Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Happy 2009!

Another year has come and gone.  As a matter of policy, we don't remember the bad stuff - we only look forward to good stuff and hope you have lots of good stuff for 2009!

Speaking of good stuff, ICOM's Federal GSA group has just published their winter newsletter.  Normally, this information is primarily directed to those who are involved in the marketing and distribution of ICOM products to government users.  However, there is some really good information in this newsletter dealing with trends in the move to digital communications - in particular P25 and the IDAS Very Narrow Band 6.25 kHz digital system.

There is an article on railroad use of 6.25 kHz technology that we know will be of interest to many of our users as well as an article on rental radios.  You can learn more about our rental plan by visiting  Many of our governmental users can use the rental program to migrate to new digital systems as grant money becomes available.  If you would like to hear some of our ideas on this subject, just give us a call at 800.489.2611.  In the meantime, you can view the ICOM GSA Newsletter at

Wishing you and yours all the best for 2009 and looking forward to working with you in the coming year!

Friday, December 26, 2008

New Wireless Headsets for radio control and intercom use

Falcon Direct has introduced a new wireless headset system especially suitable for use by fire and rescue users.  These new headsets provide wireless connectivity to a vehicle 2-way radio for extended range capability when the user is operating the pump or other associated fire ground activities.  Installation is simple and inexpensive since there is no need for connection by driver or passengers.  As an intercom, all crew members can communicate privately without tying up a radio channel.  The new system meets NFPA and OSHA requirements for user hearing protection.  Additional information is available at

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

New REACT Emergency Radio Program

Some of our readers are familiar with REACT, a kind of a citizens emergency communications network.  Along with amateur radio operators, Red Cross Communications, and FEMA, these folks are mostly volunteers who are available to help in times of distress.  They do some good work and it may be of interest to you.

One of the really special things they are currently offering is a top quality Midland FRS radio for just $10.99 including shipping!  This radio includes both FRS and low power GMRS channels which has some interest to us as we are in the process of developing a community alerting program to be announced in early 2009.  We'll be telling you more about this soon, but in the meantime, you may want to pick up some of these radios at an exceptional price.

Additional information is available at

By the way, we wish your and yours a very Merry Christmas!

The Falcon Team
At your service!

Monday, December 22, 2008

FCC Enforcement Information

Although not generally known, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) is a regulatory agency.  While it is true that the FCC writes rules and policies (subject to Congressional approval), the fundamental task of the FCC is to administer and ENFORCE the rules for the proper operation of communications devices and networks, both wired and wireless.

Unfortunately, as a result of numerous contributing factors (notably, budget, priorities, and staffing) many feel that this agency is a toothless tiger.  Go to most any CB shop and you can easily purchase a CB “kicker” of up to 1000 watts.  These illegal amplifiers can destroy legitimate CB communications for legal users as well as endangering the health of the user and those around them.

We know about those who sell unlicensed GMRS radios to hospital emergency room personnel without regard for FCC licensing or the prohibition of business use on GMRS frequencies.  Go to any GMRS web forum and you will find that the majority don’t know that an FCC license is required or even care.  Most users don’t know the bandwidth or power limitations on MURS frequencies.  Even fewer know that equipment capable of producing radio frequency energy must be tested and approved by the FCC.  In some cases, the applicable term is certification, while in the case of most 2-way radio communications devices, the term is known as type acceptance AND certification.

Hardly a day goes by that that we don’t see a dual band (VHF/UHF) radio authorized only for amateur use in the hands of public safety users who have been provided with simple modification instructions to allow the illegal use of these radios for public safety use.
We have received several solicitations from a Chinese manufacturer desiring to sell their products in the USA to companies like ours at heavily discounted prices.  We probably don’t have to tell you that the products are NOT type accepted.  The same situation applies for U.S. products built for export use (Think Motorola GP68 for example).

While we acknowledge than leniency translates to privilege in the minds of many, we also know that justice works only when swiftly and fairly applied with punitive action of sufficient force to discourage all but the most dedicated law breakers.  That is why the crime rate in Singapore is MUCH lower than in the United States.

Having said all this, we think it might be noteworthy to comment on current FCC enforcement policies as they relate to wireless communications.  The rules call for fines, forfeiture, and even imprisonment for violators but the most common is significant fines which can be as much as eight thousand dollars a day!  Here is a partial excerpt from FCC Policy Statement 91-217 which defines violation fines for land mobile users.

         Exceeding power limit authorized by license         
         Exceeding authorized antenna height                     
         Using unauthorized frequency                              
         Operation at unauthorized location                        
         Unauthorized emissions                                        
         Use of unauthorized equipment                              

If you are in potential violation of one or more of these rules, you probably don’t have anything to worry about UNTIL the guys in the black Fords show up.  By the way, telling the guy with the badge that your dealer or the nice lady in China said it was OK to violate FCC Rules does not transfer the responsibility.  It’s YOURS!

We think it behooves you to know the rules, and to take the necessary action to be sure that you are in compliance.  If you have questions, call Falcon Direct at 800.489.2611.  For additional information on the FCC available from Falcon Direct, go to the Search Box directly underneaththe date at the upper left hand section of this page, and type in the word FCC for a list of topics. 

New Falcon Direct Website

As most everyone knows, the content on our web site is totally unique.  However, finding what is needed has sometimes been difficult, especially for first time visitors.  We decided it was time to do something about this - not by copying everyone else, using flashy graphics, or hiring a web page designer who knows nothing about what we do.  So, as usual, we did it ourselves!

Those who remember us as Falcon Wireless, the name we used prior to 2000, can use the web address of  Or, you can use our regular web address.  Either way, you'll land on our new web page which we hope you'll like.  This web page is made for easy searches on topics of interest.

You can do a quick search at the top using the Google page search.  Even though we don't have fixed monitor receivers listed (very popular for fire stations), you can quickly find our offerings by just typing in the words "fixed monitor".  You can also use the Site Map directory at the top of the page, call us, or email us by using the Contact Information provided.  If you've ever wondered what makes us different from everyone else, just click on the About Us tab at the top of the page.

The most frequently searched topics have been arranged to make it easy for you to search by manufacturer, user groups, special user information, or our most popular product groups.  We hope you like the new format.  We'll be tweaking things up before the first of the year to add topics such as narrow banding, FCC information, technical standards, and funding alternatives, plus any other topic that may be of interest to YOU! Just drop us an email to, and let us know what additional information you would like to have included on our web page.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

New Batteries guaranteed for 3 years!

Being first in our industry is nothing new for Falcon Direct!  Last week we introduced an industry first with a 10 year warranty on our antennas.  

This week we are introducing another industry first with the first 3 year battery warranty!  We call this the 10-3 Program.  

Our public safety readers may recall the Ten-Codes that have been around for decades.  10-3 is a coded way to say "Stop transmitting". Our task is to KEEP YOU TRANSMITTING with superior products and low cost of operation.  That's what 10-3 means to us with a 10 year warranty on antennas and cable/mount kits coupled with a 3 year warranty on batteries.   

We call these batteries SuperCells.  They are lightweight, high capacity, memory free, non-toxic Lithium-Ion cells that will outperform Ni-Cd and Ni-MH batteries while simultaneously providing the lowest cost of operation possible. You can learn more about our special batteries at

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

New antennas have 10 year warranty!

Falcon Direct of Birmingham, AL today announced the introduction of a complete line of communications antennas known as the SuperTenna.  These antennas and the associated mount/cable kits have been demonstrated to provide up to 25% more efficiency than conventional antennas and mount kits.

Not only do the SuperTennas offer enhanced performance, they are also covered by an unprecedented 10 year warranty!  If any SuperTenna ever fails from any cause other than abuse within the warranty period, it will be instantly replaced at no charge to the user.  This warranty applies to base station, mobile, and portable antennas for the VHF, UHF, 700/900 MHz bands as well as GPS.  Additional information is available at or by calling 800.489.2611.

FCC License Emission Designators

Elsewhere on our Blog page at, we address FCC licensing issues (See FCC Information Section), like the requirement for having a license, call sign identification, etc.  In an effort to keep those we serve in compliance with applicable FCC requirements, we continue to stress the need for proper licensing.  One of the most overlooked requirements is the Emission Designator.  You’ll see it on your license down toward the bottom in the center of the page.  Your license MUST show the correct designator.

Typically, older systems will have a designator of 20KOF32 for 25 kHz analog operation or 11KOF3E for 12.5 kHz analog operation.  The last three digits are VERY important.  F3E means the license covers ANALOG voice use only.  Digital operation, such as Motorola MotoTRBO would require the last three digits to be FXE or FXD (The correct designator for MotoTRBO digital operation is 7K60FXE for voice or FXD for data). For additional information visit :

For most purposes, the following designators are recommended:

Wide Band (25 kHz) analog 11KOF3E (Voice) or last digit D for data  

Narrow Band (12.5 kHz) digital 8K10F1E (Voice) Last digit D for data 

Very Narrow Band digital 4KOOF1E (Voice) Last digit D for data 

If you wish to check your own license, you can do so by going to, then scrolling down and selecting Wireless Telecommunications on the right side of the FCC Home page.  Then click on License Search and enter your FCC Call Sign (If you don’t have one, that’s a whole other issue….).

If in doubt, give us a call at 800.489.2611.  It’s better to be sure than sorry!

Friday, December 5, 2008

Christmas Message

Lord, give me the heart of a fireman…….


The place could be anywhere across the USA in thousands of small rural communities.  The names of the people are not well known.  They are just ordinary folks who get up and go to work every day, some to more than one job and all who volunteer for one or more community activities.  They are called volunteer firemen, or in many cases, fire and rescue personnel.  I think our Creator calls them special.  I know that I do!


It was 24 degrees when I recently visited one such group.  It was the night of their weekly meeting.  All were there except one younger member who was in training, on his own time, with no pay, to learn how to be a better volunteer fire and rescue worker.  There were a lot of the “over fifty” crowd and perhaps some beyond that.  24 degrees is pretty cold for Alabama, but every member was ready to serve their community night or day as duty called.


I had not been to this department for over eight years, yet several members recalled my last visit, and the Chief still had my business card.  These guys place their values in people, not things!  Many are employed in the manufactured housing industry, an industry that is suffering greatly from the deeds of financial manipulators and greedy politicians whose acts have resulted in loss of jobs, extended layoffs, and an average loss in their retirement funds of over 40%.  Yet, even though there was a brief discussion on the subject, not a single member blamed their woes on someone else, applied for welfare, or even complained.  All they wanted was the opportunity to continue working to support their family and community.  I think our American car makers and government leaders could use a little guidance from these folks.


Like all meetings of this type, there is an agenda that includes a review of old business.  One of the topics of the evening involved a medical response to a member of the community.  It seems the response time was a little longer than usual.  There were no excuses.  Some explanations were reviewed to determine what was wrong that could be corrected without focusing on the blame or excuse game.  A two point plan evolved.  The first was to extend a sincere apology to the person with the medical problem and second, to initiate a plan and a purpose to never let such a thing happen again.  They didn’t even require a board meeting.  They simply identified the problem and took the necessary action.


For what it’s worth, many of the members were at a local high school basketball game the night that the previous incident occurred.  Support of school programs and participation in church activities is just a small part in the life of volunteer fire and rescue personnel.  These are not the captains of industry and you’ll probably never see their names in the media, but I think I know one place where you’ll see their names.  It’s called the Book of Life and it is maintained by the big Scorekeeper in the sky.  That makes at least two of us that appreciate what you do!


Lastly, for all you whimpering atheistic left wing rabble rousers, I have only one thing to say to you and all your kind……


Merry Christmas!

 Burch H. Falkner

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

New Uprogrammable Radios!

Relm Wireless has a long tradition of innovation, starting with the introduction of the first transistor radio in 1948 by Regency Electronics, now known as Relm Wireless.  They have been instrumental in the popularity of scanners, pioneer developer of low cost business radios, and a leader in the production of user programmable radios.

Many of our readers will remember the RH256 programmable mobile radio and the WHS150 programmable portable radio as well as the more recent RP99 series. The RP99 portable is now being phased out for the introduction of two new programmable radios.  The new RP6500 series portable and the RM800 series mobile are both user programmable with no PC or special tools required!

We are offering special Alabama Contract pricing to our public safety users with prices beginning UNDER $200 for a MIL-SPEC rated 5 watt 128 channel radio with LCD display and all the features you would expect in radios costing hundreds of dollars more.  You can get all the details at Check them out - you'll be glad you did!

Thursday, November 27, 2008

New Safe School products introduced

Falcon Direct has been helping to make schools safer for almost a decade!  We have recently completed a listing of our Top 10 products for school safety.  As expected, 2-way radios are at the top of the list. What may not be expected are the incredibly low prices for military grade full featured radios with prices beginning at just $135.  Some of the more interesting products include the incredible VanCam for student transport vehicles, an emergency call button system for administrative offices, a low cost fixed radio for offices and remote classrooms plus much, much more.  Additional information is available at

Monday, November 24, 2008

Top Ten Fire Products by Falcon Direct

Many fire department users are receiving Assistance to Firefighter grants.  As a result, we have been asked to make our recommendations for our best choices in mobile, pager, portable, and repeater station equipment as well as vehicle intercoms. We added a few items of our own that we feel are especially well suited for fire department use.  

We thought you might like to see our top ten choices.  Some, if not all, of them may be new to you.  You can check them out at Hope you find this information useful, and oh, by the way - Happy Thanksgiving!

Friday, November 21, 2008

Vehicle camera competitive comparisons

We are very much aware.......

of our competition including the low cost suppliers such as Martel and Super-Circuits, either of whom can provide a vehicle camera system for under three thousand dollars, or even two thousand dollars.  So can we, if we reduce the recording time capacity, cut our warranty in half, take away the features you need, trash customer service, and leave you on your own for installation and maintenance.

We understand the Digital Ally concept of the all-in-one DVR, monitor and rear camera.  So what if you have a monitor that you can barely see and a rear view camera that views only the upper body and not what’s going on in the back seat?

We are familiar with the various recording technologies including DVD’s which were never designed for mobile recording use and can lose critical data, mobile hard drives that won’t work below 32 degrees and low capacity 1 or 4 GB compact flash memory cards that require constant removal and archiving.  We are aware of the applications of wireless data downloading as well as the problems many users have experienced.

We know the benefits of GPS for marking evidence scenes and establishing point of presence.  What we also know, that others apparently do not, is the significant benefits available through the proper use of GPS for full time vehicle tracking and administration and how you can have this capability without paying any more (actually often less) than other systems by Interceptor and WatchGuard.

We are aware of the benefits associated with systems by Integrian and Mobile Vision (as well as some of the shortcomings) and we have the capability to match the features of these high end systems (such as wireless downloading), but we think our own System III offers a significant cost advantage coupled with some major administrative advantages.

We interviewed police departments all over Alabama, large and small to determine what users like you really wanted.  The response was good video quality, simple operating requirements, reduced cabin clutter in the driver compartment, secure and simple data transfer, minimal operations workload, reliability, fast and affordable service when required, useable GPS capability, a good rear camera that records the full back seat area, low light level capability for both the front and rear cameras and simplified pricing.  The result is known as System III. For more information, please visit

System III is a simple, affordable, and efficient vehicle camera system that has been designed for YOUR needs, not some razzle dazzle techno golly box that is a maintenance and/or operational nightmare. 

We have gone to significant effort to make sure that you have ALL the facts before purchasing a vehicle camera system.  A low initial purchase price is long forgotten after you learn that you could have enjoyed the best for less.  The simple fact is that we can reduce administrative requirements, simplify operation, keep maintenance costs to a minimum, and give you the evidence you need at reasonable cost even though we haven’t been in business since 1957 (Actually, only since 1989).

One of the lower priced suppliers invites you to ask a single question before purchasing a vehicle video system – How long have you been in business?  The fact of the matter is that vehicle cameras didn’t exist in 1957 and if length of time in business was an acceptable method for evaluating the capability, we would all be driving GM vehicles instead of watching their bail out request hearings on TV.  We say, Look at the rest, then choose the best – System III from Falcon Direct!  A product brochure is available at  

Saturday, November 8, 2008

New E-Vision System for Prisoner Transport Vehicles

The use of vehicle camera systems in law enforcement vehicles has proven to be very beneficial in reducing litigation costs and improving administrative control.  Similar technology can now be used in prisoner transport vehicles to enhance officer safety while providing better administrative control.  The new E-Vision surveillance and tracking system monitors and records all activity in the prisoner transport area as well as continually recording vehicle travel.

A 5' monitor mounted in the driver compartment allows viewing of the prisoner(s) at all times. In addition, all activity is recorded and saved to a Compact Flash (CF) card with up to 8 hours or recording time.  Data from the CF cards can be viewed using an on board Digital Video Recorder (DVR) and the vehicle monitor or transferred to a standard Windows PC using a CF card reader supplied with the system.  No expensive back office equipment or monthly service charges are applicable.

Monitoring of prisoner activity is of significant benefit, but that is just part of the capability of the E-Vision System.  This incredible system monitors and records all vehicle activity including stops, travel routes and speed.  The same CF data card can be used to view all vehicle traffic activity, a tremendous administrative tool!  Additionally, if your vehicle is involved in an accident, you'll have evidence you need in the event of litigation.  The price is right!  The benefits are incalculable!  Additional information is available at

Friday, November 7, 2008

On-Site Communications Update

Some people don't know that there is an American communications manufacturer that actually makes their products in the USA (Carmel, Indiana to be exact) employing American workers (not a single "undocumented worker" in the whole plant).  The company, Ritron Inc., is named after the founder, Bill Rice.  It is still a family owned company specializing in developing and producing unique products to serve specialized communications needs.

We were recently asked to effectively explain what these products do, how they work together, how they are applied for the benefit of prospective users, and to provide simple and complete pricing information.  By the way, we had to condense the whole thing down to two pages!  Surprise, surprise - we did it!  If you are involved in any endeavor that could benefit from improved on-site communications, we think you find this information helpful in obtaining better administrative control, enhanced safety, and an improved ability to better serve those you serve.  Complete information is available at

New EMS products announced at AARS Conference!

Candice Niedermeir (0n the right) and Joy King (On the left) are enroute today to attend the Alabama Association of Rescue Squads conference in Mobile, AL representing Falcon Direct. They will be introducing and re-introducing special products and services especially suited to the needs of emergency medical operations. An overview of our offerings is available on line at Some of the items and services, you may have seen before, some are brand new, and that is our subject for today!

One of our new products is the E-Vision Vehicle surveillance and tracking system. This incredible product monitors and records all activity in the patient transport area as well as tracking and recording every move by emergency vehicles for playback as required. Not only is E-Vision a great administrative tool, it is extremely valuable in litigation issues. The complete system is well under two thousand dollars which is about a fifth the cost of going to court as a result of a case charging negligence or accidents involving emergency vehicles. You can learn more about E-Vision at

We are also making a special offer to introduce our EMS users to the benefits of digital communications. We have purchased a quantity of ICOM radios capable of operating on standard, narrow band, or very narrow band channel spacing in either an analog or digital mode (or both) at a very good price. We are ready to pass the savings on to our customers by offering TWO radios for the price of one! Additional information is available at This offer ends November 30, 2008 or upon depletion of stock. Call us at 800.489.2611 or email sales@falcondirect.comTODAY!

Monday, November 3, 2008

Radio Rental Program for the holidays!

Retail merchants and others involved with pre-Christmas activities often have temporary needs for portable 2-way radios.  We've got them at the lowest prices in the USA!  Complete information is available at with monthly rates as low as $39 monthly or $19 weekly.

If you have a short term need for rental radios, give us a call at 205.854.2611,toll free at 800.489.2611, or email  We'll be looking forward to hearing from you!

B-STock Program Announcement

Our November Newsletter is now posted at  One of the main news items is the introduction of our new B-Stock Program (  For the first time ever, you will find 5 watt VHF portable radios for as little as $89, UHF Motorola mobiles for under $200, and even the popular Motorola MotoTRBO mobiles and portables for under $600, even MotoTRBO repeaters for $1,600 or LESS!

If you've been waiting for the best deal ever on HeadLine, HYT, ICOM, Motorola, Relm, and Ritron radios, this is is it!

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Good News for our Public Safety Friends!

We attended the Alabama State Purchasing Vendor Open House today in Montgomery today. All approved Alabama State Contract vendors were invited to meet prospective purchasers and other vendors. A good time was enjoyed by all, including us! Since we represent multiple approved communications vendors (ICOM, Midland, Motorola, and Relm), we divided our time among those we serve and also brought along a brochure of our own featuring some products that are not yet on the contract.

Among other things, we are offering antennas with lifetime guarantees, 2-way radio batteries that last for a week, and a new battery service program that allows you restore life to batteries that have lost their capacity for less than fifteen dollars! It's an incredible program!

A copy of the brochure is available at Check it out and download a copy. We think you'll be impressed!

Sunday, October 26, 2008

New radios from Maxon!

Maxon is the company that gave us our first affordable public safety radios back in the 70's with a four channel crystal model that offered compact size, light weight (at least for it's time), durable construction, and inexpensive accessories.

Without going into the details, let us just say that many Korean manufacturers have suffered greatly under the burden of Chinese competition.  That's the bad news as Korea is one our strongest trading partners.  The good news is that Maxon has not only answered the Chinese challenge, they have introduced radios that raise the bar to the next level!

Two brand new radios are now available that offer incredible value, features, functionality, MIL-SPEC 810F reliability at a price of only $289!  Your choice mobile or portable, VHF or UHF with the features and performance of radios costing hundreds of dollars more.  Check them out at  You'll be glad you did!

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

A word about service!

Some vendors talk about service.  Some don't give it a thought, and some bend over backwards to take care of their customers.  We are one of those "backwards bending" organizations.  Still, we risk losing business when the user is located some distance from our facilities in Birmingham, AL.  As a result, we do some extraordinary things to take care of our customers.  If you've been thinking about considering, or not considering us as a potential supplier for your communications needs, we thought it might be appropriate to share an example of what we do for just ONE of our customers.

This particular customer is a county school bus system operation located some three hours away from us. The system is a Motorola MotoTRBO digital system with approximately 100 units, mostly mobile, plus fixed stations in all the schools, and portables for administrative and maintenance personnel. They have all the features available with MotoTRBO including GPS tracking and text messaging. Ordinarily, providing service on such a system would require a local service organization, but we are not ordinary.  Here's what we do!

We have a complete mirror image system at our shop including the repeater, all software, plus working mobiles, portables, and fixed stations.  We can duplicate and correct virtually any problem.  We have trained our user to do their own installs, first level maintenance, and programming.  Most times, we can identify and correct a problem over the phone.  We can send corrected software changes by email, even exchange defective radios as required.  We can replace the repeater the SAME DAY if necessary. The picture at the upper left is of a standby base station with duplexer that is set up and running in our office.  It is ready for instant exchange when required.

This system is not just sitting on a shelf.  It is actually running along with associated mobiles, portables, and fixed stations.  In our shop, we have a complete setup with both voice and data radios connected to a PC with the customers software, mapping, and messaging system running at all times.  We have portables and mobiles, both with operational GPS connected and running.   If we have to troubleshoot a problem, we can do it at our facility with no travel and no delay.

That' a picture of the office setup with PC, voice and data control stations and associated user radios at the right. We do the job better, less expensively, and more efficiently.  When you are considering the purchase of communications equipment, ask your prospective supplier what can of plan they offer to take care of you BEFORE you make your purchase.

Can we take care of YOU?  You bet we can, and we can do it very well!

Saturday, October 18, 2008

13% Fuel and overtime savings for less than the price of a gallon of gas!

With the latest economic trends in mind, fleet managers worldwide are working hard to improve fleet efficiencies, reduce costs, increase asset productivity and improve customer service.  A recent study also found that employees of businesses deploying GPS-enabled technologies saved approximately 54 minutes per day, with yearly labor savings of $5,484 per employee. Survey respondents also credited location-based services with improving the organization of employee routes. Other findings of the GPS fleet tracking survey.

GPS fleet tracking technology enables mobile workers to spend less time in traffic or finding routes

GPS fleet tracking increases the amount of time spent with customers

Customer service cited as the #1 reason why businesses invest in new GPS technology.

GPS fleet tracking helps drivers locate new stops

GPS fleet tracking streamlines the delivery process

This follows closely on the Aberdeen Group Report which showed similar findings, including a 13% fuel cost while also reducing overtime costs by 13%.  Want to know more about GPS and how if can help YOU?  Go to 

Thursday, October 16, 2008

New Product for Law Enforcement!

We are a long time supplier of vehicle camera systems (See As good as they are, we have lacked the ability to provide viewing inside the suspect vehicle. Now that's all changed with the introduction of a new product known as the SV-1000, a combination flashlight and DVR video/audio recorder. This personal digital video recorder is a three-in-one tool. As a flashlight, the white LED has 3 brightness levels to provide illumination with minimal battery drain. During the day or night, you can conveniently record video with audio or take photos. The incredible new SV-1000 is ideally suited for law enforcement use since it provides enhanced officer safety and evidence recording that would not be possible with vehicular camera systems.

The really great news is the price - just $299 complete with rechargeable batteries, AC and DC chargers, and CF mini memory card that allows up to 512 MB of data to be saved and transferred to your PC for viewing, storage, and retrieval. Additional information is available at

Sunday, October 12, 2008

A word about customer service

Several days ago, I was in the store of a friend of mine, who is in the computer business.  A customer came in to purchase a wireless router and my friend turned him away, stating that he didn’t sell or support wireless routers.  He then explained to me why he didn’t sell these products.  His comments are worth repeating.

My friend recognized that any product sold should be backed with good customer service which includes personal, email, live chat, and phone support.  With a typical profit margin of ten dollars or less, he simply could not provide the necessary support so he chose not to sell the product and concentrate his effort in areas where his knowledge and talent would be of value to the customer and profitable to his company.  Smart man!

The fact is that customer service has a cost.  One of the companies most often criticized for overcharging for software is Motorola.  Motorola charges ten times (or more) for software than most other companies.  They also require that all purchasers register before they will see the software at any price.  Why does Motorola make it so hard to purchase software?

First, there is an FCC requirement that field programming of 2-way radios is only to be performed by SELF SERVICING END USERS or as we call them, SEU’s.  This means that the user must possess the technical capability and knowledge of the FCC rules before being given the opportunity to change the operating parameters of licensed communications devices.  Motorola makes every attempt to assure that they have met this requirement before selling software.

Second, Motorola recognizes the benefit of knowing who has their software to allow them to notify users of upgrades, renewals, etc.

Third, and maybe most important of all – Motorola generates sufficient revenue to provide the support necessary to assist their customers when help is needed.  That is business the way it should be!

So what is our point?  The point is that you don’t get something for nothing!  While it is true that many manufacturers offer low cost programming software. It is basically sold as a product or accessory on the assumption that the purchaser will know how to follow the instructions provided with the software (generally in the Help screen section).  This has proven to be not necessarily so….

Does that manufacturer owe their customers phone support to walk them through programming issues?  Whether they owe it or not, the fact is that they cannot justifiably support such customer service on a low cost 2-way radio sold on extremely tight margins. 

So what is the solution?  We can take a lesson from Microsoft.  You pay for specialized support.  We charge $75 per hour with a $25 minimum.  If you need help in programming any of the products we sell, with the exception of Motorola, call us at 205.854.2611.  Have your American Express, Discover, MasterCard or VISA ready, and we’ll give you an assist.  This way, we can provide the highest level of customer service at reasonable cost.  That’s a winning situation for all concerned!  You get service as required, and we don’t go broke in the process!