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So I bought a stack of Maxtrac's at my local junk show.

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So I bought a stack of Maxtrac's at my local junk show.

Postby Xnke » Sat Jul 29, 2017 8:04 pm

Ham operator here-Looking for conversion information. Mostly I want to convert the few working VHF-Low band radios I have to 6 meters. One for my work truck, and one for the garage. I have the information on how to do the conversion, but now I'm trying to find other information-Like I have seen where the 2-channel radios (most of what I have) get converted to 16 or 32 channels, and the "Hydro" conversion radios with 99 channels.

I also have a VHF highband that *appears* to be correct for the 2 meter ham conversion and one more that's suitable for the conversion to 440Mhz band, but they don't have labels on them that say "This works" labels at all, actually. Had to pull the covers to get the PA board part numbers to figure out what they are.

Anyway, I have two radios marked "Good TX/RX, No Issues", and they are Model Number D51MJA93A5AK. From what I can find, that means:

D Dash Mount
5 60W PA (0=recieve only, 2=2watt, 3=25W, 4=45W, 5=60W)
1 VHF Low-Band, 30-50MHz (2=72-76Mhz, 3=136-174Mhz, 4=403-512Mhz, 5=800Mhz, 7=900Mhz)
M MJA Maxtrac 50 conventional non-trunking
J "
A "
9 Mode
3 2-channel (7=six channel, D=16 channel, J=32channel)
A ??
5 ??
A Revision 1
K Standard complete accessory and installation kit

The RF board is marked 84D80904 V03, and has a sticker marked HLB-3050A MAL9817 on it.

The Logic board is a 5-pin board, 84D80199M02, and both radios have Xicor EEPROM's fitted instead of the older battery-backed RAM, and the EPROM has a sticker marked "1990 Motorola version 5.34 HLN5569A"

The sticker on the board reads "HLN5172A MAL9816"

Anyone here have any more information for me?

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Re: So I bought a stack of Maxtrac's at my local junk show.

Postby DJP126 » Sun Jul 30, 2017 7:00 pm

Sorry I can't help much with this, but I can offer some additional info for you. The RF board and Logic board numbers starting with 84D80.... are the factory part numbers for the raw circuit boards (no components installed). The "HLB" and "HLN" numbers are the numbers for the RF and Logic boards. The "MAL" numbers indicate that they were manufactured on the 16th and 17th week of 1998.

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Re: So I bought a stack of Maxtrac's at my local junk show.

Postby Xnke » Sun Jul 30, 2017 8:54 pm

Nifty. I have found a resource in Repeater-Builder's website, there is lots of conversion, diagnosis, and repair information there.

If only I hadn't sold off all my 386-DX laptops last summer...I had three that would have run the software quite nicely, and sold them off. Probably to someone who needed them for a similar bit of software!

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Re: So I bought a stack of Maxtrac's at my local junk show.

Postby jry » Mon Jul 31, 2017 3:38 am

based on the HLB-3050 part number they are 42-50 split ...usually good for 6 Meters with a firmware update and tweaking.

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Re: So I bought a stack of Maxtrac's at my local junk show.

Postby Xnke » Mon Jul 31, 2017 11:22 am

That's what I have found as well.

Right now, the plan is to swap the one two-channel front panel to a multichannel, and set them up for 16 channels on 6 meters. The local PD has the RSS and is willing to help me out-I have repaired a lot of broken antenna connectors off their handhelds over the last few years.

After I move this pair to 6 meters, I wanna try to move a VHF unit to 2-meters and a UHF unit to 440-These little radios fit perfectly on one of my shack shelves-the A/C vent blows straight down behind the shelf and so if the radios are pushed all the way back to the back wall, the heatsink fins are in constant cooled airflow all summer and constant 70F airflow all winter. Looking at the resources on the internet, it seems that with forced air cooling and appropriate duty cycle, these things can do a decent job as a packet data link. That sounds cool!

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Re: So I bought a stack of Maxtrac's at my local junk show.

Postby Satelite » Fri Aug 04, 2017 3:37 pm

Wow didn't expect to see a post on the Hydro MAX 99 Maxtrac.
Well I do have a lot of info for you.
First let it be known that the MAX99 radio software is no longer available from Motorola and hasn't been for years but your not dead in the water .
Second the American maxtrac software in lo band does allow the shift key method for out of band programming in the 50 to 54 meg 6 meter band but youl still need to do the mods and conversion. But the Canadian MAX99 software WILL NOT ALLOW SHIFT KEY OUT OF BAND PROGRAMMING so MAX99 software must be hex edited to extend the freq range into the 54 meg 6 meter ham bad, Again your not dead in the water here as its already been done way back when the well known Monte Sisco was around (Rest In Piece Monty)
Third you need to remove the 24 pin memory chip and replace it with a 28c64 memory chip that has 28 pins and if you look on the logic bd there are already 28 pins just 4 unused so simple swap out.
Fourth on the bottom side of the logic bd there will be 4 jumpers youll need to move so you can gain access to the 28 pin extra memory chip.
Fifth youll need the special version eprom (Don't qoate me but I'm sure its - Id have to look) VS5.35 eprom that youll need for the MAX99 extra 99 channels. (The special VS535 prom is no longer available from Motorola but again your not dead in the water as I can read and burn the VS535 prom needed so its available but needs duplicated with a prom reader burner.
Sixth youll need to tweak the receive coils per the mod instructions.
Seventh You need to mod the power amp to put out full power in the 54 mag range by adding solder to the tuning coil method.
Hopefully you have maxtrac lab to blank and reinitiate and a service monitor with watt meter to calibrate on reinitiation.
And many may not know this but the Canadian MAX99 Hydro 99ch mobile has a feature that for example if you programmed ch 1 as a repeater then if you turned on this feature in the MAX99 RSS program you could simply press the monitor button once and it would automaticly take ch 1 repeater to the repeaters talk around feature as in it just went car to car simplex without the repeater.
So you could do a repeater split but yet press the monitor button and on same ch 1 go to simplex .
First id have to ask the original postee if in fact they real needed the 99 channels or if they just plain and simple want it and I understand that bent weird explanation because I'm quilty of that myself at times :-)
But if you thought 32 channels was enough then id consider swapping the front two channel face out for the multi ch front and then if the prom was a 5.34 id swap that but think as I recall it was still the correct 5.34 prom.
Blank reinitiate as 32 ch American lo band then do the 6 meter mods for 6 meter ham band.
The only thing youll miss out on is the 99ch and monitor button repeater to simplex option.
Both will still do scan just 32 ch versus 99 ch.
Personlaly I got all wrapped up in the HYDRO MAX99 mobile years back and yeah glad did but in all honesty I never needed 32 channels anyway locally.
Spose if you were doing lots of dx then the added channels would come in handy with scan going to help locate the skip.
Hmm scanning dx skip repeaters and making contact ? Well interesting but I normally went simplex myself but spose one could if so inclined.
Any qestions ill help out where I can.
Done many of these mods way back in the 2000s but never did take a big hold on interests back then here on the bd other than an occasional post such as this one.
If anyones inclined I could dig out the prom burner and get you those No Longer Available chips.
And Batlabs right here did have the mod method for converting the 42 to 50 MHz lo bander into a 50 to 54 meg 6 meter band.
My experience has been that if you center your mod for 6 meters at 52.525 MHz that youl get the full 50 to 54 meg area plus at leats 1 to 2 megs of the business band in lo band so if done right and your maxtrac lies to play right you can get 48 to 54 megs.
JUST A FREINDLY REMINDER Batlabs does not allow asking for radio rss programs on its forum.
So please don't as youll just get a rss black eye warning posted under your avatar.
Qestions ask ill see what I know that will help out anyone here interested in an American 32 ch mod or the Candian Hydro MAX99.

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Re: So I bought a stack of Maxtrac's at my local junk show.

Postby Xnke » Fri Aug 04, 2017 9:43 pm

Mostly at this point I'm looking to get the currently useless radios converted into useful, reliable, durable radios for mobile use-I want a 6/2/70cm setup for my truck, and since I am about to paint the truck I am trying to get the antenna setup installed so any screwups can be repaired prior to paint. (only got the bed and tailgate left to paint now!)

The maxtracs are very inexpensive, and are commercial quality-not the under-built ham junk that comes at low prices. I don't want to spend the money for a high-quality 3-band mobile rig, as they're a substantial fraction of the total cost of the truck, but I don't want to be buying the inexpensive ham gear three and four times when the displays screw up from interior heat or the tiny heatsink doesn't keep the final module alive. (I've had both happen even with mid-grade ham gear in mobile applications!) Also, tinkering is why I got into ham radio to start with, it's just fun!

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Re: So I bought a stack of Maxtrac's at my local junk show.

Postby train_radio_guy » Mon Aug 07, 2017 10:36 am


If you end up needing the multi-channel (i.e. 32/99 ch) displays (GM300 Style), or a 386/486 laptop with DOS 6.22; albeit no RSS, I may be able to help you. The wife has got me cleaning again, and I think I still have a few goodies tucked away, that survived the last cleaning spell! 8)

PM me with your 'grocery list', & I'll see what I can do for you.
"Trust me, I know what I'm doing!" - Sledge Hammer

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