The Hitchikers Guide to MotoTRBO CPS


To Quote Zaphod Beeblebrox in ” The Hitchikers Guide to The Galaxy  ”
(like i need to put a link to it’s Wikipedia entry)

” It’s the weird colour scheme that freaks me. Every time you try to operate one of these weird black controls,
which are labelled in black on a black background, a small black light lights up black to let you know you’ve done it “

Well, it’s probably not quite as cryptic as the spaceship controls mentioned above, and the MotoTRBO CPS does have a decent help system included with it too, but for some new to the digital voice modes, it can appear somewhat cryptic, and we do occasionally see a codeplug with incorrect settings in.

Adding a new basic FM or digital frequency is simple enough, (see other articles on this site) but we really need to ensure that we are all good neighbours on the repeater and network, and, because we are guests on the network, we must follow the rules and not cause any issues on the system, because they could remove a DMR repeater off the network if this was the case. MotoTRBO sets are not Amateur Radio sets and they’re full of features which most Amateurs may well be unfamiliar with, and incorrect settings here can be problematic or antisocial, so we really do need to check and maybe adjust some of these.

General settings: 
Obviously your DMR MARC ID goes in “Radio ID”  and untick the “Private Calls” box,  Private calls are expressly not allowed on the DMR-MARC Network and not over GB7MB either at any time.

Talk Group Call Hang time adjustments – are not too critical, but probably set it to 1000 or 2000.
sign in/sign out is not used,   Test mode – doesn’t really matter – ARTS is not used either, so you may as well disable the ARTS tones too, the rest are mostly personal preference.
As you can see here, the codeplug i loaded up for this example needs tweaking.

radio disable

One of the most often strange things, especially on DMR repeaters, is that there is no courtesy tone (link to a pdf)  and many find that can be quite unsettling, as there is no noise or squelch tail on MotoTRBO repeaters .. (we at GB7MB are working on it though)  However, your MotoTRBO radio knows this too and the radio can itself generate a ‘beep’ where the FM repeaters ‘k’ tone or pips would normally be, and this is called the ‘channel free indication tone‘ and it’s very handy to have it switched on.

Another one, where a quick tone sounds when you press the PTT button, is called the ‘Talk permit tone‘  and can be set to sound on FM, DMR, both or none. I have this set on none on my mobile, but on my portables, i often have it set to on – on DMR – the reason is that if you sit down with the HT on your belt, it’s all too easy to set the HT into TX accidentally on the side of the chair or whatever, and not know !

You can turn all or some, tones off in the radio’s menu, you dont need a PC hooked up.


Many of that settings are self explanatory,  but before you start looking for help in the CPS, ensure the Help pane is enabled in the View menu and select EXPERT view too. Volume Offset is the tone volume.. ARTS basically, just bleeps the set when a valid transmission is received, and it is not really used on Amateur radio much.

In the Menu
Here in Menu section the you can configure the radio’s menu items and more.

!!   IMPORTANT  !!!
The radio Enable and Disable and it’s associated decode options like remote monitor and Radio Check should all be unticked too, because, however unlikely it may be, you really don’t want to accidentally  STUN, DISABLE or KILL someone else’s (or your own) DMR rig or have your Mic remotely switched on or worse whilst tweaking or experimenting with codeplugs and radios… it has happened, with users monitoring non Amateur systems – and as Amateur radio is full of people experimenting with radios, the possibility of this happening through incorrect programming of DMR channels, or 5 tone and MDC1200 etc. should not be ruled out, so good luck getting ABC123 Taxi’s to un-stun or revive your radio.

You probably only want EDIT and Text messsage Alert ticked in “Contacts” – most are to do with private calls, which are not allowed on GB7MB (or any DMR-MARC repeater)
Scan – One of the great things about MotoTRBO sets is their flexible scanning options, scanlists, (even if they are only 16ch max) which are something i wish All Amateur radio sets should have, I’m sure some may do, but all ticking these scan options enables you to directly add and remove channels from the scanlist on the fly, and that’s done via the rig’s front panel. there are an almost unlimited number of scanlists you can make, and if you have the IMPRESS DTMF Mic  it’s even easier and is much more fun to play with.

Anyway – lets move further down the CPS menu now, and over into the
Channel configuration window
, because there are a few bits in there to check..

udp headerhere we are, in a channel wide pane, now, you won’t have an option board fitted, so this will already be unticked and the others greyed out as above, ‘allow Talk around” is basically TX on the repeater output and that’s not exactly reverse repeater or listen on input as Amateurs sometimes like to use, (so near, yet so far Motorola) so i guess this is personal preference, but generally it’s pretty pointless.

IP site connect is only available on DMR-repeater channels.  Channel Inhibit pretty much stops SCAN from reverting back to this channel, and there’s little point ticking that too.
Compressed UDP Data  header – another one that’s not going to blow the radio off the shack table if you click it, but for other manufacturer (legacy) DMR radios that don’t have this feature, you can untick it to enable a little wider compatibility..    Below ALL EMERGENCY SETTINGS should be OFF !  The MotoTRBO Emergency system is not implemented on DMR-MARC or any British Amateur DMR repeaters that i know of.

In the channel pane, you should set your Emergency System  to NONE and set your rigs  TOT  (Time Out Timer) to something sensible,   300 – 400 seconds is ok on GB7MB at present.  We do ask you to ENABLE TX INTERRUPT on all GB7MB channels, although other DMR repeaters may well not allow this. This enables stuck PTTs to be remotely de-keyed – thus keeping the repeater free from accidental squashed (on TX) mic PTT keys etc.

TX Interuptable frequencies  wants switching off on your DMR radio when using GB7MB at present, until further tests are made by the repeater keepers. Private Call Confirmed should be unticked, and disable data call confirmed too. Please also disable Enhanced Channel Access and CSBK data on GB7MB too please. The keepers are doing tests with these parameters, and so far there appears to be no real benefit, on the contrary, it seems to have a negative call setup time and may actually increase or chances of ‘doubling’

tx interrupt
Hopefully these articles will help demystify some of the less often discussed parameters in the MotoTRBO CPS, and this is intended for all users to check their settings and make sure they are not clogging up the repeater with unwanted data and background services, and with a little bit of luck, help to make life on GB7MB better for everyone, and safer and more fun.
These recommendations may not be applicable on ALL DMR-MARC repeaters, and they may indeed change on GB7MB over time.

All work, text and images © GB7MB

How to update your contact list (Motorola)

It seems there is a little bit of confusion surrounding callsigns not being displayed in the radio’s screen.. here’s a quick ‘how to’ that may help. As for callsigns on the various monitoring websites, don’t worry too much about that for now, because DMR-MARC is doing some big changes to the network, so please be patient.

First thing you should know is that your rig is doing the job of translating the DMR-ID of the person currently transmitting to you, into a callsign and name for your rig’s display. The information to do this is completely held in a database in the radio, and it’s a very simple job to update it.

As more users are coming onto DMR-MARC you may want to update the contact list regularly. The radio can store a maximum of 1000 contacts, so when there are more than 1000 DMR-MARC IDs in the UK – you will have to delete some,  at the time of writing this article there are 968 in the contact list generator that we are going to use.

Some of your radio’s 1000 contact list capacity are taken up by Talkgroup configurations, but for most of us, that’s less than about 10, so at present we can fit all 968 contacts, and all needed Talkgroups into the radio ok.

A Website called TRBO LINK will automatically make you a codeplug (don’t write it into your radio, there are no frequencies in) You simply tick the regions of the world you want adding into your contact list. Here I’m assuming you are in the UK and wish to have all the present contacts displayed .. so here goes.

Go to the Trbo Link contact list generator site here and select the contacts you are interested in, like i did below..
the coloured bar tells you how many contacts you have selected so far..

select contacts on site

then when you have done that, check the number of contacts you have selected –  if you do go over 1000 contacts, notice that it tells you it will truncate the list, also remember that you will still have to lose a few contacts if you get 1000 or more – because a few entries in your rigs database will be used for Talkgroup configuration.

Next: Select the type of rig you have, or the nearest type,  mine is the DM4600 – so i chose DM4601. and click the Generate button. save the file to your PC.

rig type
Okay,  so, the file it gave you is a codeplug, it will be named something random like 98649867509.ctb   although for clarity you might want to rename it something more meaningful like “2015 March 6 contact list only.ctb” that i am using in this example.

Next thing is to fire up the MotoTRBO CPS and read your radio – and save the codeplug you are using–  name this something meaningful too, because if you run into difficulties doing this, you may just want to go back to what you are using now instead, but i doubt you will have any problems, as long as you know how to drag ‘n’ drop in Windows, and select multiple files.
Now in your codeplug, navigate (in the left hand side Explorer type folder-view tree thingy) to the “Contacts”  blue folder, then again into the ‘DIGITAL‘ in there.. That’s where your contacts are stored. You might want to have the CPS sort these by name or type, if you do, right-click and select Sort and choose which option.  The secret here is to delete just the contact names and leave the Talkgroups, which sounds harder than it is, as the CPS already sorts the callsigns. Once you have selected the callsigns only, delete them.  You saved the codeplug before you started right ??

Now as you see,  i’m left with just Talkgroups in there. Yours should look something similar, Your Talkgroups are probably named something else. It doesn’t matter.

old contacts now gone

Now, In the CPS, keep your radio’s codeplug open and now click the ‘Open’ button and open the “2015 March 6 contact list only.ctb” (or whatever you named it when you downloaded it)   – the codeplug that the Contact Generator Website just sent you earlier.
open So now you have 2 codeplugs open in the CPS …  now go to “Window”  up there on the Menu bar and click ‘ TILE” then both codeplugs will be arranged one on top of the other, which makes for easy drag ‘n’ drop operations … Now in both windows, navigate (in the left hand side Explorer type folder-view tree thingy) to ” Contacts / Digital ”

drag new

Now you have your almost empty contact list in your radio’s CPS window, and the codeplug that the website sent you open in another window, both open at the ” Contacts / Digital ” folders.

All you have to do now is select all the full callsign list out of the downloaded codeplug, and drag and drop them onto the blue “Digital” folder of  your radio’s contact list.
– it may take a few seconds to either move,  drag or drop the new contacts into your rigs contact list.

If you’ve been successful you can close the downloaded “2015 March 6 contact list only.ctb” codeplug and you dont have to save it if it asks. but you now only have your codeplug open and you can check it for typo’s and other errors before you write it if you want.

If you want to add a new contact – like your mate’s callsign doesn’t come up on your display, it’s simple enough to add it.  You have the ID number that you want to display a callsign for. To add a contact, go to the ” Digital / Contacts ”  folder, right-click and select “ADD” Private call  – it will appear at the bottom of the digital contact list, likely named ” Call1 ” – right click it to rename it with the callsign you want displayed.  I called mine ‘Hax’ in this example as you see.. Of course, You type the callsign you are adding instead 🙂

make new private
rename it
(Apologies for the quality of the last couple of pics)

Now add the DMAR-MARC ID of the callsign you just added above, this one here 12345678,  is a silly example… dont use that, or don’t make one up,  a proper UK one will start with 235****   235 is the UK’s number.


I untick the ‘ Call receive tone ‘ (the CPS automatically switches this on when you manually add a new digital contact) and  set “Text Message Alert” to “Momentary” too.
Now – once you have checked all this, and it seems ok, it’s time to write it back to your radio. You will want to SAVE this codeplug too, as usual, i strongly suggest naming and dating the codeplug’s filename accordingly.

Have Fun..

All work, text and images © GB7MB