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Tait T-3000/II
Handheld scrambler radio

The T-3000/II was a series of handheld VHF and UHF radios, developed by Tait Communications in Christchurch (New-Zealand) in 1996. The radio was based on the earlier T-3000 model (1993), and was a typical competitor of the Motorola Saber series. They were popular with the autorities in New-Zealand but also with many law enforcement agencies worldwide. In the Netherlands the T-3000 was used by the police for observations and by the Mobiele Eenheid (Riot Police).
 
Like with the Motorola Saber series, there were several versions of the T-3000. The image on the right shows a typical VHF-version of the T-3000/II handheld radio, with a limited keyboard (much like the Saber-II). It is powered by a NiCd battery pack that is inserted into a bay at the rear and is controlled by 6 push-buttons at the front and three at the side (two plus the PTT).

The radio offers limited security by providing a simple voice scrambling technique known as frequency domain scrambling (inversion) which was often mistakenly identified as 'crypto'.
  
Tait T-3000/II VHF handheld radio

The radio can be used in both Trunking and Conventional mode. When used in Trunking mode, it requires a suitable trunking network to be present. In such cases, the T-3000/II can be used to communication with other trunking-enabled radios, PABX systems and outside telephone lines (PSTN). In conventional (analogue) mode, up to 10 channels can be programmed into the device, numbered 101 to 110. They can be selected by entering the required channel number on the keypad, followed by briefly pressing the PTT button. Then display then shows CHANNEL XXX.

There were many different versions and variants of the T-3000/II, with simple (6-button) keyboard, with full keyboard, for VHF, for UHF, with different channel spacing, with built-in voice scrambler, etc. The one shown here is suitable for the range 146-174 MHz (20 kHz interval). The radio was commonly used in combination with the Tait T-2000/II mobile radio. The 2000 and 3000 series were succeeded in 2003 by the Tait 8000 range of conventional radios.
 
Tait T-3000/II VHF handheld radio Tait T-3000/II VHF handheld radio Tait T-3000/II VHF handheld radio The two function buttons (F1 and F2) and the PTT The 6 standard keys The display showing the channel number Front view of the Tait T-3000/II Rear view of the T-3000 with the battery removed

 
Controls
The front panel of the T-3000 consists (from top to bottom) of a speaker, a microphone, a display and six (or more) push-buttons. The red push-button is used to switch the device ON. Keeping the same button depressed for a few seconds turns the device OFF again. The two buttons to its left (- and +) are used to adjust the audio level at the speaker (volume).

Controls on the T-3000/II. Click for a larger view.

Three more push-buttons are present at the left. The largest one is used as the Push-To-Talk switch (PTT). Above the PTT are two function buttons (F1 and F2) that can be programmed for a variety of functions. When the voice scrambler is present, F1 is usually used to turn it ON or OFF.
 
Scrambler
The T-3000/II could optionally be equipped with with an internal voice scrambler. At the time it was thought that this would provide sufficient protection against eavesdroppers. However, the scrambler supplied with the T-3000/II was based on a fixed frequency inversion in order to be able to use existing voice channels and base stations. This type of scrambling is easily broken.
 
Depending on other features programmed into the radio, one of the function buttons at the side (usually the upper one) is used to switch the scrambler ON or OFF. When the scrambler in ON, the text AUX is visible on the display. Pressing the same button once more, turns is OFF again.

The image on the right shows the expansion board that is fitted inside the T-3000/II featured on this page. In the top right it shows the texts CTC, VOX and SCR. It is unclear whether this is a dedicated scrambler or a 3-in-1 board with all three functions (CTCSS, VOX and SCRAMBLER).
  
Optional expansion board, showing CTC, VOX and SCR in the top right.

The board contains three large ICs. At the left is a ZILOG Z8937116FSC 16-bit signal processor (DSP) [8] that is used for processing the audio signal. The two ICs to its right are MC145480 PCM codec filters [9]. The options board connects to the main PCB by means of a low-profile connector at the rear and is held in place by a rubber strip in the rear case shell.
 
Body harness
Because of its secure voice capability, the T-3000/II was often used by the police for surveillance and inconspicuous observations. In such cases, the radio was carries under the poice officer's clothing in a so-called body harness or radio vest, such as the ones manufactured by Sonic.
 
The image on the right shows typical Sonic radio vest with the T-3000/II fitted inside a special pocket. The vest is connected to the expansion socket at the top of the radio and takes over the microphone, speaker, antenna and PTT switch.

A skin-coloured wire with a push button at the end (sometime referred to as a bullet switch) is used as the Push-To-Talk switch (PTT), which is usually carried in the hand. The vest, which is carried as a sholder holster, also contains a wire antenna, a pre-amplified microphone and an inductor. The latter replaces the speaker.
  
T-3000/II in Sonic body harness

The inductor is located on the shoulder of the operator and sends it magnetic waves to a wireless earpiece in the ear of the operator. The earpriece resembles a small hearing aid and can be worn inconspicuously, without the typical curly transparent tube often seen on security personnel.
 
A typical Sonic earpiece is so small, that it can hardly be seen when it is worn in the ear. It is powered by a small 1.5V battery and amplifies the magnatic waves from the inductor, much like a hearing aid which is set to inductive (i.e. the telephone setting). Note that the earpiece has to be within the magnetic range of the inductor.

The image on the right shows an alternative earpiece from the manufacturer Danavox. It is slightly larger than the Sonic one, but has a tiny volume control knob to the left of the battery compartment. It has a better audio quality.
  
Danavox earpiece with open battery compartment

 
T-3000/II in Sonic body harness A look inside the vest, showing the microphone/inductor Sonic observation kit with T-3000/II Operating the PTT Accessory connector for the T-3000/II Sonic earpiece Davavox earpiece Danavox earpiece with open battery compartment

 
Programming
The radio can be programmed with a variety of Trunking settings, Conventional (analogue) channels and optional functions, by means of the special programming software. This was normally done by the supplier of the radios, at the factory, or by your fleet manager.

As the radios are several years old now, the programming software is no longer available from the manufactuer (Tait), but appears to be present on the internet. We can not supply you with this software. We can only advise you to do a Google search for pgm3000.zip, or join the Tait Radio user group on Yahoo and search for information there.

Wiring diagram of a suitable programming cable

When programming the T-3000/II, the accessory connector at the top of the radio should be connected to the serial port of a DOS-based PC. As it is rather difficult to create an appropriate connector for that, you should either find an original programming cable [3] or use the plug from a dismantled accessory to create a suitable cable using the wiring diagam above.
 
Accessory socket at the top of the T-3000/II handheld radio Accessory socket at the top of the T-3000/II handheld radio Accessory connector for the T-3000/II

 
Option boards (AUX)
The following optional expansion boards my be fitted inside the T-3000/II. Please note that only one such board may be installed at any time. Also note that some board combine two or even all three of the listed features.
 
  • VOX
    Voice Operated Transmission
  • SCR
    Scrambler (for secure voice calls)
  • CTC
    CTCSS (Continuous Tone Controlled Squelch System)
Display indicators
The custom made display that is used inside the T-3000/II has the following pre-defined fields:
 
SVC   Service
The the availability of a trunking service. When it blinks, the radio is out of range of a suitable trunk network. When ON, the trunking network is available and calls can be placed. When OFF, the radio is in conventional mode.

H.SET   Handset mode
In this mode, the alternative microphone (at the bottom) is selected and the radio can be used as the handset of a normal telephone. Use the PTT when speaking.

AUX   Auxiliary device enabled
When ON, the auxiliary device (e.g. the VOX or the voice scrambler) is enabled. When OFF, the optional expansion unit is disabled.

LO   Low Power TX
The radio is operating with limited transmission power.

VOL   Volume setting
Shows the current setting of the audio volume between 1 and 10 bars.

III   RSSI (Received Signal Strength Indication)
In Trunking Mode, this indicator shows the strength of the base station between one and five bars.

LED indicator
  • Continuous RED - TX
  • Flashing RED - Low Battery
  • Continuous GREEN - Channel busy
  • Flashing GREEN - Monitor active
Function keys
The radio as two function keys (F1 and F2) that are located just above the PTT. The upper one is called F1 and the lower one (marked with a horizontal dash) is F2. They can be programmed with the programming software to perform any of the following functions:
 
  • Operate as CLEAR key (normally the ON/OF button is used for this)
  • Enter or leave handset mode
  • Turn on the backlight briefly
  • Enter or leave Low Power TX mode
  • Switch Auxiliary device ON or OFF (e.g. a voice scrambler)
  • Switch monitor facility ON or OFF (opens the squelch in Conventional mode)
  • Initiate a preset call (e.g. emergency call)
  • Enable or disable key-press confirmation tone
  • Set the radio to Quiet Mode (incoming calls are rejected)
  • Enable or disable automatic backlight on key-presses
  • Activate external speaker, microphone or speaker/mic combination
Models
  • T-3000
  • T-3010
  • T-3020
  • T-3030
  • T-3035 ← (featured on this page)
  • T-3040
Accessories
  • Remove speaker/microphone
  • Trickle charger
  • Single fast charger
  • Dual rapid charger
  • Multi-way rapid charger
  • Vehicle adapter
  • High capacity battery pack
  • CTCSS Module
  • VOX module
  • Srambler module
Interior
The interior of the T-3000/II can be access by removing the four screws from the battery compartment and removing the rear shell of the case. The rear and the front are connected by means of flex wiring. The front case shell contains the main logic board with the LF circuitry.
 
The image on the right shows the main board that contains a large number of digital and analogue ICs. The lower part of the board contains the main processor, the RAM chips and the firmware. Just above the processor is a TAIT custom chip and a CML FX469 modem chip [5].

At the center of the board are the Hitachi HD66100 and HD44780 display controllers. They are used for driving the LCD screen at the front of the unit. The display consists of fixed characters and a dot-matrix section. The top part contains the optional expansion card.
  
T-3000/II interior

The rear case shell contains the HF parts. It can be opened by removing the four screws from the aluminium shell shown above, after which the HF module can be removed from the rear. The HF module is connected to the main board by means of a 20-wire orange flex PCB strip.
 
The image on the right shows a top view of the HF module. The antenna socket is at the bottom. The large blue block at the right is a Motorola MHW607-2 HF power amplifier module [4], which can produce up to 7W output power in the range 146-174 MHz. The output of the PA is fed into the antenna via a 4-stage bandpass filter.

The HF module is nicely compartimented, so that the individual parts are properly shielded and are easily identified. The section at the left (the top of the radio) is the IF section of the receiver. The small blue block is the 455 kHz IF filter.
  
HF module with transmitter and receiver (top view)

The T-3000/II is very service friendly. The interior is easily accessible and the HF module can be removed (and replaced) by simply disconnecting the flex cable. This allows the HF module to be swapped in minutes. Furthermore, the optional expansion board can be fitted without any tools.
 
T-3000/II interior Firmware and audio circuitry CML modem chip HF module with transmitter and receiver (top view) HF module, bottom view Motorola MHW607-2 TX power amplifier Option board fitted inside the T-3000/II Optional expansion board, showing CTC, VOX and SCR in the top right.

 
References
  1. Wikipedia, Tait Communications
    Retrieved March 2014.

  2. Tait, T3035 Operator's Manual
    Date unknown, but probably 1996. Retrieved March 2014.

  3. Fguys.com, Tait T3000 series Portable Radio Programming Cable
    Retrieved March 2014.

  4. Motorola Inc., MHW607-2 Datasheet
    1994. Retrieved March 2014.

  5. CML Semiconductor, FX469 1200/2400/4800 baud FFSK Modem, Datasheet
    April 1998. Retrieved March 2014.

  6. Hitachi, HD66100F Datasheet
    Date unknown. Retrieved March 2014.

  7. Hitachi, HD44780 Datasheet
    Date unknown. Retrieved March 2014.

  8. ZILOG, Z8937116FSC Digital Signal Processor, Datasheet
    1997. Retrieved March 2014.

  9. Motorola Inc. MC145480 Datasheet
    1995. Retrieved March 2014.

Further information

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Crypto Museum. Last changed: Thursday, 04 June 2015 - 21:19 CET.
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