Friday, February 18, 2011

Common sense may be returning to Alabama!

On February 22, 2011, the Alabama Department of Homeland Security made the startling announced that a planned 700 MHz statewide communications system would be delayed indefinitely (Click here for details).  Those of us who watch such things view this as much more than a “postponement”.  Cancellation might be the better term!  So why would I have such a thought?

Well, for one – we just had an election.  Almost immediately, the old DHS administration were out the door and gone forever more.  Now we have some local people at the top who understand that Alabama’s needs come first in Alabama, which is as it should be!  Nationwide interoperability is neither affordable, needed, or practical for local first responders.  Now we have a chance to do things the right way.  Many federal agencies have known how to do it correctly for many years.  Did you know that the DHS operations center in central Florida can communicate nationwide RIGHT NOW?  Did you know that the FBI has maintained a nationwide VHF network for DECADES?  So why do we need nationwide interoperability at the local level?

The fact is that WE DON’T!    What we need is a simple and affordable network that allows an officer in pursuit to communicate with an adjoining jurisdiction or a tactical frequency for local area mutual response fire and rescue activities.  Hospitals are well along the way with the establishment or regional disaster communications systems as are Amateur radio operators.

700 MHz trunked technology is outdated, expensive, and inefficient as was evidenced several years ago at the collapse of the Mississippi river bridge in Minneapolis. The cost over runs and coverage issues are well known in every state that has ever attempted to develop and maintain 700 MHz systems.  In simple terms, better, more affordable and efficient technology is readily available.  We are ready to discuss better alternatives to any that may be willing to listen.  We can be reached anytime at 205.854.2611 or by email at

For now, our thanks go out to the current Alabama DHS Administration for showing what appears to be the beginning of common sense.