It was at this time last year that I and my longtime comrade, senior writer Donny Jackson, agreed to take on the considerable task of restoring MRT's power and credibility in the land mobile radio industry. I don't think I'm divulging any trade secrets when I say the publication had fallen far and fallen hard. It took considerable effort and many long days, but MRT is back on track, based on reader comments and our own internal readership study.

In the process, we learned a great deal about our industry, its companies, people and products. We saw how well LMR systems worked during the massive brush fires in California (January) and catastrophic hurricanes in Florida (December). We saw the industry's passion, as evidenced by the battle over 800 MHz rebanding that was waged throughout the year, and which isn't quite over yet. We saw how well industry factions can work together, as when we reported on how disparate first-responder agencies planned ahead, set aside their egos and established interoperable communications that paid off handsomely during the October 2003 D.C. sniper attacks (March).

We also saw the industry's darker side, as when we reported on the safety issues that afflict the tower industry (February) and the lawsuit brought by the families of New York City firefighters killed on Sept. 11, 2001, that alleged both the city and Motorola knew the radio system in use that day was faulty and did nothing about it (March). We didn't enjoy writing and editing those stories, but they needed to be told. It's what we journalists do, but always in a fair and balanced manner. It's what makes MRT, well, MRT.

On a far happier note, we saw evidence of a healthy and vibrant industry. Over the course of the past 12 months, we saw the continued evolution of IP-based systems, mesh networks, Wi-Fi, WiMAX, software-defined radio and radio frequency identification technologies. We saw vendors grow and get stronger. And we spoke to radio dealers who, scoffing at the notion that their eventual extinction is a forgone conclusion, told us how they were in the process of reinventing themselves to take advantage of the plethora of opportunities ahead of them (August).

Those opportunities are contained on the ensuing pages of MRT's annual guide to technology we call the 2005 Sourcebook. It is more than a compilation of lists. Rather, it is the key that opens the door to a better future, as it will lead you to the products and services you need to be more productive, effective and — in the case of our first-responder readers — safer.

The future begins today. We hope yours is as bright as the future we believe is in store for MRT. Best wishes for the new year, and beyond.