Pryme Radio Products is showing this week at IWCE 2010 in Las Vegas its new Bluetooth adapter that is designed to be used with EF Johnson, HYT and Motorola portable radios. The adapter is more rugged than the Bluetooth devices that can be purchased in the retail sector, said David George, Pryme’s president.

“We set out to design from scratch our own Bluetooth adapter and not buy one from a foreign manufacturer, because we felt we needed to make it more robust than our type of business than a consumer-type device,” he said.

The decision to design the device in-house was an easy one to make for another reason, according to George.

“We make a lot of accessories for two-way radios, mostly audio accessories — microphones, headsets, surveillance kits and all that kind of stuff — and we spend a lot of money on design and tooling to make connectors for all of these odd-ball radios," he said. "So we just try to make more things out of that investment. Creating a Bluetooth module that will fit into a connector body that we already have is very logical for us to do.”

George believes the adapter — which has a range of about 100 feet — will be popular in several sectors. For instance, hotel managers might feel more comfortable walking around their properties using a Bluetooth device rather than a lapel microphone. Law-enforcement personnel who need to be in court to testify in a case will be able to monitor radio traffic without drawing the ire of judges who generally take a dim view of proceedings being interrupted by crackling radios. Also, undercover officers on a stakeout assignment who use the Bluetooth device instead of the traditional corded surveillance earpiece will find it easier to blend into their surroundings, George predicted.

“When somebody has a Bluetooth device in their ear, nobody thinks twice about it,” George said. “They don’t realize that it’s not hooked to their iPhone, it’s hooked to their two-way radio that’s down in their dungarees somewhere, or a backpack.”

George said the device leverages Bluetooth 2.1 technology, which lets the users link multiple devices to a single headset. “For instance, you could link your two-way radio and your cell phone, or your MP3 player and two-way radio, to the same headset,” he said. He added that whichever device is linked first has priority. For instance, a warehouse worker could link his two-way first and his MP3 player second, in order to enjoy his music during downtimes without missing any radio calls. “The music would stop and you’d hear the radio call,” George said.

The adapter also features a Hirose connector that lets users easily attach other devices to the Bluetooth adapter. For example, firefighters could attach a throat microphone. When they do, all of the transmit and receive audio will be routed to the throat microphone. “When he gets to the station house and unplugs from the Hirose, the Bluetooth adapter will automatically switch back to normal Bluetooth operation, without turning the radio off and on,” George said. “So now he can listen to radio traffic without making a lot of disturbing noise for the people who are sleeping.”

Pryme also is showing the new WTX-4100 series of remote speaker microphones, which replaces the company’s previous line of remote speaker mics, George said. Features include a panic button, a threaded external accessories jack, both side and front push-to-talk activation — as well as a wireless P2T option that can be worn on a finger or in clothing, or attached to a firearm — and a rugged clothing clip that rotates 360 degrees. It is compatible with several radio brands, including Kenwood, Motorola, Vertex Standard and Icom.