Over in Using Motorola TRBO Radios for Amateur Radio, I mentioned that I got some Motorola radios and programmed them, but that it was a bit of a task. I talk a bit more about why I picked the XPR6550 and what I had to do to program it.

Why the XPR6550?

It looks like the main options for handhelds are the XPR6550 and the XPR7550, at least for DMR. You can buy other Motorola radios that will happily do analog, but one of the benefits to buying a DMR radio vs say, an P25 radio, is that they typically cost less than the latter and there’s more ham adoption of them.

I opted for the XPR6550 over the XPR7550 because it takes standard antenna connectors and costs less online, particularly for a VHF Model. I went with the VHF model (AAH55JDH9LA1AN), because I have enough dedicated UHF radios, and I can use this model with some of the analog repeaters in my area.


Something to note about buying these inexpensively (mine was ~$100) on eBay is that most of the folks selling them are likely going to send you a radio that has not been factory reset, even if they have some basic validation of it. I think in part this is because the software is such a pain to obtain and you can’t factory reset it from the front panel. And this means that you’ll have to jump through some hoops if the codeplug cannot be downloaded to reset and change it because that is password protected. More on that below. I spent a bit of time writing this up because the information for this is strewn a number of places online.

They also probably will come with zero accessories, so if you’re getting started, you’ll probably want to order at least a programming cable, battery, and charging cradle. At the time of this writing, I went with the Aimtobest programming cable sold by “Aimtobest Radio Partner” on Amazon for around $29. For the battery, I got a cheap $23 one that stated it was compatibile with the radio, but doesn’t have any of the features that an official battery would have. I found a charging cradle on Aliexpress for around $10, and I can reuse antennas I already have for Baofeng radios.

Getting radio software and firmware

While Motorola used to charge for the software and firmware updates, they no longer do so for the TRBO line. This is nice if you’re buying one radio as an amateur radio operator, but because it’s Motorola, they don’t simply post it on their website, you have to jump through a bunch of hoops.

Quick Aside

If for some reason, you already happen to have “MOTOTRBO CPS 16.0 Build 828 (Standalone)”, you can open this sample codeplug and clone it over to your radio to get started: XPR6550 VHF Default Codeplug. There’s a sample codeplug that comes with CPS 16, but you’ll find that it is UHF and not compatible with the VHF version of the XPR6550. Conversely, if you have the UHF version of this radio, you should use the sample codeplug versus this one.

In a pinch, if you don’t have the 25 KHz entitlement, per this reddit comment, you can hex edit the sfccomb.dll file, and at memory address 0000200E, change the hex value of 06 to 17. This is equivalent to just having old firmware and an old CPS.

You should still jump through the hoops if you can, particularly if you ever end up with a newer radio and want to be able to easily get the software for it, or if you need to run recovery, because that requires the firmware. The firmware packages tend to be pretty big, so it’s less likely that you’ll find a friend that happens to have them.

The Hoops

If you’d prefer to watch a 37 minute video on how to do this (particularly if you’re new to codeplug programming), VA3HDL has a YouTube tutorial here.

Otherwise, you’ll want to follow the steps documented on Motorola’s website under the How to Download CPS Software for Astro and MOTOTRBO support article. (Yes, that URL 100% is going to break at some point)

Otherwise, here’s the steps in summary:

  1. Sign up for a consumer account here.
  2. Call the phone number on the website and explain that you’re an amateur radio operator and trying to get to convert it to a business account so that you can get programming software and firmware.
  3. Wait up to 72 hours or possibly more
  4. After you get a customer number, you can now access
  5. Go to Software, Subscribe, and then tick the box for “MOTOTRBO NA Professional Devices (Legacy)” to request firmware (it will take a while to show up)
  6. See if you can get to If not, you might have to wait another day.
  7. Buy the part number of “HKVN4362A” to get the CPS Software (free).
  8. (optional) Buy the wideband entitlement if you want to use it with amateur radio, part number “HKVN4046A”. ($5)
  9. Wait a while for the orders to be fulfilled.
  10. You can now download “MOTOTRBO Legacy XPR 6000 portable series Release R01.12.17” firmware and “MOTOTRBO CPS 16.0 Build 828 (Standalone)”.
  11. You can also get the CPS 2.0 software, but my understanding is that you can’t use older software once you’ve programmed the radio with the newer one.

Now at this point, you should have everything you need to run a “recovery” from the CPS. Doing a recovery will reset it to factory settings. Note the warning message that says it might need to be retuned. It looks like Motorola has some other software that dealers have access to use called “Tuner”, but this isn’t something available to customers. So in theory you should find a (dealer) friend that has this software and save the tuning parameters before running a recovery.

Also note that if you did a “clone” and for some reason the radio still doesn’t want to transmit properly, you may end up having to still do the recovery anyway.

But now you can program your radio, just like any other radio that requires a codeplug. I’d recommend enabling “expert mode” if you’re using CPS 16 to see all the settings. CPS 2.0 seems to show all the settings by default.