Putting All Radios On The Same Wavelength

FOR DECADES, THE MOBILE RADIOS used by taxi dispatchers have been plagued by a problem that troubled older generations of computers: different makes were incompatible and couldn't "talk" to each other. For the computer world, change came with Intel-based PCs. Now Motorola Inc. has come up with what it hopes will be the PC of the radio world: digital modular radio.

The new device is a 40-pound digital computer with a radio transmitter and receiver built in. The radio's bandwidth, modulation, and other features can be reprogrammed so it can communicate with other radios. The U.S. Navy has said it will buy up to $337 million worth of the radios over five years.

While sales in the beginning will be confined to the military and public safety organizations, Durrell W. Hillis, senior vice-president at Motorola's Systems Solution Group, says that fleets of trucks, taxicabs, planes, and ships all could employ the technology.

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