EF Johnson Technologies has enhanced its ES series of Project 25-compliant radios with P25 packet data, over-the-air programming (OTAP) and embedded out-of-range indication for conventional radios, among other new features.

"The beauty of over-the-air [programming] is that you don't have to bring your radio back to the shop," said Ed Kelly, EF Johnson's vice president of marketing and business development. "It's not like it's a new concept, but the current practice is to flash-upgrade the radios in a service shop. The whole notion here is to … make it really simple for them to adapt their solution and lower their operating cost at the same time."

EF Johnson tested the OTAP capability on a Motorola P25 trunked system that used EF Johnson radios, and the programming worked well, Kelly said.

"We took our application and were able to over-the-air program EF Johnson radios over a Motorola network. It would work the same on any other standard system that support the P25 data interfaces."

Other EF Johnson features using the P25 packet-data interface include the out-of-range indicator, which is particularly valuable to users of P25 conventional systems. In conventional systems, users need to know when they can no longer communicate with one tower and must switch to communicating with another tower, Kelly said. This capability allows the intermingling of conventional and trunked P25 systems in a manner that is cost-effective for the licensee and seamless to the end user, he said.

"We're starting to implement a feature set on conventional that approximates trunking at a much better value," Kelly said.