Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Alleged digital radio problems

The magazine article most referred to as being "the source" of a report on problems associated with digital radios was apparently written by someone who had no interest or ability in getting the facts relating to the story on problems with digital radios (See http://cms.firehouse.com/content/article/article.jsp?sectionId=46&id=59566) As you review the article, you will note that the article mentions neither the manufacturer, the type of digital system, or the frequency band used - all of which are extremely important. Several incidents have been reported, not only by Firehouse magazine. An article in Fire Chief magazine (earlier published in MRT magazine) provides a much better overview and factual comment on the situation (See http://firechief.com/technology/communications/firefighting_uneasy_silence_0608/). Please see our earlier July 1st post for our comments.

P.S. We thought an update to this Blog might be in order. Since we archive our Blogs it is not uncommon for an older Blog, such as this one, to pop up when someone is doing a generic search on a particular topic such as "problems with digital radios". Since our original comments, and those of others; we can sum up the current situation in 2010 to say that there can be a problem with high noise levels when using digital radios that may be a little worse than an analog. The technical reasons are unimportant. The issue is to address, and correct the problem as much as possible. Here is an easy and quick fix that is being used by a number of fire departments all over the USA.

While on the scene, operate your radios in the analog mode. Since all digital radios have dual mode analog and digital capability, this solution is easy and affordable - just switch to an analog TAC channel and your problems are over. Life does not have to be complicated.....