Tuesday, May 22, 2012

New StreetCam+ Vehicle Camera System for Law Enforcement

At the recent Alabama League of Municipalities conference in Birmingham, Falcon Direct demonstrated the new StreetCam+ vehicle camera system especially for law enforcement use.  For less than $500, it is now possible to equip any vehicle with a dual camera system including a crash sensor, GPS tracking, Geo-fencing and all the features you would normally expect to find in systems costing thousands of dollars more. Click here for a short video about this incredible system

This amazing new system uses readily available smart memory cards with storage capacities of up to 64 GB (2 GB standard) and high quality video that can be easily transferred to any Windows based PC, laptop or net book for pre-trial review and/or court evidence. If desired, a  low cost option is available that instantly downloads recorded data to a department Wi-Fi hot spot.

Completing the package is a pocket audio recorder which can be use for recording conversations with traffic violators, complainants, or suspects.  Both the camera and the audio recorder files can be retained in MP3, WAV, or WMA formats.  

A lower priced version is available for those who wish to use the camera/recorder without the microphone for EMS, Fire, Utility, or commercial use.  Additional information is available at http://www.info4u.us/streetcam+.pdf or by calling 800.489.2611. Other professional grade vehicle camera systems are available with features and performance for the most discriminating user.  Drop us an email to ServingU@falcondiret.com for more information.

Now, here is the part that sets Falcon Direct and the StreetCam+ apart from every other vehicle camera provider in the industry.  First, we offer a 100% guarantee of satisfaction. Click here for details.  Second, at any time during the the first year, we will allow a 100% credit toward the purchase of any of our professional grade cameras.  You ARE going to be satisfied - we guarantee it!

Monday, May 21, 2012

New municipal services announced at Alabama League of Municipalities Conference

Falcon Direct today announced four new programs at the Alabama League of Municipalities conference in Birmingham  to build safer, more efficient communities throughout the State of Alabama.

Notably, a new Planning Guide is now available to assist municipal agencies in complying with the FCC unfunded mandate for narrow banding of VHF and UHF radio systems as a well as suggestions for procuring funding.

An aid to law enforcement, known as CrookCatcher Program has been introduced to provided effective and affordable premise and equipment monitoring coupled with rapid notification capability.  Similar equipment used as a part of the Guardian Program, available for use by churches, schools, and the merchant community for protection of personnel and property.

The newest program, known as ISEE provides administrative overview of field activities resulting in greater safety for field personnel, improved productivity, and reduced litigation expense.  A summary of the materials presented is available for those unable to attend as well as for those outside of Alabama.  To obtain your copy, please email your request to mailto:ServingU@falcondirect.com.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Another kick in the head for MotoTRBO

First it was a 10 watt limit on DMR radios (think MotoTRBO).  Now the Public Safety Communications Council (PSCC) is refusing to coordinate any non-voice use by DMR radios. Click here for the full story.

This means goodbye to GPS and Messaging for DMR users.  NXDN (think ICOM) doesn't have the problem.  Open standard P25 conventional (think of just about any manufacturer except the one promoting "Astro" enhanced P25) doesn't have the problem.  Even analog doesn't have the problem!

All you people who have been saying that MotoTRBO is the ideal public safety solution should let your voices be heard! Speaking of voices being heard, they have been loud and clear for over two years, and mostly ignored.  The MotoTRBO interference problem is not new! Click here and scroll down to the FCC report(under Committee Reports) issued in the April 2010 minutes of the Western Washington Cooperative Interference Committee (WWCIC.org).  It is through the efforts of people like this, that some level of control can be exercised over those who trample upon the rights of others.  No pay, no glory, not even appreciation, except maybe from those few of us who are thankful that such organizations exist. Keep it up guys and gals!

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

VHF and UHF Trunking Update

Most of my readers know that I personally have a real problem with organizations and/or sales representatives that put their sales objectives ahead of taking care of those they have chosen to serve (or dis serve as the case may be).  Case in point - VHF and UHF trunking.

Dealer sales representatives from several of the largest communications suppliers in the USA are out in force to sell DMR, NXDN and P25 trunking on VHF and UHF frequencies. They never bother to mention what the FCC has to say about the use of centralized trunking systems on shared use frequencies.

Although no one has officially admitted any knowledge of FCC Rules violations, interference to other users, or the jeopardy in which they place their customers; there is at least one individual and one magazine that has the guts to stand up and tell the world that there can be consequences for such actions.  I am personally thankful that such people, although rare, still exist. 

To knowingly lead a trusting customer into the pitfalls of VHF or UHF trunking without fully explaining the risks is at the least unconscionable, or at worst criminal.  These same representatives also never mention that they are leading their customer into a sole source relationship which leaves them no option but to pay through the nose for both equipment and service, FOREVER!

When federal grant money is involved, such practices are clearly contrary to the guidelines of the Department of Homeland Security for both interoperability (there is none) and adherence to open standards, not to mention a little issue with violating FCC regulations. Lack of adherence to FCC regulations has postponed use of a large DMR county-wide system in central Alabama and lack of compliant frequencies has indefinitely delayed installation of a multi-million dollar P25 system in an adjoining county.  So much for interoperability.  Incredibly, such systems are still being proposed and considered by prospective customers who base their decisions on emotion and vendor preference rather than facts.

Although not commonly known, there is a way to provide trunking that is based on an open standard that is fully in compliance with DHS, FCC, FEMA, and SAFECOM standards, but my guess is that you'll never hear about it until it is too late.

If you are considering the purchase of a VHF or UHF trunking system, I encourage you read the article available by clicking here.  If you would like additional information, please give me a call personally at 205.854.2611.

Friday, May 4, 2012

Narrow Band, the sunrise approaches!

As you may already know, December 31, 2012 is the last day that wide band (25 kHz) radios can be sold, used, or MANUFACTURED in the USA! All public safety and business industrial land mobile radio systems operating in the 150-174 and 421 - 470 MHz radio bands must cease operation on 25 kHz efficiency technology (except where allowed by FCC rule) and begin operating using at least 12.5 kHz efficiency technology. This deadline is the result of an FCC effort that began almost two decades ago to ensure more efficient use of the spectrum and greater spectrum access for public safety and non-public safety users. Migration to 12.5 kHz efficiency technology (once referred to as Refarming, but now referred to as Narrowbanding) will allow the creation of additional channel capacity within the same radio spectrum, and support more users. 

While this mandate is generally assumed to focus on VHF and UHF 2-way radio users, very few of us have given any thought regarding the effect on MANUFACTURERS. Most are already in the process of phasing out 25 kHz equipment at this very moment with plans to stop manufacturing wide band radios as early as July of THIS YEAR! The question is why would they do that?  The answer is that that don't want to get stuck at the end of the year with inventory they can't sell.  What they are doing is doing what they must do in the best interest of their stockholders, their employees, and ultimately; their customers!

Our reason for telling you this is that as early as July 1st, many radio models will be available ONLY in narrow band.  Your choices for wide band radios are already limited and they are rapidly becoming more limited.  In addition, the backlog of unprocessed license modification applications is rapidly building at the FCC.  You need to be taking action NOW, not at the last minute!  We are doing our part to assist you in making this transition as easy as possible with not one, but THREE Narrow Band Planning Guides.

We now have a Guide for users who wish to continue using analog radios or for those that have not yet made a decision on whether to continue using analog or moving to digital.  For those that are considering moving to digital, we offer planning guides for both DMR, the TDMA solution offered by Hytera and Motorola as well as NXDN, the FDMA solution provided by ICOM and Kenwood. These guides are free on request by calling 205.854.2611 or sending an email to ServingU@falcondirect.com. You can save yourself a lot of time and money by obtaining your copy of the Guide of your choice.  Do it today! 

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

FEMA Grant Money Soon To Be Available!

FEMA will be opening the Assistance to Firefighter Grant (AFG) program shortly. Workshops are being scheduled this month with the application period expected to begin in June.  The schedule for workshop locations is available at http://www.fema.gov/firegrants/tools/workshop_schedule/index.shtm

We suggest that you check daily as the schedule is updated periodically with additional locations added as appropriate. In the past, we have brought together groups of departments for the purpose of applying for a regional multi-department communications grant.  This year we are revising our role to one of assisting those requesting our assistance in equipment planning (this is done at no charge) whether for an individual department or for a group of departments. The major difference this year is that our role will be one of responding, rather than initiating.

As an additional change, we will assist in grant preparation and serving as program administrator for those departments that desire such services.  In this capacity, we charge for grant preparation ($500) and for program management fees (3% of the equipment price for approved items).  Both of these fees are eligible for funding.  We cannot guarantee approval of your grant application, but we have many years of experience in this area. If you retain us to prepare your grant and as your program manager, we will be exempt from acting as a supplier since serving both functions would constitute a conflict of interest.  We are happy to serve in either role, as a potential communications supplier or as your grant writer and program manager.  We just can't be both.....

Our primary focus is on radio communications equipment.  If your interest is for a truck, turnout gear, or other items, we will be happy to recommend a grant writer who offers specialized assistance in this area.  We will provide program management services at our standard 3% reimbursable fee on any Assistance to Firefighter (AFG) grant project.  The complexities of program compliance, bid procedures, and administering the grant is a task requiring a considerable amount of time and experience in such matters.  As a reimbursable expense, we recommend including program manager services for any AFG grant project.

Additional information on what we do and how we do it is covered in our current eNewsletter which is available on line at http://www.falcondirect.com/newsletter/may.