Whelen Storm Sirens

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mycall911

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Our community purchased and installed (8) Whelen storm sirens around 2003-2004. These sirens have a VHF transmitter/receiver that decode the DTMF activation tones and other commands and then can "talk back" to the system reporting the "status" of each individual siren.

According to our vendor, the radios in these sirens are not "narrow-band" capable and will need to be replaced with new "narrow-band" radio modules.

From what little information we have been able to find out, it appears that these units were "exempt" from the FCC ruling that all equipment manufactured after 1997 had to be narrow band capable... but we're not finding anything stating that these same units are now exempt from the narrowbanding requirement?

Our contention is that since these units were purchased new in 2003-2004 they should have been required to be narrow-band capable.

Does anyone have any ideas or experience with these?

Thanks,

M. Hall
 

datainmotion

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Two things:

  1. Are these radios talking simplex back to the dispatch controller or do they go through a repeater? I don't know if that makes a difference with regards to narrowbanding regs.
  2. Back in the late 90s, I believe Whelen starting using Ritron radios for this purpose (really just a stripped-down HT). Any radio can do the job (even a mobile with AC charging power) as long as you can interface TX/RX/PTT/GND to the siren controller. You can even use phone lines.
 

mycall911

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Let me rephrase what I'm trying to ask ...

If you bought a new portable VHF radio in 2003, the FCC rules required that it be narrowband capable, right?

In 2003 we purchased these siren controllers that have an embedded VHF public safety band radio built in them but the radio vendor says that they are not narrowband capable - requiring a substantial "upgrade" to all the sirens (16 total)

IF at the time they were "exempt" from the earlier requirement, shouldn't they be exempt from the 2013 narrowbanding deadline as well? OR did the vendor somehow violate an FCC rule by selling us a non-upgradable radio?

M. Hall
 

mancow

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I believe the exemption was for for certain commercial paging freqs. We had the same situation here. The sirens are activated on a PS fire freq and had to have their receivers narrow banded or replaced if they weren't capable.
 

n5ims

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If I read the OP correctly, what they're asking is they purchased their controllers with included PS band radios in 2003. Now they must make their system narrow-band, which should be a simple matter of reprogramming those PS band radios since they were new in 2003 and should've been narrowband capable. The vendor is now stating that the radios must be replaced since they aren't narrowband capable, due to some exemption that allowed them to sell radios in 2003 that weren't narrowband capable.

I believe that the OP is asking, was there indeed an exemption that allowed a non-narrowband PS band radio to be sold new in 2003 and they should bite the bullet and purchase the expensive upgrades or is the vendor simply trying to make them spend money for new radio modules when all that’s really required is to reprogram the existing ones to be narrowband.
 

kf8yk

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Let me rephrase what I'm trying to ask ...

If you bought a new portable VHF radio in 2003, the FCC rules required that it be narrowband capable, right?

In 2003 we purchased these siren controllers that have an embedded VHF public safety band radio built in them but the radio vendor says that they are not narrowband capable - requiring a substantial "upgrade" to all the sirens (16 total)

IF at the time they were "exempt" from the earlier requirement, shouldn't they be exempt from the 2013 narrowbanding deadline as well? OR did the vendor somehow violate an FCC rule by selling us a non-upgradable radio?

M. Hall
Any 25 kHz channel bandwidth transmitter that received FCC type acceptance certification after February 14, 1997 must also be able to operate on 12.5 kHz or narrower channels. 47 C.F.R. § 90.203(j)(2)

Note that the FCC order does not require radios to operate on any valid VHF frequency, there's lots of radios manufactured after the 2/14/97 deadline that can't synthesize the 7.5 kHz 'splinter' frequencies that VHF narrowbanding creates between the old frequency assignments.

Also type acceptance only impacts the manufacture or importation of radios. If a manufacturer or dealer had non compliant radios in stock they could continue to sell them after the cutoff date.

I would call Whelen direct & verify the information your local vendor has provided.
 

N0YFE

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Narrow Band Radio Requirement

Our community purchased and installed (8) Whelen storm sirens around 2003-2004. These sirens have a VHF transmitter/receiver that decode the DTMF activation tones and other commands and then can "talk back" to the system reporting the "status" of each individual siren.

According to our vendor, the radios in these sirens are not "narrow-band" capable and will need to be replaced with new "narrow-band" radio modules.

From what little information we have been able to find out, it appears that these units were "exempt" from the FCC ruling that all equipment manufactured after 1997 had to be narrow band capable... but we're not finding anything stating that these same units are now exempt from the narrowbanding requirement?
----------------------------------------

I believe the issue you are running into was the FCC requirement for was for all new radios build after a specific date to be narrow band capable. One thing to look at is the date of manufacture of each of the radios. Were they built before the cutoff of 1996, and in stock or built after?

If they were built after, I'd request a copy of the waiver. If they can't produce a waiver, you may be able to get the vendor to replace the radios on their dime. I can understand why the city is looking at the costs, since a new radio at 18 sites can add up pretty quick.

I would also agree with your vendor that they will be required to be narrow banded along with the radio tranmitter for the siren control station.

Here's a nice slide show that helps explain the FCC's Orders

http://transition.fcc.gov/pshs/docs...eral_Information_on_VHF-UHF_Narrowbanding.pdf
 

mycall911

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N0YFE, KF8YK, and N5IMS,

You understand my question! I guess our next call is to Whelen, bypassing the radio shop that sold them to us.

Thanks! If I get any definitive answer I'll update the post. Thanks a lot.

Mike
 

WA0CBW

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Looking back at the FCC's rulings..............

The FCC's third Memorandum Opinion and Order stayed the 2005 ruling to allow the manufacturer and importation of equipment operating on a channel bandwidth of 25 Khz to January 1, 2011. This allowed manufacturers to unload existing inventories of 25 Khz only radios. There was no exemption just an extension of the date when the importation and manufacture of 25 Khz radios had to end. In 2005 there were not many radio models that would do the narrow bandwidths hence the FCC's extension of the deadline as to when narrowband capability had to be added to new radios.

As a dealer we were very careful to explain this to our customers that were needing to purchase new radios. Many of our customers believed that the FCC would never really implement narrowbanding and chose to buy the 25Khz only radios.

Refer to the FCC's 1st, 2nd, 3rd, and 4th Memorandum Opinion and Order for additional information and dates.

BB
 
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