Encryption and Asiana 214

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Sep 17, 2004

In a recent release of documents regarding OZ214 I came across this article:


which states the following:

"Improvements in emergency communications at SFO. Numerous problems with communications occurred during the emergency response, the most critical being the inability for responding mutual aid units to speak directly with units from the airport on a common radio frequency. Although some of the communications difficulties encountered during the emergency response, including the lack of radio interoperability, have been remedied, others, such as the breakdown in communications between the airport and city dispatch centers, should be addressed."

Would the encryption of the SFO comms. possibly have caused this issue?


Feb 24, 2001
Id think it is more of a training, management, policy issue to revert to a common tac or talkgroup during a incident.

If dept A does not utilize a interop talkgroup, but has them in equipment, dept B does and tries to use them, dept C can but it's field personnel haven't been instructed to do so by command so they are holding on a primary channel secured but nobody has given notice I think you get idea.

Many places use interops, patches, etc without issue tying many together. It's about training, a regional plan, and the brass to command using the plan and tools properly. No matter how much planning there will always be bumps but if nobody is telling anyone to go to a specific channel or talkgroup everyone is going to respectively hold on their primary they use.


I ♥ Ø
Jul 27, 2005
This is often a training issue, as LosRio said, unless the SFO airport radios just don't have the interop frequencies in them (which I doubt).

One thing I've discovered is that it's -very- difficult to get people to change the channel/talkgroup on their radios.

The other is:
A police officer will be required to re-qualify on their firearms frequently, as well as many other parts of their job.
A fire fighter will be required to constantly train, drill, recertify, etc.
An EMT will be required to keep their EMT/paramedic credentials up to date as well as keep up with CEU's.

It's extremely rare for an agency to require ANY training on how to use the radio, never mind certification/recertification. The radio is just a box that noise goes into and comes out of. There's a knob to turn it on and off and adjust the volume and a button on the side you push when you want to talk. Other than those key points, which most people figure out without training, there is often zero instruction on how the radio works, what the channels/talk groups are for.

And because of this, people die.
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