January 2011 Inbox
Monday, January 03, 2011 | Comments
Following are comments we’ve received from readers about recent online and print news and articles. If you’d like to comment on an article, e-mail edit@RRMediaGroup.com.
As a supplier of two-way communications equipment specializing in public-safety and local government communications systems, I found your article on the Missouri Statewide Interoperable Network (MOSWIN) very informative.
I was not aware of any request for proposals (RFPs) or actual bid letting for this system, and I am curious as to why the contract has already been let, and in fact, already under construction. Is this another incident of “selective purchasing” or “rounding off the sharp edges” of the legalities in bidding, such as we’ve seen in California with Motorola?
As a Missouri-based business, taxpayer and qualified supplier on multiple municipal bidder’s lists, I find it suspect to hear this system is already under construction, after reading about its implementation via your reporting. I would appreciate any feedback or additional information regarding this project.  
I will continue to pursue your feedback section for any other reader's comments. My direct e-mail is gen@cwsradio.com. Thank you again for your reporting and excellent magazine.
G.L. “Jerry” Chrzanowski
Services Manager
Communications Work Service 

I completely agree with the American Radio Relay League (ARRL) in its efforts to protect uninterrupted amateur radio services. There are emissions at levels that are likely to cause harmful interference to licensed amateur radio stations everywhere. Unfortunately, it seems that the ARRL is one of the rarest amateur radio organizations worldwide that is capable of doing something in protecting their membership's interests and activities.
In my opinion, it is important that RadioResource International covers such stories regularly. That might help other ham radio societies to push their own legal actions against eventual producers of harmful interference or whatever makes problems to that useful voluntary activity.
Miroslav Skoric

 In response to “PSIC Spending Hits $300M in Latest Federal Report” from Jan. 11
Securing matching funds has not been the issue in our jurisdiction. Rather, it has been the excessive time taken to the get the projects approved that has put us behind in our time line.
Sgt. Aaron Brown
Eaton County, Mich.

In all this push to centralize 9-1-1, the most glaring oversight I see is failure to provide systems that send location data and map — latitude/longitude, automatic location information (ALI) and presence information data format location object (PIDF – LO) — directly to small agencies, such as EMS and small police departments. Often they just get voice calls passed on.
I say this from the perspective of having 18 public-safety answering points (PSAPs) connected with primary fiber-optic and backup T1 networks, serving roughly 40 towns and cities.
Stephen Tice
Assistant Director
Lower Rio Grande Valley Development Council 9-1-1
McAllen, Texas

In response to “D Block Bill Priority for Sen. Rockefeller” from Jan. 10
What is the importance of the D block? The FCC has already cleared the way for 700 MHz to be used for public safety and has removed all other operations including wireless microphones from 700 MHz. Why does the tax payer need to spend more money for useless motions to open up the band for public safety when it has already been done? If the block they are referring to is similar to the one that they have on some 800 and 900 MHz for public safety to prevent scanners from being able to receive the communications, I think it is just stupid.
If any one wanting to commit a crime will be able to receive those scanners by means of illegally buying them from overseas and channeling them through to the United States. it is done every day. I agree that public safety needs to move 100 percent to 700 MHz and get off the 800 – 900 MHz band altogether, and if the government would make this move, it would make way for more communications to cell phones and pagers. It would make way for private communications on the 154 –159 MHz bands, but if it is only to allow more frequencies for public safety including other bands, I think it is not right. Let’s move all public safety to 700 MHz and lock them in to only that band like the FCC is trying to do with private communications.
James Hooper

The 10 new regional coordinator positions recently created by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Office of Emergency Communications (OEC) look strangely like regional communications manager positions and job descriptions that the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) had within the regions for many years.
These positions were converted to IT types to expand FEMA's e-mail system in the mid 90s when FEMA started hiring corporate IT managers as its chief information officer. The lack of knowledgeable wireless staff at the region level was a major cause of the lack of coordinated response in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina.
Paul Reid
Chief, Telecommunications Operations
FEMA (retired)

Any single stream digital signal can be jammed by a carrier overtaking that signal and interrupting the ones and zeros needed to decode. Only spread spectrum and frequency hopping techniques with spoofing with repetitive packets and encryption schemes with positive delivery acknowledgement can be designed to withstand single carrier attacks or even broadband attacks.
The military has designed systems for such threats. The cost and bandwidths required to do this in land mobile is expensive and may be spectrum prohibitive. New technology would need to implemented to achieve the goal of jam-proof operation. It does not take a large study or funding to predict and prove the results they obtained.
Bruce S. Marcus
Chief Technology Officer
Marcus Communications
Manchester, Conn.
This news is not surprising as so many other issues have risen in the past. The shame is all the time, money and testing that has gone into a system that is almost obsolete. Next time I hope that the industry will do something together.
There should be one standard for 6.25 kilohertz and you have to meet all of the standard. Add-ons should not hamper primary functionality, nor should features be exclusive. Do it as a licensing thing so the developer can recoup costs but everyone can have the availability of the feature.
As a first responder, it is disheartening that the cost of a portable to talk with the guys in blue costs so much that I will opt for a lesser radio to be able to talk to fire and EMS. As for the other services, they have even smaller budgets for radios as evidenced in the recent snow in New York.
It is time to make Interoperability a real thing on the hardware side.
D. Holmes

Questions About Radio Technician Experience
I've been interested in radio tech jobs for quite awhile, but lack the typical qualifications. Usually the employer is looking for experienced people with a fairly extensive background in troubleshooting and repairing equipment such as transceivers, duplexers and antennas.
Unfortunately, this is one of those, "How can I get experience if I never get hired?" situations. Few, if any, community colleges offer the type of RF/radio communications concentrations similar to those offered by the military.
I have a background in amateur radio and a strong interest in radio communications, but this doesn't qualify me as a tech. How do I acquire the training to qualify as an entry-level technician?
Tom Dietz
Editor’s Note: If you have suggestions for Dietz, e-mail him at dietzte@fastmail.fm. Or e-mail edit@RRMediaGroup.com and we will pass along any suggestions.

Click here for the December 2010 Inbox.
Click here for the November 2010 Inbox.
Click here for the October 2010 Inbox.

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