Wednesday, May 05, 2004

Links and things 

Here is a link that should be of interest to scanner listeners.

This from Frank, N3FLR, and lead me to a really nice web site. Thanks Frank! While this is an amateur radio setup in the pictures you can see how this could be adapted to a portable scanner station just as well.


Nextel Switching Tactics

For those of you who have been following the Nextel debacle I think you will find this interesting. There have been a growing number of complaints of Nextel’s cell service repeaters causing interference to public safety radio systems. In some cases police and fire personal have found their radios unusable when within range of the Nextel cell towers.

Rather than fix the problems Nextel has been trying to “buy” the 800 mHz band for themselves. They have made offers to pay the equipment costs to move public safety agencies into the 700 mHz band provided they get exclusive use of the current band. Not only would the give them a very unfair advantage against their competitors like Motorola. In addition the numbers that I have seen published seemed very low to me for the cost of the migration. If the FCC inks the deal and then it turns out that the cost of moving the public safety radios is much higher than expected, guess who will pick up the tab? You got it, us the taxpayers.

Today a friend sent me a link to this article, which looks like Nextel is trying to cover all the bases. Like I said, I think you will find it interesting.


You have also heard me mention the state wide 800 mHz trunked system in the works here in Pennsylvania. Here is a posting from the SCAN-L mailing list that caught my attention. If you pay taxes it should catch yours also.


Those who have info for Monroe County lawmaker Kelly Lewis
can e mail him at :Klewis@pahousegop.com

As of this writing the Governor says he wants to get to the
bottom of this.

Pennsylvania House of Representatives

Contact: Todd Abele

House Republican Communications
(717) 787-3993


April 22, 2004

Lewis, Browne Request Audit and Review
Of Statewide Radio System Project

Original Price Tag of $179 million now exceeds $400 million

HARRISBURG - Two members of the House Finance Committee and
House Judiciary Committee requested an audit and review of
the beleaguered statewide radio system project, which remains
three years behind schedule.

Rep Browne stated, "In 1996 the Commonwealth budgeted $179
million to fund the statewide radio system project. In the
spring of 1999, the contracts for the statewide radio system
were awarded and scheduled to be installed, tested, and
operational by April 2001. Cost overruns and delays continue
to plague the project and we believe a thorough audit and
review is reasonable and warranted.

Rep Lewis added, "Today, we ask the Administration, the
Auditor General and the Attorney General to audit and review
the statewide radio system project for good reason. Recent
testimony at the House Appropriations committee indicated the
total project costs now exceed $400 million. To date, the
project is over $220 million over-budget and three years
behind schedule. I 'm very concerned that a project of this
size and importance has languished for so long and for so
many taxpayer dollars."

Four vendors were awarded components of the overall statewide
radio project. M/A Com received the largest portion of the
contract, which includes installation of the radio system
using their OpenSky technology.

Lewis, and Browne, who are both lawyers and accountants,
indicate the complexity of the interdepartmental accounting,
the implementation delays in the radio system implementation
and the rapid changes of available technology warrant a
thorough audit and review of this situation.

Rep Lewis continued, "I've heard and read from several public
safety leaders that the proposed statewide radio system won't
work as planned and will continue to experience
cost-overruns, delays and coverage shortfalls. Several
experts question the use of 800 MHz technology and its
growing interference difficulties. While I have a proven
record of supporting and encouraging high technology
investments by local, county and state governments, I'm very
concerned that we aren't headed in the right direction with
the statewide radio system project."

Rep Browne concluded, "Obviously, Pennsylvania public safety
requires a modern telecommunications system for law
enforcement and related agencies to communicate and I believe
that was one of the main reasons to commence the statewide
radio system project. However, I share concerns about the
costs, delays and technology shortfalls. We can't afford to
squander an opportunity to get to the bottom of this
situation as soon as possible."

In September 2003, Rohn Industries, Inc., the company
responsible for constructing the 800 Mhz radio tower sites
filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy
protection. Recently, several industry reports are questioning the
effectiveness and interference blackouts of public safety
agency radio systems using 800 Mhz frequency radio systems.

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