Programming your RACAL It’s Easy to Do One of the best features of the Thales Racal radio is the ease of programming new channels into the radio. There are various times that you will have to add channels. First of all, you must be authorized to use the new frequencies. Channels on the ICS-205 at an incident, frequencies supplied by your supervisor, or from your briefing at an off- district assignment are authorized for your use. These new frequencies are only to be used while you are involved with the new assignment. Do not continue to use them while returning home or after you are back. Likewise, don’t use our frequencies while you are off District. After you have received your frequency list it is time to start the programming process. Review the list and create unique names for the channels that are 8 characters or less in length. If you are programming these in the main bank, they cannot exactly duplicate any names that have been already used. SOA RPTR is good GERLACH1 would be needed as GERLACH is in main bank BL LAKE would be needed As BLUELAKE is in main bank ? ? The names should reflect the use or location of the frequency. “DIV A”, “MAIN RPT”, “CAMP”, and “A2G WEST” would be good names for Division A, the main incident repeater, the inter-camp net, and Air-to- Ground on the west side. Select a user programmable Zone or a Zone in the Event Bank. Our regular channels are locked to avoid overwriting them. Place the radio in programming mode by pressing ENTER, selecting PROGRM and pressing ENTER. The radio will ask for a password and enter “000000”, the default password. Select CHANEL. Depending upon whether or not the channel was previously programmed, you will see “EMPTY” or an ID and TAG with the old channel name. Just pressing ENTER and then scrolling down to TAG will allow you to enter a channel name. ID is set by the radio and you cannot change it. If it is an existing channel, reprogramming will change the data in all appearances of that channel in the radio. If there is a little padlock in the lower right corner, the channel is locked. Enter your channel name. Like a cell phone, you may need to push a button several times to get the right letter or number. You can back up with the arrow softkeys to correct a mistake. The “1” key will give you a space, and the “*” key will give you the special characters *.&<>-+=:!%;? as well as a space. All labels are displayed as capital letters with keyboard programming. The curser will advance to the next space in about 1.5 seconds after you press a key. Remember, you can use the arrow softkeys to correct a mistake. Press ENTER to accept the name and then scroll down to MODE. MODE is where you set the modulation characteristics of the radio. We are primarily using ANALOG channels, though DIGITAL ones are used for special purposes like crew nets. Select the correct MODE. In ANALOG mode, B/W (bandwidth) will need to be set. All Federal Frequencies will be Narrowband – 12.5 kHz. Cooperators, like VFDs, sheriffs and state forestry departments, may have Wideband – 25 kHz channels. Federal frequencies will usually be between 162 and 174 MHz, and these must Narrow be narrowband. Cooperators usually have frequencies between 150 and 162 MHz. Below 150 Wide MHz there is a mix of government, commercial and Amateur Radio. The next screen is for encryption. It should always be set for disabled (DISABD). Only the Law Enforcement radios have encryption at this time. Scroll down to the Receive (RX) screen. This is where you enter the receive frequency. The radio will not accept a frequency that is out of range or is an invalid channel. The decimal point is always added after the third number entered. You can use the softkey arrows to correct mistakes. RXSQMD is where you set your receive squelch. On most of our channels, we use carrier or NOISE squelch as it is called in this radio. When there is enough signal on the channel, the squelch opens and sends audio to the speaker. When you select NOISE, you will have the opportunity to initially set the squelch level. The default setting usually works fine. You can always change this setting with the MONITOR button on the side of the radio. Other RX squelch settings are NONE, DCS and CTCSS. NONE sets the radio in open squelch and the channel will always be noisy. DCS tones are used by some cooperators, but CTCSS tones may be commonly used in communication plans. Receive CTCSS tones may be specified on a communications plan to eliminate squelch opening from unwanted signals. Many users use these in radio noisy urban environments for this purpose. To set a tone, select CTCSS and the TON line will appear on the display. You can scroll through the correct tones to find the one listed on the plan. If you cannot find the one that is listed on the plan, there is an error in the plan so contact the radio tech. The next screen sets the transmit (TX) frequency. Enter the transmit frequency the same way you did the receive frequency. If this is a “Receive Only” frequency like the Weather, put all zeros in for the frequency. TXSQMD (Transmit squelch mode) can be set to NONE, CTCSS or DCS in analog mode. If you select CTCSS, it will display TON and you can set the tone to the correct value from your programming list. The next screen will allow you to set your transmit power. Default is 1 watt LO and 5 watts HI. For some applications we will set these lower and that will conserve batteries. Reducing power also helps avoid interference with other users. If the channel was EMPTY when you started, the radio will ask you if you want to save the new channel. Press ENTER to save the channel and it will revert to that channel in regular operational mode. After programming an empty channel, if you wish to program another channel, you would have to re-enter programming mode. You will not be asked for a password again until you turn the radio off and on. If you programmed over an old channel, when you scroll past the power screen, you will come back to the ID- TAG screen. You can ESC out if you are ready to use the radio, or you can use the channel selector to go to the next channel to program. When you finish programming, you will want to turn the radio off and on to reset it. Digital channels require setting the NAC (network access code) and the TG (talkgroup) These may be different for the transmit and receive. NACs come in two flavors, HEX NAC decimal and hexadecimal. The Racal will only take hex NACs at this time. Generally, decimal NACs will have 4 digits and hex will have 3. Besides the Decimal NAC usual 0-9, hex includes A, B, C, D, E, and F. If you have any question about whether or not a NAC is hex or decimal, ask. If they are in decimal form, ask the tech to perform the conversion. The computer radio programmer can perform the conversion and they can also be done with the Windows scientific calculator. It is important to enter the leading zero(s). The letters can be selected by multiple presses of the 2 or 3 key. The NAC will default to 0x293. “0x” prefix, or the “h” or “$” suffix denotes hex and are not entered into the radio. (0x293=293h=293$) Think of the NACs as the TONE 1 CTCSS 110.9 NAC 455h equivalent of the CTCSS 2 3 123.0 131.8 4CEh 526h tones. Actually, DOI came 4 5 136.5 146.2 555h 5B6h up with a conversion where 6 156.7 61Fh 7 167.9 68Fh the CTCSS times 10 equals 8 103.5 40Bh 9 10 100.0 107.2 3E8h 430h the decimal NAC. A 11 12 114.8 127.3 47Ch 4F9h repeater that was formally 13 14 141.3 151.4 585h 5EAh 123.0 CTCSS will now be 15 16 162.2 192.8 656h 788h decimal NAC 1230 or 4CEh in hex. There are a couple of special NACs. 293$ is the default NAC. 0xF7E and F7Fh are the equivalent of carrier squelch, they will open the receiver on any digital signal with any transmitted NAC. On the RXSQMD screen you can select P25MON, P25SEL,or P25NOR. P25SEL requires the correct NAC and the correct talkgroup in order to open the squelch. P25MON will open on all non-encrypted digital signals. P25NOR will open on any talkgroup but requires the correct NAC. The TX screen will require a NAC. The TXSQMD will always be P25SEL. TALKGP defaults to 00001. Enter the correct talkgroup or the “all talkgroup” number 65535. The power screen is the same as on the analog channel. On inter-crew frequencies, you might be directed to use lower power settings to avoid interference with other users. There are other menus in the programming area. GLOBAL contains items that affect the entire radio. LITE will allow you to set the brightness of the display. DIM and BRIGHT use almost the same power. LT DLY is the time the light stays on when you press a key or the squelch opens. It is set at 5 seconds. LTONRX can be set to ON for a light when the squelch opens. TOT is the transmitter time out timer. It should be set to 120 seconds or less. This prevents a stuck PTT switch from keeping the radio in transmit and clogging the channel. DISPLY can be set to ALPHA or NUMBER. NUMBER will display the receive frequency on the channel screen, or the transmit frequency when the PTT is pressed. ALPHA is the default. UNIT ID should be left ON. In Digital mode, an identifier is sent. Each radio is assigned a unique number. This will allow some new communications options with digital channels in the future. HOM is a home channel. This is useful if you have a button programmed as a home button or with the HOME function in the main menu to go to your home channel. It stays on that channel until you change channels, zones, or turn the radio off. EMG is used to set the channel for the red button. Since the red button is not activated, it does nothing. ALERT changes the function of the emergency activation of the red button if it were activated. TX INH is also known as “busy channel lockout”. It is used to prevent you from transmitting on top of another station. Default is NONE. This may be used in the near future. RPTR is reserved for future use. BAUD is used to set the communication rate for external data devices. Please leave it at 9600. The best way to keep current on your radio programming skills is to practice. Programming a channel each week will only take a couple of minutes, but will keep you current. Thank you for taking this class. If you have any questions, stop by the Radio Shop.