How Search and Rescue Teams Save Lives with GPS Enabled Radios

Looking for the best two way search and rescue radio?

Search and Rescue teams depend on Motorola MOTOTRBO digital two way radios to save lives.

Why? Because they need an effective and reliable communications network in order to carry out each mission as efficiently as possible.

While SAR teams are now implementing technology like satellite phones, it’s two way radios that provide the true backbone of a solid communications network – specifically the MOTOTRBO XPR Series radios.

With features like GPS and virtual mapping software, you’ll see why. The IP Site Connect also allows you to create wide area coverage or enhance coverage at a single site that has a physical barrier.

Mapping search routes more accurately and tracking the movements of searchers in real-time are just two of the many reasons Ground Search and Rescue teams deploy the Motorola MOTOTRBO XPR Digital Radio Series during emergency situations.

The MOTOTRBO XPR Series is the digital workhorse of Motorola’s radio fleet and includes a unique GPS function in every portable radio, mobile radio, and repeater/base model.

Ground Search and Rescue (GSAR) teams, in particular, are taking advantage of the technology to save lives and improve search efficiency.

GPS and Virtual Mapping Software

The MotoTRBO XPR6550 was once the go-to search and rescue radio, but it has now been discontinued and since replaced with the XPR7550e, which you can read more about here.

However, the best-selling XPR7350e is another great option for SAR teams. It also contains a built-in GPS receiver that records the latitude and longitude of you and your team. The radio automatically transmits the data, at predetermined times set by the user software, back to the base station or on-site repeater.

At the radio base station, a USB connection is made from the radio to your laptop computer, streaming GPS data into a specialized mapping program. Several types of software are available to facilitate the transfer and control of the data, but the end result for SAR is real-time tracking with updates from 30 seconds to 3-minute intervals.

Two Conversations At One Time: The TDMA Advantage

One other software technique involves polling the radio to inquire about its location and status. Since the radio has Time Domain Multiple Access (TDMA) technology, the channel assigned to your radio is capable of two simultaneous conversations at one time. In this situation, voice and GPS data share the channel without interaction or interference from either.

The TDMA technology gives the MOTOTRBO radio an advantage over other types of GPS tracking schemes. For example, some manufacturers require sharing voice and data on the same channel.

The Motorola MOTOTRBO advantage of GPS, over a private two way radio frequency, is control of infrastructure. When all cell phone towers and repeater towers have been disabled by a weather event, SAR can continue to operate as a self-contained unit.

Powerful Communication

The XPR7000 Series radios offer a list of customized applications, including location-tracking and Man Down, making it the ideal search and rescue radio.

During SAR events, it may be necessary to re-divert teams towards a subject or to monitor progress of recovery. The text messaging feature in the Motorola XPR6550 makes it easy for dispatch to send a team new coordinates and allows for discretion when required. The base station will always confirm delivery of the message, too.

Built-in scrambling also allows for enhanced privacy as well.

As central command monitors the progress of the recovery via GPS, members may be too busy to call in updates. Remote Monitor allows the dispatcher to eavesdrop on the conversations at the scene, covertly gaining an understanding of events without disrupting the scene activities.

Should the dispatcher lose radio communications with a specific team, the radio can be “pinged” to see if it is active. If the radio is active, a Call Alert beeping signal will be triggered in the radio, notifying the team that they are missing important dispatch calls.

Similarly, the Emergency Button can send an alert in an emergency situation.

The Transmit Interrupt feature allows a user to “interrupt” another conversation in instances when critical communication is needed.

Increased Recovery Time

Recovery progress via GPS is a valuable feature for SAR since deep woods retrieval is usually a Litter Carry operation with an unknown ETA at the pickup point for EMS. By monitoring the progress on a mapping program, the dispatcher can more effectively coordinate meeting points and estimate arrival times.

Wrapping It Up

With all of these features, as well as best-in-class audio and waterproofing (submersible in up to one meter of water for 30 minutes), the XPR7000 Series (specifically the XPR7550e and XPR7350e) was designed for SAR in mind.
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Need more information on the best search and rescue radio for you? Call us at 1-877-721-7070 or contact us online here.

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