Motorola last week announced that it is shipping its APX 7000 two-way radios, which operate in the VHF, 700 MHz and 800 MHz bands in P25, as well as the company’s older proprietary protocols.

In addition to the technical aspects of the APX radio, features were designed into the device by Motorola engineers applying the science of high-velocity human factors to address the specific needs of the mission-critical users.

“I think this takes it up to a new level; the ergonomic are really good,” Harris County (Texas) CIO Steve Jennings said of the APX radio. “I think this is going to be a wonderful tool for first responders.”

Harris County participated in the testing of the APX and plans to have 150 installed on its system by the end of September. Jennings said the county network uses P25 and SmartZone in the 700 MHz and 800 MHz bands, while most of federal and state networks operate on VHF — a scenario that makes the APX particularly valuable.

“It’s frontward and backward compatible, meaning it can go to P25 or go back to SmartZone or SmartNet … This radio really could play well with our migration to bring everyone off of analog and up to digital,” Jennings said before making a reference to hurricane recovery efforts. “I can’t tell you how many times that having a dual-band radio that would have allowed us to switch [between VHF and 700/800 MHz bands] would have come in handy.”

While the APX radio’s spectral and protocol flexibility is impressive, many industry sources have commented on the device’s sound quality. By employing noise-mitigation techniques and dual microphones, Motorola has designed the radio to provide clear communications in even noisy environments.

“One of the customers said, ‘That’s the loudest radio I’ve ever heard,’” said Brenda Herold, corporate vice president for Motorola’s government and public-safety products business. “In the situations they’re in, they need that volume, … as well as the clear reception with the dual microphone.”

Jennings echoed this sentiment.

“Everything that we’ve tested with it is extremely clear—it has minimized background noise; it’s really quality sound,” he said.
“It makes it a lot easier in tough situations when you have clear sound coming in. You can make a lot better decisions that way.”
Previously, Motorola officials expressed plans for an APX radio that operated on the UHF, 700 MHz and 800 MHz bands.

Herold said there will be “various models and versions” of the APX that will be released and shipped throughout the rest of this year.