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MSF5000 Analog Station Programming
By Robert W. Meister WA1MIK
The information provided here is to be used by people who wish to configure the station as a stand-alone repeater (using the internal MSF5000 control tray for all functions) or as a base station (which can be operated as a repeater by interfacing it with an external repeater controller).
Configuring an analog station as a stand-alone repeater will NOT meet the current FCC requirement (47-CFR-97.119, 2000 revision) for identification every 10 minutes. This parameter, among others, is fixed at the commercial standard of 15 minutes. However, an external controller will offer amateur-legal parameters and more flexibility, so these stations are still useful.
After seeing and receiving enough questions about programming the analog stations, I figured there was sufficient need for an article about the various parameters that a person would need to provide to successfully program a new code plug.
Analog, in this context, just means that the control tray cannot support encryption. The digital-capable and analog-plus stations CAN support encryption with the addition of a secure module. Both configurations use microprocessors to control station operation; in that sense they're all digital.
The analog stations store their code plug data in a 2732-style EPROM, which must be burned in an R1800 or R1801 suitcase programmer equipped with the proper adapter and firmware. This article is based on the documentation I was able to acquire for firmware version 08.
The Station Control Board (SCB) contains one code plug. The Tone Remote Control board (TRC) contains its own code plug and is programmed separately. The DC Remote Control board and the Trunking Remote Control board are controlled by the SCB and do not have code plugs to deal with. This article will only cover the code plug in the SCB.
There are two EPROMs in the SCB. One contains the code plug (the smaller IC). The other contains the operating code (program) for the microprocessor. The data in the code plug is read and interpreted by the microprocessor. Their locations are clearly marked on the SCB in the upper left corner of this photo. The 2732 EPROM programs with 25V; the 2732A EPROM programs with 21V. The code plug uses the 2732A part.
Analog PURC5000 stations are typically paging transmitters, although they could have a functioning receiver on a different band. The MSF programming firmware knows about these stations as well as analog base/repeater stations.
There are several individuals and commercial entities that specialize in programming MSF5000 analog stations. Two are listed on the MSF Index page. Others can be found by searching the web.
The programmer goes through a rather complete dialog that covers over a dozen parameter topics or areas. Information must be filled in or modified by the user before attempting to burn a new EPROM. The programmer can read the parameters from an existing EPROM or start fresh with a blank/default code plug based on the model number of the station and options present in it. These areas are:
Each of these areas is summarized below. Note that each area will need values provided for every channel. Most repeaters are configured for one channel only, but it could be useful to have multiple channels programmed with the same frequencies but with different coded squelch info. I have provided a planning sheet as a 50kB PDF file which can be downloaded here with space for all the parameters.
Note that certain selections made in earlier questions may eliminate or change future questions. For example, if you do not specify the wire-line ("W") in the PTT Priority list (area 6), you may not be presented with the Wire-line Duplex question (area 17).
The MSF programming firmware knows about a limited number of station models. I'm sure that newer revisions are aware of additional models. The 12-character model number and its variations are shown in the following table, broken down into characters 1-6 and 7-12:
First six characters:
Second six characters:
Any position with nothing beneath it must contain the constant number or letter shown in the top line. Not all of the last six characters have been verified, and some combinations are not shown in the manuals I had available. Almost all of these stations operate on 120VAC, so from now on I'll refer to them as CLB stations.
The suitcase programmer relies on the model number for a lot of information. On 896 MHz stations, proper entry of the revision (A or B) is important, as differences in the Uniboard require unique frequency programming data to be present in the code plug.
Options are specified in the manuals as the letter C followed by two to three digits. Leading zeroes are added to pad the options to four digits for use by the programming firmware. The following list (sorted by description/function) shows the options I could pull out of all of my CLB documentation; I'm sure it's incomplete. Not all options are available for, or compatible with, all stations. Some options are mutually exclusive. Not all of these are recognized by the programming firmware, nor are they important to the code plug data.
Number of Channels (1):
Up to 15 user channels may be programmed depending on the station's options. Typically, four channels are supported on all systems.
The firmware will also fill in data for a "tuning" channel. This is typically one channel higher than the number of channels specified here, so if you tell the programmer that you want one channel, you'll actually have two: one with your data, one with tuning data. The fields are filled in with specific values noted below at the end of each area.
The CLB programming does not make a distinction between "modes" and "channels" which are separate entities in the CXB RSS programmer. Each channel on the CLB is complete and has all the data it needs; there is no sharing of common data like they do with the modes on CXB stations.
RF Frequency Information (2):
Range checking is on by default. This limits the frequencies to specific ranges as follows: model range 4 (UHF): 403-520 MHz; model range 5 (800 MHz): 806-950 MHz. You only need to disable this field if you'll be entering frequencies outside these limits.
Receive and transmit frequencies must be an exact multiple of the designated reference frequency for that particular model, i.e. 5.00 or 6.25 kHz.
The receive frequencies are entered for each channel. The data is entered in kHz. For PURC (transmit-only) stations, the receive frequencies will automatically be set to 000000.00.
If the station model indicates an 896 MHz station (band 5), the transmit frequency will be automatically calculated to be 39 MHz higher than the receive frequency. You can accept that or reject it and enter a different one yourself. Since the 900 MHz amateur band is not that wide, you must specify your own transmit frequency.
The tuning channel frequencies are automatically generated based on the station model number. For UHF (band 4): RX = average of all receive channel frequencies, TX = average of all transmit channel frequencies. For 896 MHz (band 5): RX = 898700.00 kHz, TX = 937700.00 kHz. For PURC stations (band 5): RX = 000000.00 kHz, TX = 932000.00 kHz. Note that the transmit frequency may NOT be on a valid frequency for the service or band you're using. Whenever the station will be transmitting on the tuning channel, it must be connected to a dummy load.
Coded Squelch Information (3):
Choose whether the encode signal is to be PL, DPL, or CSQ. Depending on the choice, the appropriate PL or DPL code is then entered for each channel. The PL code is the actual Motorola code for the PL frequency, i.e. 1Z, 4A, etc., NOT the frequency in Hz. The three-digit DPL code is entered directly. CSQ means no encode signal is transmitted.
A similar dialog is provided for the decode signal, same choices as for encode. CSQ means no decode signal is required to open the squelch.
The tuning channel will specify DPL code 031 for both transmit and receive.
P-T-T Time-out Timer (4):
There are three push-to-talk time-out timers, one for each PTT source: the wire-line, the local microphone, and the repeater. Each can have one of 32 values, in 15 second increments, i.e. 0, 15, 30, 45, ..., 450, 465 seconds. Setting a timer to 0 means that particular input has an infinite time-out (it will never time out). If you'll be using an external controller on your analog station, make sure the time-out timer, for the PTT source you connect to, is set to 0 seconds.
The tuning channel will have all timeout timers set to 0 seconds.
Repeater Drop-out Delay (5):
There are 8 possible repeater drop-out delay values, 0 to 7 seconds.
The tuning channel will have this field set to 0 seconds.
P-T-T Priority Information (6):
The push-to-talk priority consists of a sequence of letters that specify which of the input sources can cause the station to transmit. The left-most letter has the highest priority. An input source of a higher priority will over-ride one of a lower priority and gate the appropriate audio source through the station. The possible letters are: W: Wire-line, L: Local microphone, R: Repeater. You can also enter OFF if you don't want the station to ever transmit. Valid combinations are: WRL, WLR, RWL, RLW, LWR, LRW, WL, LW, RW, WR, RL, LR, W, R, L, OFF.
The tuning channel will have this field set to "L".
Repeater Control (7):
For repeater stations, you need to set up the conditions necessary for a user signal to activate the repeater. There are several letters that specify these conditions: S: Received Carrier (Squelch) needed, C: Coded Squelch (PL/DPL) needed, A: Auxiliary Detect needed, D: PL DIS switch causes the PTT to revert to Carrier Squelch operation. Additionally, you can enter OFF to completely disable the repeater activation function, or ON to make the repeater always active. Valid combinations are: SCAD, SCD, SAD, CAD, CD, AD, SCA, SC, SA, CA, S, C, A, OFF, ON.
There are similar requirements for keeping the repeater going (hold-on) once it's been activated. This field operates the same as the previous one and accepts the same data. Usually these two fields are set to the same values, but there could be situations where you require PL/DPL and an input carrier to activate the repeater (SC), but only require a carrier (S) once it's going.
Combinations operate using "AND" logic, meaning if you have "SC", both carrier AND PL/DPL are required; lose either carrier or PL/DPL, and the repeater stops repeating. It may seem obvious that the squelch will be open with an incoming carrier, but you will get a shorter squelch tail if you include the "S" in these lists, especially if using non-Motorola radios, because the squelch will close with loss of carrier (S) or PL/DPL (C). If you only have "C" and lose the input carrier, the PL/DPL decoder will keep the squelch open for half a second or more before noticing the loss of PL/DPL and closing. There is no priority associated with the way letters are entered.
With the letter "D" in the list, when the front panel PL DIS switch is set, this removes the requirement for coded squelch on the repeater. There is no "D" parameter for the receiver control (area 8) as setting the front panel PL DIS switch always disables the PL/DPL requirement.
There are several illogical combinations. For example, setting the activation code to OFF but setting the hold-on code to ON, or setting the activation to S but setting the hold-on code to C.
The tuning channel will have both fields set to "OFF".
Receiver Audio Control (8):
The receiver has a field that controls how the audio passes through the station. It uses most of the same letters as the repeater control fields: S: Received Carrier (Squelch) needed, C: Coded Squelch (PL/DPL) needed, A: Auxiliary Detect needed. Additionally, you can enter OFF to completely disable the receiver audio from getting out of the station, or ON to always gate the receiver audio through. Valid combinations are: SCA, SC, SA, CA, S, C, A, OFF, ON. The same notes in the Repeater Control (7) area apply regarding "AND" squelch.
The tuning channel will have this field set to "ON".
TX Audio/Data Mixing (9):
This field lets the user decide whether external data can mix with the station's three audio sources. You can set each field to YES or NO for each one: LIN (wire-line), LOC (local microphone), or RPT (repeater).
The tuning channel will have all three fields set to "NO".
Auto ID Call Signs (10):
Enter the call sign of up to 13 characters for the CW ID. Make this field all blanks to disable the CW ID.
None of the useful CW ID parameters are changeable. The ID will fire 5 seconds after the loss of carrier, and every 15 minutes thereafter. The tone frequency will be 800 Hz and the characters are sent at 15-20 words per minute. The 15-minute time interval between ID cycles is not legal for amateur repeater use. This single parameter is a major reason why you can NOT use the analog station's internal controller for an amateur repeater.
The tuning channel will have the call sign set to all blanks and will not transmit a CW ID.
Alarm Tone Routing (11):
Station alarms can be sent over the air and over the wire-line. ENABLE or DISABLE each one. Alarms are sent as one, two, three, or four 1600 Hz beeps periodically.
The tuning channel will set both of these fields to "DISABLED".
DC Remote Currents (12):
The current and polarity inputs for various remote control commands are specified here for the wire-line input. This topic will not be covered further.
MUXBUS Power-up (13):
This feature lets the station preset specific operating modes when it powers up. This topic will not be covered further.
Spectra-TAC Info (14):
The station can be either a RPTR or a BASE station. The default for stations without Spectra-TAC is RPTR.
MCS Station Information (15):
The Multi-Coded Squelch option is contained on an additional board mounted in an expansion tray on top of the control tray. An EEPROM located on the MCS board controls its operation. The suitcase programmer can read and write this EEPROM via a serial cable and additional firmware. This topic will not be covered further.
RA Station Information (16):
RA stands for "Remote Access" and implies a station with a DC or Tone Remote Control board. In-cabinet repeat can be enabled (YES) or disabled (NO). This is sometimes referred to as "repeater set-up" and "repeater knock-down".
Wire Line Duplex (17):
This field controls whether the wire-line is full duplex (YES) or half duplex (NO). It does NOT affect the station's RF capabilities (base or repeater). All MSF5000 stations contain independent transmit and receive circuitry and can do both at the same time. The wire-line control board (DC or tone) has to be configured to use two pairs of wires if full duplex operation is desired.
Acknowledgements and Credits:
Most of the information came from an old copy of RTL-4826C: MSF5000 Station Control Code plug Programming Manual, 6880310B31, dated 11/20/87.
Additional options and other information came from a UHF CLB station manual, 6881062E75, and a 900 MHz CLB repeater manual, 6881064E70.
Gary W7TRP, Bernie KH6IAH, and Marion KC5DPC provided additional information and verified some of the choices.
MSF5000, PURC5000, PL, DPL, and a whole lot of other terms are trademarks of Motorola, Inc.
The author can be contacted at: his-callsign [ at ] comcast [ dot ] net.
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This page originally posted on Thursday 08-Feb-2007
Article text, artistic layout, and hand-coded HTML © Copyright 2007 by Robert W. Meister WA1MIK.
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.