IED blast in Afghanistan inspires ex-Green Beret to reinvent two-way radio

Some of the expert writers on the internet are at a really high level that i ponder if any of them have ever written a book? so from time to time i like to focus on these admirable content pieces and here’s one i thought was interesting the other day.

U.S. Army Special Forces Sgt. Tom Katis was headed through the mountains from Asadabad to Jalalabad in Northeastern Afghanistan to catch a plane out of the country for a week of leave in January 2003 when 70 pounds of plastic explosives buried in the road detonated directly under the lead vehicle in his convoy, setting off an ambush.

Shooting erupted from the reeds along the Kunar River, and Katis found his crew switching among numerous radio channels to call in air support and a medical helicopter for two wounded soldiers, as well as to update his commander and coordinate with nearby units.

Tom Katis

“I had to take guys off team frequencies to monitor empty traffic. All of a sudden, the team was not on the same frequency,” said Katis. “We all had radios that cost $15,000 each, and we’re yelling at each other.”

At that moment, Katis decided that even when operating as designed, radios were too difficult to use in combat. Live-only microphones caused missed connections. Choices had to be made quickly between satellite and line-of-sight systems.

That trauma was the kernel for Voxer, a San Francisco-based “push-to-talk” smartphone application developer that Katis co-founded in 2007 and hopes will take a big chunk of the multi-billion-dollar two-way radio hardware and services industry.

After finishing his second Army tour in 2003, Katis immediately co-founded a private security firm called Triple Canopy that has grown to 8,000 employees by catering to military, government and corporate customers around the world.

The radio idea stuck with Katis, however, who had worked a stint at a startup in Silicon Valley from 1999 to 2001.

“The first thing that was obvious was that everything needed to go on the Internet,” said Katis, a graduate of Yale University with a bachelor’s degree in ethics, politics and economics who interrupted his business career to re-enroll in the military after the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks.

At Triple Canopy, Katis in 2004 met Matt Ranney, who became Voxer’s co-founder and CTO. What they and early Voxer employees later created was an Internet-based hybrid between a walkie-talkie and a group messaging application that enables users to talk live or send voice, text and photo messages that can be retrieved at will, all while displaying individual users’ locations. Venture investors to date have funded their efforts with $30 million.

It’s a deceptively simple system, according to Gartner, but Voxer has received 126 patents around the world to protect its inventions, which Katis says provide a platform for significantly improving communications in the private sector and government.

In May 2011, Voxer released a free version of its app and, though it was initially slow to catch on, it exploded to nearly 70 million users by 2012.

At that point Voxer had to choose whether to focus on the consumer app and generate money through advertising or some other vehicle — a vision that many other entrepreneurs were chasing — or try to build a communications product that businesses and governments would be willing to buy. For Katis and his cohorts, the choice was clear.

“A free consumer app was not going to solve the problems we want to solve,” said Katis in an interview in Voxer’s San Francisco headquarters in the historic Phelan Building on Market Street. “I think I can build a much bigger company than that. This is a hundred-billion-dollar industry that I think we can go and take a very meaningful piece of.”

Katis still loves and intends to keep the free app, but Voxer turned its attentions to building more sophisticated features, including encryption, a web-browser-based version for administrators, an installed appliance that companies or government agencies (think three letters) can run themselves and a function that mimics the way two-way radios squawk out transmissions in real-time.

Voxer launched a roughly $10-a-month-per-user business version in June 2013 and, while Katis says the first year was very much a learning process concerning how to make corporate sales, the company just scored its biggest customer yet, the North American division of a major international automobile manufacturer, the identity of which it cannot yet make public. In addition, Roto-Rooter, the national plumbing repair business, in April started to roll Voxer out to about 900 people, a quarter of its field staff, and Voxer has trials underway with various U.S. agencies.

Most of the sales to date have been to companies that asked to upgrade from the free app, said Katis, adding that the company is now hiring in sales and marketing.

One inbound customer was Chris Marino, owner of Xtreme Snow Pros, a snow removal service in Mahwah, N.J., who used the business version last winter for the first time after testing out many different two-way radio systems. Most of the other systems required hardware purchases were more expensive and less versatile, he said.

Marino’s staff balloons during snow season from five to 70 employees with seasonal help, and Voxer lets him communicate with each one individually or all at once from his desk.

“Voxer Business was an incredible asset to us,” Marino said. “It’s a truly great product.”

 

Walkie Talkie vs Two Way Radio?

Although the terms ‘walkie-talkie’ and ‘two-way radio’ can be used interchangeably, some minor differences between the two technologies do actually exist. In a professional context, it is best to know which device you are referring to before you refer to it (but this is substantially less important on a day-to-day level).

Essentially, a walkie-talkie is the same as a two-way radio; there is no overt difference between the two. However, because there are so many different radios on the market, a distinction has arisen. The term ‘walkie-talkie’ tends to imply a ‘hobby’ model, or an otherwise cheap radio. Conversely, the term ‘two-way radio’ tends to be more readily accepted in a business, as well as any equipment specific, context. 

Walkie-talkies were invented around the time of the Second World War and were principally used by the military. Although they came in different forms, the most common version featured a large handset, which had a long antenna protruding from it. Modern walkie-talkies, on the other hand, feature a smaller design, typically with a rugged outer casing and a short aerial. They usually operate via a PTT (Push To Talk) button and available models vary in range from cheap children’s toys to professional, military grade equipment.

Generally, walkie-talkies are limited to only a few watts of power and a relatively short signal range. To this end, radio services often use a repeater (a device that increases range and boosts signal by squashing unused frequencies) in order to improve the walkie-talkie’s operation.

For their part, two-way radios, although they are also portable hand-held transceivers (a device that can both TRANSmit and reCEIVE messages) and they also use the PTT system, are slightly different.

A two-way radio is likely to have a stronger range and a harder outer casing. This is because the term ‘two-way radio’ denotes a better class of product (usually). 

Some two-way radios are also capable of sending and receiving messages at the same time; this is called ‘full duplex’. An example would be a mobile phone, which employs two different radio frequencies at the same time. However, although a mobile phone is technically a two-way radio, the device is very different from what we understand as either a walkie-talkie or a two-way.

The most important distinction is that ‘two-way radio’ almost always refers to professional, licensed equipment, whereas ‘walkie-talkie’ more often describes unlicensed, consumer-grade radios. 

Diverse Power Leverages Exalt Backhaul for Large-Scale UHF Radio Network

Thankyou for reading my blog, here is a piece of writing i really loved reading. With their agreement i can repost it. I compose plenty of my own content, but irregularly post other articles i think are remarkable, thanks for reading.

 

Exalt Communications, Inc., the leading innovator of next-generation wireless connectivity systems for private networks and Internet infrastructures, today announced that Diverse Power, an electric membership cooperative based in La Grange, GA has deployed Exalt ExploreAir microwave backhaul systems to link traffic from its TETRA UHF radio network back to its fiber core.

With 36,000 customers throughout counties in Georgia and Alabama, Diverse Power’s far-flung operations in this rural area require highly reliable radio communications among its maintenance personnel. Working with Exalt partner Dean’s Commercial Two-Way of Cataula, GA, Diverse Power deployed a TETRA UHF radio system for its workers and selected Exalt ExploreAir microwave backhaul systems to carry traffic among sites in Manchester, Mulberry Grove, and Red Oak, GA.

“We wanted a first-class system all the way with our radio network, and Dean’s Two Way recommended Exalt for its outstanding performance and reasonable price,” said Randy Shepard, senior vice president of Diverse Power. “Exalt gives us a fiber-speed backhaul infrastructure that we can rely on in all weather conditions, even during the recent ice storms.”

Diverse Power deployed Exalt ExploreAir systems in all-outdoor configurations on links between Mulberry Grove and Manchester, and between Red Oak and Manchester. The systems carry 100 megabits per-second of Ethernet traffic. While the microwave systems backhaul voice radio traffic today, Diverse Power is looking ahead to carrying SCADA traffic over the links in the future.

“Fiber and microwave are the only technologies that can reliably backhaul traffic, and Exalt microwave offers customers distinct advantages when expanding a network over a broad geographical area,” said Amir Zoufonoun, CEO of Exalt. “Our systems are scalable, providing customers like Diverse Power the capacity they need to optimize energy delivery, increase productivity, enable two-way information exchange with customers for greater control over their electricity costs, and easily add future service offerings.”

About Exalt Communications

Exalt Communications, Inc. is a forerunner in the global Internet revolution, delivering high-value wireless systems that transform the economics of connectivity. Exalt wireless systems extend or complement network fiber and replace now-outdated copper, enabling customers to accelerate time-to-market, optimize network performance, and reduce network infrastructure costs. Today, over 2,000 global customers, from the world’s largest mobile operators to independent service providers, government agencies, and multinational enterprises depend on Exalt systems as they move their applications to the Cloud, enable mobility, and connect the unconnected.

Read more at http://www.broadwayworld.com/bwwgeeks/article/Diverse-Power-Leverages-Exalt-Backhaul-for-Large-Scale-UHF-Radio-Network-20140402#VrUcmLhd4WjO3IKs.99

CML ntros NXDN radio fast-track processor

Article of the Day………ok so i haven’t got an article each day, but when i get a chance I will post content I find interesting. Lucky enough here’s one of those articles that I read and had to share. If you enjoy it as much as me, please add one of those special social media likes, you know the one which tells one and all that you loved something, rather than you sat on your arse and watched Television!

CML Microcircuits, a leading innovator and provider of low-power semiconductors for global wireless data and two-way radio communications markets, has released an NXDN processor with embedded Air Interface (AI) Protocol.

The CMX7131/7141 with the NXDN Function Image connects directly to the market-leading CMX994 Direct Conversion Receiver IC. Together, these devices form a formidable chip-set, enabling a fast development cycle for small, highly-integrated, multi-standard capable digital radios that will exhibit a long battery life.

The majority of the NXDN air interface physical layer (layer 1) and data link layer (layer 2) is embedded in the NXDN Function Image, plus a host of advanced features to support the complete radio system and simplify the overall radio design process.

NXDN is an FDMA digital Land Mobile Radio (LMR) open standard and has evolved to become a key narrowband technology in the LMR migration from analogue to digital. NXDN is supported by more than 25 international radio manufacturers and organisations that together form the NXDN Forum.

The new NXDN Function Image adds to the existing suite of CMX7131/7141 function images, now covering dPMR, NXDN, ARIB STD-T98, ARIB STD-T102 and legacy analogue PMR. A radio platform using the CMX7131/7141 can be switched to deliver any of these systems by uploading the appropriate Function Image. This allows radio manufacturers to take advantage of economies-of-scale by adopting a Software Defined Radio (SDR) design route, with one radio design supporting a number of different systems and markets.

The DE9944 FDMA SDR Demonstrator is also available, providing the fastest route from development through to production.

The CMX7131/CMX7141 processors and function images are available now, offering low power 3.3V operation in small VQFN/LQFP packaging.

Source – http://www.ciol.com/ciol/news/212691/cml-ntros-nxdn-radio-fast-track-processor

Innovative or Simply Post-Modern? New Paradigms in the Study of “Radio”

Radio is the wireless transmission of signals through free space by electromagnetic radiation of a frequency significantly below that of visible light, in the radio frequency range, from about 30 kHz to 300 GHz. These waves are called radio waves. Electromagnetic radiation travels by means of oscillating electromagnetic fields that pass through the air and the vacuum of space.
Information, such as sound, is carried by systematically changing some property of the radiated waves, such as their amplitude, frequency, phase, or pulse width. When radio waves strike an electrical conductor, the oscillating fields induce an alternating current in the conductor. The information in the waves can be extracted and transformed back into its original form.
Etymology
The etymology of “radio” or “radiotelegraphy” reveals that it was called “wireless telegraphy”, which was shortened to “wireless” in Britain. The prefix radio- in the sense of wireless transmission, was first recorded in the word radioconductor, a description provided by the French physicist Édouard Branly in 1897. It is based on the verb to radiate .
The word “radio” also appears in a 1907 article by Lee De Forest. It was adopted by the United States Navy in 1912, to distinguish radio from several other wireless communication technologies, such as the photophone. The term became common by the time of the first commercial broadcasts in the United States in the 1920s. The term was adopted by other languages in Europe and Asia. British Commonwealth countries continued to commonly use the term “wireless” until the mid-20th century, though the magazine of the BBC in the UK has been called Radio Times ever since it was first published in the early 1920s.
In recent years the more general term “wireless” has gained renewed popularity through the rapid growth of short-range computer networking, e.g., Wireless Local Area Network, Wi-Fi, and Bluetooth, as well as mobile telephony, e.g., GSM and UMTS. Today, the term “radio” specifies the actual type of transceiver device or chip, whereas “wireless” refers to the lack of physical connections; one talks about radio transceivers, but another talks about wireless devices and wireless sensor networks.
Processes
Radio systems used for communications will have the following elements. With more than 100 years of development, each process is implemented by a wide range of methods, specialized for different communications purposes.
Transmitter and modulation
Each system contains a transmitter. This consists of a source of electrical energy, producing alternating current of a desired frequency of oscillation. The transmitter contains a system to modulate some property of the energy produced to impress a signal on it. This modulation might be as simple as turning the energy on and off, or altering more subtle properties such as amplitude, frequency, phase, or combinations of these properties. The transmitter sends the modulated electrical energy to a tuned resonant antenna; this structure converts the rapidly changing alternating current into an electromagnetic wave that can move through free space.
Amplitude modulation of a carrier wave works by varying the strength of the transmitted signal in proportion to the information being sent. For example, changes in the signal strength can be used to reflect the sounds to be reproduced by a speaker, or to specify the light intensity of television pixels. It
was the method used for the first audio radio transmissions, and remains in use today. “AM” is often used to refer to the mediumwave broadcast band .
Frequency modulation varies the frequency of the carrier. The instantaneous frequency of the carrier is directly proportional to the instantaneous value of the input signal. Digital data can be sent by shifting the carrier’s frequency among a set of discrete values, a technique known as frequency-shift keying.
FM is commonly used at VHF radio frequencies for high-fidelity broadcasts of music and speech . Normal TV sound is also broadcast using FM.
Angle modulation alters the instantaneous phase of the carrier wave to transmit a signal. It is another term for Phase modulation.

THE SHIFT TO DIGITAL, why NASCAR choose Motorola

NASCAR officials have enthusiastically embraced MOTOTRBO, and they applaud the benefits it has brought to the NASCAR experience. Smooth Management of Communications Traffic MOTOTRBO “does a super job for us,” according to Kerry Tharp, Director of Communications, NASCAR. “You have to communicate pre-race, during the race, and most importantly for us, post-race because when the race is over, that’s when our media operation kicks in for us full-bore. We bring in our top three drivers for interviews; we bring in our winning driver to the victory lane, and we also check in on the garage to make sure that post-race is going along as it should. We have to make sure we’re communicating quickly and concisely. Through MOTOTRBO, we’re able to do our jobs a whole lot better than we have in the past.” Continue reading

Hotels, Holiday Resorts & Radios: A Match Maid in Heaven

The tourism industry is a big one, with various holiday seasons bringing in huge revenues around the world, year in, year out. In some cases, tourism profits are actually vital to the survival of small towns and resort areas, as well as major factors in the host country’s GDP.

Approximately 30 Million people visit the UK from all over the world each year (and we don’t even get nice weather!). Drawn to our many sites of cultural interest, even more of historical interest, or just a slice on English country life, these tourists are actually a considerable part of our economy. Continue reading

Two Way Radios in Public Safety & How They Relate to You

There are some moments when the world seems to turn inwards upon itself and nothing makes sense anymore.

In these moments, when man’s inhumanity to his own brothers and sisters would defy belief, were the chilling evidence not plain as day on your television screen, we are afraid. Anybody who says otherwise is either lying or mad.

In truth, these terrible moments seem to be increasing in number, with a multitude of terrorist attacks, a surge in civil unrest (caused, in large part, by the callousness of a government unconcerned with the lives of everyday people) and increased violence/gang activity on our city streets. Continue reading

Why Can’t I Use a Radio or a Phone on an Aeroplane?

The real reason is that the signals generated by your radio receiver (yes, it generates signals as well as receives them) can interfere with the aeroplane’s navigation equipment.

 

In an article for ‘The Straight Dope’, published in 1987, Cecil Adams (who ran a similar, but far superior, column to this one) explained it far better than I could. He said,

 

“Most modern receivers use something called a “local oscillator,” which is sort of an internal transmitter. The oscillator generates signal A, which is mixed with the somewhat raw incoming signal B to produce nice, easy-to-work-with signal C. There’s usually some sort of shielding around the oscillator, but it’s not always effective and sometimes errant signals leak out to make life difficult for other radio equipment nearby. If the other equipment happens to be an aircraft navigation device, somebody could wind up digging furrows with a $25 million plow. So do your bit for air safety and bring a tape player instead.” Continue reading