New report shares details about the military communications market analysis, size, share, trends,growth and forecasts to 2020

This originally was posted on this blog, Military communications always lead the way to other communications. When this market grows, the knock-on-effect is huge for other communication industries.

The global military communications market is expected to grow over the forecast period on account of growing emphasis on providing data-centric and network-centric communications. Rapid adoption of new satellite communications platforms such as Advanced Extremely High Frequency (AEHF) and US-based Mobile User Objective System (MUOS) provides protected communications capabilities for strategic command and tactical warfare operating on various platforms.

Additionally, various communication technologies such as high frequency services and software-embedded radio systems Ka band in order to limit the bandwidth limitations are some of the emerging trends in the military communications market.

The report “Military Communications Market Analysis, Market Size, Application Analysis, Regional Outlook, Competitive Strategies And Forecasts, 2014 To 2020” is available now to Grand View Researchcustomers and can also be purchased directly at

http://www.grandviewresearch.com/industry-analysis/military-communications-market

Considering the rise in demand of handheld software defined radios such as mobile radio, joint tactical radio and tetra radio systems is expected to favorably impact military communications market growth over the forecast period. The military is poised to replace and modernize aging equipments and utilize virtually unlimited IP peer-to-peer connections for embedded systems.

However, multiple standards in devices, financial constraints towards procurement and interoperability issues are the few factors that may challenge market growth through the forecast period.

North America featured among the highest adopters of military communications in 2013 and is expected to remain a key market throughout the forecast period. Adoption of latest data links and mobile satellite technologies are the factors attributable for regional market growth.

The U.S. government is expected to secure commercial capacity due to lack of appropriate military satellite systems. The Asia Pacific regional market is expected to witness significant growth over the forecast period.

Key military communications industry participants include Rockwell Collins, Northrop Grumman, BAE Systems, Alcatel-Lucent, Lockheed Martin, Harris Corporation, Thales Group and L-3 Communication.

Will Niagara Get What It Bargained For? Emergency Radio System Brings Profits to Motorola

It’s always good when you see new radio communication systems being installed and going live on a big scale. Motorola are one of the big companies able to implement these systems, but as you can see below it didn’t all go smoothly, 

This is the first of a multi part investigative series on Niagara County’s new “Emergency Radio Communications System”.

The Reporter plans to  examine the roles of county officials, elected and appointed, a Pittsburg consultant and a Syracuse lawyer, both hired by the county, and a faction of first responders and others. At the dispatch end, we will examine the role of the 2-way radio king, Motorola Solutions Inc., of Schaumberg, Ill. Motorola managed a entire network of people through various channels, at whatever frequency was needed to interconnect and transmit to themselves a lucrative contract, sold, conceived, approved, designed, built, maintained, resupplied, and sold and up-sold again.The series will examine behind the scenes the course of business – as money interests intertwined with public interests and as the project comes online, we will attempt to evaluate whether Niagara County reaped the benefits it was promised or, as is so often the case in other localities, this is another deal where Motorola seems to have alone profited.

Price?

Niagara County’s new emergency radio communications system is expected to go “live” in June or July. Reported as a $10 million project, the system’s true cost has not been published. On April 29, the Reporter filed a Freedom of Information request with the clerk of the Niagara County Legislature, Mary Jo Tamburlin, for all contracts associated with the emergency radio project.

Based on estimates of reported cost overruns, consultant and legal fees, and Motorola’s reported contract price, the system cost at least $11 million and, if change orders,  maintenance, rentals and other expenses are similar to other Motorola projects, the final cost may be substantially more.

An FCC Mandate?

In Niagara County, the stated goal of the new emergency radio system was declared to be  undertaken to comply with the FCC’s “narrowbanding” mandate which requires 2-way radio licensees to reduce bandwidth to a narrower (weaker) signal.

The purpose of the mandate, the FCC declared, was to reduce congestion on UHF and VHF frequency bands. Whether public or private, 2-way radio systems were ordered to migrate from  bandwidths of, typically, 25 kHz to a narrower 12.5 kHz or its equivalent efficiency.

The deadline was set for Jan. 1, 2013.

The deadline missed, Niagara County applied for and was granted extensions from the FCC.

The simple change to narrower bandwidth was not what made Niagara County late by two years and five months and counting.

The county melded narrowbanding with a plan to combine every public safety division in the cities, towns and villages in Niagara County, along with Niagara County’s public safety departments, into one unified Motorola designed digital system.

Each independent department would abandon their analog systems and their scores of dedicated channels and share a pool of far lesser channels that Motorola would arrange to help provide.

To be clear — the main cost of Niagara County’s Emergency Radio Communications system was not FCC narrowbanding, but the merger of all public safety’s 2-way radio communications into a single digital Motorola system to be used with top of the line Motorola 2-way radios.

Digital Trunked System Promises Better Communications, New Radios

The system, a microwave network with Motorola radio transmitters on seven radio towers strategically located throughout the county and linked to a dispatch center and a backup center replete with top of the line Motorola equipment. The system does comply with the FCC narrowbanding mandate and in addition promises, as all Motorola ‘trunked’ digital systems do, the ability of radio users on the system to be able to speak directly to any other user regardless of agency or department.

Called “interoperability,” it is perhaps infrequently used except in times of crisis when coordination among first responders can be of paramount importance.

The second feature, one that Motorola contracted to provide, was 2-way radio reception with 95 percent reliability over 95 percent of the land area of Niagara County which, if realized, is greater than the county enjoys collectively with its various analog radio channels. Finally, as a sweetener, Niagara County purchased from Motorola, at, reportedly, a cost of about $2 million some 1850 top of the line 2-way Motorola radios. Normally sold to governments for $5,000 each, Motorola discounted them to not much more than $1,000 each.

County legislators made these available as gifts to every public safety employee whose agency or department joined the new Motorola system. Not every department wanted to join. Lockport Fire Chief Thomas J. Passuite said his fire radios could be bought into compliance with narrowbanding for $3,500.

Lockport Police Chief Lawrence M. Eggert said his department could comply with FCC narrowbanding for $21,900.

Eggert apparently understood that by selling $5,000 list price radios for $1000, Motorola  ensured future sales. In five years or so, when the typical 2-way radio is ready for replacement, Eggert knew his department would have to buy new ones at a price 10 times higher than the $500 narrowbanding compliant 2-way analog radios cost.

The Lockport City Council – under mounting pressure from county officials – overruled Eggert and Passuite’s analog plans – and voted that their police and fire departments must join the county system and accept the gift of Motorola radios – estimated to have a replacement value of $425,000.

Now the Niagara County digital system is, according to County Manager Jeffrey Glatz, essentially finished.

Whether it will achieve the promised 95 percent coverage goals may take some time to determine.

 

Motorola has Digital Troubles and ‘Shady Dealings’ in Other Cities

In other municipalities, background noise, garbled transmissions and dead spots inside of buildings have plagued Motorola digital systems and some have failed to achieve the 95 percent coverage and 95 percent reliability Motorola appeared to have promised.

In fact, problems with Motorola digital systems are so fully documented that some readers may be surprised that Niagara County officials did not address this publicly before buying  a Motorola digital system. “Fire departments in New York City, Chicago, Los Angeles, Boston, Phoenix and Boise, Idaho — communities that have spent tens of millions of dollars on the new equipment — are so leery of problems that they won’t use digital radios at fire scenes,” reports McClatchy DC News, a publication of the McClatchy Company, owners of Knight Ridder and 30 daily newspapers in 15 states, in a story that was part of an investigative series on Motorola’s business practices, published in 2011.

The McClatchy series prompted the Department of Homeland Security’s inspector general, John Roth, to order an audit to determine whether federal grant money has bankrolled biased contract awards to Motorola.

There are reports, easily found online, published in newspapers across the nation, many of which were available to Niagara County lawmakers when they were considering contracting with Motorola in 2010-2011, that suggest Motorola’s cozy dealings with government officials were something to be wary of.

Dozens of shady dealings with officials of various government agencies were alleged that led to Motorola getting questionable no bid contracts then adding change orders, as they did in DuPage County Ill., where a $7 million, no-bid contract wound up costing more than $28 million.

 

In Many Places Motorola’s Digital Systems Have Failed

There are as many reports that suggest Motorola’s digital 2-way emergency radios and digital communications systems – like the one Niagara County purchased – have a troubled history.

The City of Chicago, as the Chicago Tribune reported in 2011, spent nearly $23 million on a no-bid Motorola digital radio deal in 2006 for their fire department, “that still doesn’t work after more than five years”.

The Tribune reported that firefighters continue to use their 50-year-old analog radio system.

Chicago Fire Commissioner Robert Hoff told the Tribune that “digital radios have been problematic for fire departments in big cities across the country.”

McClatchy reported that Motorola’s “digital radios’ shortcomings are so widely known that they’ve acquired nicknames. There’s the ‘digital cliff,’ when a radio is out of range and the connection ends without warning. There’s ‘bonking’ — also dubbed ‘the sound of death’ by some Philadelphia firefighters — when an important transmission gets rejected because too many other radios are using the system. Then there’s ‘going digital,’ when a radio emits a garble of beeps and tones instead of a voice.”

Failures of Motorola’s digital radios were blamed in part for two firefighter deaths in Philadelphia, two in Cincinnati and one, on April 16, 2007, when a Woodbridge, Va., firefighter died in the line of duty.

The Prince William County Department of Fire Rescue concluded that the county’s Motorola digital trunked radio system contributed to the tragedy.

And Motorola reached settlements for undisclosed sums with the families of the two dead Philadelphia firefighters.

In Hamilton County, Ohio,  after some $35 million was spent on a new Motorola digital trunked system, a 2008 fire erupted in suburban Cincinnati.

Firefighters Robin Broxterman and Brian Schira perished there after they repeatedly tried to summon help on their Motorola digital radios.

A Colerain Fire Department investigation found that, in a half-hour period, the Motorola trunked system rejected at least 43 attempted communications by firefighters, some of them because 22 agencies and 75 nonparticipants monitoring the event tied up space on the system.

Broxterman’s parents, Donald and Arlene Zang, sued Motorola but lost.

The Zang’s did not sue on the premise that Motorola’s digital trunked system was defective, but that digital trunked systems in general are inferior to analog systems for firefighting.

While the court did not rule on Zang’s argument that a digital system is inferior to analog, the court reasoned that Motorola cannot be held liable for supplying an inferior product, since it was in compliance with what the buyer, Hamilton County, wanted.

More Problems in Ontario, Orlando, Houston

Closer to home, the Niagara Regional Police in Ontario, which converted from analog to a Motorola digital system, had problems with dispatch failures in 2012 and, after repeated failures, the Ministry of Labour had to intervene demanding the department identify the problem for the immediate safety of workers.

In Orlando Fla, for years digital garbling and unintelligible transmissions made the Fire Department’s Motorola digital system worthless.

Firefighters continued to use their old analog radios.

Ultimately, according to Deputy Chief Greg Hoggatt, the digital system was righted and the department is now 100 percent digital.

But problems in other cities continue.

Jeff Caynon, the president of Houston’s firefighters’ union, said problems with Motorola’s $140 million digital system, completed in 2013, forced rescuers to resort during a blaze in May 2013 to use “hand and arm signals and cell phones as a reliable way to communicate.”

As recently as January, Houston’s Fire Department was still having problems with Motorola digital radios – having to frequently discard useless but expensive Motorola digital 2-way radios.

“It compromises the safety of firefighters at emergency incidents,” Captain Ruy Lozano, of the Houston Fire Department, told ABC News in January 2015.

Which brings us back to Niagara County.

Will Niagara County’s Motorola digital system work?

There are certainly cases where Motorola digital systems do work.

Although the successes seem to be a little harder to find on internet searches.

Motorola has Checkered Dealings with Local Governments

So how did it come about that a system with a track record of flaws was pushed through with hardly a word of discussion?

This is a topic that should be explored in depth.

Motorola secured a contract for Niagara County’s digital 2-way business in a way that parallels what the company did in dozens of other municipalities and several states.

In Chicago, Dallas, the San Francisco Bay Area and on statewide systems in Illinois, Iowa, Kansas and Washington, Motorola has been accused of irregularities or of winning contracts through government favoritism.

In the San Francisco Bay Area a $50 million deal imploded when investigators for the Commerce Department’s inspector general’s office concluded that a grant application had  “significant misrepresentations.”

A McClatchy survey of the largest cities in America show that Motorola won 20 of 22 contracts – about half of the time these were no bid awards.

In some municipalities Motorola has been accused of deploying sales staff whose primary tasks is to counsel government officials on how to skirt public bidding laws, something Motorola spokesmen have denied.

Similarities Between Niagara County and Other Municipalities and Motorola

Ironically Niagara County sought to hand Motorola a no bid contract.

The Republican majority on the legislature was ready to vote on a $22 million no bid Motorola contract until it was scuttled, at the 11th hour, not by the savvy resolve of cost conscious legislators but through dumb luck.

Only Minority Leader Dennis Virtuoso called for an RFP and open bidding, but he was ignored.

In many localities Motorola has been accused of winning RFP’s through the aid of friendly government officials and their hired consultants who craft the RFP’s to ensure Motorola wins.

In Niagara County, after several strokes of the most extraordinary dumb luck, to be detailed in a subsequent story, an  RFP was crafted by the county’s consultant and bids were solicited,  much to the credit of certain elected officials – whose desire for the public good, as opposed to Motorola’s, was evident.

But there were some who were ostensibly working, or contracted to work, for the county who, for reasons to be examined, appeared to be working behind the scenes to aid Motorola.

As readers will see next week, Niagara County was accused of writing an RFP that not only favored Motorola but literally excluded any competitor from having a chance at winning the contract, and this, we submit, is based on standards that, once reviewed by competent experts, will reveal themselves for what they were intended to be.

Source - http://www.niagarafallsreporter.com/Stories/2015/MAY12/Motorolai.html

How Much Does a Good Earpiece Cost?

Actually, quality two-way radio earpieces are not nearly as cost prohibitive as you might expect them to be.

In fact, you can get a professional quality model for as little as just over £10 (not including shipping costs). The linked model even comes with a special noise-reducing microphone included in the price.

Elsewhere, Amazon.co.uk has earpiece and headset deals for as low as £6.00. These won’t be top-end products, obviously, but they are unlikely to let you down either.

As with all things, it depends on what uses you have in mind. If you are unsure as to exactly what your needs are, then it is wiser to spend a little extra (we’re not talking a bank-breaking amount, after all) than it is to buy the cheapest model, saving £7 – £8 in the short term, only to end up disappointed with your final purchase.

You can get a ‘good’ (as in, generally reliable ‘all rounder’) earpiece for £10 – £20. These earpieces aren’t particularly flashy, but they can be relied upon to get the job done. As a general guide, some of the more professional quality pieces available will go up as high as £40 – £50. Depending on what these models are used for, all will do a fine job.

Of course, as with anything, there is a high-end and a low-end to the marketplace. However, unlike some markets, low-end earpieces do not represent an enormous loss in quality. They will work fine for basic/hobby use, but we recommend you spend out towards the higher end of the market for professional usage.

EarpieceOnline is a good place to get your earpiece from, especially since they offer free next day delivery on all their items.

Typically, earpieces are not an expensive item. In fact, they only cost a substantial amount when professional earpieces are bought in bulk for business use. However, the linked site is among the cheapest online and stocks a wide variety of different products.

Of course, all prices listed here are ‘ballpark figures’ unless otherwise stated. The sites/stockists you use may be cheaper, or more expensive, so it will probably pay to shop around a little bit.

If you are able to find any cheaper sites, then you might let us know, that way we can recommend them to other users.

Clinton Portrait Shows Famous Liar

Presidential portrait artist Nelson Shanks has revealed that he incorporated a hidden message into his painting of former US President Bill Clinton.

In an interview with the Philadelphia Daily News, the artist told the world (well, Philadelphia) that a curiously long shadow, apparently cast by the plant next to the Prez, was, in fact, cast by a mannequin in a blue dress that he had in his studio at the time he painted the portrait.

According to Mr. Shanks, he did this as an allusion to Clinton’s famous affair with White House Intern Monica Lewinski, the woman who famously, um, relieved The President’s stress levels – before using her highly prized oral skills to catapult herself into a career in shit telly, low-level celebrity and (I kid you not) fashion design.

“Have the same handbag that I put down on the Oval Office couch in order to sexually service our nation’s president! Just $9.99” the ad copy (probably) says, as the glass ceiling lowers to the point that it actually constricts the breathing of female professionals the world over.

The worst of it was that, although I’ll grant you that Monika was better looking than Hillary, she was still a bit of a minger.

Aaaaaanyway, getting back to the point somewhat, the inclusion of the blue dress hints at the DNA evidence (and I flat-out am not saying what kind of ‘evidence’, but I’ll pretend it was ‘spit’. Hell, maybe it was!) that was famously left on Lewinski’s blue dress. Basically, Shanks was trying to make a point about “the shadow” that Clinton cast on the office of President. Or something.

Eventually, after famously denying that he had enjoyed “sexual relations with that woman, Miss Lewinski” (possibly as much ashamed of her slightly minging appearance as the fact that he’d lied to the Nation), Clinton was forced to fess up, and America’s right-wing press had a field day.

Therefore, according to Mr. Shanks, Bill Clinton is “probably the most famous liar of all time”.

Apparently, Mr. Shanks was knocked quite severely on the head and was completely unconscious for the 8 f*cking years that George W. Bush treated America (and the rest of the world) like his own personal nymphomaniac intern.

During the course of this era of idiocy, Bush openly lied about “securing weapons of mass destruction in Iraq” and then used said disinformation to lead an illegal invasion/occupation of another country.

Oh yeah, he also rigged an election, too (probably).

Now, perhaps I should cut Mr. Shanks some slack, I mean, after all, during Bush’s reign of terror, Dubya could have been shagging every White House intern in the damned building five times a night, but nobody could tell because he was there were too many bombs whizzing about in a war that cost TWO TRILLION DOLLARS and resulted in 174,000 dead Iraqis (with 123,000 of that number being innocent civilians whose only crime was that they lived in Iraq), just so he could earn a bit of extra bank for his dad’s golf buddies.

So yeah, nicely done.

Now, I’m not defending Clinton for scoring a BJ outside the confines of his marriage (however, if even half the stuff I’ve heard about marriage is true, then that’s the only place he was likely to find one!), I’m just saying that Clinton’s ‘dark shadow’ concerned an extra marital affair, the worst consequence of which was the rise of Monica Lewinski as a quasi-celebrity – his wife didn’t even chuck him over it. Whereas, if we’re playing the ‘blame game’ here, his successor’s portrait should feature him snorting cocaine off of a Guantanamo prisoner and wiping his arse with the US flag, whilst at the same time dancing naked atop an oil tower crudely fashioned from hundreds of dead Iraqi civilians. That’s all.

Digital radio – which way will South Africa go?

Radio technology has seen very little innovation and development since FM stereo was introduced in the 1960s.  It was the sound revolution of the time, but little has happened since FM took over local broadcasting. It caused the demise of AM stations and the shortwave services of the SABC and LM radio.

The Southern Africa Digital Broadcasting Association (SADIBA) issued a report in 2002 in which it said “to remain commercial attractive, radio as a medium will have to deliver improved quality service, greater choice, interactivity and multi-media. Digital radio technologies must rise to the challenge and deliver the multimedia radio of the future.”

In the document SADIBA made recommendations on the critical aspects to be considered in order to allow for the introduction of digital radio in South Africa.   Little seems to have happened since 2002 until last month when the subject was extensively discussed at the SADIBA Conference where the 2002 paper re-emerged and digital radio mondiale (DRM), one of the technologies, came into the limelight with international speakers and a demonstration of DRM by the BBC transmitting DRM from their  shortwave relay station on Ascension Island with CD clarity – no noise, no interference.

Discussing the advantages of DRM, Ruxandra Obreja, head of digital radio development at the BBC world service and chairman of the DRM Consortium said that DRM and DRM+ have proved to be the obvious choice for digital radio. But not everyone would agree with that.

Let us consider some of the various digital radio technologies available.

IDAB is based on in-band-on channel (IBOC) technology which looks at inserting the digital signal within the existing FM and AM channels without affecting other FM or AM transmissions.  FM IBOC is designed to operate in a 200 kHz FM channel allocation. It would have been very impractical to introduce FM IBOC into South Africa without re-engineering the current  FM frequency plan based on 100 kHz channel.

According to the 2002 SADIBA paper the most established of all the digital radio technologies is the Eureka 147 system.  The technology is based on an open standard defined in a range of the European Telecommunications Standards Institute (ETSI) documents. But it requires different frequency bands which in itself is problematic given the scarcity of spectrum oin the UHF bands which are demanded by satellite communication channels (VSat) and wireless broadband. The so-called digital dividend will also not provide the required spectrum as that process will take a long time to materialise.

Obreja believes that DRM and DRM+ is the obvious solution. DRM,  the acronym for digital radio mondiale, is promoted by a consortium of broadcasters, manufactures’ research institutes and stakeholders that have endeavoured to work toward a world-standard for digital broadcasting in the frequencies initial below 30 MHz, operating on the AM and shortwave broadcasting bands.  Since the original development engineers have moved ahead and DRM+ emerged, the name applied to the DRM standard when used on the VHF frequencies.

“The initiative to extend DRM began with a vote at the 2005 General Assembly to begin the design, verification and testing of the parameters needed to allow DRM to operate in the VHF broadcasting bands between; primarily band I and band II,” said Obteja.

The design process began shortly afterwards and key decisions were made to ensure that the extension completely shared the successful design philosophy of DRM – it is “DRM but at higher frequencies”.

Its spectrum usage parameters are determined from the internationally agreed norms in the FM band (88 to 108 MHz). Therefore it has an occupied bandwidth of 96 kHz and a frequency grid of 100 kHz.

DRM+ provides bit rates from 35 kbps to 185 kbps at SNRs from 2 dB to 14dB and, like DRM, permits up to four services. It is therefore a flexible solution allowing single or small numbers of audio services to be broadcast together.

During the process of gaining endorsement from the ITU for DRM’s extension to the VHF bands, test results from various field trials conducted around the world were submitted.  One of the interesting trials was carried out in December 2011 by Vatican Radio carrying out broadcasting tests of DRM+1 in the VHF band II at 103, MHz. The aim of the tests was to verify the performance of DRM+ in a difficult interference scenario such as the FM VHF band II in Rome and to check the compatibility of the digital technology with existing antenna arrays having complex RF coupling systems such as the one located in the Vatican. The frequency used was assigned to the Vatican in the GE84 Agreement and was chosen for two main reasons: it is not used during a few timeslots in the morning and it suffers from some strong interference coming from stations operating at 103,7 MHz and 104,00 MHz located close to Rome. The tests were carried out taking into account the normal programme schedule. During the tests the digital transmitter was connected to the antenna feeder via a changeover, leaving the analogue transmitter in stand-by. The antenna array is a complex system: four FM transmitters at different power levels share the same antenna with elliptical polarisation and omni-directional horizontal radiation pattern. The results were great. Acceptable stereo coverage under mobile reception conditions has been verified in areas where predicted field strength is comparable with 44 dBmV/m and interference is negligible. Using the most robust configuration for DRM+, it was possible to achieve better coverage in full stereo  than an analogue FM signal; the overall subjective listening experience was better than that of FM interfered with by splashes coming from adjacent stations.

With South Africa’s poor performance in changing from analogue to digital TV, it may be some time before government will applies its mind to take a decision on digital sound radio. The first step have however been taken by commercial enterprises.  Pulpit Radio is conducting a DRM pilot from their transmitting station  at  Kameeldrift near Pretoria. The 50 kW transmitter was installed by Broadcom International and made history with the first DRM audio broadcast in the Southern African region on 1440 kHz AM. “The results were very good. The station was received in Botswane some 400 km away with CD quality audio,” Obreja said.

One of the issue is however the availability of receivers but Ruxandra Obreja said that experience from elsewhere where DRM was introduced local industry began manufacturing. “This will be a great opportunity to grow South Africa’s electronic manufacturing industry.”

There is software available to decode the DRM signals using a sound card and a dongle is under development that can be used on a laptop or even other devices that have a USB port.

With DRM, the use of medium and shortwave will open up many new radio channels. Each DRM channel can carry three radio programmes and one data channel requiring very narrow bandwidth of less than 5 kHz. Another advantage is that the system is also more energy efficient.

It is very true that we’ve not seen much innovation in the two way radio industry, Here we have seen the Digital revolution in the past few years, but it is far more complex in Africa. Larger coverage area and less technological advancement. You can find the original news story on this website.

Does The Old Two Cans on a String Thing Actually Work?

It does indeed. The old children’s favourite may have been supplanted somewhat by the relentless march of technology, especially now that almost every kid has a mobile phone and/or access to the Internet, but there is still a lot of fun to be had there.

For those reading this that don’t know, the two cans on a string game involves taking two empty (and preferably washed out) tin cans, the kind you might buy baked beans in, punching a small hole in the bottom of both cans and then threading a length of string in between each hole, tying it in a knot big enough to secure it in the can. Then, when the string is pulled tight, it is possible for one person to speak into the can and another to listen and reply. It also works with polystyrene cups, albeit to a slightly lesser extent. You’d be amazed also at the distance your voice can actually travel using this method.

It is not advisable to use stretchable string for the cans as it just makes life more difficult!

The science behind this game is actually very simple. The vibrations of your voice shake the bottom of the can and that, in turn, vibrates the string. Provided the string is pulled taut and isn’t touching anything, there should be no reason at all for your voice not to travel along the string to be received by your companion at the other end.

In fact, this game actually qualifies as a sort of rudimentary telephone; the theory behind it is very similar.

If you happen to be a parent, this game can keep the kids entertained on rainy afternoons, as well as providing a useful scientific lesson for them. I have many happy childhood memories of playing this game. However, it is very important to make sure that the cans have no sharp edges around the inner rim, for older kids, a simple ‘safety brief’ will probably do, but younger kids might be safer with a little electrical or duct tape stuck around the top of the can (in each child’s favourite colour, maybe? Just a thought). It shouldn’t affect the sound too much, if at all.

It’s amazing the fun you can have with a couple of old cans and a length of string. Hope that helps.

In the Early Years: Technology improved for Oneonta police in 1935

Criminals in 1935 would not find Oneonta to be a “pushover” town when it came to law enforcement.

“The Oneonta Police department is preparing to meet the modern gangster on even ground,” The Oneonta Star reported on Monday, Jan. 21, that year. “In the near future, Chief Frank N. Horton announced yesterday, the department will be equipped with a sub-machine gun and a two-way radio-telephone service.”

 These were state-of-the-art technology upgrades for the time and Oneonta appeared to be proud of them, approved by Common Council in the 1935 budget and said to “bring Oneonta’s Police department on a par with other cities in the state, and will materially aid in preventing crime.”

Officers were ready to be trained to use the machine gun, which could fire a 50-shot drum in three seconds, a rate of 800 shots per minute. It weighed nine pounds loaded, so the weapon could be used with one hand like an ordinary revolver for single-shot fire.

To the best of my knowledge, there was never a time or crime in that era that required such firepower in Oneonta. The other new crime fighting tool, the two-way radio, was handy and useful.

By April, the radio equipment had arrived and been installed at police headquarters (then found at the Oneonta Municipal Building, today’s 242 Main St.), as well as the two “prowl” cars used on the streets. Tests were made all over the city and outside the limits, and all transmissions were strong and clear.

Prior to this new technology, The Star reported that officers had to watch for a red light at the top of the municipal building, indicating an emergency was in progress. Instead of awaiting the arrival of a prowl car to pick up the emergency information at headquarters and go, officers could now be dispatched and head to the scene immediately.

Another advance in police work in Oneonta came in March 1935. The department sought supplies used for fingerprinting individuals who wanted to have their fingerprints on file for personal identification purposes.

“Several months ago the department of Justice advocated national fingerprinting,” said M.L. Thomas, a fingerprint expert in the department. “Many Oneontans responded and their records are now on file at Washington, D.C.” It appears the program was tried earlier and was now becoming a permanent part of Oneonta’s police work.

Outreach to young people was part of crime prevention in 1935, just as it is today. On Thursday, Feb. 14, Police Attorney Joseph P. Molinari was a guest speaker at Oneonta High School.

“Crime does not pay and the life of a gangster is short,” Molinari told the students, himself a 1919 graduate of OHS. He pointed out the short careers of John Dillinger, “Pretty Boy” Floyd and “Baby Face” Nelson, stating that “these criminals could never have enjoyed life on their ill-gotten gains, as their luck could not go on forever. In the end they were killed and society was avenged.”

Molinari was in his early career at the time in Oneonta. It was only about a month later, Thursday, March 7, when Molinari announced he was seeking the post of Otsego County district attorney, a job he was elected to. In 1943, Molinari became Otsego County judge, and in 1951 New York’s Sixth Judicial District Supreme Court justice.

While police work was becoming more high-tech in 1935, the routine tasks still needed to be done, which many area residents of 2015 might identify with.

“Stop does not mean slow,” Chief Horton declared on March 25 while announcing that motorists must observe the various stop signs about the city. Police opened a campaign that day to compel motorists to observe the signs and had issued four summonses to drivers failing to stop. Those drivers were set to appear before Judge Frank C. Huntington in city court.

Interestingly, the signs were triangular in shape and made of iron, but the article in The Star didn’t tell what the color was at the time.

On Monday: The region went in front of the cameras for production of “Susquehanna Stories.”

Mark Simonson is Historian of Oneonta City, Twice a week he writes for the thedailystar.com, including this article. What he outlines in this article is more about Two way radios, but also early 20th century crime prevention techniques. 

The Motorola DP1400 – The Most Efficient Two Way Radio

The DP1400 is an affordable, simple and portable two-way digital/analogue radio, which connects your workforce efficiently. Moreover, it has the flexibility to grow and expand with your business. This exceptional device combines the best features of two-way radio with the latest digital and analogue technology.

The Motorola DP1400 is an ideal choice for any individual who wishes to stay connected. This device is compatible with all the MOTOTRBO radios. It offers outstanding coverage, superior audio quality, long battery life and other benefits.

The company even offers the analogue only DP1400 model. It provides you with excellent voice communications. The device provides you with a way to clear and crisp digital voice communications whenever you’re ready. You will just need a basic software upgrade.

Regardless of your needs, the Motorola DP1400 provides you with a reliable, simple and cost effective communication solution. This will help you workforce connect, collaborate and coordinate to enhance productivity, efficiency and accuracy. Easy to use voice communication will make sure everything is done right the first time.

Key Features and Specifications

The frequencies of the device are UHF (403-470MHZ) and VHF (136-174MHZ). It’s available on 16 different channels. In the first look, you’ll notice a textured, large push-to-talk button. This makes it easier to use the device. There are also 2 programmable buttons to provide you with more convenience, and enhance operator efficiency.

A tricolor LED is available for visual feedback on operation status. You can also benefit from digital emergency via programmable buttons. This ensures rapid response from the workforce to critical incidents.

With sophisticated emergency calls, you can ensure the safety of your employees. The DP1400 also allows easy to use and quick group call capability. Moreover, PTT ID ensures system discipline and improved communications efficiency.

With the elegant channel searching schemes, you can ensure all the calls are received the first time. You also benefit from other key features, such as VOX capability, basic privacy, lone worker, programmable messaging capability, voice announcement of feature activation and channel changes. In addition to this, you can upgrade the software if you purchased the analogue-only model.

With all these features, you can be assured that the Motorola DP1400 will be an excellent buy. The device is available online at an affordable price. Purchasing the DP1400 on the Internet will be your best choice. With this device, your workforce will be more productive and efficient. Moreover, you will also be able to reap other benefits, including improved safety, privacy and communications. The Motorola DP1400 is an excellent choice for every business.

Here Are More AM Suggestion

This can be found on this site, please enjoy

I thought you should know that the FCC has just licensed a digital TV station with an ancillary service in the form of an analog FM radio station. This new service can create thousands of powerful FM radio stations, which can be leased to current AM radio stations now struggling with broadcast difficulties.

Recent studies have shown that the 0.62 MHz now unused by DTV stations can be efficiently employed for other services, with no interference to or from either the DTV reception or, for example, FM radio reception. No new spectrum, or change in current spectrum use, is required. FM receivers, which can receive all VHF and UHF TV stations’ analog audio, were readily available since the 1980s from many manufacturers, and could easily be again.

The first DTV station licensed to broadcast this added analog FM is W26DC-D in New York. No interference of any kind has been observed. It uses the upper 200 kHz of the digital channel for monaural analog FM, and is well received by the older FM radios mentioned above. (Stereo FM analog, and digital radio, could also be broadcast.)

The FCC had previously shown concern that this added ancillary service might adversely affect new cochannels, but this has been disproved for the specific conditions employed.

This extended use of DTV spectrum could solve the problems of current AM radio stations by allowing them all to migrate to this new FM band, with no need to disturb any existing service. All that is needed is an FM transmitter output injected into the antenna line of a full- or low-power digital television station.

I hope advantage can be taken by the radio and television industry of this novel spectrum use.

Richard D. Bogner

Retired, Former President and Owner

Island Broadcasting Co.

Roslyn, N.Y.

ENFORCE THE RULES

As a major player in the world of AM radio and as one who is vested deeply, I am continually amazed at people who are not invested trying to tell us how to live.

AM radio in itself needs no improvement!! It works just fine. The problem is simple: The FCC has dropped the ball and fails to recognize the problem is the environment surrounding it. It is man-made interference that has caused the problem, and if the commission had enforced the incidental radiation rules, we would not be compromised as we are today.

All these hearings and meetings always attack the AM spectrum itself. It is just plain wrong! Enforce the rules and make sure radio manufacturers build good radios.

I listen to AM with my Icom Ham Radio with its digital noise blanker and love every moment of it.

Tom King’s article (“King Lays Out ‘Critical Steps’”) in the Sept. 24 Radio World was right on — except for C-Quam, which was a disaster.

Just because the inventor of the best stereo for AM was a eccentric old man and didn’t have a ton of money to spread around in the propaganda war The Commission selected C Quam. They said it was in the public interest… The Washington bureaucrats wouldn’t know public interest if it hit them in the backside. Face it — AM broadcasters, we have been screwed by the government. Maybe if some of these high-test consultants would get their heads out of their backsides we could salvage AM.

God bless you, Mr. King, but the Kahn system rules.

Ed De La Hunt

Owner

De La Hunt Broadcasting

Kelliher, Minn.

LATE TO THE PARTY

The problem with NextRadio and iHeartRadio (“Coleman Says Demand ‘Strong’ for NextRadio,” radioworld.com, Aug. 1) is that they are a few years too late to the party.

All of the college kids I know (and I work for a college radio station) use the free app from TuneIn Radio.     If you’re not on represented on TuneIn, you’re not really streaming anyway.

Students don’t like to have a separate app for every station they listen to. That just causes clutter on their device … and TuneIn even has some AM stations represented.

Bart Jones

Chief Engineer

KFKX(FM)

Hastings College

Hastings, Neb.

http://www.radioworld.com/article/here-are-more-am-suggestions/273542

Faced with a tech tsunami, Motorola fights to preserve cop‑com franchise

As Chicago cops braced for protests in advance of the NATO and G-8 summits in 2012, hometown radio giant Motorola made what seemed like a grand gesture.

JOHN FITZHUGH / SUN HERALDMississippi Highway Patrol Trooper Calvin Robertson, MSWIN land mobile radio system at MHP Troop K headquarters on Wednesday Dec. 11, 2013.

The company, which for years has used tenacious marketing and clout to reign over the emergency radio business, donated to the city $1.8 million worth of telecom equipment that could beam data and videos to law enforcement officers shielding the world leaders.

Generosity wasn’t the only motive behind the gift.

In a letter, Motorola Vice President John Molloy said the company also could operate a network for the city as a “test platform” until year end and provide Chicago’s public safety agencies entree to the world of emergency broadband LTE – the new global standard for transmitting huge amounts of data at rocket speed.

Motorola’s gift was designed to keep on giving.

From Mississippi to Texas and California, the company now known as Motorola Solutions Inc. has reshaped its business strategy in the face of a technology tsunami that threatens to upend its decades-long hold on the emergency communications market.

While fighting to preserve its immense walkie-talkie franchise, Motorola has maneuvered to become a player in broadband, where it must contend with new and bigger competitors in a scrum for billions of dollars of taxpayer funds pledged for a coast-to-coast emergency data delivery network.DROPPED JAWS, PROTESTS OVER

Motorola’s aggressive push into broadband, however, is a cause for consternation among officials of the First Responder Network Authority, or FirstNet, the Commerce Department agency tasked with building the first nationwide public-safety communications system. To garner broadband business, Motorola has relied on many of the same strategies and deep customer relationships that helped it capture more than 80 percent of the radio market.

As McClatchy reported in a series of articles last year, the industry giant has landed scores of sole-source radio contracts and wielded enough pricing power to sell its glitzy handsets for as much as $7,000 apiece, at a taxpayer cost of hundreds of millions, if not billions, of dollars that could have been saved in a more competitive market.

At the request of three senior Democrats in the House of Representatives, the Department of Homeland Security’s inspector general, John Roth, recently ordered an audit to examine McClatchy’s disclosures and determine whether federal grant money has bankrolled biased contract awards to Motorola.

The new broadband network, backed so far by a whopping $7 billion federal commitment, is expected to spawn a competitive market involving names such as ATT, Verizon, Cisco, General Dynamics and Alcatel-Lucent.

How 4G broadband LTE (Long-Term Evolution) works

4G stands for the fourth generation of broadband, the same technology that beams data to your cell phone. It effectively works as a high-speed radio signal that relays tiny packets of data between the internet and base stations on cellular towers outfitted with antenna equipment and microwave dishes.

The cellular towers flash the data to first responders’ handsets or perhaps to a mobile unit mounted in a police car’s dashboard.

4G LTE can save lives: It can deliver images of suspects within seconds, where previously it could take 10 minutes or more, as well as offering live streaming of disaster or crime scenes.

While people around the world use 4G technology to make cell phone calls, because calls are frequently interrupted, it has not yet been deemed ready to produce voice communications reliable enough for public-safety agencies. The current public-safety standard requires that the connections operate reliably 99.999 percent of the time – or all but about five minutes per year.

What threatens Motorola is the possibility that technology advances could within a few years enable ruggedized cellphones to transmit voice communications as reliably as two-way radios, a development that eventually could crumble the company’s radio franchise, which serves thousands of public safety agencies.

One Motorola tactic for penetrating the new market has been to donate equipment, as the company did in Chicago.

It’s a way to “lock in future relationships and future opportunities,” said Steve Koman, a former Motorola employee who was a consultant to the city of Charlotte, N.C., when it sought unsuccessfully to build a broadband network a couple of years ago. Koman said he finds such equipment donations by a market kingpin to be troubling.

“I’ve always wondered if these kinds of gray-zone practices violate the spirit of federal antitrust laws,” he said, “because they appear to be a continuous attempt to corner the market.”

A Motorola executive vice president, Robert Schassler, contended in a phone interview that many companies routinely invite government agencies to join them in testing new products.

The 2012 donation of a mini-broadband network wasn’t Motorola’s first gift to Chicago, which has been buying the company’s radios since 1956.

In 2009, the company gave the city a mobile radio network to help protect members of the International Olympic Committee coming to town to weigh Chicago’s bid to host a future Olympics.

Motorola’s philanthropy was rewarded later with a $1.5 million no-bid contract from Cook County to use the donated equipment to build a “high-performance” data network for the city and county – a system that was doomed from the start because its radio bandwidth was too narrow to transmit data at high speeds, said Sophia Ansari, a spokeswoman for the county sheriff’s office. The county now plans to swap the equipment for new Motorola radios, she said.

As for the broadband LTE (for Long Term Evolution) equipment donated for the summits, the city has obtained a temporary license to build a test network but is still mulling what to do, said Melissa Stratton, a spokeswoman for Chicago’s Office of Emergency Management and Communications.

Charlotte also was a recipient of Motorola’s largesse before hosting the 2012 Democratic National Convention. Motorola loaned the city about 3,000 radios free of charge to assist state and federal law enforcement officials in communicating with one another.

Such gestures, which are not always trumpeted publicly, typically grow from carefully cultivated relationships that have helped Motorola steamroller competitors for nearly 20 years in the multibillion-dollar radio business.

I’ve always wondered if these kinds of gray-zone practices violate the spirit of federal antitrust laws.

The company’s formula: build top-quality equipment; dote on police, fire and sheriff’s departments; woo contracting officials; pursue every angle to gain a sole-source deal or an inside track, and where possible, embed equipment with proprietary features so it can’t interact with competitors’ products.

It’s worked so well that a single company – Motorola – has dominated state and federal two-way radio markets, untouched by federal antitrust regulators although there’s been little price testing to assure that taxpayers got the best deal.

Motorola executives make no apologies for their market supremacy.

“Motorola Solutions’ public safety success is because we offer the best solutions and service at competitive prices, because our customers trust in our products and commitment to stand behind them, and because of our continued investment in innovation,” said the company’s chief spokesman, Kurt Ebenhoch.

Motorola’s Schassler said the company that pioneered the first police radio in 1930 is the only manufacturer that has stood behind cops, firefighters and emergency medics “uninterrupted” for 85 years.

…our customers trust in our products and commitment to stand behind them…

That commitment has engendered strong loyalties from the nation’s more than 4 million first responders, legions of whom insist on toting a Motorola as their communication lifeline.

But to rivals and frustrated government officials, Motorola is the industry’s version of “Leave it to Beaver’s” unctuous Eddie Haskell (“You look lovely today, Mrs. Cleaver”), whose charms are but a cover for myriad connivances. Using an array of tactics, the company repeatedly has found ways to stick taxpayers with the priciest equipment when far cheaper options performed to the same standards.

Schassler was asked whether Motorola sales representatives propose ways for government officials to award sole-source contracts.

“No,” he replied.

State and local government officials have done the dirty work, frequently skirting laws or federal grant guidelines requiring competitive bidding.

Motorola officials acknowledged that the company’s seemingly ubiquitous sales force has wined and dined some government officials where state laws allow, but Schassler called that “a very, very rare occurrence” that is first approved by a company attorney.

However, two government officials who lacked authorization to speak for the record said the company has hosted state or local contracting employees in some of Las Vegas’ priciest restaurants .

Despite its scant experience in broadband, Motorola has been fastest out of the gate in applying the technology to public safety. In 2010, the company entered an eight-year partnership with the Swedish colossus Ericsson, a leading supplier of broadband equipment, especially the cores that serve as the brains for each network. Motorola also has partnered with cellular industry giant Verizon Wireless, and it has developed a handset that can both receive broadband data and enable voice transmissions over a standard two-way radio network.

The Schaumburg, Ill.-based firm has secured contracts to assemble four of eight federally funded emergency broadband pilot projects – in Los Angeles County, Harris County, Texas, the San Francisco Bay Area and Mississippi, though the latter two later collapsed because of negotiation impasses for leases of frequencies on the federal wireless spectrum. Motorola also is among five vendors approved to sell equipment for New Mexico’s statewide pilot project.

The company’s early success in the pilot projects has been controversial:

  • An official of Harris County, Texas, sent gasps through a hotel conference room in May 2011 when he said he handed Motorola the $7.5 million first stage of a pilot broadband network because the company told him “a great story,” according to two people who were present. Both insisted upon anonymity for fear of reprisals. The award in the county surrounding Houston drew protests from two major competitors because they weren’t invited to bid, even though most of the financing came from a Department of Homeland Security port security grant. Motorola and county officials contended the contract was competitively awarded, because it was written as a modification to a 2007 radio contract for which Motorola won the bidding.
  • In San Francisco, Motorola won a $50.6 million Commerce Department grant in 2010 to build the first metropolitan-wide emergency broadband network – a deal arranged by former Motorola sales executive Laura Phillips in her new job overseeing public safety grants to the region. Phillips was later fired amid outrage that the grant was awarded without approval from any of three major cities and 10 counties involved, said several current and former government officials who spoke anonymously because of the matter’s sensitivity. Phillips pointed to a Commerce Department audit that cleared her of improprieties.
  • Former San Jose Police Chief Chris Moore said he implored Motorola’s No. 2 executive, Mark Moon, to wait until a regional board approved the grant to avoid city and county protests. He said Moon responded: “I’d rather take the $50 million and bad publicity than not get the $50 million.” Motorola spokesman Ebenhoch said Moon doesn’t recall making such a remark and “strongly believes the statement to be inaccurate and false.”
  • While a joint authority representing Los Angeles County and more than 80 cities reviewed bids in 2011 for twin public-safety radio and broadband networks, Motorola added William Bratton, a former Los Angeles police chief and currently the New York police commissioner , to a lucrative post on its corporate board. A team led by Raytheon Corp. won the bidding, but Motorola threatened a suit, and a county lawyer urged nullifying the award because it might violate an arcane state law. During two more rounds of bidding, Motorola slashed its prices and ultimately won both contracts, worth a half-billion dollars.

FirstNet officials did not respond to requests for comment about Motorola’s dealings.

JOHN FITZHUGH / SUN HERALDMSWIN land mobile radio system at MHP Troop K headquarters on Wednesday Dec. 11, 2013.

Some members of Congress, including Democratic Rep. Anna Eshoo of California, have said a major reason they voted for a 2012 law allotting a bloc of the spectrum for public safety and financing a national broadband network was their hopes it would smash Motorola’s near monopoly in two-way radios.

Yet some say that Motorola is fighting for survival, especially if broadband handsets that sell for $500 to $1,000 can replace the pricey, more lucrative emergency radios. Already, spinoffs and layoffs have shrunk the company’s payroll from over 20,000 to 15,000 employees.

“The change that Motorola is getting hit with is no less substantial than what hit IBM or Kodak. It’s a technology wave,” said former Charlotte consultant Koman, referring to technology advances that overtook IBM Corp.’s mainframe computer franchise and Kodak’s film empire.

The company’s predicament “is actually life or death in this transition” because of its huge infrastructure, said a former senior Motorola executive, who spoke on condition of anonymity to avoid harming relationships.

If so, Motorola executives sure don’t seem panicked.

Schassler said he expects Motorola to accrue incremental gains from broadband projects while continuing to serve most of the nation’s 60,000 public-safety agencies with radio equipment for 10 years or more.

The reality is that Motorola, with tentacles reaching virtually every emergency agency in the country, may be miles ahead of the government in its planning.

Already, the Motorola-Ericsson combine has planted broadband network cores at Motorola’s Schaumburg headquarters, at Texas AM University to cover the Harris County system and in Los Angeles County.

New Mexico officials, whose network layout can easily be extended to the Mexican border, has requested permission to use the Texas core as part of its statewide broadband network. Because Motorola writes the software rules that determine what equipment can be used on that network, the company could be positioned to be the logical broadband provider for the U.S. Customs and Border Protection agency on the southern border.

To put that in context, if a Senate-passed immigration compromise became law, the number of border agents would soar over the next decade from 20,800 to 38,000, each needing a handset.

At a recent conference of financial analysts, Motorola CEO Gregory Brown sounded more eager than worried about broadband. He called the new emergency communications technology “the single best opportunity we have in front of us.”

Read more here: http://www.mcclatchydc.com/static/features/Motorola/Index.html?brand=sta#storylink=cpy