Help selecting/programming a mobile radio

Discussion in 'All About Radios & Communication Equipment' started by codycat91, Nov 4, 2017.

  1. codycat91

    codycat91 Member

    I need a mobile radio for my vehicle that is (at the very least) capable of receiving P25 digital frequency (my dept's channel). It would be almost 100% for receiving only, as it would be in my personal vehicle off-duty. If a scanner would work just as good as a real mobile radio, thats fine, but I don't want to sacrifice reception quality by going with a scanner instead of a purpose-built quality Motorola radio, or the like. Can anyone guide me in the right direction? Thank you (Going in a 2013 Charger)
  2. C17LVFD

    C17LVFD Senior Member


    What band is ur p25 channel in?

    Are you on a Trunking system or using a conventional frequency?

    Assuming you want something that doesn’t take up a lot of real estate in the charger. Depending your on your needs I can make recommendations.

    If your on a Trunking system... it’ll depend if you can get a system admin to assign your radio an ID. If they won’t then you’ll need a scanner.

    Conventional channels aren’t an issue.

    If you don’t know conventional vs Trunking, let us know where you are and we can try to figure it out.

  3. codycat91

    codycat91 Member

    Thank you, I'm almost certain it is trunked, but not 100%. It's the City of Jamestown, NY Police Dept.
  4. C17LVFD

    C17LVFD Senior Member

    Ok. So looks like your on a VHF system. Looks like you’ve got some P25 conventional channels are are also on or migrating to a P25 Phase II Trunking system.

    So... if your ok with strictly conventional P25 channels... assuming there’s no encryption, a VHF Astro Spectra with P25 conventional could do the job. If you want to be on the Trunking system you need a Motorola APX platform Radio like a apx4500,6500,7500... a Harris M7300 or unity series... Realm and a couple others make Phase II TDMA capable mobiles. All expensive. Cheapest solution will be a phase II scanner.

    You’ll also need a Radio ID for the system and a system key for the Trunking system.

    I would also recommend a hand held control head for the radio to save on space.

    I hope that gives some insight. Most APX mobiles will be north of $1,000.00... scanners needed for the system will be around $500.00. If there’s any encryption... scanner is out.

    Good luck,
  5. codycat91

    codycat91 Member

    Thank you very much. I'll try to get some clarification on whether or not it's encrypted.
  6. hawkspringsfire

    hawkspringsfire Gold Level Member

    Check out my install thread to see how I installed my Astro spectra, which btw was worked and converted by C17LVFD. He had a vast knowledge of radios and is the right guy to ask.
    C17LVFD likes this.
  7. codycat91

    codycat91 Member

    Can you post a link?
  8. hawkspringsfire

    hawkspringsfire Gold Level Member

  9. ShadowSwipe

    ShadowSwipe Registered Member

    The XTL 5000's, XTL 2500's, XTS 5000's, XTS 2500's, and XTS 1500's can handle P25 Phase 1 digital systems. Not sure what other older gen radios can.

    If your dept. is using TDMA talk groups in the future you might as well get a scanner unless you want to spend thousands of dollars on a radio.

    Using a radio runs a risk of it being bricked. On digital systems, the radios will attempt to affiliate with the system, meaning the dispatchers can see it, and the dispatchers can and will brick unauthorized radios affiliated with their system as it can cause problems. If you don't have approval from whoever manages your radio system, and you don't have someone that knows what they're doing when they program your radio, I'd advise to stay away from using an actual radio, a scanner is much more user friendly and you can get a wide variety of traffic vs just one freq band.

    Scanners do come with a drop in receive quality though. They can't match real radios.

    Don't forget to consider other brands besides Motorola. ICOM and Harris make P25 capable radios that sell for much cheaper than Motorola's its just harder to find them on the used market because Motorola is such a big player.

    Disclaimer: I'm not a radio expert. I recommend checking out for more info
    Last edited: Nov 5, 2017

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