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Wireless News Aggregation

Friday — March 30, 2018 — Issue No. 799

Welcome Back To The Wireless Messaging News

I hope you enjoy this issue — lots of interesting news.


We need your help.

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Wireless Messaging News

  • Emergency Radio Communications
  • Wireless Messaging
  • Critical Messaging
  • Two-way Radio
  • Technology
  • Telemetry
  • Science
  • Paging
  • Wi-Fi
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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.

About Us

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 Policy

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.

First Responders Serve and Protect


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.


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If you would like to subscribe to the newsletter just fill in the blanks in the form above, and then click on the “Subscribe” button.

There is no charge for subscription and there are no membership restrictions. It’s all about staying up-to-date with business trends and technology.

Advertiser Index

Easy Solutions  (Vaughan Bowden)
Hark Technologies  (David George & Bill Noyes)
IWA Technical Services, Inc.  (Ira Wiesenfeld)
Leavitt Communications  (Phil Leavitt)
Prism Paging  (Jim Nelson & John Bishop)
Product Support Services  (PSSI, Robert Cook, et al )
Paging & Wireless Network Planners LLC  (Ron Mercer)
Swissphone  (Angelo Saccoccia, et al)

Liftoff! Used SpaceX Rocket Launches 10 Iridium Satellites into Orbit

By Tariq Malik, Managing Editor | March 30, 2018 11:15am ET

View video of launch here.

A used SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket launched 10 new communications satellites into orbit from California's Vandenberg Air Force Base today (March 30) in a morning liftoff that also marked an anniversary for reusable rockets.

The Falcon 9 rocket, which first flew in October 2017, launched the fifth set of Iridium Next satellites for Iridium Communications at 10:13 a.m. EDT (1413 GMT) — exactly one year to the day after SpaceX's first used Falcon 9 rocket launch and landing. Since then, SpaceX has commonly landed the first stage of its two-stage Falcon 9 rockets and reused them on later flights.

In fact, the booster that launched today's Iridium-5 mission also launched 10 other Iridium Next satellites on Oct. 9 during SpaceX's Iridium-3 mission. And last December, Iridium became the first SpaceX customer to launch a mission on a rocket it used before when the Iridium-4 mission launched with the same booster SpaceX used to launch 10 other satellites on its Iridium-2 flight in June 2017.

"Today, this is our fifth launch for the Iridium constellation, using only three rockets," SpaceX materials engineer Michael Hammersley said during live commentary.

A SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket launched 10 Iridium Next satellites from Space Launch Complex-4E at Vandenberg Air Force Base on Friday, March 30. Credit: SpaceX

If that sounds like a lot of launches for Iridium to you, you're not wrong. Iridium has tapped SpaceX to launch 75 Iridium Next satellites to build up its communications constellation in orbit. To do that, Iridium has bought eight Falcon 9 launches for a total of $536 million.

In one departure from typical SpaceX launches, the company cut the live video feed from the Falcon 9 second stage about 9 minutes into the flight.

"Due to some restrictions from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, NOAA for short, SpaceX will be intentionally ending live video coverage from the second stage just prior to engine shutdown," Hammersley said. "We're working with NOAA to address these restrictions in order to hopefully be able to bring you live views from orbit in the future."

Hammersley did not elaborate on what those NOAA restrictions might be. has reached out to SpaceX and NOAA for clarification.

The 10 Iridium Next satellites were scheduled to be deployed about 42 minutes after reaching orbit, bringing Iridium's constellation up to 50 satellites. SpaceX launched the first 10 Iridium Next satellites in January 2017, with three more missions following in June, October and December of that year. The entire constellation of Iridium Next satellites (which includes 66 operational satellites and nine in-orbit spares) should be in orbit by mid-2018 if SpaceX's current launch pace holds.

The Hawthorne, California-based SpaceX has regularly launched, landed and re-flown Falcon 9 rockets as part of the company's reusable-rocket program aimed at lowering the cost of spaceflight. However, SpaceX did not attempt to land the Iridium-5 booster on its offshore drone ship Just Read the Instructions. Instead, the booster was expected to fly a landing approach over the open sea in the Pacific Ocean, and then splash down.

Hammersley said SpaceX did send out its recovery boat Mr. Steven, which is equipped with a giant net held up by huge steel arms, to try to catch half of the Falcon 9 rocket's payload fairing, the protective nose cone that covers satellite payloads during launch. SpaceX CEO Elon Musk has called the boat a "catcher's mitt" in boat form.

SpaceX's first attempt to catch a Falcon 9 fairing just missed earlier this year. The company is hoping to recover payload fairings, which cost up to $6 million each, to lower the cost of its launches even more. Today's Iridium-5 mission is not the only one on SpaceX's mind this week. Another used Falcon 9 rocket is scheduled to launch a Dragon cargo ship, which has also flown in space before, on Monday (April 2) from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida. That Dragon spacecraft will deliver fresh food, equipment and other supplies to the International Space Station once it arrives Wednesday (April 4).


Hark Technologies

hark logo

Wireless Communication Solutions

Paging Data Receiver (PDR)


  • Frequency agile—only one receiver to stock
  • USB or RS-232 interface
  • Two contact closures
  • End-user programmable w/o requiring special hardware
  • 16 capcodes
  • Eight contact closure version also available
  • Product customization available

Other products

Please see our web site for other products including Internet Messaging Gateways, Unified Messaging Servers, test equipment, and Paging Terminals.

Hark Technologies
717 Old Trolley Rd Ste 6 #163
Summerville, SC 29485
Tel: 843-821-6888
Fax: 843-821-6894
E-mail: left arrow CLICK
Web: left arrow CLICK

Hark Technologies

Easy Solutions

easy solutions

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.

  • We treat our customers like family. We don’t just fix problems . . . We recommend and implement better cost-effective solutions.
  • We are not just another vendor . . . We are a part of your team. All the advantages of high priced full-time employment without the cost.
  • We are not in the Technical Services business . . . We are in the Customer Satisfaction business.

Experts in Paging Infrastructure

  • Glenayre, Motorola, Unipage, etc.
  • Excellent Service Contracts
  • Full Service—Beyond Factory Support
  • Making systems More Reliable and MORE PROFITABLE for over 30 years.

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 e-mail us for more information.

Easy Solutions
3220 San Simeon Way
Plano, Texas 75023

Vaughan Bowden
Telephone: 972-898-1119
Telephone: 214 785-8255

Easy Solutions

Back To Paging


Still The Most Reliable Protocol For Wireless Messaging!


“Is Paging Going Away?” by Jim Nelson

  • Click here for English.
  • Click here for German. (Berlin Revision: November 8, 2016)
  • Click here for French.

Here is an English PDF edit of this paper formatted with page breaks and suitable for printing.

Volunteers needed for translations into other languages.






Rick McMichael has some equipment for sale — left over from the inventory of his business that he recently sold.

1 Motorola NAC board, P/N: TTN4017
1 Motorola NAC board, P/N: PTTN44097A
1 Interface board (mounts beside the NAC)
1 Internal Modem Daughter board
P/N: 0184843T02
1 CRIB board, receiver interface daughter board
P/N: TTN4088A
1 VHF Nucleus Exciter, for a NAC controlled unit

If you are interested, please e-mail Rick directly by clicking here. left arrow

Board of Advisors

The Wireless Messaging News
Board of Advisors

Frank McNeill
Founder & CEO
Communications Specialists
Jim Nelson
President & CEO
Prism Systems International
Kevin D. McFarland, MSCIS
Sr. Application Systems Analyst
Medical Center
Paul Lauttamus, President
Lauttamus Communications & Security
R.H. (Ron) Mercer
Wireless Consultant
Barry Kanne
Paging Industry Veteran
Ira Wiesenfeld, P.E.
Consulting Engineer
Allan Angus
Consulting Engineer

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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Storms expose flaws in emergency communication

Signal towers and generators failed in two separate storms requiring sheriff’s deputies to improvise.

By Barry Stringfellow - March 27, 20185

Sheriff Bob Ogden with the aging generator that kept 911 communications going for 36 hours in the wake of the March 13 blizzard. — Barry Stringfellow

During an average day, the Dukes County Regional Emergency Communications Center receives about 115 calls. During the nor’easters on March 2 and March 13, the communications center received 373 and 422 calls respectively, over a 24-hour period.

According to Dukes County Sheriff Robert Ogden, there were breakdowns during both storms due to equipment failure, and it was only the quick thinking of communications staff that kept the network functioning when it was needed most.

“We didn’t lose the 911 calls, we lost the dispatch, we couldn’t dispatch police and fire to sites, because towns lost power to their towers,” Ogden said. “They had no back up.”

There are six antennas, or “listening sites,” on the Island that connect to the communications center. They sit atop Peaked Hill, the Old Whaling Church, the water towers in Edgartown, Oak Bluffs, and Tisbury, and the West Tisbury fire tower. Aging copper wire carries the signal from the listening sites to the communications center.

Power to antennas went down in both storms, and backup generators also failed.

“This keeps me up at night,” Sheriff’s Deputy and communications technician Anthony Gould told The Times. “I’m very worried about this half of 911. There really is a high potential for the loss of life and property if the system goes down, and these two storms are nothing compared to what could happen. Hurricane season is just around the corner.”

Backups break down

While the first nor’easter of March was lashing the Vineyard on March 2, Deputy Gould discovered a communication breakdown between Oak Bluffs and Tisbury first responders and the communications center, while he was on a call with the Edgartown Fire Department, where he’s a volunteer EMT.

“I assumed it was a problem at the Oak Bluffs [antenna], which also affects Tisbury” he said. “Oak Bluffs hosts three repeaters for police fire and EMS for those towns.”

According to the incident report, Gould contacted police in Tisbury and Oak Bluffs and instructed them how to switch their radios from the Oak Bluffs repeater to directly reach the communications center on a backup channel. But for 10 minutes, both departments were completely out of communication with the center. “When the repeaters lose power, police and fire/EMS are unable to hear the communications center and we’re unable to hear them,” Gould said.

Then, Gould said, he had difficulty reaching the malfunctioning generator.

First, he needed someone from the Oak Bluffs Water District to unlock the fence so he could access the generator shed. Then he needed the proper passcode to the shed from Bardwell Electronics, who own and service the Oak Bluffs and Tisbury towers. Gould said he was unable to reach anyone from Bardwell Electronics and eventually had to pick the lock.

Doug Bardwell, co-owner of Bardwell Electronics, told The Times Gould had mistakenly called his brother Tom, who was on vacation. “We have a 24-hour answering service based on the Cape, and their lines were probably down,” he said. “But they also have my cell phone number. For the past 30 years, [Major] Schofield has always been able to reach me.”

In an e-mail to The Times on Tuesday, Gould disputed Bardwell’s account. “The sheriff attempted to contact both Tom and Doug on their personal cell phones with no answer. We received a call back from Tom Bardwell at 11:20 on March 6, 2018, on 508-693-1212 to follow up on messages left for him on March 2.”

Bardwell said his company is on call 24/7/365, in part because of its contract with the Steamship Authority, and that his company has to great lengths to respond to emergencies, including in 2011, when lightning took out the communications center and he was visiting his wife in the hospital off-Island.

“At 4:30 am the next morning I got up with my son and drove to Woods Hole to get on the first boat. At the end of the day Tom and myself were able to about half of the comm center up and running. Two days later the comm center was completely repaired. My point is we have always been there when needed. The current administration has chosen a different path and that’s fine just don’t throw us under the bus because you don’t follow a protocol that’s been able to find us for 35 years.”

Gould said that maintenance has long been substandard at the Oak Bluffs site. “There’s been water leaks, and there’s no working HVAC — this equipment is sensitive to temperature change,” he said.

Bardwell again disagreed.

“We maintain Tisbury and Oak Bluffs, both have air conditioning and heat,” he said. “There was a leak issue at Oak Bluffs, but that was fixed five, six months ago.”

Power was restored at the Oak Bluffs tower in the March 2 storm almost three hours after it had gone down. Gould’s report stated the generator was not repaired by the March 13 storm, which would pack a much harder punch.

Long distance help line

The communications center itself hung by a thread during the March 13 blizzard, relying completely on a 20-year-old generator that required constant maintenance.

“We lost power for a day and a half. If we lost that generator, most police, fire/EMS communications, and 911 communications would have been down,” Ogden said. “I kept going outside and cleaning it off because I was concerned it was going to fail. I heard sounds coming out of it I’d never heard before.”

The generator at the Oak Bluffs water tower failed to operate properly during two major storms.
–Gabrielle Mannino

The heavy snow and hurricane force winds during the storm knocked out power to the Oak Bluffs and Edgartown water tower sites and the West Tisbury site at about 8:30 am. Ogden said it again took Gould’s improvisational and technical skills to come up with workarounds. But this time he did it from Pennsylvania, where he was getting certified to climb telecommunications towers. Gould used the same backup channel workaround as he did in the March 2 storm, but again, there was a brief period where there was no communication between first responders in those three towns and the communications center. “We were lucky the backup channel worked both times, but even when it works, it doesn’t cover as well as a functioning network,” he said. “And I’m not confident it’s going to work every time.”

From hundreds of miles away, Gould directed Deputy Chris West through the steps to get the towers operational.

“Chris went from being a telecommunicator to driving through the storm while communicating with Tony in Pennsylvania to make sure the system didn’t fail,” Ogden said. At the Edgartown water tower site, West discovered that the backup battery — a car battery — was dead.

“We were rapidly losing sites in that area,” Gould said. “We knew Oak Bluffs was down because the generator wasn’t fixed from the first storm. If we lost the Edgartown Whaling Church, we’d have no radio coverage whatsoever for Oak Bluffs and Edgartown.”

Fortunately, Gould had improvised a fix on the Whaling Church tower in February, after finding equipment exposed to the elements. “There’s a plastic bag over it right now, with some duct tape, it’s kind of embarrassing,” he said.

“The Edgartown towers are in pretty bad shape,” Bardwell said. “A car battery can work as a backup, but only for a very short time. We’ve brought this up before. Edgartown is the richest town on the Island but they don’t want to spend money on emergency communication.” Deputy West experienced equipment failure of a different kind that night — the brakes on the sheriff’s department SUV failed. Deputy Nathan Vieira had to give him a ride to Tisbury to get his personal car, to finish his rounds.

Although up-Island is often a black hole when it comes to communications signals, the Peaked Hill tower, which is maintained by General Dynamics under the aegis of the U.S. Coast Guard, never lost power, giving up-Island towns better emergency coverage than down-Island towns.

“West Tisbury was down but Peaked Hill covered West Tisbury for the most part,” Gould said. “For Oak Bluffs and the Edgartown all we had was the Whaling Church. We were looking at using extension cords and little Honda generators, and power strips at one point. Then you had to figure where to put the generator so it’s out of the wind, it was kind of ridiculous.”

Gould estimated the towers in Oak Bluffs, Edgartown and West Tisbury were out for about 12 hours during the second storm.

“If someone gets hurt or killed on Martha’s Vineyard because of this, I’ll take responsibility but I’m going to bring a lot of people to bear,” Ogden said. “We have to improve this system.”

Source: MV Times  

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Prism-IPX Systems

prism-ipx systems
Critical Messaging that works
Secure . . . Dependable . . .
and Encrypted

Who We Are

Prism-IPX is a leader in providing reliable communications systems using modern designs to meet today’s demands for critical message alerting and delivery. Prism-IPX designs versatile and robust Critical Message Management systems using paging and other wireless technologies for high performance and dependable communications.

What We Make

Prism-IPX Systems products include full-featured radio paging systems with VoIP input, IP based transmitter control systems and paging message encryption. Other options include e-mail messaging, remote switch controllers, Off-The-Air paging message decoders and logging systems.

Contact Us   left arrow

Product Support Services, Inc.

Repair and Refurbishment Services

pssi logo

PSSI Repair Pricing
Repair Turn-Around Time 5-10 Business Days
1.1 Messaging Device - Repair Fees (parts additional change, 90-day warranty)
  Model Name PSSI Model Code Model Type Pricing (USD$)
  AE-Advisor Elite AE-Advisor Elite Alphanumeric $14.25
  AG-Advisor Gold AG-Advisor Gold Alphanumeric $13.12
  ALPE-UniElite (All New Parts) ALPE-UniElite Alphanumeric $34.83
  ALPE-UniElite (Used Parts) ALPE-UniElite Alphanumeric $14.94
  ALPG-Alpha Gold ALPG-Alpha Gold Alphanumeric $14.51
  Apollo Apollo Numeric $13.37
  Bravo 850 B8-BR850 Numeric $17.02
  BF-Bravo FLX BF-Bravo FLX Numeric $11.44
  T900 T9-T900 2Way $18.56
  BP-Bravo Plus BP-Bravo Plus Numeric $11.44
  BR-Bravo LX BR-Bravo LX Numeric $11.44
  GS-Coaster Coaster Numeric $26.97
  M90-UNI Messenger M90-UNI Messenger 2Way $18.56
  NP88-UNI-NP88 NP88-UNI-NP88 Numeric $9.68
  Pronto PL-Pronto LX Numeric $9.68
  Unication Elegant EL-Elegant Numeric $14.51
  RA-Ranger RA-Ranger Numeric $12.02
  ST800 ST800 Numeric $12.02
  ST800-P ST800-P Numeric $12.02
  T3-Titan Sun Telecom T3-Titan Sun Telecom Alphanumeric $13.37
  Z4-Z400 Sun Telecom Z4-Z400 Sun Telecom Alphanumeric $12.06
1.2 Messaging Device - Miscellaneous Service Fees
  Damaged Beyond Repair Inspection Fee $1.15
  Frequency Change - Synthesized Models $3.45
  Frequency Change - Non-Synthesized Models (parts not included) $4.03
1.3 Infrastructure Network Equip. - Repair Fees (parts additional charge, 6-mth. warranty)
  Model Name PSSI Model Code  
  Motorola Amplifier MO-AMP $581.20
  Motorola SCM/Exciter MO-SCM-EXC $561.25
  Motorola External NIU MO-NIU-EXT $511.92
  Glenayre Tx Controller GL-C2000 $128.34
  Glenayre Exciter Narrow Band GL-EXC-NB $128.34
  Glenayre Exciter Wide Band GL-EXC-WB $128.34
  Glenayre </=300W Amplifier GL-T8500 $303.60
  Glenayre </=300W Amplifier GL-T8600 $303.60
1.4 Infrastructure Network Equipment - Miscellaneous Service Fees
  Inventory Receiving Processing Fee $18.40
  Pick, Pack, and Order Fulfillment Fee $29.90
  Damaged Beyond Repair Inspection Fee $80.50

Product Support Services, Inc.
511 South Royal Lane
Coppell, Texas 75019
817-527-6322 left arrow left arrow

For Sale – Apollo Pilot XP A28 Alpha Numeric Pagers w/Charging Cradle

  • $70 each, discount available for volume purchases
  • Freq Range:450-458MHz & 462-470MHz
  • Format: POCSAG, Wide or Narrow Band
  • IP54 rating, protection from dust and water ingress
  • Powered by a standard AAA rechargeable battery

Contact Information

For Sale: Power-One 24VDC Linear Power Supplies

  • $70 each
  • Max output: 3.6 Amps
  • Input: 100/120/220/230/240 VAC 50/60Hz

Leavitt Communications


Specialists in sales and service of equipment from these leading manufacturers, as well as other two-way radio and paging products:

UNICATION bendix king

motorola blue Motorola SOLUTIONS

COM motorola red Motorola MOBILITY spacer
Philip C. Leavitt
Leavitt Communications
7508 N. Red Ledge Drive
Paradise Valley, AZ 85253
Web Site:
Mobile phone: 847-494-0000
Telephone: 847-955-0511
Fax: 270-447-1909
Skype ID: pcleavitt


Disaster-Proven Paging for Public Safety

Paging system designs in the United States typically use a voice radio-style infrastructure. These systems are primarily designed for outdoor mobile coverage with modest indoor coverage. Before Narrowbanding, coverage wasn’t good, but what they have now is not acceptable! The high power, high tower approach also makes the system vulnerable. If one base station fails, a large area loses their paging service immediately!

Almost every technology went from analog to digital except fire paging. So it’s time to think about digital paging! The Disaster-Proven Paging Solution (DiCal) from Swissphone offers improved coverage, higher reliability and flexibility beyond anything that traditional analog or digital paging systems can provide. 

Swissphone is the No. 1 supplier for digital paging solutions worldwide. The Swiss company has built paging networks for public safety organizations all over the world. Swissphone has more than 1 million pagers in the field running for years and years due to their renowned high quality.

DiCal is the digital paging system developed and manufactured by Swissphone. It is designed to meet the specific needs of public safety organizations. Fire and EMS rely on these types of networks to improve incident response time. DiCal systems are designed and engineered to provide maximum indoor paging coverage across an entire county. In a disaster situation, when one or several connections in a simulcast solution are disrupted or interrupted, the radio network automatically switches to fall back operating mode. Full functionality is preserved at all times. This new system is the next level of what we know as “Simulcast Paging” here in the U.S.

Swissphone offers high-quality pagers, very robust and waterproof. Swissphone offers the best sensitivity in the industry, and battery autonomy of up to three months. First responder may choose between a smart s.QUAD pager, which is able to connect with a smartphone and the Hurricane DUO pager, the only digital pager who offers text-to-voice functionality.

Bluetooth technology makes it possible to connect the s.QUAD with a compatible smartphone, and ultimately with various s.ONE software solutions from Swissphone. Thanks to Bluetooth pairing, the s.QUAD combines the reliability of an independent paging system with the benefits of commercial cellular network. Dispatched team members can respond back to the call, directly from the pager. The alert message is sent to the pager via paging and cellular at the same time. This hybrid solution makes the alert faster and more secure. Paging ensures alerting even if the commercial network fails or is overloaded.

Swissphone sets new standards in paging:

Paging Network

  • It’s much faster to send individual and stacked pages digitally than with analog voice.
  • If you want better indoor coverage, you put sites closer together at lower heights.
  • A self-healing system that also remains reliable in various disaster situations.
  • Place base station where you need them, without the usage of an expensive backhaul network.
  • Protect victim confidentiality and prevent unauthorized use of public safety communications, with integrated encryption service.


  • Reliable message reception, thanks to the best sensitivity in the industry.
  • Ruggedized and waterproof, IP67 and 6 1/2-feet drop test-certified products.
  • Battery autonomy of up to three months, with a standard AA battery.
  • Bluetooth enables the new s.QUAD pager to respond back to the dispatch center or fire chief.


  • Two-way CAD interfaces will make dispatching much easier.
  • The new s.ONE solution enables the dispatcher or fire chiefs to view the availability of relief forces.
  • A graphical screen shows how many of the dispatched team members have responded to the call.

Swissphone provides a proven solution at an affordable cost. Do you want to learn more?
Visit: or call 800-596-1914.

Leavitt Communications

We can supply alphanumeric display, numeric display, and voice pagers.

We also offer NEW and refurbished Alphamate 250s, refurbished Alphamate IIs, the original Alphamate refurbished, and new and refurbished pagers, pager repairs, pager parts, and accessories. We are FULL SERVICE in Paging! Outstanding service is our goal.

E-mail Phil Leavitt ( ) for pricing and delivery information, or for a list of other available paging and two-way related equipment.

Phil Leavitt

7508 N. Red Ledge Drive
Paradise Valley, AZ 85253

Friday, March 30, 2018

Volume 6 | Issue 63  

Geo-Targeting Capabilities Part of First Large Regional WEA Test

by Leslie Stimson, Washington Bureau Chief, Inside Towers

Source: COG & Fairfax County, VA

Emergency managers in the Washington, D.C. metropolitan area are preparing to test the Wireless Emergency Alert System (WEA) next week. A total of 20 jurisdictions — in Maryland, the District of Columbia and Virginia — will simultaneously issue a test message to the public through the WEA system on April 5. It’s the first live WEA test in such a large region and the first to use geo-targeting capabilities. The outcome of this test could lead to similar tests in other regions of the country.

A smaller, more limited WEA test was conducted in the District on Inauguration Day, on the National Mall. But this new test, initiated by the Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments, is much larger, according to Sulayman Brown, who’s coordinating the months-long planning effort. Brown is the Assistant Coordinator of Operations and Outreach Division in the Office of Emergency Management of Fairfax County, VA. He told Inside Towers, “We have a significant population in the National Capital region and we have a large amount of visitors. We thought this would be a good opportunity to test the system,” and learn from that. Officials hope to validate the effectiveness of WEA in notifying the public in the event of an emergency and also raise the public’s awareness of WEA.

Indeed, officials believe more than five million people in the region could potentially receive the test message, including residents and visitors. Some people who may be traveling between jurisdictions during the test may receive multiple messages on their cell phone or other mobile device.

The National Capital Region plans to send a live test message through FEMA’s Integrated Public Alert and Warning System, the same platform used by broadcasters for the Emergency Alert System. WEA triggers a loud noise and a text-like message on mobile devices. The special tone and vibration will be repeated twice. Devices in Fairfax County, for example, will display this message: “A test of the Fairfax County Emergency Alert System. No action required.”

Currently, FCC rules do not allow end-to-end WEA tests to the public. The FCC provided a waiver of its rules to provide a “very secure” live test code for the event, according to Brown. He adds the FCC is working to adapt its rules so that other areas would be able to conduct such a regional test in the future without first needing to receive a waiver.

The first jurisdiction will send an alert at 10 a.m. and others will follow. The test should be over by 11 a.m. If real-world events necessitate the test being moved, the backup date is April 9. “If you’ll be out of the region, then you should not receive a test alert as you won’t be near local cell towers,” states a message to the public about the test by Fairfax County.

In 2019, WEA will support alert originator “opt-in” test capabilities, in addition to 360 characters and Spanish language, CTIA told Inside Towers.

The April 5 test date is the same day that the Senate Communications Subcommittee plans to hold a regional hearing in Hawaii regarding WEA and EAS concerning the false missile alert. In a letter from the Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments seeking the FCC waiver, they state: “[a]s recent events in Hawaii and California demonstrate, it is essential that the public be familiar with WEA, and that emergency managers be proficient in the use of WEA before the initiation of an actual alert is necessary” in the National Capital Region.

Source: Inside Towers newsletter Courtesy of the editor of Inside Towers.

BloostonLaw Newsletter

Selected portions [sometimes more — sometimes less] of the BloostonLaw Telecom Update and/or the BloostonLaw Private Users Update — newsletters from the Law Offices of Blooston, Mordkofsky, Dickens, Duffy & Prendergast, LLP — are reproduced in this section of The Wireless Messaging News with kind permission from the firm. The firm's contact information is included at the end of this section of the newsletter.

 BloostonLaw Telecom Update Vol. 21, No. 14 March 28, 2018 

REMINDER: FCC Form 499-A & Annual Accessibility Recordkeeping Certification Are Due April 2

By April 2, FCC Form 499-A must be filed by all contributors to the Universal Service Fund (USF) support mechanisms, the Telecommunications Relay Service (TRS) Fund, the cost recovery mechanism for the North American Numbering Plan Administration (NANPA), and the shared costs of local number portability (LNP). Contributors include every telecommunications carrier that provides interstate, intrastate, and international telecommunications, and certain other entities that provide interstate telecommunications for a fee. Even common carriers that qualify for the de minimis exemption must file Form 499-A.

Also due April 2 is the an annual recordkeeping certification under Section 14.31 of the FCC’s rules, certifying under penalty of perjury that the company maintains records about its efforts to consult with individuals with disabilities; the accessibility features of its services and products; and information about the compatibility of its services and products with specialized peripherals. The certification is filed electronically at, and you will need the company's FRN and associated password to log into the RCCCI system.

BloostonLaw Contacts: Sal Taillefer.


FCC Announces Tentative Agenda for April Open Meeting

On March 28, FCC Chairman Ajit Pai announced that the following items are tentatively on the agenda for the January Open Commission Meeting, which is currently scheduled to take place on April 17:

  • Protecting National Security Through FCC Programs: a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking to ensure that universal service support is not used to purchase equipment or services from companies posing a national security threat to the integrity of communications networks or the communications supply chain. (WC Docket No. 18-89)
  • Spectrum Frontiers Auctions Public Notice: a Public Notice that would seek comment on the procedures for the auctions of Upper Microwave Flexible Use Service licenses in the 28 GHz and 24 GHz bands. (AU Docket No. 18-85)
  • Streamlining Licensing Procedures for Small Satellites: a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking that proposes a new, alternative application process designed for a class of satellites referred to as “small satellites.” (IB Docket No. 18-86)
  • Rural Call Completion: a Report and Order and Further Notice of Proposed Rulemaking that will adopt new measures, and seek comment on others, to better tackle the problem of call completion and ensure that calls are completed to all Americans—including those in rural America. (WC Docket No. 13-39)
  • Business Data Services for Model-Based Rate-of-Return Carriers: a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking to enable model-based rate-of-return carriers to elect incentive regulation for their lower-speed business data services offerings, and to remove ex ante pricing regulation for packet-based and higher-speed circuit-based offerings. (WC Docket No. 17-144)
  • Cable Channel Lineup Requirements: a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking proposing to eliminate the requirement that cable operators maintain a channel lineup at their local office and seeking comment on eliminating the requirement that certain cable operators make their channel lineup available via their online public inspection file. (MB Docket Nos. 18-92, 17-105)
  • Rules Governing Ancillary/Supplementary Services: a Report and Order that would revise Section 73.624(g) of its rules to reduce broadcaster reporting obligations relating to the provision of ancillary or supplementary services. (MB Docket Nos. 18-264, 17-105)

The Open Meeting will be streamed live at and can be followed on social media with #OpenMtgFCC. Continuing with the FCC’s pilot program, public drafts of each item described above is linked within the description. One-page cover sheets are included in the public drafts to help summarize each item. These are not final drafts and may be different than what the FCC ultimately considers and adopts.

BloostonLaw Contacts: Ben Dickens, Gerry Duffy, and John Prendergast.

Chairman Pai Issues Statement on Use of USF to Purchase from Companies that Pose Security Risk

On March 26, FCC Chairman Ajit Pai issued a statement regarding a draft Notice of Proposed Rulemaking currently circulating among the Commissioners that would propose to bar the use of money from the FCC’s Universal Service Fund to purchase equipment or services from companies that pose a national security threat to United States communications networks or the communications supply chain. The item would be voted upon at the upcoming April Open Meeting, currently scheduled for April 17. In his statement, Commissioner Pai said:

“Threats to national security posed by certain communications equipment providers are a matter of bipartisan concern. Hidden ‘back doors’ to our networks in routers, switches—and virtually any other type of telecommunications equipment—can provide an avenue for hostile governments to inject viruses, launch denial-of-service attacks, steal data, and more. Although the FCC alone can’t safeguard the integrity of our communications supply chain, we must and will play our part in a government- and industry-wide effort to protect the security of our networks.

“That’s why I’m proposing to prohibit the FCC’s $8.5 billion Universal Service Fund from being used to purchase equipment or services from any company that poses a national security threat to the integrity of communications networks or their supply chains. The money in the Universal Service Fund comes from fees paid by the American people, and I believe that the FCC has the responsibility to ensure that this money is not spent on equipment or services that pose a threat to national security. On April 17, I hope that my fellow Commissioners will join me in supporting this important proposal to help protect our national security.”

BloostonLaw Contacts: Ben Dickens and Gerry Duffy.

FCC To Issue List of Presumptively Ineligible Areas for Mobility Fund Phase II

On March 27, the FCC issued a Public Notice announcing that it is planning to release a map of areas presumptively ineligible for Mobility Fund Phase II (MF-II) support due to qualifying, unsubsidized coverage reported by one mobile provider. The FCC plans to release the map on April 10, 2018, and it will be available on the FCC’s website at The FCC indicated that although it will to treat provider-specific coverage maps as confidential information, the map will be released publicly and, as was the case with the map of presumptively eligible areas, in certain circumstances it may be possible to determine some otherwise-confidential information from the publicly-released information.

The map is being released in anticipation of the MF-II challenge process.

BloostonLaw Contacts: John Prendergast and Cary Mitchell.

Law & Regulation

FCC Proposes to Eliminate Broadcast Mid-Term Report

On March 21, the FCC published in the Federal Register its Notice of Proposed Rulemaking proposing to eliminate the rules requiring certain broadcast television and radio stations to file Form 397, the EEO Broadcast Mid-Term Report. Comments are due on or before May 21, 2018; reply comments are due on or before June 19, 2018.

In the NPRM, the FCC proposed to eliminate the requirement in § 73.2080(f)(2) of its rules that certain broadcast television and radio stations file the Broadcast Mid-Term Report (Form 397). In response to a Public Notice launching the FCC's Modernization of Media Regulation Initiative, a number of parties have asked the FCC to consider eliminating this reporting obligation because it is unnecessary and unduly burdensome. Section 334(b) of the Communications Act of 1934, as amended (the Act), directed the FCC to revise its regulations to require a mid-term review of broadcast stations' employment practices. Although section 334(b) only applies to TV stations, the FCC currently conducts mid-term reviews for both broadcast TV and radio stations. Pursuant to this direction, and as specified in § 73.2080(f)(2), FCC staff reviews the equal employment opportunity (EEO) practices of all broadcast television stations in station employment units with five or more full-time employees, and all radio stations in employment units with eleven or more full-time employees, around the midpoint of broadcasters' eight-year license terms. After completing a mid-term review, staff informs licensees of any necessary improvements in recruitment practices to ensure that they are in compliance with the FCC's EEO rules.

BloostonLaw Contacts: Ben Dickens and Gerry Duffy.

FCC Adopts Items at March Open Meeting On March 22, the FCC adopted the following items at its monthly Open Meeting. Links to the final documents are provided where available:

  • Wireless Infrastructure Streamlining Order: a Second Report and Order that would clarify and modify the procedures for NHPA and NEPA review of wireless infrastructure deployments. (WT Docket No. 17-79)
  • Reassigned Numbers Database: a Second Further Notice of Proposed Rulemaking to address the problem of unwanted calls to reassigned numbers. (CG Docket No. 17-59)
  • Location-Based Routing for 911 Calls: a Notice of Inquiry examining location-based routing of wireless 911 calls to ensure that calls are routed to the proper 911 call center. (PS Docket No. 18-64)
  • 4.9 GHz Band: a Sixth Further Notice of Proposed Rulemaking to stimulate use of and investment in the 4.9 GHz band. (WP Docket No. 07-100)
  • Streamlining Television Satellite Station Reauthorization: a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking that proposes to streamline the reauthorization process for television satellite stations that are assigned or transferred in combination with a previously approved parent station. (MB Docket Nos. 18-63, 17-105)
  • Consumer Signal Boosters: a Second Report and Order that would remove the personal use restriction for Provider-Specific Consumer Signal Boosters and a Second Further Notice of Proposed Rulemaking that seeks comment on ways to further expand access to Consumer Signal Boosters. (WT Docket No. 10-4).

BloostonLaw Contacts: Ben Dickens, Gerry Duffy, and John Prendergast.

Congress Urges FCC To Avoid Cuts to Lifeline Program

On March 21, Congresswoman Anna G. Eshoo (D-CA) and Congresswoman Yvette D. Clarke (D-NY) sent a letter signed by over 60 House members to FCC Chairman Ajit Pai, urging him to protect the Lifeline program which provides access to phone and broadband services to over 13 million low-income Americans, the majority of whom earn less than $10,000 a year.

The FCC recently voted 3 to 2 on party lines to proceed with a new proposal that will make it more difficult for eligible households to attain Lifeline’s services and remove nearly 8 million current participants out of the program. The FCC’s plan includes establishing caps on the Lifeline program, mandating co-pays from participants, and invalidating 4 out of 5 of the current providers of Lifeline services. The letter urges the Chairman to abandon this proposal and instead, move forward with reforms like the National Verifier, which ensures oversight of Lifeline.

“The Lifeline Program is essential for millions of Americans who use their devices to find jobs, schedule doctor’s appointments, complete their school assignments, call 9-1-1 during an emergency or to communicate with their loved ones,” the Members wrote. “Policymakers at all levels of government are united in their desire to close the digital divide, but the FCC should be strengthening Lifeline which has brought connectivity to millions of Americans.”

Since the program was created in 1985 under President Ronald Reagan, Lifeline has provided a discount on phone services for low-income consumers to ensure that all Americans have the opportunities and security that phone services bring, including being able to connect to jobs, family and emergency services.

The full text of the letter can be found here.

BloostonLaw Contacts: Ben Dickens, Gerry Duffy, and Mary Sisak.


MARCH 31: STREAMLINED INTERNATIONAL CIRCUIT CAPACITY REPORT. No later than March 31, 2018, all U.S. international carriers that owned or leased bare capacity on a submarine cable between the United States and any foreign point on December 31, 2017 and any person or entity that held a submarine cable landing license on December 31, 2017 must file a Circuit Capacity Report to provide information about the submarine cable capacity it holds. Additionally, cable landing licensees must file information on the Circuit Capacity Report about the amount of available and planned capacity on the submarine cable for which they have a license. Last year, the FCC eliminated the requirement for U.S. International Carriers that owned or leased bare capacity on a terrestrial or satellite facility to show its active common carrier circuits for the provision of service to an end-user or resale carrier, including active circuits used by itself or its affiliates.

BloostonLaw Contacts: Gerry Duffy.

APRIL 1 (April 2 this year): FCC FORM 499-A, TELECOMMUNICATIONS REPORTING WORKSHEET. This form must be filed by all contributors to the Universal Service Fund (USF) sup-port mechanisms, the Telecommunications Relay Service (TRS) Fund, the cost recovery mechanism for the North American Numbering Plan Administration (NANPA), and the shared costs of local number portability (LNP). Contributors include every telecommunications carrier that provides interstate, intrastate, and international telecommunications, and certain other entities that provide interstate telecommunications for a fee. Even common carriers that qualify for the de minimis ex-emption must file Form 499-A. Entities whose universal service contributions will be less than $10,000 qualify for the de minimis exemption. De minimis entities do not have to file the quarterly report (FCC Form 499-Q), which was due February 1, and will again be due May 1. Form 499-Q relates to universal and LNP mechanisms. Form 499-A relates to all of these mechanisms and, hence, applies to all providers of interstate, intrastate, and international telecommunications services. Form 499-A contains revenue information for January 1 through December 31 of the prior calendar year. And Form 499-Q contains revenue information from the prior quarter plus projections for the next quarter. (Note: the revised 499-A and 499-Q forms are now available.) Block 2-B of the Form 499-A requires each carrier to designate an agent in the District of Columbia upon whom all notices, process, orders, and decisions by the FCC may be served on behalf of that carrier in proceedings before the FCC. Carriers receiving this newsletter may specify our law firm as their D.C. agent for service of process using the information in our masthead. There is no charge for this service.

BloostonLaw Contacts: Ben Dickens, Gerry Duffy and Sal Taillefer.

APRIL 1 (April 2 this year): ANNUAL ACCESS TO ADVANCED SERVICES CERTIFICATION. All providers of telecommunications services and telecommunications carriers subject to Section 255 of the Telecommunications Act are required to file with the FCC an annual certification that (1) states the company has procedures in place to meet the recordkeeping requirements of Part 14 of the Rules; (2) states that the company has in fact kept records for the previous calendar year; (3) contains contact information for the individual or individuals handling customer complaints under Part 14; (4) contains contact information for the company’s designated agent; and (5) is supported by an affidavit or declaration under penalty of perjury signed by an officer of the company.

BloostonLaw Contacts: Gerry Duffy, Mary Sisak, and Sal Taillefer.

MAY 31: FCC FORM 395, EMPLOYMENT REPORT. Common carriers, including wireless carriers, with 16 or more full-time employees must file their annual Common Carrier Employment Reports (FCC Form 395) by May 31. This report tracks carrier compliance with rules requiring recruitment of minority employees. Further, the FCC requires all common carriers to report any employment discrimination complaints they received during the past year. That information is also due on May 31. The FCC encourages carriers to complete the discrimination report requirement by filling out Section V of Form 395, rather than submitting a separate report.

BloostonLaw Contacts: Richard Rubino.

Calendar At-a-Glance

Mar. 27 – Reply comments are due on national television audience reach cap review.
Mar. 30 – Deadline for CAF Phase II Auction Applications.
Mar. 31– (Apr. 2 this year) – FCC Form 525 (Delayed Phasedown CETC Line Counts) is due.
Mar. 31 – (Apr. 2 this year) – FCC Form 508 (ICLS Projected Annual Common Line Requirement) is due.
Mar. 31 – (Apr. 2 this year) – Streamlined International Circuit Capacity Report is due.

Apr. 1 – (Apr. 2 this year) – FCC Form 499-A (Annual Telecommunications Reporting Worksheet) is due.
Apr. 1 – (Apr. 2 this year) – Annual Accessibility Certification is due.
Apr. 3 – E911 horizontal location accuracy benchmark to be met.
Apr. 11 – Wireless Microphone Disclosure Requirements in effect.
Apr. 12 – Comments due on Jurisdictional Separations Reform.
Apr. 27 – Reply comments due on Jurisdictional Separations Reform.

May 1 – FCC Form 499-Q (Quarterly Telecommunications Reporting Worksheet) is due.
May 31 – FCC Form 395 (Annual Employment Report) is due.

June 2 – E911 horizontal location accuracy benchmark certification due to be filed.

 BloostonLaw Private Users Update Vol. 18, No. 3 March 2018 

Beware: Broadcasters May be Asking About Your Radio Operations

As part of the recent incentive auction process, those digital television (DTV) stations that agreed to give up spectrum and move to other TV channels are now starting the process to make those moves over the next few years. In order to start preparing for this transition, DTV station licensees are beginning to notify land mobile licensees of their frequency change and the potential for harmful interference to land mobile radio operations.

The DTV Spectrum Repacking will occur in ten phases, with the first phase beginning on September 1, 2018 and the last phase beginning on May 2, 2020. Each phase will generally range from six to eight weeks in length. Sometime prior to the beginning of each phase, the DTV broadcasters will contact the affected land mobile licensees in their area. We have seen where these letters contain “alarmist” statements such as “Failure to respond to the request in this notification could render your two-way radio system/s inoperable. Please Read This Letter Promptly.” Some of these letters are also directing land mobile licensees to complete an on-line survey, which includes data concerning your station’s current operational status — presumably as an effort to determine whether or not the DTV broadcaster will have to provide interference protection to your radio facilities. While you will have an obligation to cooperate in good faith with the DTV broadcaster, you are not obligated to complete their informal surveys — especially since it could potentially lead to the DTV broadcaster requesting a cancellation of your license based on incorrect assumptions about your operational status. Private Land Mobile Licensees are allowed to remain off the air for certain periods of time in a state of “temporary discontinuance”, but the broadcaster questionnaire does not draw such distinctions. Also, newer licensees may still be within their construction period and therefore appropriately not “operational.”

Office clients who receive such correspondence or information request from a DTV broadcaster or their consultant can contact our office if they would like us to guide them through this response process.

BloostonLaw Contacts: John Prendergast, Cary Mitchell and Richard Rubino

Legislation Introduced to Repeal T-Band Reallocation

Late last month, Representatives Eliot L. Engel (D-NY), Lee M. Zeldin (R-NY) and Peter King (R-NY) introduced legislation to repeal the mandate in the Middle Class Tax Relief and Job Creation Act of 2012 to reallocate the 470-512 MHz or T-Band Spectrum from public safety uses so that it could be auctioned for other purposes. The “Don’t Break Up the T-Band Act” (H.R. 5085) would repeal this requirement.

Since the passage of Section 6301 of the Middle Class Tax Relief and Job Creation Act of 2012, the private land mobile industry associations, which include both public safety and industrial stake-holders, have stressed that there is not any replacement spectrum that would be sufficient to meet the needs of both the incumbent public safety and industrial users currently licensed in the T-Band. Additionally, while the Middle Class Tax Relief and Job Creation Act specifically addressed public safety licensees in the T-Band, no mention was made concerning the relocation of industrial business licensees, much less a requirement the affected industrial business licensees be compensated for having to relocate in any band clearing that would be necessary to make this spectrum suitable for auction.

Several of our clients are currently licensed in the T-Band. If passed, this legislation will provide much needed relief to our public safety and industrial business clients who operate facilities in the 470-512 MHz band. We therefore recommend that you to write your Congressional delegation, urging them to support this important piece of legislation. Please contact our office for a suggested letter which stresses the importance in passing this legislation.

BloostonLaw Contacts: John Prendergast and Richard Rubino

FCC Makes it Easier to Use Consumer Signal Boosters; Proposes Further Changes

The FCC has amended its rules to make it easier to use “Consumer” Signal Boosters by removing the limitation that these boosters be used for “personal use” by subscribers of a wireless service. Unlike Industrial Signal Boosters, Consumer Signal Boosters are a special booster governed by strict technical rules which allow consumers to purchase, install and use the devices without any engineering or professional installation to ensure interference free and safe operation. In this regard, the FCC’s rules define Consumer Signal Boosters as “devices that are marketed to and sold for personal use by individuals and are designed to be used ‘out of the box’ by individuals to improve their wireless coverage within a limited areas such as a home, car, boat or recreational vehicle.” The FCC notes that its signal booster program has been successful to date in that more than 130 Consumer Signal Boosters have been registered with the FCC and carriers have reported that these signal boosters have worked well and eliminated interference problems caused by legacy signal boosters.

Consumer Signal Boosters are designed to operate on specific carrier systems with the carrier’s permission through a registration process. Because use of the signal booster was limited to a specific carrier or carriers, the FCC questioned whether the “personal use’ restriction was necessary for Provider-Specific Consumer Signal Boosters. Based upon the comments received, the FCC has concluded that the personal use restriction on Provider-Specific Consumer Signal Boosters is unnecessary. In so doing, the FCC concluded that it will expand access to signal boosters for small businesses as well as public safety entities that use subscriber based services in support of their operations. Under the new rules, once a Provider-Specific Consumer Signal Booster is registered with and consent is obtained from the wireless provider, any individual who subscribes to that provider would then be free to use that signal booster without first registering with the wireless provider.

Second Further Notice of Proposed Rule Making

In order to make the signal boosters more useful, the FCC is proposing further changes to its rules concerning the use of both Provider Specific and Wideband Consumer Signal Boosters.

A. Additional Spectrum Bands

The FCC is seeking comment on how to make signal boosters available in the additional spectrum bands that are coming available for wireless services and whether it can be completed in a single rule making proceeding without having to conduct additional, future rule makings as more bands become available. In particular, the FCC is seeking comment on whether it should authorize the operation of Consumer Signal Boosters in the 600 MHz band (617-652/663-698 MHz), the WCS band (2305-2320 MHz) and the BRS/EBS band (2495-2690 MHz).

B. Embedded Signal Boosters

The FCC’s current rules are not conducive to the installation of signal boosters in motor vehicles, in part due the requirement that advisories be placed on the outside packaging of the device and on a label affixed to the device. With embedded signal boosters, the occupant of the vehicle would not be able to see the device, much less any packaging or warning labels. As a result, this installation would not comply with the FCC’s current rules. In designing its Consumer Signal Booster Rules, the FCC did not contemplate the possibility that users would want to embed the signal boosters within the vehicle itself. In order to overcome this problem, the FCC is now proposing to remove what it perceives are unnecessary barriers to embedding signal boosters in vehicles such as cars, boats and recreational vehicles by amending its rules allow manufacturers to provide alternative advisory language to consumers in any materials provided with the vehicle at delivery as well as to consumers when they register their vehicle with the vehicle manufacturer. Under the FCC’s proposal, vehicle manufacturers, distributors and retailers would remain responsible for ensuring that the alternative advisory is provided in any on-line, point-of-sale marketing materials and in any print or on-line owner’s manual.

C. Enterprise Use

The FCC has now modified its rules to permit small businesses, public safety entities and other enterprise users to operate Provider-Specific Consumer Signal Boosters for non-personal use on that provider’s spectrum. The FCC is now considering whether to allow enterprise users to use both Provider-Specific Consumer Signal Boosters and Wide-Band Consumer Signal Boosters. Specifically, the FCC wants to explore the possibility of allowing enterprise use of either type of signal booster on a carrier’s spectrum without subscriber to the service. The FCC believes that this could allow a business in an area with poor coverage to deploy a Consumer Signal Booster in order to improve coverage for its employees or customers on a single wireless network or on all wireless networks – regardless of whether the business/enterprise user actually subscribes to that carrier. In order to accomplish this change, the FCC would need to amend its rules to (i) eliminate the personal use restriction on Wideband Consumer Signal Boosters (which still remains in effect) and (ii) prescribe a method for non-subscribers to register a Consumer Signal Booster (whether Provider-Specific or Wideband) with the carrier in order to receive the required consent of the carrier.

Comments will be due 30 days after publication in the Federal Register; Reply Comments will be due 60 days after publication in the Federal Register.

BloostonLaw Contacts: John Prendergast and Richard Rubino

Court of Appeals Sets Aside FCC Autodialer Definition; One Call Safe Harbor for Reassigned Numbers

On March 16, the United States Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit issued an Order setting aside the FCC’s 2015 effort to clarify the types of calling equipment that fall within the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA) restrictions and vacated the FCC’s approach to calls made to a phone number that had previously assigned to a person who had given consent to receive “Robo” calls which had since reassigned to another (non-consenting) subscriber.

The TCPA generally makes it unlawful to call a cell phone using an autodialer without consent of the called party. In a Declaratory Ruling and Order issued in 2015, the FCC addressed several issues related to interpreting the statute. One such issue was the definition of “autodialer.” The statute defines an autodialer as “equipment which has the capacity—(A) to store or produce telephone numbers to be called, using a random or sequential number generator; and (B) to dial such numbers.” In the 2015 Declaratory Ruling and Order, the FCC declined to define a device’s “capacity” in a manner confined to its “present capacity.” Instead, the agency construed a device’s “capacity” to encompass its “potential functionalities” with modifications such as software changes. According to the court, the FCC adopted an expansive interpretation of “capacity” having the apparent effect of embracing any and all smartphones. The court concluded that “[i]t is untenable to construe the term “capacity” in the statutory definition of an [autodialer] in a manner that brings within the definition’s fold the most ubiquitous type of phone equipment known, used countless times each day for routine communications by the vast majority of people in the country. It cannot be the case that every uninvited communication from a smartphone infringes federal law, and that nearly every American is a TCPA-violator-in-waiting, if not a violator-in-fact.”

In the Declaratory Ruling and Order, the FCC also spoke to whether a caller violates the TCPA by calling a wireless number that has been reassigned from a consenting party to another person without the caller’s knowledge. The FCC determined that the term “called party” refers not to “the intended recipient of a call” but instead to “the current subscriber.” In setting aside the FCC's determination, the court emphasized, “the FCC did not hold a caller strictly liable when unaware that the consenting party’s number has been reassigned to another person. Instead, the agency allowed one—and only one—liability-free, post-reassignment call for callers who lack ‘knowledge of [the] reassignment’ and possess ‘a reasonable basis to believe that they have valid consent.’” The court found that the FCC’s reasoning here was faulty, because it begged the question as to why a caller’s reasonable reliance on a previous subscriber’s consent necessarily ceases to be reasonable once there has been a single, post-reassignment call. The Court reasoned that “[t]he first call or text message, after all, might give the caller no indication whatsoever of a possible reassignment (if, for instance, there is no response to a text message, as would often be the case with or without a reassignment).” Importantly, the court went on to set aside not only the FCC’s allowance of a one-call safe harbor, but also its treatment of numbers that have been reissued to another party.

In making its decision, the court upheld two other rulings by the FCC in its 2015 Declaratory Ruling and Order, specifically (a) its approach to revocation of consent, under which a party may revoke consent through any reasonable means clearly expressing a desire to receive no further messages from the caller, and (b) the scope of the FCC’s exemption for time-sensitive healthcare calls.

BloostonLaw Contacts: Sal Taillefer and Mary Sisak

Wireless Microphone Disclosure Labeling Rules Effective April 11

On March 12, the FCC published its Order in the Federal Register which adopted specific language for the consumer disclosures concerning the operation of wireless microphone (licensed or unlicensed) or video assist devices capable of operating in the 600 MHz service frequency band. These disclosure rules will be effective April 11, 2018.

With the close of the incentive auction on April 13, 2017, the 600 MHz service band has been reallocated for new wireless services, and wireless microphones and video assist devices must cease operations in this band no later than July 13, 2020 in order to avoid causing harmful interference to these new wireless services. This disclosure requirement, including the specific Consumer Alert language, applies to any person who manufactures, sells, leases, or otherwise offers for sale or lease, any wireless microphone or video assist device currently authorized to operate in the 600 MHz band. This Consumer Alert language is designed to inform consumers of the changes that will affect their use of these devices in the newly established 600 MHz service band, including that these devices will not be usable after July 13, 2020.

BloostonLaw Contacts: John Prendergast and Richard Rubino

FCC Seeks to Improve 911 Call Routing – Reduce Emergency Response Times

The FCC has issued a Notice of Inquiry to determine the best way to reduce response times for wireless 911 calls that are not routed to the correct public safety answering point (PSAP)/public safety dispatch center. The mis-routing of calls can cause undue delay in dispatching the correct responders to a life-safety emergency. Under the current system, when a 911 call is initiated using a wireless phone, the call is routed to the PSAP that is closest to the location of the cell tower handling the call (which may be a few hundred feet or several miles from the caller’s location). As a result, it is possible for emergency 911 calls to be routed to a PSAP outside the jurisdiction from where the call is made – which is extremely prevalent along jurisdictional boundaries. In those circumstances, the call taker must figure out where the call is originating from so that it can be transferred back to the correct PSAP – all eating up precious minutes in a life-safety emergency. In the Washington, DC metropolitan area, this occurrence is not unusual since, for example, a call originating in Washington, DC can be handled by a cell tower in nearby Maryland or northern Virginia. In that situation, under the current system design, the call would be routed to a PSAP in either Maryland or Virginia, but not to the PSAP in Washington, DC where service is needed. It is important to note that this situation exists in many other parts of the country – especially where densely populated areas straddle numerous jurisdictional boundaries (town, city, county and state). And, with more and more people relying on wireless phones, the number of 911 calls from wireless devices is increasing year-over-year.

In the Notice of Inquiry, the FCC is seeking comment on the extent of “misrouted” wireless 911 calls and approaches that can be taken to avoid ensuing delays, including the feasibility of routing 911 calls based on the actual location of the caller as opposed to the location of the cell tower that handles that call. The FCC noted that recent technological advances suggest that it may now be possible to reliably route 911 calls to the correct PSAP based on information about the caller’s location. Among other questions, the Notice of Inquiry invites comment on how the FCC can facilitate and promote location-based routing improvements so that calls for emergency services are not unduly delayed.

Comments are due May 7, 2018; Reply Comments are due June 21, 2018

BloostonLaw Contacts: John Prendergast and Richard Rubino

FCC Seeks to Expand Use of 4.9 GHz Band

The FCC is seeking comment on its technical proposals, to encourage greater use of and investment in the 4.9 GHz public safety band. In particular, the FCC is looking for comment from public safety stake holders and other potential users so that it can increase the use of this band by public safety licensees while protecting users from harmful interference from additional users if eligibility for this band were increased beyond the public safety allocation. The FCC believes that opening the spectrum to additional uses will encourage a more robust market for equipment and greater innovation. The FCC therefore seeks comment on whether an appropriate sharing mechanism could encourage more opportunistic use of the band while ensuring the priority, integrity, and security of public safety operations.

In 2002, the FCC allocated 50 megahertz of spectrum in the 4.9 GHz band for public safety uses. While there are approximately 90,000 public safety entities in the United States that are eligible for licensing in this band, there are fewer than 3,200 licenses currently in use. Because of the relatively minimal licensing in this band, the FCC expressed concern that the 4.9 GHz band is not being used by public safety users to its full potential. In this regard, the FCC noted that public safety organizations and others have cited possible reasons for light usage of the 4.9 GHz band to include difficulty in acquiring equipment, the cost of deployment, and concerns about harmful interference. The FCC believes that its proposal to open the band up for other uses may have the effect of alleviating these equipment concerns — provided that the FCC can assure that non-public safety uses will not interfere with public safety users.

Comments are due 60 days after publication in the Federal Register; Reply Comments are due 90 days after publication in the Federal Register.

BloostonLaw Contacts: John Prendergast and Richard Rubino

FCC Grants Waiver to Permit Ground Penetrating Radar (GPS) Ultra-Wide Band Device

The FCC has granted a request by Proceq USA Inc. to permit the certification and marketing of its ground penetrating radar (GPR) device. Proceq is a manufacturer of devices that enable the non-destructive testing of materials such as concrete, metals, rock and composites. The FCC determined that a grant of its waiver would not increase the potential for harmful interference over devices already permitted under the FCC’s existing rules.

Proceq’s waiver requested authority to market and operate a fast-stepping continuous-wave ground penetrating radar device that is designed to provide increased performance in determining the safety and stability of materials. In its waiver request, Proceq stated that its GPR device would implement an algorithm that is based on stepped frequency continuous-wave (CW) modulation to suppress RF interference from Wi-Fi and GSM sources that can often impede the performance of conventional GPR devices. Because this system design did not comply with the FCC’s rules for unlicensed ultra-wideband (UWB) devices, Proceq sought a waiver of the FCC’s Rule concerning the definition and measurement procedure.

The FCC’s Part 15 UWB imaging rules were designed to accommodate devices, such as GPR devices, that emit impulsive or transient-like signals that are spread across a very wide bandwidth to produce an image of objects within the ground or other materials. The primary difference between the Proceq device and other UWB GPR devices is that the Proceq GPR device uses “stepped frequency CW modulation”—i.e., an array of closely spaced transmitting/receiving antennas that transmit sequentially over a large band of spectrum—to gather all the needed data. In granting the rule waiver, the FCC noted that this modulation scheme is “functionally equivalent” to other types of UWB GPR devices, since it also uses transient-like signals that are spread across a wide bandwidth. As a result, the FCC concluded that the risk of harmful interference to other radio communications services from the Proceq GPR device in this scenario is no greater than the risk of other UWB GPR devices.

BloostonLaw Contacts: John Prendergast and Richard Rubino

Sprint Obtains Waiver to Permit 800 MHz Wideband Operations Prior to Completion of Rebanding

The FCC has granted Sprint Corporation’s request for waiver to allow it to deploy its 800 MHz wide-band operations in portions of the Southern California National Public Safety Planning Advisory Committee (NPSPAC) Region 5 prior to completion of the 800 MHz band reconfiguration in that region. In particular, the waiver will permit Sprint to move ahead with its LTE deployment in portions of Kern, San Luis Obispo and Santa Barbara Counties while at the same time ensuring that Sprint protects incumbent public safety entities from harmful interference.

Rule Section 90.209(b)(7) permits Economic Area-based 800 MHz Specialized Mobile Radio (SMR) licensees, such as Sprint, to deploy wideband operations in the 817-821/862-866 MHz portion of the SMR spectrum band in NPSPAC regions where 800 MHz band reconfiguration is still continuing, and in the 821-824/866-869 MHz portion of the SMR band only in NPSPAC regions where 800 MHz band reconfiguration has been completed. On September 8, 2017, Sprint filed the Waiver Request so that it may deploy 800 MHz LTE operations at 821-824/866-869 MHz in Kern, San Luis Obispo and Santa Barbara Counties prior to the full completion of 800 MHz band reconfiguration in Region 5. In justifying its waiver request, Sprint stated that it cannot deploy broadband LTE in the old NPSPAC band that are or will have been cleared of public safety operations due to the constraints of Rule Section 90.207(b)(7). Sprint stated that the 800 MHz reconfiguration has not been completed in all areas covered by NPSPAC Region 5 due to the need for Mexico to complete its 800 MHz rebanding so that the former Mexican 800 MHz channels can be made available for U.S. public safety licensees. Sprint asserted that through careful engineering and planning, it could deploy its 800 MHz LET systems at approximately 100 sites north of Los Angeles without increasing the risk of interference to the remaining Southern California NPSPAC licensees.

In granting the rule waiver request, the FCC concluded that application of the rule would inhibit LTE deployment in the portions of three Southern California NPSPAC Region counties where retuning had been completed and that it would be inequitable and unduly burdensome to prohibit access to valuable broadband wireless services until the remaining Southern California NPSPAC licensees had completed their 800 MHz retuning since Sprint would maintain a significant geographic separation between its sites and those of the Southern California NPSPAC Region public safety entities. As part of the waiver grant, Sprint will be required to (a) maintain a minimum 70-mile co-channel separation between its proposed operations and the closest public safety site still in operation; (b) provide 30-days’ advanced notice to affected public safety entities of its planned deployment and operation commencement date; (c) refrain from deployment in Imperial, Los Angeles, Orange, Riverside, San Bernardino, San Diego and Ventura Counties until reconfiguration has been completed in the entire NPSPAC Region 5; and (d) immediately cease or suspend operations (except for testing) in the event of a report that harmful interference is being received by a public safety licensee.

BloostonLaw Contacts: John Prendergast and Richard Rubino

FCC Declines to Block Construction of Antenna Tower Near Historic Properties

The Village of Tarrytown, New York and a resident of Tarrytown sought to block the construction of a communications tower in Tarrytown that would be used by the New York Metropolitan Transit Authority (MTA), claiming that the tower would have adverse visual effects on nearby historic properties and the surrounding landscape. The FCC determined that the claims raised by Tarrytown and its resident were insufficient to reopen the historic preservation process which had been completed under the Nationwide Programmatic Agreement Regarding the Section 106 National Historic Preservation Act Review Process (Wireless Facilities NPA). Nonetheless, the FCC conducted its own review and found that since any potential environmental impact caused by the proposed tower would be “negligible”, the submission of an Environmental Assessment for the tower was not necessary.

MTA, through its contractor – PI Telecom Infrastructure LLC (Parallel), is proposing to construct a 180 foot antenna structure in Tarrytown. The proposed tower will used as part of the police department’s Metropolitan Regional Radio System (MMRS) which provides interoperable public safety communications across all MTA rail stations, facilities and roadways in the greater New York City metropolitan area. MTA stated that the MMRS facilities, including the proposed Tarrytown monopole, will improve emergency communications, including access to emergency services and E911, and will allow the MTA police to provide interoperable communications to other federal, state and local public safety partners in times of critical emergencies.

As far back as 2015, Parallel and MTA engaged the public, publishing legal notices in the local newspaper seeking public comment regarding any effect that the proposed monopole would have on nearby historic properties. Additionally, Parallel also sent letters seeking comment on the proposed monopole to Tarrytown’s planning and zoning offices as well as to the local Historical Society. Finally, Parallel obtained concurrence from the New York State Historic Preservation Office (NYSHPO) with its findings that the proposed monopole would have no effect on several historic properties within a ½ mile radius of the proposed site. In response to objections from Tarrytown, the FCC directed Parallel to address the fact that the Tarrytown Station qualified as a historic property. The NYSHPO responded that its prior concurrence remained unchanged, but requested that the structure be painted to minimize any visual impacts.

The Wireless Facilities NPA allows the FCC to reopen a historic review process “where there has been a material error or omission in the information submitted by the applicant[,] even if the error or omission comes to light after the SHPO has concurred with an applicant’s finding of no adverse effect.” The FCC stated that the Section 106 review process was completed when the NYSHPO concurred in writing with the conclusion in Parallel’s second submission that the proposed monopole would have no adverse effect on historic properties within the Area of Potential Effects (APE). While the FCC noted that Parallel’s initial submission was materially deficient because it did not include Tarrytown Station, Parallel eliminated the material omission by submitting a second information packet that included an evaluation of the proposed monopole’s impact on the Tarrytown Station. The FCC also noted that even though the proposed monopole would be visible from a historic property, that fact alone “[did] not necessarily mean that the undertaking would have adverse effects on the historic property. The inquiry is whether the proposed undertaking has ‘the potential to introduce visual elements that diminish or alter the setting, including the landscape, where the setting is a character-defining feature of a Historic Property that makes it eligible for listing on the Historic Register.”

We remind our clients that it is important to ensure that your towers and radio facilities comply with the National Historic Preservation and environmental requirements. A failure to ensure that environmental considerations are addressed could result in significant fines and sanctions by the FCC and possibly by other state and federal regulatory agencies. We urge our clients to contact our office with any questions regarding the environmental processes. We have assisted clients with the preparation of Form 620 and 621 tower review proposals, and in working with state historic preservation officers (SHPOs) to approve a tower.

BloostonLaw Contacts: John Prendergast and Richard Rubino

This newsletter is not intended to provide legal advice. Those interested in more information should contact the firm.


Harold Mordkofsky, 202-828-5520,
Benjamin H. Dickens, Jr., 202-828-5510,
Gerard J. Duffy, 202-828-5528,
John A. Prendergast, 202-828-5540,
Richard D. Rubino, 202-828-5519,
Mary J. Sisak, 202-828-5554,
D. Cary Mitchell, 202-828-5538,
Salvatore Taillefer, Jr., 202-828-5562,

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Tech Tips

“In a fluorescent lighting system, the ballast regulates the current to the lamps and provides sufficient voltage to start the lamps. Without a ballast to limit its current, a fluorescent lamp connected directly to a high voltage power source would rapidly and uncontrollably increase its current draw. Within a second the lamp would overheat and burn out. During lamp starting, the ballast must briefly supply high voltage to establish an arc between the two lamp electrodes. Once the arc is established, the ballast quickly reduces the voltage and regulates the electric current to produce a steady light output.” [source]

“An electronic ballast uses solid state electronic circuitry to provide the proper starting and operating electrical conditions to power discharge lamps. An electronic ballast can be smaller and lighter than a comparably-rated magnetic one. An electronic ballast is usually quieter than a magnetic one, which produces a line-frequency hum by vibration of the transformer laminations.” [source]

Interference Caused by Fluorescent Lighting Systems using Electronic Ballasts

Modern electronic ballasts typically operate in the 20 KHz to 60 KHz range and may cause interference with communication equipment that did not occur with traditional electromagnetic 60Hz ballasts. Electromagnetic Interference (EMI) can cause static on radio communications or interfere with the operation of any electronic device especially wireless communication devices.

Types of EMI
Conducted EMI is injected back into the power system through the ballasts conductors. This type of EMI may cause interference with devices on the same electrical distribution network. Radiated EMI is radiated into the air by the fluorescent lamp, ballast, conductors, or ungrounded fixture.

EMI requirements for Electronic Ballasts
Electronic devices sold in the United States must comply with the Federal Communications Commission standards. The FCC Rules and Regulations, Part 18, subpart C defines the limits for electronic fluorescent lighting ballasts for conducted frequencies between 450KHz to 30MHz. Although the FCC does require testing above 30MHz and does not cover radiated emissions, GE ballasts are designed to minimize all EMI emissions. FCC specification limits are defined for consumer and non- consumer lighting devices. These categories are commonly called Class A or B.

Class A (non-consumer) is intended for commercial installations. Most GE electronic fluorescent ballasts fall into this category. Class B (consumer) is intended for residential applications and has more stringent requirements than Class A. GE residential grade electronic ballasts meet Class B requirements.

Methods to Mitigate EMI in Fluorescent Systems
Proper installation of fluorescent systems is required to minimize electro-magnetic interference or radio frequency interference (EMI/RFI) with other devices. The physical distance between the devices can also affect the interference. Susceptible devices should be positioned as far away from the lighting as possible.

Proper grounding is the most important aspect to minimize EMI. A good ground path will shunt high frequency noise to earth, and a proper ballast ground is critical to meet the FCC requirements. A poorly grounded fixture will act like an antenna and radiate the noise externally. Most GE ballasts are grounded through the ballast metal case. The mounting fasteners should make a good electrical connection between the ballast case and the metal of the lighting fixture. Use a star washer and scrape the paint from the ballast mounting tab to ensure a good connection.

The fixture should be grounded back to the distribution panel using a dedicated ground wire. Using metal conduit as the ground conductor is not recommend. Separate metal fixture components, such as lens plates, should have a conductive path back to the fixture body.

Wiring practices
The ballasts wires should be as short as possible. Wire the ballast output leads directly to the lamp holders. Large loops or wire bundles act as antennas to broadcast noise. The power wires can be twisted to close the effective loop area, use 2 to 3 turns per foot. The output leads can also be gently twisted, but no more than 1 to 2 twists per foot. Maintain separation between the power and output leads, do not twist these leads together.

EMI Filters and Shielding
EMI filters or ferrite cores on the ballast power conductors can minimize the conducted EMI. EMI filters will not significantly affect radiated EMI. Shielding equipment or conductors will block radiated EMI. Wires should be run in metal conduit. Exposed conductors should be shielded type.

Other Interactions
Fixture design, grounding scheme, ballast type, and even the lamp type can change the EMI effects of electronic ballasts. Using a reduced wattage lamp to replace a full wattage lamp can shift the operating frequency of the ballast and change the EMI characteristics. De-lamping the ballast to N-1 operation can also affect EMI.

Even with proper installation, electronic ballasts, especially Class A, can cause interference with other devices. Critical equipment that uses wireless or radio communications should be tested on a small scale for possible interference issues prior to the entire lighting system installation.

The information in this document is believed to be accurate, but GE makes no warranty or guarantee (and our employees and representatives are not authorized to make any such warranty or guarantee), express or implied, (i) that the performance and results described herein will be obtained under end- use conditions, (ii) as to the effectiveness or safety of any design incorporating GE materials, products, recommendations or advice, or (iii) regarding the accuracy or completeness of the information, including the assumptions and formula on which such information is based. Applications and conditions of use are many and varied and beyond GE’s control, and GE cannot possibly have the same degree of knowledge that the purchaser has with respect to the design of its equipment and the conditions of its use or as to the suitability of GE's materials, products, recommendations, or advice for the purchaser’s particular use. Therefore, each purchaser/user bears full responsibility for making its own determination as to the suitability and safety of GE’s materials, products, recommendations, or advice for its own particular use and to assume the responsibility for that determination. Each user must identify and perform all tests and analyses necessary to assure that its finished parts incorporating GE material or products will be safe and suitable for use under end-use conditions

[source] (GE Whitepaper)

The following spectrum analyzer screen, courtesy of Ira Wiesenfeld, P.E., shows a VHF noise floor in a building with a fluorescent lighting system using noisy electronic ballasts.

The next screen, also courtesy of Ira Wiesenfeld, P.E., shows a paging signal at the same level (-87.0 dBm).

Ira made a public safety customer very happy when he discovered why they could not receive any paging messages in their building. Once the source of the problem was located, the fix was easy — just turn off the lights.

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Two veterans, who are brothers, hit a deer one night last week. They live in the country near here and now they don't have any transportation — so they can't get jobs and work. They both have PTSD and are struggling to put their lives back together after their horrific experiences in the wars.

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