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!