Duplex Radio for Emergency Services

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    Duplex Radio for Emergency Services

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    emergency services helicopter using radio

    The Challenge

    Our client is a leading provider of radio systems for mission-critical communications including handheld and vehicle-based products for emergency services, airports and utilities. To help them meet a new EU digital radio standard it asked Plextek to design and develop a new dual mode (digital and analogue) device from the ground up – but able to integrate with its existing software.

    Given the challenging usage environment the design called for a rugged & compact design versatile enough to suit a wide-range of professional users. It required stringent waterproofing (IP67), enhanced battery life, GPS and Bluetooth.

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    The Approach

    Working with our industrial designer we produced a concept for the 2-way radio including a colour screen, Push-to-Talk (PTT) capability with full-duplex calls and a keypad – touchscreens are notoriously unreliable with wet gloves! The design required a unique antenna and a very compact electronics package. We overcame technical issues affecting the potential robustness of the device i.e., installing waterproof material behind the keypad to prevent water damage to the microphone/speaker. We designed and developed all the internal electronics and case works and worked with the client’s supply chain, introducing new suppliers and processes as required.

    The device was rigorously tested to check stability, certified to a variety of standards including MIL STD 810G, CE & FCC and we subsequently worked with the client’s tooling suppliers and handed over to its manufacturer in Taiwan.

    emergency services using radio

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    policemen using radios

    The Outcome

    Over 18 months we had developed the world’s first full-duplex DMR radio. The product delivered state-of-the-art digital technology with secure, unsurpassed audio quality and the company was able to manufacture more than 10,000 devices a year. The device continues to be used internationally and remains one of the company’s most popular products with police, public safety and even the mountain rescue!