Saturday, October 30, 2010

New affordable CAD systems now available!

Computer Aided Dispatch (CAD) improves operator efficiency for both private and 911 dispatch centers. By knowing the location of fleet vehicles, the dispatchers can select the nearest available responder with minimal effort.

The key to an efficient CAD system is a combination of a GPS receiver in fleet vehicles plus a means of transmitting location data for distribution to operators and administrators.  Currently, the most efficient systems distribute vehicle location information via the Internet which allows password protected access at multiple locations.  For example, an Internet based system allows vehicle location viewing at one or more dispatch positions as well as administrative PC’s either at the dispatch center and/or elsewhere as desired.

The GPS data collected by the vehicle receiver must be transmitted from the vehicle to an Internet connected access point.  Falcon Direct offers three options to accomplish this objective beginning with a “live” reporting system that continually tracks all vehicles in real time.  The equipment cost is minimal, installation is easy, and the cost of connectivity is less than the cost of a cellular data card.

Live vehicle location reporting systems include “back office” program software which is provided at no charge.  The latest variation of the Live Tracking system utilizes an existing cellular data card service associated with vehicle computing systems.  Law enforcement vehicles are rapidly adopting vehicle computers as a basic tool for report generation and information access.  Most PC’s designed for use in police vehicles have a GPS receiver already built in as well as WiFi transceivers and cellular air cards.

Our Live Tracking software can be covertly loaded on an existing air card equipped vehicle PC to provide 24/7 vehicle tracking. You get complete daily reports and email notification of significant items of interest such as extended stops, excessive speed, or travel outside an assigned area.  Once loaded by an administrator, the driver has no way of knowing the GPS system is operational.  It’s kind of like having supervisory personnel in every vehicle!  You won’t believe the cost!

The absolutely most affordable system can be used in conjunction with many popular 2-way radios to provide automatic reporting each time the vehicle radio talks or, if desired, the location of any vehicle can be queried at any time.  There are NO monthly airtime charges associated with these systems!

If you would like more information on affordable and efficient vehicle tracking and Computer Aided Dispatching, just give us a call at 205.854.2611 or email  You’ll be glad you did!

Why don’t Motorola dealers support P25? MR Bird Picker can tell you!

Many of our readers have questioned our steadfast insistence that P25 is the ONLY approved public safety mission critical technology.  Elsewhere in our Blog, we have provided many references from government agencies supporting our position.  Still, the question remains of why are so many Motorola dealers promoting MotoTRBO (aka DMR) rather than P25?  We thought this question was worthy of an answer, so here it is, as best we can explain it.

First, you have to understand the definition of a Motorola “dealer”.  There are actually three different types of 2-way radio dealers, or channel partners if you prefer, which can be briefly defined as follows:

Business Radio Distributors – (Also known as BRD’s or “Birds”). These dealers have a restricted line that is primarily offered by catalogers, web merchants, and others that serve both consumer and entry level business radio communications users.  They do not have access to P25 products. It appears that this “channel” will ultimately replace the traditional Professional dealer (See below) for sales of all analog radios.

Profession and Communications Radio Resellers – (Also known as PCR’s or “Pickers”).  These are closest to what most users identify as a “dealer”.  These dealers are local area business-to-business communications products and service providers. They are “encouraged” to sell only in a defined local sales area.  These dealers are “encouraged” to focus their attention on the sales of MotoTRBO products to non public safety mission critical users.  In the past, these dealers sold the full line of Motorola 2-way radio products.  They are now being “encouraged” to adopt MotoTRBO as the primary focus for their sales.  They are given specific sales goals in terms of dollars.  Those who fall beyond a certain level will be eliminated.  Minimal producers will ultimately be forced out of the market by high volume resellers who are rewarded with higher profit margins. PCR's do not have access to P25 products. 

Manufacturers Representative – State and Local Government – (Also known as MR’s). These are the favored few who are given the opportunity to offer P25 products, along with some other “special” products that are not available to Birds and Pickers, both of which are known internally within Motorola as the Buy/Sell channel.  In other words, Birds and Pickers are given the opportunity to purchase and resell Motorola communications products as long as they meet minimum sales volume levels. MR’s are not resellers. They are commissioned representatives (i.e. they are paid a commission on sales rather than buying and selling).  MR’s work in partnership with Motorola direct sales and support personnel dedicated to serving the needs of State and Local Government through the offering of ASTRO 25 products.

It should be noted that ASTRO P25 is P25 compatible (well, kind of anyway, but that is another story).  If these select few have the right to sell P25 products, the question might naturally arise as to why they are not promoting P25.  There are two answers.  The first is their essential function is to sell “subscriber units” (i.e. mobiles and portables), not infrastructure.  The direct side of Motorola is responsible for sales of Astro 25 networks, which are generally proprietary in nature.  After the deal is made with the state, county, or large municipality by the direct sales force; the MR can then sell the subscriber units as well as providing service for the network.

NOW you know why Motorola dealers don’t promote P25.  They either CAN’T, as is the case with Birds and Pickers, or they won't in the case of an MR.  It can be very difficult for an MR to sell P25 product in an open competitive market since other offerings can be less expensive or more feature rich or both.  Therefore most MR’s find it is best to wait until the Motorola direct sales team has established ASTRO 25 as the P25 system of choice for a State, County or Municipal user, and THEN sell mobiles and portables without competitive pressure.  

Perhaps it is worth noting that some dealers simply do not feel inclined to pursue the public safety market or they may be unwilling to make the commitment required to move to a newer, more expensive technology.  Sometimes, we can get stuck in a comfort zone.  There were many dealers that refused to make the transition from tubes to transistors.  Their offspring are still with us!

There are other sales channels such as Federal Government Resellers, which are similar to the aforementioned MR’s, but with an emphasis on sales and support to federal agencies.  There is also another group known as Radio Solutions Resellers which specialize in network infrastructure sales and support (Consoles, data, etc.).  Additional information is available by clicking here.

Like it or not, agree or disagree, understand or don’t understand, the fact is that P25 IS the technology of choice for public safety.  By the way, Motorola also agrees that P25 IS the technology for public safety.  Click here for more information.   Others in agreement include APCO, All agencies of the federal government, All State Government Interoperability Plans, DHS, FEMA, SAFECOM, and now we hope, YOU!

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

New EZ-Ride2 system for large churches

In case you haven’t noticed…….

Our population is getting older and our churches are getting larger.  This means that church parking lots have to become larger while the members are experiencing decreasing mobility.

As a result, many larger churches are using People Movers (i.e. stretched limo golf carts) to pick up attendees in the parking lot and bring them to the church door – Nice touch!

However, any good idea can be improved.  That is why we offer the EZ-Ride 2 communications system to make the People Mover vehicles more efficient and to provide a higher level of service to church attendees. 

It starts with battery powered wireless Call Boxes at selected locations in the church parking lot.  People Mover drivers are equipped with personal 2-way radios to allow direct communications with users of the parking lot Call Boxes.  The system is simple, efficient and affordable with no wiring required for parking lot Call Boxes.

The EZ-Ride2 system is based on Call Box technology developed by America’s leader in wireless call notification technology and it is built right here in the USA.  The system is performance proven and has been in daily operation for over half a decade by such users as St. Vincent’ hospital in Birmingham, AL and by golf courses, malls, and industrial users around the world.

Want to know more about EZ-Ride2?  Call Candice Wilson at 205.854.2611 or drop us an email to  You’ll be glad you did!

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Communication Planning 101

Got a call from a Sheriff the other day who commented that his communications budget was rapidly approaching the point of exceeding the vehicle operations budget and if things got any worse, it might even surpass manpower!

We know he was kidding (hopefully) but his concerns were valid.  Communications used to be a radio in a car.  Now it is a radio in the car and on the officer, both of which are subject to mandatory narrow banding.  He had been told that when he makes his narrow band conversion that his communications range will be reduced and the only solution is to convert to digital.  If that isn’t enough, the folks with the grant money are saying that anything they pay for will have to be interoperable (whatever that is….).

The State is telling him that he has to go paperless in submitting incident reports, and of course if doesn’t submit reports, he gets no recognition (or funding) from the State.  To accomplish this, he has to put computers in his vehicles and these computers should have the capability to be connectable to the Internet.

His radio people tell him that data speeds on 2-way radio are too slow for Internet connectivity as do his cellular suppliers, in particular those with Push-To-Talk (PTT) service.  That PTT thing was a bit of a sore spot since the only reason he put in PTT phones was for the purpose of getting personal 2-way radio service in areas not within the service area of his 2-way radio system. Over time, the cost of these PTT cell phones doubled, and the cost is still increasing while the quality of service is actually diminishing!

To make his vehicular laptop computers compatible with the Internet, the Sheriff is now faced with either building a WiFi broadband system (a very expensive proposition) or paying monthly service charges for cellular air cards at a cost roughly equal to that of his cellular phone service (i.e. DOUBLING recurring cost!).

Then the 9-1-1 folks tell him he needs GPS tracking so that the CAD (Computer Aided Dispatch) system can make dispatch operations more efficient.  This means adding even MORE recurring cost along with the cost of pagers used for administrative purposes.  The pagers are a special problem as service charges increase while coverage decreases.  This situation, he is told, is the result of fewer paging users.  He said that didn’t make him feel any better….

His Patrol Commander tells him that they need to improve communications security through the use of encrypted voice communications or acquiring equipment and services capable of operating in a text mode with individual, group, or departmental selective capability.

He told us that his recurring communications cost was running close to five thousand dollars a month and he was just wondering if we could give him an assist for improving his capabilities while simultaneously REDUCING his cost.

The answer is we CAN and we WILL, both for him and for YOU!  If you would like to know how, just give us a call at 205.854.2611.  If you prefer, just drop us an email to

By the way - That picture at the top is a condensed 75 year history of wireless communications starting at the top left and advancing to the bottom right.  We've been there the whole time!

Thursday, October 14, 2010

The V-COM Solution To The Top 3 Fire Communications Problems!

A number of Alabama Fire Departments recently received $2,500 grants to improve communications. The question most commonly asked was what can we do with this small amount of money to provide the most benefit for our department?

The answer is V-COM exclusively available from Falcon Direct!  The V-Com system provides a vehicular repeater to extend portable talk-back range from poor coverage areas.  The inability to communicate back to dispatch from marginal coverage areas was recently rated as the number one issue with the majority of fire departments, both rural (when in remote areas) and urban (when in buildings).  V-Com addresses and corrects both problems!

The second biggest complaint was being heard.  Drivers and pump operators can’t hear the radio due to high noise levels associated with sirens and pump operation.  Worse yet, dispatch operators can’t hear drivers and pump operators due to background noise on the scene.  To make matters worse, noise levels on fire vehicles often exceeds both NFPA and OSHA safety standards, a huge problem within itself.  V-COM solves these problems!

The third major issue was the need for tactical communications capability for administrative personnel that was clear, private (encrypted), and independent of the dispatch frequency.  V-COM provides a simple and affordable solution!

Want to know more about V-COM?  Go to for complete information.  You’ll be glad you did!

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

New covert vehicular tracking devices now available from Falcon Direct!

Falcon Direct will be displaying the latest in covert tracking technology at the Alabama Narcotics Officers Association Conference in Sheffield, Alabama on October 14, 2010. Candice Wilson will be demonstrating three different models of real time vehicular tracking devices with prices starting at well under a thousand dollars INCLUDING web based software for live viewing, daily reports, and email notification of vehicle activity.

Two of the tracking devices are battery powered with operational periods of up to 80 hours of driving time between charges.  A micro-sized weatherproof model is available for under hood mounting and direct 12 volt connection.  This extremely affordable and totally covert model is ideally suited for long term surveillance.

Other products being shown include the latest CrookCatcher wireless surveillance system with direct notification to most VHF or UHF 2-way radios as well as a new line of 2-way radios with silent alert, message recording, and encryption at incredibly low prices.

Compete information is available at  If you prefer, call us at 800.489.2611 or email

Monday, October 4, 2010

Affordable control of off premises devices, via radio, with SwitchBox!

Our new SwitchBox let’s you use your two-way radio to control all kinds of things!  You can turn electronic warning sirens on and off.  You can turn pumps on and off.  You can turn signs on and off!  In a nutshell, you can turn virtually ANYTHING on an off that uses electrical power for activation or deactivation.

The SwitchBox was originally designed for emergency operations centers to control activation of warning sirens in the event of severe weather or other emergencies. Since this is a mission critical application, the SwitchBox was designed for outdoor use in severe conditions.  If you ever stood in the middle of a high plains Nebraska wheat field in the middle of January, you KNOW what severe outdoor environments are all about!

The SwitchBox consists of a radio control receiver that can be activated by up 3 programmable ON codes plus an OFF code with connection to two programmable relay outputs.  The entire electronics package is housed in a NEMA 4 weather resistant case with an external antenna and internal heater.  The SwitchBox can be controlled by any two-way radio capable of transmitting standard 2-tone page codes, or optionally by DTMF.

The SwitchBox is available in your choice of VHF or UHF, custom programmed to your specific requirements. It’s made in the USA and it is affordable – just $1,095 for everything including a one year factory warranty, free programming, and shipping to anywhere in the USA.  An optional DTMF decoder adds $99 and you can purchase your own programming kit for just $49.

Got a need to control something by radio?  Get a SwitchBox!  Get it from Falcon Direct!  Get it TODAY by calling us at 800.489.2611.  Now, aren’t you glad we told you about SwitchBox?

Private firefighters?

Many of our readers are firefighters, both paid and volunteer.  That's why we thought a recent article in AOL's on-line news might be a topic for discussion.  If you missed the article, click here. In essence, the article deals with private firefighter services provided by major insurance companies to provide premium services for high value property owners.

The rich have long enjoyed the benefits of private security services, even soldiers of fortune!  Is fire protection any different? What are your thoughts?  Is there an opportunity here for professional firefighters to supplement or increase income? How do volunteer firefighters feel about working side by side with contract service firefighters?

Is this a new market for those who provide equipment and services to firefighters?  As always, your comments are welcome!