Saturday, February 27, 2010

What in the world is a Hytera?

One of the few assurances in life is that when there is something new in wireless communications, you will always here about it first from Falcon Direct! Now for the news about Hytera.....

Hytera is a new product offering from HYT America, one of the fastest growing communications companies in the USA. As the battle lines are drawn between differing narrow band technologies, one fact is very clear. Like it or not, 2-way radio communications is going digital. Not only is it going digital, it is also moving toward the fusion of communications and computers.

Traditional 2-way radios are moving toward three basic technologies. APCO-25, or P25, is the U.S. Government standard based on an FDMA (Frequency Division Multiple Access) protocol for Phase 1 and TDMA (Time Division Multiple Access) for Phase 2. This is the only technology currently approved for fire grant funding and the recommended technology for all public safety communications. The NXDN protocol promoted by ICOM and Kenwood also uses FDMA as a basic platform, but it is totally incompatible with P25. There is a third protocol called DMR (Digital Mobile Radio) that has its origins primarily in Europe that uses a form of TDMA that is also incompatible with P25. DMR, until now, has been offered only by Motorola in the United States, where it is known as MotoTRBO.

Aside from the endless debates as to which is the best technology, the fact that there has been no competitive offering to MotoTRBO which has been a major concern by many prospective users. The Hytera offering, for the first time, provides an alternative to MotoTRBO. In the case of P25, there are many competitors. With NXDN, there are currently three choices, and now MotoTRBO users have a choice as well. Competition advances technology and reduces cost to the consumer. We think this is a good thing!

We'll be telling your more about Hytera very soon. For now, we just wanted to keep you informed on the rapidly changing dynamics of wireless communications technology. In the meantime, we know that a great deal of confusion is being caused by overly aggressive, often misinformed, and in some cases, deceptive sales representatives. For the sake of clarification, let us address a few fundamental issues.

First - P25 is the ONLY technology approved for PUBLIC SAFETY communications. Some misguided sales representatives are attempting to present MotoTRBO as a public safety solution. It is NOT! The following is an excerpt from the Motorola Q&A website at

Is MOTOTRBO compatible with P25 technology/systems?

No. The P25 protocol (TIA Project 25 standard) was adopted for public safety sector use and currently uses 12.5 KHz FDMA technology. MOTOTRBO supports the ETSI Digital Mobile Radio (DMR) standard for large organization/enterprise two-way radio customers and uses 12.5 KHz (6.25 equivalent-6.25e) TDMA technology.

What types of organizations/businesses would be best suited for MOTOTRBO?

Public (government) administration, public works, manufacturing facilities, transportation companies, small campuses such as resorts and schools, construction sites,and energy/utility companies, as well as small, municipal public safety organizations (as long as they don't use FEMA grant money for the purchase and they have no desire to participate in a statewide Interoperability plan - Comments ours).

The battle for superiority in the public safety sector will be by those who provide top quality P25 equipment at reasonable cost. Already, there are some really competitive offerings as you will see in a special report available at Check it out for information that we hope will be useful in your system planning.

Speaking of planning, we were recently asked to provide a long range plan by a major user looking for a near term solution for converting to narrow band, and a long range objective of selecting the best digital system as well as enhanced features such as paging, trunking, vehicle location, etc. That plan is currently being prepared and shared with a number of users with similar requirements. It is based on the migration to narrow band using NXDN technology for a non-public safety user.

The elements of the plan would generally apply whether you were considering DMR, NXDN, or P25 technology. If you would like to receive a free copy of this planner, please send us your name, organization, daytime phone number and email address to We think you may find this information to be very useful in making your plans for narrow banding and enhanced capabilities. For more information, please click here to visit the Hytera webside. We will also be telling you more about Hytera during the month of March 2010. You WILL be impressed!

Thursday, February 25, 2010

New VHF Pager-Radio now available!

We are delighted to introduce the smallest, lightest, rugged, full featured and affordable Pager-Radio ever offered. The new ICOM F3001, along with the previously introduced F4001 UHF model gives you everything you need for reliable 2-tone paging and a full 5 watt MIL-SPEC radio with IP54 moisture and dust protection.

The F3001 is unique in it's price range with MDC1200 digital ID capability and instant switching from 25 to 12.5 kHz narrow band capability at the push of a button! Full specifications are available at

The price? An incredibly low $238 with your choice of a 5 year factory warranty, spare alkaline battery pack for extended use where chargers are not available, or a 3 hour rapid charger in lieu of the standard 10 hour charger. Or, if you prefer, get it with all three options for just $288! Nothing else even comes close! Call us at 205.854.2611 or email for additional information. If you wish, you can order on line by clicking here. You're going to LIKE this radio!

Monday, February 22, 2010

New Site Protection System Announced!

Hardly a day goes by that we don't get a call from a 2-way user with an emergency need to restore service of a base station or repeater that was damaged by lightning. We also get calls from users whose radio was damaged by sags, spikes, or surges on the AC line. Even those users who have battery or generator backup power generally do not know the station is operating on battery power or if the generator has come on (or turned off).

Would you believe that we have a readily available solution that costs just $653? Don't take my word for it! Check out for complete information. For the cost of LESS than the cost of the average power related service call, you can have full time protection continuity of service, and peace of mind!

Give us a call at 205.854.2611 for additional information or just drop us an email to You'll be glad you did!

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

We couldn't help but notice.......

As many of our readers know, we are aware of the efforts of some suppliers to divert prospective public safety communications users from P25 technology to alternatives. Many of these prospective customers have been awarded 2009 AFG awards based specifically on the purchase of P25 communications equipment. Without getting technical, we will simply say that if your mother sends you to the store to buy bread, and you come back with candy, there COULD be a problem! That's why we couldn't help but notice the comments of an executive of a major communications vendor in a recent on-line publication.

The following comments of John North, General Manager of the Kenwood General Systems Group appeared in the February 17, 2010 on-line news published by Radio Resource Media Group. For the full article, click here. Mr. Norths selected comments with a few comments of our own in red.

“One of the many and more important benefits of NEXEDGE (Kenwood's version of NXDN) is Project 25 (P25) features at an affordable price (In other words, it's "like" P25, but NOT P25). Some P25 proponents (Like DHS, FEMA, and SafeCom I presume) have said introducing another digital technology to public-safety agencies could hinder interoperability. Grant funding has been another issue surrounding the NXDN-based technology.

Federal grant programs imply (Imply? Oh really? Does that mean the same as REQUIRE?) agencies must deploy P25 equipment to garner funding. North said the recent update to the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) SafeCom guide for federal grant programs can be interpreted as requiring P25 deployment for public safety (And who would the "interpreter" be? Would it be an official of DHS or someone else?). “But if you read closely, the door is cracked open for an agency with a compelling story to tell,” North said. “Grant funding is a little more challenging but it has been proven it can be done.” (I have looked all through the guidance and spoken with DHS officials at the State, Regional, and Federal level, and I can't find a reference to a cracked open door).

For those that would prefer to deal with supposition rather than fact, the comments from the aforementioned person sound pretty good. The problem is that they don't quite agree with the written facts. Those that choose to proceed on such advice should be aware of the fact that it is the one to whom the grant is awarded that is responsible for compliance - not some third party creative "expert" on cracking doors...

And, for what it's worth - the article relates to 9-1-1 and Drug task force funding, but we know that many Firefighter grant applicants could be confused by this "crack in the door" statement. The Assistance to Firefighters Grant consists of an application review process that involves numerous individuals and agencies for compliance with AFG guidelines. Each one of those reviewers makes their decision based on the content of the information submitted by the applicant. Even if an "exception" is granted (and I have yet to find anyone willing to grant such an exception in writing) to switch from P25 to an alternate technology, the act of making such a change appears be fraudulent unless everyone involved in the review process is made aware of the change and agrees to the change. Anything less makes the entire review process meaningless and potentially puts all involved parties in harm's way.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

We've Found A New Grant Opportunity!

It's not a big grant, but it's a grant. It's not for everyone - only for ALABAMA Fire Departments. So, you may be asking - why are we putting this on our Blog for all our readers? The answer is that we have to get this information out quickly as our Alabama fire departments have less than a week to prepare and submit their grant applications.

Actually, there is another reason for sharing this information with our readers around the world. The reason is that we were asked to provide twelve different super value equipment packages especially for fire departments that cost LESS than $2,500 each. We thought this information was worth sharing with ALL of our fire department users. After reviewing this information, we think YOU will agree.

Here's what you do! Go to and take a look at these incredible products. You are in for a very pleasant surprise! If you are an Alabama fire department, give us a call at 205.854.2611 or email for additional information. We'll be looking forward to hearing from you!

Monday, February 8, 2010

Important message concerning fire grants!

Many of the AFG applications filed in 2009 were for communications equipment, in particular interoperable communications based on P25 technology. Some applicants are finding that the cost of P25 equipment is significantly more expensive than expected (at least as quoted by some suppliers). Some equipment vendors are suggested that those who have received grants for P25 interoperable equipment can substitute other "digital" equipment for P25 which will result in significant cost savings and "better" operating capability.

In the briefest statement possible, let us simply say that if your 2009 AFG grant application specified P25 interoperable equipment, that is exactly what you are expected to purchase! To proceed on the advice of those who encourage you to do otherwise could result in some really unpleasant results. Just remember - it is not your communications supplier that FEMA looks to for grant compliance. It is the one receiving the grant! The granting of federal funding for communications is predicated on compliance with SAFECOM guidance. There are not other standards - just SAFECOM! For the current guidance, please visit

Having said that, you should know that it is entirely possible that you CAN get P25 equipment and still stay within your budget. Additional information on this subject is available at We we would be remiss if we did not mention that there are some excellent alternatives to P25 digital for those who will not be using federal funds for communications equipment purchases. One of the better ones is the IDAS technology by ICOM. Additional information is available at

Sunday, February 7, 2010

New antennas can DOUBLE range!

Not too long ago, we introduced the efficient and affordable XTenna to improve mobile radio performance. This incredible antenna has lived up to it's promise to double performance with a money back guarantee. So far, not one request for a refund has been received. We searched all over the world to find a portable antenna and a base station that could provide similar performance gains for portable and fixed station radios.

The result was the introduction of YTenna for portables and the ZTenna for base stations. The offer is the same - We guarantee that these antennas will outperform any other antenna at anywhere near the price of these amazing new products or your money back! Additional information is available at