9/11/2005

Encrypted comms and interoperability don't mix!!

First I would like to extend my thoughts and prayers to the surving members of the 9/11 attacks. Without rehashing everything I heard that day, one thing is for sure I never have felt more helpless than I did on that day. Although I know I'm not the only one. That being said I am going to take a slightly different approach.. that of a radio geek!
As we saw a few weeks ago during the hurricane the high and mighty "digital and encrypted" trunked systems came crashing down during the first hour s of the storm. There wasn't anything anyone could do, the most sophisticated communication device, bullhorns and PA systems in patrol cars. The only way to get a message out was to do it via amateur radio, plain old over the radio waves. No computers, no special digital radios, just free and clear communication. Are the officials listening? Probabllyt not. While I agree there are times certain police communications ashould be protected, the same system failed the emergency services of New Orleans and in turn failed the people I am not here to point fingers, there's too much of that going own right now. I am however going to point out from a communications standpoint that thne public safety officials are putting too much emphasis on protecting their communications than being practical. With all the critizism pointed at the President, the Governors and the local officials, there isn't enough blame being put on the industry that make the radios. The states and cities spent millions of dollars on upgrading communication systems and they FAILED. Radios that were considered "state of the art" FAILED ONCE AGAIN.
As a scanner listeniner obviously I am against digital and encrypted communications. Those who want full-time encryption have to answer this question, when has digital communications saved a life in a fire or a medical emergency? Never, not one time.
On 9/11 the radios failed, studies show the older radios would and did work, thus saving lives. You might have heard the families of the fallen firefighters and police officers are suing the manufacturers of the radios. Will it change the way we look at emergency communications? Only time will tell. However think about this, more departments are going back to their old systems. Why aren't the radios companies wake up and smelling the coffee??

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