EF Johnson Technologies is showing this week at IWCE 2010 in Las Vegas its ES series portable and mobile radios that feature the new AMBE+2 1.6 vocoder that was adopted by the Project 25 steering committee last year to replace both the IMBE and the AMBE+2 1.4 vocoders. The AMBE+2 1.6 vocoder will be adopted across the entire ES series.

EF Johnson believes the new vocoder offers significant improvement in terms of how it interacts with firefighters’ personal alert safety system (PASS) devices, which emit a loud tone when a firefighter is motionless for a period of time, generally 15 to 30 seconds. These devices have had a negative impact on the audio clarity of digital radios, which has raised significant concerns within the fire service.

“We believe we’re the first to implement the latest version of the AMBE vocoder. There’s a night and day difference compared with the [previous version]. It’s huge. The difference in intelligibility is unbelievable,” said Ed Kelly, vice president of marketing and business development for EF Johnson.

According to Kelly, EF Johnson also was the first to market with the previous version of the AMBE vocoder and Kelly hopes that bringing the new version to market now will give the company a first-mover advantage that will enable it to gain a toehold in the fire service.

“We once again are leading the adoption of new technology. We want to be a radio supplier of choice for the fire industry,” Kelly said.

The company expects to begin shipping ES series radios with the new vocoder later this year.

In addition, EF Johnson will debut in August — at the Association of Public-Safety Communications Officials conference in Houston — a multi-transceiver mobile radio that he said would let users create a dispatch-console environment in first-responder vehicles.

“The problem with multiband radios today is that they have to scan, and there’s a likelihood of missing an important communication,” Kelly said. “Our multi-transceiver design will let users listen to everything that’s occurring, and they won’t lose any communication.”

Kelly expects that the company will start shipping the multi-transceiver mobile radios in the fall.