January 2010 Inbox
Thursday, February 04, 2010 | Comments
Following are comments we’ve received from readers about recent online news and articles. If you’d like to comment on an article, e-mail edit@RRMediaGroup.com.
In response to “Agencies Evaluate Multiband Radios” from Jan. 27
Having tried multiband radios in the past, they can cause problems. You can only monitor one channel at a time. You may be able to scan, but unless you have three different radios to monitor three channels, you may miss the one emergency call you really need to hear.
After 32 years in emergency communications and having tried everything new as it came along, you still need one radio for every channel you want to monitor. Multiband radios aren’t new. They have been around for years, and as they become more popular, we need more thought as to how we use them.
Al Dill
Summit (N.J.) Fire Department

At a glance, fuel cells obviously have enormous potential for cleaner energy, but they are still in the research and development stage. Development and unit costs are high, and the cells are expensive and technologically complex. Acceptance of a specific and successful prototype is necessary to encourage a “first responder” market.
Before the readers start calling their grant writers, they need to know a few more details with respect to fuel cells. The basic fuel is hydrogen. The cell combines the hydrogen with oxygen from the atmosphere, emitting only water vapor and heat, so no more carbon dioxide or carbon monoxide, which is supposed to be the root cause of global warming, right? That sounds simple, and most people will accept that bit of information as the essence of fuel cell technology. But hydrogen is a light gas and needs to be compressed to about 250 bar (1 bar is about 14.696 psi) or cryogenically cooled to be of practical use. You thought the back room in your communications center was too small now.
Other fuels can be indirectly used, providing they are rich in hydrogen, such as methane, methanol, ethanol, natural gas, gasoline and diesel. These substitutes normally require a reformer, which releases the hydrogen. You may have noticed most of the latter compounds are derived from fossil fuels, although ethanol and methanol may be derived from bio. What type of fuel cell will be available to first responders — solid oxide (with operating temperatures hovering around 1,000 degrees), phosphoric acid, alkaline, molten carbonate or direct methanol?
What a great opportunity for manufacturers to drive (lure) the first responders into purchases based solely on available federal grant programs... remember where that money came from. A great business model, but a poor choice for first responders in this economy. We do not need another technology we can’t afford to purchase, maintain or replace after those grants go away. Perhaps when the fuel cell market is able to provide a cost-effective, less complex product, we should consider the purchase, providing it fits our budget and our back rooms.
Tom Stevenson, ENP
Communications Director
Nucla (Colo.) Communications Center

In response to “Most Comments Oppose TETRA Waiver” from Jan. 21
It makes little difference to me, but it seems a bit self-serving for the Association of Public-Safety Communications Officials (APCO) International (which isn’t really international), the Telecommunications Industry Association (TIA), Motorola and Harris to stand in opposition to TETRA technology on the grounds that it could cause interference. Does radio interference occur differently in North America than it does in virtually every other part of the Earth where TETRA is employed?
Terry S. Canning
Emergency Communications Coordinator
Public Safety and Field Communications
Shubenacadie, Nova Scotia

I believe it is in the best interests of the United States to allow TETRA to operate in the United States. It is a feature-rich, nonproprietary system that brings the user to 6.25-kilohertz channel equivalence immediately.
Rick Nielson
Bay Electronics
Sturgeon Bay, Wis.

In response to “FCC Releases Narrowbanding Notice” from Dec. 14
What we need is a clearly worded document that the average license holder can read and understand. VHF is really hard for most licensees to grasp.
Bob Bauer

Click here for the December 2009 Inbox.
Click here for the November 2009 Inbox.
Your comments are welcome, click here.

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