Author Topic: How to Convert a MOTOROLA XPR6580 for Amateur Use  (Read 6853 times)

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Offline W1RC

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How to Convert a MOTOROLA XPR6580 for Amateur Use
« on: May 30, 2015, 10:37:29 AM »
The Motorola XPR6580 is the 800/900 MHz version of the 6000 series of their digital MOTOTRBO portable radios.  These are rugged commercial-grade radios and are now becoming available at reasonable cost on the surplus market.  Unlike most other 800 MHz radios the XPR6580 can be modified to cover the amateur 900 MHz (33cm) band (902.0000 - 928.0000) which makes it very useful to radio amateurs.  These can be picked up for as little as $100 on eBay but there is a caveat.  These are very likely going to be analog trunked radios which, as received, will be useless to amateurs.  However, these surplus commercial radios can easily be "converted" to conventional analog and, if desired, the digital feature can easily be activated afterwards.

Here is how it is done.......

You will need a programming cable, available on ePay.  Also you will need the Motorola CPS (Customer Programming Software).  Current version at this writing is 11.2.  Please do not email asking for a copy of the CPS as your message will be ignored.  Buy it from Motorola. 

If your radio' was set us for analog trunking you will first have to upgrade the firmware to the latest trunking version then convert the firmware to conventional analog.  This is done using CPS.

Here's a link to everything (current as of May 31st 2015) associated with performing the conversion from analog trunking to analog conventional firmware, TRBO-->3600 and 3600-->TRBO conversion.

https://www.dropbox.com/sh/1ly39v4mthl7tik/AAACP0SZbRixS3fFV1erH3g2a?dl=0

You will need to download files from the first two directories. For the XPR6580 you will want to download the PORTABLE files. 

The files in the third directory are not needed to do the conversion but may be handy to have if you ever want to restore the radio to analog trunking service.  So download them in case....

R01.12.13 TRBO firmware for analog conventional radios can be found here:

http://files.p25.ca/trbo-firmware/North%20America%20%28NA%29/4000-6000-series/R01.12.13/

The P25 Forum article also  provides all the information you need to do this.  This is a wonderful resource for information and wisdom relative to these radios.  I recommend that you subscribe.  It's free.

http://communications.support/threads/9397-XPR-6580-3600-baud-Analog-trunking-conversion-back-to-TRBO

The next message in this article explains how to use a hex editor to hack the codeplug to allow you to enter 900 MHz amateur repeater and simplex frequencies. The codeplug that you create in CPS or download from the radio will not allow "out-of-band" frequencies to be entered.  It is also important to remember that you MUST use the hacked codeplug file that you will have hopefully saved to make future changes.

Finally, if you want to add MotoTRBO digital capability to your radio after the conversion you will need to purchase an Analog to Digital Upgrade software license from a Motorola dealer or directly from Motorola online.  The "entitlement key" will allow you to activate the radio's MOTOTRBO Digital features from within CPS .  The Motorola part number HKLN4429A.

Here are some additional sources for information on 900 MHz in New England.

http://www.near900.com/

http://www.gemoto.com/900freqs.htm

More information on the 33cm 900 MHz amateur band:

http://www.aracc.org/33CM900MHZ.pdf

More information on MOTOTRBO DMR here in New England:
www.medecn.org

We have a 900 MHz repeater on the air at NEAR-Fest, the WA1NVC repeater.   It is open to all.

OUT:  927.587500
IN:      902.587500  PL 131.8

See you at the fester.

73 and ENJOY!

Mister Mike, W1RC

Many thanks to the following for the information in this article:
Bill, NE1B; Glenn, KB1SMN; Joe, N1QD; and many others.....

Offline W1RC

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MOTOTRBO out of band modification for the 800/900 MHz radios, to put them on the 902/927 MHz amateur radio frequencies. (XPR 6580 & XPR 4580).  This procedure is obviously not approved or endorsed by Motorola or anybody else, not even NEAR-Fest.  WARNING:  Perform this mod at your own risk! And please don’t ask for software. Register and purchase the software from Motorola at www.businessonline.motorolasolutions.com

Here are the instructions for hex editing CPS to allow for 900 MHz ham use of certain XPR series radios, ie: the XPR6580, XPR4580 and XPR8380 repeater.  This is a simple, yet effective, out-of-band modification for several Motorola MOTOTRBO radios. Please note that once this mod is performed, you must always use the backup file created for any future editing Of the codeplug file. Any attempt to read the radio via the CPS will automatically restore default values instead of the "incorrect", out of band frequency entries, and the process will have to be repeated.

1. Download and install {HxD}, an excellent free HEX editor. http://mh-nexus.de/en/downloads.php?product=HxD

2. Launch Mototrbo CPS, read the radio's codeplug and save the file.  Leave the CPS window open.

3. Make any custom changes to the codeplug at this time. (Radio name, Buttons, etc)

4. Go to the "Zone" and right-click on "Zone" and add needed Analog channels. You can name the channels now or later.

5. Launch HxD, Click on "Extras" > "Open RAM" and click on "mototrbocps.exe".

6. Next, press Control+R (or Search > Replace) (Within HxD)

7. Enter 870.000000 in "Search For" and enter 941.000000 in "Replace With".Be sure you have 6 zeros after the decimal point. (Ex: 941.000000)
*See below for XPR 8380 Repeater info

8. Keep "Datatype" at text-string, check the "Unicode String" and "All" boxes and click "Replace All".

9. Click on "File" > "Save" (in the HxD utility) when finished. (Click on Yes in warning)

10. Return to your open CPS program, and make sure you can enter Ham freq’s in RX & TX fields.

11. Enter all needed RX & TX freq’s in all the channels.

12. The next step is to edit your channels for PL/DPL and for "Admit Criteria", use "Always". Check the "Allow Talkaround" box for each channel. Remember, 900 MHz is only 12.5 KHz. Now SAVE THE FILE under a NEW, different name. This saved file will now ALWAYS have the modified frequencies and should be used for any additions.

13. Using CPS write the codeplug to the radio and you are ready to go.

This file can also be used for "Cloning" another radio of the same type. Any attempt to read the radio will result in the deletion of all "out of band" frequencies in the radio. It will not be bricked; just the Ham information would be lost. Use the saved file to restore the radio if this happens.

*The XPR 8380 Repeater mod requires two steps within HxD. Steps 7a & 7b replace above step 7.
7a. Enter 825.000000 in "Search For" and enter 905.000000 in "Replace With".Be sure you have 6 zeros after the decimal point. (Ex: 905.000000)
7b. Enter 870.000000 in "Search For" and enter 930.000000 in "Replace With". Be sure you have 6 zeros after the decimal point. (Ex: 930.000000)

Continue with step 8 above and just enter one channel for the repeater.

Have fun!

73,

MisterMike, W1RC

Many thanks to Lou, WA6EPD.