Thales Communications exhibited an expansion of its multiband-radio capabilities last month at the International Wireless Communications Exposition (IWCE) in Las Vegas, including a demonstration of P25 trunking by its Liberty portable radio and its prototype Liberty mobile radio.

While Thales has demonstrated multiband Liberty portable radio's ability to work on conventional analog and digital systems, IWCE marked the first time the product has been demonstrated to work in a P25 trunking environment. The demonstration includes Raytheon and ICOM products working on VHF systems and the Thales radio working on an Etherstack 800 MHz system, with an Etherstack solution “tying them all together,” said Scott Glazer, Liberty product applications specialist for Thales.

“We've set up a network across different bands that will seamlessly be able to do P25 trunking on different bands at one time,” Glazer said.

Thales has been conducting field tests of the Liberty portable radio, which has been used in security operations surrounding events such as the 2009 presidential inauguration and the Oscars. By demonstrating the ability to perform on a P25 trunked system, Thales is hopeful that the demand for the Liberty portable — scheduled for volume production this fall and part of a General Services Administration blanket purchase agreement — will increase even more, Glazer said.

“I think a lot of the customers out there are looking for a radio that's going to meet trunking needs for them, as well [as analog and conventional],” he said. “I think we're going to see a significant increase [in demand] after IWCE, when they see that it does the trunking. I think that's the big thing that a lot of larger agencies were looking for to pull the trigger.”

Meanwhile, public-safety community feedback indicated a desire for a mobile version of the Liberty multiband radio, according to company officials.

“We'd like to get them to think that it's not just a Liberty portable, it a Liberty family of communications equipment,” Glazer said.

Having developed a prototype Liberty mobile, Thales will field test the product to get customer feedback on desired features and the user interface “so the product meets their needs, not the needs of an engineer in a lab somewhere,” Glazer said. After receiving this feedback, Thales plans to begin volume production of the Liberty mobile radio during the second or third quarter of 2010, he said.
www.thalescomminc.com