Thales Communications announced Wednesday that the FCC certified its multiband, software-defined Liberty portable radio.

"This is the first multiband radio covering the full public-safety spectrum to be FCC-approved," Thales spokeswoman Sheila Gindes said during an interview with Urgent Communications.

Introduced in 2008, the Thales Liberty portable radio operates on analog, P25 conventional and P25 trunking systems in all public-safety frequency bands — UHF, VHF and 700/800 MHz. In addition to trade-show demonstrations of these capabilities, security personnel used the Liberty portable during the presidential inauguration and the Academy Awards early this year, said Liberty product applications specialist Scott Glazer during an interview with Urgent Communications at IWCE last month.

But arguably the most comprehensive field testing is being done in collaboration with the Department of Homeland Security's science and technology directorate, along with the testing necessary to achieve FCC certification.

"This approval from the FCC further validates the capabilities, performance and maturity of the Liberty multiband radio," Steve Nichols, Thales' director of homeland security and public safety, said in a prepared statement. "This is an important advancement for the public safety industry."

Delivery of the first mass-produced Liberty portables is scheduled for the fall, Glazer said at IWCE. Thales plans to have a mobile version of the Liberty — a prototype of which was displayed at IWCE — commercially available.

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