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Can you hear me now? 8 portable radio options for your correctional facility

Communication throughout a facility is paramount to not only productivity, but also officer safety

By C1 Staff

When it comes to working inside a facility made of thick concrete, talking to other officers or administration gets tough. Enter the portable two-way radio, which enables communication at all levels of a facility. But there are some radios that are a better fit for the tough environment a corrections facility presents; here are eight options that you should consider when looking to purchase new or replace old communications devices.

1. Icom’s IC-F1000/F2000 Series

The IC-F1000 and IC-F2000 series boasts a waterproof casing that also repels dust, sand, mud and other objects. The radio has a built-in motion sensor that can detect if the transceiver is moving or shaking, such as in the case of an inmate assault. The radios also offer a man down and lone worker function, which is programmable. (Learn more)

2. RELM Wireless’s RP7200 Portable Radio

Offering crisp, clear transmission across 16 channels, the RP7200 has a built-in scrambler for secure conversation and whisper mode to ensure the party on the other end can hear you. Battery life is clocked at 14 hours, and the radio also comes with a lone worker/man down function to assure an officer’s safety. Other features include a safety check, signaling and channel annunciation. (Learn more)

3. Midland GXT1000VP4 Radio

Designed to withstand the outdoors, the GXT-1000 is water resistant and durable, perfect for those who are patrolling the grounds of a prison or jail. This radio supports weather alerts and pro-actively alerts you if severe weather conditions are headed in your direction. Offering a total of 50 channels, it also supports 387 privacy codes. A value pack version of this radio comes with a headset for hands-free transmission. (Learn more)

4. Tait TP9400

The Tait TP9400 offers multiple operating modes, including 12.5kHz P25 Phase 1 FDMA conventional/trunked, upgradeable to 6.25kHz (equivalent) P25 Phase 2 trunked, and LSM (CQPSK) decode capability in a single device. It also provides an internal GPS for location services and Bluetooth capabilities for accessory connectivity. (Learn more)

5. Vertex VX-820

With the VX-820, an officer is never alone. The radio offers a remote turn on function that will allow listeners to check out the area before entering the room. The radio also offers an emergency notification that will switch to a designated channel to send an emergency alert. With a 7-color LED front panel, calls can be customized to different callers. (Learn more)

6. Motorola’s SL 7000 Series

The SL 7000’s main feature is its lightweight and slim design. The radio weighs as little as your average smartphone but offers features like integrated Bluetooth and covert mode. This radio allows for discrete communication so that your officers are always one step ahead of the inmates. (Learn more)

7. Kenwood’s VHF/UHF/700-800 MHz Digital Transceiver

The Kenwood VHF offers clear communication even in noisy environments with Active Noise Cancelling, which means officers in either noisy dorms or out in the rec yard will be able to come through crisp and clear. The radios offer man-down detection, stationary detection or motion detection in reaction to unusual behavior to keep your officers safe. (Learn more)

8. RCA’s RDR3500 and 3600

The RDR3500 and 3600 two-way radios are compatible with both analog and digital modes. For facilities who can’t change out all their radios to a digital format at once, the RDR3500 allows you to upgrade at your own pace. They’re also designed to conserve battery power; digital transmissions reduce power consumption by 40 percent compared to analog transmissions. This eliminates the need to recharge during long shifts. (Learn more)