3 Key Considerations when Purchasing AFRRCS Radios

The Alberta First Responders Radio Communications System (AFRRCS) is a Province wide open standards two-way radio network for public safety first responder agencies.

Harris Canada Systems Inc. was selected to design and build the AFRRCS P25 infrastructure; however a prime objective of AFRRCS was to permit standards based compliant P25 radios from other manufacturers to operate seamlessly on the AFRRCS network.

Each compliant manufacturer was invited by AFRRCS to test their P25 radios in the AFRRCS lab, meeting criteria of mandatory functionality testing. The successful manufacturers and their products are now contained in a published AFRRCS Permitted Radio List. As at March 31, 2016, six (6) manufacturers are on the Permitted radio list with over 35 combined compliant radio models.

Before purchasing AFRRCS radios, an Agency should consider the following:

  1. Price – prices on compliant P25 radios can range from under $2,000 to over $7,000 each depending on features, accessories, functionality, single or multi-band, etc. Some of the “add-on” features available will vary by manufacturer, and these can include: encryption, OTAP (over the air programming), GPS, and Trunking options.
  2. Features and Functionality – all radios on the AFRRCS permitted radio list were tested to a series of mandatory tests. If you are interested in purchasing a radio because of its features, be sure to investigate whether the features you require have been successfully tested in the AFRRCS lab, or will operate on AFRRCS as advertised by the manufacturer.
  3. Technical Administrator – be sure that your registered AFRRCS Technical Administrator can support the P25 radios that you choose to purchase.

An Agency will be faced with many decisions regarding the purchase of AFRRCS radios, and the options can be overwhelming. Consult with your AFRRCS Technical Administrator to assist you in the best options for your agency. Simply put; buyer be-aware!

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