Alfonso Faustino: Motorola XTS 5000R Intrinsically-safe UHF R1 Model II Transceiver

2-January-2021, 0023 Hours PDT: Man, I really dig my XTS 5000R. I already got my APX 8000HXE, and I really like it, too. For some reason, I enjoy using the Motorola XTS 5000R as much as I enjoy my Motorola APX 8000HXE.

One of the many reasons I enjoy using the XTS 5000R, as much as my APX 8000HXE, is that the XTS 5000R, even though no longer supported by Motorola, is STILL technically relevant today. I really dig the fact that it can still hold its own against the newer Motorolas.

Caption: XTS 5000R in line with the XPR 7550e and APX 8000HXE

The XTS 5000 has excellent RX and TX quality first and foremost, like all Motorolas, but the thing that grabs me the most is the fact that first-responders still use the XTS 5000 today.

Caption: Lost Hills, CA Fire Department, circa January 2021

I also like the style of the XTS 5000 and the strong reputation it has among the Motorola community: first-responders and P25 HAM operators. The styling still wears well through time, and it is a clean design. It fits well in the hand, and it is comfortable hanging on the belt. It is responsive without being overly aggressive — in other words, the ergonomics work well in all circumstances — the knobs are big enough to manipulate with gloves, and the navigation from channel:channel is simple and intuitive.

The reputation the XTS 5000 has in the first-responders and HAM operators is solid and full of respect. First-responders throughout the world still use the XTS 5000 and won’t give it up for the APX-series. HAM P25 operators carry it with pride knowing their TX is gonna sound excellent in analog and P25 repeaters.

Caption: HAM operator on my analog repeater with my Motorola XTS 5000R picking up the HAM Operator’s TX…dig that sound quality on the RX of the XTS 5000R.

Like all Motorolas, the XTS 5000 was built with RX and TX first — all the features and housing are secondary. So, all Motorolas, regardless of age, will always sound booming.

I just dig the design, durability, quality, reliability, and reputation the XTS 5000 has all in one functional and cool-looking package.

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Three years ago, I learned and began to use the DMR digital network; and, I really enjoy it. I spent a lot of time learning about it; and, learning to program my Motorola XPR 7550e; so, I can access the various DMR talk-groups. It was my primary digital network, and I still use it today.

(CAPTION: Motorola XPR 7550e UHF — my EDC — this baby has been with me in some significant experiences in my life — one was a life and death situation — this baby is durable and never let me down…even when it was submerged in ~3 feet of rapid water for ~ 1 minute in the American River, California, it still worked and got me to a California/Nevada rescue team)

After DMR, I also learned and used D-STAR, which I really enjoy.  Programming D-STAR was, at least in my experience, more challenging than DMR.  The challenges came from the D-STAR network protocols, as well as the programming conventions of the Kenwood TH-D74A transceiver, which, next to my Motorola XPR 7550e, is really an awesome transceiver.  I use it as my back-up.  I really dig that it is tri-band; and, the GPS is really good — up there on the same level as my Motorola XPR 7550e.

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The voice quality on D-STAR is really good, and the operators are friendly and welcoming.

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I also used Yaesu System fusion, which is also fun; it has good voice quality; however, at times,I found the network unstable and unreliable.  Also, I found the Yaesu FT1XD difficult to navigate, via its front-panel lay-out and programming.  I am seldom on System Fusion.

I am fortunate to have access to all three of these digital networks; and, it was time for me to explore something new; hence, my curiosity got me researching the P25 digital network, which, until two days ago, I knew nothing about and never used it.  The only exposure I had with P25 was listening to LEOs, FFs, and EMT personnel.

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I was Zooming with the boyz (spelling intended), and we were talking about comms stuff, and we got to talking about P25…after that discussion, I decided I would give P25 a shot; so, I can unequivocally say, with experience, pssst, P25 ain’t nothin’ to write home about!

(CAPTION: Motorola XTS 5000R (Intrinsically-Safe) UHF RI Model II)

6-May-2020, I purchased this excellent like-new condition Motorola XTS 5000R UHF R1 Intrinsically-Safe Model II, which has a 30-day return policy, from a fellow HAM operator. He turned 75, and he lost his interest in pursuing his HAM operations due to failing eye-sight.

One of the many great things about Motorola transceivers is they are finely tuned transceivers. You really don’t need to mess with audio settings, such as, but not limited to, mic gain, which is unlike many of the amateur transceivers out in the market these days.

(CAPTION: Motorola XTS 5000R Intrinsically-Safe UHF R1 with glow-tape for easy visual location in the darkness — this pic was taken by my iPhone 11 Pro in complete darkness)

Like all Motorolas, old and new, the Motorola XTS 5000R, even though it is over two decades old, still sounds superior in its RX and TX capabilities. It still sounds as good as the newer Motorola transceivers; and, it definitely sounds more superior over new advance amateur transceivers. The Motorola XTS 5000 still used by LEOs and first responders in certain parts of the US: Beverly Hills PD.

Like I mentioned in my past BLOGs…Motorola is an investment — buy once, and it will last you a lifetime.

In my experiences, life-death experiences included, my Motorolas never failed me when I needed to make a TX at the most critical times. I’ve used amateur equipment, such as, but not limited to, Anytone (Version 1), in mock life-death situations, and I will not use Anytone again — Anytone failed in its RX and TX training exercise with me during my fire department comms exercise.

(CAPTION: Comms training with San Francisco Fire Department — I tested out the Anytone during this exercise; and, I immediately went back to my Motorola, as shown in the picture, supra)

I would take any old Motorola or my 4-channel Motorola CP200, as shown in the picture, below, over a brand new most current Anytone or other amateur transceiver out in the market.

(CAPTION: My very first Motorola transceiver, which is over 15 years old. I bought this brand new; and, it still sounds awesome — I would use this simple transceiver over the newest version Anytone transceiver)

Okay…back to my discussion about my newly-acquired Motorola XTS 5000R.

It is high-viz (spelling intended) safety-yellow. Fire-fighters prefer this color over black, so they can see the transceiver in low light conditions. I always wanted this model in safety-yellow; because, I think it looks cool!

How is this Motorola XTS 5000R Intrinsically-Safe UHF R1 Model II transceiver different from other Motorola XTS 5000s?

  • Hi-viz yellow is easily seen — especially, in low-lit environments — the color preference for fire-fighters;
  • It is Intrinsically-Safe, when coupled with the Motorola Intrinsically-Safe FM-Approved EXIA Impress battery, which means it can be used in flammable environments; because, the spark or electric static charge is neutralized due to its design. When in a flammable vapor environment, it won’t cause an explosion. True Motorola XTS 5000R has a gas-release valve built into its chassis; and,
  • It uses the Motorola Intrinsically-Safe FM-Approved EXIA Impress battery to activate the Intrinsically-Safe features.

Look at the picture, supra. Do you see the circular metal indentation in the lower right corner of the chassis below the black ATTENTION sticker?

That’s the gas-release valve. All true Motorola XTS 5000Rs have that valve that makes them Intrinsically-Safe when used with an Motorola Intrinsically-Safe FM-Approved EXIA Impress battery.

Also, look at the black background sticker with green text indicating it is Intrinsically-Safe, FM-Approved EXIA standards.

When used with the Motorola Intrinsically-Safe FM-Approved EXIA Impress battery, as seen in the pic below, it means I can operate my Motorola XTS 5000R in HazLoc environments, like my Motorola APX 8000HXE.

Do you notice the circular vent on the Motorola Intrinsically-Safe FM-Approved EXIA Impress battery, supra?

The normal battery, shown in the picture, supra, next to the Motorola Intrinsically-Safe FM-Approved EXIA Impress battery, doesn’t have the circular vent.

Also, check out the bottom of the batteries, as shown in the picture, supra. The Motorola Intrinsically-Safe FM-Approved EXIA Impress battery has a green dot on the bottom. The normal battery does not have a green dot.

Sometimes, there will be no sticker in that space — not a problem — just make sure the gas-release valve is present on the chassis, as shown in the picture, supra.

(WARNING: A lot of eBay sellers will purchase the OEM Motorola XTS 5000R yellow case and put it on a regular Motorola XTS 5000. Unsuspecting buyers will think they are getting an Intrinsically-Safe transceiver, but they are not, and they are potentially putting themselves at risk if they were to enter an environment that is hazardous by way of flammable vapors. Always look for the gas-release valve, and make sure you have the accommodating battery to complete the Intrinsically Safe features.

The Motorola XTS 5000R comes in yellow and black colored cases. Look for the R On the label of the case, then look for the gas-release valve on the chassis. Usually, there is a Green-lettered sticker on a black background that mentions the Intrinsically-Safe feature when used with the listed Intrinsically-Safe batteries.)

Another indicator, although not always present, is the Astro FM Approved sticker at the bottom of the transceiver.

Like I mentioned, the Motorola XTS 5000R doesn’t always have the aforementioned green lettered EXIA chassis sticker nor the aforementioned sticker the bottom of the transceiver; however, the feature you need to verify is the presence of the aforementioned circular valve on the lower right corner of the Motorola XTS 5000R’s chassis. If you got those features, then you’ve got a real XTS 5000R transceiver.

Of course, if your gonna use it in HazLoc, make sure you have the intrinsically safe battery and have your transceiver checked out by Motorola to ensure your Motorola XTS 5000R is up to Motorola specs before using it in a HazLoc environment.

Okay, let’s move on…

after one arduous night of programming my Motorola XTS 5000R Intrinsically-Safe UHF R1, I was able to test the RX and TX on analog frequencies and P25 reflectors.

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Like I mentioned in the past, Motorolas are not easy to program; but, once you successfully program a Motorola, you are richly rewarded with features, sound qualities, and ease-of-use you will get from no other transceiver in the market-place.

Do you remember earlier in this BLOG I mentioned that I wasn’t expecting to write home about P25?

Well, I was wrong — P25 is DEFINITELY something to write home about — in this case, BLOG about. It sounds amazing; and, the repeater, Motorola Quantar P25 Repeater, WI6H, is awesome — it has great coverage and reliable!

In the video, supra, my Motorola XTS 5000R (Intrinsically-Safe) UHF RI Model II is picking up a P25 operator in Utah. The voice quality is amazing; because, it sounds like the operator’s real voice — like analog. The repeater I was using is WI6H, which is ~5 miles Southwest of my location.

If you’re interest in chatting it up on P25, then I recommend the XTS 5000-series.  You don’t need to get the XTS 5000R; the XTS 5000 Model II and Model III in UHF R1 or VHF are the ones I recommend — just make sure you pick the right band: UHF R1 or VHF — if you don’t have P25 repeater in your city, you could go with a hot-spot — I use the openSpot2, and it only accepts UHF R1 frequencies; so, take that into consideration in your purchasing decisions.

Check out SnarlingRabidDog on eBay. He provides many different types of new, used, and refurbished Motorolas.  He provides a 14-day or 30-day return policy, verifies the transceiver is not stolen, tunes the transceiver, brings the transceivers up to Motorola specifications, tests it for full operations; and, at times, replaces the casing with a new Motorola OEM case. He charges more, but you’re getting a like-new transceiver without paying for the new costs.

He also has new Motorola transceivers that he sells at a competitive price.

(CAPTION: Motorola XPR 7580, Motorola XPR 7550e UHF, and Motorola XPR 7550 VHF)

Another person whom I have purchased Motorola transceivers, specifically, Motorola XPR 7550e UHF, is from Ken Bryant of North Georgia Communications. He is an authorized Motorola Dealer. He has brand new APXes in stock, and provides excellent technical support. He also has different model Motorolas, new and demos, for sale at competitive prices. He has many accessories for Motorola transceivers.

**Stay away from eBay sellers that don’t have a return policy — they are schmucks and probably are selling a product that was obtained in a malfeasant manner or is not fully functional.**

(CAPTION: Newest Motorola family member: Motorola XTS 5000R Intrinsically-Safe UHF R1 Model II)

I will be more than happy to help you with your Motorola XTS 5000 programming.  Unfortunately, I don’t have the bandwidth to program your transceivers for you; but, I am always available to answer questions and give guidance.

Well, keep me posted should you decide to land your craft on P-25 to check out the environment and life-forms. Enjoy!

Check 6!

/s/ Alfonso Faustino (K6ASF)