Astro Mobiles

General Information

The part number for the HHCH (W3 model) is HMN4044D.

Here is the schematic of the HLN1439A? siren cable*

*Has plugs for the DEK and Switchbox. From manual 68P81093C18-O. This is for the Astro Spectra W3 only, the W4-W9 radios use the same hardware, interconnect cabling, etc. as the regular Spectraradios.

Service Manuals

Here are a listing of the Service Manual part numbers for this series of radio:

Model Breakdown Chart

The model breakdown chart for the Astro Mobile series of radios is below:

T 04 S L F 9 P W 7 A N SP01
Type of Mount Model Series Frequency Band Power Level Physical Package Channel Spacing Primary Operation Primary System Type Feature Level Version Letter Unique Model Variation "SP"Model Suffix
D Dash Mount 04 Astro Series A Less than 29 MHz A 0-0.7 W A RF Modem 1 5 kHz A Conventional/Simplex A Conventional 1 Basic A Major Change C Cenelec  
M Motorcycle Mount   B 29.7-35.99 MHz B 0.7-0.9 W B RX Only 2 6.25 kHz B Conventional/Duplex B Privacy Plus 2 Limited Package   N Standard Package  
T Trunk Mount   C 36-41.99 MHz C 1.0-3.9 W C Standard Control, no Display 3 10 kHz C Trunked Twin Type C Clear SmartNet 3 Limited Plus      
H Hand-Held/Portable   D 42-50 MHz D 4.0-5.0 W D Standard Control, with Display 4 12.5 kHz D Dual Mode Trunked D Advanced Conventional Stat-Alert 4 Intermediate Package      
    F 66-80 MHz E 5.1-6.0 W E Limited Keypad, no Display 5 15 kHz E Dual Mode Trunked/Duplex E Enhances Privacy Plus 5 Standard Package      
    G 74-90 MHz F 6.1-10 W F Limited Keypad, with Display 6 20/25 kHz F Trunked Type I F Nauganet 888 Series 6 Standard Plus      
    H Product Specific G 10.2-15 W* G Full Keypad, no Display 7 30 kHz G Trunked Type II G Japan SMR 7 Standard Package      
    J 136-162 MHz H 16-25 W* H Full Keypad, with Display 9 Variable/Programmable H FDMA Digital Dual Mode H Multi-Channel 8 Expanded Plus      
    K146-178 MHz J26-35 W* J Limited Controls, no Display   J TDMA Digital Dual Mode J Coverage Plus 9 Full Featured/Programmable      
    L 174-210 MHz K 61-110 W* K Limited Controls, Basic Display   K Single Sideband K MPT1237 Public        
    M 190-235 MHz   L Limited Controls, Limited Display   L GPS Capable L MPT1237 Private        
    P 336-410 MHz   M Rotary Controls, Standard Display   M ACSB M Radiocom        
    Q 403-437 MHz   N Enhanced Controls, Enhanced Display   P Programmable N Tone Signalling        
    R 438-482 MHz   P Low Profile, no Display     P Binary Signalling        
    S 470-520 MHz   Q Low Profile, Basic Display     Q PhoneNet        
    T Product Specific   R Low Profile, Basic Display, Full Keypad     W Programmable        
    U 806-870 MHz         X Secure Capable        
    V 825-870 MHz         Y Secure SmartNet        
    W 896-941 MHz                  
    Y 1.0-1.6 GHz                  
    Z 1.5-2.0 GHz                  

*Mobile Applications Only

Flash Upgrading

For flash upgrading these radios, you will need this cable. It plugs into the flashport jack on the radio. That jack should be on the chassis for a dash mount radio, or on the drawer unit on trunk mount radios. It should be under a flexible rubber dust cover.

Note that you will of course also need the SmartRib and the proper flash code for the RSS.

A listing of the flash upgrade options can be found here.

You will probably want to see the Flash Upgrading Primer page to find out more information about flash upgrading your radio.

You may also want to check out the Flash Code Decoder if you want to see what is included in a particular flash code. The interactive version is pretty cool too.

Out of Band Information

If you are using Depot Version B03.04.00 you should be able to change the bandsplits by hex editing the Runtime.odb file.

Search for the bottom/top of the bandsplit you are trying to change (on the ASCII side) and change it. There should be something like seven different places you need to change.

The later versions of Astro RSS are a combined portable and mobile software package. As a result, there are two files of interest Astrop.odb for portables, and Astrom.odb for mobiles.

Both these files are write-protected, and that protection must be removed before editing them. Windows Explorer does this very easily. Just open WE and highlight the file and right click, mouse to properties, left click on properties, and then deselect the read only attribute, and save the change by clicking 'apply' and then click 'ok".

Remember, after hacking the files, you should go back and reselect the 'read only' attribute by the same method. I don't know if it makes any difference to the program, but just to be safe, do it.

So now you have two unprotected .ODB files. Use a hex editor to get into them, and from the text side of the document, search out the ORIGINAL band limit of interest to you (eg. to pick the lower end of UHF 450-520 split use "450.0000"), and having confirmed that it's there, do a global search and replace of that band limit with your intended limit, example take it down to 430.0000. You do a global search because that way you make all adjustments you need at once, transmit, receive, and every other place the software looks.

Save the files, put them back where they belong in the programs, and reapply their write protected status, then run the software normally and enter your new out of band frequencies that will be accepted and programmed. If it's a reasonable change, the radio will take it and it will work. Some people have had success taking a 450-520 radio down to 430.0000 (haven't tried any lower than that) and have taken it as high as 535.0000. Your milage may vary.

This modification will work on all the DOS versions of Astro RSS. For Windows CPS users, you will want to check here for further information.

Dual Drawer/Single Head (HHCH) Operation

It is possible to configure two Astro Spectra's to work from a single, hand-held, control head. The information we have received so far is that it requires the following parts:

That is all the information that we have at this time, further information will be posted as it is received.

Getting Around "Codeplug Too New For This Application"

No doubt you know that the RSS automatically 'upgrades' the radios that are programmed with it so that no EARLIER version of software will work on that radio. The infamous "Codeplug too new for this application" message.

There is a way around this, sort of.

What you need is an OLD codeplug from the same radio, or type of radio, that you want to use with older software. The model number needs to be the same, and the Flashcode should be the same (not sure what happens if you try this with radios and files of differing flashcodes, it might just complain, and then again it might end up in a paperweight radio).

The old radio codeplug needs to be one that can be read by the Version B03.04.00 Depot RSS.

Load that codeplug into the Depot RSS. Add your channels, scan lists, etc. Go into the hidden labtool menus (F9 works in places where the area over the F9 button is blank like there's no feature available) and make whatever changes you want. Labtool configuration 2 will allow you to put up to 16 software encryption keyslots into the radio if software encryption is set up in your radio. From here, you can even change the controller's operating frequency band from VHF to UHF low or high, or 800 MHz (not to say that it will actually work there since the RF sections are different, but it is there anyways).

So, you've got your lab codeplug ready, and a radio with a new codeplug that isn't going to take that codeplug, right?

Wrong! Rather than PROGRAM the radio, you go into the CLONE menu, read the serial number, and then CLONE the codeplug into the radio! Error checking is minimal, consisting of the serial, model number, and (probably) the flashcode, and that's about it.

When you're done programming the radio, it can now be read by the Depot B03.04.00 RSS directly, along with other older versions. And once you HAVE those extra features in your radio, you can use your newer RSS and always know that you can go back and use labtools on your radio again by following the same procedure.

A word of caution: Your "old" files that were SAVED TO DISK or programmed into the radio with the OLD software are precious. If you read one of those files and then save it with NEWER RSS, it won't work with the depot software anymore, so keep those old files away from the newer RSS! You can use any software version you want to on the radio, including the newest one, but you've GOT to safeguard the old codeplug!

Good luck!

The "New" RSS (Windows CPS)

The Astro CPS, version 1.00.00 has been released. This package has the part number of RVN4182, covering the portables, XTS3000 and Astro Saber. Astro Spectras are covered by RVN4183.

The package deal, carrying both of the above titles, is RVN4184.

Current subscribers to the DOS Astro package, RVN4100, receive RVN4184, the combo value meal.

Support for the DOS versions will discontinue until the end of August, 2002, at which time only Windows based CPS software will be available. Until that time, subscribers will receive support for both DOS and CPS. At this point in time, the CPS will be version-for-version compatible with the equivalent release of the DOS RSS. This will continue to be the case in all upcoming revisions until August, 2002. Any CPS revision will be accompanied by an equivalent RSS revision, and the two packages are intercompatible.

The initial evaluation of this software...

This will take a little getting used to, but it has the right features and allows rapid viewing of large blocks of channels at a time, with multiple option fields in view. This WILL result in faster and more accurate programming. Thumbs up.

The navigation structure is undoubtedly simpler to get around. There are some options that are more than eight keystrokes into the tree on the DOS RSS, and it's easy to miss something important. With the CPS, you can search by keyword for the option you want, and then click straight to that field. It also shows enough fields at a time that locating ANY option is very simple.

This CPS package has clearly defined support for the Astro HHCH, applicable primarily to the use of an XTS-3000 in an XTVA with HHCH, but also quite applicable to those who have Astro Sabers and HHCH compatible AVA's. The HHCH's top and side buttons can be programmed directly via the CPS, which is a feature that hasn't been seen on the DOS RSS since before version 6.5.

It has been discovered that if the CPS reads a radio that has hacked bandsplit limits (frequencies out of band), the CPS WILL..I repeat...WILL allow those frequencies to remain in the codeplug unchallenged unless you retype them. The cursor can be moved around in the frequency entry boxes without causing the software to reject the out of band frequencies. You can even press the ENTER key while the cursor is in the box. This allows previously frequency-hacked radios to be read and written via the unmodified CPS without losing any of the special data. This must have required a conscious decision on the part of the programming team, and Motorola is to be commended for this slightly hacker-friendly decision. Perhaps there is hope for them.

(As a side note, I have heard an unconfirmed report that the majority of the computers running the RSS in Motorola's labs and facilities have been bandsplit hacked... the same hack reported here... how flattering :) Probably the only reason that the hack isn't part of the standard package is the FCC-accepted operating frequency range of the radios as manufactured. But FCC certification isn't necessary on the ham bands anyway.)

On the down side, the Astro CPS is hard limited to accepting a maximum of FIVE software encryption keys (part of the Multikey Option), while the DOS version will accept up to 16. A UHF Astro Saber (an LAPD one) got tweaked to have 16 keys instead of the default five, and the CPS won't read those radios (errors out) until the default setting of five keys is restored via lab.

So, now we have another challenge... to figure out how to change the bandsplit limits in the new CPS... where are our Windows hackers?...

Dual Radio Operation

It appears that it is possible to do Dual Radio/Single Head operations with the Astro Spectra. Although, it is not a cheap option.

Some of the parts you will require are as follows:

You will also need the associated cables that go between both radios and the SIU, as well as between the SIU and the Control Head, and the proper Siren cable if there is a Siren/PA involved.

I presume connection is the same as used in the Syntor X9000 setup, but have not confirmed this.

If anyone has any further information on this setup, including schematics of the SIU and such, please contact us.

ASTRO Spectra Face Plates

The following are part numbers for the face plates for the ASTRO Spectra:

XTL5000 Face Plates

The following are part numbers for the face plates for the XTL5000: