EF Johnson Technologies unveiled its lighnting control head for its 5300 series mobile radio to assist first responders — such as those in the fire service — in viewing the radio's display in a variety of operating environments. The radio offers Project 25 trunked and conventional operation, supports up to 864 channels/talkgroups, and includes a (AMBE+2) P25 vocoder, among other features. Specifically, the addition of the lighting control head improves users ability to view radio through a technology dubbed electroluminescent display, said company spokesperson Kevin Nolan.

He explained that electroluminescence is the phenomenon of light emission due to an electric field. It was first commercialized in the mid 1980s and was used in the U.S. Space Shuttle's orbital navigation system. "Actually, we took the inspiration from military applications, for example, the instrumentation that's in airplane cockpits and inside the cockpit of the tank," Nolan said. "It's a very bright resolution with a vivid display."

The display offers 320 x 80 pixels, meaning it can be seen from multiple angles in the vehicle and in bright sunlight, Nolan said.

"What that means for the fire service is that they are often moving at high speeds to get to a destination, so they just have to quickly look at the radio from anywhere in the vehicle," he said. "Because they need to move so quickly they don't have the time to squint at the control head and figure out what channel they are on."

It operates at temperature range with no need for heaters or fans (many models are — 40°C to 65°C, with some at — 40°C to 85°C and one at — 50°C to 85°C). It also has an indicator that changes color when users are in transfer or receive modes, Nolan said.

"We found that at night it can be difficult to tell what's going on with the radio, and that is no longer a concern," he said.

The radio starts at $665.