Equipment to Program a Motorola XPR Two-Way Radio

by Fred Decker
    Companies with complex needs can use the flexibility of the XPR series through custom programming.

    Companies with complex needs can use the flexibility of the XPR series through custom programming.

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    High-end professional-quality commercial radios such as Motorola's XPR series are designed for use by clients with the largest and most complex communications requirements. They're capable of transmitting voice or data through repeaters or even over the Internet, and can be organized into flexible working groups for several teams on one or more job sites. Programming these features requires both time and expertise, as well as specialized equipment and software. It's generally performed by the dealer, or by trained staff.

    The Equipment You Need

    To program Motorola's XPR series radios, a customer or dealer must purchase the company's customer programming software and license it for an appropriate number of users. Various handheld XPRs, in-vehicle mobile units, repeaters and base stations also require specialized data transfer cables, to communicate with the installer's computer system through its USB ports. Some portable models accept programming through their charging cradles, rather than directly through the handset, so those must available as well. The customer programming software should be installed on at least one laptop, so radios in vehicles or permanent remote installations can easily be reprogrammed.

    The Training You Need

    Professional-quality radios such as the XPR series work on what's called a "trunking" system, which enables a large number of radios to work on a relatively small number of frequencies by scanning them continuously. Radios can be organized into workgroups using clusters of specified frequencies for ease of use and monitoring. To program these radios, the installer must begin with a clear understanding of trunking radio systems and their architecture. Motorola trains installers in the use of its software, the variables to be programmed and the logistics of connecting to each class of XPR radio for programming purposes. Each radio must be programmed to take its allotted place within the network.

    What You Can Program

    Motorola's XPR radios are supremely flexible, supporting up to 1,000 channels and a variety of custom-programmable buttons. Installers can set up individual radios for various workgroups on the network, switching from one to another at the press of a button. Different ringtones can be assigned to groups, managers or dispatchers, alerting users to the caller's identity. Radios can be programmed with lists of contacts, and high-priority contacts such as a foreman can be set up for single-button access. A single button can provide three different functions, depending whether it's pressed for a half-second or less, held for one to three seconds, or held down continuously.

    How You Can Use It

    Depending how you choose to program your radios, they're capable of a range of functions. For example, supervisors' in-car radios or handheld radios can be programmed to communicate with several workgroups across several job sites. Radios can also be set up to dial out to a telephone, saving the airtime costs associated with company-issued cellular phones. Radios can be used as a tethered data interface for a laptop or tablet, transferring data to an Internet-connected base station. An Internet connection can also be used to enable radios to communicate with each other across an entire region, state or the whole country as needed.

    About the Author

    Fred Decker is a trained chef and certified food-safety trainer who has written and blogged on food-related topics since 2007. Previously he sold computers, insurance and mutual funds. Decker was educated at Memorial University of Newfoundland and the Northern Alberta Institute of Technology.

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