MSHA said these are the first two-way radios to have been submitted to, and approved by, the agency in 10 years. The only other radio currently being used underground has been off the market since 2004.
“MSHA's approval of these two models fills a void that currently exists in underground mining," said MSHA acting administrator David G Dye.
“It gives mine operators yet another option for communicating underground and ensuring the safety and wellbeing of their workers."
The just-approved Kenwood Series 90 conventional transceivers offer up to 160 channels and operate on VHF or UHF frequencies. The units are powered by a rechargeable battery pack that attaches to the back of the radios to form part of the radio housing. The radios come with approved accessories, including a speaker microphone, headset and earphone.
Meanwhile, MSHA's Emergency Communications and Tracking Technology Committee is expected to complete testing of new communication and tracking system technology at Consol Energy's McElroy Mine in West Virginia this week.