Private Mobile Radio (PMR): Past, present and future

Chris Lorek describes PMR users’ relationships with radio tech over the years

Some of us remember when two-way radio vehicular equipment used valve transceivers and dynamo generators. Transistor technology eventually took over and transceivers became smaller, with handhelds also becoming available.

Time moves on, and we now have small and even tiny hand- held communicators. But back in the mid-1970s we wouldn’t have dreamt that a transportable cell- phone, the size of a small car battery, would shrink to the size of a Mars Bar 10 years later.

Likewise with handheld PMR transceivers: those went from the size of a house brick to the footprint of a credit card. PMR users are now increasingly us- ing digital terminals. These have considerably more facilities than their earlier analogue counter- parts, such as data communication like text messaging, along with integrated GPS receivers, Bluetooth connectivity and the like.

Trunked radio has also given us many advantages, not only for spectrum efficiency but also allowing multi-site operation. There are few, if any, modern medium- and wide-area networks not taking advantage of trunking. A well-known use of trunking with digital terminals and GPS location technology is Airwave’s TETRA system in the UK.

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