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Two Way Radio Directory – Blog


Samsung Galaxy Tablet 10.1

Filed under: — Rik @ 7:28 am

I recently acquired the Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1 wifi only 32 Gig. This is a great Android tablet. I rooted and moded it to add ad hoc wifi capability. This allows me to wireless tether to my T mobile myTouch phone which is also rooted and has the wireless tether app installed.


Cops and Facebook don’t mix

Filed under: — Rik @ 7:19 pm

Typical radio systems designed for voice typically have very limited
bandwidth, because it is not needed to do the job.

Data systems today are no longer able to make users happy with text based
interface. Users demand access to web based resources and this leads to high
bandwidth requirements.

While it might be possible to combine a data device and a radio device in
the same physical package, at least for now, they will each need access to
different wireless networks.

One day last week I was looking at a Symbol (now part of Motorola) device
that combined voice and data into a device similar to what many of us use as
cell phones today. This device had a screen much larger than my cell phone
although it used the same Microsoft Windows Mobile OS. It also operated on a
variety of wireless networks, one being Nextel with its PTT capability.

As I looked at it I could not help but think how nice it would be to have
that WM OS in a device that could also function as a Police officer’s
portable radio. That evening, when I got home and my wife jumped on me about
her Windows PC and its “blue screen of death” problem, I realized why Police
and Fire people are better off with mission specific devices. No one wants
to have to wait to reboot to call for help.

Just because a thing is technologically possible, does not mean it should be

Rik Rasmussen
Radio System Manager
City of Durham, NC


I love my cell phone and Thinkorswim

Filed under: — Rik @ 8:31 pm

While my wife and my youngest daughter keep pointing out all the wonderful features of their iPhones, I still prefer my HTC Wizard (a.k.a. T mobile MDA), A few months ago I decided I needed the services of a stock broker that could provide me advanced features and services not available from Scottrade. I am keeping my Scottrade account for basic stock trades because I like some of their news and other features. However, for options and futures I opened an account with Thinkorswim. I highly recommend them. Now, back to my phone. Thinkorswim has an awesome desktop trading platform. They also have a very nice trading platform called Think Anywhere for Windows Mobile devices. It is fantastic. It has been very reliable, works fine on WiFi or GSM, and has excellent real time charts and quotes.

Another tip of the hat to Nextel

Filed under: — Rik @ 8:23 pm

In a previous article I gave a “Hats Off” to the genius of the Nextel folks. Now we see that their biggest spark of genius was probably selling the thing to Sprint. Apparently the geniuses saw the handwriting on the wall, but the Sprint folks bought the best sales job Nextel ever did. Now Sprint is in a tail spin with their sole sourced iDEN system as is the provider of iDEN, Motorola. Two formerly good companies that were derailed by the egos of their leadership.


Suncom update

Filed under: — Rik @ 12:28 pm

My Suncom experience seems to be getting better. I recently traveled to Seattle and had no problems roaming with voice or data.

The only complaint I currently have is an inability to get MMS to work from my MDA phone.

Browsing the web seems to work just fine.

MDA is a great phone

Filed under: — Rik @ 12:22 pm

A few months ago I bought an unlocked Tmobile MDA on eBay. I slipped the SIM card out of my Motorola V505 and into the MDA and it immediately worked well as a phone on Suncom.

After a few settings changes, I was browsing the Internet with the Internet Explorer that comes with the Windows Mobile 5 system that the phone is supplied with. In fact using the Outlook, Word, Excel, IE, and Power Point Viewer is remarkably easy and similar to their desktop counterparts.

Excel has been very handy as a Grocery List. I also use it to store several xls files I created and emailed to the phone as attachments. Files can also be easily transferred and kept synced with the Active Sync application.

Active Sync is also used to setup scheduled sync of the Built in Outlook with an Outlook Exchange server. I have a free account setup on an Outlook Exchange account with This works very well. I now have a calendar that is easily updated online from anywhere, including from my phone, and it is kept synced on both. In addition when I plug the phone into my home PC, it syncs that PC’s Outlook calendar.

In addition, it easily syncs with a Hotmail account I have, the pop email server at my home ISP. With the browser I am easily able to check Gmail, manage 28 Yahoo Groups I moderate, trade stocks on Scottrade, check the weather, my bank account, etc.

The fact that many web sites provide a version of themselves designed to be viewed on small screens is very nice also.

I highly recommend this phone. In fact, I recently bought another unlocked MDA for one of my daughters. She loves it also, and is finding all the installed applications to be very handy.


What is ahead for private radio?

Filed under: — Rik @ 12:32 pm

One of my passions in recent years has been to learn about investing. Not
surprisingly, this is driven by my approaching retirement in a few years. I
have consumed many books in this pursuit. My studies have caused me to read
much about economics and other macro issues such as demographics, population
shift, job relocation, etc.

I just put down a book that spoke at length about the world wide changes
that will affect all of us, and our children over the next 50 years or so.
While contemplating a world that will be much different than most of us
foresee, I began to think about what all this means for the Private Wireless

As we all know here, many of the local “mom and pop” two way shops have
already disappeared. While many will blame that on a very successful ESMR,
the fact still remains that those shops are gone.

When was the last time you saw someone start up a two way radio business? By
that I mean a “real” business, not selling radios out of the trunk to the
other guys at the VFD. Nothing breeds competition like success. The fact
that new competitors are not appearing should tell us something.

As the users demand more mobile capabilities, more features, easier
operation, lower upfront costs, and better service, the demand for
“installed” mobile equipment will continue to diminish. The few 800 MHz SMRs
left and the UHF community repeaters and UHF trunked (often partially or
fully non-compliant with FCC rules) systems will not be able to satisfy
them. This will lead to less and less utilization of these systems.
Eventually, the owners will have to abandon them as they can no longer pay
the overhead of operation and maintenance.

The demand for spectrum from the voice and data public wireless carriers
will continue to increase. Eventually, the industry, and congress will force
the FCC to refarm the UHF band in order to turn the fallow field into
productive use. No longer will a 25 kHz slot be allowed to waste away on two
lingering users of a community repeater.

Public Safety will be driven more and more to ever more “integrated system”
designs, requiring large scale contracts not feasible for the local shops.
The demand for conventional B&I products will be satisfied by the off the
shelf products so often found at national retail outlets now. The local
shops will not be loading their own systems, so vendors will have
insufficient demand to justify continuing product development. Aging of
current fleets of equipment, and lack of innovative new products will
further drive the users to seek public providers for their communications

Few young people are fascinated by the old simplex equipment with limited
range, and little functionality. Try to tell them there is a future for them
in that technology. “That radio doesn’t play MP3 files? No way!”

I enjoyed my years in the business, but I really believe it is the buggy
whip business of the new century. The future will be one of ever increasing
efficiencies. Even government waste will finally be squeezed as the
population growth rate declines and a growing older population has to be
cared for and supported by fewer workers. This increasing efficiency will
cause all resources to be reviewed for utilization, including spectrum,
under a much harsher light than has already been the case.

The world is moving to more globalization and more of our workforce will
have little if any attachment to the old technologies we were comfortable
with. The kid from India who ends up over here running a company (more jobs
are outsourced TO the U.S. than are outsourced FROM the U.S.) will have had
his first encounter with wireless communications as a Blackberry, duplex
phone, web surfing gadget on his belt. Who is going to tell him that he
really needs a 4 watt bulky local only simplex brick?


Suncom Yahoo group

Filed under: — Rik @ 5:56 am

There is also a Suncom Yahoo group for discussing Suncom.

Join the group.

Suncom confirms bad email service

Filed under: — Rik @ 5:45 am

Confirmation that Suncom’s email service is hosed up just arrived:

(I put the X’s in the email address)

This message was created automatically by mail delivery software.
A message that you sent has not yet been delivered to one or more of its
recipients after more than 24 hours on the queue on

The message identifier is: 1DmiyQ-0001Ol-HI
The subject of the message is: test
The date of the message is: Sun, 26 Jun 2005 22:03:43 -0400

The address to which the message has not yet been delivered is:
Delay reason: SMTP error from remote mail server after MAIL
host []: 450 4.0.0 Spam filter message
initialization failure

No action is required on your part. Delivery attempts will continue for
some time, and this warning may be repeated at intervals if the message
remains undelivered. Eventually the mail delivery software will give up,
and when that happens, the message will be returned to you.

I have received this message four times.

This was in response to a test message I emailed to my own phone, which has
never arrived.

Think there is any chance Suncom can or will fix it?

Suncom does NOT have email after all

Filed under: — Rik @ 5:44 am

Ok, Suncom’s support of wireless email is pretty poor.

I can send an email from my phone using MMS, but not email.

Replying to this email has not resulted in a message being delivered to my

This is bad. Most people receiving an email assume they can reply to it.

2. The Suncom web site says:

Want to send Internet email directly to a SunCom phone?

It’s simple! Address the message using the recipient’s SunCom phone number
and add “” to the end. For example, if the phone number is
(843) 555-6543, then the e-mail address is

As is the case with any e-mail message delivered via the internet,
indeterminate delays that are beyond SunCom’s control may occur.

I have used this emaill address format, but the email I sent has not been
delivered to my phone several minutes later.

3. I sent a message by entering it at Suncom’s web site and it was delivered
to my phone very quickly.

So, if email is important to me, and Suncom does not provide it, why
shouldn’t I switch to Verizon?

Before being switched from AT&T to Suncom I could send and receive email on
my phone using the text msg feature.

It seems to me that Suncom is not providing basic services that others have
been providing.

To me, this doesn’t fit with their “Truth in Wireless” claim. I thought I
was getting up to date services, but apparently I am not.


Hat’s off to Nextel

Filed under: — Rik @ 8:54 am

The FCC is so supportive of innovative uses of the spectrum that lead to
increased efficiencies, it is willing to push the rules to (you may say
beyond) their limits.

Let’s say Nextel or nothing like it had ever come along. Do you think the
Mom and Pop SMR operators would be providing anything even remotely close to
a service that serves as many users with so many innovative WANTED features?

I don’t think so.

Most of the SMR operators I ever met couldn’t even agree on a simple roaming
agreement because of their paranoia.

Most of the SMR operators I ever met were more interested in programming
controllers rather than attracting investors to help them grow.

Most of the SMR operators I ever met saw their sales people as overhead and
their bench techs as revenue producers.

As in most things there have been a few excellent exceptions. Unfortunately,
they have been painted into a corner by the general lack of business plans
in the rest of the SMR community.

The most innovative, resourceful, well planned, forward thinking,
aggressive, SMR licensee to ever exist has been Fleet Call, now Nextel. I
believe they are the only SMR to ever go Public, attracting the funding to
provide the business community with much needed and desired services. I
applaud their business acumen, while recognizing that their aggressiveness
puts them in a league with Microsoft and many other successful entrepreneurs
in the minds of the defeated.


Wireless Dictionary

Filed under: — Rik @ 9:35 pm

I recently had the pleasure of working with the fine folks at Althos Publishing on a project that culminated recently with the publishing of the Wireless Dictionary. This book should be on the shelf of everyone who works with or writes about wireless.

I am featuring the book in our online catalog (click picture for details):

Wireless Dictionary


Trading via cell phone

Filed under: — Rik @ 11:24 pm

I want to report on my satisfaction with trading by cell phone.

I have been using a laptop with a cellular card, but recently purchased a Motorola V505 camera phone from SunCom, the company that took over the AT&T Wireless service in this area as a result of the Cingular/ATTWS merger.

This phone has an excellent micro-web browser. I get good quality charts free from Charles Schwab. I can see intraday (delayed 20 min.) and various longer time period charts.

I had no problem setting up the ability to log into my Scottrade account.

Placing buy and sell orders using the phone is just as easy as when I am at my desktop computer.

I have set up alerts at Scottrade and when the alert is tripped, I get a beep and a message on the phone.

While I am online, if I receive a call, I can switch to the phone call, and then return to my web page after ending the call.

I enjoy being able to trade while sitting in a boring meeting or waiting for an oil change.

I am now back to active trading. (More on that later)


Pots of Money

Filed under: — Rik @ 7:39 am

Back in the 1970’s there was a Pot of Money called Calea Funds. Many Police radio systems were upgraded, new mutual aid repeaters were installed, consoles upgraded, etc. The issue seemed to be “get the money, before someone else does”, not “is this the best use of these funds”?

As the Biblical writer said, “There is nothing new under the sun”.

Today, there are new pots of money. They are labeled “Homeland Security Grants”, “911 Access Fees”, and other government money pots. The idea is to pour money into a hole and if we are lucky some portion of it may actually be used for something useful.

Much of these funds is expended with more of an eye toward “getting our share so the guy in the next county doesn’t get it all”, rather than for well planned needed equipment.

When the current wave of money pots are empty we will have a nation strewn with a myriad assortment of vehicular repeaters, “ineroperability solutions”, and other devices that will in many cases rarely, if ever, be used. Often this will be because of the inability for the intended users to remember how to use them in a time of crisis.

However, this may give some needed cash flow to a few manufacturers, and maybe it is just a small government subsidy to the industry.

While many existing Public Safety radio systems are in need of upgrading, these funds often avoid those needs and install rarely to be used “interoperability solutions.”

In a few years, this billions of dollars of equipment will find its place on the palets at public auctions and perhaps the amateur radio operators will find applications for it.

SunCom does have email after all

Filed under: — Rik @ 7:19 am

Today I got a call from a manager at SunCom, he said he would connect me
with someone who could tell me how to use email with their phones.

The person who called me was Dwayne Blankenship who used to work with me
when I was Sales Manager at Cellular One here in Raleigh in the late 80’s!
It was great hearing from him.

The woman he put me in touch with did tell me the secret.

SunCom calls their email service MultiMedia Messaging Service, MMS.

Using that feature I can send, receive, and reply to emails!


bad news for investors concerning SunCom

Filed under: — Rik @ 5:18 pm

Despite claiming “Truth In Wireless”, and “We Get It” it appears SunCom is
in fact misleading customers when switching them from AT&T to SunCom.

I just made the switch and two days later I realize I have lost all ability
to receive, reply to, and send emails from my phone, all of which I could do
with my AT&T PCS phone.

I used this feature frequently in my work, and now I am technically
crippleld when I expected to be advancing in my communications abilities.

Of course I feel I must get this important news out to others before they
make the same mistake.

Join the discussion in the SunCom Yahoo Group


Digital Future

Filed under: — Rik @ 9:24 pm

Public Safety does not consider the price of scanners, nor should they. They
also don’t consider the use of scanners, nor should they. If they need
privacy, encryption is available.

The spectrum benefits of digital, will take some time to accomplish. The FCC
refarming of VHF and UHF and the recent narrowband deadline dates will get
us started in that direction.

P25 is an example of a path toward standardization. Watch for those not on
the path to fall away over the next few years. Federal Government funding is
esssential and obtaining it will require more standardization.

Digital systems will allow for using much of the existing off the shelf
standarized network hardware to build networks instead of proprietary boxes.
Radio traffic, VoIP phone traffic, and data applications will all share the
same network instead of seperate ones.

High speed data is not required to make a license plate inquiry or receive a
small ID photo. Look at Nextel for an example of what can be done with data
in 25 khz channels. Forget analog FM, it is soon to be a thing of the past.

When shortwave broadcasters are testing digital, you know the handwriting is
on the wall.


Tax funded free wireless broadband

Filed under: — Rik @ 1:45 pm

It is outrageous for cities to install free wireless systems that
take customers away from commercial providers who have invested in providing
wireless and wired services in that same city.

Tax funds should not be used for such things. I see no difference between
that, and the city deciding to open drugstores and sell drugs at tax
subsidized prices to compete against retail drug stores in their community.

This sort of thinking might be ok in the old Soviet Union, but not in free
enterprise USA.

I am campaigning against a free wireless proposal in our city now.


Money out of Chaos

Filed under: — Rik @ 6:46 pm

The commercial, auctioned spectrum generates a lot of revenue. You note that everyone makes sure that devices sold for use in that spectrum can be controlled.

In the private spectrum, governments don’t even pay a license fee, business fees are so low as to probably cost more in FCC overhead to process than they collect for the Treasury.

In other words, there are no $$$$ provided by Private Wireless.

So, the only $$$$ involved where private wireless is concerned is that generated by those highly profitable, Chinese built FRS/GMRS radios that they don’t even stock parts for.

When the Motorola, Radio Shack cabal proposed all these retail private radio products such as MURS, they knew what they were doing. They also knew that the more congested the radio freqs become, the more folks would turn to the activation commission based commercial carriers which pay a lot more for the phones they bundle than do the FRS radio users.

Once the dust settles on the Nextel rebanding deal, and everyone starts looking for something to do, watch for thr 450 MHz private radio band to get in the crosshairs.


Is it a “Two Way Radio”?

Filed under: — Rik @ 7:49 am

Is the phrase “Two Way Radio” an American thing, or is this term also popular in other countries to describe this type of equipment?

The term “two way radio” is very commonly used on search engines such as Google, an indication of its popularity.

Since the explosion of cellular phones we have seen the rising popularity of the the term “Wireless”.

What do YOU call a push-to-talk type of radio device?

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