WASHINGTON, D.C.—Harris yesterday announced the XL-200P, a portable multiband P25 radio that supports broadband communications—via a standard Wi-Fi feature and an optional LTE modem—and unprecedented volume levels in a rugged package.

Harris developed the XL-200P “from the ground up” after conducting the largest product-market-research effort in the company’s history, Mark Tesh, product manager for advanced development with Harris.

“A lot of people express concern about how broadband or LTE is going to unfold in their jurisdiction, and they’re not sure who will be providing that—they’re not sure when it might come and what band they might be in,” Tesh said during an interview with IWCE’s Urgent Communications. “We’re trying to give those folks a migration path, so they don’t have to worry about that.”

Narrowband P25 communications remains the core use for the XL-200P, supporting both Phase 1 and Phase 2 operation in the VHF, UHF and 700/800 MHz bands, providing a level of flexibility that benefits customers—and Harris, Tesh said.

“Every radio is a multiband radio, so I’m not going to have the wrong radio in inventory,” he said.

Smaller than the company’s XG-75 portable introduced earlier this year, the XL-200P has a rugged, sealed design that meets military specifications for use in explosive atmospheres and the IP68 standard, which means it has been tested to be immersive in 2 meters of water for four hours.

“Let me tell you the use case for that: A turnout coat pocket where the drain holes are plugged with lint,” Tesh said. “So, the radio can stay submerged in a turnout coat pocket for pretty much as you want.”

From an audio-quality perspective, the XL-200P has a woofer and a tweeter, which allows the use of the 1.5-watt audio amplifier—a 1-watt audio amplifier has been the high standard previously—without distorting the audio quality, making it ideal for use in loud fireground environments, Tesh said. The radio also provides a new audio capability that is designed to ensure that users do not miss the content of calls during busy times.

“The most commonly used phrase on the big public-safety systems that we researched was, ‘Could you repeat that?’ especially in urban areas where there was constant traffic,” Tesh said. “So, the radio has instant replay in it; the radio stores the last five received calls. If you didn’t hear a transmission clearly, you can push a button and the radio will replay the last call, or you can go to a menu to page through the last five calls.

“It’s a simple little feature, but it’s really important to users. It makes a first responder’s busy life a little easier in one small, tiny way.”

Tesh said the XL-200P currently has a lithium battery that enables more than 10 hours of operation, and Harris plans to introduce batteries that are designed to last 16 hours or more in the future.