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Programming ASTRO25 system with limited ASK in ASTRO25 CPS

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Jay911
Posts: 207
Joined: Wed Mar 06, 2002 4:00 pm

Programming ASTRO25 system with limited ASK in ASTRO25 CPS

Postby Jay911 » Sat Nov 11, 2017 1:45 pm

Hi all,

I'm having a hell of a time building some codeplugs and I hope somebody here can help.

I have a small fleet of radios for a fire department - one APX7500, 4-5 XTL5000s, and a handful of Kenwood NX5400 portables. I have advanced system keys for both the Motorola and Kenwood radios, legitimately issued by the system owner. The APX and the Kenwoods programmed without a hitch. The XTL mobiles are giving me a major headache.

I've read the Moto key with AKA (v9 that came with APX CPS; v5 that came with XTL CPS will not read it) and all seems to make sense, though this is the first time I've used system keys. My previous trunk radios have been programmed by a different organization.

The system I have the keys for, and am authorized to use, is a P25 Phase 1 700MHz system, and has one WACN and two sysids. I have valid radio IDs and my radios are flashed for the right features for the system, as far as I can tell (500008-000480-0) and have the latest XTL firmware.

The system keys are limited in scope of talkgroup, radio ID, system ID, and WACN ID. This is how this system is being run - they are giving each agency that wants to be on the system a key that restricts the programming to their own data.

When I build the trunking system in my codeplug, I have to follow a specific order of steps in order to avoid causing any invalid fields, but I've been led to believe that that's expected behavior. Anyway, I create the system, input the WACN, and check Intra-WACN Roaming. I do not enter a system ID; if I do, I then get into a never-ending cycle of invalid fields - the system ID is invalid if Intra-WACN Roaming is checked, and the WACN is invalid if Intra-WACN Roaming is unchecked. I enter my radio ID, and so far so good.

I then enter the right channel plan (in "ASTRO 25 Channel ID") and the control channels (though this system has 220 CCs and I only can add 128; the odds of me missing ones that are in use in my area are slim, anyway). Again, so far I have no problems.

Now I try to enter a trunking personality, and this is where things fall down.

I create the trunking personality, and on the General tab, "System & ID" is marked invalid because it's blank. I fill in with the system I just created above (system #4 in my case - my codeplug already has 3 personalities for a Type II Smartzone system in it, the one I have had programmed by someone else; and yes I have tried deleting those systems/personalities and no luck), and the field remains invalid. And of course, when the "System & ID" field is invalid, all the talkgroup/emergency/announcement group/etc fields become read-only, so I can't make any changes.

The help file for ASTRO25 CPS reads as follows:

Only Trunking Systems with Advanced Keys with no field or feature protection (unlimited access) or System Key Files can be selected.

This field’s value is marked invalid if a Trunking system is selected with an Advanced Key that has field or feature protection (limited access), and is also marked invalid when the Trunking System selected has no Advanced Key or no System Key File.


So does it mean that there is no way for me to program the system into my radios because the system administrator issues limited access keys?

Surely there has to be a way to get this programmed. I spoke with a radio tech for a very large agency in my province, with some XTLs in his fleet. He said his original XTL key (issued by the sys admins, again) worked for the duration of its life - all these keys also have expiration dates programmed in - and the replacement worked for a while, but then all subsequent keys have not worked.

Is it possible that the key is being programmed by the system admins wrong, and need to be re-programmed? Would it help to share what's reported by AKA?

I know there are XTL mobiles (and XTS portables for that matter) programmed on this system, so there has to be a way to get it done. I just can't figure it out on my own.

Any advice will be much appreciated!
--j.

talviar
Posts: 121
Joined: Thu Sep 27, 2001 4:00 pm

Re: Programming ASTRO25 system with limited ASK in ASTRO25 CPS

Postby talviar » Sun Nov 12, 2017 7:34 am

Depending on when ASK was programmed by the Master key owner. . . . they may not have enabled the proper check boxes for the XTL/XTS series radios.

The APX Advanced Key Administrator handles the creation of an ASK for APX as well as XTS/XTL software. Unfortunately I am at home and not my office or I'd grab a screen capture for you. If I don't see any other help by tomorrow when I get to my office, I'll fire up the software and "show" where the differences are.

It is entirely possible to create an ASK that works perfect with the APX radios and won't touch the XTS/XTL's. . . . .

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Jay911
Posts: 207
Joined: Wed Mar 06, 2002 4:00 pm

Re: Programming ASTRO25 system with limited ASK in ASTRO25 CPS

Postby Jay911 » Sun Nov 12, 2017 8:32 am

talviar wrote:Depending on when ASK was programmed by the Master key owner. . . . they may not have enabled the proper check boxes for the XTL/XTS series radios.

The APX Advanced Key Administrator handles the creation of an ASK for APX as well as XTS/XTL software. Unfortunately I am at home and not my office or I'd grab a screen capture for you. If I don't see any other help by tomorrow when I get to my office, I'll fire up the software and "show" where the differences are.

It is entirely possible to create an ASK that works perfect with the APX radios and won't touch the XTS/XTL's. . . . .


When I run AKA and read the key, I do have a small pull-down menu for APX and XTS/XTL in the "Access Levels" tab. Data is populated in both the APX "side" and the XTS/XTL "side" as far as I can tell.

A couple of stabs in the dark that entered my mind when looking at that data, though:

- Some of the enabled items which have a 'minimum/maximum range', i.e. "Announcement Group", have been enabled but are blank. Both the APX and XTS/XTL sides look like that. I'm wondering if the APX software is OK with it being blank, but XTS/XTL needs an actual definition.

- The list of allowed talkgroups in those min/max ranges are there, but are not in numerical order. I have five ranges listed, including 1461-1480, 701-900, 1023-1023, 2249-2273, and 1691-1694. Is it possible it's barfing on that?

On the "Advanced Keys" tab of AKA, after I read the key, "Advanced Keys on Connected Device" populates. I have two Advanced System Keys and one Advanced WACN key listed, all showing "Access Level 1" (the one I've been referencing with all the info above this in this post). However the sysid and WACN in this report are in lowercase (i.e. 05b instead of 05B). Despite this, the "System Keys Report" in ASTRO25 CPS does show the key and its sysids and WACN.

I suppose I could post the contents of the key (what options are enabled) if it would help... let me know if that would be wise or not.
--j.

talviar
Posts: 121
Joined: Thu Sep 27, 2001 4:00 pm

Re: Programming ASTRO25 system with limited ASK in ASTRO25 CPS

Postby talviar » Mon Nov 13, 2017 2:30 pm

I didn't make it to my desk today. . . . . Not sure on the ranges causing it to barf or not. I will be at my desk after I am at a tower site in the morning.

I'll take a look and see whats there. Since we only generate 2 level keys (full access for the county programmers) and a write key with no other abilities for the radio shops- . . . . . .

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Jay911
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Re: Programming ASTRO25 system with limited ASK in ASTRO25 CPS

Postby Jay911 » Thu Nov 16, 2017 12:49 pm

Anyone got any theories? Even a suggestion on somewhere else I can ask if that's most appropriate.

The way it looks right now to me, according to the ASTRO25 CPS help file, is that the CPS is engineered to prevent users from creating trunking personalities if the Advanced System Key they own has any restrictions/limitations (like being restricted to certain talkgroups/radio IDs, as mine is). If that's correct, that's mind-numbingly stupid and I have to wonder why restricted keys exist in the first place...

If there's a way to create personalities while owning/using a limited/restricted ASK, please let me know how...
--j.

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MSS-Dave
Posts: 766
Joined: Mon Jun 30, 2003 6:02 pm
What radios do you own?: XTL5K, NX300, PD782, Spark Gap

Re: Programming ASTRO25 system with limited ASK in ASTRO25 CPS

Postby MSS-Dave » Thu Nov 16, 2017 7:25 pm

It has been a while since I have dealt with ASK on Astro 25 but I remember vividly from 2008 commissioning a new fleet on a system trying to use an ASK daughter key that had restrictions. What a freaking nightmare. Even though it was supposed to I was unable to do much of anything within my fleet and my assigned ID range. It was such a pain to all the programmers in the agencies on the system that the manager decided to not do daughter keys anymore and only do masters and have programmers sign an agreement restricting fleets and IDs you were programming in. That System is still doing that to this day as far as I know. All the agencies will get together and do key updates from time to time but the expiration date on the key was set to 730 days in case one got lost.

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Jay911
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Re: Programming ASTRO25 system with limited ASK in ASTRO25 CPS

Postby Jay911 » Thu Nov 16, 2017 7:34 pm

Thanks. I've reached out to the system owners and explained the same as above and it looks like we're experiencing the same thing you describe, in multiple agencies (AFAIK/can tell). I'm hoping they will send out an unrestricted key with a similar "don't touch nothin'" agreement in place.
--j.


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