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What's New in Land Mobile Radio!

Written by Jennifer Gavigan

Land Mobile Radio (LMR) is a term that denotes a wireless communications system intended for use in vehicles (mobiles) or on foot (portables). Such a system can be independent, but often can be connected to other fixed systems such as the public switched telephone network (PSTN) or cellular networks.

The Project 25 suite of standards involves digital LMR services for federal, state, and local public safety organizations and agencies. P25 is applicable to LMR equipment authorized or licensed, in the United States, under National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) or Federal Communications Commission (FCC) rules and regulations.

EFJohnson 

EFJohnson Technologies provides P25 compliant two-way radios and trunked and conventional communication systems for law enforcement, firefighters, EMS and the military. EFJohnson was one of the first companies to be fully compliant with the Project 25 interoperability standard, and remains a leader in the ongoing evolution of the P25 suite of standards. Their portfolio of digital and analog solutions assists in effectively and affordably managing the transition to digital P25 systems. Every EFJohnson digital radio ships with the AMBE+2 Vocoder, which provides outstanding voice quality for public safety applications.

EFJohnson’s Lightning™ Control Head for the ES Series Mobile Radios uses the new electroluminescent display technology, not outdated LCD technology. Both driver and passenger can view the display, thanks to the better viewing angle. It also features high visibility without having to shade the display while in direct sunlight or without offi cers having to remove their sunglasses when using polarized lenses. Another highlight is that is has four display modes, including two text lines with 16 characters each.

The new Lightning Control Head is for use with ES Series (5300 ES, 53SL ES, and Ascend™ Mobile ES) Project 25 compliant trunked and conventional mobile radios. It can be clearly seen from anywhere in the vehicle. This new control head uses the same display technology found in military applications such as airborne cockpit and ground-based vehicle dashboard instrumentation, windshield heads-up display, military weaponry and communication equipment.

Key features and benefits include: large electroluminescent display; display resolution of 320 x 80 pixels; supports four PC-programmable display modes; halo transmit/receive indicator changes color when in Transmit or Receive mode; viewing angle > 160°; high brightness and contrast; long operating life resists fading; 200G shock durability; extended temperature range; three-level brightness control; navigation key; dedicated and protected emergency button.

Harris 

The Harris Unity™ XG-100M Full-Spectrum Multiband mobile radio provides fi rst responders with unique wireless applications and critical interoperable communications across all public-safety frequency bands in a single radio. By covering VHF, UHF, 700 MHz and 800 MHz frequency bands, the Unity XG-100M enables seamless on-scene interoperability without requiring dispatcher intervention. It features a nextgeneration control head that includes a full-color, touchscreen display for easy operation. It also provides integrated GPS capabilities and Bluetooth connectivity, AES/DES-OFB encryption and over-the-air rekeying.

The Harris Unity™ XG-100P Full-Spectrum Multiband portable radio has a color display, integrated Bluetooth connectivity and GPS. The Unity XG-100P supports virtually all public-safety landmobile radio frequencies licensed in North America. This allows state, local and federal radio users to interoperate with each other on-scene without the need for interoperability gateways or dispatcher intervention.

In addition, the Unity XG-100P scans across the VHF, UHF, 700 MHz and 800 MHz frequency bands and includes industry-leading noise-cancellation technology. Harris’s Unity XG-100P delivers clear voice quality even with noise from sirens, crowds or emergency response vehicles in the background.

Hytera 

As a product built to the DMR standard, the Hytera PD782 combines a compact yet durable design with versatile digital functions such as secure communication, texting, data management and GPS. The PD782 offers the latest technology at an affordable price. A GPS model (PD782G) is available, as well. The PD782 is IP-57 rated, which means it is submersible for up to 30 minutes in up to 1 meter of water. A large color LCD allows for a full view of messages and alerts. Hytera’s PD782 is narrowband compliant with the FCC 2013 mandate.

A compact and lightweight design makes the PD782 easy to carry and operate. The globally patented antenna design ensures convenient operation and remarkable GPS performance. With the combined application of narrowband codec and digital error-correction technologies, the PD782/PD782G is capable of ensuring superior audio under noisy environments or at the edge of the coverage area. Compared with an analog radio, the PD782 can obtain an extra 40 percent operation time between charges at the same output power.

Benefitting from the TDMA technology, the PD782 allows twice the channels based on the same spectrum resource. With dual-slot pseudo trunking, the free slot can be allocated to a member who needs to communicate on the same channel. This enhances the frequency efficiency and allows officers to communicate at all times. The PD782 provides enhanced encryption capability and the Scrambler feature.

Icom America 

The IC-F70/F80 series of radios from Icom America has dust-tight and waterproof protection equivalent to IP57 and is tested to demanding MIL-STD 810 requirements. IP57 waterproof protection means the F70/F80 series can be submerged in 1 meter of water for 30 minutes. The IC-F70/F80 series can withstand rugged use even under harsh weather conditions.

The IC-F70/F80 series also includes a built-in inversion type voice scrambler. When a more secure system is required, the optional voice scrambler unit UT- 109 or UT-110 is available. The water removal design from the speaker grill keeps the communication clear, no matter what the elements are. The ICF70/ F80 series has waterproof construction that is sealed with waterproof gaskets. The IC-F70/F80 series includes a built-in inversion type voice scrambler. When a more secure system is required, the optional voice scrambler unit UT-109 or UT-110 is available.

The large high contrast LCD clearly shows a variety of information with a full dot-matrix display. Program the display to show either one line with 12 characters or two lines with 24 characters. The functions assigned to the P buttons (P0–P3) are shown at the bottom of the display. Other features include: 256 memory channels with 32 zones; built-in audio compander (not available in digital mode); eight DTMF autodial memories; normal and priority scans; busy, repeater lockout functions. In addition, wide and narrow (25/12.5kHz) channel spacing is programmable.

Kenwood 

Kenwood is introducing new portable and mobile models to the 10-Series P25 radio line featuring advanced circuitry and firmware that provide expanded features and performance for even the largest P25 systems and organizational needs. The 10-Series Version 3 “G Models” are designed with expanded radio memory that allows increased provisioning capability for channels, zones, IDs, systems and lists.

Also implemented are the AMBE+2 V1.6 release Vocoder and TIA Tier 1 P25 conventional GPS operation in firmware. The KWD-IM10 Immersion Option now includes IP68 and the fourkey LCD Standard models also come in international orange and safety yellow colored SKUs for specialized public safety applications requiring visual identifi cation or groupings.

The TK-5210G/5310G/5710G portables and TK-5810G mobile all feature dramatic memory expansion, making them ideal for larger systems, with up to 1,024 channels and 100 zones and ensuring a fast three-second micro boot time at power up. In addition to IP 65 and 67, these G-Model portables meet the IP 68 standard for maximum tightness against dust and water as well as water immersion for up to two hours.

Options for yellow and international orange front panels are available to ensure maximum visibility for fire and emergency services use. These radios feature the most recent release of TIA-approved AMBE+2 vocoder for improved FEC and noise-reduction and allow for interoperability with the capability to designate up to 32 different radio systems per system. An expanded control channel hunt table means large trunked networks can be accommodated.

Motorola 

The APX 6000 Portable Radio is Motorola’s latest addition to the APX™ P25 Mission-Critical Two-Way Radio series. As the smallest P25 Phase 2-capable radio designed specifi cally for mission critical users, the APX 6000 portable radio was developed with Motorola’s user-centered design philosophy.

Key elements ranging from ergonomic form factor to advanced hardware include: dual-sided, two-microphone design provides excellent audio quality with directional sensing technology that locates the talker and cancels unwanted background noise; the latest AMBE digital voice vocoder; three radio models to allow officers to select the best option for their environments; and Mission Critical Wireless to securely communicate with an encrypted wireless Bluetooth earpiece.

The APX 6500 Mobile Radio features a flexible platform to allow users to choose from two control heads, mid and high power models and different installation methods. The Mid-Power model can be easily installed using the existing XTL mobile mounting holes and cables. The High Power model is designed for secure engagement and includes a handle for easy removal, and it is equipped with the latest AMBE digital voice vocoder.

Beyond the state-of-the-art hardware and form factor, the APX 6000 and 6500 radios also include significant software features. The radios are equipped with intelligent lighting to provide the user with color alert notification at a glance. The text messaging feature connects the first responder with other users and dispatch operators beyond traditional voice. Additionally, the voice announcement function provides an audible, prerecorded voice file for the description of the selected channel or zone.

Motorola’s first encrypted missioncritical Bluetooth earpiece enables secure communications when paired with the Motorola APX-series portable radios. Designed specifically for the needs of first responders, Motorola’s Mission Critical Wireless Earpiece provides simple pairing and fast push-to-talk enabling every word to be said and heard. The earpiece also performs in strenuous environments and has been optimized to provide loud, clear audio in noisy conditions, while allowing essential on-scene sounds to be heard. In addition to technical performance, it was designed to be comfortable to wear for long periods of time.

Mission Critical Wireless is enabled by adding an option board or enhanced expansion board to an APX radio. Secure pairing is simplifi ed with Motorola’s exclusive ultra-short range pairing system. During the pairing process, the Bluetooth IDs and a strong 128-bit key are exchanged to ensure transmission security is virtually unbreakable. The earpiece pairs within an inch of the APX radio and is nearly undetectable beyond a few inches. It takes only two seconds to pair and less than fi ve seconds for the wireless connection to be ready to use.

Tait 

The TM9100 series (TM9135 and TM9155) from Tait features industryleading digital audio clarity, superb build quality, and is tested in a P25 Compliance Assessment Program (P25 CAP) laboratory. Fully interoperable, the TM9100 gives offi cers the fl exibility of working in digital, analog and autosensing dual mode.

The TM9155 is specifically designed for the needs of front-line users to ensure communications are secure and interoperable. Optional dual head, remote head and hand-held control head confi guration offer space-saving communications and means the TM9155 can dynamically respond to vehicle and officers’ needs. Tait also manufactures the TM9135 radio, which provides reliable digital communications for non-frontline teams who require audio clarity without all possible features and confi gurations.

TM9155 highlights include: FIPS 140-2 certifi ed encryption; tested in a Department of Homeland Security (DHS) recognized P25 CAP lab for interoperability and performance; radios can be used on analog, P25 conventional, trunked and simulcast networks; Tait Advanced System Key prevents “unregistered” radios from being added to the network without prior consent; tested beyond MIL-STD-810 C, D, E and F; program 1,000 channels and 30 tactical zones; 26 talkgroup lists comprised of up to 50 members each; 300 scan groups with up to 50 members each, with a maximum of 2,000 members total; comprehensive scanning features including P25 talk-group, priority, dual priority and editable scanning.

Thales 

The Thales Liberty™ multiband Land Mobile Radio is equivalent to existing single-band portables in size, weight, and performance and with Project 25 (P25) and FCC Type acceptance, it is a true LMR. With more than 10 years of P25 public safety experience and an unequaled software-defined radio technology base serving the U.S. DoD, Thales meets the critical needs of the broad user community. The Liberty features: perfect bridge radio; flexible deployment; ease of use; spectrum utilization; mutual aid channels. Instead of carrying two or three radios, users can now interoperate fully with just one single multiband radio.

The Liberty LMR is a software-defined, portable LMR that enables emergency responders to communicate with partner agencies, regardless of radio frequency band. It operates across all the public safety bands (136-174 MHz, 380-520 MHz, 700 MHz, and 800 MHz) and in Project 25 (P25) conventional, P25 trunked, and legacy analog modes.

The Liberty LMR is capable of Output Feedback Data Encryption Standard (OFB DES) and AES encryption with Over-The-Air-Rekey (OTAR) for secure communications. It is Mil Spec rugged and submersible to 2 meters. All images are courtesy of their respective companies.

Jennifer Gavigan has been writing about cuttingedge topics in the field of law enforcement for LAW and ORDER for more than eight years. She can be reached at jgavigan@hendonpub.com.

Published in Law and Order, Jul 2011

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