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  Some Comments on the Motorola Radio Service Software (RSS)   Print this Page

This article assumes that you have read the background articles listed on the RSS index page.

Note that saying "the RSS software" is redundant - you are saying "the Radio Service Software software". So stop that.

Each RSS package has two numbers and a date associated with it: the part number, the version number and the version date. The part number correlates to the radio models, series or types that that particular RSS will program, and the version number (or release number) and date is just that, and is used only to see if one copy is older or newer than another. Each version number is dated on the startup screen. Other RSS articles in this section have more details on versions.

Some CPS/RSS will program several different series of radio (like the GM300 RSS will also program several other models), others only one (like the MT1000 handheld). Some radios have the same external look but have different internals and require different RSS programs (like the HT600 and MT1000, or some of the Maxtrac and Radius models).

Many people believe that Motorola will not sell RSS to the public. This is FALSE. As long as you are willing to sign the license agreement and pay the price, they will provide it to you, just call the parts department at 800-422-4210. However, some of these RSS packages cost US$250 and up! And unfortunately some are No Longer Available (NLA), so even if you wanted to be legal and buy it, you can't.   Why Moto would set themselves up to lose a court case (i.e. "I tried to be legal, your honor, but Moto wouldn't sell it to me, so I had to get a bootleg copy to fix my customers radio") is beyond me.

To do any reprogramming of Moto's synthesized radios you need the appropriate CPS or RSS for that model or series radio, orderable from Moto just like any spare part once you sign the RSS license agreement (and note that the agreement may be different in different areas of the world). This signed agreement must be renewed every two years and is a legal contract between you and Motorola, Inc. and their lawyers wrote it totally in their favor.

In addition to the software license agreement you must purchase a separate software license for every model you require. Most of the RSS packages runs between $200.00 to $400.00, this includes two years of updates and telephone support. In the United States you need to contact Moto at 800-814-0601.

We repeat: The only legal way to possess RSS is to complete the license agreement and purchase it directly from Motorola. Also, there are several federal laws that cover software piracy. The only copies you can make are archival or off-site back-ups.

Note that much of the RSS that can be found on the internet is infected with virii of various forms, or has been modified or patched for various reasons ‑ out of range operation, or to enable later features (scan, etc), to let an older version work on additional or newer models, etc. Some of these modifications make the original brittle software even more fragile. You really don't know what you are getting...

You will see people selling RSS on eBay or other auction sites. Whether it is on a hard drive "from a 2-way shop radio programming computer", or selling the entire computer, a copy of a floppy disk or CD, or even the original Motorola RSS package. From the point of Motorola's legal group all of this software is being sold illegally. There are very strict provisions in the licensing agreement, and what it all boils down to is that once you pay for the software it still belongs to Moto and all you bought was permission to use it at the location that they give you permission to use it and only for as long as they want to give you that permission.

Don't be fooled by the auction sales disclaimer "purchaser is responsible for all licensing of this software"... that statement is almost criminally misleading and is only there to get the auction past eBay's lawyers (who obviously have not read the Moto license agreement ‑ despite it being available on the web ‑ if they had they would not have allowed the auction). You will never be able to license any RSS you get from anyone except Motorola ‑ the eBay licensing disclaimer means absolutely nothing, because Motos lawyers wrote their own licensing agreement so that the software cannot be transferred in any way, shape or form, or acquired from anyone except Motorola... You see, Moto sees RSS, no matter how badly it's written ‑  as a profit generating product and they are out to get every last sale that they can get. If you were to try and register your just-paid-for eBay RSS, Motorola would just laugh, thank you profusely for volunteering that are not only a thief, but a stupid thief in that you willingly identified your theft and where you live, and then send their lawyers after you.

It appears from a casual read of the license agreement that even if you purchased a running 2-way shop, perhaps when the owner retired, and he sold you the entire business, with all tools and inventory, the way the license is written it looks like you would have to mail back all the original disks and buy all new ones. Even if the hypothetical shop inventory had some very old RSS that Moto no longer sold the way the agreement reads you'd have to mail back the disks and books and do without. Where does that leave the shops customers?

The RSS manuals and RSS media are both covered in their license structure. A casual read suggests that it is just as illegal to sell an old manual as it is to sell an old floppy or CD. Also usually you can't just go buy an RSS manual unless you've signed the license agreement for that particular product ‑ it has been tried and sometimes you can get it from Moto Parts, sometimes you can't. Besides, you would not need a manual unless you already had acquired the software...

Another point: having one signed license for one product (for example, MaxTrac RSS) in no way gives you any privilege towards another product (for example, Spectra RSS, or MSF RSS). Remember that Moto considers RSS to be a profit product: you have to pay full price and sign a licence agreement for EVERY different RSS part number / type of radio. There's no quantity discount or blanket license. And if a purchaser has more than one location, for example, a 2-way service company that has a shop on each side of town, they have to buy a separate copy for each location (even if they have only one radio programming laptop computer, and one technician that spends time at each of the shops).

Moto considers possession of RSS or CPS not licensed to you as serious, and I've been told that they use the purchases of the RSS manuals as leads. Checking the RSS or CPS license is easy ‑ all they have to do is look at their own sales records... did you ever buy a copy? Does your employer do repair of Moto radios and did he ever buy a copy and assign it to you? If not, and you have a copy in your possession, you get sued. Period. No excuse. Mobile Radio Technology magazine reported that in 1999 Motorola filed on a Canadian citizen in Toronto Federal Court, claiming possession of and use of unauthorized copies of RSS. In 2000 Motorola filed individual suits against five people that were selling RSS on eBay. One of the five lived in Los Angeles County and that particular suit ended up in Federal court in downtown Los Angeles. The public court records there show that the filing there was for US$1.2 million against the one defendant, and covered only RSS possession, not use or sale. The media reports said that the only basis of the lawsuit was that the defendant "acquired Motorola's RSS for many of its two-way radio models without the company's consent."

Possession of either "Lab" or "Depot" RSS is considered as a much more serious offense than regular RSS as it was never intended for use outside the Moto Design Lab or Repair Depot, especially by Moto's customers... if you have a Lab or Depot RSS you are in possession of stolen company confidential property. Motorola has been known to hit single individuals with lawsuits in the US$60,000 range for the mere possession of one of these programs.

In spite of the above, if you are still in the market for pirate RSS, don't look on this web site or ask the site owner or the author of this web page. When I need one of RSS-based radios that I own reprogrammed I call a friend that works in a local police department radio shop, or another friend that owns a 2-way shop (he uses a 66MHz 486 that has been modded with a speed switch allowing it to be run at 66 MHz, 20 MHz or 8 MHz). I take my radio over to the shop, download and update the code plug, reprogram the radio, zip up the new code plug and email it to myself at home then add it to the CD/RW... archived code plugs aren't illegal to have, just the RSS that created them.

Neither Repeater-builder or its staff will be a part of the distribution of pirated software, and you won't find any here. We don't have any links or information on other sources for RSS, so don't waste your time (or ours) by asking. The legitimate real stuff is too easy to get, it comes virus-free, with a manual, and Moto offers support ‑ if you have problems you can call an 800 number and get telephone help. Besides, if we were stupid enough to have bootleg RSS in our possession, do you really think we'd admit it on a web page, or to some stranger via email or on a phone call?

And finally, as stated elsewhere, and repeated above: Repeater-Builder is NOT responsible for anything YOU do. If you misuse any RSS, or run it in a DOS Window, or on a too-fast computer that makes it crash or corrupt a code plug, it has the potential for turning expensive radios into bricks.

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This web page first posted 16-Mar-2004

Motorola® is a registered trademark of Motorola Inc.   CPS, HT600, MICOR, Mostar, MT1000, R100, Radio Service Software, RSS, Radio Interface box, RIB, Saber, SmartRIB, Spectra, STX, Syntor, Syntor X, Syntor X9000, Systems Saber and other terms used in this article are trademarks, service marks or copyrighted by Motorola Inc. and are used in this writeup and on this web site in a descriptive or educational use only, and no misuse or infringement is intended.

This article is an original work that was written by a Repeater-Builder staff member at the request of another Repeater-Builder staff member, and is © Copyright March 2004 and date of last update by Repeater-Builder.

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.