LAS VEGAS--Datron World Communications launched at IWCE 2008 the HH7700 ruggedized VHF handheld transceiver. John Biljan, the company’s national sales manager, said the transceiver operates in the 30 to 88 MHz band and is compact for a low-band radio that covers such an operating spread.

Biljan refers to the device as a squad radio. He said most military units are burdened because they have access to only one radio, which is usually in the hands of the squad leader. As a result, the company wanted to develop a radio that was cost-effective and lightweight enough to be carried by multiple soldiers in a squad. He said the radio was developed specifically for the National Guard as well as military forces that use the 30 to 88 MHz band in a tactical environment.

“Most radio applications when you have a squad or team of soldiers — usually one operator or one of those squad leaders has a radio and the balance of them do not,” Biljan said. “This thing is so affordable and comes in such a compact size that it is considered a soldier’s radio, where every soldier in the squad has a radio.”

The radio offers sub-audible, continuous tone-coded squelch system (CTCSS) signaling and offers up to 2320 channels at 25 kHz channel widths or 4640 channels at 12.5 kHz channel widths, Biljan said. In the standard configuration, it provides up to 16 programmable memory channels and radio frequency power output levels that equal 500 milliwatts, 1 watt and 5 watts — all of which are user selectable and programmable.

However, it has not yet been certified to meet current military specifications. Biljan said the company currently is in the process of attaining certification. He said tests thus far show the transceiver to be water-resistant and capable of operating in harsh environments.

“It also has a very high humidity factor of 90%, so it’s very good for jungle applications,” he said.

The transceiver has an optional embedded voice scrambler, which is compatible with Datron’s existing VHF radios. Biljan said it is interoperable in FM clear-voice mode with the company’s Squad Radio family, the Spectre-V series. It also is interoperable with several other single-channel 30 to 88 MHz VHF/FM radios that use the CTCSS squelch system.

Datron offers users two battery pack options. Biljan said the standard capacity battery supports up to 10 hours of use while the high-capacity battery provides up to 18 hours. The radios retail for less than $1000, which covers batteries, charger, cables and antenna.