As a leader in creating innovative communication solutions, Plantronics uses its industry knowledge to the fullest in its wireless push-to-talk adaptor, which will untether the user from their station, increasing comfort and safety during operation.

Founded by two former airline pilots in 1961, Plantronics’ heritage and beginnings were based in flight and mission-critical communications. Plantronics understands that when people’s lives and critical functions are on the line, transmission of the human voice, accurately and reliably, can make the difference between success and failure, or life and death. Plantronics’ traditional corded push-to-talk (PTT) adapters have been the de facto standard in ATC and public safety segments, but the advent of new radio technologies and reallocated frequencies has given rise to a new category of cordless or wireless PTT adapters that free the user from being tethered to a console.

Cutting-edge technology

Plantronics pioneered the first wireless PTT adapter over ten years ago when it launched the CA10CD. In 2007, with new and more secure wireless technologies available, Plantronics began shipping the new CA12CD, engineered from the ground up to meet the specialised requirements of ATC and dispatch.

CA12CD features

The Plantronics CA12CD incorporates the familiar pistol grip PTT form factor, adding an extra always-charged battery (insuring unlimited talk time), and operation on the newly allocated UPCS band of 1.92-1.93GHz for North America, and 1.88-1.90GHz for ROW utilising a secured and encrypted DECT 6.0 wireless protocol. The CA12CD may be paired to either analogue or digital consoles, and offers more than a dozen different connectors such as PJ7, USB, and LEMO, in four and six- wire PTT applications, from all major manufacturers. Services are available from Plantronics for customised connectors and/or wiring. A significant number of CA12CD units may be used in a single location.

System integration

Since its introduction, the Plantronics CA12CD wireless PTT adapter has garnered a solid reputation based on product performance and reliability. As with all Plantronics professional products, the CA12CD is viewed as meeting and exceeding the stringent requirements for ‘mission critical’ applications.

The Plantronics CA12CD wireless PTT adapter also provides a less encumbered environment by eliminating the cable that tethers a trainee to the console, or in some cases, computer, when CBT is used for ATC training. This also improves the reliability of the system since there is no cable to be damaged, cutting equipment replacement costs and out-of-warranty repair expenses. In training situations, a Plantronics Training Y-cable can be connected, allowing the trainer to monitor using a Plantronics headset.

In addition, FAA tower controllers in the US found the elimination of the cable provided additional margins of safety for aircraft movement and operations on the ground, and for the personnel in the tower itself. Traditional corded PTT adapters often necessitated controllers to stretch cables across areas of personnel movement for a much needed visual of aircraft or the field below, creating unnecessary obstructions to movement and safety concerns of potential tripping.

Free to roam

Limitations in the length of the cable also added difficulty. With the elimination of the cable between the controller and the console, safety and mobility are improved. DECT 6.0 technology provides ample distance for roaming (approximately 30m) and the device is resistant to RFI harmonics created by the many radio and radar technologies in use in today’s modern ATC towers. Separate secured and encrypted channels also ensure that each conversation between the controller and aircraft are clear of any crosstalk or interference from other units in use at the same time.

The Plantronics CA12CD wireless PTT adapter, along with Plantronics corded PTT adapters, are approved standard products on the current US FAA contract for ATC products.