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Trends in Portable Radios

Under the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) and Federal Communications Commission (FCC) rules and regulations, Land Mobile Radio (LMR) equipment that is authorized or licensed in the U.S. must be Project 25 compliant. The P25 standards suite and the FCC’s mandate for spectral efficiency has streamlined communications and provided the interoperability essential to multiple jurisdiction and joint operations. The following companies offer digital LMR solutions built to P25 standards that provide seamless communication across the public-safety radio spectrum.


EFJohnson Technologies

EF Johnson Technologies, Inc. introduced its next-generation Viking® VM900 multi-band TDMA mobile at the 2015 IWCE. Karthik Rangarajan, vice president of marketing stated, “Designed with all of the critical, open-standards-based public safety features, the Viking VM900 multi-band mobile is an affordable solution for all agencies. Public safety organizations will have the flexibility to operate in multiple frequency bands while also having the ability to software-upgrade from P25 Phase 1 to Phase 2 and meet their needs or regulatory requirements. The VM900 multi-band mobile radio complements the award-winning Viking VP900 multi-band portable and is available in VHF, 700 and 800 MHz frequency band operation. EFJohnson will continue to expand its multi-band portfolio throughout the year.”

“Public safety communications is our core business. Fully compatible with SMARTNET®/ SmartZone® trunking, P25 Phase 1/Phase 2 trunked, simulcast and conventional modes, Viking radios provide our customers unparalleled flexibility to operate not only in multiple bands but on multiple system types as well,” Rangarajan said. EFJohnson customers with ES mobiles can migrate easily to Viking VM900 mobiles by re-using their existing installed base including control heads and vehicle connections.

The new mobile offers advanced feature options including Over-The-Air-Rekeying (OTAR) and Over-The-Air-Programming (OTAP). Rangarajan added, “We’re proud to announce another industry-first innovation to our P25 portfolio, Over-The-Intranet-Programming (OTIP). This LTE-friendly application enables secure, wireless programming for mobile fleets. Fleet managers can now program their radios from a Wi-Fi access point via their intranet, anywhere, at any time.”


Harris Corporation

The Harris Unity® XG-100P Full-Spectrum portable radio provides access to both APCO P25 digital and analog FM communications across all bands, voice modes, and encryption types at the same time. The American-made XG-100P is P25 Phase 2 ready, delivering end-to-end encrypted digital voice communications. Operational on VHF, UHF-L, UHF-H, and 700/800 bands, and equipped with GPS and Bluetooth®, it provides unrivaled interoperability with enhanced capabilities such as situational awareness and Bluetooth cloning for first responders in the field.

With its user-centric design, the XG-100P is easy to operate, even when wearing heavy gloves, and provides protection against impact and incidental changes. It features a full-color front display with next-generation graphical interface, a top display, and Active Noise Cancellation with dual microphones for users in noisy environments. The XG-100P meets MIL-STD 810G specifications for durability and immersion, and is intrinsically safe for operation in hazardous locations when paired with an intrinsically safe battery and other accessories.

The XG-100P is equipped with a Multiple Mixed Systems Zones feature that provide seamless communication across multiple types of systems that include analog conventional, P25 trunked, and P25 conventional. The Command Tactical Zone feature of the radio allows users to create custom zones on the fly for communication with radios not part of preset zones.


The XG-100P supports wired and wireless audio accessories including speaker microphones, and covert microphones with earpieces. The Unity XG-100P is a highly scalable solution that allows software upgrades to operating modes such as P25 Phase 2, and comes with a three-year standard radio warranty.


Icom America Inc.

With P25 conventional and trunking capabilities as standard, Icom America’s IC-F9011 series allows users to assign individual channels to analog conventional, P25 conventional, or P25 trunking, all within one radio. Designed specifically for public safety applications, the IC-F9011 conforms to the standard specifications for TIAEIA TSB-102, providing interoperability with other brands of P25 equipment. These slim, ergonomically shaped radios meet MIL-STD 810 requirements and are IP57 rated, providing


optimum protection in rugged conditions.

The digital/analog mixed mode feature allows first responders to detect and receive both analog FM and P25 digital modes, and to transmit either mode depending on programming. The IC-F9011 series provides AES and/or DES encryption for secure conversation and supports P25 OTAR (Over-the Air-Rekeying). A three-position toggle switch at the top of the radio turns encryption on and off and provides quick selection of operating zones.

The IC-F9011T/S and IC-F9021T/S feature a large dot-matrix display for easy viewing and a key indicator at the bottom that shows the assigned functions to each button for efficient operation.


Both are equipped with 100 individual ID and 250 talk-group ID memories, allowing the user to visually select the person or group to be called from the display. The four-way navigation cross keypad on the front panel provides an intuitive user interface.


Other features of the IC-F9011 series include wide frequency coverage, a VOX function for hands-free operation, 512 channels/128 zones, and a Talk-Around function. All Icom America land mobile radios come with either a standard two-year or three-year warranty from factory defects, depending on model. A list of authorized dealers, as well as GSA contract information can be accessed on their website.




Kenwood announced an expansion of the NX-5000 series with VHF mobiles and portables, the NX-5200K2/K3 and NX-5700K, and new firmware that allows for NXDN site roaming and single remote head configurations for mobile units.


The multi-protocol NX-5000 Series allows users to operate in P25 Phase I/II, NEXEDGE® digital and analog modes.


The pioneering NX-5000 Series of portable and mobile two-way radios are designed to facilitate a planned migration to digital for agencies and businesses operating with a mix of analog and digital radios. The NX-5000 Series has been widely adopted by public safety and mission critical users, including utilities, for its durability and all NX-5000 radios feature built-in GPS capability facilitated by a large, color display for at-a-glance operational status checks. Built-in DSP is designed for high noise environments and feature renowned Kenwood audio quality. An orange emergency button on the mobile and portable units adds additional safety protection in hazardous conditions. The NX-5000 Series is equipped with 56-bit DES encryption as a standard feature, with optional 256-bit AES encryption.


The NX-Series portables have a built-in Bluetooth® module making hands-free operation easy, meet MIL-STD 810 C/D/E/F/G and IP68 water immersion standards. A microSD/microSDHC memory card slot increases voice and data memory capacity. The mobiles adhere to MIL-STD 810 C/D/E/F/G, the RF deck meets IP54 and the remote head meets the IP55 blowing rain standard. The mobile has a DB-25 accessory connector and features 4W speaker audio.



Motorola Solutions, Inc.

The APX 8000 is Motorola Solutions’ first all-band P25 portable radio featuring integrated WiFi for more efficient radio management allowing the radio to receive new settings (codeplug), firmware, and feature updates over the air in seconds, while the user continues to talk without interruption. The radio will automatically access pre-provisioned WiFi networks at secure locations and download pending updates approximately 30,000 times faster than P25 data rates. A new adaptive audio engine builds on the adaptive dual-sided operation featured in every APX portable radio, but enhances the experience by providing simpler audio management for radio programmers and better speech clarity for end users. Although the APX 8000 retains its ability to be fully customized, the adaptive audio engine will automatically adjust the audio quality algorithm on-the-fly in order to cancel out background noise and wind as it varies within user’s environment. The all-band access allows APX 8000 public safety customers to communicate across borders and between systems using a single device that operates in analog and digital P25 mode, conventional or trunked systems, SmartNet and SmartZone legacy systems and across 700/800MHz, VHF and UHF bands. The APX8000 collaborates with other devices, specifically the Motorola Solutions LEX L10 Mission Critical LTE Handheld via mission-critical Bluetooth. The LEX L10 can remotely control the radio so users can monitor and control information such as radio signal strength, battery life, zone, channel and volume without unholstering their radio. The APX 8000 is now the world’s most compact P25 all-band portable radio and it will be available in September 2015.


Tait Communications

The Tait TP9400 P25 portable radio is specifically designed to withstand the challenging environments that public safety responders face each day. This lightweight yet rugged radio has IP67 sealing and shock-absorbing impact protected corners, exceeds relevant MIL-STD-810G standards, and features a water-shedding grille that aids voice clarity in wet environments. Versatile for all P25 networks, the TP9400 includes analog or digital conventional mode, Phase 1 digital trunked, and is software-upgradable to P25 Phase 2 operation.

The TP9400 is offered with two battery options to suit either front line personnel who have additional equipment to carry, or those who prefer a longer shift life and therefore require a larger battery. It is equipped with Lithium-ion battery technology for long-term performance, internal GPS location capability, Bluetooth® wireless technology, and AES 256 bit encryption for security.

Other features include three programmable function keys that provide quick access to the most commonly used features, a programmable emergency key at the base of the antenna, and a three-way programmable zone selector that can be used for different talk groups for fast and easy connection to the right people.

With its security-focused management applications, the TP9400 provides efficient radio fleet management with Over-the-air Rekeying, Key Fill Device (KFD) for quick, reliable encryption key programming, and the Tait Advanced System Key (TASK) that allows administrators to authorize and restrict subscriber units on their network.


The TP9400 operates in VHF and 700/800MHz frequency bands, offers minimized risk with multi-mode operation for staged migration, and enhanced multi-vendor interoperability. Tait designs and manufactures all its own products, offering the highest quality of materials and workmanship in the industry. If a product is defective, the company promptly corrects the problem through free repair or replacement.



Susan Geoghegan is a freelance writer living in Naples, Fla. She can be reached at

Published in Law and Order, Apr 2015

Rating : Not Yet Rated

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