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General Info

Figure out what programming cable you need. Take a look at the mic connector.

If you need a programming cable for the P1820AX portable repeater, just use a regular mobile programming cable and program each radio individually.

The pinout of the 15 pin accessory connector on the Spectra 900 is as follows:

1   TX Audio 
2   Emerg
3   VIP out 2 (dash mount only, not used in remote mount)
4   SWB+
5   Ignition (dash mount only, not used in remote mount)
6   SPKR Hi
7   SPKR Lo
9   BUSY
10  BUS-
11  DET Audio
12  VIP out 1 (dash mount only, not used in remote mount)
14  BUS +
15  MIC Hi

If you want the pinouts of the connectors on other Spectra models, refer to the installation diagrams at the bottom of the page.

If you have an Astro Spectra, you will want to look at the Astro Mobile page too.

The older versions of Spectra software wouldn't allow a 450-512 version to go below 449MHz. The latest RSS of spectra allows programming to 440. You may have to retune the VCO (solder across the lazer cuts a bit) to cause the radio to "lock" on freqs below 440.5MHz in rcv mode. This version of RSS lets you program down to 140MHz on the 146-174 bandsplit radios.

Certain Spectra's like the Smartnet or Securenet radios don't have scan. You can't enable it in anyway. The board inside the radio that controls the scan feature is not present in the radio.

The scanning features on older radios is part of the programming in the MLM module. If its not in the MLM, and you want to get it, you have to "pay" for a MLM with scan in it from motorola. The RSS won't unlock it, even though the RSS knows about scanning.

If you are hoping to find a way to get a Spectra to scan more than 16 channels, I think you will want to give up for now. We have yet to hear any method of doing this. However, should someone find a way, please let us know and we will post the results. BTW, if your radio is capable of zones, you can have a scanlist for each zone...

You can convert a Maxtrac DTMF mic for use on a Spectra 900 by changing the cord, color for color, clipping R18 and adding jumper JU1. Note that you can get an almost identical schematic of the boads in a Maxtrac DTMF mic from the MCX1000 VHF Service Manual.

The Spectra VRM 600 which has a modem capable of RD-LAP data built in the front of the Spectra dash radio and no functioning control head uses PIN 4 (SW B+) for ign sense. The standard dash mount programming cable power lead needs to be changed from pin 5 to pin 4 for this radio. I believe this is because of lack of a front panel power switch.

If you want to connect a MDC1200 unit to a Spectra, you need this diagram.

If you are looking for the pinout of the HLN1196A Auxilliary Switch Panel, then you will want to look here.

Spectra's come in many frequency bandsplits, called Ranges. Below is a list of the available ranges for VHF and UHF.

The HCN-1063A and HCN-1073A are Syntor X9000 heads as well as A9 Spectra heads. We have not found a way to determine the number of channels except to look at the EPROM inside the head. The 2K EPROM has memory for up to 32 channels, and will have 4 blank holes on the IC socket. The 8K EPROM is for 33 to 64, or 128 channel radios. It uses the whole IC socket.

Model Breakdown

Spectra Factory ID

D - (D)ash, (T)runk, (M)otorcycle or Conso(L)ette
2 - Power Level: 1 - 8 (1 =<10, 8=110)
7 - Bandsplit: 1=lowband, 2=midband, 3=highband, 4=UHF, 5=800, 6=cellular, 7=900
K - F, K, V ?
M - L=?, M=standard, X=secure capable
A - Control Version: A=Conventional, B=Privacy Plus, C=SmartNet, D=StarSite
9 - Control Type: 3=handheld Control Head, 4=knobs, 5=3 button control, 7=12 button control, 9="9000" Control Head
A - Revision: A=original, etc.

Opt L791 = Digital Remote Control for consolette
Opt L1548 = Tone Remote Adaptor

W388AL/H1271A = DES
W793AB/H1279A = DVI-XL
W794AC/H1269A = DVP
W795AG/H1272A = DES-XL
W797AG/H1270A = DVP-XL
(Securenet KVL plugs into Microphone connector)

Changing Serial Numbers

If you want to change the serial number in your radio, here is the C source for a program that is supposed to do it. It is supposed to work with Spectra version 5.03. I don't have a radio to try it on, so compile it your self and try it out. Supposedly you can use DJCC compiler to compile it.

The other way to change the serial numbers (command board AND MLM) in a Spectra is to use LAB RSS.

Changing Model Numbers

As for changing the model number on a Spectra, one method is as follows:

But, before you do it, make sure that you're not trying to tell a dash mount 50 watt spectra a5 that it's suddenly a 110watt a9, it won't work.

Corrupt Codeplugs

It appears that some Spectra's, when loaded with a corrupt codeplug, give the error FL01/82. Others lock themself into a repeating SELF CHK loop which is near impossible to do any more programming with.

We've been told that with lab software that you can get it out of this loop. You have to change the serial number of the radio, reinitialize and tune the radio, then read the codeplug and send it back to the radio in order to stop the repeating loop.

After changing the serial number the display reads FL01/82 (which is a corrupted codeplug), just keep going with the above procedure, and everything should be fine.

There is also something else you might try. We have heard that when the radio is stuck in this loop, if you play with the HOME and DIM buttons, you might be able to get the radio to stop looping and stay on a mode. You might have to try this a few times to get the timing right.

Once you have the radio stopped from looping, try dumping a good codeplug into it or cloning your backup codeplug to it (again it may take a few tries). If you're lucky, you may not have to go throug the above procedure.

The MLM Board

Ok, here is a detailed explanation of what the MLM is and does in the Spectra, and what is involved in trying to upgrade them properly.

The MLM board contains the firmware and programming info as to what the radio can and will do.

Most people who try to upgrade a Spectra (ie. try and make a Spectra 800 B5 into a C9) will not be 100% sucessful when using lab to forcefeed a C9 archive into a B5. The reason is, if the MLM board version of the C9 is say a 5.06 and the B5 MLM board you are trying to convert is a 3.22, you will not be sucessful because the lower version board does not have the all the chips and memory to hold all the info.

If you continue to try and trick the radio into taking the info, you will probably end up with a FAIL 01/90 when you turn the radio on and it will not stay on.

The correct way to upgrade the Spectra is to find as many Spectras as you can with all the features in the radio in all the band splits and check the MLM boards. If they are version 5.00 or higher, then you will want to extract the firmware out of them and save them.

The way to do this is to take out the MLM board and look at the chip side with the pins on the right side of the board. You will have to take off the first chip on the far left and use a programmer to read the info and then save it as a bin file and label it (ie. 800 C9 LEFT). Put this chip back on the board and remove the second chip and do the same, labeling it too (ie. 800 C9 RIGHT).

These are the firmware IC's which hold all the info such as, SECURNET, ZONE, 9000 CONTROL HEAD OPTIONS, ect. These chips are usually 27C512's and are EPROMS which can only be written once.

Now you need to remove the far right chip which is usually a 28C64. The proceedure is the same as the previous (read it, and save the file with a name like 800 C9 MAIN). This chip is an EEPROM which can be erased and re-written. It contains information such as MODEL #, SERIAL#, codeplug data, ect.

If you have ever noticed when you use lab and force feed one codeplug into another with some success, you usually have to program from the archive to make any changes. If you tried reading the radio after upgrading with lab, you will usually loose all the features beacuse all you did was store enough infomation into the the MAIN chip to make a couple of things work, but not always 100%.

The theory of the MLM board is when you read you're radio via RSS, you have read all three chips, the LEFT and RIGHT tell you what you can do and the MAIN is where you store all you're info such as, FREQUENCY, PL, MDC, HOME MODE, ect.

Now, you'd figure that if you replaced the firmware on your MLM with the newer firmware and replaced the codeplug EEPROM with a blank one, you should have a nice, new, blanked board, right? Wrong. If you put a blank chip on the board, you will get FAIL 01/90. The 28C64 also contains the info to fire up the Selfcheck and make the control head work. We are trying to figure out just what the minimum info the codeplug EEPROM needs in it to make the radio function so that you can get the proper model and serial number in it for your radio.

Spectra Test Mode

Turn on radio. Press HOME 5 times within 15 seconds. Press MODE UP Radio displays serial number Menu is presented - select by pressing

  MPL NAME      

The Password required to get into the service menu should be the last four digits of the radio's serial number.

To enter Service mode, turn rig on, wait to see SELF CHK then press HOME 5 times quickly.

Display slowly shows:


Rotate rotary mode knob once and display shows (for example):

S/N 617

AWL 1288

Then display goes to the main menu system with the following main headings. Scroll through with the rotary mode knob.

(PS: The HOME button is used as an ENTER key from now on.)

Zone, Mode, Radio, Tst Freq, Ch Test, Align and Exit.


Press enter and you see the first ZONE name is flashing. Scroll thru all ZONE names (plus EXIT) with MODE knob. Pressing enter brings up a submenu with these choices: NAME, SCAN and EXIT. Selecting NAME allows you to actually change the ZONE name by using the MODE knob to highlight each letter in the name which can then be changed with the ZONE UP/DOWN buttons. All numbers and letters are available (use the + to enter a space). Press enter when done. Selecting SCAN at the submenu shows the further choices SEL MODE or EXIT. Pressing the SEL button alters between N PRI (none), flashing PRI (main) and PRI (secondary) priorities. I'm not sure why this menu is here as it gives one the felling that individual ZONES can be scanned thru and I don't think this is true.


Pressing enter shows the first MODE and it is flashing. Scroll thru all Modes with the MODE knob. Pressing enter brings up a submenu with the following choices: NAME, CALL, SCAN and EXIT. The NAME choice allows you to change the mode name, again using the rotary MODE knob to highlight individual letters and then use the ZONE UP/DOWN buttons to scroll thru all leters and numbers. Press enter to get back to submenu. The CALL menu item was unavailable (beeped) as was the SCAN choice.


Pressing enter brings up a submenu with the following choices: HOME SEL, PHONE, STATUS, MESSAGE, SITE, SECURE, MPL NAME, ST NAME, RAC and EXIT. The HOME SEL choice was unavailable.

PHONE brings a display that altenates between PHONE 1 and --------. The rotary MODE knob scrolls up thru PHONE 9 plus EXIT. Pressing enter allows you to edit PHONE 1 using the now familiar rotary MODE knob and the ZONE UP/DOWN buttons. After this pressing enter allows you to enter a phone number using all digits plus * (asterik) and # (octothorp).

STATUS shows a bunch of characters some of which are unrecognizable. The rotary MODE knob scrolls thru a bunch more of these. Eventually you get back to EXIT.

MESSAGE, SITE, SECURE, MPL NAME, ST NAME and RAC were all unavailable.


Pressing enter here brings up a display with PSWD----. Use the rotary MODE knob and ZONE UP/DOWN buttons to enter any of all letters and numbers. Enter the last four digits of the radios serial number here. This brings a display with a flashing 1 followed by 46025C5. The rotary MODE knob scrolls thru others....all starting with a flashing 1....60025C5....1739975C5 and EXIT. If you press enter on any of these choices the 1 goes steady but the C begins to flash. The rotary MODE knobs scrolls thru these choices: PL, PC, PD, DL, LS, M6, MC, HS, DF, and EXIT. The default is CS (Carrier Squelch). The volume knob is useless while in service mode.


Pessing enter here shows V 2 01 for a few seconds then the display slowly cycles thru all letters and numbers as well as the various indicators in the display. Then it stops while displaying KEY TEST. Now, any key pressed shows up a individual number assigned to that follows:

H/L 47 PHONE 31 CALL 33 HOME 08 SCAN 32 SEL 34 MODE DOWN 41 MODE UP 42 MON 48 MODE knob 01 VOLUME (just beeps)


Brings a menu with LO POWER, HI POWER, REF OSC, DEV and EXIT. Selecting LO POWER shows LO 1 025. Rotary MODE knob scrolls up to LO 2 025 and LO 3 025, and the ZONE UP/DOWN buttons allow the 025 setting to be changed from a value of 000 to 127. This allows one to adjust a push-button setting of rf output ( Lo Med and High) for either a Lo or High powered Spectra radio. You can toggle the transmitter on and off while doing this, and one of the test freqs is used. REF OSC programs just like the LO POWER and HI POWER settings, as does DEV.


Just like it says.

Converting an A5 to A7

The A5 and A7 Spectra control head electronics are the same. The A5 control head has the electronics for the extra 9 buttons that are present in the A7 version. The radio will recognize these in control head test mode but the radio ignores them during regular operation. RSS will not let you program funtions for the other three rows while editing an A5 codeplug. Like the Maxtracs the radio enables certain options depending on the model number programmed into the radio.

Now. Changing the model number and serial number. You can probably do this with the Lab software, by loading an A7 codeplug (same band and power) into an A5 radio. You may be able to make a "new" radio Maxtrac-style. I dunno. I haven't played with Spectra Lab Software.

Motorola, Fort Lauderdale will gladly send you a MLM with a generic serial number and whatever model number you wish, for about $220. This is the shop price.

Also, you have to purchase a new plastic front panel and buttons. The buttons available are listed and depicted in the various service manuals and there are some nice variations of legend and icon. You can find part numbers for most of the buttons in the chart below. The part number for plastic A7 front is also listed.

Converting an B5 to a C7

We received the following info regarding this topic:

I did get one engineer to tell me that all that I had to do was replace the MLM board with the serial number of my radio, and the model number of the radio that I wanted it to be. So with that info, I decided to be a $157 guinea pig and go for the gusto.

The results were worth it, my B-5 Privacy Plus radio became a Smartnet C-7 with my serial number and a new model number.

Now when you read the radio and go into More Features under the Radio Wide screen, it says that it is not Securenet compatible. But, I loaded one of our C-7 files into it (the same model number that I had the MLM programmed for) that is secure capable, and although it says it is still not capable, the secure key will load and it functions as though it should in conventional and trunked modes.

A tech. at Motorola said this wouldn't work because the micro processor had to be blanked out(sooner or later I'll figure out a way), and there were other issues involved in upgrading a radio this way. I can see why a B-5 isn't worth nearly as much as a C-5 or 7. He also said that upgrading from a B-5 to a C-7 is possible for the retail difference between the two, not really much of a deal.

So at any rate, a little more playing around and maybe we can figure this thing out, but I still think there's a way do do this without the big $ out of pocket."

Converting an A3 HHCH to A3/5/7 Display

To make the swap from a A3 HHCH to a display type radio you need to swap out the MLM, either with a new one or a used one. The A3 HHCH MLM doesn't have all the logic chips that the others have.

If it's a new board, initialize it and dump your file that you want it to be into it. If the board is used you will need a copy of LAB and change the serial # inside the MLM to match the command board, then dump your file into it that you want.

If you are lucky enough to have a late version of LAB it will have a field called "moflag" with which you can modify the radio without a new codeplug, although you will still need to change out the MLM from the A3 HHCH as it won't support the extra features of the regular display head.

Tricks if you have access to Spectra Lab RSS

If you can obtain access to lab software, and change the serial number of the radio to match the personality of a radio that has all of the features you want (with the same band, etc.), it will "force feed" the radio, and that personality will be dumped in to thew radio. Then you can change the serial number back to the original one.

First, you need a file for a full featured radio. Using the Lab RSS, program the radio with it.

Second, the radio will now show a error message on the display, thats ok.

Third, read the radio with the error message then after you read it now program it again that will over write the serial number in the codeplug and the error will go away and the radio will now work with all features.

But now here is a trick you must watch out for. You must always read the file first then edit it then program the radio with the file. If you read the radio first then it will tell you the radio does not have the features in it even though they work. You must always read the file because the file is of the original radio with all the features.

We've also been told that you may be able to blank Spectra or Astro Spectra's using a version of Lab RSS.

Converting a 900 MHz Spectra for Amateur use

Okay, here's what we've been told should work for converting a 900 MHz Spectra for use in the ham band.

First, you have to program the radio with Spectra Lab for the features you want. You must turn all hear clear and the compander off.

Then, you program with Spectra SP06.00.10 RSS. You use this to put in the frequencies (Lab will not let you program out of band). From the README.TXT for SP06.00.10 RSS, "This software was built by special request with the requestor realizing that the software will not be maintained or updated. It was built to allow extended 900mhz channel ranges. Motorola however is only responsible for the hardware when all the radio frequencies are within the published specifications".

Once programming is out of the way, its real easy from hear on.

First, you have to get the VCO to lock. You need to play with resistor values (refer to schematic for resistor placement) in order to get the correct value.

To get the proper 5khz deviation on TX, solder .003 mfd across C651. You will get over 5 kHz TX deviation, so you must adjust the deviation in RSS to compensate.

For proper receive response, you must replace the filters in the front end. Remove FL6301 and FL6302 (they are 7.5 kHz BW) and replace them with Motorola part# 91-80297k05, they are 12 khz BW. The filters are located in the center of the RF board, they are the blue squares. Be careful when de-soldering them, the traces are VERY small.

Power-UP Self Check Error Codes

Below is a table that describes the error codes displayed on the VFD after the radio power-up self check, their causes, and possible remedies.

Display Possible Cause Remedy Condition
FL 01/81 The pattern stored in the Memory Board ROM is incorrect Replace Memory Board A
FL 01/82 The pattern stored in the Memory Board EEPROM is incorrect a. Reprogram EEPROM from ARCHIVE file if available. b. Replace Memory Board B
FL 01/83 Radio has conditions A and B   C
FL 01/84 Memory Board EEPROM is blank Replace Memory Board D
FL 01/85 Radio has conditions A and D   E
FL 01/86 Radio has conditions B and D   F
FL 01/87 Radio has conditions A, B and D   G
FL 01/88 Memory Board RAM defective Replace Memory Board H
FL 01/89 Radio has conditions A and H   I
FL 01/8A Radio has conditions B and H   J
FL 01/8B Radio has conditons A, B and H   K
FL 01/8C Radio has conditions D and H   L
FL 01/8D Radio has conditions A, D and H   M
FL 01/90 Serial Bus Failure. May be control head failure, a radio command board failure, or a cabling failure a. See Control Head Troubleshooting. b. Check rear options connector cabling. c. Replace Command Board. N
FL 01/92 The pattern stored within the microcomputer EEPROM is incorrect Initialize EEPROM O
FL 01/93 Radio has conditions A and O   P
FL 01/94 Microcomputer EEPROM is blank Replace Command Board Q
FL 01/95 Radio has conditions A and Q   R
FL 05/81 Control Head ROM is defective Replace Control Head Board S
FL 05/88 Control Head RAM is defective Replace Control Head Board T
ER 01/02 Radio has an error with its EEPROM; one or more modes in the radio has an incorrect pattern in the Memory Board EEPROM. Radio will function normally until a corrupted mode is accessed; then "FAIL 002" will be displayed (see below) a. Reprogram EEPROM from ARCHIVE file if available. b. Replace Memory Board. U
BLANK DISPLAY BUT TX AND BUSY LED'S LIT BRIEFLY AT POWER UP Display malfunction Replace Control Head Board V
FAIL 001 Synthesizer out-of-lock condition See Synthesizer Troubleshooting W
FAIL 002 The mode which has been accessed has an incorrect pattern in the Memory Board EEPROM. (Refer to ER 01/02 above) a. Reprogram EEPROM from ARCHIVE file if available. b. Replace Memory Board. X
FAIL 999 Serial number in the Memory Board and the microcomputer do not match; Radio will not function but will enter test mode. Replace the Memory Board with the proper one Y

For units with the Front/Rear Control Head option, there are some additional error codes that may show up. These codes are detailed below.

Front Display Rear Display Description of Error
ERROR 06/10 ----- Rear unit not connected.
    Radio can operate.
----- FAIL 05/90 Front unit not connected.
FAIL 05/82 FAIL 05/82 Front EEPROM bad checksum.
ERROR 05/82 & ERROR 06/10 Rear EEPROM bad checksum. Remove
ERROR 06/10   rear unit to operate system.
FAIL 01/90 FAIL 05/90 Front unit bus failure.
ERROR 06/10 FAIL 01/90 Rear unit bus failure.

Useful Part Numbers

You never know when these part numbers might come in handy...

Part Number Alternate Part No. Derscription Part Number Alternate Part No. Description
HCN1071A H1596A Systems 9000 Control Unit HMN1053B   DTMF Microphone
HLN5654A HLN6284D Systems 9000 Control Unit Circuit Panel HMN1052A HMN1080A Enhanced Palm Mic
HLN4921A   Trunnion Assembly HLN1220B   Handset with Hang-up
HMN1061A   Systems 9000 Microphone HLN1196B HLN1224B Auxilliary Switch Panel
HSN4018B   Speaker Assembly HLN5131B   External Emergency Button
HKN4378B   22' Rear Control Cable HLN6025A   Locking Installation Kit
HKN4376B   T-Cable Assembly (Rear) HKN4258B   External Alarm Relay
HLN5575A   DEK Relay Pod Kit TLN4533A   External Alarm Relay
HLN5574A   Relay Pod Kit HCN1063A   Systems 9000 Control Head (A9)
HLN5576A 3805672X28 F/R Button HCN1073A HCN1073D Systems 9000 Control Head (A9)
HKN5072A 3805672X10 H/L Button 0180016R09   A7 Head Plastic Front
HLN5074A 3805672X12 Call Button 3805671X02   1 Button
HLN5076A 3805672X14 Rcl Button 3805671X03   2 Button
HLN5078A 3805672X17 Del Button 3805671X04   3 Button
HLN5079A 3805672X18 Sel Button 3805671X05   4 Button
HLN5083A 3805672X26 Emer Button 3805671X06   5 Button
HLN5085A 3805672X31 Sql Button 3805671X07   6 Button
HLN5087A 3805672X39 Home Button 3805671X08   7 Button
HLN5090A 3805672X44 Phone Button 3805671X09   8 Button
HLN5091A 3805672X45 Dir Button 3805671X10   9 Button
HLN5066A 3805672X03 Scan Button 3805671X11   0 Button
HLN5256A 3805672X61 Srch Button 3805671X12   * Button
HLN5257A 3805672X62 Lock Button 3805671X13   # Button
HLN5258A 3805672X36 Site Button      
HLN5259A 3805672X41 Rpgm Button      
HLN5268A 3805672X63 Page Button      
HLN5092A 3805672X49 DVP Button      
HLN5095A 3805672X01 Blank Buttons      
HLN5096A 3880253K01 Blank Plugs      

Here's a list of documentation relating to the Spectra...

Part Number Description
6881108C90 Front/Rear Control Units for Spectra 9000 Radio Systems
6881070C85 Spectra and Astro Digital Spectra Installation Manual
6880101W10 Siren/Public Address for Systems 9000 and Spectra Radios Instruction Manual
6880102W80 Spectra 9000 Radio System Operating Instructions

Radio Installation Diagrams

Here are some various installation diagrams and schematics for the installation of Spectra radios.

Front Control Head to Radio Cable Schematic

Rear Control Head to Radio Cable Schematic (Dual Head Applications)

Control Head to Radio Cable Schematic with Siren "T" (Rear Control Head Shown)

High Power A3 Remote Installation Diagram

High Power A3, A5, A7, A9 Remote Installation Diagram

Low-/Mid-Power A3 Dash Installation Diagram

Low-/Mid-Power A4, A5, A7 Dash Installation Diagram

Low-/Mid-Power A3 Remote Installation Diagram

Low-/Mid-Power A4, A5, A7, A9 Remote Installation Diagram

Emergency Switch Connection Diagram

Lights and Horn Option Connection Diagram

Schematic of the HKN4244A Remote Cable

Connecting a Spectra to a Command Data Encoder

Here are the installation and configuration instructions for connecting a Command Data Encoder to the Spectra

The Command Data encoder unit should be connected to the J6 connector on the Spectra radio.

Pinout Chart:

(25 pin cable)

Radio connector	Encoder wire				Description


(37 pin cable) NOTE: Audio adjustments are inside the RIC unit.

Pin 22		BLACK					SW A+

(Audio level settings)

Receive Level:	1Vp-p@1200Hz/4Khz Deviation 
		      1800Hz/4Khz Deviation

Transmit Level:	4Khz with a test tone from the encoder