Thursday, August 29, 2013

2014 AFG Grant Planning

The 2014 Assistance to Firefighters Grant (AFG) application period will be opening very soon.  The time to begin preparing your application is NOW!  One of the things you may want to consider is applying for 700 MHz.  After a decade of no progress in true interoperability, recognition is finally being accepted that there is only one interoperable standard approved by both Federal and State plans.

That standard is APCO P25.  Many states, including Mississippi are already in the process of moving to the new Phase 2 capability which will double channel capacity along with other enhanced features.  Open standard trunking and the opportunity to select from multiple vendors is one of the major benefits now available.

With our manufacturing partners, we are ready to assist you in developing an operational and budgetary plan so that YOU will be ready to submit a winning application.  We will be glad to meet with individual departments in Alabama or Mississippi. There is no charge for these services.  For additional information, please give us a call at 800.489.2611 or drop us an email to In the meantime, if you would like to know more about other grants, just click here.

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Our New Silent Partner Radio Speaks For Itself!

We are pleased to introduce a 2-way radio specifically designed for personal safety.  We call it the Silent Partner.  It is small, lightweight, and easily worn by those who may find themselves in harms way at any time.  Not only does it perform all the functions of other high quality 2-way radios, it also has an added feature of incalculable value!

The Silent Partner is ideal for use in hospitals,  jails and schools, by construction and school traffic control personnel, public safety first responders, and others who need reliable and affordable communications when needed.  Available in either VHF or UHF with up to 5 watts of talk power and a full watt of audio, the lowest operational cost in the industry, AND.......

a special feature that makes this radio different from all others.  THIS radio can send an emergency voice message at the push of a button to alert others when assistance is needed.  You don't even have to pick up the radio.  A convenient emergency call button on the side (or top if your prefer) of the radio allows the user to silently call for help.  There is no indication that the message is being sent.  Even the red transmit light is disabled.  Better yet, the microphone can be left on for several seconds for a live hands free transmission of on scene activity.

Want to use it outside?  Not a problem, this radio is MIL-SPEC 810E and IP65 rated for dust and water protection.  And what if it ever needs repair?  You're not going to believe how fast and inexpensively this radio can be restored to like new condition!  What did we forget?  The price maybe?  How about $199 with Lithium battery rapid desk charger, antenna, heavy duty clip, custom programming, and a one year warranty?  Want to know more?  Give us a call at 800.489.2611 or drop us an email to

Oh, BTW.  The Silent Partner is NOT digital.  Is that bad?  Depends on perspective.  Our friends out in California have spent over twenty MILLION dollars for a radio system to communicate on the Golden Gate Bridge between Oakland and San Francisco.  After YEARS of delay, it still doesn't work.  Click here for more information.  I probably don't have to tell you the name of the vendor.  Sometimes, analog is still the best!

Friday, August 23, 2013

Got Questions About Repeaters?

Since narrow banding, many users have requested information on how to recover the operating range that was lost as a result of the change.  There is no single answer.  For some, a simple vehicular repeater such as the TM8000R may satisfy the need (Click here for more information).  For others, a product such as the AlphaMic system could be the solution (Click here for more information). 

Addressing the need for more range at the mobile in an affordable an efficient solution for small law enforcement agencies, volunteer fire departments, utilities, and various commercial repair services can be accomplished by some unique devices.  The newest of the devices available for mobile use is our own BlueBox which can control a mobile radio from distances of up to a mile away from the associated vehicle(Click here for more information).

In some cases, adding one or more fixed station repeaters may be the best solution.  The are essentially two types available for VHF or UHF analog operation.  Known as Bypass and Zone repeaters, these units allow a user to fill in wide area dead spots at reasonable cost.  We have prepared a new version of our Repeater Planner that will provide more information by clicking here. Check it out.  Hopefully it will give you some good ideas and budgetary costs.  Or, if you prefer, just give us a call at 800.489.2611 or drop us an email at  That's what we are here for - Helping You!

Sunday, August 18, 2013

The benefits of competition

A recent article in the Naples (FL) Daily News tells a story that is being repeated all over the USA. Click here to view the article.  The story is a nutshell is that the police department has requested funding for new portable radios for use by police officers.  The city council is responding by considering reducing the number of radios to be purchased by sharing, rather than assigning radios to each officer.

The police chief requested a five year budget approval of $240,000, or $48,000 per year to replace existing police radios.  That works out to $3,200 per radio with an equipment life calculated at 6 years,  No mention was made of maintenance, but presumably, maintenance would be extra.  The "benefit" of this new radio purchase would be one of providing an officer ID to dispatch.....

Several comments might be appropriate.  We offer a radio with officer ID for under $150!  Presumably, the system used in Collier County Florida by Naples and other law enforcement agencies is a trunked 800 MHz system using a proprietary operating system that limits competition.  

The State of Mississippi has a trunked 800 MHz system that covers in the entire state. The difference between the two systems can by summed up in one word - encryption, not just any encryption, but a proprietary encryption.  Mississippi caught on to this little trick and removed this "feature" which now allows free and open competition between multiple manufacturers.  The net result is the cost of a high quality radio was cut IN HALF with no loss in system performance!

As far as a six year operating life, and the cost of maintenance, we can show you how to extend the operating life to ten years, and cut not only equipment cost, but maintenance cost as well!  Want to know more?  Give us a call at 800.489.2611.  You'll be glad you did!

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Grant Money Available - How To Get Yours!

Bonds, contributions, endowments, grants, bonds, and alternative funding plans are the tools of the trade for cash starved municipal governments.  Some of us wonder how local and county governments ever survived on tax revenues alone. Suffice it to say that the money is there for those who know where it is and how to get it!

Government grants top the list of the most popular sources of additional revenue.  Tait Communications has published an excellent resource guide for identifying and applying for federal grants for communications equipment and related services.  A copy of this guide is available by clicking here.  One of the more popular funding programs is the Assistance to Firefighters Grant which is scheduled to open in October.  The time to begin preparation of your application is NOW!  If you need assistance, just click here. Additional information on the AFG grant is available by clicking here.

Our readers in the Birmingham, Alabama metro area may want to consider a local foundation grant that appears to be ideal for funding our CrimeBuster program (Call us at 205.854.2611 for more information). This grant must be submitted BEFORE September 15, 2013.  Click here for more information. Private foundations can be a valuable resource for funding anywhere in the USA.  A listing of the top 100 charitable foundations is available by clicking here. If you would like to learn more about applying for endowment grants, click here.  We will be at the Grant Foundation meeting in Atlanta on September 10th.  Let us know if you will be coming! 

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

New Blue Box Base!

Our public safety friends, in particular, those in Mississippi that are looking at the MSWIN 700 MHz statewide trunked system, are looking forward to the move from P25 Phase One to Phase Two.  The problem is that P25 Phase Two radios are expensive.  In fact, they used to cost around five thousand dollars per radio until the new technical standards allowed free competition.  The net result that in less than a year, the cost came down by over 50%!

Still, the price on a portable can eat up a two or three thousand dollar bill and mobiles are even more.  On average, you can figure between four and five thousand dollars to equip a law enforcement vehicle and a portable radio for the patrol officer.  Worse yet, the range of the portable is nowhere near as good as the mobile.  When an officer or incident commander is out of the vehicle and on foot, it is just as important to be able to talk as it is when they are in the vehicle.

We developed the Blue Box to address this issue.  A Blue Box complete with a handheld personal 2-way radio is well under a thousand dollars.  A top quality mobile comes in at around twenty two hundred dollars (assuming a mobile with P25 Phase Two capability.  Better yet, our portable has the same range as the mobile, PLUS it can talk over the 800 MHz mobile radio as well as direct to VHF and UHF system users. This equates to significant cost savings plus longer range and more flexibility for the portable.

And now, we are offering the Blue Box Base, the perfect solution for volunteer fire department users.  The picture above tells the story.  We take a good quality American made P25 Phase Two capable mobile radio such as the BK Relm Wireless Model KNG-M800, add an AC power supply, connect the Blue Box (that's it sitting on the top of the mobile radio behind the speaker).  When connected to an outside antenna, either VHF or UHF radios can connect to the MSWIN 700 MHz system from anywhere in the fire district for LESS than the cost of a pair of portables!  Want to know more?  Give us a call at 205.202.1269. You'll be glad you did!

Sunday, August 4, 2013

So, why is Paul Smiling?

Could it be that the weather is clear and there are no power outages?  Or could it be that that he has a good job with an outstanding employer?  Or maybe he just got a new truck? Or maybe the truck is now equipped with a new 2-way radio that keeps him in constant contact with co-workers in other trucks? Or perhaps he just got new uniforms, even a pay raise?

Paul's employer, Tombigbee Electric Cooperative of Guin, AL recently decided it was time to equip their vehicles with 2-way radios.  The problem was that they needed an operating range of at least thirteen miles, direct truck-to-truck without a repeater.  Analog radios didn't do the job, but Hytera MD782 mobile radios met the challenge with the capability to communicate directly between Hamilton and Sulligent - a distance of approximately twenty miles (that's DIRECT miles, not road miles)!

Actually, it wasn't just the radios alone.  This remarkable range was made possible by a new antenna developed by EM Wave that doubles the efficiency of a standard antenna.  Providing the total package including external PA speakers on the vehicles, on-site installation at customer convenience, a great service plan and the flexibility to add enhanced services is why Tombigbee Electric chose Falcon Wireless Direct to supply their communications needs.  We don't just supply the minimum requirement.  We go the extra mile - sometimes MANY extra miles! If you would like to know more about our UtiliCom system for power utilities, click here.

By the way, the real  reason for Paul's smile is that his employer had just distributed new uniforms at the time this picture was taken.  But now, he has a lot more to smile about!