March 2012 Inbox
Friday, March 09, 2012 | 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, email
 In response to “700 MHz Narrowbanding Deadline Under Scrutiny” from the April issue
My compliments to Michelle Zilis and your staff for the articles in MissionCritical Communications magazine and TRANSMISSION that highlight the Arizona Regional Wireless Cooperative (RWC) and this important spectrum issue. Your articles are direct and clear in expressing our concerns for the FCC's 2017 deadline to narrowband 700 MHz. I have since spoken to public-safety radio communications systems managers in the states of Idaho and New Jersey who sought out the RWC for assistance in dealing with the same FCC mandate and its impact on their systems. I credit your publications for sharing this information nationwide.
David Felix
Executive Director
Regional Wireless Cooperative

This is another example of fraud, waste and abuse. I am appalled at the fraud, waste and abuse involved in the study that has been called for in the Middle Class Tax Relief and Job Creation Act of 2012 requiring the FCC, in consultation with the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Office of Emergency Communications (OEC), to complete a study on the uses and capabilities of amateur radio service communications in emergencies and disaster relief.
How many millions of dollars is the FCC going to devote to the study of ham radio and its uses in emergencies? Ham radio use in emergencies is so well documented that the so called Middle Class Tax Relief and Job Creation Act is not going to produce a thing in relationship to providing money and jobs for the poor middle class.
Ham radio has, and always will be, a volunteer program. Every one of the ham radio licensees has their own equipment to be able to go on the air and provide emergency services with the needed information to be able to coordinate help and ease suffering in the event of a disaster. The idea of DHS requesting the FCC to conduct a study like this is a total disaster and a misuse of allocation of funds.
DHS and the government in general has better things to spend money on than requesting a study on a volunteer program that does not cost anyone any money, and the FCC makes money on licensing fees from applicants and license renewals. Ham radio does more good here in this country and around the world, than it causes problems if any. This is a classic waste of government time and money. Doing this study will not result in the creation of jobs unless they demand ham operators cease and desist their activities to provide service to their respective communities. If that happens, none of us involved in disaster services will lift a finger to help anyone. Let's see how many people will be rescued or lives saved as a result of a so-called job creation act.
Ron Tyler
Salt Lake City

In response to “El Paso Transitions to IP” from the April issue, Page 20
I am the radio engineering specialist for Hydro One Networks, the provincial electrical utility for Ontario in Canada, and I am responsible for the engineering support of our radio network, which consists of 135 base stations, 2,000 mobiles, two large dispatch centers with 50 users and 50 small offices that also use the system.
I read your article with interest, as we are about to embark on a similar project to convert our analog 50 MHz radio system backhaul to radio over IP (RoIP). It is a much larger system, but I think we could learn from the experiences of the author.
The conversion has been triggered by the concurrent project to install WiMAX across the province to control the distribution network, and it provides an ideal backhaul medium for the radio network. In addition, the dispatch center control console system is due for renewal.
Frank Willshire
Telecom Engineering
Hydro One Networks 

Ameren is not finding similar results with Project 25 (P25) audio using mobiles and portables in over-the-air operations. A P25 mobile and portable with the advanced IMBE vocoder perform acceptably in a quiet environment with the microphone held 6 to 8 inches from the user’s mouth and when a normal speaking voice is used. Obviously, in a noisy environment, the noise overrides the user’s voice. Using the “normal” land mobile practice of placing the user’s mouth next to the microphone produces distorted and unacceptable audio in both quiet and noisy environments.
Results with a P25 mobile and portable that have the legacy IMBE vocoder aren’t even this good.
The testers need to use real P25 radios and real over-the-air P25 transmissions rather than “simulated” transmission channels or the testing is valueless.
Rich Hamilton
FCC License Coordinator
Network Engineering and Operations
Ameren Services
St. Louis

Ruth Milkman is very knowledgeable with excellent people skills. Her selection was a smart decision.
C. Douglas Jarrett 
Keller and Heckman
Washington, D.C. 

Let them do it, those are good uses.
Bob Bauer
CSG Wireless    

In response to “Your Guide to the UHF T-Band Giveback” from March 14
I must point out that your article seems a little misleading.
It seems to indicate that an older radio system in the T-band might not want to narrowband its system, but that it might want to build out on a new 700 MHz radio system. While I agree that this might be an option for some, they would need to make this happen before the deadline to be in compliance with the FCC mandate (or request a waiver). Otherwise they will need to narrowband.
The next paragraph indicates that if there are no narrowband channels “available, wait for the narrowbanding deadline.” However, you fail to mention that the old radio system currently in operation MUST be narrowbanded by Jan. 1, 2013, to comply with the FCC mandate. Again, the only exception would be to request a waiver. I am sure you are aware of those requirements from the FCC.
Howell McKinnon
800 MHz Coordinator
Central Services
Unified Government of Athens-Clarke County, Ga.

Because we already receive interference from narrowband SMR channels, it stands to reason that it will be worse when they go broadband. There has been no real news of progress on a border treaty resolution or a band plan but only years of rumors. The 800 MHz band has become junk spectrum for us, and we plan to vacate it. This latest news of proposed broadband operations in the band is another good reason to get out of the band.
Stuart Snow
Frequency Manager
City of Phoenix

Answer: Sorry … they knew about it for years. As soon as one waiver comes in, everyone will stop the conversion, and chaos will ensue.
And don't let some presidential decree intervention happen either like with the high-definition (HD) TV conversion.
Don't punish the 98 percent for poor planning of 2 percent.
Ken Isom
Communications Consultant
Ennis, Texas

Our agency uses smartphones in addition to our LMR system. The reason is it is more economical to use the commercial cellular system than building our own data system. On the flip side, we don't perform any mission-critical operations on this cellular system because we can't rely on its use 100 percent of the time. It is used as a supplemental system to augment our proprietary systems.
If the cellular systems ever get as reliable as our LMR system, then we might look at performing mission-critical functions over this network.
Sgt. Steven R. Eden
Director of E 9-1-1/Communications
Camden County Sheriff's Office
Camdenton, Mo.

Click here for the February 2012 Inbox.
Click here for the January 2012 Inbox.
Click here for the December 2011 Inbox.

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