Despite its attributes, which include a plethora of advanced features, digital radio so far has found application primarily in the public-safety and government sectors, largely because of the high cost of digital equipment compared with analog gear, which has proved prohibitive for profit-driven entities.

Motorola plans to change that by introducing at IWCE 2006 (May 17-19 in Las Vegas) a new digital platform dubbed MOTOTRBO that the vendor giant will market to the “professional” sector, e.g., construction firms, transportation companies and public utilities. Better yet, Motorola has pledged to work with dealers to hold the line, keeping prices for MOTOTRBO handsets close to what these customers currently are paying for analog devices, to encourage them to make the migration.

Previously, Motorola developed a digital radio platform called the DTR Series for the commercial tier — businesses largely in the retail and hospitality sectors, where users generally are confined to smaller onsite footprints. However, the professional sector needed a more robust product capable of covering a much wider area, said Craig Chenicek, director of Motorola Radio Products.

“Three or four years ago, we spent a lot of time and independent research to look at customers in the professional sector to understand why they were buying certain products and not others,” Chenicek said. “We found that they were most interested in spectrum efficiency, improved basics, new features, applications that would integrate into their businesses and a comfortable migration path.”

According to Chenicek, MOTOTRBO — built on the ETSI DMR Tier 2 standard — delivers improved performance typical of digital platforms when compared with analog, such as better audio quality, increased coverage, improved battery life and privacy. But where the new platform really shines is in the area of spectrum efficiency, he said.

Motorola built MOTOTRBO using a two-slot time division multiple access (TDMA) platform that creates two independent 6.25 kHz voice channels within a standard 12.5 kHz channel. “It doubles the efficiency using a single [repeater],” Chenicek said.

He added that use of two-slot TDMA also results in higher data throughputs. “You need the wide pipe to get data down it, and [with MOTOTRBO], you still have the full use of the 12.5 kHz pipe.”

A digital radio geared to the professional sector, particularly in large urban centers, is good news, said Mike Ishida, director of sales for Day Wireless Systems, a Motorola dealer in Portland, Ore. “We operate in 30 different offices on the West Coast, from small rural communities to big metro areas, and in the metro areas we're seeing spectrum-efficiency issues where this digital product is going to bring us some opportunities.”

Other features include GPS capability — making it easier for dispatchers to deploy the closest field technician to a given situation to realize improved operating efficiencies and lower costs — and an integrated text-messaging function that lets dispatchers communicate with field personnel when voice communications would be inappropriate.

Also, because MOTOTRBO radios can operate in both digital and analog mode, they are backward-compatible, which should further aid the analog-to-digital migration, Chenicek said. “This allows you to migrate channels, talk groups or entire systems over time,” he said. “For example, if you were expanding your network and needed another repeater, you likely wouldn't buy an analog repeater, but instead would buy a MOTOTRBO repeater and use it in the analog mode. Over time, you could switch it to digital.”

Although such flexibility is important, Chenicek conceded that cost would be the primary driver for MOTOTRBO to gain traction in the professional sector. “In the business world, it comes down to the economics of the tools that you buy,” Chenicek said. “Will they pay themselves off and can you justify adding them to the business?”

Dale Purvis, president of COMSOUTH, a Motorola dealer based in Hattiesburg, Miss., agreed, adding that the time is right for MOTOTRBO.

“Over the years, people have asked about [digital] and wondered why they can't get it when it's already in the public-safety sector,” Purvis said. “A lot of it is cost-driven. Public safety a lot of the time has millions of dollars to spend on radio systems. Hospitals don't place that kind of priority on their communications systems. But if we had [a digital product] on a lower level … the [professional] market would embrace it.”

Motorola came to the same realization, which is why the vendor is pledging to help hold down prices, according to Chenicek. “This is an incredibly important step. Fundamentally, we would like to see them over time migrate their system, but we didn't want to punish them financially,” for doing so, Chenicek said. He added that Motorola decided it was willing to “compromise our financial position” by taking longer than usual to pay off an investment he described as the largest ever made by the vendor in the professional sector.

“We're anticipating long-term gain because we're confident that MOTOTRBO provides such increased functionality and operational efficiencies that people will want to move to digital faster,” he said.

HERE'S A SAMPLING OF THE PRODUCTS EXHIBITORS ARE PLANNING TO SHOWCASE:

Roaming software

Radio IP Software's solutions let mobile users roam across a diverse range of public and private wireless network environments, including 802.11 hotspots, integrating all networks under a single interoperable TCP/IP standard.
www.radio-ip.com

Radio accessories

Cape International's IMPACT line of radio chargers includes an AC/DC six-bank unit and a rapid desktop charger. The six-bank unit incorporates a self-switching, dual-voltage power supply unit inside the anodized aluminum casing. All chargers use an interchangeable cup system to support most radio models. Vehicle and wall-mount kits are available.
www.impactcomms.com

IP-based radio control solution

IP|J-Smart, part of Catalyst's line of radio control over IP solutions, is compatible with EFJohnson 5300 Series and Motorola Smartzone and Smartnet radios. The solution lets dispatchers push-to-talk, change channels, change talk groups, make private calls and receive emergency notifications.
www.catcomtec.com

Encryption board for two-way radios

Cimarron Technologies QuikSync encryption board for two-way radios lets users encrypt and send MDC-1200 or GE-STAR ANI messages. It features more than 4.2 billion possible keys for secure, high-level encryption. It is available in three models: encryption-only, encryption with ANI encode, and encryption with ANI encode and decode.
www.cimtechcorp.com

P25-compliant trunked system

EFJohnson's IP25 Trunked Infrastructure System uses IP technology to integrate repeaters, a Project 25-compatible digital dispatch console and system management. The system supports over-the-air rekeying of radios as well as advanced voice and data encryption to meet federal information processing security standards.
www.EFJohnson.com

Console dispatch system

Moducom's UltraCom is an E911/radio dispatch console system with no software maintenance fees and free software upgrades. It is a Phase II-compliant system, providing E911, radio dispatch, mapping, interoperability/voice over IP and a CAD interface built into a single software application.
www.moducom.com

Narrowband portable radio

Icom's 512-channel F3060 series portable radio operates in 6.25 kHz bandwidth. The radio offers built-in two-tone, five-tone, CTCSS and DTCS signaling. The LCD displays up to 24 characters on two lines. The F3060's bridge-tied load amplifier increases the audio output, while the built-in compander provides clear, low-noise communications. The 1150 mAh lithium-ion battery provides eight hours of operation.
www.icomamerica.com

Paging encoder and repeaters

Pocsag paging encoders and repeaters from WiPath include a store and forward repeater for infill or range extension, cross-band and cross-protocol repeaters and alarm transmitters. A range of transmitter options is available from 100 mW to 5 W.
www.wipath.com

Encryption modules

Transcrypt International's encryption models for Kenwood two-way radios have been tested by the vendor and found to be intrinsically safe, according to Transcrypt. Encryption is available for TK-2180/3180, TK-2170/3170/3173, TK-290/390, TK-280/380 and TK-480/481 portable radios. In addition, the TK-5210 P25/FM portable also may be fitted with encryption for FM mode. Modules are available in a variety of levels based upon the radio users' security needs.
www.transcrypt.com

Cable and antenna analyzers

Anritsu's Broadband Site Master S810D/S820D cable and antenna analyzers cover 25 MHz to 20 GHz ranges. They offer standard return loss, VSWR, cable loss and distance-to-fault displays for installing, maintaining and trouble-shooting cables and antennas. An optional GPS receiver is available for providing location information with archived data.
www.us.antitsu.com

Broadband amplifiers

The 15S5G7 and 30S5G7 are 15 W and 30 W amplifiers designed for the 5 GHz to 7 GHz frequency range. They are suitable for testing WiMAX components because the amplified signal produced is indistinguishable from a signal generator's output, the company said.
www.ar-amps.com

Communications platform

Infinimode Systems offers its InfiniMUX G4 communications platform in a transportable case. The platform supports up to four mobile radios, four portable radios and two public-switched telephone lines. Other features include cigarette-lighter sockets for portable battery eliminators, a generic mobile radio mounting system and an LED gooseneck light.
www.infinimode.com

Radio for harsh environments

HYT introduced the TM-800 Mobile Radio Series, designed to provide reliable communications under the harshest conditions. The radio is equipped with a built-in eight-segment numeric LCD, four programmable function keys and DTMF flexible dialing. The remote mount control head can be mounted on a vehicle's dashboard without the radio chassis.
www.hyt.cn

Digital base station supports analog

Daniels Electronics' Integre Base25 is a digital base station that supports analog communications for existing portables and mobiles. It can be upgraded to support Project 25 digital portables for encrypted, secure communications.
www.danelec.com

Instant-recall digital recorder

Eventide's DIR911t is an instant-recall recorder with two or four channels of digital recording. It offers playback and recording capabilities in a stand-alone unit. It has two telephone/auxiliary recording channels, each with 60 minutes of recording capability, and comes with a built-in, 10-minute uninterruptible power supply. It also offers password security.
www.eventide.com

Broadband antenna

STI-CO's Interoperable Mobile Antenna can be used with VHF, UHF and 800 MHz mobile radios without installing additional antennas. The broadband antenna mounts on sedans, SUVs or vans with a magnet mount or NMO roof mount.
www.sti-co.com

Multi-charger unit

North American Battery Company's Pulse Power Charging System is a multi-unit charger that conditions, monitors and charges land mobile radio batteries. It uses a single-bay charging unit as its base, but users can add up to five additional charging bays to create a six-bay charging unit to charge batteries independently or simultaneously while sharing a single power supply.
www.nabcorp.com

Locking docking station

National Products' RAM Locking Powered Dock is designed to hold the Panasonic Toughbook PC. The docking station comes with USB port, keyboard, mouse, microphone, speaker and an optional internal GPS engine.
www.ram-mount.com

Speaker microphone tracks first responders

PRYME Radio Products' PTG GPS speaker microphone uses GPS satellites to send automatic reports on a user's position. Location designations are then displayed at the dispatch location using a PTG GPS base station and a PC running a dispatch- or mapping-software application. The system can be used with trunked and conventional radios.
www.pryme.com

Battery backup device

Innovative Circuit Technology's Battery Backup Series adds a backup component to existing 12 V power supply installations. The device is microprocessor-controlled and provides zero switchover time from commercial supply to battery power. The relay operation is supplemented with bypass diodes to prolong relay life.
www.ict-power.com

Tone remote controllers

Midian Electronics' TRC Series of tone remote controllers are compatible with Motorola, Kenwood and M/A-COM signaling formats. Dialing and selective calling are supported using DTMF, five-tone, two-tone or pulse-tone formats. Options include customizable function, guard and monitor tones and line supervisor capability.
www.midians.com

IWCE 2006 basics

Location:

Las Vegas Convention Center

Technology workshops:

Mon., May 15 and Tues., May 16, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Conference sessions:

Wed., May 17, 11:00 a.m. to 5:45 p.m.; Thurs., May 18, 11:00 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.; Fri., May 19, 10:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m.

Exhibits:

Wed., May 17, 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.; Thurs., May 18, 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.; Fri., May 19, 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m.

Conference tracks:

Spectrum Utilization; Land Mobile Radio; Broadband Mobile Data; Emerging Technologies

Keynote:

Morgan O'Brien, co-founder and former chairman of Nextel Communications, Wed., May 17, 8:30 to 10:30 a.m.

Networking reception:

Wed., May 17, 6:00 to 8:00 p.m.

Spotlight sessions:

“Katrina — Prepare for the Future,” Thurs., May 18, 8:30 to 10:00 a.m.; “800 MHz Rebanding — Where Are We Now?” Thurs., May 18, 1:30 to 2:30 p.m.; “State CIOs — A Sampling of Successful Communications Initiatives,” Fri., May 19, 8:30 to 9:45 a.m.

More info: www.iwceexpo.com

Exhibitor List

*Current as of April 11
Company Booth
800 mHz Transition Administrator 659
9-1-1 MAGAZINE 1743
A.W. Enterprises 749
ABB Inc. 1731
AC Data Solutions 846
AC/DC Industries 745
ACE Technology 737
Acorn RF 249
ADTRAN 1435
Advanced Charger Technology 1253
Advanced Labeling Solutions 532
AdvanceTec Industries Inc 440
AEA Technology 847
Aeroflex 923
AFL 1531
Agiosat Global Communications 1525
AGL Magazine 247
Airaya Corp 1034
Airwaves Licensing Assistance Inc 1050
ALCATEL 843
Allied Moulded Products Inc 1247
Aluma Tower Company Inc 1451
Alvarion 831
American Tower 1662
Amphenol Connex 1747
Anritsu Co. 1329
Antcom Corp 1554
Antenex Inc 1325
Antenna Specialists - a brand of PCTEL Antenna Pro 926
APCO International 1233
AR Worldwide 1229
ARINC 653
Astra Radio Communications (ARC) 1453
Astron Corp 313
ATI Wireless 835
Avcomm International 1741
Avtec Inc 1337
Bard Manufacturing Co 752
Barrett Europe Limited 1360
BEE Electronics Inc 1226
Berkeley Varitronics Systems 1035
Bird Technologies Group 910
BlueSky Mast Inc. 1635
Bluewave Antenna Systems Ltd. 1629
Cadex Electronics Inc 643
Call24 Wireless Call Box Systems 944
Cape International/IMPACT Radio Acessories 1310
Cara Enterprises Inc 1737
Carlson Wireless Technologies 1459
Catalyst Communications Technologies Inc 1353
CDMI 256
Cellular Specialties 1449
Centurion Wireless Technologies Inc 316
CES Wireless Technologies 1643
ChargeGuard Inc 1043
Childs Antennas LLC 623
China Industry Components Co. 1557
Cimarron Technologies Corp 1225
Citel Inc 1132
Cobalt Audio Video & Tribute911 Pager, div. of 357
Codespear LLC 1562
Comarco Wireless Technologies 1456
Commtech 1740
Commtech Wireless Pty Ltd 325
Communications Applied Technology 1727
ComProd Communications 432
Computer Resources Inc 562
Comtelco Industries Inc 1234
Connect Systems Inc 832
Con-Space Communications Inc 857
Cook's Communications Corp/FleetStat AVL 744
Cost Control Associates Inc 1261
CPI Communications Inc 1619
Crescend Technologies 529
CTA Communications 534
Ctek Inc 359
Cygnus Business Media 457
Dalman Technical Services Ltd. 1057
Daniels Electronics Ltd 1602
Dantherm Inc 1146
Dataradio Corp 419
Datron World Communications Inc 650
David Clark Company Inc 632
David Levy Company Inc 1230
dbSpectra 1130
DCI - Licensing Assistance Office 1262
DCI Digital Communications Inc 662
Dekolink Wireless Ltd 1722
Delta Electronics Mfg Corp 1425
Digital Antenna Inc. 1252
Digital Dispatch Systems 1358
Digital Paging Co 330
DKM Solutions 258
Dupont Building Inc. 1349
DuraComm Corp 1426
DX Radio Systems Inc 1319
Dynamic Instruments Inc 239
EADS Secure Networks 937
Ear Phone Connection 1757
Earmark LLC 1652
Eartec/Porta Phone 841
EFJohnson 1413
Electro-Comm Distributing 1007
Electronic Systems Technology Inc 251
EMR Corp 116
EnGenius Technologies Inc. 354
Enviro - Buildings Inc. 452
EPCOM 1813
ERF Wireless 233
Eventide Inc 1334
Exacom Inc 560
Exocomm Technology Group/ExoCel Batteries 1126
Federal Communications Commission 756
Fiber-Span LLC 1359
Fibrebond 943
Fiplex Communications 1634
Flash Technology 1260
Flom Test Lab 1454
Forestry Conservation Communications Assoc. (FCCA) 456
Fred A. Nudd Corp 731
Futurecom Systems Group Inc 521
Gai-Tronics 1343
Gamber-Johnson 1217
General Dynamics 959
Genesis Group 1441
G-Wave 1654
Harger Lightning & Grounding 551
Harris Corporation 1443
Havis Shields Equipment Corp 1152
Hint Peripherals Corp 1553
Honeywell Aerospace 252
Honeywell Batteries/Global Technology Systems Inc 1149
Hutton Communications Inc 514
I2S Technologies Inc. 1160
Icom America Inc 1100
Icom America Inc 1307
IMSA 227
InfiNet Wireless 353
Infinimode Systems Inc. 833
Innovative Circuit Technology (ICT) 119
Intersect Inc. 356
IP MobileNet Inc 1142
IPC Command Systems 619
ISC Technologies 1561
JDI Jing Deng Industrial Co. Ltd. 1458
Jointcom Communication Technology Co. Ltd 860
Jotto Desk 1346
JV USA Communications 1725
Kathrein Inc, Scala Division 1646
Kenwood USA Corp 100
Kenwood USA Corp 1730
Kirisun Electronics (Shenzhen) Co. Ltd. 253
Klein Electronics 1536
KR Nida Communications 242
Kullman Industries Inc 825
Kyocera 949
Kyosey Company Ltd. 742
Leathersmith 1754
Leoni Site Solutions 1756
Light Speed Industrial Inc. 535
Lind Electronics Inc 1245
Link Communications Inc 1340
Location Technologies 1444
Locus Location Systems 725
M/A COM Inc 1300
Macleod International 1733
Maxon CIC 952
Maxrad-a brand of PCTEL Antenna Products Group Inc 926
McKay Communications Inc 250
MCM Technology LLC 1752
MemoryLink 240
Mentor Engineering 1049
Mercom Systems Inc 1540
Merry Electronics USA Co Ltd 1529
MicroPulse - a brand of PCTEL Antenna Products Gro 926
Microvoice Corp 1362
Microwave Data Systems 940
Midian Electronics Inc 519
Midland Radio Corp 508
Miller Building Systems 559
Mobilcomm 1134
Mobile Mark 935
Mobile Radio Technology 1156
Mobile Satellite Ventures 1736
Moducom 1749
Motorola Inc 813
MotoSAT 861
Mountain Union Telecom 1244
Mounting Systems 762
Multiplier Industries Corp 113
Multisuns Corp 1558
Mustang Co 1457
NABC, North American Battery Corp 1546
NARDA Safety Test Solutions 1719
National Emergency Number Association (NENA) 761
Nearson 829
Nello Corp 1161
Networkcar 1657
Newmar 1818
New-Tronics Antenna Corp/Hustler Inc 1332
NIC Technologies LLC 1133
Nighthawk Systems Inc 235
Northrop Grumman 1357
Oldcastle Communications 344
Omnitronics Pty Ltd. 453
Opt-In Wireless 226
Ormandy Software 733
OSI Batteries 1461
OTTO Communications 537
Part-15.org 1738
PCIA — The Wireless Infrastructure Association 661
PCTEL Antenna Products Group Inc. 926
Peltor Communications 337
Penta Corp 1541
PolyPhaser Corp 1519
Positron Public Safety Systems Inc. 1256
Power Products 443
Power Up 1739
Powerwave Technologies Inc 946
PPC 1452
Primus Electronics Corp 1534
ProComm Americas Ltd. ‥Savox in the USA 1556
Project 25 Technology Interest Group 550
Pryme Radio Products 1242
Pyramid Communications 543
Quala-Tel Enterprise/Rescom 1246
R & R Design Inc 1632
Racing Electronics 1125
Radiall/Larsen Antenna Technologies 808
Radio Club of America Inc 248
Radio IP Software Inc. 1656
RadioResource Media Group 634
RadioSoft 225
RAM Mounting Systems 1144
Raytheon JPS Communications Inc. 929
RELM Wireless Corp 900
RF Imaging and Communications 1432
RF Industries/Connectors Division 823
RF Industries/Neulink Division 824
RF Technology Pty Ltd 1440
Ritron Inc 907
Rohn Products, div. of Radian Communications 856
Roxtec Inc 243
Royal Communications International 1559
Sabre Towers and Accessories 343
Safecom 754
Sales Force Testing Inc. 1462
SAMLEX America Inc 1600
Satel Oy 437
SCA 746
Schwaninger & Associates 1533
Sentor Monitoring Systems Inc 1732
Shelter One 849
Shenglu Antenna Co. Ltd. 352
Shenzhen HYT Science and Technology Co. Ltd. 346
Shenzhen Voxtech Co. Ltd 238
Shulman Rogers Telecommunications Group 660
Shyam Telecom Inc. 350
Sierra Technology Inc 1729
Signal Intelligence 1434
Simulcast Solutions 1621
Sinclair Technologies 1237
SiteSafe Inc 1232
SkyPilot Network 1560
SkyTec Inc. 858
SmarTrunk Systems Inc 1616
SoftWright 732
Sonik Messaging Systems 246
Southwest PV Systems Inc 237
Space Data Corp (SDC) 1751
Spectracom Corp 1622
Spectrum Firm Inc. 241
Stancil Corp 852
STI-CO Industries Inc 726
Stone Mountain Design 1640
Stratex Networks 1653
Sunrise Telecom 458
Survey Technologies Inc 933
Swissphone Telecom AG 232
Systems Implementation Inc 845
Sytech Corp 421
T.W.P. Wireless Inc. 234
Tait Radio Communications 546
Talk Toolbox 1746
Talley Communications Corp 1549
TCC Industries Inc 840
TEKK Inc 826
Televate 760
Telewave Inc 810
Telex Communications Inc. 1706
Tessco Technologies 1213
Test Equipment Solutions Today 1162
Thales Communications Inc 540
Thermo Bond Buildings 1744
Times Microwave Systems 1520
TMC Radio PTY Ltd 956
TPL Communications 1119
Transcrypt International Inc 340
Trident Micro Systems 819
Trilogy Communications 525
Trio Datacom 1629
Troy Products (div of Troy Sheet Metal) 1350
Trylon TSF 434
TWR Lighting Inc 730
Unimo Technology Co Ltd 229
United Communications Corp. 556
United Telecom Council 1530
USAlert LLC 1033
UsedRadio.Com 837
Valesco Battery Support Systems Inc. 1356
Valmont Structures 1762
Vertex Standard 500
VFP Inc 1154
W&W Manufacturing Co 1613
Wade Antenna Ltd. 834
Wave Wireless Corp 934
Waveware Technologies Inc 1460
Whelen Engineering Co 1543
Wilson Cellular 1552
Winncom Technologies 962
WiPath Comunications 231
Wireless Accessories Unlimited (WAU) 1450
Wireless Dealer Magazine 1352
Wireless Pacific Limited 1745
Wireless S.A.M.S. LLC 459
World Tower Co 533
Zetron Inc. 1507