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  1. #1
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    Arrow FDNY Motorola Radios discontinued

    Silencing FDNY Radios
    Problematic model to be discontinued


    www.nynewsday.com
    By Graham Rayman and William Murphy
    STAFF WRITERS

    February 12, 2004

    The manufacturer of a troubled Fire Department radio system that went into use in 2001 plans to discontinue the model, the company said yesterday.

    The XTS3500 system and its walkie-talkies, made by Motorola, had problems almost immediately when they were put into operation March 13, 2001, and they were pulled out of service a week later.

    On March 19, a Queens firefighter had run out of air at a house fire. His radio calls for help were not heard by nearby firefighters, but were heard clearly by firefighters several blocks away. The firefighter was rescued when an officer at the scene realized he was missing.

    When the XTS3500 system was yanked two days later, the old Sabre system, also made by Motorola, was reactivated. After Motorola made changes to the XTS3500 system, it was reinstated in February 2002.

    Motorola now plans to discontinue the XTS3500 line and replace it with the XTS5000 line, according to an internal company memo obtained by Newsday.

    The memo questioned whether the company had sold the department "the wrong [radio] platform," whether the benefits of the XTS3500 had been "misstate[d]" and said, "Did we ignore these [concerns] to keep a $10+M [$10 million-plus] order?"

    Company spokeswoman Pat Sturmon said yesterday that while the XTS3500 would be phased out, the company would continue to provide spare parts and "support our product."

    She described the memo as "an internal document not meant to be discussed publicly." She said it had been written by the leader of a sales team and was meant to foster internal discussion on how best to market Motorola products.

    The memo also raised concerns about "poor publicity depending on our approach to migration" - meaning the sales effort to get customers to abandon the older model and buy the newer model.

    The Fire Department's radio capabilities on Sept. 11, 2001 - when the Sabres were back in use - will be the subject of a federal safety and technology hearing today in Manhattan.

    One witness is expected to be retired California businessman and filmmaker William Bowen, who is working on a book about radio failures that day.

    In an interview yesterday, he noted that the Fire Department has already conceded that it did not field-test the new radio system, which cost more than $13 million, before putting it into operation.

    "They took these radios and made 11,000 firefighters into guinea pigs," Bowen said.

    Alan Hevesi, the city comptroller at the time of the purchase, issued a report concluding that the Fire Department had used improper bidding procedures in awarding the contract to Motorola.

    FTM-PTB


  2. #2
    MembersZone Subscriber E229Lt's Avatar
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    Sure gives me a warm fuzzy feeling waiting for the next job.

  3. #3
    55 Years & Still Rolling hwoods's Avatar
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    Talking Uhhhh..................

    One more supporting point for me keeping my Nextel handy... Stay Safe....
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  4. #4
    Forum Member CaptOldTimer's Avatar
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    Just another way for Motorola and all other radio suppliers to make money. They stop production on models all the time. They want the ciies to spend and spend to keep up with the latest.

    If the radios are operating good, there isn't any need to updrade.


    Stay Safe & Well out there...

  5. #5
    Forum Member nmfire's Avatar
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    OK. First of all, this whole article is non-sense. Either the journalist is an idiot and made this stuff up, or the person feeding him the information is equally as misinformed. Now that I think about it, it is probably a combination of both. If nothing else, I got a good chuckle out of this stupidity.

    1. There is no such thing as an "XTS-3500 System" and there never has been. The XTS-3500 is a single model of a portable radio.
    Motorola XTS-3500

    2. There is no such thing as a "Saybre System" and for that matter, there is no such thing as a "Saybre" anything. There is a portable radio known as a "Saber" (not a saybre) and is just a portable radio, not a "system". The Saber's are the portables they use on their VHF system which is probably some form of a SpectraTAC voting system. The Saber is no longer manufactured by Motorla.

    3. The XTS-5000 is nothing more than an XTS-3500 with more funky features that FDNY probably doesn't use anyway. It also costs even more than the 3500.
    Motorola XTS-5000

    Simply getting newer portable radios is not going to fix a poorly layed out infrastructure. The infrastructure that was installed for this Save-The-World new radio system is not sufficiant to cover the needs of FDNY; It never was and at this rate, it never will be. The people running this project are either fools or just in it for the money and publicity and not making a functional radio system.

    Hwoods... Nothing personal, but I would rather carry a bull horn and yell really loud than a CrapTel. It wouldn't surprise me if NexTel is part of the reason this new POS system doesn't work right.
    Last edited by nmfire; 02-13-2004 at 11:32 AM.
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  6. #6
    Forum Member stm4710's Avatar
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    E229,FFFRED,NMFIRE............ per chance are these THEradios responsible/involved in this lawsuit?

    JW

    9/11 LAWSUIT AND MOTOROLA
    I dont suffer from insanity, I enjoy every minute of it.

  7. #7
    Forum Member nmfire's Avatar
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    This fancy save-the-world digital radio system was not in place and operating on 9/11. They were using their existing VHF system. It's probably just as well, the new system would probably have done worse than the old VHF system did and it got hit by an airplane.

    This VHF system OBVIOUSLY relied heavily on the radios on the roof of the WTC. Building falls down, radios fall down with it. It wasn't really so much of a faulty system as it was a system that just had a plane fly into it and knock a major part of it down. There isn't much anyone can do about that. That lawsuit is pretty lame if you ask me. What do these people want, magic? How about telepathy?
    Even the burger-flippers at McDonald's probably have some McWackers.

  8. #8
    MembersZone Subscriber ff7134's Avatar
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    Is it just me or does the 5000 look just about the same as the 3500 except for a few more bells and whistles to break or malfunction?
    AKA: Mr. Whoo-Whoo

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  9. #9
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    "......per chance are these THEradios responsible/involved in this lawsuit?"
    Taken from The Chief Leader, Week of 1/28/04
    Motorola Tied to Lawsuit On Radios at WTC
    By Mark Daly

    The FDNY purchased digital radios from Motorola in 1999 that were more powerful than the UHF radios that FF's had long used, but the department was forced to pull the new radios from Service in March 2001 after FF's complained about problems in receiving signals. In the most serious case, one unit fighting a fire in Richmond Hill said it had been unable to hear mayday signals from a FF trapped in the basement.

    The families' lawsuit charges that Motorola pushed the new radios onto the market with inadequate testing, which contributed to the recall and forced the FDNY to rely on its older radios on September 11th.

    The families also claim that the city employees tailored the bid specifications for the FDNY's $13.9 million contract to favor Motorola, making the company the sole source of the new radios and circumventing competetive bidding regulations.

    THIS IS NOT THE ENTIRE ARTICLE, JUST THE FACTS PERTAINING TO THE QUESTION ASKED.

  10. #10
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    The pictures links posted are from Motorolla. They are not necessarily the ones issued to us in the FDNY. We might use a certian model however they talior them to our needs just as they would for you if you bought them. Ours have certain buttons that work others that don't.

    The ones issued to the companies (6 handie-talkies to each Engine and Truck) do not have the LCD screen nor the associated buttons. Only Battalion & Deputy Chiefs & their aides have the radios with the screens and buttons. I do believe there is now an additional radio in each battalion for the FAST Truck that has the screen.

    Each member has a radio and each is programed that when a Mayday signal is transmitted (or any transmittion is made) the Chief can see who made the transmittion. Each radio is specific to a certian riding postition (office, Nozzle, Control, etc. in the Engine and OVM, Roof, Irons, etc. in the Truck. For example Engine 209 Officer would appear something like 5209-1 on the Chiefs radio That is one of the reasons the Chiefs have the LCD screens.

    I imagine the new ones will as far as external appearences look just like the old ones. Chiefs with LCD and key pads, members with the standard handie-talkie.

    FTM-PTB

  11. #11
    MembersZone Subscriber ff7134's Avatar
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    Our Kenwoods do the same thing, except all of them have a LCD screen. The "Man-Down" only flshed on Officers and Chief radio's.
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  12. #12
    Forum Member nmfire's Avatar
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    The families' lawsuit charges that Motorola pushed the new radios onto the market with inadequate testing, which contributed to the recall and forced the FDNY to rely on its older radios on September 11th.
    This is the stupidest part of the whole thing. None of that makes any sense at all. It's not Motorola's fault that FDNY's older radio system couldn't handle two jetliners plowing into the buildings at 600mph. It is also not Motorola's fault that hundreds of firefighters and EMS personel were trying to talk at the same time when the above happened and the radio system was crippled (not dead, just crippled). It just doesn't work that way. Their new fancy system, even if it worked FLAWLESSLY from day one would have failed catostrophicly on 9/11 just like the VHF system did. This is all about money for lawyers and nothing else. It makes me want to screem every time I read it.

    These fancy new radio system, when done properly, really kick ***. But, to make that happen properly in New York City is a massive expesne. The city leaders with the checkbook will alway be there cutting corners with this stuff to make themselves look better at election time. I don't plan on seeing this new system working properly in NYC for A LONG TIME, especially if they thing a different model portable on a defunct infrastructure is going magiclly fix it.
    Even the burger-flippers at McDonald's probably have some McWackers.

  13. #13
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    Does anyone have any real information on FDNY's radio infrastructure on 9/11? I would imagine there was some in-building repeaters for the towers, but didn't anyone have a backup plan? Anyone with a clue?

    From what I know, the real problem with the original XTS3500s was not a hardware thing, but that they tried to run the transmissions digitally. They should work fine now that they are back to analog, but then how would Motorola make money? It's possible that they might have had better communications with UHF than the Sabre-VHF fireground frequencies on 9/11...
    Last edited by Pride373; 02-13-2004 at 10:45 PM.

  14. #14
    Forum Member nmfire's Avatar
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    I do believe they had some form of in-building repeater system. From what I recall, it failed. This is what happens when a LOADED JET LINER WITH THOUSANDS OF GALLONS OF JET FUEL MOVING AT 600MPH plows into it. These are radios, not bomb shelters.

    A Backup? I don't know if there was a backup in-building repeater. However, concidering the damage to the towers, the backup probably would have suffered the same demise as the main. There is just only so much you can do.

    UHF does penetrate buildings better than VHF but who can tell what will go where, espeically in a concrete stairwell. I really have to wonder about whoe is setting up this new system. I mean, it is only portables and they talk simplex with no PL. For god sake, it doesn't get any less complicated than that yet somehow they screwed it up.
    Last edited by nmfire; 02-13-2004 at 11:33 PM.
    Even the burger-flippers at McDonald's probably have some McWackers.

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