June 2015 Inbox
Thursday, June 18, 2015 | 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 edit@RRMediaGroup.com.

In response to “House Hearing Draws Questions of Whether FirstNet Will Replace LMR Networks” from June 16


If the Long Term Evolution (LTE) coverage in the rural area that I am in is any indication of how the First Responder Network Authority (FirstNet) will perform, then by all means keep the present LMR systems active. Rural coverage in hilly, forested areas is terrible.

I use a booster and external antennas for my 4G smartphone and still have issues in areas where analog VHF and UHF work just fine. Other agencies in the area have found that digital does not cover as well as the analog systems, and as a result, more infrastructure is required to cover the same areas. This additional cost is prohibitive for many smaller agencies if they have to rely on their present funding sources. Most volunteer fire districts in rural areas do not have the tax base to fund purchases of expensive radio equipment. Therefore, these agencies are not compatible with the other adjacent communities that have installed 700/800 MHz digital systems using sales tax increases or grants.

Also, with so much of the broadband and digital systems requiring so much infrastructure, hopefully FirstNet will solve all the complex problems associated with interconnection of sites. In the case of earthquakes, flooding, fires and windstorms, systems are subject to interruptions. We have experienced fiber-optic cable failures, fires under power lines, earth movements and Internet failures that cause service and emergency communications failures, not to mention software glitches.

Let’s hope that FirstNet covers all bases before agencies abandon their LMR systems.

Gerald Marsh

In response to “DHS Inspector General Disappointed in Interoperable Communications Progress” from June 8


It would seem that permitting federal dollars to be spent supplying public-safety agencies with radios equipped with an outdated non-Project 25 (P25)-approved encryption system, making virtually all other radios except Motorola Systems noncompatible was a huge mistake ... and somewhat contrary to the intent of creating “interoperability.”

Such a huge waste of taxpayer money by folks who should have known better. Who’s your lobbyist?

Kim Workman


A big mistake was to change Project 25 (P25) from FDMA in Phase 1 to TDMA in Phase 2. They should have stuck with FDMA and just improved the technology to the NXDN format level. Then they would have had 100 percent interoperability. Now they mixed formats. A recipe for disaster if you ask me. Don't scratch where it is not itching.

Leon van der Linde
Global Communications
Pretoria, South Africa

In response to “General Dynamics LTE Technology Achieves Distance Milestone” from June 8


We must remember that part of Long Term Evolution (LTE) technology is FDMA. FDMA does get a longer distance than TDMA. This is why LTE will be a good choice for the future. TDMA, for all its advantages, has some drawbacks. The synchronization across a long distance can be a pain.

We do all three technologies — TETRA, NXDN and Digital Mobile Radio (DMR). TETRA is the one with the biggest headache, four slots over distance.

I think LTE will replace GSM in the future.

Leon van der Linde
Global Communications
Pretoria, South Africa

In response to “Iridium Donates 25 Satellite Phones to ITU for Emergency Response” from May 20


I read with great interest of the humanitarian gesture by Iridium to make several satellite phones available for use by the International Telecommunication Union (ITU). As a director for a nonprofit, community service organization with a primary focus on emergency communications and mass casualty management, I heartily applaud the benefactors for their foresight and generosity. Despite limitations of the system in terms of blackouts because of dense foliage, volcanic ash and cloud cover, satellite phones now virtually provide all the services available via terrestrial providers. This ability allows for the immediate transfer of voice and data from virtually any part of this planet.

Here in the Caribbean we are prone to natural disasters including an annual hurricane season, therefore, as a first responder agency we too need to be empowered with tools that would ultimately enhance the rescue and response mechanisms in our region. Our organization comprises volunteers with different skills with one common avocation, ham radio. As communicators we know the importance of redundancy, therefore, satellite phones will fill a void when terrestrial services have been rendered inoperable by the causative hazard.

And while we are delighted that the ITU is a recipient of your kindness and understanding, I implore Iridium to extend its generosity to volunteers in the Caribbean who will, among other things, be assisting in testing the efficacy of a system under real and simulated conditions. Therefore, the Rainbow Radio League is inviting you to enter an amicable relation ultimately designed to save lives.

Donald De Riggs

Click here for the April 2015 Inbox.
Click here for the February/March 2015 Inbox.
Click here for the January 2015 Inbox.


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