Beginning this month, 14 government agencies across the U.S. are part of a pilot program testing a new multiband radio that enables first responders to talk to each other across frequency bands. The DHS's Science and Technology Directorate developed the radio, which resembles current single-band emergency communications equipment but works on five frequency bands and can work on four additional bands used exclusively by the U.S. Defense Department, National Guard and Coast Guard. In addition, the radio, which weighs less than two pounds and has a battery life of more than 10 hours, receives weather reports from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and still functions even after being sprayed with a fire hose. The first version of the radios could be ready for the mass market by the middle of next year.
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