Beta
×

Welcome to the Slashdot Beta site -- learn more here. Use the link in the footer or click here to return to the Classic version of Slashdot.

Thank you!

Before you choose to head back to the Classic look of the site, we'd appreciate it if you share your thoughts on the Beta; your feedback is what drives our ongoing development.

Beta is different and we value you taking the time to try it out. Please take a look at the changes we've made in Beta and  learn more about it. Thanks for reading, and for making the site better!

US Sets Up Emergency Multi-Band Radio Project

samzenpus posted more than 5 years ago | from the switch-it-to-channel-danger dept.

United States 130

coondoggie writes "Looking to help eliminate the dangerous and inefficient hodgepodge of communication and network technology used by emergency response personnel, the US Department of Homeland Security (DHS) today said it had picked 14 groups from across the country to pilot an ambitious Multi-Band Radio project. In 2008, the DHS Science and Technology Directorate awarded a $6.2 million contract to Thales Communications to demonstrate the first-ever portable radio prototype that lets emergency responders — police, firefighters, emergency medical personnel and others — communicate with partner agencies, regardless of the radio band they operate on."

cancel ×

130 comments

Sorry! There are no comments related to the filter you selected.

Scary... (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28551341)

Dons tin foil hat... Can it read brain waves too?

Re:Scary... (1)

mcgrew (92797) | more than 5 years ago | (#28556677)

Only yours.

Really? (4, Funny)

Frosty Piss (770223) | more than 5 years ago | (#28551347)

New government program to make us safer, managed by Homeland Security? This can only end in a very expensive disaster...

Re:Really? (4, Insightful)

Ihmhi (1206036) | more than 5 years ago | (#28552207)

Hey, it's only taken, what, eight years after the radio clusterfuck that was 9/11 for this to happen?

Re:Really? (0, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28552409)

I was just thinking that. And this is the same government that people want making their personal health care decisions for them. The same government that issues Social Security checks to dead people, and sends 2 stimulus checks to others. Every time I meet a worshipper of big government, I just want to slap them in their bitch mouth. Want to prevent another 9/11? Allow people with concealed-carry handgun permits to fly with their loaded handguns in the cabin.

Re:Really? (0, Flamebait)

InsertWittyNameHere (1438813) | more than 5 years ago | (#28552517)

Allow people with concealed-carry handgun permits to fly with their loaded handguns in the cabin.

Best idea of the year. Would be hijackers would never think of getting permits and carrying their own handguns!

Re:Really? (0, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28552651)

Allow people with concealed-carry handgun permits to fly with their loaded handguns in the cabin.

Best idea of the year. Would be hijackers would never think of getting permits and carrying their own handguns!

Yeah, because we all know that terrorists love a challenge and want to dodge bullets from passengers during their hijackings.

News Flash: Those who would harm others tend to go after those who cannot protect themselves, not those who can stop them dead in their tracks.

Re:Really? (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28552753)

That's the thing about guns: you never know who else has one, so you'd better behave. If they did want to start something, I'd be happy to cram the barrel of my .45 in their mouth and send their brains up to first class. Seriously, it would be a moment of sublime joy for me. Especially if I could write to their mother afterwards and tell her that she did a shitty job, and that her son died on his knees begging for his life like a sniveling bitch.

Re:Really? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28553069)

Why would they need a handgun? Box-cutters seemed to work just fine...

I think the idea would be to make it easier for the good guys on the plane to deal with the bad guys.

Re:Really? (1)

rubycodez (864176) | more than 5 years ago | (#28553553)

actually, box cutters lost their effectiveness after that day. anyone trying that shit again would be physically mob rendered like a pig at a slaughterhouse. talk and reason with hijackers was the thinking before sept 11, foolish since a hijacker is by definition someone who is threatening death. best to just assume they intend the worst and proceed on that basis.

Re:Really? (1)

Randall311 (866824) | more than 5 years ago | (#28553671)

I don't disagree with you, but you have to remember that all hijackings before then were with groups that have some sort of demands other than "Allah be praised!" as they suicide attack us. In retrospect the "Common Strategy" tactic was stupid, but you cannot fault the thinking at the time, it fit nicely with all hijackings up to that point. Hindsight is always 20/20.

Re:Really? (1)

johanatan (1159309) | more than 5 years ago | (#28553121)

I think the point is that it would not matter if they did as the number of 'good guys' with guns would be larger than the number of 'bad guys' with guns.

Re:Really? (2, Insightful)

YrWrstNtmr (564987) | more than 5 years ago | (#28555565)

I think the point is that it would not matter if they did as the number of 'good guys' with guns would be larger than the number of 'bad guys' with guns.

Not really. How many people carry a weapon on them on a daily basis? Not flying, just around town. I've heard estimates of 2%.
So, on a 100 person flight, you might have 2 people. All the bad guys have to do is load up one flight with 4-5 guys. And they have the advantage of timing, coordination, concealment, and fanaticism.

Re:Really? (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28552683)

Want to prevent another 9/11? Allow people with concealed-carry handgun permits to fly with their loaded handguns in the cabin.

I agree. The test for this should be as such: Fly the applicant to normal cruising altitude for a passenger jet and put a bullet or two through one of the windows. If he lives, he gets his permit.

Illogical, Captain (2, Insightful)

westlake (615356) | more than 5 years ago | (#28554541)

And this is the same government that people want making their personal health care decisions for them.

You will discover - at a certain age - if not before - that the government and the HMO are making the big decisions for you today.

The same government that issues Social Security checks to dead people, and sends 2 stimulus checks to others

Which - on balance - probably does less harm than the denial of a check to someone still living.

The US population over 65 is about 40 million.

If your employer is "doing business" on that scale - what is his error rate on accounts payable?

Every time I meet a worshipper of big government, I just want to slap them in their bitch mouth. Want to prevent another 9/11? Allow people with concealed-carry handgun permits to fly with their loaded handguns in the cabin.

You believe that big government will get everything wrong but the permit to carry a concealed weapon.

You are sandwiched into your seat - very awkwardly positioned - but still expect to pull off a quick one without killing the hostage.

Prototype Demonstration (3, Funny)

mcrbids (148650) | more than 5 years ago | (#28554057)

Policeman: So, what is this thing we have here?

Engineer: It's a dual-band radio! See - here on one side of it, you have the normal frequency that you use as a policeman. And.. (flips device around) here you have the frequency used by the firemen! We spent $400,000 of tax dollars to develop this!

Policeman: So let me get this straight: I have two radios in one device!? It's bigger than my normal radio...

Engineer: Yes, that's it! Now you are no longer encumbered with just police communication!

Policeman: But it's like twice as big as my normal radio...

Engineer: Yes, but think about the convenience! Now you can communicate with the other departments!

Policeman: Departments? With an "s"?

Engineer: Well, if you want to talk with another department, like say....

Policeman: Medical?

Engineer: ... yeah - medical - you would need one of these! (pulls out even bigger box)

Policeman: This one is like three times the size of my normal radio! How much weight do you want me to carry around?

Engineer: Yes, but look at the quality! Each radio has its own independent volume and frequency knob! You can customize it to work the way that you want to!

Policeman: And, let's say I want to include the Highway patrol...?

Engineer: Got that too. Here's the four-band radio...

Policeman: BUT THIS IS EVEN BIGGER?!?! This is like four times the size of my normal radio...

Engineer: And each band has it's own volume knob, battery compartment...

Policeman: Say, you didn't just get four normal radios and tape them together, did you?

Engineer: Of course not! These radios are made to exacting standards -

Policeman: Yes you did! I'm peeling them apart now!

Engineer: Turns and runs while policeman chases him, throwing radio parts at him...

Re:Prototype Demonstration (1)

laejoh (648921) | more than 5 years ago | (#28555797)

Engineer: Yes, but look at the quality! Each radio has its own independent volume and frequency knob!

I hope the volume knob goes at least all the way up to eleven!

Re:Really? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28552875)

ShipCom LLC SMART NETWORK PLATFORM (SNP) - "The SNP solution is an overlay network designed to connect non-compatible wireless and wired communications devices used by emergency responders without requiring changes in any of the currently used radio systems." Why should you have to buy a new radio? http://shipcom.com/SNP/Smart%20Network%20Platform%20Brochure-3.pdf

Also, "The SMART NETWORK PLATFORM is based on proven telephone company central office technology. The heart of the SNP is a customized, redundant, carrier grade central office switch manufactured by Eagle Telephonics. Unlike IP based systems, SNP is immune to denial of service attacks."

Bad news, Taco... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28553183)

Kevin Jonas is getting married. That's one less little boy's anus for you to abuse.

Hey while they're at it... (4, Funny)

Billy the Mountain (225541) | more than 5 years ago | (#28551361)

Why don't they add in an analogue television signal?

BTM

Re:Hey while they're at it... (1)

cellurl (906920) | more than 5 years ago | (#28551401)

$6M to stick 5 walkie-talkies in a big box.... Way to go TallToes

Re:Hey while they're at it... (4, Interesting)

Obfuscant (592200) | more than 5 years ago | (#28551953)

No, it's worse than that. It's $6 million dollars being given to a company to do something IT HAS ALREADY DONE.

Thales already makes and sells a multi-band SDR handheld called the Liberty. It costs $5k for the simple (no trunking) version.

Why the hell is our government giving a company money to develop something already being sold?

Re:Hey while they're at it... (3, Funny)

cellurl (906920) | more than 5 years ago | (#28552211)

We're both gonna get fired. I work for their competitor Rockwell...

Re:Hey while they're at it... (1)

AHuxley (892839) | more than 5 years ago | (#28552445)

Why the hell is your government giving a company money with internal security like this?

http://www.smh.com.au/articles/2009/04/06/1238869885378.html [smh.com.au]
http://www.brisbanetimes.com.au/technology/defence-contractor-linked-to-neonazi-group-20090406-9ubu.html [brisbanetimes.com.au]

Re:Hey while they're at it... (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28552927)

Same reason they're installing Windows in mission critical applications in the military? :D

Re:Hey while they're at it... (1)

JakartaDean (834076) | more than 5 years ago | (#28554481)

No, it's worse than that. It's $6 million dollars being given to a company to do something IT HAS ALREADY DONE. Thales already makes and sells a multi-band SDR handheld called the Liberty. It costs $5k for the simple (no trunking) version. Why the hell is our government giving a company money to develop something already being sold?

Umm... they're not? If you RTFA, you'd read that they are being given $6 million to pilot field test the units with 14 different agencies, from Honolulu to Ottawa. There is no mention of any money being given for development. I know this is /. and all, but you might want to browse the article, or at least the summary, before commenting.

Actually... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28556613)

Why don't they add in an analogue television signal?

BTM

I think that is why they decommissioned the analog TV in the first place... Think of the money they saved by using the same frequency with the exisiting infrastructure in place.

Savage Love (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28551421)

Dear Savage Love [mailto] :

I am a 51 year old male who is into hardcore scat. I meet men at Linux user groups for turd binges and human toiletry on a monthly basis.

My longtime physician recently retired and I'm having trouble finding another one who is willing to prescribe the appropriate antibiotics and parasite medications that are essential for this kind of lifestyle. All of the general practitioners I've talked to tell me to stop my "potentially life-threatening activities" and won't discuss long-term care.

Dan, I need a doc who's willing to work with me in my shit-struggle and give me the pills necessary to continue exploring Linux hippie ass. Do you recommend any certain kind of doctor or even individuals? I'm quite wealthy and am willing to travel nationally for this care.

Thanks,
  Eric S. Raymond [mailto]

Check with amateur operators (2, Insightful)

billsf (34378) | more than 5 years ago | (#28551459)

The capabilities described seem to be no greater than (modified) ham radio gear. I simply don't see what all the fuss is about. Commercial products are __far__ cheaper and far easier to assess the bugs, including "birdies". (If you've ever used a spectrum analyser you why there called birdies. :)

Re:Check with amateur operators (4, Funny)

Red Flayer (890720) | more than 5 years ago | (#28551941)

Commercial products are __far__ cheaper and far easier to assess the bugs, including "birdies". (If you've ever used a spectrum analyser you why there called birdies.

I've never used a spectrum analyser, so I'm going to assume it's because they drop verbs from transmissions.

Re:Check with amateur operators (2, Informative)

ralewi1 (919193) | more than 5 years ago | (#28553171)

There are two large PDFs with qualitative and quantitative system requirements here [safecomprogram.gov] . This system goes beyond "modified ham radio gear", and few ham operators carry their equipment into burning buildings, etc.

TETRA (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28551461)

Why don't they just use TETRA?
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Terrestrial_Trunked_Radio [wikipedia.org]

Re:TETRA (1)

fbjon (692006) | more than 5 years ago | (#28554585)

Why don't they just use TETRA? http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Terrestrial_Trunked_Radio [wikipedia.org]

..which VIRVE [wikipedia.org] is based on, a nationwide network that all Finnish security and rescue services use.

NIH, maybe?

Waiste Money on what has allready been done (5, Insightful)

pcjunky (517872) | more than 5 years ago | (#28551469)

Why don't they ask the group who has been using multiband equipment for several decades. Amateur Radio operators. They have radios that operate from below 1 MHz to over 1GHz. They have been doing (without pay) emergency radio communications for a very long time now.

Re:Waiste Money on what has allready been done (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28551563)

Um, I suspect they are going to talk to Electronic Engineers, who are interested in multi-band radio technology, and are probably Hams. It still costs money to design a protocol or machine.

Re:Waiste Money on what has allready been done (3, Insightful)

nametaken (610866) | more than 5 years ago | (#28551659)

Where's the money in that?

Re:Waiste Money on what has allready been done (4, Informative)

zentec (204030) | more than 5 years ago | (#28551673)

Because hams don't use APCO25 or many of the other digital public service protocols currently in use. They also can't encrypt their communications as many agencies have the need to do.

This is a software defined radio that can be programmed to work with any of them, and ostensibly, all of them. Including analog FM systems that hams use.

There are many amateurs who are using their own software defined radios, so in a way, I guess you're correct. But I doubt Motorola, GE or Ericsson are going to turn over information on their communications systems to the hams. But they will give it to Thales...for a price.

Re:Waiste Money on what has allready been done (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28551873)

Because hams don't use APCO25 or many of the other digital public service protocols currently in use

Oh yes they do...

http://www.florida-repeaters.org/apco25proof.pdf [florida-repeaters.org] for one example.

Re:Waiste Money on what has allready been done (1)

Obfuscant (592200) | more than 5 years ago | (#28552101)

Because hams don't use APCO25 or many of the other digital public service protocols currently in use.

Yes, hams do use P25, in addition to D-STAR. It's not common, but there is now a P25 section in the repeater directory along with the D-STAR section.

The goal of "interoperability" is to get rid of "many of the other digital public service protocols" and use just one.

Re:Waiste Money on what has allready been done (1)

wealthychef (584778) | more than 5 years ago | (#28553441)

Does that mean we'll have a single point of failure? Loss of heterogeneity might come at a price...

Re:Waiste Money on what has allready been done (2, Interesting)

Obfuscant (592200) | more than 5 years ago | (#28553825)

Does that mean we'll have a single point of failure? Loss of heterogeneity might come at a price...

Ummm, no. Just because all radios use the same digital system doesn't mean there is a single point of failure. All the radios would have to fail. It's not like all the radios using one digital mode must communicate through one node.

Now, there IS a "single point" problem when you try to convert from simple radio systems to trunked, but "trunked" and "digital" are not synonyms.

There is nothing to be gained from "heterogeneity" other than confusion and expense. There is no advantage to a world where one communities police force uses P25 and the neighbors use something else, there is only time wasted trying to communicate when one needs help from the other. It is even worse if the police in a community use P25 and the fire department something else.

Re:Waiste Money on what has allready been done (1)

Dragonslicer (991472) | more than 5 years ago | (#28553957)

Does that mean we'll have a single point of failure? Loss of heterogeneity might come at a price...

Only if you consider things like TCP, HTTP, and SMTP single points of failure.

Re:Waste Money on what has allready been done (1)

acrobg (1175095) | more than 5 years ago | (#28552171)

HAMs are allowed to encrypt according to a protocol than can be decrpted by a readily available, published method. The exception to this is for satellite control signals, which can be encrypted however. And this is one reason why morse code (CW) is often used with emergency communications. Many amateurs involved in emergency communications know it, btu the general public passing by won't know what all the dots and dashes mean.

Re:Waste Money on what has allready been done (2, Informative)

Obfuscant (592200) | more than 5 years ago | (#28554111)

HAMs are allowed to encrypt according to a protocol than can be decrpted by a readily available, published method.

Part 97.113 says that "messages encoded for the purpose of obscuring their meaning, except as otherwise provided herein;" are prohibited. (Satellite control signals are one "otherwise" exception.) It doesn't say that "messages encrypted with a published key ..." are permitted, and encryption using a "published method" doesn't mean that the message can be decrypted. That's why it's encryption and not encoding. Blowfish is a published method. Blowfish without the key is obscured meaning.

The ones doing HSMM (High Speed Multi-Media, or 802.11b/g) publish the WEP key under the assumption that this is sufficient to avoid the prohibition. Clearly, the messages ARE being encoded to obscure their meaning, with the assumption that nobody but an FCC monitoring station would bother looking up the key and listening in. I don't think this has ever been tested with an official ruling. I don't think anyone really cares that much about such short range communications. In fact, ITU treaties now allow, and Austria (IIRC) has permitted, encryption on domestic traffic above 50MHz (typically short-range). The ARRL was going to ask for this here, but then backed down. I have yet to get an answer from anyone in ARRL staff why.

And this is one reason why morse code (CW) is often used with emergency communications.

No, sorry, CW is used because it can get through when voice or other modes can't, not because it obscures the meaning of anything.

Now, what IS used in emergency communications is FBB compression on packet radio systems (winlink 2000 systems, e.g.). THAT truly is "encoding" that everyone assumes is allowable because the protocol is published and thus not intended to obscure the meaning of the embedded message, even though many EMCOMM ops point to this "encoding" as security for the message. They want to have it both ways.

Re:Waiste Money on what has allready been done (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28552275)

Because hams don't use APCO25 or many of the other digital public service protocols currently in use.

Bullshit, hams invented a lot of those protocols.

Encryption... (1)

msauve (701917) | more than 5 years ago | (#28552407)

First, if an agency is encrypting their communications, there's not much hope for any other service to talk to them, unless (obviously), they all share keys. It's doubtful, though, that the FBI is going to share their encryption keys with the local volunteer fire department. So, the assumption must be made that this solution is meant for unencrypted (which is not to say, unencoded digital) communications.

Secondly, hams are not prohibited from using encryption. Part 97.113(a)(4) prohibits "messages encoded for the purpose of obscuring their meaning." There are reasons for using encryption other than to obscure the meaning - security of control links (i.e., not to obscure the meaning, but to protect that meaning from interference by others), etc., which are perfectly legal. Encryption has been used for years to protect the control links of ham satellites, with the FCC's blessing. One could use PKI to encrypt a message with their private key, and then transmit it over ham radio, provided the public key is, in fact, public, so anyone could decrypt the message.

Re:Encryption... (1)

pmarcondes (846921) | more than 5 years ago | (#28556291)

First, if an agency is encrypting their communications, there's not much hope for any other service to talk to them, unless (obviously), they all share keys. It's doubtful, though, that the FBI is going to share their encryption keys with the local volunteer fire department. So, the assumption must be made that this solution is meant for unencrypted (which is not to say, unencoded digital) communications.

Easy,
just set the primary channel to use $AGENCY key while secondary (and other channels) to use $OTHER_AGENCY key. Duh.
Then, just make it SOP to transmit on primary while on $AGENCY bussiness and secondary while on cooperative work.

Re:Waiste Money on what has allready been done (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28553791)

Who do you think developed modern communications technology? Amateurs have traditionally taken experimental concepts and technologies and methodologies and 'played' with them until they've become viable for general use. SSB, FM, VHF, UHF, microwave, TTY (wireless teletype, which became packet data communication... sound familiar? we're using an advanced version of that right now on our interwebnets). Packet plus terrestrial radio repeater networks equals cellular telephone. Oh and encryption and satellites and... okay enough examples. Anyway, my totally unrelated thought, $6 Million seems like a tiny amount of money to spend for R&D on an all-connecting emergency comms system. Not that I'm into wasting tax money, but hell, tens of Billions get wasted every year on who knows what with no real benefit to our country.

Re:Waiste Money on what has already been done (3, Insightful)

Frosty Piss (770223) | more than 5 years ago | (#28551751)

Why don't they ask the group who has been using multiband equipment for several decades. Amateur Radio operators. They have radios that operate from below 1 MHz to over 1GHz. They have been doing (without pay) emergency radio communications for a very long time now.

Because it doesn't involve a really bloated government contract with some DoD favorite that has obscenely paid lobbyists, with state-of-the-art equipment that has serious design issues but lots of shiny digital displays and lights and switches, that you can drop 5 stories and it STILL doesn't work right.

No joke. That's why.

Re:Waiste Money on what has allready been done (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28551769)

I'm guessing alot of it is due to the radios being able to use DOD channels, and the level of encryption that likely incurs isn't cheap to handle.

Re:Waiste Money on what has allready been done (2, Interesting)

mysidia (191772) | more than 5 years ago | (#28551787)

Because they have a budget. The last thing they want is a 'free' solution.

Going to people who are already doing it to ask for help / information is the among the last things a government bureaucrat would dare consider doing.

They want to pay someone to develop a technology for them. Preferably someone who has connections with them (hint hint).

Re:Waiste Money on what has allready been done (1)

girlintraining (1395911) | more than 5 years ago | (#28552035)

Why don't they ask the group who has been using multiband equipment for several decades. Amateur Radio operators.

Mostly because nobody under the age of 35 even knows what it is, let alone has an interest in it. It's a dying hobby, partly because of expense, mostly because we've let two entire generations slip past the net and failed to educate them on the importance of being trained and ready for an emergency, which is the major public service amateur radio offers.

If I handed the average 20-something a mobile amateur radio (like you can still buy at Radioshack), think they'd be able to find a voice on the other end before the battery died? There's something to be said for that -- if it doesn't have a USB port or a LCD screen, it's probably junk... And they'd be right, until a flood wipes out the cell towers, internet, electricity, and the bridges. Then I bet knowing how to use a radio would be pretty cool, huh.

Re:Waiste Money on what has allready been done (1)

profplump (309017) | more than 5 years ago | (#28554069)

If you're going to define a radio as something without an LCD screen or USB port then I say we should rightly let it die -- there's no reason you can't provide both entertainment and useful emergency services on radio equipment with modern interfaces. Also, if a flood wipes out power, communications and transportation, and you we're not able (and/or willing) to leave before that happened, or to prepare for it (say with a generator and a satellite Internet link) a radio is probably not going to save you whether you know how to use it or not.

Re:Waiste Money on what has allready been done (1)

atomicthumbs (824207) | more than 5 years ago | (#28552477)

The low limit of ham radio operation is the 1750-meter band, which goes from 160 to 190 khz, and the high limit is the 1-mm band, from 21 to 250 gigahertz. Then we are able to operate at any frequency we want as long as it's above 275 ghz. We're all over the lace.

Re:Waiste Money on what has allready been done (1)

Gordonjcp (186804) | more than 5 years ago | (#28555769)

136kHz in the UK. You're only allowed 1W ERP (Effective Radiated Power) in most of the world though. That's not to say that it isn't useful - CW goes a very long way and with digital modes like JT65 you can communicate (slowly) around the world with your 1W. It's worth noting that it's 1W *effective*, because efficient aerials for 136kHz tend to be extremely large - a touch over 1km long, for a half-wave dipole. To actually get 1W radiated you'd need a transmitter capable of about 1kW output...

Just picture this project... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28552531)

And then picture Obama standing there posed like the Colossus of Rhodes as his nuts explore all over your adoring face, and he has a good laugh at your expense while you sing psalms to him and offer him burnt offerings. I've never heard of a ruler who has such contempt for their subjects since Marie Antoinette, while at the same time maintaining such loyalty. It's amazing, really. I wonder how long it will take for the last Obamabot to finally admit that change = more of the same with a double portion.

Re:Waiste Money on what has allready been done (1)

SageMusings (463344) | more than 5 years ago | (#28553029)

Well, I imagine because this is the first step of many which will eventually allow the government to more safely take back the existing spectrum allocated for amateur use. There are a lot of commercial interests more than willing to spend handsome sums on an auction of that spectrum. If its felt civil authorities can manage emergency communications without HAMS, that auction is that much closer.

So, there is little reason to involve the amateur community, which is on its last legs already, i.e. aging community, dumber children less willing to learn and take the reigns, ease of world-wide comm without radio)

Amateur Radio (0, Troll)

StikyPad (445176) | more than 5 years ago | (#28551491)

Cue the chorus of HAM fanatics appearing from out of the woodwork in 3, 2, 1...

Re:Amateur Radio (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28551617)

Troll...but true.

Re:Amateur Radio (2, Insightful)

Starlon (1492461) | more than 5 years ago | (#28551669)

What's wrong with HAM fanatics? They were geeks before geeks were cool. I remember my Dad bouncing radio signals of the Moon. That was cooler than Christmas.

Re:Amateur Radio (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28551703)

Uh, ok..

$6 million buys a lot of Vx-7rs from Yaesu (err. Vertex, Standard, Yaesu, ... seem to be a lot of mergers in the field...)

Oh.. it needs to be trunked.. AND spread spectrum? Well, crap. Amateurs have never experimented with either of those modes....

Re:Amateur Radio (3, Funny)

Lumpy (12016) | more than 5 years ago | (#28551915)

You're just still pissed because you cant pass your license exam.

What about trunked 800Mhz systems? (1)

tgtanman (728257) | more than 5 years ago | (#28551499)

Does anyone more familiar with the system or the DHS project know if there's any advantage to pushing this new system versus pushing a complete transition to a 800Mhz trunked frequency? It seems like many agencies are just now transitioning to the 800Mhz band to provide the same type of interoperability.

Re:What about trunked 800Mhz systems? (1)

Mike Buddha (10734) | more than 5 years ago | (#28551773)

Looking at the article, this system would allow interoperability with other systems without requiring new repeaters. Basically, they're adding everyone's bands into the radio, instead of changing out radios and repeaters. Not to say that they will never transition to an 800Mhz system, but if we can get interoperability now with a simple handset swap, why wait for it?

Re:What about trunked 800Mhz systems? (1)

hax4bux (209237) | more than 5 years ago | (#28551833)

Trunked systems are an OK start, but they depend on a repeater infrastructure that might not be available (never existed, destroyed by an event, obstructed by terrain, etc). Also, there are fleet management issues that need some attention along w/vendor interoperability.

Some of the more cynical comments are probably also true (i.e. pork award to various subs, power grabs, etc). Sad since the whole project is about sharing resources in a disaster. And of course, since this is our friendly public servants at DHS, they will want some encryption lest those pesky citizens leak in.

It is true that SDR makes the de/modulation easy. It is the rest of the infrastructure that needs some work.

Re:What about trunked 800Mhz systems? (2, Informative)

DarthBart (640519) | more than 5 years ago | (#28551855)

Because 800Mhz isn't practical everywhere.

Put an 800Mhz system in the Texas Hill Country...you'll end up with needing a repeater site on every other hilltop.

Put an 800Mhz system in where there's lots of pine trees. You'll discover that pine needles are about 1/4wave long at 800Mhz and make excellent attenuators.

Re:What about trunked 800Mhz systems? (1)

wv5k (771543) | more than 5 years ago | (#28553405)

Trunking radios are very useful a few days AFTER a disaster has occurred, and some semblence of communications discipline has been restored. Immediately after a disaster such as Katrina has happened, there is pretty much COMPLETE radio anarchy. All decent antennas for fixed station, high power, wide coverage systems have been scrubbed off their buildings. Pretty much only the mobile (car) systems are working. No centralization is possible until the cavalary shows up. DHS would do better by taking a hard look at right now, commercially available Ham Radio gear, and FORCING all the agencies to have at least one of these types of radios available. Asking for bids from contractors like Thale for brand new equipment is just going to add to the confusion, not reduce it. My two cents worth...

Oh god, no!!! (5, Interesting)

girlintraining (1395911) | more than 5 years ago | (#28551783)

The Department of Homeland Security only gives the kiss of death to public works projects. Here's what's going to happen; A bunch of committees will be called, and they're going to make a whole bunch of suggestions about what it "should" do. Each organization will want to have at least one feature included, a vote, etc. Tens (possibly hundreds) of millions will be lost doing this. It'll be filed under "R&D costs". At least a third of those suggestions will be crap or impossible/unfeasible to implement. It'll be recycled a few times on the General Schedule before some hapless corporation wins the contract. Then all hell breaks loose as delays in the project force reductions in scope, and the process of defining "core features" begins. By this point, everyone will be pointing fingers, and it'll be half-implemented and broken in many places. The project's surviving assets will be quietly transferred after a GAO inquiry regarding cost overruns and lack of deliverables -- just ahead of a congressional committee being called on the matter. Two years later, someone gets the idea that the US should have a multi-band radio project...

I only say this, because they've tried it with different scopes over [theregister.co.uk] and over [blogspot.com] and over [securitymanagement.com] and over [govtech.com] again. Their technology department is understaffed due to high turnover and leadership problems.

Fundamentally, these things never leave the pilot phase, or if they do, they face deployment problems because the requirements are so obtuse and ambitious that existing technology can't adapt. Even if it can, bureaucratic problems usually end a project before it sees wide-scale deployment due to reluctance to adopt new technology and failures in leadership -- namely, not communicating with people in the field before trying to put something there.

Re:Oh god, no!!! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28556681)

What these programs end up doing is basically providing parameters for other companies to create commercial products with similar capabilities that are turned out much faster than the government programs for much cheaper. Then the government ends up buying those products instead, anyway. As people have pointed out, there are already off the shelf radios from other companies that do pretty much what this program is asking for. All those companies have to do is add a few features into the next release of their firmware...

It can be done, at a cost (3, Insightful)

DarthBart (640519) | more than 5 years ago | (#28551803)

Yeah, good luck with that. If it succeeds, it'll be a portable radio that costs $10K. It'll have to license P25 and SmartNet from Motorola, a couple of protocols from EF Johnson, have MPT1324 (The only real open standard in commercial radio), it'll need wide and narrow band coverage of 150, 450, and 800Mhz.

Sure, it can all be done with a DSP based radio, but someone's gotta pay for the Intellectual Property to make them work.

Re:It can be done, at a cost (1)

DarthBart (640519) | more than 5 years ago | (#28551875)

I should probably have RTFA first.

Re:It can be done, at a cost (1)

Red Flayer (890720) | more than 5 years ago | (#28551911)

Sure, it can all be done with a DSP based radio, but someone's gotta pay for the Intellectual Property to make them work.

Isn't that the point?

Then our government can mandate that first responders need to have these units in order to receive DHS funding, and every municipality will cough up the funds (it's for the children!).

That's how business works, my friend. You lean on your friends in high places to 'do a good thing' which coincidentally just happens to align with your interests. Everyone wins!

I'm feeling pretty cynical right now, but you just *know* that someone in the DHS had lunch/cocktails/a game of golf with someone from Motorola or EF Johnson or one of their proxies.

Re:It can be done, at a cost (1)

MrMista_B (891430) | more than 5 years ago | (#28551989)

"Intellectual Property"?

This is the Government. They government controls the police, military, and courts.

They can seize /anything/ in country, with the power of eminent domain. You either smile and nod, or are told to leave.

Re:It can be done, at a cost (1)

freedom_india (780002) | more than 5 years ago | (#28554877)

You are talking about USSR.
This is USA.
Know the difference.
USA is a 250+ years old Democracy [wikipedia.org] with separate pillars of governance. [hindu.com]
This means the Government cannot seize anything and everything with power of eminent domain.
And you don't smile and nod. You can show the middle finger to the government, sue it and win.
That is what a democracy is.

Re:It can be done, at a cost (2, Insightful)

Obfuscant (592200) | more than 5 years ago | (#28552055)

Yeah, good luck with that. If it succeeds, it'll be a portable radio that costs $10K.

It's already succeeded. It costs $5k, base. No trunking. It's got a slick LCD display. Color. It's a brick. Heavy. Large.

And Thales is getting a $6 million kickback after creating it, and $5k/radio to sell it (lots of federal grants are obtained with the keyword "interoperability").

I used to think Thales was an innovator. Now I know they are just sucking at the public tit.

...it'll need wide and narrow band coverage of 150, 450, and 800Mhz.

And 700. But who's counting?

Now, the product exists, it's being delivered, where the EMERGENCY?

It'll never happen. (0, Flamebait)

markw365 (185614) | more than 5 years ago | (#28551861)

Oh, what a glorious way to waste tax dollars. First design a system, then require everyone to get on board with it. Price it through the roof and have a single vendor for all the gear. So some volunteer fire dept in Iowa that is on a shoestring budget has to spend thousands to upgrade radios. It will take years if it ever gets off the ground. This is _WHY_ amateur radio works, government has too many silos and too many important people that will push their system. Been there seen that, still paying the price. :(

So they pay some consultants.... (1)

Lumpy (12016) | more than 5 years ago | (#28551897)

Millions to do what Ham radio operators have been doing for decades.

Set up a portable cross band repeater.

Nice. Glad to see the Government is still being stupid with money.

Great, fewers band to use (1)

nurb432 (527695) | more than 5 years ago | (#28552077)

And fewer bands to jam.

Does this mean we can finally get rid of the hams? (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28552237)

About freaking time. Ham is a waste of valuable spectrum. First they blocked our power-line internet because it would interfere with their ancient boat anchor radios. Then our RC club had to give up the park last weekend so all the hams could come out and play IRL Fallout, with the needless waste of generator fuel and propane, and now we find out that they strung a bunch of wires in the trees that have to be removed by the district authorities before we can use the park again? A whole month wait just for one weekend of play radio? Screw hams! Delicense em all, pull down those damn ugly antennas and put some professionals with REAL equipment in charge. Fuck this weekend warrior bullshit. If they want to talk they can use the Internet or rely on public channels like everyone else. And don't give me that experimental bullshit, all hams do anymore is buy equipment from stores and use it. No ham has built a radio in a decade. Name ONE TECHNOLOGY that hams have pioneered in the last 20 years. I'm waiting.

Re:Does this mean we can finally get rid of the ha (1)

EricJ2190 (1016652) | more than 5 years ago | (#28552965)

When you call it IRL Fallout, it only makes it sound that much more awesome.

Next year, I'll be sure to put the word out: "Come to Field Day! It is like Fallout in real life!"

Re:Does this mean we can finally get rid of the ha (1)

psicop (229507) | more than 5 years ago | (#28553263)

Valuable spectrum 'just' opened up...when do you think it'll actually have 'real' value instead of 'we might do something with this'?

Well, if you had an amateur license, you could've used the 50Mhz band and played RC with the big boys. (You probably use the 72Mhz band like 'everyone else')

Ramsey Electronics has radio kits you can assemble.

As for technology? I'm guessing the Internet Radio Linking Project/WIRES will /probably/ be used somehow which means we can probably expect to see a 'national information infrastructure' within the next 20 years.

And does it have to be 20 years? Because I'm pretty sure Steve Wozniak is a Ham. And there are plenty of other notable hams out there making contributions all over the place. But true amateurs, such as yourself, aren't concerned with the actual technology. (or development) They just want to use it.

73s...

Interoperability doesn't have to be about radios. (4, Informative)

CFD339 (795926) | more than 5 years ago | (#28552313)

As a fire officer, I work closely with several other nearby towns. We are all on different radio frequencies. There are strategies to work well that mitigate the potential issues:

1. For neighboring towns, we have each other's frequencies available on our own radios.

2. When operating more distantly, we use a state wide non-repeated frequency for larger incidents to cover the incident scene, while operations command will use their repeated systems to communicate out to dispatch or with other agencies.

Number two is very important -- span of control is optimally at "5" (meaning you shouldn't be trying to manage more than 5 direct reports). At anything above 7 you become very inefficient. When the number of people you're trying to work directly with grows above that number you should be subdividing that span of control and instead talking to a single representation of each sector or division. ** That means, not everyone on scene should be attempting to communicate back to a central point at all once.

The modern public safety sector is all trained (or being trained) on NIMS (National Incident Management System). As an officer, I'm required to hold three different certifications within that program. Firefighters, police, ems workers, town managers, and public service workers (the town guys who fix things and make your city work) are all part of the program. The purpose of NIMS is to define and common and understandable method of managing incidents from the smallest (where I may have incident command at a car accident with one or two responding units) but that also scale up as needed to the very largest (e.g. I arrive on scene to find the reported car accident was actually caused by a train derailing and landing on the car, spilling toxic material into a river which crosses state lines). NIMS defines common language, common command structures, and even common paperwork standards for doing things like leasing a bulldozer to build a dike or a bunch of outhouses to use at a work camp.

My point is that the radio technology is only one challenge, and one that can be solved by working together in a well coordinated manner. More important is building and practicing the strategies to manage incidents in a coordinated manner.

If you're in the public safety sector and haven't had NIMS training yet, you will. It is rapidly becoming a requirement for any organization receiving federal grants or other funding. If you've heard bad things about it, ignore them. NIMS is actually fairly simple and uses good common sense strategies (e.g. drop obscure 10 codes and speak in plain language) for most of what it does. It is based on an incredibly successful management strategy used by the teams that run the huge wildfire operations. Their system used something like 1/3 the number of back end support people for every front line person when compared with the military.

For our department, about 90% of what NIMS requires was already very similar to what we were already doing. Very little had to change.

Re:Interoperability doesn't have to be about radio (1)

ProfM (91314) | more than 5 years ago | (#28553503)

1. For neighboring towns, we have each other's frequencies available on our own radios.

I work for a local two-way radio shop and this happens all the time. But this isn't what they're meaning.

If you have a VHF system, you cannot talk to someone on UHF ... period. With the Thales' radio, you can, it has multiple bands built inside the radio.

I remember seeing this last year in a "what's new and upcoming" in a trade magazine, and they mentioned it could have VHF (136-174 Mhz) UHF1 (405-430 Mhz), UHF2 (450-520 Mhz), 700 Mhz band, and 800 Mhz band all in one radio.

So, if you as a firefighter runs on VHF, but the local PD runs 800 Mhz, you could both talk to eachother assuming one party had one of these radios.

2. When operating more distantly, we use a state wide non-repeated frequency for larger incidents to cover the incident scene, while operations command will use their repeated systems to communicate out to dispatch or with other agencies.

Again, this assumes everyone is in the same RF band. See above.

Re:Interoperability doesn't have to be about radio (1)

Gordonjcp (186804) | more than 5 years ago | (#28556013)

I remember seeing this last year in a "what's new and upcoming" in a trade magazine, and they mentioned it could have VHF (136-174 Mhz) UHF1 (405-430 Mhz), UHF2 (450-520 Mhz), 700 Mhz band, and 800 Mhz band all in one radio.

I don't see why that's so hard. I have a Kenwood TH-F7E which in "normal" form transmits on 144-146MHz and 430-440MHz. The TH-F6A is the American version which has band limits appropriate to the US and includes 220MHz operation. The same basic chassis is used for VHF highband radios covering 136-174MHz (M2/A0) and UHF low and highband (T1/U0), and probably some 200MHz-ish stuff. It's not a great stretch to imagine adding a 700-800MHz transceiver in there.

For £150 off-the-shelf you've got a hand-held transceiver that at least does FM on all these bands, with the ability to receive on two different bands simultaneously.

They sent radios to CANADA?! (2, Funny)

shidarin'ou (762483) | more than 5 years ago | (#28552421)

"Radios were sent to -Canadian Interoperability Technology Interest Group (Ottawa, ON Canada)"

Dear god. What are we going to do when we go to war with those french speaking queen loving northerners?! They will even be able to listen in on the Department of Defense frequencies! They will know our every move!

I demand that only DEFECTIVE radios are sent to Canada.

For maximum effect, I recommend that the radios only receive communications in the form of a poor impression of a Canadian accent- notably every word should be "Ay?"

(This post was a joke)

Re:They sent radios to CANADA?! (1)

Dragonslicer (991472) | more than 5 years ago | (#28553999)

What are we going to do when we go to war with those french speaking queen loving northerners?!

French speaking? If we ever go to war with Canada, Quebec would probably take the opportunity to secede and fight against the rest of Canada.

This might be good (1)

catchy_handle (705154) | more than 5 years ago | (#28552499)

Many towns and cities have been burned by spending millions on a proprietary system only to discover they can't talk to the next town over.

It would be nice if the DHS actually did something useful and put an end to that kind of crap.

This article http://www.americanprogress.org/issues/2005/09/b1029179.html [americanprogress.org] from 2005 stresses the importance ans suggests using WiFi. Maybe. But the most important aspect is "one digital protocol to rule them all", no matter what band you're on.

Re:This might be good (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28552687)

Have you heard of this "Constitution" thing? It's pretty new, this dude named Ron Paul's been talking about it. You might try reading it and fix your notion that the federal government should be the solution. Your retarded notion that the federal government *can* be a solution is far fetched. By the way, Thales sells it and it's call the AN/PRC-152, and I'll bet you can get a bunch of surplus Motorola MBITR's which got obsoleted by the Thales radio. They're both multi-band (hence the MB) and will do all you want, and more. Being an SDR, the Thales radio will even support new protocols.

To summarize. 1) read the constitution. 2) you're a fuck and 3) it's already been solved. DHS is the problem, not the solution.

Use that money to buy more servers for Twitter (0, Offtopic)

OutputLogic (1566511) | more than 5 years ago | (#28552577)

Use that money to buy more servers for Twitter

OutputLogic [outputlogic.com]

Really? (2, Interesting)

mackinaw_apx (1444371) | more than 5 years ago | (#28552585)

I'm surprised that no one has yet pointed out the fact that Thales already released a multi-band radio called the Liberty, competitor to Motorola's APX7000. http://www.thalesliberty.com/ [thalesliberty.com]

This is a big problem (4, Informative)

speedlaw (878924) | more than 5 years ago | (#28552689)

I'm a ham. We worked with an Airshow a few years back. We coordinated between NYSP (155 mhz), the local fire brigade (46 mhz), the County Sheriff (46? mhz). The ambulance crew was on still another frequency. While this clearly was not an emergency, the person between them all was a ham, relaying messages between the agencies. All the ham equipment at the main table cost less than one walkie talkie from the mighty motorola. Some cop cars will have channels from adjoining jurisdictions, but it is patchwork and if you are on VHF and your other agency is on UHF, there will have to be phone calls between dispatchers to co ordinate. See, an agency has a budget. They then get sold by Motorola the best and latest, no matter what the actual needs of the agency are. This results in everyone having different stuff as they all buy at different times. Once an agency gets working radio, they almost never change it, as it can be a life or death thing. Bureaucratic Ossification takes over. Here in NY, there was an attempt by Tyco to come up with an IP radio system. It was met with great distrust by the police and other agencies that were supposed to toss the patchwork radios and all use the MA/COM system. You can easier change a service pistol on cops than their radios. It is far, far too simple and cheap to designate a few VHF or UHF channels, in FM and have everyone program them in...we have to buy new equipment and re invent wheels. You don't need encryption for the vast majority of "interops". So, let's come up with a new system, at great cost...it is what Motorola is selling today. Whether you need it or not.

Re:This is a big problem (2, Informative)

adolf (21054) | more than 5 years ago | (#28554297)

The problems solved by your airshow HAM are easily fixed by one of the ACU units [raytheon.com] from Raytheon JPS.

Just plug in radios for NYSP, local fire brigade, county sheriff, ambulance service, links back to one or more repeated channels with a real dispatcher (probably on a tac channel, or a P25 talkgroup), plus one that the local HAMs are legally allowed to use, and call it a day.

It's easy to bring the whole system up or down, or to add and remove individual radios, or to tie in other systems over telephone lines or cell phone or nextel or SIP, or whatever.

(This, of course, is assuming that some local dispatching agency doesn't already have the tech to accomplish this built into their console, which they likely do these days.)

(Disclaimer: We've sold a few ACU-1000 units, and a whole bunch of ACU-Ts. They work fine. Even the local SOs around here have them built into their emergency mobile communications rigs, along with enough radios to make them do useful work amongst a bunch of different trunking systems and frequencies.)

Re:This is a big problem (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28556735)

It is far, far too simple and cheap to designate a few VHF or UHF channels...

UHF? It's time for WHEEL OF FISH! RED SNAPPER VERY TASTY!

Grenada (3, Interesting)

Sum0 (1245284) | more than 5 years ago | (#28553091)

The US Army and Navy had this problem...came to light during the Grenada invasion. If I remember correctly, a forward observer wound up calling in a naval artillery strike by phone via US operator because he couldn't reach the ship by radio. Might be apocryphal, but it rings true. That's when military radios became AN-PRC-77s, the AN standing for Army/Navy. Amazing it has taken the civilians another 25 years to even consider implementing this.

dtv (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28553853)

Wasn't this supposed to be part of the analog tv spectrum auction and it failed miserably?

Another Grand Plan (1)

rally2xs (1093023) | more than 5 years ago | (#28555253)

This looks like a radio vendor grand plan to suck big bucks out of local governments across the land without actually solving the problem.

What is the incentive for a local PD or FD that is operating on, say, 39.58 Mhz or 46.06 Mhz, where these super-expensive, $6K handi-talkies conspicuously do not operate, to buy them? Zip, that's what - they would not be used without changing the entire remainder of their system over to one of the higher-frequency VHF bands, and - guess what - those frequencies are ALREADY crowded so that adding more users to it will increase interference between users which will diminish efficiency instead of enhance it.

So when the next disaster blows through an area, either a huge midwest tornado, or a coastal hurricane, a big earthquake wherever, it won't matter, there will still be a whole host of non-participants in the radio nets because there will not have been enough money to buy these super-expensive radios for the local VFD, or the small-town PD who's main function outside of the very rare massive regional emergencies is simply grabbing speeders that are passing thru and shaking them down for their operating expenses.

What they probably should be looking at is a versatile repeating system that DOES cover all bands including 30 - 50 Mhz, only needs to be bought for maybe 2 - 3 sites with very tall antenna towers in a county that would provide real value by linking their own PD and FD with other services, including possibly private survices such as mountain rescue and private ambulance, etc. and do so by simply buying a few radios that perform for all players.

In short, they need to work on the CHEAPEST solution to the problem, instead of the exact opposite which seems to be what they're doing here.

Who controls the networks? (1)

dtmos (447842) | more than 5 years ago | (#28555591)

One thing that has always puzzled me about multiband public-service radios is how access to the various networks would be managed.

Traditionally, the reason agencies have different networks on different radio channels is for efficiency and security. By having separate networks, the firemen and the city road maintenance crews aren't bothered by each others' communications, nearly all of which are irrelevant to the other organization. It's easy to see that the policemen usually don't want to be bothered by the water utilities guys, and that the customs people don't want their communications overheard by local law enforcement (and, likely, vice-versa).

But, with a multiband, software-defined radio, the plan is for these types to be able to communicate with each other in emergencies. Fine -- but who lets whom on who's network, and when? If the local water utility guy in his truck sees a water main break underneath the local customs facility, how many layers of management will he have to work through to get his radio allowed on the customs network, and how long will that take? Technically, it's a trivial matter (once the radios are in the field, that is), but from an organizational standpoint I can see a big morass of internecine squabbling if this feature is to be used.

As a small-town volunteer firefighter... (2, Informative)

LatencyKills (1213908) | more than 5 years ago | (#28556005)

This is actually a pretty serious problem for us. We began with two radios in our trucks - one for our general fire frequencies (36.64MHz primary, nearby secondaries) and local police band (something like 600MHz). Things were good; we could go mutual aid to nearby towns and talk to them, and they could talk to us. Then a nearby town got a federal grant and went midband, and all our trucks got a third radio. Then another town got another federal grant and went highband - four radios. A large fire scene, like a recent fire at a pallet recycling plant that called in 22 towns for water supply, became nothing short of absurd. Try driving down a winding dirt road carrying 12 tons of water in a truck 34 feet long and picking the right handset out of that pile.

Then we got these new boxes that find the frequencies in use and let everyone talk on their native radios, except that they kind of don't work. Guys inside substantial (steel frame) buildings can't seem to talk to anyone. If the water hole is more than 1/2 a mile away, they're out of the loop too. And operations that you'd like to keep on their own frequencies like water supply or medical services get sucked into the network anyway. There's also the problem of too many people trying to talk on the radio at once and stepping all over each other. We do need a solution to this problem, but this isn't it.

Load More Comments
Slashdot Login

Need an Account?

Forgot your password?