Motorola Solutions today introduced the APX 8000XE multiband P25 radio with Wi-Fi and the APX XE500 remote speaker microphone (RSM), both of which are designed to work in the extreme environments and gloved conditions that firefighters encounter on a regular basis, according to a company official.

Both the new radio and speaker are Division 2 rugged, and the RSM is designed to continue to function normally in heats of 500 degrees Fahrenheit up to five minutes. Both the radio and the speaker mic also are IP68 rated, so they will work after being submerged in two feet of water for four hours, according to Danny Sanchez, a product development manager for Motorola Solutions’ devices organization.

“That means that one minute, it can be 500 degrees Fahrenheit and the next minute, it could be under water, but it’s going to survive,” he said.

An extension of Motorola Solutions’ APX radio series, the APX 8000XE radio leverages P25 technology to deliver two-way radio communications in analog or digital mode while operating on VHF, UHF or 700/800 MHz spectrum. As with the regular APX 8000, audio quality is enhanced by noise-suppression and an adaptive audio engine that optimizes sound based on the noise environment. Software in the radio can be updated quickly via a Wi-Fi connection, which eliminates the need for many trips to the radio shop.

Sanchez said the APX 8000XE has special characteristics designed to serve the communications needs of firefighters.

“From an ergonomics perspective, this is really targeting gloved operation, a smoke-filled room and heavy turnout gear, so everything is exaggerated on the radio and on the XE500 RSM—this is an end-to-end solution, from a user perspective,” Sanchez said during an interview with IWCE’s Urgent Communications. “From the channel knob to the volume knob, everything is more textured, more tactile and basically larger in size.

“However, there’s attention paid to not over-exaggerating things to the point where they become obtrusive or a disadvantage. For example, the emergency buttons are larger, so you can activate it with a big gloved thumb, but it’s recessed and protected, so you’re not constantly inadvertently activating the emergency button.”

In addition, the APX 8000XE uses the company’s next-generation batteries that provide extended life and meet Division 2 environmental standard. The normal battery is designed to last 11 hours and the extended-life battery enables 16 hours of use, Sanchez said.