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Basic Features and Physical Build
Like most of the recent full-size public safety radios produced by Motorola, the APX7000 has a volume knob, a channel knob, three programmable side buttons, a two-position concentric switch (ø/o switch), a three position mode switch and an orange "emergency" button, and PTT button, all of which can be programmed to the user's liking (with the exception of the PTT button). It is produced in two basic models; the model 1.5 which features an 8-character, multi-colored backlit display on the top of the radio without any numeric or navigation keys, or the model 3.5 which features the aforementioned top display as well as a full RGB LCD front display, full numeric keypad , four-way menu navigation keypad, home button, data button, and three menu-selection buttons.
The APX7000 boasts a 1 watt main speaker as well as a secondary speaker on the display side of the radio, both of which can be turned on or off independently based on the user's preference. The radio also has a microphone mounted near each speaker, making for two noise-cancelling microphones designed to suppress wind, feedback and other non-voice noises in the user's environment.
On both the top-display and dual-display models of the APX7000, an integrated GPS comes standard. On the dual-display model, the user can view their exact coordinates as well as set waypoints, "home" and destination coordinates. CPS enabled features like and emergency keep-alive, peer-to-peer GPS location data and distance to predetermined destinations are also available. Location services can be turned off (if the CPS allows for it to be toggled) in the radio menu.
The APX7000 is the first radio released by Motorola that is able to have both front-panel programming (FPP) as well as trunking options enabled in the same FlashCode at the time of its release. Although the ASTRO25 series were able to be upgraded to this option with later firmware and FlashCode upgrades, this wasn't available at the time of the ASTRO25 series release and didn't come to fruition until several years later.
Along with other members of the Apex family, the APX7000 was built with a "T-Grip" shape, for two main reasons; to make the radio more fitting and slip-resistant to the user's hand (even while wearing gloves), and to make space for the 8-character top display while still having room for the standard top-mounted controls.
The side controls (Purple button, PTT button, (•) button, and (••) button) have raised edges making them easily identifiable and distinguishable to the user.
The APX7000 is capable of on-board Bluetooth connectivity to Motorola's full line of "Mission-Critical Wireless" devices, as well as third-party Bluetooth headsets. Certified devices are capable of keeping the connection between the APX7000 and Bluetooth devices as secure as the radio's transceiver and therefore not compromising encryption with the use of a wireless headset.
Possibly the most flashy and informative new feature of the APX7000, is its colored lighting. The display and keypad have a backlit state of four colors (Green, Red, Orange and White). There are two options for how the radio changes the color of the display and keypad backlighting. The first option is color changing in response to conditions of the radio known as Intelligent Lighting, described below in detail. In earlier firmware releases this was the only way the radio changed its colors. With newer firmware releases Intelligent Lighting can be entirely disabled in favor of a CPS-defined color applied to each channel in the Zone-Channel Assignment with the radio switching color according to which channel it is currently monitoring. This can be useful when scanning to know the category of a received message at a glance (EG: green for law enforcement and red for fire/EMS).
Intelligent Lighting uses the radio's multi-colored backlit keys, top display and LCD screen to alert the user of the radio's state at a glance. In all of these intelligent lighting states, the top display and keypad backlights will turn entirely one of the four colors, while the main screen will display a band of the same color for a lower portion of the screen, along with the notification itself. The radio in its normal state is has white backlighting.
Green is used to show that a call or page has been received for the radio or a group of which the radio is a member. This can be through MDC, QuickCall II, ASTRO CAI, Type II trunking, or P25 calling/paging systems. When a select call is received, the radio display will show a green band with the words "Call Received" on one line and "CA: [User ID]" or the ID alias (as shown below) on the second line, and the menu items become "ACPT" (accept) or "RJCT" (reject). Similarly, when a page is received, the radio will display a green band with the words "Page Received" on the first line, and "ID: [User ID]" or the ID alias (as shown below) on the second line.
Red indicates a critical error alerts the user of three states of the radio;
- Out-of-range (trunking only)
- "Out of range" is displayed when the radio cannot connect to a trunked system due to geographic constrains, incorrect programming parameters, faulty antenna connections, etc.
- Low Battery
- The low battery indications display when the radio's battery is below 10% rated capacity (or 15% in the case that the user has selected to use an "early warning" low battery alarm).
- No Comms (trunking only)
- This indicates that the radio tried to contact a trunked system, but has failed, yet the radio can hear the system. The radio in this mode can sometimes receive traffic but likely is unable to transmit. Commonly this will occur when a subscriber unit is on the fringes of a system's coverage.
- Sys Reg Refused (trunking only)
- This indicated the radio has attempted to affiliate with a trunked system that has refused the radio's ID.
The color orange is used to signify an emergency call. The radio's top display and keys light up orange and the screen will display an orange band along with the ID of the radio which initiated the emergency call. An example of a radio receiving an emergency call can be found here.
The basic, idle state of the radio's backlighting is white, which indicates that the radio has not been triggered to change to any of the above states. This means that the radio is not out-of-range (trunking only), has not been rejected from a system (trunking only), is not low battery, has not received an emergency call, private call, or page from another radio.
"Forwards and Backwards Compatibility"
Part of Motorola's advertising for the APX7000 included the radio's interoperability both "forwards and backwards" meaning it works with current, future and past standards. This is true of the radio's ability to use several trunking protocols (Motorola Type II, SmartZone, OmniLink Multi-Zone, Smartnet, Project 25 Phase 1 (FDMA) and Phase 2 (TDMA)), and of the radio's ability to use analog or digital APCO CAI (common air interface/AMBE/IMBE) voice and data, and finally of the radio's ability to operate in four channel spacings: 25, 20, 12.5 and 6.25 kHz.
Being that the APX7000 is capable of APCO Project 25 Phase 1/2 standards, it is capable of Over-The-Air Rekeying (OTAR) and Over-The-Air Provisioning (OTAP) for changing encryption keys and basic codeplug reprogramming without leaving the user's hand.
The APX7000 is certified to FIPS 140-2 level 3 security. It is capable of AES-256, AES-GCM, DES-XL, DES-OFB, DVP and ADP encryption algorithms for interoperability with older algorithms as well as ones in current use. More info on encryption protocols can be found here.
APX7000, APX7000XE, APX7000R, XTS5000, SmartZone, Smartnet, OmniLink, MDC, IMPRES, APX , ATSRO25 and Astro are registered trademarks of Motorola (1995-2011) and Motorola Solutions, Inc. (2011+).
All images marked as such are copyright of Kyle Cascadden (2012-2020) and are authorized for creative commons, non-commercial reproduction.
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