Five radio manufacturers — Motorola, Tait Radio Communications, Tyco Electronics Wireless Systems, EFJohnson Technologies and Technisonic Industries — successfully conducted interoperability tests last month using the Project 25 Phase 1 trunking common air interface. The tests were conducted at Motorola's headquarters in Schaumburg, Ill.

Testing was done using the same methods required by the Department of Homeland Security, which will recognize vendor test labs later this year as part of the Project 25 Compliance Assessment Program, or CAP. That recognition is expected to be completed for vendor labs by the end of April.

Compliance testing is something that customers have been clamoring for, according to Samantha Hood, Motorola's P25 CAP business manager. “We've gotten a lot of requests from customers saying that they need documented testing and that they need it today,” Hood said.

Hood acknowledged that the interoperability capability has been demonstrated before, but that it had not been documented in such a formal manner previously. “The new part is the testing itself,” she said.

Paul May, business development manager for Tyco Electronics, said his company would conduct similar testing on its systems at the company's Lynchburg, Va., facility. Though establishing and maintaining the individual test labs required a lot of work and a significant financial outlay from each vendor, May said the investment would pay off.

“It's a cost of doing business in the P25 world. Our expectation is that this will expand the market for P25,” May said. “Hopefully … we'll be able to spread those costs over a larger installed base.”