Two-way radio products flourish
Vendors continue to provide for public safety
Two-way radios are critical to public-safety communications and have been used for decades to help police officers, firefighters and paramedics share information during emergency incidents. The vendor community continues to develop new technologies to assist the mission of first responders, from handheld radios to Bluetooth microphones. The following is a sampling of the market's offerings. — MARY ROSE ROBERTS
PA SYSTEM, RADIO MODEM
Ritron launched a VHF/UHF wireless PA system — the Loud Mouth — that eliminates the need to rewire an entire facility and permits PA communication in areas where long distances or obstructions would otherwise make wired connections inefficient. The company also unveiled the DTXM radio modem, a wireless modem that operates on the licensed land-mobile frequency bands at VHF, UHF and 220 MHz.
Harris introduced the Intraplex VF-40, a four-wire voice module designed to meet the specialized voice transport requirements of land-mobile-radio (LMR) infrastructure installations. The module features enhanced low-frequency response to 5 Hz and below, providing seamless support for the entire range of low-frequency signaling applications.
Vertex Standard announced the VX-230 portable radio series with wider band coverage and more signaling features in a smaller size. The VX-231 two-way radio offers two large-capacity, lithium-ion battery options that provide nine to 16 hours of battery life. It has 16-channel capacity, emergency and lone-worker signaling, and DTMF ANI and DTMF speed-dial. It operates on the 134-174 MHz (in one radio, no sub-bands) and 450-512 MHz (in one radio, no sub-bands) frequencies. It also has more scanning options built-in, including priority, dual watch, follow me and talk-around scan.
HYT unveiled the TC-700 EX PLUS, an intrinsically safe radio for use in the potentially explosive environments of oil and gas installations or in gas-laden atmospheres encountered by emergency services. The company also announced the TC-610P, a 5 W UHF and VHF radio with HDC1200 and MDC2400 advanced signaling and IP66 certification for water and dust protection.
Honeywell launched the HMA2104-LiP battery that extends the operating time of the Tyco Electronics Wireless Systems P7100/P7200 series radio to a full shift. The battery offers up to 32 hours of run time and 650-hours-plus cycle life. The company also offers the H8610-LiP Lithium Polymer battery for Motorola XTS3000 and XTS5000 portable radios that provides extended run times, longer cycle life and lighter weight.
OTTO unveiled the Pro Series speaker microphone with a quick-disconnect RJ45 connector that allows users to have one speaker microphone head and multiple cables with radio connectors to use on many radio platforms. It's water-resistant to MIL-STD 810 F spec and includes an accessory jack for loud environments.
Cobalt A/V and HME unveiled the DX300ES tactical wireless headset radio system. It is a digital, spread-spectrum 2.4 GHz system that supports hands-free, two-way digital conversations for up to 15 headset users, while simultaneously allowing the monitoring of external radio traffic with remote transmit capabilities.
Daniels Electronics now offers a compact solar-panel package for use with its transportable radio repeater family or for use in any application requiring rapidly deployable DC power. The solar panel is made of a rugged flexible material and is rated for 60 watts with a 12-volt output. Optionally, a second solar panel can be stored in the same case. It offers enough power to charge the battery pack, enabling continuous radio operation at 30 watts with a 5% duty cycle.
PORTABLE AND MOBILE RADIOS
Motorola offers the APX Project 25 (P25) multiband portable and mobile two-way radios that enable instant multi-agency interoperability for first responders. Motorola's fourth-generation P25 radios are multiband (700/800 MHz and VHF), communicate on ASTRO 25 systems and future networks (FDMA and TDMA), and have integrated GPS. The company also launched IP Site Connect, which is the newest capability of the MOTOTRBO digital two-way radio system that links repeaters together.
PORTABLE RADIO, BASE STATION
Tyco Electronics Wireless Systems offers the P5400 portable radio in 800 MHz, VHF and UHF frequencies. Operating modes include OpenSky trunking, Project 25 trunked or conventional modes, Enhanced Digital Access Communications System (EDACS) or ProVoice trunked modes, and analog conventional mode. The P5300 portable radio offers similar features in the 900 MHz frequency band, including Tyco Electronics' OpenSky trunking, EDACS and analog conventional mode. Both the P5300 and P5400 portable radios are rated as intrinsically safe.
The company's MASTR V 700 P25T base station provides secure digital trunked communications for mission-critical applications and supports the P25 Trunked Common Air Interface. The MASTR V 700 P25T incorporates P25 digital voice and data using a digital signal processor for maximum design versatility. P25 digital voice is translated through an on-board voice encoder/decoder in the station to allow immediate access to P25 communications through the user's existing network. It is software upgradeable to P25 Phase 2, supports linear simulcast and allows as many as eight channels per cabinet.
MOBILE COMPUTER MOUNT
Havis-Shields launched the heavy-duty TITAN mount, a rugged, professional-grade computer mount for a modular system that uses interchangeable parts. It offers heavy-gauge steel poles and welded, rigid seat bases, along with universal support arms to eliminate wobble.
BLUETOOTH SPEAKER MICROPHONE
The Blu-Comm Badge from Klein Electronics is a Bluetooth wireless speaker microphone for two-way radios and Sprint Nextel phones. It offers a ruggedized speaker microphone with volume control, a push-to-talk button and an earpiece port. The company also offers adaptors for Motorola, Kenwood, Blackbox, Relm, Icom and Vertex radios.
PORTABLE UHF RADIO
Giant International debuted the Olympia P324 portable UHF radio that supports up to 32 channels (10 preprogrammed). The handset offers 4 W and 1 W selectable output power and features a lithium-ion battery (with drop-in charger) that provides 16 hours of operation (1 W) or 9 hours (4 W). A total of 133 interference eliminator codes lets users easily filter out other conversations, the company said.
Thales has the Liberty multiband land mobile radio that enables interoperability across all public safety bands — 136174, 380-520, 700 and 800 MHz — in a single portable radio. Modes include P25 conventional, P25 trunked and legacy analog. The radio offers DES and AES encryption with OTAR, and its mil-spec metal housing is submersible to 2 meters.
MOLDED CONSOLE SYSTEM
RAM Mounting Systems unveiled the RAM Tough-Box, an industry-first molded equipment console system. It includes rugged materials and offers a final product that is about 30% lighter and 50% less expensive than many other manufacturers' consoles, according to the company.
EFJohnson Technologies offers the Discover, a GPS-enabled microphone and LCD device marketed to first responders working in remote terrains. EFJ is selling the technology and working to develop new microphone models under a contractual deal with Infinity Gear. The device consists of two hardware pieces — a microphone with an embedded GPS device and a 120- by 160-pixel monochrome screen with backlit LCD display. The microphone tracks up to 16 satellites to keep tabs on personnel in the field, and the unit then auto-transmits the data to a centralized location. In addition, the information is stored in an on-board memory chip and can be downloaded via a USB cable to a PC for data storage and analysis.
Kenwood offers the new P25 digital TK-5210/5310 portable and the TK-5710(H)/5810(H) mobile. Both VHF and UHF mobiles and portables offer FleetSync, P25 digital conventional and trunking options, FM operation, and enhanced Kenwood audio. The intrinsically safe portables have 16 character back-lit LCD displays and meet Mil-Std 810 C/D/E/F and IP 54/55 water and dust standards. The 50-zone/512 channel mobiles meet Mil-Std 810 for driven rain with multiple mounting options.