With the May 2023 rollout of the model 8000 radio, some field personnel have been asking questions. Here are answers to the common questions:
The Wi-Fi symbol will be starting to appear on radios as the Wi-Fi system is turned on at stations. It is the symbol above the C in MCFRS and below the Z scan symbol. The only purpose of the Wi-Fi is for radio programming. (No, you cannot connect your phone to the radio and surf the web.)
The satellite symbol between the Bluetooth and H indicates GPS lock. If it is flashing, it does NOT have GPS reception like when in a building.
The H indicates the channel or talkgroup is transmitting in high power. There are some channels by regulation that must transmit in low power and those will display an L.
The 3 dot button on the face of the new RSMs is unused right now and does nothing
In 2023, the 800 MHz Radio Model APX8000XE will replace the APX6000XE and APX7000XE portable radios. Below are some frequently asked questions (FAQ) and information you need to know.
What is new about the 8000 portable radio?
All users — regardless of riding position — will now have access to VHF resources (e.g., 7V1, 7V2, etc.) and UHF backup med channels. As such, there will be no difference between the officer and firefighter radios.
New UHF zones: EMRC, MA41 and MA42
DC fire zones are updated. While that doesn’t match the rest of the fleet, differences do not affect fireground talkgroups.
You will receive a new remote speaker microphone. While it looks a lot like the previous model, the new version has better audio capability and does a better job of suppressing extraneous background noise.
Model 6000 and 7000 radios each have a white sticker with black printing to identify the radio.
Model 8000 radios each have a black sticker with white printing to identify the radio.
What about the batteries — are they different?
Model 6000 and 7000 batteries are each black with a green dot on the bottom, and a white label with green printing.
Model 8000 batteries are each white on the bottom and a black/white label.
The model 8000 battery’s capacity is greater than the old battery’s capacity.
The model 8000 battery is intrinsically safe, rated through UL (Underwriter Laboratories).
The old batteries with the green dots are not compatible with the new radios and will need to be returned to TechOps once your station’s radios have been replaced.
Note: If you use the wrong battery in the model 8000 radio, you will get a message that you are using the wrong battery.
Are the Station Battery Multi-Unit Chargers (MUCs) different?
Model 6000 and 7000 chargers looked like this:
Model 8000 chargers look like this:
If you come across an older style charger, please submit a TSR for radio equipment with the location of the old charger and a good point of contact to assist us in swapping it out.
What’s the plan for deployment?
We will swap out whole battalions at a time.
This is a one-for-one swap as the old and new radio IDs for the riding positions must match.
As we swap out radios by battalion, the loaners in the BC vehicles will be changed. If you get loaners from BCs other than your home battalion BC, they may have different radios/batteries than yours. Please get a loaner from your home battalion.
Volunteers will be asked to have their portable radios at their respective stations when those stations are scheduled for radio swap. People failing to switch out radios in a reasonable timeframe will have their radios turned off. Please do your part and, if you are unable to meet the exact timeframes, please communicate with Tech Ops.
How do I find out more information?
If you have specific questions, please submit a TSR and someone from Tech Ops will follow up with you.
There are two main changes to the 800 MHz radio system for October 2022:
Fleetmap change regarding PG County zone
FDTA change regarding tone and EB
PG County has realigned zone 8 to match MCFRS when it comes to Ops and Dispatch.
8A1 is now Ops
8A2 is now Disp
FDTA Tone Gone
Effective with the upgrade to your radio, you will no longer hear a tone when you press your PTT on FDTA. This may take some time for people to get used to, but it was necessary with the other change (EB, below).
FDTA EB Available (but Limited)
The EB is now functional on FDTA, but not exactly likely it is on talkgroups that go through the trunked system. (Remember, FDTA is still a simplex channel, unheard by ECC.) Here are the basics:
What happens when I am on FDTA and activate my EB?
You effectively launch an EB activation.
You will hear a tone every 10 seconds.
ECC will not know that you have launched an EB and it is up to your incident commander to include ECC.
Will people who are scanning FDTA know that I have launched an EB?
Their radios will flash EA received (with your apparatus name and position, as shown in the example below), but it will only flash for them. It will then jump back to their TG(s).
They will not hear an extended tone.
The orange banner will rotate briefly between your apparatus name with riding position and your known location (if accessible, unlike the image below).
What is the range on who will know I have pressed my EB?
This is no different than the normal range for FDTA. Line of sight is about a mile, but buildings and various building materials shorten that.
What if I press the EB accidentally? Is clearing the EB on FDTA the same as on any other talkgroup?
Yes, simply press and hold a few seconds until it clears.
With the 800 MHz P25 changes to both the nomenclature and fleetmap, maybe you want to see it all in action before you pick up the radio to practice. Here are some quick YouTube videos showing the portable radio:
The initial call from the EMS unit should be “EMRC, this is <Jurisdiction Name> <Unit Number>.”
Do not expect EMRC to recognize NCR County codes. Multiple jurisdictions have unit numbers
that start with 7 and 8.
While not mandatory, it is helpful to state during the initial call whether the provider is utilizing a UHF radio (EMRC Med Radio) or 800 MHz radio.
EMRC will respond and advise whether to go ahead with your request or to stand by.
Please do not make any requests until the EMRC operator acknowledges your unit number.
After EMRC has advised to go ahead with your transmission, state your request:
State the receiving hospital and whether a physician-consult is needed.
Noting if a physician consult is required will ensure that the EMRC brings an authorized
consulting base station on the line. Some facilities are not authorized to provide online medical
EMRC will then direct you to a med channel for connection with the hospital.
Upon changing to the med channel acknowledge that you are on the med channel with your unit
identifier: “<Jurisdiction Name> <Unit Number> online”.
This is important when using the conventional EMS radios. Your transmission is needed to steer
the automated electronic system to the correct radio tower for your area.
6. Once a hospital announces they are on line identify your unit and proceed with your request or report.
If you are unsure you have the correct hospital(s) online, have them confirm their facility name.
Some Additional Important Notes:
Remember, EMRC services many jurisdictions. The initial call should be brief.
Always use plain language and avoid abbreviations or codes.
State the full hospital name being requested.
Please be extra cautious with the following common miscommunications:
Howard University Hospital vs Howard County General Hospital
Washington Hospital Center vs both the Maryland-based Washington Adventist Hospital and Fort Washington Hospital.
EMRC is often confused when units request “PG Shock Trauma”. The operator may bring up
BOTH Prince Georges Hospital Center (PGHC) and R Adams Cowley Shock Trauma Center.
Refer to the PGHC Trauma Center as “Prince Georges Hospital Center”.
MEDSTAR Trauma Center vs Washington Hospital Center Adult Emergency Department. Like
University of Maryland Hospital and Shock Trauma, these are two separate facilities with
separate lines. Please either use “MEDSTAR Trauma” or “Washington Hospital Center”.
The Children’s facility at United Medical Center is a separate facility with its own consultation
line. Please specify to EMRC that would like “Children’s at United Medical Center” or
“Children’s at Southern Avenue”.
The Children’s facility at United Medical Center is not a recognized base station and cannot
provide medical direction. Simultaneous consultation is required with both a physician from
Children’s National Medical Center (CNMC) and the Children’s Facility at United Medical
CNMC utilizes their own radio operator to patch consults. Once EMRC connects a unit to CNMC
you will be required to communicate your request a second time to the CNMC radio operator.
When you activate the emergency button (EB) on 7D, 7E or any secondary talkgroup (TG) in an incident block, the radio uses emergency revert, which means you radio will jump back to the primary incident TG in the block and activate the emergency from there.