Signing Onto AFRRCS? Be Sure You’re Using Approved Gear

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AFRRCS, or the Alberta First Responder Radio Communications System, went live in July 2016.  It’s a two-way radio communications network with the objective of giving first responders – police, paramedics, firefighters – a way to communicate with each other and coordinate their activities at the scene of an emergency.  Secondary responders – like public works and public transit – can access the network, as well.

In the past, different public safety agencies would be using different equipment and radio programming.  This kind of variety had the potential to make coordinating an emergency response cumbersome, especially in congested areas like downtown Edmonton or Calgary.  But, with AFRRCS in place, police can now use their radios to contact paramedics and firefighters to let them know where they are needed, and vice versa.  Bus drivers can even be reached on AFRRCS and notified immediately if they need to reroute.

There are conditions, however.  One of the most important is that certain only certain two-way radios can be used on the system.  AFFRCS regularly updates the list of permitted radios to provide public safety agencies with the most up-to-date information.

Here are some of the new additions made to the list, as of June 2018.

JVC -Kenwood Viking VP900 700/800/VHF Multiband

The Viking VP900 is a dual-band, multi-protocol, P25 Phase 2 two-way radio. It comes with industry-leading audio, display, and advanced feature capabilities that meet the needs of public safety agents like police, firefighters, paramedics and other mission-critical users.

Click here for the technical specifications.


JVC -Kenwood VM5730/5830/5930

The Viking Mobile’s mixed protocol operation (P25 Phase 1 & 2 Trunking, P25 Conventional, Viking16, FM Analog) makes it suitable for public safety agencies signing onto AFRRCS. The ability to transmit in P25 or FM Analog means this radio can be used by emergency first responders who are migrating their fleet of communication equipment to a fully P25 solution.  Rather than bear the full brunt of the cost all at once, the Viking can be phased into the fleet.  Its P25 Phase 1 and 2 operation also mean it will serve your fleet long past the completion of an equipment migration.

Click here for the technical specifications.


Kenwood NX 5200/5300/5400 Portable

Kenwood’s NX 5200/5300/5400 line are multi-protocol two-way radios that offer DMR, NXDN and P25 operation, making them suitable of use on AFRRCS.  For public safety agencies still transitioning to digital two-way radios, these radios also offer mixed digital and FM analog operation allowing intelligent migration in mixed sites and easy migration with digital radios in other sites.

Click here to view the technical specifications.


Kenwood NX 5700/5800/5900 Mobile


Just like its handheld counterparts, Kenwood’s NX 5700/5800/5900 is a multi-protocol two-way radio, operating in digital, analog or P-25 modes, making it suitable for the AFRRCS network and public safety applications.  It also features Active Noise Reduction (ANR) that utilizes built-in DSP with two microphones for suppression of ambient noise.  This means the sound of sirens, wind, and other ambient noise on the scene (or en route to an emergency) will be substantially reduced when you transmit, allowing clear messages to be received and acted upon.

For the technical specifications on these two-way radios, click here.


Motorola APX 4000 Single-Band Portable Two-Way Radio


This two-way radio provides the benefits of P25 Phase 2 operation in a compact, robust handheld device. Intuitive, rugged, and affordable for public safety agencies with limited communications budgets, the APX 4000 allows emergency first responders to communicate with each other, quickly and seamlessly.

Click here for the technical specifications.


Motorola APX 8000 Portable Two-Way Radio

This is a powerful unit, no question.  Offering multi-protocol operation (Analog MDC-1200 and QCII, Digital P25, Conventional or Trunked) and multiple bands (7/800 MHz, VHF and UHF Range 1 and Range 2), the APX 8000 portable knows no limits when it comes to interoperability with a range of systems.  Built-in Active Noise Suppression filters out the ambient noise that’s ever-present on the scene of an emergency, allowing first responders to transmit critical information and have it received on the first call.

For technical specifications on this radio, click here.

Motorola APX 8500 All-Band P25 Mobile Two-Way Radio


Like it’s handheld counterpart, the APX 8000, Motorola’s APX 8500 is a multi-band radio (700 MHz, 800 MHz, VHF, and UHF Range 1& 2) that will keep first responders connected.  Its interoperability allows emergency responders to connect with fellow public safety workers and emergency responders, even when they are on different bands.

For the technical specifications, click here.


Getting Started


There are other two-way radios AFFRCS has approved for use on their system, from Motorola, Kenwood, and other manufacturers, but the models listed above will give you an idea of the kind of technology you’ll be getting into when you sign on to the system.  The list is current, but it does get updated regularly.  It’s always a good idea to contact AFRRCS or your two-way radio supplier to make sure you have the most up-to-date information.

If you have any questions about getting AFFRCS-approved radios or signing onto the system, Contact Us.  Our Client Support Specialists and AFRRCS Technical Administrators are here to help.

Tridon is a full solution Telecom Systems Integrator with CSA certification and licensed by APEGA.  Our Engineering, Service and Tower Divisions collaborate with customers to build engineered solutions including communications systems design, tower inspections and co-location, wireless broadband, fiber optic cabling, site security, and two-way radio communication.

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