In New Mexico, troopers use GPS-ready radios

New Mexico State Police have joined federal civilian and military users of a two-way satellite data radio with Global Positioning System tracking, from EMS Technologies Inc. of Atlanta.

The PDT-100, a 6- by 8-inch transceiver and 12-channel GPS terminal, mounts on the hood of a vehicle. It lets the trooper send license queries, check the FBI's National Crime Information Center for wanted persons and push a button to talk to a dispatcher via satellite.

'We're liking them so far,' said Maj. Randall Bertram, chief of special operations. 'We're trying to minimize officers' use of air time,' which so far is running about $200 per car per month.

A trooper can broadcast to all radios within a group or talk directly with other PDT-equipped mobile police by double-hopping signals from L-Band MSat geostationary satellites run by Mobile Satellite Ventures LP of Reston, Va.

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