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  1. #21
    Forum Member MPVFD2046's Avatar
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    Default money...but the radio is essential

    Ok,

    my former department serves a very small town of about 600. Currently two radios are assigned to each apparatus. The engine can seat three, but two are already available for the truck and the same goes for the squad. Additional radios are in a radio bank by the door as you enter the station, so you grab one as you head for your gear. This is SOP for all personnel to have a radio when operating on a scene. This has helped during PAR's and even when members have had to use the little "orange" button.

    However, this has not come without a financial burden to the department. Several used radios were purchased to get the number of radios available for each apparatus AND with re-banding the department is now applying for grants in order to communicate with not only our dispatch center, but also all FD's in the area. Money has been an issue, but the expense is well worth it and I am hear today because of the rule every member caries a radio.


  2. #22
    Back In Black ChiefKN's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MPVFD2046 View Post
    Ok,

    my former department serves a very small town of about 600. Currently two radios are assigned to each apparatus. The engine can seat three, but two are already available for the truck and the same goes for the squad. Additional radios are in a radio bank by the door as you enter the station, so you grab one as you head for your gear. This is SOP for all personnel to have a radio when operating on a scene. This has helped during PAR's and even when members have had to use the little "orange" button.

    However, this has not come without a financial burden to the department. Several used radios were purchased to get the number of radios available for each apparatus AND with re-banding the department is now applying for grants in order to communicate with not only our dispatch center, but also all FD's in the area. Money has been an issue, but the expense is well worth it and I am hear today because of the rule every member caries a radio.

    Don't forget to investigate working as a region on a grant application for a radio system. From what I'm told regional communication grants are very successful.

    How do those orange buttons work for you? We didn't program them yet, and are a little hesitant to do so.
    I am now a past chief and the views, opinions, and comments are mine and mine alone. I do not speak for any department or in any official capacity. Although, they would be smart to listen to me.

    "The last thing I want to do is hurt you. But it's still on the list."

    "When tempted to fight fire with fire, remember that the Fire Department usually uses water."

  3. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by nmfire View Post
    We equip each apparatus with portable radios to match air packs plus one for the driver. If there are 6 air packs, there are 7 radios.
    Thats how we do it. Like somebody else said just because you have a radio does not mean you have to talk on it.
    IACOJ - Senior Jake

  4. #24
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    It depends on the community and the type of structures.

    A small town with primarily mobile homes and single family residences certainly does not need a radio for every riding position and every member. As long as the members are equipped with PASS devices, and the lead member of the crews have a radio, these structures are small enough that a radio is not needed for all. There should be enough radios for personnel supervising crews and/or sectors, as they need to communicate with the outside for direction. Officers should be issued portables for daily use, but there is no need for line firefighters to have radios.

    Communties with larger structures may need to consider radios for all riding posistions, however, even there, personnel should be operating, at a minimum as a 2 man team. As long as one member of the team has a radio, that should be more than sufficiant. Certainly not all members needs radios. Pagers are more than adequate for non-officers.

    Departments that allow members to operate solo obviously needs radios for all members. While I find this practice foolish and dangerous, it is done on a regular basis.

    We issue radios to all members, including support and juniors. We have found that a radio is very close in price to a pager. We do it priamrily so that medical responders and firefighters going POV can give a patient/arrival report. On the fireground we could operate with far fewer radios without a compromise in firefighter safety.

  5. #25
    the 4-1-4 Jasper 45's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by LaFireEducator View Post
    I

    Departments that allow members to operate solo obviously needs radios for all members. While I find this practice foolish and dangerous, it is done on a regular basis.

    You truly amaze me, you know it? You are such a complete and total hypocrite. You rip guys for how their departments attack certain fires, and tell us all that every city is unique, and that these different needs for a department are all different etc..., and then criticize departments that operate different than you think is appropriate? Get real, and go away, please. Fantasy land awaits.

  6. #26
    Forum Member MPVFD2046's Avatar
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    Smile Response to ChiefKN

    The orange buttons is used as a firefighter in trouble button. This when activated makes that radio a priority and allows the dispatcher to id that portable or mobile and have all other radio operations move to another channel or stop until the problem is fixed. This is in addition to the pass device...I like to say it happens by accident, but when used correctly a lot of guys have come home alive...

  7. #27
    Forum Member Weruj1's Avatar
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    Here all officers are issued radios and there is one for each riding position. We are lucky to have this.
    IACOJ both divisions and PROUD OF IT !
    Pardon me sir.. .....but I believe we are all over here !
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  8. #28
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    You truly amaze me, you know it? You are such a complete and total hypocrite. You rip guys for how their departments attack certain fires, and tell us all that every city is unique, and that these different needs for a department are all different etc..., and then criticize departments that operate different than you think is appropriate? Get real, and go away, please. Fantasy land awaits.

    Where did I rip any patriculiar department for operating guys solo? Where did I say they should stop the practice? Where did I condemn the department for being unsafe?

    I don't agree with the practice. It's against everything that I have been taught and taught in my 28 years in the fire service. I have yet to be on a department that operated in this way. I have yet to have any instructor, anywhere, at any time say that it's fine to send a single firefighter to search a room or operate on the roof, or in fact, conduct any offensive operation. You find me a nationally distributed textbook that advocates this practice or an instructor that teaches this in a recognized STATE or national (not a local or specific department) fire academy and I will retract my statement. But I doubt you will.

    If I was told by any officer to do that, it simply would not happen, and I would expect any firefighter to refuse an order from me if in fact I told them to do that.

    If your department feels that there is truly a need to operate that way fine. It is dangerous and if it hasn't resulted in a LODD yet, it will. I know that I could never justify a brother's death to a family iof he was operating alone. But that's my opinion. I never said it should stop immediattly as that's a local decision that the department needs to make. Yes, it was a comment on operations, and maybe it wasn't the right context for it, but I satnd by it.

    IMO nothing we need to do within a structure, on a roof or in the collapse zone should be done alone. Our safety is simply too important.

    That's my opinion.

  9. #29
    MembersZone Subscriber SIGNAL99COM's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Chauffer6 View Post
    There is one factor that is not just an "excuse": Financial. Some depts simply do not have the funds to purchase a radio for every member/SCBA riding position. There are plenty of small town volunteer depts that are still funded entirely by donations, and can't afford to purchase that many radios. Having them be required by NFPA would put quite the burden on these depts.

    I'm not disagreeing with you, I think ideally every member on the fireground should have their own radio...but not everything comes down to a BS excuse for why a particular dept can't or won't purchase
    Here is an article in this month's Fire Engineering. I have the same attitude as the author, and financial issues is not my problem, nor should they come in the way of safety!

    Give Them What They Are Paying For
    Stuart Grant
    Les Stephens
    Fire Engineering (August 2007)

    HAVE YOU EVER NOTICED that there aren’t any volunteer police departments, volunteer garbage men, or volunteer road or water department employees? Now, before you quit reading, hear us out. We’re not bashing volunteers; just the opposite: We have the utmost respect and admiration for those individuals who give so selflessly of their time and abilities. In some instances, they give so much of themselves that it ends up hurting or even destroying their families. Last, but certainly not least, many of our brothers and sisters have lost their lives in the course of their duties as volunteer firefighters.

    It takes a very special person to volunteer his time. This is true whether you volunteer your time at a hospital, in a local youth athletic association, at your church, in a charity organization, or for your local volunteer fire department. In today’s world, it seems there is nothing more precious or valuable than someone’s time. Volunteers aren’t just giving of their time. They are choosing to spend their “free time” volunteering rather than doing something with their family, pursuing a hobby, or making money at their primary job or even a part-time job.

    THREE CATEGORIES OF DEPARTMENTS

    The fire service in the United States has evolved into three distinct categories, in terms of the type of members: career, combination, and volunteer. Two major characteristics distinguish these organizations from one another: staffing and funding.

    The career and combination departments are staffed by paid firefighters. These types of departments are almost totally funded by ad valorem taxes levied against property owners within a specific area. A small amount also may come from citizen donations. The third type, the volunteer department, is one in which all members volunteer their time to provide fire protection to a specific jurisdiction. The funding for volunteer organizations can come from many different sources. In some cases, ad valorem taxes are used; in others, emergency service districts or fire protection districts are formed and are used to generate revenue to purchase needed apparatus, equipment, supplies, and training. However, in some of these volunteer organizations, a portion, if not all, of the funds comes from such activities as bingo, chili cookoffs, barbecues, Christmas tree sales, raffles, car washes, bake sales, carnivals, and similar activities.

    As instructors at a community college and at the Texas Municipal Fire Training School, we have had the opportunity to observe and work with members from many different fire departments. Recently, it has come to our attention that many volunteer departments and even some combination and career departments are trying to deliver service that far exceeds what their community is paying for. While all types of departments may be following this trend, the most extreme examples of this usually are seen at the volunteer level. Although this is very admirable, in some instances it has led to disastrous outcomes.

    If you read the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) line-of-duty death reports, you are all too aware of how many firefighters are injured or killed in the course of their duties.

    Have you ever wondered if those injured firefighters were “taken care of” by their departments? Have you ever thought that maybe a thermal imaging camera could have made the difference in how an incident played out? Have you stopped to think that maybe the apparatus wouldn’t have gone out of control or rolled over if it had been properly maintained? Has it ever crossed your mind that maybe the individuals in command may not have received adequate training to prepare them to make the decisions necessary to bring the incident to a different conclusion?

    YOU GET WHAT YOU PAY FOR

    “Give them what they are paying for” is a phrase often used when firefighters are asked to “come up with” 50 to 100 percent of the money to purchase a new engine. It is something we say when firefighters tell us they are having a fund-raiser to purchase personal protective equipment or SCBAs or to build a new fire station. It’s what we tell them when they explain that they have to use their nights, weekends, and vacation time to attend training classes. On top of the previously mentioned expenses, they often have to pay their own way to attend these outside classes. It is something we teach when a department with only a small number of members tries to deliver the same level of service as a department with hundreds of firefighters. It is how we help firefighters understand that a life insurance policy to provide some level of security for their families if the firefighter is killed in the line of duty is not too much to ask for.

    In most cases, the cost of personnel accounts for up to 95 percent of a department’s annual budget. This means that a department with an annual budget of $1 million will spend between $930,000 and $950,000 on personnel costs alone. This includes salary, health insurance, retirement, paid vacation and holiday time, and certification pay or assignment pay. This leaves only $50,000 to $70,000 to cover equipment, apparatus, and training.

    The Lucas (TX) Fire Department is located in the Dallas-Ft. Worth metroplex and serves an area of approximately 25 square miles with a population of 5,000. This department is a typical example of a small but rapidly growing volunteer fire department. In an annual report to city leaders, the former volunteer chief of the Lucas Fire Department defined the challenges facing volunteers, noting that there were members who made more than 100 calls in each of the past several years and that most of these calls averaged between one and two hours in duration. When you factor in the other demands of the department on a person’s time, you can begin to understand the significant time contribution made by the volunteers. Lucas experienced a tenfold increase in call volume during the past 35 years; the population volume only doubled, and the service area decreased to one-half of what it was during the same time span.

    As a result of the volunteer chief’s report, the Lucas city leaders decided to make the next chief’s job a part-time paid position.

    During the past 15 years, the emphasis on training has been one of the biggest change factors to confront the fire service and its volunteers. Training is now a key priority and is monitored by numerous outside agencies, including insurance organizations, accreditation groups, and local/state/federal regulatory agencies. Failure to meet training requirements carries the sting of law, increased insurance costs, or legal liability in the event of property or personal injury. Also, the fire service has embraced a very strong moral obligation in a very dangerous field to provide our personnel with a high level of competence. We all are upgrading our skills to respond to the growing challenges of dealing with hazardous materials, confined space rescue, and weapons of mass destruction. These are disciplines fire departments are expected to understand and deal with should the need arise. A strong training program is required to attain these skill levels.
    PREPLANNING ALSO TAKES TIME

    Considerably more time is spent on the calls themselves as well as on training to prepare for these calls than was the case 20 years ago. Keep in mind that departments also are participating in preplanning, inspections, and fire safety education. These activities help enhance public safety, firefighter safety, prevention of losses to business establishments, and lower insurance costs for the municipality overall. Just like responding to emergencies, these activities also take significant time commitments from firefighters to complete them in a thorough and professional manner.

    So there is plenty of work to go around. Everything from responding to emergencies, conducting and participating in training activities, facility and apparatus maintenance, conducting the day-to-day business of the organization, and participating in a myriad of fire prevention activities requires untold amounts of time. Time, which we have noted, is free.

    In many jurisdictions, governing bodies and city administrators rely on the “can do” and “just get it done” attitude of firefighters. They realize that firefighters are results driven and never want to let anyone down. These positive attributes easily can be manipulated and used against unsuspecting and well-intentioned firefighters. The dedication of firefighters to the citizens they serve is one of the last true examples of neighbors helping neighbors. Unfortunately, the intentions of politicians aren’t always as noble. When it comes time to adopt a budget or hold a bond election, the needs of the local fire department are often the first items to be postponed or cut altogether. In many cases, the very people we serve are the ones who won’t support a bond election or tax increase to adequately equip or train us to do our job.

    The next time your city council, county commissioners, or other local officials ask you to help raise money, tell them that you already are doing more than your part. You already are volunteering your time and your skills and risking your life. By doing that, you are saving the community the lion’s share (up to 95 percent) of the expenses involved in having a functioning fire department. Remind them that “volunteer fire department” is not a synonym for “charity.”

    Finally, look these city fathers straight in the eye and ask them for their five percent. Whoever governs your community or town should provide you with adequate bunker gear, SCBAs, annual fit testing of face pieces, hydrostatically tested air bottles, a preventative maintenance program for your apparatus, radios for every firefighter, quality training, and other necessities. If for some reason they still say no, then we don’t risk our people! We don’t go inside! We don’t do more than we can do with the training and equipment they provided. At that point, you should feel free to “give them what they are paying for.”

    LES STEPHENS, a 16-year veteran of the fire service, is a battalion chief with the Garland (TX) Fire Department. He previously was a volunteer with the River Oaks (TX) Fire Department. He is a certified master firefighter and an instructor with the Texas Commission on Fire Protection. He has served as his department’s training instructor and is an instructor at Collin County Community College in McKinney, Texas; FDIC; and the Texas A&M University Municipal Fire School. He has an associate’s degree in fire protection from Tarrant County Community College.

    STUART GRANT, a 27-year veteran of the fire service, is a battalion chief with Dallas (TX) Fire Rescue. He is certified as a master firefighter with the Texas Commission on Fire Protection. He has served in many capacities within the department, including academy commander, hazmat officer, paramedic, and rope rescue member. He has been a H.O.T. instructor and speaker at FDIC and an instructor at Collin County Community College in McKinney, TX, and at the Texas A&M University Municipal Fire School.
    Chris Shields
    Lieutenant / EMT
    Haz-Mat Technician
    East Syracuse Fire Dept
    Onondaga County, NY

  10. #30
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    Quote Originally Posted by ChiefKN View Post
    How do those orange buttons work for you? We didn't program them yet, and are a little hesitant to do so.
    Ours don't. Our dispatch doesn't have the capability to interact with them, so all they do is make a siren noise when you hit them. For those that use them, do they utilize a separate freq to id to your dispatch? We only have 1 monitored freq, so we didn't want to tie it up with a beacon that can't be acknowledged.

  11. #31
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    Quote Originally Posted by LaFireEducator View Post
    Officers should be issued portables for daily use, but there is no need for line firefighters to have radios.


    We issue radios to all members, including support and juniors.
    So lets get this straight. A firefighter does not need a radio, but the 13 year old kid and 68 year old man handing out coffee need a radio?
    Co 11
    Virginia Beach FD

    Amateurs practice until they get it right; professionals practice until they cannot get it wrong. Which one are you?

    'The fire went out and nobody got hurt' is a poor excuse for a fireground critique.

  12. #32
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    Quote Originally Posted by ChiefKN View Post
    How do those orange buttons work for you? We didn't program them yet, and are a little hesitant to do so.

    If programmed, they will automatically alert the dispatcher of a firefighter in trouble. The computer screen will gather the mobile serial number and what unit it is assigned to. While it will not be announced, the dispatcher can query the unit and be able to tell which firefighter is in trouble by employee ID, badge, shield etc for information purposes to the COD.

    If activated, the dispatcher will call either the unit OIC or the IC, informing them to call dispatch Code 1 (here in Va Beach). If a member accidentally hit the emergency button, they personally should reply back, Dispatch Code 1 Error. If the member has physically removed their radio and is in rehab, and the OIC has a visual on the firefighter and it was an accident, the OIC will reply Engine 14, Code 1 Error.

    If activated in a true emergency, the OIC and the IC will be called in teh same practice. Often with IC's having 12 radios crammed into their ears so that they can talk to the police, sanitation, the Red Cross, the local minister, VDot, VNG, Dominion Power, President Bush, the Pentagon and whoever else needs to fill in command slots, it is possible to miss a mayday or urgent message.
    Co 11
    Virginia Beach FD

    Amateurs practice until they get it right; professionals practice until they cannot get it wrong. Which one are you?

    'The fire went out and nobody got hurt' is a poor excuse for a fireground critique.

  13. #33
    Forum Member Bones42's Avatar
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    Often with IC's having 12 radios crammed into their ears so that they can talk to the police, sanitation, the Red Cross, the local minister, VDot, VNG, Dominion Power, President Bush, the Pentagon and whoever else needs to fill in command slots,
    I didn't know you were a member of Kentland!
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  14. #34
    Back In Black ChiefKN's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by DocVBFDE14 View Post
    If programmed, they will automatically alert the dispatcher of a firefighter in trouble. The computer screen will gather the mobile serial number and what unit it is assigned to. While it will not be announced, the dispatcher can query the unit and be able to tell which firefighter is in trouble by employee ID, badge, shield etc for information purposes to the COD.

    If activated, the dispatcher will call either the unit OIC or the IC, informing them to call dispatch Code 1 (here in Va Beach). If a member accidentally hit the emergency button, they personally should reply back, Dispatch Code 1 Error. If the member has physically removed their radio and is in rehab, and the OIC has a visual on the firefighter and it was an accident, the OIC will reply Engine 14, Code 1 Error.

    If activated in a true emergency, the OIC and the IC will be called in teh same practice. Often with IC's having 12 radios crammed into their ears so that they can talk to the police, sanitation, the Red Cross, the local minister, VDot, VNG, Dominion Power, President Bush, the Pentagon and whoever else needs to fill in command slots, it is possible to miss a mayday or urgent message.
    Thanks, I was really asking how well does it work. I am just nervous that we'll have accidental activations and that it will tie up radio traffic with the signal being sent... Open mics are bad enough.
    I am now a past chief and the views, opinions, and comments are mine and mine alone. I do not speak for any department or in any official capacity. Although, they would be smart to listen to me.

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  15. #35
    MembersZone Subscriber Dickey's Avatar
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    Yes, every riding position should have a radio.

    We were lucky 4 years ago to get a grant for an entire new radio system. New radios in trucks, repeater, portables and pagers.

    We have one radio for each riding position in the trucks and officers are issued their own. We still have some radios floating around for the EMS guys too.
    Jason Knecht
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    Altoona Fire Dept.
    Altoona, WI

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    In ours and the surrounding counties, every member of the fire dept is issued a radio. This is how we are paged out, and tell dispatch who is responding.
    But most members also go to scene in POV's, and the only one on the truck is the driver.

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    that's one thing I remember from the one presentation in baltimore from john salka, B.C. in FDNY, and the one thing he really pushed hard on was if you are going into a burning structure you better have a radio with you.

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    Quote Originally Posted by ChiefKN View Post
    Thanks, I was really asking how well does it work. I am just nervous that we'll have accidental activations and that it will tie up radio traffic with the signal being sent... Open mics are bad enough.
    Radios can be programmed to open the mic for say, 15-30 seconds with the emerg button activation.

    Generally, though, they just sent the radio PTT ID (whether FleetSync, MDC-1200, or another standard) along with an "emergency" status bit. Accordingly, each apparatus mobile, and each portable should be programmed with different IDs, so you can tell which radio exactly it came from.

    I don't have much experience with FleetSync, but the MDC-1200 data modulation is less than .5 second. I would recommend having it programmed at end of transmission (EOT), because otherwise you'll have to wait to talk an extra second until the unit sends its ID.
    It also helps eliminate horseplay and unauthorized transmissions, because you (via dispatch) can ID exactly which radio is sending what traffic. Some of the front-display models can read and decode IDs and display them, also.
    My opinions might coincide with someone of importance's POV... I wouldn't know, since I never bothered to ask. My policy is: "Don't ask, don't care."

    IACOJ--West Coast PITA

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    Quote Originally Posted by ChiefKN View Post
    Don't forget to investigate working as a region on a grant application for a radio system. From what I'm told regional communication grants are very successful.

    How do those orange buttons work for you? We didn't program them yet, and are a little hesitant to do so.
    Chief,

    For the orange buttons to work, there must be a radio capable of decoding the emergency alarm. Some radios can decode the standard radio PTT ID's but will not decode emergency alarms.

    We have all of our portables set up to transmit the ID pre and post transmission, this way if all you can do is puch your mic button and aren't able to speak it will broadcast your ID. Having it at the end also makes it more likely to figure out when someone is finished talking and also re tranmits the ID in the event another ID was transmitted in the middle of the first members radio transmission.

    If the system (both the transmitting and decododing radio) is programmed correctly, the first time the emergency call is received by the decoding radio, it will send an acknowledgment to the sending radio and cease transmitting the alarm.
    Last edited by MG3610; 09-06-2007 at 09:40 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by quint1officer View Post
    Ours don't. Our dispatch doesn't have the capability to interact with them, so all they do is make a siren noise when you hit them. For those that use them, do they utilize a separate freq to id to your dispatch? We only have 1 monitored freq, so we didn't want to tie it up with a beacon that can't be acknowledged.
    If you have a CDM1550 Series radio, it can be programmed to decode and acknowledge an emergency alarm. I am also fairly certain Morotola GM300 and Maxtrac series radios will as well.

    If you are using HT750/1250 series portables, I am 95 percent certain they require a revert frequency for the emergency alarm. Regardless of the frequency you are on the radio will transmit the emergency on the revert frequency that is determined in the programming software. Older Ht1000/MT2000 series radios can be programmed to transmit the emergency ID on the selected frequency or they can revert.
    Last edited by MG3610; 09-06-2007 at 09:48 PM.

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