy of Greg Stahlman KJ6KO:
The 900 MHz Maxtrac logic board is unique and has several differences from the low band, high band and UHF ones, two of which are important to those of us that use them in repeaters:Another reader provided this information:
First, unlike the low band, high band and UHF radios the JU 551 jumper on the logic board HAS NO EFFECT on the de-emphasis of the audio that feeds pin 11 on the accessory jack! This is because the 900 MHz radio has different audio pathing and the de-emphasis is done in the “HEARCLEAR” circuitry on the microphone connector / HEARCLEAR board. JU 551 will only select between raw discriminator audio and squelched, high-pass-filtered (PL Filtered) receive audio. The pin 11 audio will NOT be de-emphasized either way! If you want de-emphasized receiver audio, you need to pull it from pin 8 on the microphone jack. If you want de-emphasized receiver audio on the 16 pin accessory connector you need to remove the JU 661 bumper block and add a jumper wire internally from the center pin of JU 551 to pin 8 on the microphone jack.
Second, the microphone input (pin 2) on the 16 pin accessory connector is NOT pre-emphasized! Again, this is done in the HEARCLEAR circuitry on the microphone connector / HEARCLEAR board. If you want normal (pre-emphasized) transmit audio, you must use the microphone jack on the front of the radio, perhaps with a DC-blocking capacitor in line (+ side towards the radio). The rear connector does work, but it delivers non-pre-emphasized (flat) audio to the transmitter.
On 900 MHz and higher the feedline needs a lot more attention than on the UHF and lower frequencies. Personally, I prefer to use the kits designed by Moto for 800 and 900 MHz that use the white Teflon (both dielectric and jacket) low loss coax for any 800, 900 and 1200 MHz mobile antennas. Moto has a nice kit of the NMO mount and 14 feet of coax kit - part #0180351A78 at around $24 each (as of Feb 2011). The coax uses a stranded center conductor (which is A Good Thing when you are mounting the NMO mount on a vehicle trunk lid... in fact there is no excuse to use solid center conductor coax for any mobile installations).
More details on the internal jumpers in these articles:
Cosmetic parts: (including the speaker)
If the Maxtrac / Radius volume control knob is missing, you need to order out part number 3680144M01 (or 3680106M03 for the GM300 series), the Maxtrac 2-channel conventional escutcheon (faceplate) is 1380276L02, the Maxtrac multiple-channel conventional escutcheon is 1380277L01, the accessory connector gasket is 3280014N03, a replacement plastic case half for any of the Maxtrac, Radius LRA or GM300 series radios (the top and bottom is identical) is 1580127L01.
I've seen Maxtrac, Radius LRA and GM300 family mobiles mounted vertically on truck dashboards (i.e. with the front panel horizontal and facing up). In that situation the the speaker grille area seems to be a magnet for coffee cups and soda cans. If the internal speaker in your new-to-you radio is buzzy or raspy you might want to check the speaker cone - in fact the entire internals of the radio - for coffee or soft drink residue. Sometimes you find that the internal speaker is electrically open. If you decide to replace the speaker, for whatever reason, a new internal speaker is/was part number 5080085D02 or D03 (depending on which book you read), both of which have been replaced by p/n 5004639J01 that will run you around US$7 (as of early 2009). BTW, the stock internal speaker is a 22 ohm, 5 watt device. If you are running a Maxtrac, Radius LRA or GM300 as a mobile in a noisy vehicle you will tend to run the volume up loud. Well, the tiny internal speaker gets real distorted real quick as you crank up the volume. In those cases you really will want an external speaker - and the one made for the Micor or Syntor speaker is an excellent choice. Likewise if you are running a Maxtrac, Radius LRA or GM300 as a base station in a noisy office you will find that an external speaker makes a world of difference.
More speaker notes, including model numbers for the better external speakers are below.
If you need to you can purchase a complete new plastic front panel from Motorola for about US$35 and its part number is HCN3217B. It comes minus the escutcheon, that's the flat plate that surrounds the buttons and labels their functions. Or you can scavenge a front panel from an 800 MHz MaxTrac, which are common and cheap, and install a new escutcheon so the buttons are labeled properly. The six channel radios commonly have the scan button labeled as Exit, so if you want a new full feature escutcheon as I said above it is part number is 1380277L01.
Replacing the Antenna Connector in the radio: (with some notes on the DC power connector) (hint: don't do it unless you really have to)
The antenna connector on a Maxtrac, Radius LRA mobile, and GM300 is called a "Mini UHF" and in many cases these radios are the first time that many people have seen this connector. The Motorola part number for the male connector is 2880376E84 and this part number is a crimp-on connector for RG-58 sized cable. There is a Mini UHF male to full size UHF Female adapter available as part number HKN9557A. Several antenna manufacturers sell kits that include the mini-UHF male connector already mounted on the antenna cable. There are a wide variety of test adapters available from this vendor.
Sometimes the chassis mount coax connector on the radio needs replacing... I've seen several with damaged threads, and one that was really mangled. Often the little "teeth", (that keep the plug from rotating when tight) get worn off. The part number listed for the chasis mount mini-UHF female connector in the most of the service manuals is/was 2889309U01. The part has been renumbered in the last service manual (only the last digit changed) to 2889309U03, and will set you back about US$2.15 (early 2007 pricing), however the Motorola dealer web site currently shows a part number of 0980131M01. Either way, at under $3 it's not worth futzing with any problem connector.
The problem is that replacing it is a lot more work than you would expect due to the way the radio was designed and put together (the antenna connector is soldered to the bottom of the RF amplifier board, which is a major pain to remove), so don't proceed unless you really have to. If the only problem you have is worn teeth and the antenna cable connector becomes loose on its own try slipping a tiny O-ring on the center pin of the plug, then tightening the connector enough to compress the O-ring about halfway. The increased friction will prevent the antenna connector from coming loose. Note that this trick is only a stopgap, you WILL have to replace the connector eventually, but it can buy you several years in a base station environment. By the way, this same trick (with a larger diameter o-ring) works on full size PL-259s (it's a very common trick used on CB radios installed in the big 18-wheel trucks).
The antenna connector itself is rather easy to replace, but you must remove the circuit board from the power amplifier to extract it. That also means you must unsolder and remove the DC power connector from the circuit board first. This is much more difficult than it initially seems. The connector leads are thick and the circuit board holes are just big enough for them. The holes in the PC board also have copper sleeves inside that connect both sides of the circuit board together. These sleeves often come out when extracting the power connector, requiring further work to fix the newly created damage.
So if you really have to change it, the large mass means that you need to use a larger soldering iron, or even a soldering gun to heat each lead, then remove as much solder as possible from the joint. I keep my late father's old Weller 8100 soldering gun (purchased in 1958) in the bottom of my tool box just for jobs this. Once the solder is out of the way you can remove the power connector mounting screws (using a T10 screwdriver), then pull on the connector as you alternately and quickly heat each lead at the circuit board. Eventually you will be able to wiggle it out and then you can do a better cleaning job on the leads and holes. Another option is to chop the old power connector apart using a Dremel Moto-Tool equipped with a rotary saw blade, then remove the individual pieces (if you have decided to replace it then who cares if it comes out in one, two or several pieces - minimizing the damage to the circuit board is much more important).
Once the DC power connector has been extracted, you can remove the screws holding the circuit board and RF components to the heat sink. The mini-UHF antenna connector can now be unsoldered from the board, or you can remove its mounting nut and remove it with the circuit board. It's probably better to install the new RF connector into the heat-sink first, then clinch the nut down TIGHT, then reinstall the circuit board, then solder the antenna jack.
Since the DC power connector is already loose on your bench, I'd take a good look at it. If it's worn, damaged or mangled I'd seriously consider replacing it. A new one is part number 0980255E01 and Moto parts price (at the time of this writing - early 2006) is around $11 each. Yes, it's a little steep, but the hard work of removing the old one IS already done ...
Accessory Connector Notes:
Depending on the radio model it will have either a 5-pin or 16 pin accessory connector. Most hams look for the 16-pin radios because they are easier to interface to other equipment. That's fine as it leaves the 5-pin radios for me, and adding a single resistor and a single transistor gets you a COR signal. Adding a DB9 pigtail cable is easy (see the article in this section). And 9 pins are plenty to do everything I need to do... (including feeding power into a receive-only radio).
The radios with a 5-pin accessory connector have the internal
speaker on full-time, where the ones with a 16-pin connector enabled
it with a jumper on the accessory connector. This jumper
can be implemented in any one of several different ways:
1) an official MaxTrac jumper plug inserted in the back of the radio,
2) a soldered jumper wire inside the radio bridging the two pins together.
3) a PC style two-pin option jumper inserted in the back of the radio (not recommended in a mobile environment, but just fine as a base rdio, as a link radio or as a control receiver in a rack),
4) and I've seen one radio where the previous owner simply bent the two pins together (so they were touching) and then soldered them together. It required replacing the entire accessory connector before you could insert an accessory plug into the back of that particular radio.
To enable the internal speaker you will want to tie pins 15 and 16 together or connect an external speaker to pins 1 and 16. Note that one side of the speaker in the MaxTrac and Radius LRA series radios and both sides of the speaker in the later M10, M120, M130 or GM300 series radios is / are hot, and grounding a hot wire (even momentarily) will let the lifetime supply of magic smoke out. The MaxTrac and Radius LRA series uses two inexpensive individual transistors as an audio output stage, the GM300 series uses an expensive audio power module.
Above shows where to put the PC jumper - the rightmost two vertical pins.
By the way, the exposed power pin is the positive pin.
This is the pinout of the 16-pin accessory connector. See the interfacing articles for a complete list of pin functions.
YOU CAN NOT USE THE ABOVE JUMPER TECHNIQUE ON MOST FACTORY-PROGRAMMED RADIOS.
You will find that most radios are programmed for the alert / alarm function when they land on the surplus market. The alert pin is grounded when normal (i.e. not in alert mode) and removing the jumper (i.e. lifting the alert pin off of ground) causes the radio to transmit the alarm signal. The PC jumper on the speaker pins shown above is only usable on radios that have the alert function disabled in the programming of the radio codeplug (which is one of the first things I do when I program a new-to-me Maxtrac, Radius LRA or GM300 family radio). More details can be found on the Interfacing pages.
Note that the GTX radio uses the same 16-pin accessory connector, and it also
needs a speaker enable jumper plug... but the connector has a very different
pinout, which is covered on the GTX pages elsewhere on this web site.
YOU WILL DAMAGE THE RADIO as covered in this warning article - you will kill the audio output capacitor and 9 times out of 10 the shorted cap will kill the MaxTrac speaker amplifier transistors or the GM300 audio output module (which is expensive). Expect that any other radio that uses the same 16-pin plug assembly will also have a different pinout.
The plastic 16-pin accessory connector shell (the piece that plugs into the radio) is DigiKey's part 104422-1-ND. At the time of this writing DigiKey's price is about a US$1.50 each, or about US$1.25 for quantity 25. AMP makes a wide variety of contacts for this shell with varying wire sizes and plating types. The one most appropriate for 22 AWG wire is DigiKey part number A3007-ND (AMP 1-87309-3) at about 14 cents each (or about US$12.50 per hundred). And these pins are gold plated! Mouser part numbers are 571-1044221 for the connector (under US$2.00) and 571-1873093 for the pins (about US$0.20).
The pins snap into the connector body, and once in place are designed to not come out (as you would expect). To remove one you need the pin extraction tool, Moto part number 6680947W01, which can be purchased by itself for about $2, but it is more economical to buy the HLN9242A 16-pin Accessory Kit, which includes this tool along with nine pre-terminated wires, a connector body, and 16 extra (i.e.. loose) socket contacts. At the time of this writing the HLN9242A kit costs about US$7.
Or if you have a piece of 0.020 inch steel shim stock around you can make a pin extraction tool. Look on the "Keys Page" elsewhere at this web site for a photo and the measurements.
There's an instruction sheet that explains how to remove the pins in the GM300 article in this section. Open that article, scroll down to the Accessory Jack section and click on the image that's there. It shows the extraction tool, and where to insert it.
HINT: If you are just getting started I suggest you
buy a HLN9242A kit as you get a connector body, 16 loose pins,
9 pre-ended wires, and a pin removal tool. Then when you
need more plug bodies or pins just order them from DigiKey
or Mouser (both companies part numbers are in the interfacing
articles in this section).
Or... There is also the HLN9457A Hardware Kit (click here for a photo) that is specified for the GM300 but works just fine on the Maxtrac, Radius LRA and CDM series... it has has 16 connector pins, five wires that are eight inches long, with pins already crimped on them however this kit is missing the tool. The price is in the $5 to $6 range.
The GKN6271 is Moto's official ignition sense cable kit.
Replacing the Accessory Connector in the radio: (hint: don't do it unless you really have to)
Occasionally you run across a radio that needs a new 16-pin accessory connector. Maybe one pin is bent, soldered to another, or even broken off. The part number for the 16 pin right angle accessory connector is 2804503J01, at around US$5.25 (early 2007 pricing). Like the microphone jack, do not try and unsolder and remove all 16 pins of the old jack !! It's dead anyway, just use a large pair of diagonal cutters and chop apart the old connector. Once all of the individual pins are free then unsolder each pin one at a time from the bottom and lift each individual pin out of the top of the board with a pair of needle nose pliers. When all are removed clean out the holes with a solder sucker or a round wooden toothpick. Now mount and solder the new connector.
Another source for a replacement accessory 16-pin connector is an old computer motherboard or disk controller card. Most had straight connectors, but some had right angle pin assemblies of 36, 40, or 50 pins that can be cut down to 16 pins. The fun part is salvaging it - i.e. removing it from the old computer board without destroying the connector. If you have to, it's easier to chop the circuit board into tiny pieces (one or two pins each) with a saw blade in a Dremel Moto-Tool and then unsolder the fragments of PC board from the pins. It's a lot of work to save less than US$6.
I've never seen a radio with a 5-pin connector that needed replacing but if you come across one the replacement part number is 0180747T09.
If the internal speaker is not loud enough, the standard Moto mobile speaker with a 5-pin plug is part number HSN4019B, or the same speaker with a 16-pin plug is HSN9326A (photo), or you can take an old Motrac, Motran, Micor, Mastr-Pro or Mastr-II vintage swapmeet speaker and change the plug (just make sure that both sides of the speaker are internally floating off of ground). There are also amplified speakers (used in fire trucks, and other noisy environments) that are part of Motos "Power-Voice" line that include the HSN1000B.
From an email from Jeff Kincaid W6JK:
The MaxTrac family radios have a built-in front panel speaker and sometimes you will find a radio that has the jumper wire that connects the physical speaker to the logic board missing (the radio was obviously used only with an external speaker). A leftover lead from a PC case that has a 2-pin push-on connector on one end will fit the speaker connector on the audio/logic board and substitute temporarily - look in your PC parts box for a leftover front panel red or green LED, or the wiring from a reset button. Just push the two-pin female plug onto the MaxTrac logic board and cut the wires to length then solder the wires to the speaker. At this point you will find that the case half won't go on because the plastic body of the PC connector is too tall... been there... done that... The quick and dirty solution is to remove the two female pins from the PC plug body, put heat-shrink on them individually and push each one onto the logic board pins (see this photo). Note that they will vibrate loose in mobile service but this will get you by in a base station environment or until you can locate the proper connector... some PC sound cards use the actual 2-pin connector that Motorola used and you may find one in someones junk box or at a PC repair shop.According to the manual, the part number for the proper speaker lead assembly, including the connector that plugs into the P10 speaker connector on the logic board is 0180747T30 ("speaker cable assembly"). In mid-2002 it was about US$6.
Microphones, and Replacing the Microphone Connector in the radio:
Occasionally you will find a radio with a bad microphone jack - perhaps from wear, or perhaps from corrosion problems (green mold). Sometimes it's not obvious until the RIB or the microphone does not make contact or is making intermittent contact. Don't attempt to clean it, you are just wasting your time (been there, done that several times). The genuine Moto mike jack for all of the MaxTrac / Radius / GM300 series is part number 0980132M01, available for about US$4 (at the time of this writing - early 2006) from Motorola Parts. Do not try and unsolder all 8 pins and remove the old jack!! You don't want to risk lifting the copper traces on the board (been there, done that, wasn't pretty... was salvaging someone else's screwup). Just use a large pair of diagonal cutters and chop apart the plastic body of the old jack (relax, you are replacing the jack because it's dead anyway), then bend all of the 8 pins straight up away from the board, lifting out the pieces of the plastic body as you go. Once the eight individual pins are free from the plastic body and standing up in the breeze then unsolder each pin one at a time (from the bottom of the board) and lift it out (with a pair of needle nose pliers) from the top of the board. When all eight pins are removed clean out the holes with a solder sucker or a round wooden toothpick. Now mount and solder the new jack.
Note that the base station and mobile microphones for the MaxTrac, Radius,
GM300 and several other radios (including the DeskTrac) look absolutely
identical, but may or may not be interchangeable because they can be wired
differently inside (the differences involve only the first two pins, see the
pinout table below).
So yes, any RJ-45 mic can be plugged into any MaxTrac series radio, but if the first two pins are wired different it may not work. Before you purchase microphones that have a RJ-style plug on the mic cord you need to verify that the wiring is compatible. There is a table of known good microphone part numbers below. If you have one that works but isn't on the list, please let us know the model number so we can add it. Addtional parts information is in the parts catalog PDFs available on the main index page. Note that there are errors in these catalogs, so always check with Motorola's Parts ID group before placing your new mic orders. Since pin 1 and pin 2 in the mobile microphone jacks are unused we take advantage of that in the interfacing article. Both pins ARE wired on the DeskTrac tabletop base / repeater, and one is wired to power, so be careful.
We would welcome any photos or schematic scans for any item in this list:
CES made some aftermarket microphones for the Maxtrac/Radius/GM300 series radios. One of the DTMF mics is the model 600LRAD that sold for over US$150.
The Moto TouchTone / TouchCode / DTMF microphones have a different model number to cover every seemingly different combination of non-backlit or backlit, trunking or conventional, and every mobile radio connector from the 1950s Motrac on up. All are covered in the Motorola Touch-Code Encoder Microphone instruction manual 6881114E07, which as of this writing (mid 2009) is still available from Motorola Parts for about US$3. The model tables in the manual mention fifteen different DTMF mikes, including the HMN3013A used on the trunked MaxTrac/Radius/GM300, and the HMN1037A used on the conventional MaxTrac/Radius/GM300.
Note that Moto issues manuals with the first version identified with a trailing "-O" (meaning "original"), and the first revision is a -A, then the second is a -B, etc., skipping over "-O" if / when they get to it. On this particular manual do not get the original or -A version, get the -B or newer version, as they've added a bunch of useful info with the -B version.
Internally the DTMF microphones are built as a two-board stack, one with the keyboard and electret mic cartridge, the other with the electronics. The conventional and trunked microphones are two similar products that share the same outer case and PTT button and internally have a different set of circuit boards. Several internal parts (JU1, R4, R18, R19 and CR9) and the cord/connector are changed / configured for the different microphone models. Yes, you can convert one to another by changing cords and the internal parts, but it's much easier if you stick within the conventional or trunked versions (i.e. if you need to do a cord swap on a mic for a conventional radio then start with a conventional mic).
There is no factory 16 button DTMF microhone for the MaxTrac/Radius/GM300
other than the expensive and hard to find 16-button CES model. Midland
made some 16-button DTMF microhones that were usable on Motorola radios
(including the Maxtrac/Radius/GM300 series) with not much more than a connector
change. E. F. Johnson also made some 16 button microphones that can be
rewired. Unfortunately I do not have the CES or Midland model numbers,
or the EFJ modification info.
If anyone has done a Midland or EFJ microphone conversion would like to donate the info, even anonymously, we'd love to have it. Contact the page maintainer above.
If you have an old junker carrier-squelch-only microphone (i.e. no PL hangup function built into the hangup button) that has been dedicated to the test bench / workbench it might be worth mounting a toggle switch in the case... wire it so that flipped one way pin 3 is open (the radio is in carrier squelch), the other way it's in PL mode (pin 3 is shorted to pin 4).
Note 1: On the low band, high band, UHF and 800 MHz MaxTrac radios, the microphone jack pins 1 and 2 run through the internal cable to spare pins on the logic board where they sit unused. On the 900 MHz board (with HearClear), these pins are not attached to anything on the board (solder pads only) as the two connections from the logic board are used to provide +9.6V and enable/disable signals for the HearClear hybrid module located on the microphone jack / volume control circuit board. In the 900 MHz radio there is one unused lead in the cable between the logic board and the microphone jack / volume control circuit board and could be wired to pin 1 or pin 2 of the microphone jack and used for other purposes, such as providing a COR signal to the outside world. On low band, high band, UHF or 800 MHz radios this lead was used to provide the headset audio to pin 8 of the microphone jack through a 560 ohm resistor located on the logic board. On 900 MHz radios the headset audio is obtained at the output of the HearClear hybrid module (which is already on the microphone jack / volume control circuit board, so they put the 560 ohm resistor there and freed up a signal pin on the logic board.
Note 2: CAUTION: Some surplus DeskTracs have been found with a modification which replaces the +5vDC on pin 1 with +12vDC. I've been told of, but not personally seen, similarly modified mobiles. Don't count on this pin being unused in a new-to-you MaxTrac / Radius / GM300 or at +5vDC in a DeskTrac until you verify it. My conjecture is that this mod was done for one of three reasons:
The MaxTrac / Radius / GM300 radios can be discussed
in detail on the
Motorola-Radius group at YahooGroups...
Another interesting group is Motorola-User, also at Yahoogroups. Don't waste your time with the "motorola-Radios" group (yes, with a lower case Motorola) as it's totally overrun with spam, and all the moderators and the owner have abandoned it. I was going to pick it up and salvage it, but several emails to the owners and moderators listed email addreses were ignored, and despite spending over six hours on the phone with yahoogroups getting transferred around a dozen different people I couldn't find anyone that could make anything happen (they did, however, excel at saying "that's not my job, let me transfer you").
There are two more YahooGroups just for the amateur 900 MHz band (any make and model of radio - as long as they are 900 MHz):
The first is http://groups.yahoo.com/group/AR902MHz. From the description text: "This listserv is used to further experimentation and utilization of the 902-928 MHz amateur radio spectrum using voice and data communications. Please limit your posts to information relating to these subjects ONLY. Want and For-Sale ads allowed. Do not post EBAY links. Do NOT list non-900 MHz applicable items."I suggest that you join any group that interests you and see if you find it of value. You can always unsubscribe later... (unsubscribing instructions are at the yahoogroups site, and an unsubscribe link is in every message header).
The second is http://groups.yahoo.com/group/900MHz. From the description text: "For those interested in utilizing the 900 MHz amateur radio band. This group is here to discuss modification of commercial radio gear to amateur radio use, repeater construction for 900 MHz, and other related topics relating to the 900 MHz amateur radio band."
The exterior threaded holes in the side of the Maxtrac/Radius LRA amd GM300 radios that are intended for the mobile bracket are metric threaded - 5.0mm by 0.8 thread. This is a common thread.
The standard "trunnion bracket" for the Maxtrac / Radius LRA / GM300 series is the HLN5198A, originally listed for the MaxTrac 820-840 series but will fit any MaxTrac series, Radius M100, M206, M208, M214 or M216 series, or GM300 series radio (click here for a photo - the plastic bag has four sheet metal screws to mount the bracket, and two metric thumbscrews to mount the radio in the bracket).
The locking MaxTrac / Spectra mobile mounting bracket is HLN4426A. Unless the lock has been changed (and that is easily done, and many fleet sales had nonstandard locks) the standard 2135 mobile key will open it. More key info is on the radio keys page.
Due to the oversize (heavy) heatsink on the high power low band MaxTrac they designed a special heavy duty bracket for it, part number 07D80911W01. If you try to use a standard bracket on the high power low band MaxTrac you will soon be buying the special bracket. Click here for photos: Photo 1 Photo 2
All MaxTrac, Radius and GM300 models draw about 5 milliamps when turned
off (standby current for the microprocessor) and about 400 milliamps in
receive (squelched) mode (the GR series repeaters have two radios plus the
control unit so they draw a small amount of additional idle current). Each
of the front panel LEDs or segments draws about 11 milliamps, so the receive
current draw varies a little as you change channels.
Under worst-case conditions (full volume blaring squelch noise) the receiver can draw as much as 1.6 amps.
The transmitter can draw as high as 17 amps depending on RF power level and frequency band.
The "official" power cord for the MaxTrac is the part number HKN4191B "high power mobile to battery cable". The buyers guide rates it as a 20nbsp;amp cable.
The GKN6270 is listed as a DC power cable for low power GTX radio but it will work fine on a low power Maxtrac.
Base Station / Control Station Kits:
In the business radio world the base station that talks into the repeater is called a "Control Station". Motorola made two "Control Station Kits", one for low power (1 to 25 watts) situations, and the other for high power (25 to 60 watts) situations.
This table lists the kit contents:
If you have a small car or otherwise have limited space you can split the MaxTrac / Radius / GM300 in half and mount just the control panel up front and have the rest of it under the seat or in the trunk. Moto themselves used to have a "split kit" for the Maxtrac and the Radius but they discontinued it. Valley Industrial Company (at 800-260-6025) saw a need and filled it with a product called the "Quick-Mount QM1". Unfortunately Valley Industrial seems to have evaporated. The "Quickmount" name has been acquired by IDA Corporation. They make a remote mount / dual control head kit for the CDM750 / 1250 / 1550 radio. At the time of this writing (January 2005) there seems to be no source of remote mount hardware or kits for a MaxTrac or Radius LRA.
The GM300 is another matter entirely (a photo of a remote mount GM300 is
in the "Adding additional channels to the GM300" article in this section).
Motorola still offers (as of Dec 2010) the HLN8143B and HLN8144B kits.
The '43 kit (about US$110) has an 18 foot cable, the '44 kit (about US$95)
has an 8 foot cable, otherwise they are the same. you will occasionally
see the HLN3007B "RMT MTG KIT" advertised as the GM300 kit, DO NOT buy
it! - it's just the radio end - the connector faceplate that goes on the
radio and the cable kit. You will be missing the control head end. The
documentation on the '43 and '44 kits is part number 6880902Z47-A.
here is a photo of what is in the HLN8143B kit.
DeskTrac info: (tabletop base and repeater stations)
If you do any DeskTrac servicing that involves the Logic or RF boards in the Maxtrac radio chassis inside the DeskTrac you will want the W84 manual mentioned above as well as the DeskTrac manual since it does not cover the internals of the MaxTrac radios at all. The DeskTrac controller is programmed separately from the radios. There is a 3-position rotary switch hidden behind the snap-cap in the middle of the front panel, below the Power LED, that selects which unit is programmed. Position 1 (counter-clockwise) is used to program the transmitter, position 2 is used to program the receiver, and position 3 selects the control board. DeskTrac RSS RVN4079 and MaxTrac RSS RVN4019 are both required for complete programming of a DeskTrac. The DeskTrac Service Manual 6802993G65 is very helpful to program and set up the station. Fortunately (as of July 2009) it is still available from Motorola Parts for about $65. It covers all of the LnnSUM series units (where "nn" = 51, 43, 53, 24, 44, 54, 35, 45, 27 or 37). A trailing "T" indicated a factory repeater (i.e. two Maxtrac radio chassis inside). These intermittent duty tabletop stations were found in shopping malls, on school campuses, and other low-duty-cycle applications. An optional front panel microphone jack and speaker allowed the repeater versions to be used as dispatch points as well. Remote-only models (i.e. those with a blank front panel) were used with wireline remote units. The DeskTrac tabletop repeaters were replaced in the product line with the GR300, GR400, GR500 or GR1225 series (and those were replaced with similar CDM-based units).
For more information on the DeskTrac station read the Overview article that is available elsewhere in this section. It contains a LOT of information, including a model number chart.
DeskTrac stations were originally shipped with one (or two, if a repeater)
MaxTrac radio(s) inside, but surplus ones have been seen with Radius LRA and
GM300s. The internal wiring connects to the accessory connector and requires
Contrary to popular belief, DeskTracs were NEVER made with Spectra radios inside. The confusion started because there is a very similar-looking Spectra desktop station, often called a Consolette, but the DeskTrac model name is specific to MaxTrac-based desktop stations.
Note that if you want to run a UHF Desktrac out of range (i.e below 449 MHz) you need to patch the RSS and mod the radio(s). It may be easier to swap the 449-470 MHz Maxtracs with 438-470 MHz GM300s. The only "gotcha" with that configuration is that a Desktrac front panel display doesn't work right when driven by a GM300 - but that usually doesn't matter in a repeater environment (you are only going to have one channel programmed, and most repeaters are in an unmanned situation).
As far as I know Motorola never shipped a Desktrac case with GM300s in it.
As shown in the table in the microphone section above, the DeskTrac has one weirdness that has caught some people. The MaxTrac manual numbers the microphone jack pins from top to bottom, and the DeskTrac manual numbers them from left to right. Six of the pins have the same assignments, but the numbers are sdrawkcab. And the MaxTrac does not use pin 1 or pin 2, the DeskTrac does, and pin 1 in the DeskTrac has a positive DC voltage on it. As long as pins 1 and 2 are not used any Maxtrac mic will work in a Desktrac.
GR series Repeaters:
Motorola sold a series of low-end consumer grade repeaters including the GR300 (photo) tabletop unit, the GR400 wall mount (small photo, large photo), and the GR500 ( interior photo, exterior front photo, connectors photo) wall mount unit. All of these are intended for low duty cycle low-power and low-RF-environment situations / applications like high school or college / university campuses, shopping mall security, sports arena management, etc. They replaced the Desktrac repeater and the R100 repeater (that was based on the German version of the MaxTrac) after it was discontinued. The GR series repeaters were shipped from the factory with two GM300 family radios in them, a controller and a power supply all in a sturdy metal housing. The dual-mobile-radio design allowed VHF or UHF in-band repeat, or simple one-way or both-way crossband repeating. The GR300 housing is part number HLN3052A. All of the configurations that were in-band repeaters had a mobile (notch only) duplexer inside. If you are building one up, or rebuilding one do not bother with the factory coaxial cable kit that comes with the internal duplexer, it is made from some really cheap RG58 grade cable with a very loose weave. Make your own from RG400 and good silver plated connectors and you will have about 3 dB less desense. A GR300/GR500 series spec sheet can be found here.
Does anyone have additional photos of a GR400 (an internal photo would be nice)? Some PDFs of the glossy brochure and spec sheets for the GR300, GR400 and GR500 would be good too... Or originals that we can scan and return?
Surplus GR300 / 400 / 500 units have been seen with almost any two MaxTrac, Radius or GM series (M10, M120, M130 or GM300) radios. The radios used for the repeater receiver require the advanced audio/logic board - the one that has the 16-pin accessory connection, the transmit radios are most commonly the 16 pin but occasionally you find a 5-pin radio with an adapter cable. Moto made the GR series with a variety of interchangeable controllers and in some cases there are jumpers that have to be moved in the transmit and receive radios and the controller to adapt them to each other. The 8 channel GM 300's, the two channel M120 and one channel M10 radios will not work as a receiver with some of the controllers (one of which is the Z310 controller).
Motorola had a DTMF decoder kit for the Maxtrac and Radius series radios that mounted vertically inside the radio behind the front panel. It was intended for use in the receive radio used in a GR series repeater, and allowed remote "set-up" and "knock-down" of the repeater. This was accomplished by switching the ignition control pin on the transmit radio high (to +12v) or low (to ground). The DTMF kit was not popular to start with, is no longer available, and finding a radio equipped with one is very, very unusual.
The most common controller found in the GR-series is a very basic controller called by two different names, depending on which literature you read. In some it's called the "GR300 Basic Controller" (despite the fact it was used on other models as well), in others its the "Repeater Interface Communications Kit" or "RICK". No matter what name is used, it is model number HLN3333B. The RICK is so basic that it does not even have an identifier as that is not required in many commercial services or in GMRS. It also does not have a courtesy beep.
The RICK is configured with dip switches or internal jumpers. Some of the controllers, like the i20, use their own unique RSS.
A RICK-based repeater is not legal in the amateur radio service since the RICK does not have an IDer nor any way of remotely shutting off the repeater short of driving to it and hitting a front panel switch. The simplest way to get both remote control and an IDer is to replace the RICK with a different controller designed for the amateur radio service - there are others, but two good inexpensive single-port units are the NHRC-4 or the ICS Basic. No matter which replacement controller you use, the standard DTMF functions built into the controller can be used to disable the repeat function.
As simple as the RICK looks, the designer included as much functionality as he could - the circuitry at first look is complex. You really need the book to follow what is going on, and at about US$5 it's really worth it. The technical description is easy to follow. Until you get it, here's the schematic. It's a highly detailed 300 KB file. You will want to print it. Once you divide the schematic down into functional blocks you will see that the overall design is very well done for what it is and how it works. To use a RICK on two MaxTracs, LRA Radius or GM300 radios you will need at least the HKN9837 Intercabling Kit, and probably the HLN9822 Hardware Kit and the JLN9839 Mounting Hardware Kit.
I have seen several installations that have both a ham repeater (with a regular controller such as a NHRC, Scom, etc) and a RICK-based GMRS repeater in the same rack. You can add remote shutoff to a RICK-based repeater by wiring the transmit radio for ignition control and using a digital output pin on the ham repeater controller switch the ignition control pin to +12vDC (to enable the transmitter) or to either ground or to floating (to disable it).
An alternative method of IDing a RICK-based repeater that has been used
with some success is to purchase an ID-O-Matic kit from NØXAS (at
http://www.hamgadgets.com) and patch it
into the RICK transmitter audio. The back of the RICK has both a RJ45 connector
on the receive side (for a VOX function that frankly is next to useless) and
the 16-pin connector for the receiver, and a second set of connectors for the
transmitter. The 16-pin plugs are used for the radios leaving the transmit
side RJ45 open for the cable from the ID-O-Matic - pin 2 and pin 6 is ground,
pin 3 is mic audio, and pin 4 is PTT. All you have to do is add a wire
internally to an unused RJ45 pin for COR. The ID-O-Matic does the rest.
Or you can use the ID-O-Matic to replace the RICK as well - see this article.
Moto offered several optional controllers on the GR300 / 400 / 500 units that fit in place of the RICK unit, and the manuals have information on the I50R Basic Interconnect, the I750R Selective Calling Interconnect, the ZR310 Multiple Tone Community Repeater controller, the ZR320 Selective Calling Interconnect controller, the ZR340 Advanced Interconnect controller, and the TRA100R Tone Remote Adapter. If you want to use a GR300 as a multiple-user repeater then you need the ZR310 (but watch the duty cycle). Don't bother asking Zetron for info on the ZR-series controllers that they designed and built for Moto, they have NO info available (some kind of legal agreement is involved). Everything that is available is in the Moto manuals.
A couple of tricks that are not in the manuals:
The GR300 power supply is the
or HPN8393, both of which are made by Astron for Motorola, and are
unusual (for Astron) in that they are built for 50/60 Hz and with
a 120v / 240v switch.
The GR1225, the RKR1225 and some GR400s used the HPN9033 that was built by DuraComm for Moto.
Some GR1225 repeaters were equipped with an Astron SL-15M supply, which Motorola identifies as the HPN9041 mentioned above. A GR1225 service manual addendum added the schematic of this supply.
The GR500 power supply is the HPN9005 that is made by StarWerks, Inc. at 847-397-3600.
Most of the above can be fitted with the HLN9455 Battery Revert Accessory - a combination battery charger, monitor, and switchover control unit that was also used in the CDR700, GR1225, GR1225 and RKR1225 repeaters.
The GR series optional internal duplexer was avbailable on both highband and UHF units. Both are designed for repeater offsets greater than 4 MHz, are notch-only and hence are not appropriate for a high RF level site as the unit provides no protection from anything other than it's own transmitter. As long as you understand and do not exceed the limits of a notchplexer, it will work fine, however it comes with some really poor RG58-style RF cabling. On more than one occasion folks have replaced the cabling with RG142 or RG400 and reduced the local desense a minimum of 3 dB, and occasionally as much as 6 dB. If you are going to add a duplexer to a GR series repeater just buy the duplexer by itself and fabricate your own cable kit from real mil-spec RG-400 and some real silver plated connectors (no nickel plated ones).
The GR series manuals listed below only cover the specific GR unit itself. You still need the manual(s) that cover the radio(s) themselves. (prices listed are mid-2006)
The i50R "Basic Interconnect" manual section was scanned and the schematics are here and the setup / configuration is here.
The GR1225 was a follow-on to the GR300/400/500 series repeaters and used the full duplex R1225 radio as the foundation. The rack mount version of the GR1225 was the RKR1225. Here's the brochure. It was discontinued in October of 2008.
The PDF of the GR1225 brochure and spec sheet is here. It was based on the R1225 full duplex radio that was based on the GM300. Yes, the single chassis had two antenna jacks. Note that while the R1225 transceiver does have a 16-pin accessory connector the pin assignments are not the same as on a MaxTrac, GM300, or Radius radio.
The R1225 radio is no longer in production but when you can find them they are found in high band and UHF models and was switchable from wideband to narrowband on a per channel basis. The radio has a fairly decent internal controller with a carrier delay (hang-in) timer, a timeout timer, a MCW IDer, and a courtesy beep, however, like the GR300/400/500 series the GR1225 cabinet has a slot for an additional controller. Moto offered several optional controllers, most of which are the same as the GR300/400/500 series. The cabinet also had space for an internal mobile duplexer and a slot for the HLN9455 Battery Revert board mentioned above. One thing the GR1225, R1225 and the RKR1225 rack mount version does NOT have however, is an internal speaker! You will need to plug an external one into the accessory connector. The RICK / HLN3333 has an accessory jack just for that.
Moto made a Windows-based package for the GR1225, HVN9054D RSS. Once you have used it, you cannot use the earlier DOS-based RSS to read from or write to the radio (you get the classic "code plug too new" error).
The available models of the GR1225 were:
The manuals are:
Motorola radio service and repair manual R1225 VHF UHF 6880905Z53 (this is for the radio only), as of December 2010 the manual is still available from Motorola Parts for about US$13.
Motorola GR1225 Repeater Service Manual 6880904Z90. This has nothing on the R1225 radio itself.
The User Manual for either the GR1225 repeater or the R1225 base is HLN9535.
There was also a kit to swap the two radio chassis in a GR400 or GR500 for a single R1225 radio (this allowed a GR400 or GR500 to be narrow-banded, and the two radios that were removed could be used elsewhere or sold).
The GR1225 / RKR1225 has been replaced by the CDR500 (desktop) and CDR700 (wall mount) in the current sales guide. Click here for the CDR500/700 brochure.
Note that there is a mobile radio called the M1225. Despite the identical model numbers the M1225 and the full duplex R1225 radio are totally different animals. The M1225 can be programmed down to 440.0000 MHz using the shift-key method, however the receive sensitivity and the PA tuning is severely impaired when programmed this far out of the design range. Click here for the M1225 user guide.
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This page originally posted 05-Jan-2005
Credits and Acknowledgements:
MaxTrac, Radius, GM300, Spectra, GT, GTX, GR300, GR400, GR500, Hear Clear, Radio Service Software, RSS and many other names are trademarks of Motorola Inc.
Torx is a trademark of the Camcar Division of Textron / Textron Innovations Inc.
Moto-Tool is a trademark of Dremel, Inc.
Original text by Mike Morris WA6ILQ, Neil Johnson WBØEMU, Scott Lichtsinn KBØNLY, Bob DeMattia K1IW, Robert Meister WA1MIK, Jeff Kincaid W6JK, and Don Best N6ALD.
Front-view photos of the two-channel and multi-channel radios at the top of the page by Robert Meister WA1MIK.
Photos of the GR400 courtesy of Gregory A. Hatten.
Photos of the M10, M120, M130 and the GM300 radios (the links in the text) provided by WA6ILQ.
Edited text, artistic layout, several photos on this page and the hand-coded HTML is © Copyright 2005 and date of last update by Mike Morris WA6ILQ.
This web page, this web site, the information presented in and on its pages and in these modifications and conversions is © Copyrighted 1995 and (date of last update) by Kevin Custer W3KKC and multiple originating authors. All Rights Reserved, including that of paper and web publication elsewhere.