You never know when your hobby will turn into useful employment
Thanks for pointing out in several articles (MRT, November 2001) that many two-way radio people got their start in amateur radio. I, for one, wound a crystal set in the early 50s, built a CB EICO kit in ’57, got my amateur and MARS tickets in the mid 60s and started converting Motracs, Twin Vs and GE TPLs for 146MHz (amateur radio) operation. In the 80s, I built a GMRS repeater system for personal family communications. After I left aerospace engineering and found myself between jobs, I took on a technician’s job for a local two-way radio shop. I installed and programmed an 800MHz county-wide public safety SMR and also a SCADA system for a local utility. After that, I entered sales, including Johnson and Motorola SMRs and site management for another two-way radio company.
Presently, I am employed at the Erie County Medical Center, a trauma, cardiac and burn treatment hospital serving western New York and southern Ontario. Erie County Medical Center is located on a 65-acre campus including two heliports and nine satellite clinics. I manage a computerized facility and security monitoring network, which includes 8,000 HVAC, power, security, and environmental points. When Y2K hit, my expertise again went into action to provide alternate means of communications. Following the terrorism attacks of Sept. 11, I was asked to investigate a contingent communications and covert security plan for ECMC. I am currently designing a radio, telephone, video and computer remote van in the event off-site operations are required.
You never know when your hobby will turn into useful employment, benefiting both your employer and yourself.
— Ronald Gilson
Erie County Medical Center
Nextel doesn’t care
Hooray for the editorial in MRT June 2001 on Nexteland (“In Sync,” by Don Bishop). I have been telling my fellow radio dealers for years now that Nextel cares nothing about gobbling up their spectrum and putting them completely out of business, to further their bottom line.
Still, some of them have jumped in with the enemy and are under some mystical spell that the great commissions and residuals that they will make will offset the two-way business they are flushing down the toilet.
We have been mobile phone agents for about 10 years now, and I can tell you that before you purchase your house in Beverly Hills on those coming commissions, you better have back-up financing. Nextel has more agents selling their product in our area right now than there are vacuum cleaner salespeople. And I haven’t seen any of them driving a new Porsche either.
The only other thing I would be interested in knowing is where the billions of frequency spectrum dollars generated by the government went? Maybe Nextel can tell us?
— Jerry Becker
A radio dealer’s plight
Congratulations on a concise, well written, and sadly, accurate analysis of the radio dealer’s plight. (MRT February 2001 “POS Perspective,” by Bob Urian.)
My 25+ years in the business, which started with 15 years at a major U.S. radio manufacturer, have prompted me to believe manufacturers expect the dealer to “heave to” despite low profit margins, lousy dealer support, semi- developed products and internal competition. Most firms I know are seeking alternatives (or at least additions) to their equipment portfolios to have some profitable equipment to sell.
Manufacturers feel they are the 500lb. canary. Few seem to understand they’d be squat without the dealers establishing and maintaining customer relationships, marketing and selling the product, doing the technical work, holding the receivable, and, in general, carrying the flag. Discussing the idea of their manufacturing products and our selling them at a profit is a battle of wits with an unarmed person.
— Name withheld by request
For more letters, go to MRT‘s Web site and click on “Letters from Readers” (under “Site Features”).