EF Johnson Technologies unveiled its new 51FIRE ES portable radio — specifically built for the fire service — at the Fire Department Instructors Conference in Indianapolis. The radio offers an upgraded AMBE+2 v 1.6 vocoder that converts analog voice to digital and digital voice to analog, said Joseph Heersche, an area sales director for the company. Specifically, Heersche said that the radio’s vocoder filters out background noise that usually overcomes the transmission of voice signals in order to improve digital communications on the fireground, even in the presence of a personal alert safety system.

“It solves some of the issues firefighters have with high-noise environments,” he said.

The radio operates in temperatures ranging from –30°C to +60°C, meets the IP67 standard for immersion and is intrinsically safe. It offers a battery life for UHF/VHF of about 10 hours and for 700/800 MHz of around 12 hours. In addition, the size of the push-to-talk button was increased so it be activated with gloved hands, Heersche said. It also has a yellow housing so the radio can be found in a fire environment.

“The high-visibility yellow housing is a standard and helps the user find the radio when it falls in the mud or into a pile of ashes,” he said.

Another standard feature is MDC-1200 and GE-Star Signaling, which provides clear alerts to and from the dispatcher to signal both emergency and PTT ID, Heersche said. It also offers an out-of-range feature that alerts a firefighter if he or she is out of communications range when used in conjunction with the company’s IP25 conventional system, he said.

The radio is available now with a starting price $1,625, Heersche said.