Eastern states APCO meets in South Carolina The South Carolina APCO chapter presented the Eastern States Regional Conference at the Kingston Plantation Embassy Suites in Myrtle Beach, SC, January 18-20. Seventy-one vendors participated, and in addition to the 403 fully registered attendees, 200 to 250 participants attended with day passes. Thirty sessions were offered throughout the conference with topics ranging from stress management to TSB 88.
Conference Chairman Frank Brand said that he wanted to offer sessions multiple times to allow attendees the opportunity to see more sessions rather than having to choose between several offered at the same time.
“I think the sessions were well received. The “stressed desserts” session had people bringing in more chairs to make room for everyone. We had about 40 people in the biggest session; the smallest had five,” he said.
Attendees at the “Y2K Readiness” session, presented by Bill Fivek of Motorola, learned how to systematically assess Y2K compliance of all aspects of a public safety system to avoid any glitches that would lead to large complications and liability.
MRT’s editorial board member, Fred Griffin, gave a presentation called “Dos and Don’ts of Communications Project Implementation,” a step-by-step guide on the phases of seeing a project through from the initial decision to implement to the final review based on the average day in the life of a public safety professional. As a bonus, Griffin included a quiz with monetary rewards and a brief sailing lesson.
He said that implementers needed to realize that projects will almost always cost more and be more demanding than originally anticipated. He also warned that implementers should not try to go it alone on their projects. “You will need specialized help,” he said, “You can’t know all of the inside information that consultants do.”
Mobex, Bechtel join to offer services to utilities Mobex Communications, Lafayette, CA, and San Francisco-based Bechtel Enterprises have teamed up to offer advanced wireless telecommunications services and systems to utilities. This partnership also offers the potential for utilities to create new revenue with telecommunications assets.
Mobex is a national provider of systems integration and specialized mobile radio (SMR) services. Bechtel Enterprisees is the project development, financing and ownership affiliate of The Bechtel Group, a global engineering and construction company. The combined resources of Mobex and Bechtel give utilities access to services ranging from design of customer billing systems to the construction of massive telecommunications networks.
Deregulation and impending competition are forcing utilities to reduce costs, while pressure from stockholders is compelling publicly held utilities to increase profits. The Mobex-Bechtel alliance provides new, customizable strategies that enable utilities to use their telecommunications systems in ways that best meet their needs. These strategies include simple cost-savings recommendations, asset management recommendations and programs, lease-back programs and revenue-generating opportunities.
800MHz licensees move for relocation stay A motion was filed on January 27 to stay the Wireless Telecommunications Bureau’s initiation of the negotiation period for relocation of incumbent licensees in the upper 200 800MHz SMR channels by EA licensees throughout the United States. The motion was filed by Schwaninger & Associates on behalf of the members of Small Business in Telecommunications and individual companies Applied Technology Group, Fresno Mobile Radio, Madera Radio Dispatch and Cumulous Communications.
The plantiffs, who hold the incumbent licenses for the upper spectrum, fear that those who were awarded upper spectrum channels in the December 1997 auction may not have unencumbered ownership of the lower spectrum channels they intend to trade. If problems do arise, those left with the “bad” spectrum will have no means of obtaining “good’ spectrum equivalent to what they originally had. The motion contends that a grant of stay would merely maintain the status quo until those who are being relocated can be ensured that they will have usable spectrum, risking no harm to anyone.
Precedent requires the request for a stay to demonstrate that pending challenges are likely to prevail, incumbent licensees would suffer irreparable harm if a stay is not granted, other interested parties would not be harmed if a stay is granted, and public interest favors a stay of the commencement of the voluntary negotiation period for the relocation. The motion contends that all four requirements have been successfully supported.
UTC Telecom launches two conferences UTC Telecom ’99 will launch two educational conferences at the annual meeting of UTC, The Telecommunications Association, this summer in Nashville, TN. The Utility Telecom Business Development Conference will explore business opportunities for utilities offering carriers’ carrier and consumer telecom services. The Utility Telecom & Information Technology Conference will focus on the unique aspects of managing utilities’ telecommunications systems and information technology networks.
UTC president Bill Moroney said, “We launched these two conferences because as our member companies have expanded the array of telecommunications services they are offering consumers and businesses, we needed to find a new way to meet both their new and traditional education needs.”
The two conferences will now be a part of UTC Telecom, to be held June 27-30, 1999, at the Opryland Hotel Conference Center. The trade shows will also include the UTC Expo; education workshops covering year 2000 contingency and radio spectrum management; and three pre-conference tutorials.
Harris restructures Communications sector Harris, Melbourne, FL, is restructuring and renaming its business units within the Communications sector to leverage core competencies across the businesses that it hopes will result in increased customer satisfaction and improved operational effectiveness.
Harris is combining three of its former divisions, Digital Telephone Systems, Network Support Systems and Telecommunications Systems & Services into a single division called the Communications Products Division.
Van Cullens, president of Harris’ Communications sector, said, “These three divisions are focused on the same customer base-the public and private communications service provider. By combining their strengths, we can more effectively address the market with a common focus.”
The names of the Farinon and Broadcast divisions will change to more closely describe the markets they address. The Farinon Division will be known as the Microwave Communications Division. The Broadcast Division will be known as the Broadcast Systems Division. The RF Communications Division remains the same-providing RF products and services for the defense, air traffic control communications and national law enforcement markets.
Clear, RSI form alliance to assist customers Clear Communications Group, Atlanta, and Radiofrequency Safety International (RSI), Kiowa, KS, have formed an alliance. Clear is now a certified field service consultant for RSI. The purpose of RSI’s field service consultants is to assist RSI customers with the technical aspects required to bring their telecommunications installations into compliance with the FCC’s OET Bulletin 65 regarding RF emissions safety. Clear is developing and implementing a complete safety and exposure-testing program. The Clear/RSI alliance will offer consulting services to both Clear and RSI clients. As part of the alliance, RSI will provide safety and other programs to Clear’s client base.
RSI also forged an alliance with Chase Systems of New Jersey. Chase represents the Wandel & Goltermann line of RF measurement equipment. RSI field service consultants will conduct RF surveys with either the EMR-300-meter or the new model 25 series FCC shaped probe, developed by Clear and RSI.
Triton PCS contracts American Tower American Tower, Boston, and Triton PCS have entered into a contract where American Tower will build 115 build-to-suit tower development sites in North Carolina, South Carolina and Georgia. These sites will com-plement American Tower’s existing tower portfolio. Triton PCS has also contract- ed American Tower’s acquisition and zoning services for 175 sites in the same area. These sites will be completed as part of Triton’s 1999 Phase II build-out.
Triton PCS’s network covers 13 million people. Based in Malvern, PA, the company is a member of the AT&T Digital Wireless Network, which is licensed to cover more than 80% of the United States.
FCC Notes FCC grants construction extension in part, denies other provisions in part Southern Company requested an extension to continue construction of its wide-area SMR network that incorporates business and industrial/land transportation channels. It was granted in part and denied in part. Southern’s request was to extend its original five-year extended implementation period an additional five years, or until the Commission makes the 800MHz business and I/LT channels available for auction. The commission granted the extension until the effective date of final rules implementing the Balanced Budget Act of 1997 with respect to the licensing of 800MHz Business and I/LT frequencies.
Commission gives unauthorized radio operators cease-and-desist order Lewis B. Arnold of Chewelah, WA, and Mark A. Rabenold of Oroville, WA, were each ordered to “cease and desist” from unauthorized operation of radio stations on 95.3MHz and on 105.1MHz, respectively. Each was fined $11,000 for “willful violation of section 301 of the Communications Act of 1934.”
Commission denies waiver request The commission denied Jeremy Greene’s request for a waiver of the competitive bidding rules and the bid withdrawal rule regarding the 220MHz service license. Greene will be subject to the balance of the payment when License BEA 160, the Los Angeles-Riverside-Orange County, CA, E-block market license, is reauctioned and the actual default payment is determined.
Greene had submitted and later withdrew the high bid. No subsequent bids were placed. He submitted a letter to the commission requesting that it award the license to him for a lesser amount than his withdrawn bid. Not only was Greene’s request denied, he must also pay a $9,300 bid-withdrawal fee. Greene did not show that unique circumstances were involved and that there was no reasonable alternative within the existing rules.
Commission moves to portals (finally) After years of deliberation, the FCC has moved to the Portals II, in southwest Washington. The new address is 445 12th St. SW, Washington, DC, 20554. The telephone and fax numbers will remain the same. Relocation of the commission offices and those of the General Counsel, Legislative and Intergovernmental Affairs, Mass Media Bureau and the Inspector General is complete. Other offices will move throughout March and April.
Cenex Harvest States has agreed to equip its transportation fleet with Eaton Fleet Advisor’s Transportation Logistics Management System. Kit Kloeckl of Cenex Harvest States said, “Fleet Advisor’s unique blend of full-function, on- board computing, cost-effective satellite communications and back-office networking will help us reach our efficiency goals by giving us the ability to significantly reduce administrative paperwork and increase driver and vehicle productivity.”
MDSI, Mobile Data Solutions, of Richmond, British Columbia, Canada, signed a contract for the deployment of its Advantex-Utility mobile workforce management product to New Jersey Natural Gas (NJNG), the principal subsidiary of New Jersey Resources. MDSI also signed a contract with Southern Connecticut Gas (SCG), the principal subsidiary of Connecticut Energy to upgrade its existing MDSI system to take advantage of the latest innovations in technology. The combined value of the two contracts is about $1.6 million.
Jim Hallock, manager of customer dispatch, NJNG said, “The need for a radical overhaul of our first-generation system was critical in order to create a path for the future. With MDSI Advantex-Utility, NJNG has an open, flexible, supportable enterprise-wide solution that will allow us to respond over the long-term to a constantly evolving business environment.”
Celwave’s Andrew Singer received the CDMA Technology Conference’s RCR Silver Award for his paper “Optimizing CDMA Antenna Systems.” Singer is director of technical marketing for Celwave. The award was based on voting by attendees at the conference.
C&D Technologies and Johnson Controls signed a definitive agreement for C&D to acquire the business and assets of the Industrial Battery business of Johnson Controls for $135 million in cash and the assumption of certain liabilities.
Alfred Weber, chairman of C&D Technologies said, “This strategic acquisition strengthens and broadens our existing business in the growing UPS and telecommunications markets, while positioning C&D as an important participant in international markets and adding to our international presence.”
In-Touch II from In-Touch Management Systems has been successfully installed in 17 markets, nationwide, for TSR Wireless. Some locations include Phoenix, Indianapolis, St. Louis and Minneapolis.
Erik Volfing, vice president of finance at TSR Wireless, who supervised the conversion effort said, “Considering the magnitude of the job and the aggressive schedule set forth, the successful conversion from PBMS to In-Touch II has been quite an accomplishment for both TSR Wireless and In-Touch.”
Yacht teams from seven nations competed for the Pacific Region’s yachting prize, the Kenwood Cup, in a 547.5-mile, internationally recognized 10-race series. Tom Wineland, president of Kenwood Communications said, “Sponsorship of the Kenwood Cup supports a well-known, high- quality, international sporting event. It is also a relaxed venue to hold high-level product planning meetings with the participation from a part of the Kenwood team we rely on quite extensively, the Kenwood dealers.”