It has been nearly a year since I became MRT's editor, and in that time I have learned a great deal about the land mobile radio industry. For starters, it is populated by a great number of interesting people and solid professionals. I have met many of you in my travels and hear from many more of you each week via e-mail and phone. It's been a treat.

Another thing I've learned is that this industry doesn't need to take a back seat to any other industry in terms of the quality of the products and services it provides. I actually understood this to a degree before taking this job. I have friends here in Chicago who own and operate a flea market, known as a swap meet in other parts of the country. About 600 vendors show up every Sunday from April to October to hawk their merchandise. I really don't understand the phenomenon, but as been said, one person's junk is another's treasure.

The market is held in a 20-acre parking lot at the Allstate Arena near O'Hare Airport. The vendors are put into their spaces by staff that communicates via two-way radio. You wouldn't believe what these people do to these radios. I've seen them dropped onto the asphalt, run over by moving vehicles, kicked, thrown, you name it. Yet, 15 years into this venture, some of the radios that were used the very first day are still being used. That amazes me.

Something else that amazed me recently was how well LMR systems performed during the hurricanes that slammed into Florida and the Gulf Coast over a six-week period in August and September. Of course, LMR systems, given their mission-critical applications, are built to stand up to the harshest conditions. But when three major hurricanes -- Category 3 or better -- crisscross through a giant swath of Florida, would anyone have been surprised if some of those systems failed? I know I wouldn't have been surprised, especially considering that some commercial wireless carriers lost as much as half their networks at the peak of the storms. (For a full account of how LMR systems performed, don't miss senior writer Donny Jackson's cover story in MRT's November edition).

That the LMR systems performed so well is evidence of the engineering and manufacturing acumen possessed by the companies and people who develop these systems. The industry stood tall during the crisis. Now it should take a bow.

E-mail me at gbischoff@primediabusiness.com

Editor's note: We're standing a little taller ourselves these days, as we just launched our re-designed Web site. Check it out at www.mrtmag.com, and please feel free to share your feedback with me at the e-mail address above.