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  • Date : 08 / 09 / 2016
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Potomac Spectrum Partners (PSP)is partnering with TASSTA, PowerTrunk (part of the Sepura Group) and Space Data to develop a nationwide TETRA network in the US for mission-critical voice, data and IoT applications, according to Bruce Scapier, managing member at PSP (pictured right). He told TETRA Today that the partners already have all the spectrum and FCC certifications to roll out the network.

Bruce Scapier

Bruce Scapier

Initial deployments will take place around the US Midwest, with a single state-wide rollout and a deployment in a city with a population in excess of  two million people, starting in 4Q16. This strategy was chosen because it strikes a balance between “potential traction and difficulty”. The envisaged user base isn’t restricted to public safety with expected users to include those from other sectors including the oil and gas industry, and trucking.

Scapier adds that PSP has had “discussions at the highest level” with both the Federal government and certain states who are “definitively interested” in some of its capabilities/solutions.

“We’ve taken a very focused approach. A nationwide network can’t be built out overnight and to make sure that we’re building this year, 4Q, we determined it was best to acquire assets that would enable us to begin building,” Scapier says, “Through purchasing these assets, we own the systems or the spectrum necessary so we don’t need further government or quasi-government permissions.  We have acquired a substantial number of those opportunities through purchase and we’re holding onto some of the people from these acquisitions because of their knowledge of the specific local markets and legacy SMR and radio networks inside the US…”

“To get started we wanted no path that required approvals beyond what we could get by acquiring assets and then converting them over to this TETRA based network married to both the TASSTA bridge and the ability to enhance coverage, redundancy and resiliency through the Space Data balloon-based technology and provide coverage in areas where terrestrial sites never made financial sense but were still important under any sort of mandate.”

TASSTA’s gateway and app solutions, which allow interworking between smartphone users and those using a range of PMR technologies, will mean that states working with PSP and its partners will not have to ditch what they have and suffer the loss of the political capital that entails, according to Scapier. He says that the partners have a business model that will allow organisations to come on board, without being hampered by budgetary constraints and being able to accommodate legacy equipment, will allow their system to grow quickly. While the exact proportion will vary depending on a customer’s requirements, Scapier envisages a 40:60 split between conventional terminals and smartphones in the latter’s favour and says that the partners are working to make the network as future-proof as possible.

SkySite.jpgSpace Data’s balloons operate at an altitude of 60,000 ft and provide a fully redundant capability and according to Scapier are ideal for providing coverage in remote areas, valleys, canyons and in the aftermath of catastrophic occurrences like Hurricane Katrina. He adds that Space Data already has all the necessary approvals and that they provide a means of delivering full geographical coverage in the US in an economically practical manner.

“One of the reasons why we like working with Space Data is that… they are already approved to fly with this capability if it meets the weight requirements, which it does. They’ve flown with LTE, Integrated Digital Enhanced Network (iDEN), flown everything and we know it can be done without going back to the FCC because we have the approvals as long as it stays within the established weight requirements. They have approval for that.”

The decision to use of TETRA comes from its success in the competitive global mission-critical marketplace, claiming “the lion’s share”, the fact that the TETRA community has done the most planning with regard to migration to LTE and the significant cost-advantage TETRA terminals have over their P25 counterparts.


James Judson

TETRA Today asked Scapier about the TETRA manufacturers it will be working with.
“If you’re talking about TETRA in the United States, the company that has been the most aggressive and has had the most traction has been PowerTrunk, our partner, and it is supporting our endeavour but of course one of the beauties of TETRA is that there is more than one manufacturer. What’s been able to keep our pricing structure down is that this is a truly competitive technology, but it would be foolish to say that PowerTrunk with its proven ability to know and penetrate this market isn’t a very key component of what we’re trying to do.”

“That said, there are others in the TETRA marketplace that have expressed real interest in being part of what we’re doing – that is the beauty of competition. We  work very closely with PowerTrunk. PowerTrunk has been focused on providing us with the pricing we need to make our business model work, and will continue to do so. It understands the US TETRA market better than anyone.

“Here in the states, TETRA handsets are, in some cases, available at just one tenth the price of P25 handsets. We feel that enhancing TETRA with seamless smartphone integration and new levels of coverage will make it a forceful presence in the US mission-critical communications market and the wider telecoms sector,” Scapier concludes.

PSP’s management team and key investors have decades of experience in telecom, including but not limited to spectrum and deployment on both local and nationwide levels. For example, C. James (Jim) Judson (pictured right), a key PSP investor and member participated in some of the largest wireless communications undertakings in the US such as Cellular One and Nextel.


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  • Date : 03 / 07 / 2014
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  • Comments : Comments Off on PowerTrunk leads the TETRA market in North America

Jose Martin, CEO of PowerTrunk looks at the health of TETRA in North America

Darlington_-_1.jpgFollowing the successful deployment of the BC Hydro TETRA network in the Lower Mainland of British Columbia, another Canadian utility has awarded PowerTrunk a very significant contract. Ontario Power Generation (OPG) issued an RFP for the procurement of a Rapid Deployment Disaster Management Communication System for its Darlington and Pickering nuclear power generating stations which PowerTrunk won with an innovative TETRA-based solution. On March 11, 2011 a magnitude 9.0 earthquake followed by a tsunami struck the east coast of Japan, causing widespread damage, including loss of safety equipment and a total loss of power at the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Station. The disaster triggered concerns worldwide about the necessity of resilient, secure and capable communication systems which could be rapidly deployed in the event of similar catastrophic events at nuclear power stations, OPG being one of the first utilities which took practical steps to mitigate the risk of losing all telecommunication links when they are most needed. In this regard, PowerTrunk has contributed with its cutting-edge TETRA technology, its engineering and project management capabilities, and its willingness to customise. All components in the system, including voice and data dispatching platforms, are rapidly deployable and powered by autonomous means.

TETRA has emerged as a powerful solution to meet mission-critical land mobile radio requirements in North America. The barriers PowerTrunk overcame in 2011 and 2012 with its first awards can’t prevent American and Canadian users any longer from choosing TETRA as the most effective technology to accomplish their goals. In the midst of a not completely understood transition between legacy radio technologies and wireless broadband solutions, TETRA figures as the only data-capable option which, simultaneously, is mission-critical-capable. In other words, TETRA is everything but a legacy technology as the TETRA + Critical Communications Association (TCCA) has stated several times. TETRA will stay as the preferred radio technology over the next ten years or more.

PowerTrunk, not insensitive to any market trends, advocates hybrid TETRA-LTE networks in the medium and long term as indeed LTE can provide data throughput enough to implement certain applications of the users’ interest (e.g. video) while general coverage and critical functionality are guaranteed by a state-of-the-art narrowband technology such as TETRA. For these reasons, PowerTrunk understands very well that LTE will never replace LMR in the field of cost-effective, mission-critical-capable, spectrum-efficient radio networks. Therefore, both worlds (narrowband and broadband) will cooperate rather than compete.

With regards to PowerTrunk’s evolution in the US, New Jersey Transit, Academy Bus and ARINC (Rockwell-Collins) for Los Angeles International Airport deployed TETRA networks that became operational in 2013. NJ Transit’s is the largest with thirty-five radio sites. Over 4,000 buses and 200 light rail trains will be served. The Super Bowl 2014 held in New York and New Jersey last February was the perfect showcase to demonstrate how TETRA can enhance transit’s operation in critical environments. In addition, GE Transportation awarded PowerTrunk a contract last March to integrate its PTC-qualified ITCS rail signaling system with TETRA in Colombia. Other end-users are expected to join the emergent American TETRA community in the near future.

Image: Darlington nuclear power station. Ontario Power Generation

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  • Date : 23 / 05 / 2014
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Melbourne, FL and Jersey City, NJ – May 21, 2014 – GE Transportation, a division of General Electric Company, and PowerTrunk Inc. jointly announce entering into a Purchase Services Agreement (PSA) for the purpose of providing an Incremental Train Control System (ITCS) over a digital TETRA land mobile radio network for theFerrocarriles del Norte de Colombia S.A. (FENOCO S.A.) Railway Company in Colombia.

ITCS is a Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) approved Positive Train Control railway signaling system which uses train-to-wayside wireless links and a vital communications protocol to monitor and control train actions.  ITCS reports train status along the railway and provides a variety of safety and operational functions such as track occupancy, speed limits and controls, and enforces the execution of the safety functions by means of a vital onboard computer. This proven technology has been approved by the FRA for operation at speeds up to and including 110MPH (177KM/hr). There are installations in service or in development in North America, China, Australia, and South America.

“One of the major selling points of ITCS has always been its flexibility in Communications Subsystem infrastructure.  The addition of a TETRA-based network to our communications arsenal is huge. The integration of TETRA with ITCS, and potentially some of our other communications based products, will significantly improve our product portfolio’s communications capabilities by utilizing a standardized, state of the art, digital radio technology.” said Berry Yeldell, Product Manager of GE’s ITCS Communications-based Train Control System.

TETRA, which is the leading digital land mobile radio (LMR) technology standard used in more than 125 countries worldwide today, is the chosen radio system to support the FENOCO ITCS project, as its ability to simultaneously support both voice and data transmission make it an ideal communication solution.  FENOCO currently owns and operates a TETRA voice network provided by PowerTrunk’s parent company, TELTRONIC S.A.U. of Spain.  Under the agreement, the TETRA network will be expanded and upgraded to support ITCS for FENOCO’s railway operations in northern Colombia.  TETRA base stations are installed along the rail line, and specially-designed onboard TETRA radios will use ITCS technology to allow wayside status and train control information to be exchanged from ground to train along the route, thereby enhancing railway safety.

“This new strategic agreement between GE Transportation and PowerTrunk/Teltronic is an exciting opportunity to integrate proven TETRA capability with world-class GE railway communications products that offer next generation solutions to customers worldwide,” said Chris Ramsden, VP of Sales for PowerTrunk.

“The Purchase Services Agreement we have entered into with GE Transportation involves, as a first step, integrating our TETRA technology with GE Transportation’s PTC-qualified ITCS railway safety system; a challenge that PowerTrunk and its parent company, Teltronic S.A.U., are excited to meet. ” said Jose Martin, CEO of PowerTrunk. “We are proud for being selected by such a market leader to conduct the first ever PTC over TETRA integration”.

GE Transportation

At GE Transportation, we are in the business of realizing potential. We are a global technology leader and supplier to the rail, mining, marine, stationary power and drilling industries. Our innovations help customers deliver goods and services with greater speed and greater savings using our advanced manufacturing techniques and connected machines. Established more than a century ago, GE Transportation is a division of the General Electric Company that began as a pioneer in passenger and freight locomotives. That innovative spirit still drives GE Transportation today. It is the engine of change that puts us at the forefront of innovation and technology, where we continue to realize new potential and keep our connected world moving forward. GE Transportation is headquartered in Chicago, IL, and employs approximately 12,000 employees worldwide.

For more information, go to


About PowerTrunk

PowerTrunk Inc. is the subsidiary of Teltronic® S.A.U. responsible for business development, distribution, and customer support for Teltronic LMR projects in North America. PowerTrunk is headquartered in Jersey City, New Jersey. With over 40 years’ experience designing, manufacturing, implementing, and supporting digital and analog land mobile radio turnkey projects, Teltronic S.A.U. has more than 350 systems installed in more than 50 countries. Teltronic’s LMR solutions are widely deployed in the public safety, oil and gas, transportation, and utilities industries. LMR equipment includes conventional and trunked infrastructure systems, mobiles, hand portables, and dispatching consoles for TETRA, P25, WiMAX/LTE, and MPT-1327 technologies. Headquartered in Spain, Teltronic S.A.U. has direct commercial presence in over 25 countries throughout Europe, Asia, the Pacific Rim, the Middle East, Latin America, and the United States.


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Keith Ammons, VP of Market Development (

PowerTrunk, Inc.

66 York Street, 4th floor

Jersey City, NJ 07302

Tel:  201-630-4520

Fax:  201-630-4522

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  • Date : 25 / 01 / 2014
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Lincoln, NE and Jersey City, NJ – January 24, 2014 – Telex Radio Dispatch and PowerTrunk Inc. have announced the joint development of an IP-based dispatch console interface designed for the PowerTrunk-T TETRA system.  The Telex Radio Dispatch partnership with PowerTrunk will provide a total solution for TETRA customers for all sizes of voice and data applications.


The distributive architecture of the Telex design will make this console the most flexible and scalable in the market today, enhancing the PowerTrunk-T solution with the ability to control the system from any number of console positions distributed throughout an IP network, isolating the radio dispatch position from the mobile radio itself. The ability to control a TETRA fixed station radio from multiple consoles and patching capabilities boosts control room functionality when connected over the air to a TETRA network.


Telex / PowerTrunk partnership provides an integrated radio dispatch solution for TETRA networks.  PowerTrunk MDT-400 mobile radios connected to Telex IP-2002 or C-Soft consoles through the IP-223 remote adapter panel will provide with flexible voice communications to dispatch positions.


About Telex

Part of the Bosch Security Systems, Inc., Communications Systems Division family of brands, Telex has designed and manufactured the world’s most trusted and widely deployed radio dispatch equipment for over 30 years, providing systems for emergency services, government offices, public safety departments, municipalities, educational institutions, airports, utility operations, medical facilities, transportation industries and many more.


About PowerTrunk

PowerTrunk Inc. is the subsidiary of Teltronic® S.A.U. responsible for business development, distribution, and customer support for Teltronic land mobile radio (LMR) projects in North America. PowerTrunk is headquartered in Jersey City, New Jersey. With over 40 years’ experience designing, manufacturing, implementing, and supporting digital and analog land mobile radio turnkey projects, Teltronic S.A.U. has more than 350 systems installed in more than 50 countries. Teltronic’s LMR solutions are widely deployed in the public safety, oil and gas, transportation, and utilities industries. LMR equipment includes conventional and trunked infrastructure systems, mobiles, hand portables, and dispatching consoles for TETRA, P25, WiMAX/LTE, and MPT-1327 technologies. Headquartered in Spain, Teltronic S.A.U. has direct commercial presence in over 25 countries throughout Europe, Asia, the Pacific Rim, the Middle East, Latin America, and the United States.


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Keith Ammons, VP of Market Development (

PowerTrunk, Inc.

66 York Street, 4th floor

Jersey City, NJ 07302

Tel:  201-630-4520

Fax:  201-630-4522

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  • Date : 06 / 11 / 2013
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  • Comments : Comments Off on Potomac Spectrum Partners, PowerTrunk Announces first commercial TETRA network in USA

Largest statewide public transportation system relies on TETRA land mobile radio network to service Super Bowl XLVIII

Jersey City, NJ  — November 5, 2013 — Following a contract award in 2012, PowerTrunk, Inc., the North American subsidiary of Teltronic  S.A.U., a major global TETRA vendor, started supplying and commissioning a 800 MHz TETRA network for NJ TRANSIT’s replacement Bus Radio System through a U.S.-based systems integrator.  The network went live in early 2013 with partial coverage in the Newark, New Jersey area and is currently being used in a limited capacity by NJ TRANSIT staff as the system continues to be built-out. This is the first commercial TETRA network in the United States to become operational.

The PowerTrunk TETRA network provides NJ TRANSIT with the first mission-critical land mobile radio system in the United States that has sufficient data capacity to support the voice and data needs of transit operations over a single LMR network. The network significantly enhances the safety and efficiency of existing NJ TRANSIT operations because it (1) delivers carrier-grade speech quality, (2) carries data services on a system with mission-critical reliability, and (3) offers higher data capacity which enables advanced data-centric applications.

The new system includes radio base stations, core infrastructure, and over 4,000 TETRA subscriber radios to support on-board Intelligent Transportation System (ITS) equipment for buses, NJ TRANSIT contract bus operations, light rail trains, and non-revenue fleet vehicles.  Four PowerTrunk CeCoCo® CAD centers with a total of 27 operator positions and 700 portable radios will be used for management personnel and field staff.  The TETRA service also provides data communications support to NJ TRANSIT for an advanced automatic vehicle location (AVL) application supplied by a third party, and for status messaging between light rail trains and the control center.

Bus and light rail operations are not the only services expected to benefit from the enhancements provided to NJ TRANSIT through the PowerTrunk TETRA system.  The largest statewide transit agency in the U.S. will play a major role in supporting Super Bowl XLVIII to be held in February 2014.  One of the most exciting sport events ever to be hosted in the NY/NJ region, NJ TRANSIT will be responsible for providing safe, reliable, and efficient transportation services throughout the area where Super Bowl events will be held.  To maintain the highest levels of performance and service quality, NJ TRANSIT will deploy a number of network expansions in cooperation with PowerTrunk, such as additional Bluetooth®-equipped subscriber equipment, base stations to provide coverage at certain spots in Manhattan, a PowerTrunk CeCoFleet® CAD platform, and several gateways to provide interoperable communications with other radio networks and legacy systems.

“PowerTrunk is honored to have been selected by NJ TRANSIT to implement the first commercial TETRA land mobile radio network in operation in the United States,” stated Jose Martin, CEO of PowerTrunk. “With deployment on schedule, this showcase network is currently in use, and is projected to be fully built out in early 2014.”

NJ TRANSIT’s new FCC-licensed LMR network utilizes the standard TETRA protocol developed by the European Telecommunications Standards Institute (ETSI), and operates in the 800 MHz FCC Part 90 spectrum.  TETRA is a 4-slot TDMA technology using 25 KHz frequencies which allows users to comply with the FCC’s narrowband mandate below 512 MHz (6.25 KHz equivalent per channel). TETRA has been approved by the FCC for use in the U.S. for a wide range of frequencies.

NJ TRANSIT is the nation’s largest statewide public transportation system providing more than 895,000 weekday trips on 261 bus routes, three light rail lines, 12 commuter rail lines, and through Access Link paratransit service.  It is the third largest transit system in the country with 164 rail stations, 61 light rail stations, and more than 19,000 bus stops linking major points in New Jersey, New York, and Philadelphia.


About PowerTrunk Inc.

PowerTrunk Inc. is the subsidiary of Teltronic® S.A.U. responsible for business development, distribution and customer support for Teltronic land mobile radio projects in North America. PowerTrunk is headquartered in Jersey City, New Jersey. With over 40 years’ experience designing, manufacturing, implementing and supporting digital and analog land mobile radio turnkey projects; Teltronic S.A.U. has more than 350 systems installed in more than 50 countries. Teltronic’s LMR solutions are widely deployed in the public safety, oil and gas, transportation, and utilities industries. LMR equipment includes conventional and trunked infrastructure systems, mobiles, hand portables, and dispatching consoles for TETRA, P25, WiMAX/LTE, and MPT-1327 technologies.  Headquartered in Spain, Teltronic S.A.U. has direct commercial presence in over 25 countries throughout Europe, Asia, the Pacific Rim, the Middle East, Latin America, and the United States.

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  • Date : 23 / 10 / 2013
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  • Comments : Comments Off on Potomac Spectrum Partners, LLC (PSP) Partners with PowerTrunk (PT)

Chevy Chase, MD and Jersey City, NJ – October 22, 2013

Potomac Spectrum Partners, LLC, (PSP) headquartered in southern Oregon, announced today that it is partnering with PowerTrunk (PT), a subsidiary of Teltronic S.A.U. headquartered in Zaragoza, Spain, to promote a regulatory and governmental environment which will make TETRA (Terrestrial Trunked Radio) more readily available and usable by American and Canadian Public Safety users, as well as for commercial and governmental use.  PSP further intends to directly deploy TETRA systems in concert with, and with the support of PowerTrunk.

Part of the mission of the PSP/PT partnership is to educate those who have no real knowledge of TETRA.  PSP/PT believes that once potential users understand TETRA, they will be  in a position to effect real change in the market place.

“It is clear to PSP that PowerTrunk ‘gets it’”, said PSP head, Bruce Scapier, “insofar as the North American market place differs from the larger global market, where TETRA’s proven record of resilient solutions have made TETRA the most dominant choice, by far. It is no secret to the rest of the world, where TETRA is free to compete.”

PT has accomplished the historic goal of introducing the TETRA technology in North America. Firstly in Canada through its contract with BC Hydro (British Columbia’s electrical utility) and later in the United States (New Jersey Transit’s Bus and Light Rail Train Radio System). Recently ARINC awarded PT a contract to supply a TETRA system which will replace its ageing iDEN network at LAX Airport, another remarkable step towards consolidating the technology in the US.

“PowerTrunk is undoubtedly the primary driving force that has made TETRA commercially available in North America. For the purpose of disseminating TETRA’s capabilities we are delighted to partner with PSP”, said Jose Martin, CEO of PT. “We trust we’ll be capable of conducting significant investment plans which are expected to create jobs and set up major technology-development and manufacturing activities in North America”.

“The performance strength of TETRA in virtually every communications environment outside the US has been nothing short of outstanding.  Enabling TETRA-friendly regulation in the US will have huge benefits for critical communications users and the public they serve”, stated C. James (Jim) Judson, a key PSP investor and veteran professional who participated in some of the largest wireless communications undertakings in the US such as Cellular One and Nextel.

PSP/PT will bring that global reality to PSP’s home in the US, sharing resources and responsibilities with PowerTrunk’s proven success in understanding the unique reality of the North American market place.  PSP/PT will remove delays to proven solutions, bringing jobs, foreign investment,  and true competition back to the US.

“Where true competition has been allowed, TETRA has been the overwhelming winner,” PSP head Bruce Scapier iterated, adding that “PowerTrunk is the perfect partner to help us bring TETRA to this market.” The TETRA community as a whole will benefit from the PSP/PT partnership. The lack of competition has served the USA poorly in this vital area of telecommunications.

Both parties are on the same wave length. This is a good match for both parties and for the US as well.


About Potomac Spectrum Logo

Potomac Spectrum Partners, LLC, specializes in supplying ground up solutions for specialized communications needs. Its management and key investors have decades of experience in telecom, including but not limited to spectrum and deployment on both local and nationwide levels.


About Power Trunk Logo

PowerTrunk Inc. is the subsidiary of Teltronic® S.A.U. responsible for business development, distribution, and customer support for Teltronic land mobile radio (LMR) projects in North America. PowerTrunk is headquartered in Jersey City, New Jersey. With over 40 years’ experience designing, manufacturing, implementing, and supporting digital and analog land mobile radio turnkey projects, Teltronic S.A.U. has more than 350 systems installed in more than 50 countries. Teltronic’s LMR solutions are widely deployed in the public safety, oil and gas, transportation, and utilities industries. LMR equipment includes conventional and trunked infrastructure systems, mobiles, hand portables, and dispatching consoles for TETRA, P25, WiMAX/LTE, and MPT-1327 technologies. Headquartered in Spain, Teltronic S.A.U. has direct commercial presence in over 25 countries throughout Europe, Asia, the Pacific Rim, the Middle East, Latin America, and the United States.

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  • Date : 08 / 10 / 2013
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  • Comments : Comments Off on Turn-Key Services

– Compatibility, Operability, Connectability, Interoperability, Conversion, Translation(radio)
– Conventional Radio, Digital Radio, Trunking Radio, Telemetry, SCADA, Server, Gateway, Modem
– Voice, Telemetry, Data, Control, Alarm, Mission Critical, Public Safety
– Local area coverage, wide area coverage, Town, City, County, State, Region, Nationwide, International
– Line-of-Sight, Non-Line-of-Sight, Over-the-Horizon
– Private Radio Systems, Cooperative Radio Systems, Shared Radio Systems, Radio Systems Services by Contracted Services
– Consulting, Survey & evaluation, System Determination, Recommendations, Spectral Efficiency, Design, integration, Installation, Acceptance Testing, organizing, managing, operating, training, Expansion

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  • Date : 22 / 09 / 2013
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P-25 Digital radios again face the heat of repeated malfunction during crisis; long history of diversion away from the problem; long history of the same problem and same associated problems with digital P-25 communications failing under critical situations as well as normal everyday use. The underlying critical issue is that the problem has been known since P-25 was developed in deference to existing very good digital modulation protocols, making P-25 a unique protocol which went through many alterations then changes to facilitate its use in narrowband (12.5 KHz) channels.

a. There were approximately 13 or more vocoder types available and in use at the time of P-25 creation. Of this group, several were international standard types for use in telephonic and radio circuits, some were USA Federal standards, DoD specification types, and some were NSA standard types.

b. Despite the vast availability of vocoders back then, the P-25 unit was developed as a unique device.

c. Despite the prominence of the problems in the news and technical journals, the history remains difficult to locate and obtain, as if it is well hidden from being exposed.

1. The difficulty with and “failure” of the P-25 Vocoder remains to be multi-fold, however the main issues are:

i. its inability to handle ambient noise being picked up by the transmitter microphone,

ii. The bit error rate required for proper operation requires significant higher radio signal strength as compared to analog (a software “gain” was added to attempt to compensate for this and demonstrate operation at an equivalent signal strength to that of analog FM)

iii. The generation of voice and sound artefacts when the error rate increases, these artefacts are not understandable and cause distortion of the words to the point of being unrecognizable, commonly called twiddly-whurps, wheezes, squeals, buzzes, toy-voice, etc.

2. The P-25 was pushed as being absent of the disruptive noise of analog FM radio signals.

i. However the real situation is that the analog noise which is not present in P-25 recreated voice, is replaced by the disruptive artefacts: twiddly-whurps, etc.

ii. The net result truly is no improvement over analog FM radio, but the addition of a detriment to radio communications.

iii. The detriment being the loss of an indication to the radio operator of the “channel” signal strength and hence the reliability / dependability of maintaining connection

iv. When the analog signal degrades, it gets noisy and the radio operators then detect impending disconnection,

v. the digital signal gets twiddly-whurps and suddenly becomes silent, without notice, without indication of impending loss. Too serious of a fault to be usd in Mission Critical Communications.

vi. Analog works better.

3. The repeated cry covered over by propaganda, promises, faux “laws” and “regulations”

a. “Digital radio did not work”

i. Had to send runners from command inside building to outside to make radio contact.

ii. Repeated problem for years. ,

4. Problem so serious that fireman’s union is acting boldly; drafting letter “calling for resignation of all who had anything to do with the purchase and deployment of the radios”

5. Issue is not unique to Wash DC Navy & Fire, it is nationwide.

6. Issue is not with spectrum, as the Interoperability channels were designated by FCC & DHS.

a. It is of important note here that the designated interoperability channels in the various frequency bands are all analog FM Radio channels, and NOT P­25. Seems that someone knows what the bottom line for interoperability and connection really is, and it is not digital P-25 modulation, it is analog FM.

7. It is an important step is to eliminate the P-25 modulation from use in mission critical situations. Next it is important to review the international radio-scape to see what works for them (it is universally accepted Tetra Radio) and next to include changes and additions based on FCC Rules & Regulations by the creation of a “safety of life” radio operator and radio system design license having commensurate duties, responsibilities and authorities. And next creating a mission critical radio system classification and standards specification in the FCC R&R.



PSP Tetra Overview logo

PSP – Bruce Scapier, CEO

4615 North Park Ave, Suite 1113

Chevy Chase, MD 20815

Office: 212-757-7978

Cell: 301-536-0837

Fax: 212-898-0334

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  • Date : 18 / 09 / 2013
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This booklet has been created by the North America TETRA Forum (“NATF”) to help you to carry out your own assessment before investing in TETRA, whether this investment is as a potential user organization, operator, manufacturer, supplier, applications developer or other type of investor.
For more information on the North America TETRA Forum please go to
To assist with this assessment, a range of TETRA specific and TETRA related aspects are described in detail in this booklet. Included as part of these descriptions are the advantages and benefits relating to each subject area.

The TETRA Standard

TETRA is a Voice + Data radio communication protocol based on an open standard developed by the European Telecommunications Standards Institute (ETSI). The main purpose of the TETRA standard was to define a series of open interfaces, as well as services and facilities, in sufficient detail to enable independent manufacturers to develop infrastructure and terminal products that would fully interoperate with each other as well as meet the needs of traditional PMR users and organizations.

The TETRA standard is in practice a suite of standards covering different technology aspects, for example, air interfaces, network interfaces and its services and facilities. Because TETRA is an evolving (growing) standard, making advances and improvements in capabilities with no loss in interoperability, it has been developed in Releases (phases) known as TETRA Release 1 and TETRA Release 2.

Although the prime responsibility of ETSI is to develop standards for Europe, many of its standards are also adopted world-wide, as evidenced by the uptake of GSM, the first wireless technology standard to be developed by ETSI, & DMR, a two time slot TDM Protocol. Similarly, TETRA has already been deployed in many regions and nations outside Europe, resulting in TETRA becoming a truly global standard.

Both TETRA Releases have been completed and work continues within ETSI Technical Committee (TC) TETRA to further enhance the standard thus satisfying new user requirements as well as gleaning the benefits of new technology innovations. Outside of Europe the ETSI TETRA Standard has been formerly adopted in China and South Korea.

Why Open Standard & Interoperability (IOP)

The main advantages and benefits of adopting an open standard are:

  • Economies of scale provided by a large harmonized market served by several independent manufacturers and suppliers competing for the same business resulting in competitively priced solutions
  • Second source security if existing suppliers exit the market
  • Evolution (instead of revolution) of the technology standard ensuring longevity and good return on investment for both users and suppliers, and no loss of operability continuity.
  • Evolution (instead of revolution) of the technology standard ensuring longevity and good return on investment for both users and suppliers, and no loss of operability continuity.
  • Choice of manufacturers for new products keeping prices down
  • Greater choice of products for specialized applications
  • Greater responsiveness to future needs by existing suppliers because of competition
  • Interoperability between vendors is assured by a certification procedure(official procedure)

 Evolution & Longevity

The ETSI TETRA standard will continue to evolve beyond Release 1 and Release 2 to provide additional enhancements as driven by user needs, technology innovations and other parallel standard developments. In summary, TETRA will evolve in a similar way as GSM has done, from providing a basic V+D “one to one” telephony service to supporting powerful multimedia applications and High Speed Data
Taking these previous factors into consideration and the fact that analogue MPT 1327 trunking networks are still being deployed across the world more than 28 years after the technology was first developed, TETRA networks are expected to be available well into the future also. Tetra thereby ensures a very good return on investment for users and organizations as well as manufacturers and suppliers.

The TETRA Association

Recognizing that important market requirements outside the responsibility of ETSI needed to be addressed to ensure the success of TETRA, a number of organizations formed the TETRA MoU (Memorandum of Understanding) Association in December 1994. This has evolved into the now named Tetra Critical Communications Association, TCCA.
Since its establishment, the TETRA Association has grown significantly and now provides a forum which acts on behalf of its members, being user organizations, manufacturers, application providers, integrators, operators, test houses, regulators, consultants, engineering firms, etc. The main objectives of the TETRA Association are to promote the TETRA standard and to ensure multi-vendor equipment interoperability. Recently the TETRA Association was renamed to the TETRA and Critical Communications Association (TCCA) and the objectives of the organization broaden to include future convergence of broadband and standardization for professional users.

Technology Benefits

The core technologies used in the TETRA standard, such as Digital, Trunking and Time Division Multiple Access (TDMA) also provide a number of inherent advantages and benefits. Nowadays, practically everything electronic uses digital technology and wireless communications are no exception. Even though analogue FM PMR communications will remain a viable option for several years, digital radio provides relative advantages in the important performance areas of:

  • Voice Quality
  • RF Coverage
  • Non-Voice Services (digital)
  • Security
  • Cost
  • Spectrum efficiency


The main benefit of trunking is normally seen as spectrum efficiency, or service provided to more radio users per RF channel (carrier) compared with a conventional radio channel for a given Grade of Service (GoS). This is brought about by the automatic and dynamic assignment of the next available carrier resource, selected from a small number of communication channels, for use and shared amongst a relatively large number of users. This Trunking concept minimizes the ‘dead’ or ‘fallow’ time of a carrier, thereby maximizing the use of the RF spectrum, creating high spectral efficiency.

Because trunking systems support more radio users than conventional systems, national administrations actively support the deployment of trunking systems as this helps reduce pressure on meeting PMR spectrum demands. However, from a radio users operational point of view, spectrum efficiency may be a transparent conceptual factor.
What users want is to solve all the operational problems associated with conventional PMR (private mobile radio), yet still retain the simplicity of conventional open channel ‘all informed net’ operation or group communications. The fundamental element of trunking that solves these conventional PMR problems is the computer control of selection and assignment and the use of a single control channel.

Table 1 below lists some of the operational problems of conventional PMR and also lists how the use of trunking solves these problems.


table 1

Table 1: Conventional PMR problems solved by Trunking

It is important to note that the operational simplicity of conventional PMR ‘all informed net’ talk group communications is still retained by employing fast call set-up “Push To Talk” (PTT) operation on radio terminals.


spectral efficiency chart

Additional Services and Facilities
As the control channel acts as a signaling communications link between the Trunking Controller and all mobile radio terminals operating on the system, the Trunking Controller knows the status of the system at any moment in time as well as its historic usage, which is stored in its memory. For example, the Trunking Controller knows:

  • The individual and group identity of all radio units registered on the system
  • The individual identity and time radio units registered on the system
  • The individual identity and time radio units de-registered from the system
  • The individual and group identity, time and duration of all messages

With additional intelligence in both the radio terminals and the trunking controller the advantages and benefits of trunking can be increased. For example, the length of the control channel signaling messages can be increased by a set amount to accommodate a variety of new services and facilities. Also, the trunking controller can be programmed to handle calls in a variety of ways as required by the operator of the system.
Time Division Multiple Access (TDMA)

A four time slot TDMA technology was adopted in TETRA as it offered the optimum solution to balance the cost of equipment with that of supporting the services and facilities required by user organizations for a medium to high capacity network providing single site local RF coverage and/or multiple site wide area RF coverage.
RF Spectrum efficiency is a combination of three main factors being the occupied bandwidth per communication channel, the frequency re-use factor determined by the Carrier to Interference protection ratio C/I in dB’s and the trunking technology used. As previously mentioned TETRA utilizes the most advanced trunking technology.

Also, the TDMA technology used in TETRA provides 4 independent communications pathways “channels” within a 25
kHz RF bandwidth Channel, making it twice as efficient in occupied bandwidth terms as a traditional 12.5 kHz RF
bandwidth FDMA channel, a TETRA attribute. The overall spectrum efficiency advantage lies with TETRA, especially
for medium to high capacity networks.

4 time slots

Tetra 4 Time Slots per 25 KHz Bandwidth

A diagrammatic representation of the TDMA time slot structure used in TETERA is shown above..

base station cabinet

From the base station equipment configuration in above figure it can be seen that the FDMA solution requires 4
separate transceivers where as the TDMA solution only requires 1 transceiver. As a consequence, the FDMA solution

requires a transmitter antenna combining and receiver splitting network to enable single transmit and receive antenna working.
Also, the RF power output of the FDMA transmitters will need to be higher in order to compensate for transmission losses in the transmit antenna combining network.

Because 4 slot TDMA already supports four independent communication paths, no antenna combining equipment is required to support the 4 time slots, thereby saving space as well as cost.

Because of using TDMA technology, the cost, equipment space, power consumption, and HVAC costs at base station sites can be significantly reduced compared with traditional FDMA technology trunking solutions. Another advantage of TDMA technology is that it enables new services and facilities to be supported with minimum cost. Some examples are:
Higher Data Rates The ‘laws of physics’ limits the maximum data rate in a given RF channel bandwidth, known as the Shannon Data Rate Limit. Assuming the use of the same modulation scheme, a wider channel bandwidth can pass a higher the data rate. Because TDMA uses wider channels than FDMA, the combined data rate on a single RF carrier is greater.

Improved Data Throughput in Poor RF Signal Conditions The net data rate in TDMA is better than FDMA in poor RF propagation conditions. This is because Automatic Repeat Requests (ARQ’s) are required when received data is corrupted as a result of RF fading or other interference. This is due to the operation of TDMA terminal devices in full duplex mode, concurrently sending ARQ’s while receiving data they can be sent efficiently after each time slot transmission, instead of waiting until the end of each voice/data transmission, as is usually the case with FDMA.

Bandwidth on Demand

In TDMA any number of time slots up to the maximum limit of the technology being employed can be combined to increase data throughput as required for specific applications.

Concurrent Voice and Data

Because of the TDMA time slot structure it is possible to assign one time slot to support voice and the next time slot to support data in a two slot transmission from radio terminals. This capability effectively allows a single radio terminal to concurrently transmit or receive voice and data at the same time.

Full duplex Voice Communications

TDMA technology inherently supports full duplex communications. Although full duplex voice communications can be supported on FDMA systems, the continuous carrier aspect demands the need for RF screening between the transmitter and receiver and hence a duplexer to accomplish even simple single channel single antenna operation. Because of this, duplex FDMA radio terminals are usually less efficient, bulkier and more costly to produce and operate than TDMA terminals.

Key Services

In developing the TETRA standard to meet the needs of, increase the efficiency of, and improve the capabilities of traditional PMR user organizations, numerous Tetra services and facilities have been provided.

Details of all the TETRA services and facilities can be found further in this document under Tetra Release 1 and Tetra Release 2

However, in this section it is considered appropriate to list some of the Key Services and Facilities, which clearly differentiate TETRA from other wireless technologies.

Key Voice Services and Facilities:

  • Group Call (commonly called ‘all in formed net’ and ‘talk group call’)
  • Pre-Emptive Priority Call (Emergency Call)
  • Call Retention
  • Priority Call
  • Busy Queuing
  • Direct Mode Operation (DMO)
  • Dynamic Group Number Assignment (DGNA)
  • Ambience Listening
  • Call Authorized by Dispatcher
  • Area Selection
  • Late Entry
  • Voice Encryption

Group Call

This is probably the most basic voice service in TETRA but yet the most complex to support effectively and efficiently. This feature differentiates Tetra from cellular like technologies, such as iDen (Nextel), Harmony, GSM, cellular, and the flavors of LTE. This is because group calls need to:

  • Use simple “Push To Talk” operation to provide fast call set-up group communications
  • Be operated and managed in particular ways to optimize network loading, some examples being:
  • Operate in simplex
  • Operate on a “preferred” site for optimum network loading
  • Have a defined area of operation (Area selection)
  • Have a very reliable call-set up signaling protocol to ensure all users in a group are connected together when a call is first initiated (call acknowledgment signaling is impractical for group calls)
  • Have priority mechanisms to ensure that specified users in a wide area group call (spanning multiple base station sites) are connected together when a network is busy
  • Providing traditional “Dispatch: radio operations

It is this complexity needed to support group calls that makes public cellular networks unsuitable, simply because they were originally designed to support “One to Network” calls, unlike TETRA which was primarily designed to support group calls “dispatch” at the outset.

Pre-emptive Priority Call

This call service, of which the highest priority is the emergency call, provides the highest uplink priority and highest priority access to network resources. If a network is busy, the lowest priority communication is dropped to handle the emergency call. Unlike 911, 112 or 999 initiated public network emergency calls (which can also be supported on TETRA) the TETRA emergency call can be initiated by using a dedicated switch or other activation methodology located on the terminal.
Activating the emergency call automatically alerts the affiliated control room dispatcher and other terminal users in that persons talk group.

Call Retention

This service protects selected radio terminal users from being forced off the network as a result of pre-emptive calls (emergency calls) during busy periods. When emergency calls are supported in a network, it is essential that only a small number of radio terminal users are provided with Call Retention.

Priority Call

During network busy periods, that service allows access to network resources in order of user terminals call priority status. As there are 16 levels of priority in TETRA, this service is very useful in providing different Grade of Service (GoS) levels (and service structures) during busy periods.

For example, front line officers would be provided with the highest priority levels in a Public Safety network to maintain the highest level of service access whilst routine users would be provided with lower priority levels. In addition, anyone so enabled, can initiate an Emergency Call, which usurps priority and activates additional features.

Busy Queuing

In TETRA a queue is provided in the trunking controller during network busy periods to store and handle calls on a First In First Out (FIFO) basis in order of user priority level and request order.

The advantage is that a user only has to initiate a call request once, knowing that even in busy periods the call will be automatically established once a traffic channel becomes free, thus reducing user stress and frustration when contending with other users on a busy network.

Direct Mode Operation (DMO) Direct Mode Operation (DMO) provides the ability for TETRA radio terminals to communicate directly with each independent of the TETRA network infrastructure, commonly known as “talk Around” in conventional FDMA repeater systems. DMO is not new and has been a Tetra facility mandated and used by many traditional PMR user organizations for several decades.

The primary requirement for DMO has been brought about by the short range need to communicate between user terminals either out of range of the base station or situation not requiring the trunking features of Tetra. The features and functions of DMO cannot be supplied by public cellular networks or cellular like communications.

Dynamic Group Number Assignment (DGNA)

This service allows the creation of unique Groups of users to handle different communication needs and provide a controlled segregating of communications activities, it may also be used to group participants in an ongoing call. This service is considered by many public safety organizations to be extremely useful in setting up a common talk group for incident communications.
For example, selected users from the Police, Fire and Ambulance could be brought together to manage a major emergency where close co-ordination between the three emergency services is required. Similarly, DGNA is also considered useful for managing incidents by other user organizations such as Utilities and Transportation.

Ambience Listening

A Dispatcher may place a radio terminal into Ambience Listening mode without any indication being provided to the radio terminal user. This remote controlled action allows the dispatcher to listen to background noises and conversations within range of the radio terminal’s microphone. It also permits the dispatcher to talk to the terminal and user simultaneously while receiving audio. Additionally, this can be activated as a “hands free” operation for the terminal user.
This is an important service to utilize for those persons involved with intense instant emergency situations (hostage, shooting, fire fighter in building, EMS cardiac arrest / poisoning, etc.), transporting important, valuable and/or sensitive material that could be ‘hijack’ targets. Similarly, this is a useful service to have implemented in public service vehicles where a driver’s health and safety could be at risk.

The number of user applications for the Ambience Listening service are numerous and in many cases application specific. However, it is important to note that many users feel that this service invades a person’s privacy and for this reason only those users who need Ambience Listening as part of their work duties should be provided with this service.

Call Authorized by Dispatcher

This services allows the dispatcher to verify call requests before calls are allowed to proceed. This is a useful service to utilize when radio user discipline needs to be maintained. This service also reduces the amount of radio traffic on a network as only essential work related calls are permitted.

However, the frequent need for all informed net group communications between terminal users and the time delay experienced in authorizing calls can make this service unacceptable for some user organizations.

Area Selection

Area Selection defines areas of operation for users and can be chosen on a ‘call by call’
basis. This service basically simulates the ability for a dispatcher to select different base stations to make a call
thereby segregating radio traffic to specific areas and relieving the remainder of the network of unnecessary activity.
This service also helps to improve network loading and overall spectrum efficiency by restricting the area of operation
for selected group calls.

Late Entry

This service provides continuous call in progress updates to allow latecomers to join a communication
channel. This is not a service but an air interface feature that allows a trunked radio terminal to behave in a similar
way to conventional PMR terminals. For example, if a user turns on their TETRA terminal the control channel will
automatically divert the user’s terminal to a talk group call, if a call is already in progress. Similarly, if the user’s
terminal has been outside radio coverage, for example in a tunnel, the control channel will also divert the user’s
terminal to a talk group call assuming a call is already in progress.

Voice Encryption

The TETRA standard supports a number of over the air TETRA Encryption Algorithms (TEA’s),
the differences being the types of users who are permitted to use them.

The main benefit of over the air encryption is that it can be implemented as software within radio terminals and base
station equipment, instead of using encryption modules, which consume space and increase cost.

The TETRA standard also supports ‘end to end’ encryption using a variety of other encryption algorithms as deemed
necessary by system operator or national security organizations.

Tetra introduction

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TETRA Today talks to Phil Kidner, chief executive officer of the TCCA, about the part TETRA and LTE technology have to play in the future of critical communications

12 Phil Kidner.inddThe annual TETRA World Congress is now known as Critical Communications World, incorporating the TETRA World Congress. The event in Paris this year attracted the highest number of visitors in its 15 year history, due in part to the showcasing of the potential of LTE for public safety broadband applications in the future.

While the future is unknown, the presence of concept applications and devices created much interest, and there were concerns that the focus was shifting from TETRA, which is the dominant mission critical communications technology in the world.

We asked Phil Kidner, chief executive officer of the TETRA & Critical Communications Association, to set out the fact and the fiction regarding mission critical communications.

Are the manufacturers of TETRA switching to LTE?

Some TETRA manufacturers are planning to add LTE capability to their portfolio whilst continuing to fully support TETRA. The development of the TETRA standard continues, with new features, devices, applications and infrastructure, demonstrating TETRA’s continued leading position in the PMR market.

The availability of TEDS for wideband data enables organizations to deploy wideband data services throughout their TETRA networks with the same levels of coverage, security and resilience they already enjoy. TETRA networks already support the majority of applications used by public safety and mission critical users today, and the increasing number of applications is catalysing significant growth in the availability of end-to-end solutions that deliver operational efficiencies to end-user organizations via their existing TETRA network.

So why are the manufacturers promoting LTE?

LTE as a broadband data service will complement TETRA, offering the ability to stream high quality video and transport very large data files. A private LTE service working with TETRA will give users a win-win situation with TETRA as the wide area or nationwide voice and narrowband data service, and LTE available as an overlay to offer broadband data/video services in selected areas as determined by need, finance, and availability of spectrum.

Why not simply use commercially available LTE?

The use of commercial LTE makes sense as an interim capability to carry non-critical and everyday data to enhance operations and efficiency. However, the LTE standards do not currently support any of the services considered vital for critical users, such as for example group working and direct mode. LTE does not provide the coverage, enhanced resilience and security required by mission critical users.

It is important to realize that commercial operators are driven by their business models – they need to generate revenue from the mass market for mobile communications. It is costly and of limited benefit for them to fully replicate the features required by public safety and mission critical users.

In addition, service is imperative for these users in times of emergency or major events, the very times when commercial networks are highly stressed and sometimes have to be limited or even closed down.

What is being done to bring LTE up to scratch for public safety users?

The TCCA and many of its members are working in the standards development organizations, such as 3GPP and ETSI, to lobby for key and fundamentally required additional features to be incorporated into future releases of the LTE standards.

Several releases of the LTE standard will be needed to meet the needs of public safety. It is also not clear yet either whether manufacturers will have the incentive to build new products that incorporate the new features.

If and when the required features for public safety become available over LTE, and are incorporated into commercially available equipment, the TCCA is proposing the use of private LTE systems dedicated to handling broadband data for mission critical and business critical users, working alongside TETRA for mission critical voice services.

Will TETRA eventually be replaced by LTE?

That is up to the manufacturers delivering the technology to meet the users’ demands, but certainly not for a decade or so for the following reasons:

it will take many years for LTE to duplicate the features built up in TETRA over two decades, particularly in such areas as group working, voice, pre-emptive services, network resilience, call set-up times and direct mode;

LTE does not define group communication services so they need to be implemented;

even in commercial LTE networks, voice service is still in the process of being standardised, and is some time away from commercial availability at an acceptable quality; nationwide deployments of either commercial or private LTE will take some time, whilst TETRA is already deployed widely, and continues to be implemented for national networks.