Alfonso Faustino: Motorola XTS 5000 Transceivers Model III and Model II

I really enjoy these two Motorola XTS 5000s: Model III and Model II (pictured above). I use them to listen to law enforcement officers and fire fighters in San Francisco, Los Angeles, and New York.

Wouldn’t it be less expensive to just purchase a scanner?

The answer is, “yes.” A scanner would be less expensive than purchasing a Motorola XTS 5000; and, a scanner would be easier to program, as well.

For those of you that know me well, you know that I have a strong sense to learn all I can; and, you also know that I will almost always pick the road less traveled.

In addition to these characteristics of me, I prefer transceivers over scanners because transceivers can do one thing that scanners cannot do…transmit.

Of course, the Motorola XTS 5000 has excellent sound quality, which a scanner does not have, and the Motorola XTS 5000 has the ability to simulcast…it’s designed for simulcast.

The Motorola XTS 5000’s ability to transmit is critical for me; hence, I don’t purchase scanners — I need to have the option to transmit in the event I’m in a life and death situation.

A scanner is easy to program; but, the skill level to program a Motorola transceiver, like the XTS 5000, takes a high amount of brain-power, precision, patience, training, and time, and these skill-sets appeal to me and satisfy my insatiable appetite for learning and my curios nature of figuring out the way things work.

Do I know the way to activate the TX feature of my Motorola XTS 5000 in relation to public safety frequencies?

Of course I do…it’s in my nature to figure that out…do I transmit on those frequencies as an unauthorized operator — unequivocally, no!

It’s a federal offense for an unauthorized person to TX on public safety frequencies, and it could be illegal to listen in on certain public safety frequencies — both of these federal offenses are punishable with a fine and/or prison time; so, even though I have these programming skills with public safety frequencies, I’m extremely careful and judicious in my coding practice to ensure I stay within the limits of the law.

Due to my volunteer work with public safety, I have authorization to listen to their frequencies, and I can transmit under very specific conditions and criteria when I’m activated. When I’m activated, the company doesn’t allow me to use my personal transceivers, I’m issued a company affiliated transceiver with a specific radio ID, and their comm-weapon of choice is the Motorola APX 6000.

So, what appeals to me about listening to public safety frequencies over watching television or listening to music over an FM radio station in my car while I drive down to Los Angeles?

Well, I find it intriguing to listen to law enforcement chase down a perp on foot or in a car-chase in Code 3 Status — in fact, I’m listening to SFPD right now blocking off streets to contain a perp that stabbed a pedestrian with an 8″-blade knife in the Tenderloin District of San Francisco. I find it intriguing to listen to firefighters put out a fire or helo-lift an injured hiker out of the Palisades Canyon and into UCLA Med Center.

Many people find it boring to listen to these activities; but, I enjoy it — it’s all real-time action for me; and, unlike television, the actions transmitted over the transceiver are real-life events.  I like listening to their operational procedures — it’s useful for me; because, when I get activated, I’m up-to-speed with operations.

I also use my Motorola XTS 5000s to manage my traffic routes. I know first-hand, before Google Maps and Waze, all the streets and freeways that will be shut down due to anything from a presidential visit to a neighborhood street faire.

Most importantly, I use my Motorola XTS 5000s to keep me out of places that are high in criminal and malfeasant activities; hence, I stay away from those areas based on the information I get from public safety transmissions coming into my Motorola XTS 5000s.

For example, some times I like to walk to my part-time job at Trader Joe’s.  I listen to my transceiver to give me an overview of the malfeasant activities along my route.  Sometimes, I like to cut through the Tenderloin District.  If, at that day of my walk,  malfeasant activities are numerous, I consider…”do I wanna walk through the Tenderloin to get to work?”  If I do, then I am extra alert while walking through that neighborhood, and I keep a weapon in hand and prepare my mental and physical attitudes for a possible confrontation.  If don’t feel I wanna be at that high-level physical and mental alert status, then I will walk through a different neighborhood with little or no malfeasant activities.  If I don’t feeling like walking, then I just take a LYFT.

It’s truly disturbing to learn that innocent people walking to their destinations during the day or night are getting attacked by malfeasant individuals — random acts of violence in San Francisco seems to be the city’s new personality due to ineffective and poorly written laws and policies set by politicians in San Francisco.

For me, I treat these malfeasant activities in San Francisco like the weather…is it gonna rain today?  If so, I wear my North Face jacket with a hood.  No sense in complaining about the weather and not going out because of it.  I face the facts and reality of my day and act appropriately based up my assessment of those facts and reality…my only goal is to be best prepared for any weather situation and safely make it to my destination with little or no incident.

Each transceiver I’ve purchased in my collection serves a specific need: social comms, fire department comms, LEO comms, EMS comms, aviation comms, maritime comms, and military comms. I built a strong comms network within San Francisco, within the United States and internationally, and I am proud of the comms network I created; because, when the shit hits the fan be it the result of nature or mankind, I have a good back-up to my mobile phone in the event the mobile phone networks or landline networks go down…my transceivers give me the access to the personnel I need anytime and anywhere: land, sea, or air.

Sidebar: You don’t need to set up trunking to listen to some public safety frequencies.  If you look at my videos, you will see my Motorola XPR 7580.  That is a DMR and conventional frequency non P25 transceiver — it does not do P25 trunking; but, I can still pick up public safety transmissions via conventional frequencies — just make sure you are using non control frequencies (primary or alternate) in your code-plug.

The disadvantage of this type of code-plug versus the trunking code-plug is you will not be able to track the complete conversation of a public safety person.  You will hear one topic they are addressing, and it will jump to another topic from a different public safety person and dispatcher.

For instance, if you just heard there is a high-speed chase due to a 916, you might not be able to track that transmission to its completion. 

I’m very happy to include my two Motorola XTS 5000s to my Motorola transceiver collection.

Check 6!

/s/ Alfonso Faustino (K6ASF)

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