Radio Communication with First Responders Pending at Lenape Tech

When we found this article we were so pleased, having sought for over a year for this, finding it on this blog was an exciting time for yours truly.

Two-way radio communication at a local technical school would greatly improve school security, according to one local official.

Lenape Technical School Special Programs Coordinator Carla Thimons further explained the need for such during discussion on the Manor Township school’s $18,000 Pennsylvania Department of Education Safe School Initiative Competitive Targeted Grant award.

“These will truly help us feel better about safety overall, because communication is key,” Thimons said.

She said several programs at the technical school provide a unique challenge where areas of the building would not be able to listen to announcements over the public address system, and the radios would provide necessary internal communication with teachers and staff.

Thimons said the grant funds were accepted by the Joint Operating Committee last month, and funding received, but the radios have not been purchased yet. She explained officials want to coordinate efforts with the Armstrong County Department of Public Safety to ensure that communication will be loud-and-clear.

“We want to determine the best purchase,” Thimons said. “We have an idea in mind what we want, but we want to coordinate with (the Department of Public Safety.)”

Radios are to be expected to be carried in the school hallways by officials by the start of the 2014-15 school year.

Thimons, who has been Special Programs Coordinator for 10 years and was previously the technical school’s principal, coordinates special education, grant writing and safety procedures at the school.

Besides the two-way radios, Thimons said school officials are planning to hold school wide drills, including a mass-evacuation drill.

Joint Operating Committee members also unanimously approved the hire of Night Watchman Samantha Walker, retroactive to March 7.

Principal Karen Brock last month said the school used to have night watchmen, but another one needed to be hired to replace that individual.

Armstrong School District also received Safe School Initiative Competitive Targeted Grant funding in the amount of $25,000, and put the money toward the purchase of new and updated security cameras “as another layer of security throughout the district,” according to School Superintendent Stan Chapp in March.
Director of Technology and Information Services Anthony Grenda said about 16 surveillance cameras will be added to the interior and exterior of Elderton and Shannock Valley Elementary Schools. He hopes those cameras are installed by the end of the current school year. Several have already been installed, he said earlier this week.
Apollo-Ridge and Leechburg Area School Districts also received $25,000 in grant funds.
Earlier this year, Armstrong also received $40,000 in the state’s Safe Schools Grant Program for utilization of a school police officer. Those officers have also been already utilized throughout the district.
The Lenape Tech Joint Operating Committee meets again Thursday evening, beginning with a 6:30PM public budget session at the school.

Source – http://www.kittanningpaper.com/2014/04/16/radio-communication-with-first-responders-pending-at-lenape-tech/44954

 

Motorola Solutions Adds RFID-Enabled Knobs to Radios

With such a lot of information on the web about Radio’s it’s hard to find the top and generally truthful information. here is a piece of writing from a reputable site that i believe as true, do not quote me on it but please read and enjoy

The volume knob, which can be retrofitted into the company’s Mototrbo two-way radios, enables users to conduct inventory counts of 50 radios in six seconds, instead of four minutes.

Two of Motorola Solutions‘ business divisions combined forces this year to develop an RFID-based solution known as RFID Fleet Management, for managing the locations of its Mototrbo two-way radios. The system features a volume-control knob with a built-in RFID tag, enabling users to locate radios more efficiently than having to manually search through several models, reading serial numbers or scanning bar codes. The solution also includes Motorola EPC Gen 2 ultrahigh-frequency (UHFRFID readers. Software to manage read data, as well as training, support and service, are being provided by Motorola’s reseller and solution-provider partners. Beginning at the end of this month, the new knobs will be shipped to customers, upon request, as a retrofit for their existing radios.

Motorola Solutions sells its Mototrbo two-way radios to customers, such as product manufacturers, and other companies with mobile personnel. Motorola Solutions’ Mototrbo customers include organizations that rent the radios to the end users. Both types of companies can have inventories of hundreds or thousands of radios, which must be accounted for periodically—at the end of each day, weekly or monthly, for example—to confirm that the radios have not gone missing, and that every user returns the correct units. Without RFID, each radio assigned or rented out must have its bar code scanned or its serial number recorded in order to create a record of which radio was provided to which employee or company, and when this occurred.

With the RFID Fleet Management solution, the radio’s original volume control knob (left) is replaced with an RFID-tagged version (right).

According to Carrie Angelico, Motorola Solutions’ senior channel business development manager for data-capture solutions, Mototrbo users told Motorola how exhaustive the inventory-management process could be, and the company’s radio division began discussing a solution with its own RFID division. The result is a volume-control knob containing a Motorola UHF RFID Custom Tag, made with an Omni-ID tag, encoded with a unique ID number that can be associated with the radio’s own serial number in the user’s software.

The solution is designed to be a retrofit option for those with Mototrbo two-way radios. Users first acquire the RFID-enabled knob as a replacement for the existing volume knob. The knob’s built-in RFID tag can then be read via any of Motorola Solutions’ handheld or fixed readers, including a desktop interrogator that could be used for checking radios into and out of a storage area.

– See more at: http://www.rfidjournal.com/articles/view?11706#sthash.xhADvZzf.dpuf

DMR Tier III: the open standard for radio communications

So i found this article on the net and i heard that just posting it like a whole article is not the right thing, I got permission from the original writer and read up the way to curate articles, so that is it…….i thought this was fascinating because it highlights some of the highs and lows that I encountered when i was working within the industry.

Private mobile radio is fast becoming an essential communications solution to support the operational needs of utilities companies, airports, oil and gas pipelines and emergency services.

When compared to public cellular services, it delivers improved coverage, reliability and resistance, contention, security, group communications and performance.

The digital landscape is crowded, though, with a number of public safety digital standards such as TETRA, P25 as well as low cost digital solutions including DMR (Digital Mobile Radio), dPMR (digital Private Mobile Radio), NXDN and PDT (Professional Digital Trunking).

DMR is coming out on top thanks to the open standard nature of DMR Tier III trunking, which is driving its emergence, ongoing development and adoption across global markets.

But do open standards matter? While open standards are less important in the small system market, they are critical to the long-term case for the radio system in the medium to large systems sector, and it is here that open standard DMR Tier III will dominate.

Essentially, DMR Tier III trunking features a control channel on each radio site and allocates traffic channels on demand making it frequency efficient and enabling a large number of users to share a relatively small number of channels. Radio sites can easily be inter-connected, usually using IP connections, making it possible to deploy systems ranging from a single site to hundreds of sites spread over a large geographical area.

The open standard way

The DMR standard includes the facility for implementers to provide ‘manufacturer extensions’, enabling manufacturers to provide proprietary features within the framework of the DMR air interface definition. This allows them to complement the standard set of DMR call functions with their specific facilities.

This has the advantage of enabling customers to request specific functionalities to support the manufacturer’s business operation needs and also enables them to provide innovative features that differentiate their solutions from others implementing the same standard.

One disadvantage to this offering is that interoperability can only be possible for those features that are fully defined by the standard and that customers using manufacturer extensions are effectively locked in to a single manufacturer solution rather than enjoying the vendor choice that a standard enables.

To address the pros and cons, the DMR Association (DMRA) has struck a balance between robustness and cost with their interoperability process, which focuses on testing the conformance of products against the published standard that describes the over-air signalling. The DMRA facilitates testing between a terminal manufacturer and an infrastructure manufacturer, and the two parties carry out the testing against a standard test specification. Test results and logs of all messages sent over air are recorded during the testing and then are inspected by one or more independent third parties during a detailed review meeting. Only after the independent third parties are satisfied that the equipment under test has conformed to the open standard specification is an interoperability certificate issued.

Ongoing standards development

Whilst this facility can be useful, extensive use of manufacturer extensions would call into question whether DMR was a standard that delivers interoperability (and therefore vendor choice) or whether it results in proprietary solutions rather than following an open standard.

The answer to this lies in the work of the DMR Association. The DMRA has a technical working group – made up of competing manufacturers – who collaborate to ensure the standard succeeds. Any proprietary features from the manufacturers, which are believed to have wide market appeal or have useful features the standard doesn’t yet specify, are debated in the group. They are then developed to further advance the standard to the benefit all of the manufacturers and indeed the customers who choose to implement DMR technology.

The DMRA is further developing the standard to meet future market demands by identifying important new features and ensuring these are developed and included in new releases of the ETSI standards.

The future of DMR Tier III

Open standards are critical to providing long-term support and stability to customers. The adoption of the standard by a critical mass ensures its longevity over other similar competing technologies that have lower levels of support by offering the market vendor choice and maintaining low costs.

Is DMR Tier III radio communications’ open standard for the future? Yes. Due to DMRA’s authority, the robust and well-supported interoperability programme and the long-term commitment of a large number of manufacturers, it is emerging as the most successful low cost digital technology for complex projects – and therefore the open standard that no other private mobile radios can contend with.

Source – http://www.telecomstechnews.com/news/2014/apr/25/dmr-tier-iii-open-standard-radio-communications/

Inventors That Changed the World: Al Gross

Much like Arnold Schwarzenegger’s character in the movie ‘Twins’, the walkie-talkie can claim to have many fathers. However, one of the most prominent names in the debate (and maybe the one with the single strongest claim to having invented the walkie-talkie) is Canadian/American inventor Al Gross.

The son of Romanian immigrants, Al Gross was born in Toronto, Canada in 1918, but his parents moved to Cleveland, Ohio, USA when he was quite young. Whilst on a steamboat trip across Lake Erie, the 9-year-old Gross encountered radio technology for the first time and, in so doing, ignited a passion within him that would change the world.

How passionate was he? By age 12, Gross had turned his parents’ basement into a radio centre. The bright young man would visit junkyards and salvage any material he thought he could use. Four years later –aged 16- Gross was awarded an amateur radio license, which was still in effect at the time of his death in 2000.

At the age of 18, Gross enrolled in the Case School of Applied Sciences. At the time, radio frequencies above 100MHz were relatively unexplored territory. Gross wanted to see exactly what could be done with them. He wanted to create a mobile, lightweight, handheld transceiver, using those uncharted frequencies. In 1938, he did just that, patenting the two-way radio, or ‘walkie-talkie’. He was just 20 years old.

War arrived on American shores in 1941 with the attack on Pearl Harbour. America scrambled to mobilize its armed forces and take advantage of any/all new technology that could aid the struggle against the Axis powers. The US Office of Strategic Services (OSS) – a forerunner to the CIA – tapped Gross to create an air-to-ground communications’ system. The system Gross designed employed Hertzian radio waves and was almost impossible for the enemy to monitor, even when allied planes were in enemy airspace. Gross’ system proved incredibly successful (so much so, that it was not declassified until 1976).

After the war, the inventor turned entrepreneur and founded the Citizens Radio Corporation, which took advantage of the first frequencies designated for personal use. His company was the first to receive FCC approval for use with the new ‘citizens’ band’. He licensed radios to other companies and supplied units to the Coast Guard, amongst others.

Then, in 1949 came another amazing discovery. Gross invented and patented the telephone pager. He invented the system with doctors in mind, but the medical community was (amazingly) slow to respond to this new technology. Only New York’s Jewish Hospital saw the potential of the pager as a life-saving device, when they implemented it in 1950.

Throughout the 1950’s, Gross, ever the pioneer, fought hard to garner interest for his newest idea – a mobile telephone. It took him eight years to get mobile telephony, as a concept, off the ground. Talk about being ahead of the curve!

Unfortunately, many of Gross’ best ideas were so far ahead of said curve, that his patents ran out before he could garner the profit his genius deserved. Had he earned the money eventually generated by CB radio, pagers and cellular phones, he would have died an extremely rich man. However, it was not to be.

Gross invented a lot throughout the years, but nothing brought him the amount of money that he potentially could have made from his earlier inventions. However, Gross was able to make a comfortable living, spending the 1960’s working for large corporations as a specialist in communications systems. 

In the 1990’s, he was employed as a Senior Staff Engineer for Orbital Sciences Corporation in Arizona, where he worked on satellite communications, military equipment and aerospace technology.

As an older man, Gross got the most joy from visiting local schools and giving presentations. He took extra pleasure in inspiring the next generation of scientists, engineers and thinkers.

In April of the year 2000, Al Gross (who had garnered numerous awards throughout his career, far too many to write about here) was honoured to receive the Lemelson-MIT Lifetime Achievement Award. He passed away eight months later in December 2000.

Gross never actually retired and was still working at the age of 82, a restless paragon of forward thinking, innovation and tireless imagination.

SOURCE

http://web.mit.edu/invent/iow/gross.html

CML ntros NXDN radio fast-track processor

With very little information on the internet about Walkie talkie’s, it is very rare when we get a chance to re post, with permission, an article from this industry.

CML Microcircuits, a leading innovator and provider of low-power semiconductors for global wireless data and two-way radio communications markets, has released an NXDN processor with embedded Air Interface (AI) Protocol.

The CMX7131/7141 with the NXDN Function Image connects directly to the market-leading CMX994 Direct Conversion Receiver IC. Together, these devices form a formidable chip-set, enabling a fast development cycle for small, highly-integrated, multi-standard capable digital radios that will exhibit a long battery life.

The majority of the NXDN air interface physical layer (layer 1) and data link layer (layer 2) is embedded in the NXDN Function Image, plus a host of advanced features to support the complete radio system and simplify the overall radio design process.

NXDN is an FDMA digital Land Mobile Radio (LMR) open standard and has evolved to become a key narrowband technology in the LMR migration from analogue to digital. NXDN is supported by more than 25 international radio manufacturers and organisations that together form the NXDN Forum.

The new NXDN Function Image adds to the existing suite of CMX7131/7141 function images, now covering dPMR, NXDN, ARIB STD-T98, ARIB STD-T102 and legacy analogue PMR. A radio platform using the CMX7131/7141 can be switched to deliver any of these systems by uploading the appropriate Function Image. This allows radio manufacturers to take advantage of economies-of-scale by adopting a Software Defined Radio (SDR) design route, with one radio design supporting a number of different systems and markets.

The DE9944 FDMA SDR Demonstrator is also available, providing the fastest route from development through to production.

The CMX7131/CMX7141 processors and function images are available now, offering low power 3.3V operation in small VQFN/LQFP packaging.

Source – http://www.ciol.com/ciol/news/212691/cml-ntros-nxdn-radio-fast-track-processor

I recently started watching NASCAR and I was wondering how the drivers communicate with the pit crew?

(Asked by Paul from Dublin, Ireland)

Y’know, I visited your fine city of Dublin many years ago and had a wonderful time. It is a truly magical place.

Anyway, on to your question….

NASCAR drivers use a unique radio system that is built in to their crash helmets. These are occasionally customized to suit the individual wearer. In addition to this, there is a push-to-talk button (exactly like the one found on a walkie-talkie), which is situated in the steering wheel. A wiring harness connects the various components together and a separate battery operates the whole thing. The signal is broadcast via a whip antenna that is attached to the roof of the car. In this fashion, NASCAR drivers are able to communicate with pit crews. Continue reading

Innovative or Simply Post-Modern? New Paradigms in the Study of “Radio”

Radio is the wireless transmission of signals through free space by electromagnetic radiation of a frequency significantly below that of visible light, in the radio frequency range, from about 30 kHz to 300 GHz. These waves are called radio waves. Electromagnetic radiation travels by means of oscillating electromagnetic fields that pass through the air and the vacuum of space.
Information, such as sound, is carried by systematically changing some property of the radiated waves, such as their amplitude, frequency, phase, or pulse width. When radio waves strike an electrical conductor, the oscillating fields induce an alternating current in the conductor. The information in the waves can be extracted and transformed back into its original form.
Etymology
The etymology of “radio” or “radiotelegraphy” reveals that it was called “wireless telegraphy”, which was shortened to “wireless” in Britain. The prefix radio- in the sense of wireless transmission, was first recorded in the word radioconductor, a description provided by the French physicist Édouard Branly in 1897. It is based on the verb to radiate .
The word “radio” also appears in a 1907 article by Lee De Forest. It was adopted by the United States Navy in 1912, to distinguish radio from several other wireless communication technologies, such as the photophone. The term became common by the time of the first commercial broadcasts in the United States in the 1920s. The term was adopted by other languages in Europe and Asia. British Commonwealth countries continued to commonly use the term “wireless” until the mid-20th century, though the magazine of the BBC in the UK has been called Radio Times ever since it was first published in the early 1920s.
In recent years the more general term “wireless” has gained renewed popularity through the rapid growth of short-range computer networking, e.g., Wireless Local Area Network, Wi-Fi, and Bluetooth, as well as mobile telephony, e.g., GSM and UMTS. Today, the term “radio” specifies the actual type of transceiver device or chip, whereas “wireless” refers to the lack of physical connections; one talks about radio transceivers, but another talks about wireless devices and wireless sensor networks.
Processes
Radio systems used for communications will have the following elements. With more than 100 years of development, each process is implemented by a wide range of methods, specialized for different communications purposes.
Transmitter and modulation
Each system contains a transmitter. This consists of a source of electrical energy, producing alternating current of a desired frequency of oscillation. The transmitter contains a system to modulate some property of the energy produced to impress a signal on it. This modulation might be as simple as turning the energy on and off, or altering more subtle properties such as amplitude, frequency, phase, or combinations of these properties. The transmitter sends the modulated electrical energy to a tuned resonant antenna; this structure converts the rapidly changing alternating current into an electromagnetic wave that can move through free space.
Amplitude modulation of a carrier wave works by varying the strength of the transmitted signal in proportion to the information being sent. For example, changes in the signal strength can be used to reflect the sounds to be reproduced by a speaker, or to specify the light intensity of television pixels. It
was the method used for the first audio radio transmissions, and remains in use today. “AM” is often used to refer to the mediumwave broadcast band .
Frequency modulation varies the frequency of the carrier. The instantaneous frequency of the carrier is directly proportional to the instantaneous value of the input signal. Digital data can be sent by shifting the carrier’s frequency among a set of discrete values, a technique known as frequency-shift keying.
FM is commonly used at VHF radio frequencies for high-fidelity broadcasts of music and speech . Normal TV sound is also broadcast using FM.
Angle modulation alters the instantaneous phase of the carrier wave to transmit a signal. It is another term for Phase modulation.

Continue reading

What is Ham Radio & How Does it Work?

Ham radio (so called because its operators were originally derided as being ‘hammy’ in the 19th century, when the technology first emerged) is a term that applies to any form of amateur radio broadcasting.

 

There are designated radio frequency spectra available solely for public use. Uses range from recreation to communication and the non-commercial exchange of ideas. ‘Hams’ take advantage of these frequencies in order to transmit any number of things Continue reading

Essential Services, Essential Technology, Radios at Oil & Gas Plants

Oil and gas are natural resources, but obtaining them isn’t as simple as planting a seed in a patch of arable land. Today, hundreds of thousands of miles of oil and gas pipeline run all over the world, sometimes covering some of the most inhospitable environments known to man.

 

Pipelines that run above ground offer many advantages to oil & gas companies. They are cheaper to build, easier to repair, far simpler to maintain and a lot safer for the environment. However, that same environment also has no qualms about wreaking havoc on the lines, neither do politically motivated saboteurs or occasional wanton vandals who commonly make their presence felt in such places. A pipeline is a complex and intricate operation, which means that in order for everything to go right, nothing can be allowed to go wrong. Continue reading