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  #21 (permalink)  
Old 03-10-2013, 10:03 PM
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I agree, I work for a large university/research institution, and we are definitely eligible for Part 90 frequencies, and not just for our own PD and Fire departments, but for our support services.
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Old 03-11-2013, 8:32 AM
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I have long wondered why the local schools and school buses are getting IG licenses and not PW licenses.
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Old 03-11-2013, 12:54 PM
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Lightbulb LONG - Schools and 90.20, 23 May 2002

Here is when this all changed. This is why you're seeing a lot of school districts and boards of education setting up on public safety frequencies (this is also where they started allowing municipal golf courses and such to occupy public safety frequencies for their routine operations). Please note that R&Os often augment the Rules and Regulations, and provide background and intent. This is why you don't overtly see it or get the whole story when you just look at the Rules and Regulations. It's tricky that way.

Source FCC 02-139:

• Public Safety Pool eligibility: We adopt our proposal to eliminate the eligibility
restriction on school and park operations in the Public Safety Pool under Section 90.20 of
our Rules.[7] We also eliminate the restriction prohibiting State highway maintenance
systems from operating on certain Public Safety Pool channels.

V. SECOND REPORT AND ORDER
A. Public Safety Pool: schools and parks eligibility


50. Background. The Commission’s Rules currently exclude school districts and authorities and
park districts and authorities from holding licenses in the Public Safety Pool to operate radio stations for
the transmission of communications essential to their official activities.[179] In the Further Notice, the
Commission proposed to eliminate this restriction, stating that it believed that sufficient frequencies had
become available in the Public Safety Pool to accommodate schools and parks.[180] In addition, noting that
school districts and authorities may obtain licenses in the Industrial/Business Pool and that adoption of
this proposal would allow them to be licensed in the Public Safety Pool, the Commission proposed to
eliminate school district and authorities eligibility from the Industrial/Business Pool.[181]

51. Discussion. We agree with the majority of commenters that adoption of our proposal to
eliminate eligibility restrictions on schools and parks in the Public Safety Pool is warranted.[182] Although
APCO recommends that the Commission maintain these restrictions until additional spectrum is made
available,[183] we believe that such concerns are outweighed by the public interest benefits obtained by
simplifying eligibility requirements and facilitating interoperable communications between school or park
personnel and other public safety entities, especially during disasters and emergencies.[184] In addition, our
decision here will help streamline the licensing process, as park districts and authorities will no longer be
required to file a request for waiver in order to obtain a license for essential communications needs.[185]
Despite our conclusion that sufficient frequencies have become available in the Public Safety Pool to
accommodate schools and parks, we acknowledge APCO’s concerns regarding spectrum scarcity in the
Public Safety Pool.[186] Still, in light of the important public interest benefits mentioned above, we will amend
Section 90.20 of the Commission’s Rules accordingly[187] and make conforming changes to Section
90.242.[188]

52. Regarding the removal of school eligibility from the Industrial/Business Pool, the majority of
commenters do not believe that existing Industrial/Business Pool school operations should be required to
relocate to the Public Safety Pool.[189] In this connection, we want to ensure that our decision does not
result in any unintended adverse public safety consequences. As pointed out by College Station
Independent School District, the costs of being forced to relocate from the Industrial/Business Pool to the
Public Safety Pool could be substantial.[190] While grandfathering existing school operations in the
Industrial/Business Pool would appear to alleviate this concern, prohibiting new applicants from holding
authorizations in the Industrial/Business Pool could have an unintended adverse impact on school
eligibility for frequencies above 800 MHz.[191] Because the record is not developed as to the impact such a
change could have to existing school operations in the 800 and 900 MHz bands, particularly as to school
operations in the 900 MHz band where there is no Public Safety category, we will not delete school
district and authority eligibility from the Industrial/Business Pool.[192] Finally, pending applications,
including waiver requests filed by Park districts and authorities, will be subject to the rule changes
adopted in this Second Report and Order.[193]
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  #24 (permalink)  
Old 03-11-2013, 2:18 PM
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Very good. I appreciate the post of the R&O for this. This is one that I'd missed (although the VHF public safety frequencies are so full in our area, that it would impossible to find anything close to 'usable' for a school).

John Rayfield, Jr. CETma
W0PM

Quote:
Originally Posted by 902 View Post
Here is when this all changed. This is why you're seeing a lot of school districts and boards of education setting up on public safety frequencies (this is also where they started allowing municipal golf courses and such to occupy public safety frequencies for their routine operations). Please note that R&Os often augment the Rules and Regulations, and provide background and intent. This is why you don't overtly see it or get the whole story when you just look at the Rules and Regulations. It's tricky that way.

Source FCC 02-139:

• Public Safety Pool eligibility: We adopt our proposal to eliminate the eligibility
restriction on school and park operations in the Public Safety Pool under Section 90.20 of
our Rules.[7] We also eliminate the restriction prohibiting State highway maintenance
systems from operating on certain Public Safety Pool channels.

V. SECOND REPORT AND ORDER
A. Public Safety Pool: schools and parks eligibility


50. Background. The Commission’s Rules currently exclude school districts and authorities and
park districts and authorities from holding licenses in the Public Safety Pool to operate radio stations for
the transmission of communications essential to their official activities.[179] In the Further Notice, the
Commission proposed to eliminate this restriction, stating that it believed that sufficient frequencies had
become available in the Public Safety Pool to accommodate schools and parks.[180] In addition, noting that
school districts and authorities may obtain licenses in the Industrial/Business Pool and that adoption of
this proposal would allow them to be licensed in the Public Safety Pool, the Commission proposed to
eliminate school district and authorities eligibility from the Industrial/Business Pool.[181]

51. Discussion. We agree with the majority of commenters that adoption of our proposal to
eliminate eligibility restrictions on schools and parks in the Public Safety Pool is warranted.[182] Although
APCO recommends that the Commission maintain these restrictions until additional spectrum is made
available,[183] we believe that such concerns are outweighed by the public interest benefits obtained by
simplifying eligibility requirements and facilitating interoperable communications between school or park
personnel and other public safety entities, especially during disasters and emergencies.[184] In addition, our
decision here will help streamline the licensing process, as park districts and authorities will no longer be
required to file a request for waiver in order to obtain a license for essential communications needs.[185]
Despite our conclusion that sufficient frequencies have become available in the Public Safety Pool to
accommodate schools and parks, we acknowledge APCO’s concerns regarding spectrum scarcity in the
Public Safety Pool.[186] Still, in light of the important public interest benefits mentioned above, we will amend
Section 90.20 of the Commission’s Rules accordingly[187] and make conforming changes to Section
90.242.[188]

52. Regarding the removal of school eligibility from the Industrial/Business Pool, the majority of
commenters do not believe that existing Industrial/Business Pool school operations should be required to
relocate to the Public Safety Pool.[189] In this connection, we want to ensure that our decision does not
result in any unintended adverse public safety consequences. As pointed out by College Station
Independent School District, the costs of being forced to relocate from the Industrial/Business Pool to the
Public Safety Pool could be substantial.[190] While grandfathering existing school operations in the
Industrial/Business Pool would appear to alleviate this concern, prohibiting new applicants from holding
authorizations in the Industrial/Business Pool could have an unintended adverse impact on school
eligibility for frequencies above 800 MHz.[191] Because the record is not developed as to the impact such a
change could have to existing school operations in the 800 and 900 MHz bands, particularly as to school
operations in the 900 MHz band where there is no Public Safety category, we will not delete school
district and authority eligibility from the Industrial/Business Pool.[192] Finally, pending applications,
including waiver requests filed by Park districts and authorities, will be subject to the rule changes
adopted in this Second Report and Order.[193]
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  #25 (permalink)  
Old 03-11-2013, 3:35 PM
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My pleasure, John! I usually don't get to be as helpful as I'd like.

If you go a little outside Missouri, you'll find that UHF public safety isn't much better, except maybe for Limitation 44 channels, and even they are getting scarce in some places. The 6.25 kHz channelization on UHF helps tremendously versus the 7.5 kHz for VHF.

It seems that with the migration to cellular and other non-LMR modes (and sadly, a bit of businesses drying up in some places), the business frequencies are in better shape than public safety to be "refarmed."
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  #26 (permalink)  
Old 03-11-2013, 9:48 PM
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It's always good when you (me) miss something, or hadn't heard of it, someone with more info posts the missing info. Thanks 902
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Old 03-12-2013, 12:55 PM
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Mahwah to get radio fix linking school district into township units - NorthJersey.com
Follow up in newspaper today. Looks like the PD bought 3 NxEdge Radios 2 for Units and 1 for the Police desk.
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  #28 (permalink)  
Old 03-12-2013, 3:07 PM
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Question Was privacy the "real "issue?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Alarmguy View Post
Mahwah to get radio fix linking school district into township units - NorthJersey.com
Follow up in newspaper today. Looks like the PD bought 3 NxEdge Radios 2 for Units and 1 for the Police desk.
Hmmmm...Well that’s just fine and dandy. The Police can now talk to the school on “their” NXdn system. Wonderful for inter-ops and that God forbid emergency.

However, since this mode is not easily monitored by any digital scanner (unless one obtains the proper software, cable, a little electronics expertise to “tap” the decimator, digital mode conversion box if necessary and depending on the actual receiver/scanner), an easy task for some but not all scanner hobbyist.
In some way, was the word “privacy” injected in the sales pitch to the BOE board. NXdn dose offer “some” sense of privacy due to limited availability of receivers to receive them. Privacy is big selling point now of days. Just thinking out load here?

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  #29 (permalink)  
Old 03-12-2013, 5:48 PM
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3 nexedge radios for $3,500?

Must not have put that one out to bid.
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Old 03-12-2013, 7:08 PM
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Yeah really someone is getting hosed here obviously for 3 radios at $3500. Looks like the only winner here is the salesman. Why not just use the OEM frequency 460.4625 and program the Nexedge Radios to work in Analog on it. The PD uses 460.4625 when their primary Channel 460.2000 is down.

Last edited by Alarmguy; 03-12-2013 at 7:10 PM..
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Old 03-12-2013, 8:44 PM
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The radios are about $700 each. If the two going in the patrol cars are mobiles, figure the face plate, antenna, installation, etc. Installation alone can run $150. There's $1700, add tax, profit (yeah profit, it's not a 4 letter word!)
If the "police front desk" is a base, figure a base antenna, power supply (Kenwood version is about $120), coax, etc. That could easily run $1500 or so by the time they got the antenna installed, coaxial cable run, etc. If they are actually interfacing it to a dispatch console, that is going to add more.
Often the simple act of installing a radio can come close to the cost of the radio itself, depending on the exact situation.
Hopefully they didn't do portables.

Also, the article says the decision was made "on the spot", so it doesn't sound like they did any shopping around. It also says the radios come "pre-programmed", which leads me to believe that the vendor is sitting on the programming info and not willing to share it with anyone.

If they are doing this all by the letter of the law, there will be some licensing involved, also.

Also, be very wary about what they say in newspapers. Journalists are not the sharpest tools in the shed, and they usually know zip about radios.

Last edited by mmckenna; 03-12-2013 at 8:49 PM..
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  #32 (permalink)  
Old 03-12-2013, 9:26 PM
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And this is all so the radios can sit quiet and unused all the time?

I haven't been following the Sandy Hook thing very closely as I don't watch domestic "news" but was there a problem getting through on the telephone or did they use radios to summons the police or...

Comments in the article like “I don’t want people to think we’re unprotected right now," and “It’s obvious that nothing will stand in the way of the safety of our children,” and “We don’t want to publish that, because if people know what we’re going to do, they’ll know how to get around it,”

What on earth are these people talking about? Do they know of some impending attack?
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Old 03-12-2013, 10:54 PM
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An event like Sandy Hook would make 9-1-1 light up like a Christmas tree. Thing is that with all the routine traffic in schools (they sound like jails except they call each other Mr. and Ms. instead of "officer"), how long would a police department last listening to the chatter? My guess is that they'll be like the CB radios that found themselves into every police department in the 70s. They were on for a little while and then they got in the way of HBO and radio traffic from the cars. Then they got shut off. Where are they now?

Yeah, the equipment, installation,and margin aren't too bad, although I would challenge a sole source procurement on this if I were the CFO or a councilman.
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Old 03-12-2013, 11:15 PM
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Low buck purchase like this often bypass RFQ's and bidding. The amount of time that goes into preparing the requirements, advertising, picking qualified bids, quality points, etc start to add up REALLY quick. I can usually do direct purchasing on stuff up to $100K, above that we almost always have to go out to bid. I can also do sole sourcing in very specific instances, but it isn't as easy as it used to be.

Usually the way these things work are that they only turn them on when needed. Full time monitoring wouldn't last long.
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Old 03-13-2013, 6:50 AM
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Default Municipal purchasing - Oy!

Quote:
Originally Posted by mmckenna View Post
Low buck purchase like this often bypass RFQ's and bidding. The amount of time that goes into preparing the requirements, advertising, picking qualified bids, quality points, etc start to add up REALLY quick. I can usually do direct purchasing on stuff up to $100K, above that we almost always have to go out to bid. I can also do sole sourcing in very specific instances, but it isn't as easy as it used to be.

Usually the way these things work are that they only turn them on when needed. Full time monitoring wouldn't last long.
You're lucky. I dreaded my former ordeal and used to procrastinate as long as possible to avoid it.

I could buy $249.99 and under. I had to get three verbal bids for $250 - $2499.99. I had to get three written bids for anything from $2500 up to $9,999. $10,000 to $29,999 required publication in a newspaper of record (which no one ever seemed to read). $30,000 and up required publication and council vote. Most everything had to have written bid specs that were filed through the purchasing agent.

If you knew what you want (this is really where most agencies get jammed up - they have no clue what they want and should do RFPs instead of wild and vague bid specs) or if you want another item that is exactly like something you already have, you had also better make up a checklist of performance characteristics. One year I bought "outdoor warning" sirens. The lowest bidder wanted to give me a scaled back model that lacked the control and diagnostic features we had on 70 other devices that were installed. There was an argument between me, the purchasing agent in finance, and various upper paygrades about throwing out the bid. What we needed was solar power (getting a power company to hook these things up could take 6 months in our area and lightning damage through the power line was frequent), radio control, and remote diagnostics. The bean counters said, "So you want a Cadillac and they're bidding a Chevy. A car's a car." I hate car analogies. Ever since, I included a "MUST INCLUDE" along with the check sheet so the vendor could indicate yes, no, or claim exception (if they have something different).

Sole source? Ha ha. You had better have been a campaign contributor.

If you want to get the right stuff, you almost always need to: 1) know what you need or have a clue about it (most managers outside a small circle of peers I knew were clueless and went with "me too" procurements and usually got unnecessary features); 2) be a control freak; 3) have OCD; and 4) be "puckery." Being assertive helps, too. Otherwise, you'll get whatever the salespeople want to give you to meet their margin.
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Old 03-13-2013, 7:57 AM
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Now I know why during my brief stint as a salesman for an MSS, we went from school to school to school. Good customers! They don't shop around and they always pay the bill.
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Old 03-13-2013, 10:46 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 902 View Post
You're lucky. I dreaded my former ordeal and used to procrastinate as long as possible to avoid it.
I fully understand your headache on that one. We are lucky enough to have our own purchasing person in our department that can handle the small stuff. I place my orders through him with the account numbers and it happens.
Above that, we have a specific purchasing person we work with that understands our specific needs and works with us, rather than against us. It's taken a long time to get that far, but things are much easier than they used to be.
I'll agree 100% though, some of the people above me and my direct manager have no clue about the stuff we use.
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