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Spectra Clean Cab

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Posts: 108
Joined: Fri Sep 04, 2015 9:02 am
What radios do you own?: an unhealthy amount of them

Spectra Clean Cab

Postby W3AXL » Wed Apr 11, 2018 5:20 am

Hi all,

My clean cab spectra has been serving as a fantastic base radio for a couple of years now. It's a great radio and just has one major flaw that I'd love to try and overcome: scanning.

Now I know these radios were never designed to scan; there is no point for it on a railroad so it was never even allowed to scan. What I'm wondering is if there's any way, via bit-banging, speclab, or otherwise, to trick these radios into scanning. After all, at their heart they're just traditional spectras. The clean cab CPS does have a scan field, and there are entries for scan in other places as well, but they're fixed to "not enabled".

Just curious if anybody has played that deeply with the clean cabs or not. I suppose my other alternative would be to try and upconvert it to an Astro Clean Cab, but that'd probably end up being more work than it's worth.

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What radios do you own?: FPP 6 meter XTL 5K's

Re: Spectra Clean Cab

Postby spectragod » Fri Apr 13, 2018 5:52 pm

I had a couple many years ago, the MLM is missing chips that standard spectra's have, I fiddled with it, it didn't take well to mods.
Kilgore: Smell that? You smell that?
Lance: What?
Kilgore: Napalm, son. Nothing in the world smells like that.
Kilgore: I love the smell of napalm in the morning. You know, one time we had a hill bombed, for 12 hours. When it was all over, I walked up. We didn't find one of 'em, not one stinkin' dink body. The smell, you know that gasoline smell, the whole hill. Smelled like... victory. Someday this war's gonna end...

Revelation 6:8

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Re: Spectra Clean Cab

Postby Jim202 » Sat Apr 14, 2018 4:42 am

I have a number of the old 800 MHz. Spectra radios that I have junked. I did keep the control boards and the MLM boards out of them. These can be used in other radios. Like I have swapped out the control boards from VHF Spectra radios with the ones I pulled out of the 800 MHz. radios. Same thing with the MLM boards.

On word of caution here is you need to go into the service section of the programming software and change the serial numbers of the boards your putting into your radio. Otherwise trying to program the radio won't work due to the serial number errors.

Another thing to keep in mind is you will probably need the programming software that has the "Bit Banger" option in it. This way you can go in and change the features carefully.

Make sure you have made a copy of the existing codeplug and save it in a place you won't over write it. I use a floppy disk to save my original codeplugs to when making changes like this to a radio. This way if you fat finger any changes, you can back up and load the original codeplug back in and start over. This is AN IMPORTANT STEP MANY FAIL TO DO.

Have fun playing with the RR version of your radio. Let the group here know how you make out.

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What radios do you own?: an unhealthy amount of them

Re: Spectra Clean Cab

Postby W3AXL » Sun Apr 15, 2018 12:19 pm

Thanks for the advice. I know that the RR spectras aren't the most well-known radios out there. Hopefully I can dive a little deeper without killing the thing completely.

My biggest question right now is how the control head communicates with the radio. It doesn't appear to behave like a standard A series control head (but it does hook right into the existing control head plug on the radio) so I'm thinking that if I change too much of the Moflag or any of the option bits it might get unhappy.

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