|Wireless News Aggregation|
Welcome Back To
NO POLITICS HERE
This doesn't mean that nothing is ever published here that mentions a US political party—it just means that the editorial policy of this newsletter is to remain neutral on all political issues. We don't take sides.
A new issue of the Wireless Messaging Newsletter is posted on the web each week. A notification goes out by e-mail to subscribers on most Fridays around noon central US time. The notification message has a link to the actual newsletter on the web. That way it doesn’t fill up your incoming e-mail account.
There is no charge for subscription and there are no membership restrictions. Readers are a very select group of wireless industry professionals, and include the senior managers of many of the world’s major Paging and Wireless Messaging companies. There is an even mix of operations managers, marketing people, and engineers — so I try to include items of interest to all three groups. It’s all about staying up-to-date with business trends and technology.
I regularly get readers’ comments, so this newsletter has become a community forum for the Paging, and Wireless Messaging communities. You are welcome to contribute your ideas and opinions. Unless otherwise requested, all correspondence addressed to me is subject to publication in the newsletter and on my web site. I am very careful to protect the anonymity of those who request it.
I spend the whole week searching the INTERNET for news that I think may be of interest to you — so you won’t have to. This newsletter is an aggregator — a service that aggregates news from other news sources. You can help our community by sharing any interesting news that you find.
Editorial Opinion pieces present only the opinions of the author. They do not necessarily reflect the views of any of advertisers or supporters. This newsletter is independent of any trade association. I don't intend to hurt anyone's feelings, but I do freely express my own opinions.
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Service Monitors and Frequency Standards for Sale
(Images are typical units, not actual photos of items offered for sale here.)
Passive Audio Amps For Smart Phones
Buy An Amp today
Oh come on they are cool.
These are acoustic amplifiers for smartphones. They don't need electric power to operate and there are no moving parts. They work like a megaphone (speaking-trumpet, bullhorn, or loudhailer). Everyone that I have shown one to has said something like “Wow, I want one of those!” So I have built a few of them.
Of course there are more “Hi-Fi” ways to listen to audio on your smartphone but who would want to plug an elegant smartphone into some cheap, plastic gadget? Or even use Wi-Fi or Bluetooth, which are a pain in the neck to set up, even on a smartphone.
These have been made with hardwood bases and some of them are exotic hardwoods with interesting grain patterns. The horns are polished brass — made from mostly old horns that had rubber bulbs on the ends and were used in “times gone by” by taxis and even clowns in circuses. These horns have been re-purposed, reshaped, soldered, and polished.
They horns are now on display and for sale at:
The two large horns — the trombone and the gramophone — are difficult to pack and ship to they are for local pickup only. The remainder can be sent to you. I have the cowboy horn and the rest are in stock at the Colorado coffee shop.
Please call for pricing and availability or stop in for a demo and a great cup of espresso.
P.S. Allan, Virginia and I worked together at WebLink Wireless in Dallas.
The US Secret Service Issues Ransomware Warning
The US Secret Service issued a security alert about ransomware attacks.
The U.S. Secret Service issued a warning about an increase in hacks targeting managed service providers, or MSPs, of both the U.S. private sector and various government entities.
According to a document published by ZDNet on June 7, threat actors have been widely relying on ransomware attacks, point-of-sale intrusions, and business email compromise scams to breach the internal networks of MSP customers.
Remote management software under threat
MSPs are service providers related to remote management software for enterprises, including file-sharing systems for internal networks, which could also be hosted inside a cloud infrastructure.
U.S. Secret Service officials issued a warning, stating in part that:
Ransomware gangs target MSPs
In 2019, ransomware groups like GandCrab and REvil became known for targeting MSPs to deploy their attacks. Threat intelligence firm, Armor, reported at least 13 MSPs were hacked in the same year.
This is the second alert from U.S. authorities about MSP-related vulnerabilities. The National Cybersecurity and Communications Integration Center, or NCCIC, raised red flags over this issue as well back in October 2018.
Paging Transmitters 150/900 MHz
The RFI High Performance Paging Transmitter is designed for use in campus, city, state and country-wide paging systems. Designed for use where reliable simulcast systems where RF signal overlap coverage is critical.
Built-in custom interface for Prism-IPX ipBSC Base Controller for remote control, management and alarm reporting.
Prism-IPX Systems LLC.
The Wireless Messaging News
The Board of Advisor members are people with whom I have developed a special rapport, and have met personally. They are not obligated to support the newsletter in any way, except with advice, and maybe an occasional letter to the editor.
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NOT JUST GPS: NEW OPTIONS FOR GLOBAL POSITIONING
by: Lewin Day
A few weeks ago, China launched the final satellite in its BeiDou-3 satellite positioning system. Didn’t know that China had its own GPS? How about Europe’s Galileo, Russia’s GLONASS, or Japan’s QZSS? There’s a whole world of GPS-alikes out there. Let’s take a look.
The Global Positioning System (GPS) that we all know and love flew its first satellite in the distant past of 1978, just five years after the project began. Becoming fully operational in 1993, it was originally intended for use by the military. After decrees by government and the increase in civilian accuracy in 2000, GPS took the world by storm.
While open access to GPS spawned new industries and made navigation easier for everyone, governments worldwide were keenly aware that such a useful system was under the sole control of the United States. As more came to rely on it for day to day activities, it became clear to many that it would be advantageous to have a system under their own control.
These factors have led to the development of a spate of satellite navigation systems being developed by other nation states. Russia’s GLONASS, the European Union’s Galileo, and China’s BeiDou navigation system all offer comparable functionality to GPS. Meanwhile, Japan and India have both undertaken the construction of regional navigational systems, with QZSS and NAVIC, respectively. Each have their own unique qualities, and it bears learning about the relative systems and what they bring to satellite navigation.
The oldest system next to GPS, GLONASS was developed by the Soviet Union, kicking off in 1976. A little slower to come together, its full constellation of satellites was first completed in 1995. Russian economic issues led to the system falling out of maintenance, and global coverage was lost a few short years later.
It was only in the new millennium that proper funding was restored to the project. Since then, GLONASS has become a priority of Russian leadership, taking a full third of the Roscosmos budget. Global coverage was once again reached in 2013.
At its standard level of operation, GLONASS offers between 4.5 m and 7.4 m of accuracy – competitive with unaugmented GPS. Despite this, it was late to the party, and initially failed to find acceptance as GPS was already the favored choice. Regulations were put in place for a 25% import tariff for any GPS navigation device that didn’t also support GLONASS. This political move quickly changed things, with manufacturers making the effort to create devices that could take advantage of both satellite navigation systems. This had the additional benefit of improving acquire time, as receivers had a broader set of satellites from which to receive a fix.
Kicking off in 1999, The European Union’s Galileo system was nearly scuppered before it got started, with the United States having severe reservations about the program. With the system offering high accuracy navigation to anyone and everyone, the US feared it could be used in attacks on its home territory. With the original frequency plan, it would be impractical for US forces to jam Galileo transmissions without also interfering with GPS used for their own weapons. However, the EU pushed on, coming to a compromise that the system would be built, albeit in a way that would leave the two systems using suitably separate frequency allocations. The first craft was launched took place in 2011, with launches taking place thick and fast ever since.
Currently, 22 satellites are operational out of a planned total 30: 24 to be in use, and 6 on active standby. Coverage is considered global, while likely not yet perfect until the constellation is completed sometime this year. Through the use of Precise Point Positioning technology, Galileo offers accuracy to the centimetric level in its high accuracy mode, without requiring any communications with base-stations like augmented GPS or RTK.
Plans also include implementing rudimentary two-way communication for the Galileo Search-and-Rescue service, allowing first responders to indicate to those seeking assistance that their call has been received and help is on the way.
Spawned from discussions in the 1980s, China’s Beidou system kicked off with BeiDou-1, with the first launch taking place in 2000. A China-only regional system, it was superseded by BeiDou-2 which began launches in 2007 which began the march towards more global coverage. 2015 marked the start of BeiDou-3 deployment, with the final satellite of the constellation being launched on June 22, 2020.
With accuracy on the order of 10 meters for civilian use, it also delivers a military-only signal to the armies of China and Pakistan, reportedly down to 10 cm. Short messaging capability is also included in the platform, though whether this will be available to the general public is not clear at this time. Around 70% of Chinese smartphones already support the system. With China’s huge manufacturing muscle and massive population, expect BeiDou hardware to become commonplace incredibly quickly.
Creating a global satellite navigation system is incredibly expensive. While the economic benefits can be huge, they’re not always readily capturable by those implementing the system, particularly now in a world where we have four. However, that doesn’t mean there aren’t gains to be had from throwing up a few satellites to augment things locally.
Japan’s QZSS system does just that, acting as a local support to standard GPS satellites. The goal was to create a regionally-specific system to help with GPS reception in urban canyons, where tall buildings make it difficult for receivers on the ground to see enough satellites to get a fix. Signals transmitted from the satellites are compatible with standard GPS receivers. First launched in 2010, the constellation currently consists of four satellites, with a further three planned.
India’s NAVIC system was partially borne out of a loss of GPS access in the midst of the Kargil War in 1999. The first launch took place in 2013, with the system declared operational five years later. With seven satellites currently in use, coverage extends up to 1,600 km from India’s borders. Using a dual-band system with transmissions at 1176 MHz and 2492 MHz to calculate atmospheric distortion, it aims to offer better accuracy than unaugmented GPS.
As in Russia, India is using government legislation to push adoption, and deals signed suggest smartphones could work with NAVIC signals as soon as this year.
WHAT IT MEANS FOR USERS
For the average user on the street, the new systems coming online won’t be particularly noticeable. It’s likely that smartphone chipsets will pack functionality with most, if not all, systems moving forward, allowing quicker fixes and more accurate positioning. For makers and hackers, there will be more options than ever for satellite navigation modules. For those seeking access to the most satellites possible, units like the ublox NEO-M8U will be attractive. Combined GPS/GLONASS receivers have already been around for years. Anyone out there using Galileo’s centimeter-level resolution?
For nation states, their leaders may sleep a little more soundly knowing that their military has accurate strike capabilities on lock, regardless of the whims of the USA. Conversely, they may fear their adversaries hitting their own soft targets with more precision than ever before. Realistically, positioning systems will just be yet another front on which electronic warfare rages on the battlefield. Incidents like Iran’s use of GPS spoofing are a great example of how these systems can be used and abused.
Regardless, it’s an exciting time for those interested in the cutting-edge of positioning technologies. We look forward to ever-more accurate data helping out with new technologies like drone deliveries, self driving cars, and just finding your way to that new happening coffee shop across town!
|PRISM IPX Systems|
Providing Expert Support and Service Contracts for all Glenayre Paging Systems.
The GL3000 is the most prolific paging system in the world and Easy Solutions gladly welcomes you to join us in providing reliable support to the paging industry for many more decades in the future.
Easy Solutions provides cost effective computer and wireless solutions at affordable prices. We can help in most any situation with your communications systems. We have many years of experience and a vast network of resources to support the industry, your system and an ever changing completive landscape.
Please see our web site for exciting solutions designed specifically for the Wireless Industry. We also maintain a diagnostic lab and provide important repair and replacement parts services for Motorola and Glenayre equipment. Call or
I would like to recommend Easy Solutions for Support of all Glenayre Paging Equipment. This Texas company is owned and operated by Vaughan Bowden. I have known Vaughan for over 35 years. Without going into a long list of his experience and qualifications, let me just say that he was the V.P. of Engineering at PageNet which was—at that time—the largest paging company in the world. So Vaughan knows Paging.
GTES is no longer offering support contracts. GTES was the original group from Vancouver that was setup to offer support to customers that wanted to continue with the legacy Glenayre support. Many U.S. customers chose not to use this service because of the price and the original requirement to upgrade to version 8.0 software (which required expensive hardware upgrades, etc.). Most contracts ended as of February 2018.
If you are at all concerned about future support of Glenayre products, especially the “king of the hill” the GL3000 paging control terminal, I encourage you to talk to Vaughan about a service contract and please tell him about my recommendation.
Click on the image above for more info about advertising here.
INTERNET Protocol Terminal
The IPT accepts INTERNET or serial messaging using various protocols and can easily convert them to different protocols, or send them out as paging messages.
An ideal platform for hospitals, on-site paging applications, or converting legacy systems to modern protocols.
Prism-IPX Systems LLC.
Nearly 600 online retailers hit with credit card-stealing malware — protect yourself now
By Nicholas Fearn July 8, 2020
'Keeper' cybercrime group has been active since 2017
A new credit-card-stealing group of cybercriminals has made millions of dollars by targeting more than 570 online retail websites, some of them rather well known, over a period of three years.
According to security firm Gemini, the "Keeper" Magecart group has made around $7 million by flogging the details of perhaps 700,00 stolen credit cards on the dark web and has been active in 55 countries since April 2017.
With the rapid growth of the e-commerce industry, Magecart attacks, also known as digital skimming attacks, are becoming more common.
These attacks happen when cybercrooks inject malicious code into the source code of retail websites to record their customer’s credit card details as the card information is entered.
The Magecart name derives from one of the first groups to use this method to steal credit cards from websites en masse. That group targeted websites running the open-source Magento e-commerce framework, which has about 250,000 users globally, but it has since become a generic term.
Gemini security researchers said the Keeper group “consists of an interconnected network of 64 attacker domains and 73 exfiltration domains”, all of which “use identical login panels and are linked to the same dedicated server”.
They found that the server “hosts both the malicious payload and the exfiltrated data stolen from victim sites".
Which websites were hit by the Keeper gang?
The vast majority of sites breached by the hackers (85%) did use the Magneto e-commerce platform and were predominantly based in the US, the UK and the Netherlands. There were also many sites based in Australia and France.
A full list of the compromised websites is on the Gemini website. Few of them belong to internationally known companies, but the list does include the well-known British brand The Body Shop, the Canadian site of the American apparel brand Columbia Sportswear, the British sportswear retailer Umbro, the official website of the American country singer Alan Jackson, the website of the official AP Stylebook used by most U.S, journalists, and a memorably named British equestrian-fashion site called Horses with Attitude.
What can I do to prevent my credit card being stolen?
To protect yourself from having your credit card compromised while shopping online, you might want to look into a service that provides one-time card numbers for individual purchases.
It also helps to have one of the best antivirus programs running on your PC or Mac, as the AV software will often know when a site is compromised and will warn you before you connect to it.
In general, you should also check your credit-card statements at least once a month, and report anything unusual to your card issuer immediately. At least in the U.S., it's rare for credit-card holders to be left with the bill when someone else uses the card fraudulently.
Active on the dark web
Gemini claims that the perpetrators kept the details of 184,000 breached credit cards and that the time stamps were dated between July 2018 and April 2019.
"Based on the provided number of collected cards during a nine-month window, and accounting for the group’s operations since April 2017, Gemini estimates that it has likely collected close to 700,000 compromised cards," the report said.
By selling these compromised cards on the dark web, the crooks have likely made huge sums of money over the past few years.
Gemini said: “Extrapolating the number of cards per nine months to Keeper’s overall lifespan, and given the dark web median price of $10 per compromised Card Not Present (CNP) card, this group has likely generated upwards of $7 million USD from selling compromised payment cards.”
The actual figure may be very different, however, because stolen-credit-card information is often sold at bulk discounts.
Since breaching its first e-commerce store in 2017, the Keeper group has “continually improved its technical sophistication and the scale of its operations”, Gemini said.
“Based on this pattern of successful Magecart attacks, Gemini assesses with high confidence that Keeper is likely to continue launching increasingly sophisticated attacks against online merchants across the world,” the report added.
Paging Data Receiver PDR-4
The PDR-4 is a multi-function paging data receiver that decodes paging messages and outputs them via the serial port, USB or Ethernet connectors.
Designed for use with Prism-IPX ECHO software Message Logging Software to receive messages and log the information for proof of transmission over the air, and if the data was error free.
Prism-IPX Systems LLC.
Wireless Network Planners
By Kymberly Foster Seabolt — July 9, 2020
I spent much of today in 1980. Figuratively, not literally, although the latter would have been fun. No, I spent the day in a location that doesn’t have reliable cell service. If more than say, six people, try to use their phones simultaneously, the signal crashes under the load.
Accordingly, we are all carrying on like rational adults and behaving as if the world is devoid of oxygen. When faced with the possibility that while out in a public venue we can’t text or call one another, we just went ahead and lost our grip on sanity. Husbands are losing wives. Grown children are claiming their mothers are lost. We are paging people like it’s 1980.
“Brittany please meet your mother at the car! She looks mad!”
“Jim please meet your wife, Diane” — as opposed to his other wife I suppose.
Most of us are old enough to know better. You would not know that we have ever lived in a world where you once had to use a pay phone — and actual spoken words — to communicate with people. Do pay phones exist anymore? If they do, do they take debit cards?
Even if I found myself with exact change and a working pay phone, I would not know how to call anyone. In the “olden days,” we had to remember everyone’s number. I am not proud of the fact that even my children’s numbers are iffy to me. I just have them saved on my cell phone. I push a picture of my husband and my phone reaches him.
I also hail from a time when they had to answer the phone to know who was calling. Worse, we couldn’t just pull it out of our pocket and see what flashed on the screen. We were slimmer then, because we had to run over to the wall or table the phone was to answer it.
I did a lot of sprinting to the phone as a teen. Once there, we didn’t talk long if it was “long distance.” As far as I knew as a child, it cost a kidney a minute, and my mother was not paying for that. Collect calls were a timed speed event. We would call and say quickly, “Mom, I need a ride,” before the omnipresent operator cut us off.
Collect calls aside, we were generally taught proper phone etiquette, such as saying, “hello this is Kymberly, is Tari available?”
Now it seems like people just call and say, “who is this?”
Just phone calls
In the past, our phones just phoned. There was no, “hey Alexa, what is the temperature?”
Calling time and temperature is how you knew what the temperature was. You couldn’t Google the answer. There was no “weather app.” You had to watch the news at a designated time and catch the forecast.
We had only three television channels, and maybe PBS, if we wiggled the wire hanger used as an antenna just the right way.
Music was listened to on the radio or cassette tapes. When you wanted to hear your favorite song you had to call the radio station and wait for the DJ to play your favorite song. It was a special art to be able to press record at the right time on your cassette player to make your own playlist.
Today, my phone makes playlists for me based on songs I have previously liked. I would be offended at the invasion of privacy if it wasn’t so spot on.
As a matter of fact, I would like my car stereo to Bluetooth stream Jim Croce’s Greatest Hits, thank you very much. Most appropriately that great song about the “Operator.” Too bad almost no one under 45 will understand it.
|Source:||FARM and DAIRY|
Remote AB Switches
ABX-1 switches are often used at remote transmitter sites to convert from old, outdated and unsupported controllers to the new modern Prism-IPX ipBSC base station controllers. Remotely switch to new controllers with GUI commands.
ABX-3 switches are widely used for enabling or disabling remote equipment and switching I/O connections between redundant messaging systems.
Prism-IPX Systems LLC.
|Inside Towers Newsletter|
Mobile Data Report Ranks U.S. Phone Ownership As “Expensive”
There are more cell phones on the planet than humans, and yes, more people own a mobile phone than a toothbrush (seriously, Google it!). Depending on where you live, the cost of keeping your phone connected varies widely. According to the London Daily Mail, a new report by VisualCapitalist looked at average data prices in 155 different countries and found a 30,000 percent difference between the cheapest and most expensive markets. Countries at the top of the list — representing the most expensive data - were those where low population density and lack of a national cell tower infrastructure exist, like Subsaharan Africa. However, with a plethora of telecommunications companies and infrastructure, the U.S. came in at number 18, with the cost of 1GB of data equal to $8.00.
In contrast, the least expensive data resides in India, where 1GB equals $0.09. Researchers attribute this low cost to escalating competition between the country's four main service providers. Other countries that rank on the inexpensive side include Israel, Kyrgyzstan, Italy, and Ukraine.
The VisualCapitalist study unveiled rates for data currently, but that might all change soon. According to the researchers, average data prices could significantly increase in the next several years as more countries begin unveiling 5G.
|Source:||Inside Towers newsletter|| Courtesy of the editor of Inside Towers Jim Fryer.
Inside Towers is a daily newsletter by subscription.
Reminder: RDOF Auction Short Forms Due July 15
On July 1, the FCC issued a Public Notice announcing the opening of the window for entities to file the short-form application (FCC Form 183) to participate in Auction 904 (Rural Digital Opportunity Fund Phase I). The Auction 904 application window opened at 12:00 noon EDT on July 1, 2020. The Auction 904 application window will close at 6:00 pm EDT on July 15, 2020. All entities seeking to participate in Auction 904 must complete a short-form application by the close of the application window. The FCC encourages interested entities to certify and submit their application well in advance of the deadline. Late applications will not be accepted.
BloostonLaw Contacts: Ben Dickens, Gerry Duffy, and John Prendergast.
AT&T Posts Generic ILEC-to-ILEC Agreement on its Website
In a previous edition of the BloostonLaw Telecom Update, we reported that AT&T had notified rural local exchange carriers in about twenty-one states (Alabama, Arkansas, California, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Michigan, Mississippi, Missouri, Nevada, North Carolina, Ohio. Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas and Wisconsin) that it was terminating many traffic exchange and extended area service (“EAS”) agreements with them as of July 1, 2020. Since then, AT&T has recently posted what appears to be a generic replacement agreement on its website.
The generic agreement is somewhat long and complex, in a way that can make it easy to miss important provisions and changes. Even though the document is set up in a redline-proof Adobe PDF format, with language that AT&T will likely be very reluctant to negotiate or revise, it claims to be the “joint work product” negotiated by the parties and their counsel, and from which no inferences regarding the resolution of ambiguities can be drawn against either party.
One major initial reservation concerning the AT&T agreement is that it claims to encompass a number of attachments, exhibits, schedules and addenda that will ultimately “constitute the entire agreement” between the parties. It is not yet clear how these various additional documents will be controlled and agreed upon, so that Rural LECs will be able to determine exactly what are their rights and obligations under the “entire agreement” at any particular time.
As we noted previously, some changes such as the final transition of terminating access charges and reciprocal compensation fees to bill-and-keep are already the law and have been incorporated into NECA and other Rural LEC tariffs as of July 1. Other matters such as EAS and interconnection arrangements are not necessarily required by the bill-and-keep transition but have long been desired by AT&T to be changed. Clients are warned to be very careful of what types or new or revised agreements they negotiate and sign with AT&T.
BloostonLaw has decades of experience in these matters, and stands ready to assist those who desire our help.
BloostonLaw Contacts: Ben Dickens, Gerry Duffy, and Mary Sisak.
Reassigned Number Database Compliance Begins Jul. 27; Small Businesses Have Until Jan. 27, 2021
On July 2, the FCC issued a Public Notice announcing that beginning July 27, 2020, voice service providers must maintain records of the most recent date each number was permanently disconnected and must age telephone numbers for at least 45 days after disconnection and before reassignment. Small business voice service providers have an additional six months, i.e., until January 27, 2021, to comply with the record maintenance rule. The FCC will announce the compliance date for the new rule requiring voice service providers to send information to the Reassigned Numbers Database once the database is established. These requirements are applicable to all carriers that obtain numbering resources from the NANPA, a Pooling Administrator, or another carrier.
We note that the FCC’s June 26 Federal Register publication regarding these rules, about which we reported in a previous edition of the BloostonLaw Telecom Update, stated that “[t]he Commission also announces that compliance with the rules for aging numbers and maintaining records of the most recent date of permanent disconnection is now required,” without reference to the 30 day implementation period or the six month extension for small businesses described in the July 2 Public Notice.
BloostonLaw Contacts: Ben Dickens, Gerry Duffy, and John Prendergast.
FCC Seeks Comment on T-Band Reallocation and Licensing NPRM
On July 6, the FCC released the text of its controversial June 24 Notice of Proposed Rulemaking, in which it seeks comment on reallocating “T-Band” spectrum (470-512 MHz), assigning new licenses by auction for the 6 megahertz to 18 megahertz of spectrum that is potentially available in each of the eleven urbanized areas, and relocating “public safety eligibles” from the T-Band. Comment deadlines have not yet been established.
The T-band spectrum auction was mandated by the Middle-Class Tax Relief and Job Creation Act of 2012, which created the First Responder Network Authority (FirstNet). Congress required that the FCC reclaim from public safety (and sell at auction) the T-band spectrum, in exchange for 700 MHz band 14 spectrum. Public safety entities make extensive use of the T-Band in 11 large urban areas (including Boston, Chicago, Dallas/Fort Worth, Houston, Los Angeles, Miami, New York City/New Jersey, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, San Francisco/Oakland, and Washington, D.C./Maryland/Virginia).
The public safety community has repeatedly made that case that loss of the T-Band spectrum would be a severe blow to their communications capabilities. Numerous federal regulators, including FCC Chairman Ajit Pai, have asked Congress to allow public safety to keep the T-band. Several bills to repeal the T-Band mandate have been introduced in both houses of Congress, but none have made it out of Committee. Now, because Congress has not repealed the mandate, the FCC is being forced to move forward with the auction process.
Specifically, the FCC proposes rules that would allow for flexible use in the auctioned T-Band, including wireless (fixed or mobile) use. The FCC also proposes to permit broadcast operations and seeks comment on how best to facilitate this and other potential uses. The FCC seeks comment on transition mechanisms and costs for relocating public safety eligibles from the T-Band, including whether to transition these licensees only where auction revenues exceed anticipated transition costs. The FCC also proposes an auction framework and licensing, operating, and technical rules for the reallocated spectrum that would preserve the current environment for incumbents remaining in the T-Band. Finally, The FCC seeks comment on how to best address the non-public safety operations in the T-Band to maximize opportunities for new entrants, including whether and how to transition non-public safety operations. This could affect our clients that may have gotten non-public safety T-Band channels for land mobile systems that are interleaved with the safety spectrum.
BloostonLaw Contacts: John Prendergast, Cary Mitchell, and Sal Taillefer.
Comments on Wireless Facility Deployment Revisions Due
Law Offices Of
2120 L St. NW, Suite 300
— CONTACTS —
Harold Mordkofsky, 202-828-5520, firstname.lastname@example.org
This newsletter is not intended to provide legal advice. Those interested in more information should contact the firm.
|THIS WEEK'S MUSIC VIDEO|
“Tintarella Di Luna”
Hetty and the Jazzato Band
|Source:||YouTube||Lyrics — In Italian with an English translation.|
|LETTERS TO THE EDITOR|
My background with paging began in the 1980s, after obtaining an electrical engineering degree. In these days, there were no so called "IT" degrees. Instead, those that wanted to work with the mainframe and microcomputer hardware and networks pre-Internet took EE and those who programmed them went for the Computer Science Degree.
In this time, portable cellphones were rare and most were "Car Phones" operating at a higher wattage with fewer sites. People that needed to be reached at all times signed up for pager service. My first pager was a Motorola BPR2000 that operated on 43.6 MHz. [https://americanhistory.si.edu/collections/search/object/nmah_1344387] Florida statewide service was actually just Central Florida at that time, and the system which still shows as an expired license KPE-230 in the ULS FCC database and had only 22 transmitters for its coverage. During this time, I remember leaving my pager in the window at certain places on the edges of the coverage zone to ensure it would work.
My BPR2000 which was just a numeric pager was the most advanced pager offered at the time by the company. The cheapest option was a "beep only" pager that could have up to 4 numbers assigned, each number beeping in a different pattern. This system required you to call back to the number assigned to that pattern to find out who paged you and why. Doctors typically used an answering service, other businesses simply called their office when it went off. The BPR2000 was considered the more advanced option and allowed the caller to directly send their call back number. Pager codes were also used by some to communicate specific information to the pager without the need for a callback.
I obtained full coverage and an 800 number for the pager, and I learned the actual Orlando 7 digit number that the toll free actually pointed at. This was handy to know, because the toll free number could only be called from within Florida, the regular number could be called long distance from anywhere. During this time I would get about a dozen false pages a year for State Farm Insurance. This is because the Florida main office had the same 7 digit phone number as my pager, but a different nearby area code. In these days people were more aware of pagers. They would call State Farm, hear a beeper instead and leave their number on the display. I would end up calling the number back and find out they were trying to call State Farm on the wrong area code.
After a few years, the pager failed and was replaced with a Bravo+, which was also a numeric pager, and for the first time had a clock built in. That is when I stopped using a watch, as my pager always had the time. [http://www.telepage.us/images/bravoplus.jpg] For people today, this did not happen until the smartphone age of 2010+.
My first attempts at automation involved my home computer, and a burglar alarm at my Aunt's office. I made a circuit that turned on the computer when my home phone rang. It then would boot up, wait 3 minutes then page me using the modem. It then used a serial port signal to turn the computer back off after a delay and detected the phone ringing through the RI pin on the serial port. This allowed me to be alerted that I had received a phone call when I was away before the advent of cell phones. I could then call back in and retrieve the message from my answering machine. The burglar alarm was a telephone dialer that called 3 numbers in an emergency. At the end of the message that identified the location of the emergency, I had placed touch tones that would be sent to my pager and alert me to a break in, a special purpose pager code.
When I needed to be reached in South Florida I discovered another paging company named "Century Paging" that was building its own wide area paging network. This company offered a pager that listened to a sub-carrier on FM radio stations around the state. As long as you could hear one of the couple of dozen FM radio stations in Florida, you could receive messages. This was the first device that I had that had a working "Out of Range" indicator, displaying an "F" if you were out of coverage. The lower keys was the only place that I ever saw the indicator displayed. This service did not use conventional paging transmitters. I do not ever remember this service ever being covered in the Newsletter. During this period, I carried both pagers.
My next evolution in paging service was a new system set up in the 1990's called "American Paging Gold" after which the 43.6 MHz system was retired. It had 149 transmitters in Florida on 931.4875 MHz and was said to cover 100% of Florida except for the center of the Everglades and the Ocala National Forest, where they claimed they were unable to locate transmitters. Arch, their next nearest competitor never came close to matching that coverage. During this period, I also used an Arch pager when I vacationed in North Carolina with SE US regional coverage.
Gold Pagers were paged either by calling a shared toll free number, followed by a 7 digit pin, or a toll free number with a TAP/IXO modem. You could also get Florida regional service on a local number. After the world wide web and e-mail became popular, gateways to the Internet were added. The farthest I ever received a page from this system was standing on Stone Mountain Georgia near Atlanta, from one of the up to 3500 watt paging transmitters on this system in North Florida. This system could use alphanumeric pagers, and to this day I still use the CP1250, the most advanced alpha pager I think was ever made. [https://i.ebayimg.com/00/s/MTYwMFgxMjAw/z/4AcAAOSw6T9e6F42/$_3.JPG]
I began gateway of my e-mail as a page to this system. Many of these e-mails were automated alerts from equipment or a network monitoring script. I also set up regional pagers for my technicians to receive messages of network outages from the intranet server which were actually e-mails as well. Users that were having a problem typed in their problem, and it was added to the trouble ticket database and also paged out to each technician, an improvement over calling IT. Modem alerts could also be programmed to alert me to important network events such as Internet failure that could not be sent out by the web or SNPP servers.
In 2007, after passing through many names including American Paging, TSR Wireless, Network Services and then American Messaging, they decided to shut down this statewide system. Florida now has no paging system with this 100% coverage, although American Messaging still has kept the 931.4875 MHz licenses active, but I have never heard it on my mobile scanner anywhere. This change forced me to change to the 931.8375 MHz frequency, and they sent me a Motorola Advisor Elite as a replacement. I purchased another CP1250 programmed to the same capcode and frequency, and still use that model pager to this date.
American Messaging has been shrinking its footprint in 2 ways. Firstly, they have given up most of the "gold" sites and no longer offer coverage from these sites. Secondly, they have been removing transmitters that used to sit on tall commercial towers, and have relocated them to hospital towers that are lower and have less range. There have been some additional hospital sites added over the years, but not enough to bring to the system the range of the original 149 transmitter "Gold" system. These actions have caused me to try using cellphone SMS via e-mail gateway in addition to paging for automated messaging in order to cover areas where there is no paging service. I have also obtained an Advisor Elite Pager and installed an external antenna jack, connected to an external mobile antenna which gives me coverage in my auto in places where the signal would otherwise be too weak to trigger the pager on my belt. I also have a device made from a DIRECTV dish with a pager at the focal point to receive pages at fixed locations where there is little signal, by pointing it at the nearest transmitter, greatly improving the reception.
Pagers are quite useful as devices to report issues with automated equipment and much easier to use for this purpose than cell phones. In Orlando, both Walt Disney and Sea World parks use these devices to report on failures. Sea World reports things regarding the water control systems used to keep the animals safe. Even in Hospitals, it it not just staff using them. Things like over-temp on Blood, Drug and Breast Milk coolers are monitored and reported to pagers. They are still the best device for such uses.
When I first started, the only way to send a message was with touch tones to the pager number which were dialed blind. When Alpha pagers were added, modem numbers were added in order to send alphanumeric pages, but these can be used for tone only and numeric pagers as well. This also allowed the computer to detect sending errors for retry. These modems were called TAP/IXO. Web and e-mail gateways were added next. I still use a script to send data via the American Messaging website using the text mode browser named Lynx. There are also SNPP servers that have been added as well, providing better and better tools for sending automated pages. Email can also be used. In todays world, I would guess that automated pages are more than 1/2 of the traffic.
Cell phones could have taken over some of these traffic, although cell network problems would still delay the messages, especially in times of emergency. In the early days, TAP/IXO was available on many mobile systems to send SMS messages, but like roaming ports, these means of access have been removed, likely because they were being used to send spam. Instead of removing them, they should have simply password protected them, limiting their use to their customers who they could cut off for any spamming of their customers.
Currently the only way to gateway text messages is via e-mail, which eliminate using these networks to send "No Internet" alerts by modem.
There is no reliability guarantee. Even though managers think that cell networks should take over critical messaging, tools to send such alerts via cell phone networks still are largely absent, and none of the carriers offer TAP/IXO or any other critical messaging delivery service or any delivery guarantee whatsoever.
As an example, T-Mobile is my Cell Provider. They have instructions on their website for use of their network for Computer Aided Dispatch. They include making sure the message contains no attachments and are less than 160 characters per message. I used these instructions when writing a paging script for their network, which can ONLY use e-mail for input. Most of the time, the messages make it to my phone as an SMS text promptly. However, sometimes the messages can be hours late. It is often hard to tell what the failure is. Failure can include the local e-mail system, or a delay in the SMS network, or the phone itself not being registered on the network due to the concrete jungle effect. Also there is an issue with the spam filter they subscribe to. There does not appear to be any way for T-Mobile to whitelist my IP, so I have had to strip out certain words including "http" in order to ensure delivery of my notices. T-Mobile provides a form of messaging, but by no means a means of critical messaging.
Thus, pagers still to this day are the best and most cost effective tool for critical messaging that is available in most places in the US. These networks are able to serve these needs even during major hurricanes, unlike cellphone networks that often run out of power about 4 hours or so after power failure, when the backup batteries exhaust. Many current pager sites are at hospitals which are required to have backup power available keeping these systems in operation during all phases of a disaster. Each paging site serves a large radius compared to cell phones. Cell phones use 100's of sites to cover the same area as a single paging transmitter. Any failure of power at any of these sites will prevent delivery of your critical message to a Cell Phone.
I admit that I use my pager for more than just critical messaging. I have been receiving paging alerts for my e-mails since the 1990's, and it is such a nice way to keep informed of things away from the office, as my employment is highly mobile. Being a user of Linux, it is so easy to use Procmail to pipe my e-mail to paging scripts. Using Cron to monitor systems, and sending alerts via e-mail which in turn is paged is also a major part of keeping awareness of the status of the networks that I am in charge of. I wish other industries other than medical would continue to adopt paging technology, so the systems would continue to expand and I would encounter less dead zones. Like on Ham Radio, much of the communication I send via pager is not considered critical messaging. This daily "rag chewing" keeps these Ham Radio systems in top working shape for those days when emergencies strike and these systems are pressed into emergency service, often with little notice.
Pagers operate for a month on a single battery. Cell phones often cannot do 24 hours before they run out, and unless you have backup power, how can you charge them? The only answer I have found is a solar powered cell phone charger which I am not sure can keep up and of course does not work at night. A drawer full of batteries (on every hurricane list) is all you need to keep a pager operational during a disaster.
Glad you are staying well. Keep it up. The newsletter is a GEM. Will you please let your readers know I have 6 Sonic PTX150 VHF paging transmitters available. They are 100 watt, POCSAG/FLEX™ capable and covers 138-174 MHz. Power cords are included. They were removed WORKING from a county paging system and are guaranteed by me. $1425.00 each.
Please contact Phil directly. The newsletter will receive a 10% to 15% commission on any sales made. (On the honor system — no contract.)
Hi Brad !
Hope that you are well :) From the big picture, a small announce[ment] would be great. Something like we have about 2,000 used VHF POCSAG pagers to sell and two HUGE Glenayre terminals with DS1/ T1 cards and else, and a baby one. I mean, we are stuck with it so if anyone might be interested . . . is there any feed for announcements?
Thanks and best 73's / regards,
Please contact Paul directly. The newsletter will receive a 10% to 15% commission on any sales made. (On the honor system — no contract.)
73 DE K9IQY
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