New Mexico police use new satellite system

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 and lets a trooper send license queries, check the FBI's National Crime Information Center for wanted persons, or push a button to talk to a dispatcher by satellite.

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

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 operated by Mobile Satellite Ventures LP of Reston, Va.

Mobile Satellite Ventures president Carson Agnew said last month's Federal Communications Commission permission to use landline fill-in service wherever a satellite is unreachable 'will extend wireless coverage throughout North America.'

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