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Last week Indianapolis broadcaster WISH-TV reported that the Marion County fire chiefs don’t want to use the county’s new digital trunked radio system when fighting fires. The TV station’s news team investigation exposed serious problems with the software that converts speech to and from digital computer data. There is no solution to the problem at this time.

Also, Florida TV station WESH reported last week that Orlando firefighters are having major problems with their new digital trunked radio system. Orlando firefighters will continue using their old analog radios which provide more reliable communication.

Both news stories incorrectly reported that the digital radio systems were implemented because of a Federal government mandate. There is no Federal mandate for digital police and fire radios. I believe the decision to purchase problematic technology rests solely with local authorities who fell victim to extraordinarily aggressive marketing practices by the radio system manufacturers.

Also, both news stories focus on the well-known issues with vocoder performance in the presence of high background noise. The problems are not limited to this issue. Please read the following articles for more information.