$1.7 Million Radio System Debuts With Dismal Results

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KMD877-KMG983

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Everything Old is New Again

Wow. Sounds like a mess. Thanks for passing along the news link.

When I started as a fire district dispatcher in 1974 we had tube type 2-channel radios. We rang the stations down with a Western Electric Model 555 corded switchboard - like you see in the old time movies. We also had to know the land line numbers where the engines and ambulances were being sent because there were so many dead zones in radio coverage. Of course we had it better than the CHP and city motorcycle cops had just a few years prior. They would break tubes so often in their Harleys that there was a network of cafes that would turn off certain portions of their outside lights or signs at night - or turn them on during the daytime - so that passing officers would see that they had a call and come in to use the pay phones.

Of course technology improved and by the late 1980s we had a darn good system covering all the county's fire districts. The solid state police radios were more reliable although it was still hard for a motor cop in pursuit to handle a microphone and the handlebars at high speed. More than one microphone ended up in the spokes and being launched into space. The equipment still wasn't fancy but it was pretty bullet proof, aside from the wild microphone issue. (Eventually someone came up with the idea of helmet mikes, and a short time after that the officers would remember to UNPLUG their mike cords when dismounting when they were involved in something hectic. Harleys are heavy bikes to turn back right side up when you pull one over that's attached to your head.)

That's when we were all on low band - 46 Mhz. On good skip days we got to listen into Nassau County, NY, then NJ, and gradually points farther west as the sun traveled. On a busy day it got confusing when an eastern company was being dispatched when a western company with the same number was up on the air or part of a western compliment being dispatched.

"Who is this?"

"This is Engine 15."

"Which Engine 15?"

"Contra Costa County. Who is this?"

"Nassau County, Long Island."

(Meanwhile the Nassau County Engine 15 is looking for a break to come up on the air.)

In reality we could tell from the accent that it wasn't our dispatcher but mistaken identity was the only way west coast companies could talk to someone "out east" and not get in trouble. I'm surprised back then that the companies didn't print and trade QSL cards.

By about 4:00 PM we'd sometimes pick up Hawaii.

Close to 30 years later when I retired from the engine companies, we once again had to monitor the radio so as not to miss calls when the CAD system misfired. We also had to make sure the cell phone stayed charged because the latest and greatest radio system had, you guessed it, those pesky dead zones again. Unfortunately the higher frequencies didn't provide long distance entertainment value to offset the inconvenience.

I'll bet that Motorola gets that Jacksonville business straightened out. Jacksonville is a fairly prominent urban area and aside from not wanting to lose a bunch of money, they probably don't want to have potential customers lose confidence in Motorola. But as we learned on the "left coast," you don't ever completely decommission the present system. I'd also bet yours gets turned on and used more than once in future years.

Good luck out there!

":O) Willis
 

b7spectra

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3 years? We have had Obama for 3 years and we see where that has gotten us!

Motorola, you look like you are about to be replaced in Jax!
 

N4DES

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It's not a radio system that is the issue, it is a new CAD system that is trying to communicate with a legacy station alerting system. The title of the article is very misleading..
 

MTS2000des

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I doubt it. Jacksonville has been a happy Motorola customer for years, paying whatever they get invoiced for.

They will get sold upgrade after upgrade, and their taxpayers don't seem to mind bank rolling it.

Must be nice.
 

a1emt

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Ummmm....although manufactured by Motorola, this is not a RADIO system at all, but a computer aided dispatch system. Misleading headline....
 

car5le

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Well - San Diego PD, Las Vegas Metro PD, Fresno Sheriff's Office and a bunch of other agencies use the same Motorola product. It has continually caused all of them problems. Delays, malfunctions, consistent glitches, not user friendly, archaic thought processes. A couple of these agencies even lost functionality when they went from old DOS based CAD systems to the Motorola products.
 

joetnymedic

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hey spectra, maybe obama was the original tech, seems he's about that bright with the country why not with a CAD system?
 
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