In the News...
NPSTC Radio PCR Group Announces Programming Tool
April 10, 2014
The NPSTC Radio PCR Working Group recently created a radio programming and management tool called PAM. The spreadsheet and PDF Report are available here for download.
This tool uses an Excel spreadsheet to capture specific P25 radio programming data fields. Radio programming is very complex with many data fields that assign frequencies, ID’s, features and options. A slight error during the programming process will prohibit the radio from accessing a trunking system or conventional channel when the radio is used. This issue impacts public safety agencies using radio equipment from multiple vendors. It also creates a huge safety issue at the scene of a major incident when large quantities of radios need to be programmed for mutual aid use.
The spreadsheet allows a technician to manually enter specific programming information into the spreadsheet. When the data has been entered for a participating vendor, the spreadsheet will then display the required information in the proper format for the other P25 participating vendors. So, if information is entered about a radio from Vendor A, the technician will instantly see the necessary information to program a radio from Vendor B. This includes the correct data field names and notations where some data elements are not an exact match.
The full report on the Radio PCR Working Group is also attached for reference.

FCC Provides Guidance for State 700 MHz Construction Reporting - Deadline of June 13
April 09, 2014
The FCC has released revised guidance for 700 MHz state construction reporting.  This relates to specific narrowband channels allocated to each state in the 769–775/799–805 MHz band.  An upcoming interim substantial service benchmark report must be filed.  States must demonstrate that they are providing or prepared to provide "substantial service" to one-third of their population or territory by the June 13th deadline ...[read more]

Broadband Data Network Will Bring Changes to User Experience and Incident Command
April 08, 2014
(Courtesy, IMSA Journal)  Public safety's new broadband network will require education on first responder expectations and the realities of sharing capacity among users.  "Thinking of FirstNet:  Educating the Future Users of the Public Safety Broadband Network" by John Facella, and "FirstNet Brings Changes to Unified Incident Command," by Andrew Seybold.

Land Mobile Radio & FirstNet: Options, Not Ultimatums
April 07, 2014
(Courtesy Jay English and APCO Intl.)  The nationwide public safety broadband network (NPSBN) currently being developed by the First Responder Network Authority (FirstNet) represents a paradigm shift for emergency responders nationwide ...[read more]

FY 2014 Preparedness Grants Funding Opportunity Announcements (FOA) - Attachment
April 02, 2014

On March 18, 2014, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) released the FY 2014 Preparedness Grants Funding Opportunity Announcements (FOA).

FOAs for FEMA preparedness grant programs can be found at:

  • Applications for most grant programs are due on May 23, 2014
  • Applications for the Emergency Management Performance Grants (EMPG) Program are due on April 9, 2014
  • Each year, upon release of FOAs, OEC prepares a summary of DHS grants for stakeholders to:
  • Educate stakeholders about DHS grants that can be used to fund emergency communications-related activities
  • Provide recommendations for maximizing DHS grant funding for emergency communications priorities.
  • Attached, please find an outline for the Summary of FY 2014 DHS Grants Funding Emergency Communications.  Please use this outline to learn more about program-specific FY 2014 FOAs.  You are strongly encouraged to read these recommendations before submitting emergency communications proposals for funding.

    The Reality of Broadband Standards for First Responders
    April 01, 2014
    Daniel Devasirvatham
    (Courtesy Daniel Devasirvatham, APCO PS Mag)  Traditional land mobile radio (LMR) communications and its operational capabilities may be well understood, but the use of broadband has raised new issues ...[read more]

    User Facility Director Touts National Resource
    April 01, 2014
    Daniel Devasirvatham
    (Courtesy Sandra Wendelken, Editor,  Daniel Devasirvatham was named director of the Wireless National User Facility at Idaho National Laboratory's (INL) National and Homeland Security Directorate late last year ...[read more]

    Congratulations to ARRL in their Centennial
    March 31, 2014
    ARRL Centennial
    In 2014, join ARRL in celebrating 100 years of "Advancing the Art and Science of Radio."  Founded in 1914, ARRL is the national association for Amateur Radio in the USA.  Today, with more than 160,000 members, ARRL is the largest organization of radio amateurs in the world ...[read more]

    FEMA Releases FY 2014 Grant Program Funding Opportunity Announcements (FOAs)
    March 19, 2014
    The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Office of Emergency Communications (OEC) would like to inform its stakeholders that yesterday, March 18, 2014, the Federal Emergency Management Agency's (FEMA) Grant Programs Directorate released FY 2014 Funding Opportunity Announcements (FOAs) for various preparedness grant programs ... [read more]

    2014 APCO Public Safety Broadband Summit & Expo Registration Now Open
    March 14, 2014
    APCO International
    APCO's Public Safety Broadband Summit & Expo is being held May 5–6, 2014 at the Renaissance Hotel in Washington, D.C.
    Register today to be part of this event that brings together leaders in public safety broadband.  This event has sold out the past two years, so register early!  Online registration closes Friday, April 25.  Program information coming soon ... [read more]

    SAFECOM Publishes FY 2014 Guidance on Emergency Communications Grants
    March 13, 2014
    2014 SAFECOM Grant Guidance
    On behalf of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Office of Emergency Communications (OEC), I am pleased to announce that the FY 2014 SAFECOM Guidance on Emergency Communications Grants (SAFECOM Guidance) has been posted to the SAFECOM website at: ... [read more]
  • FY 2014 SAFECOM Guidance – March 13, 2014

  • CRS Publishes FirstNet Report to Congress on Broadband
    March 12, 2014
    The Congressional Research Service (CRS) publishes FirstNet broadband report to Congress titled, "The First Responder Network (FirstNet) and Next-Generation Communications for Public Safety: Issues for Congress".

    Save the Date for the 2014 Video Quality in Public Safety (VQiPS) Workshop - April 30 - May 1
    March 12, 2014
    VQiPS Workshop
    Save the Date for the 2014 Video Quality in Public Safety (VQiPS) Workshop to be held on April 30 – May 1 at the Crowne Plaza in downtown Houston ... [read more]

    Non-P25 Digital Technology Hurts Interoperability Efforts
    February 19, 2014
    John Powell
    (A Mission Critical Article by NPSTC Interoperability Chair, John Powell)  "Close examination shows that interoperability is broken into three areas as defined by the five lanes of the Safecom Interoperability Continuum:  governance, standard operating procedures, training and exercises, usage and technology.  Technology is last because for proper implementation, its selection must be carefully done only after governance is established and operational decisions, including interoperability, are made with regard to how that technology will be implemented and used.  Technology's purpose is to support an operation, not drive it."

    NPSTC's Andy Thiessen Speaks Out - YouTube Video
    January 25, 2014
    Play Andy's YouTube Video Andy's Video
    Andy Thiessen, NPSTC Technology Committee Vice Chair, speaks out on numerous relevant public safety issues – FirstNet, LTE, mobile broadband, and more.  Play video.

    Why Can't Public Safety Just Use Cell Phones?
    April 15, 2013
    Although public safety regularly use cell phones, smart phones, and other commercial wireless devices and services as a secondary form of communications, these devices and systems are currently not sufficiently suited for public safety mission critical voice communications during critical incidents ... [read more]

    Substantial Service Showings for 700 MHz State Licensees
    March 15, 2013
    NPSTC Develops Procedure to Assist State Licensee Holders Meet FCC Requirements
    In 2000, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) designated 2.4 megahertz of the 700 MHz narrowband spectrum for statewide geographic licensing.  The Governor of each state authorized an individual or state agency within the state, to apply and or manage this 700 MHz license... [read more]
  • Press Release – March 15, 2013
  • Introduction – March 7, 2013
  • Frequently Asked Questions – March 7, 2013
  • FCC Declaratory Ruling – July 27, 2011
  • Example State License Construction Detail – March 11, 2013
  • Letter to States Introducing Guidelines – March 11, 2013
  • 700MHz Substantial Service Showing Example Letter (MS Word) – January 26, 2012

  • NPSTC Releases T-Band Report
    March 15, 2013
    Are You Operating in the T-Band?  Changes Will Affect You – Loss of the T-Band Could Cost $5.9 Billion
    The T-Band frequencies in 470–512 MHz are authorized for use in 11 metro markets by both public safety and industrial/business users.  Public safety has built extensive communications networks on the T-Band, which provides frequencies in metro areas where spectrum demand is the greatest.  An unexpected provision of the law that created the Nationwide Public Safety Broadband Network (NPSBN) also requires the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to recover and auction the public safety T-Band spectrum... [read more]

    NPSTC Develops Launch Requirements for Nationwide Public Safety Broadband Network
    December 11, 2012
    The Middle Class Tax Relief and Job Creation Act of 2012 has made the deployment of the Nationwide Public Safety Broadband Network (NPSBN) possible.  This groundbreaking legislation establishes the governance and identifies the funding necessary to build a public safety broadband network.  The First Responder Network Authority (FirstNet), assigned to deploy and operate the NPSBN, will need a statement of public safety’s technical and administrative requirements in the immediate‐, medium‐, and long‐terms.  On December 11, 2012, NPSTC presented the Launch Statement of Requirements (SoR) to the First Net Public Safety Advisory Committee (PSAC), who in turn has presented it to the FirstNet Board to assist them as they begin to develop the long‐awaited NPSBN.
    The 15 public safety organizations that comprise NPSTC, the American Association of State Highway Transportation Officials, American Radio Relay League, Association of Fish & Wildlife Agencies, Association of Public‐Safety Communications Officials‐International, Forestry Conservation Communications Association, International Association of Chiefs of Police, International Association of Emergency Managers, International Association of Fire Chiefs, International Municipal Signal Association, National Association of State Chief Information Officers, National Association of State Emergency Medical Services Officials, National Association of State Foresters, National Association of State Technology Directors, National Emergency Number Association, and the National Sheriff's Association formally voted to endorse the Public Safety Broadband High‐Level Launch Requirements, Statement of Requirements for FirstNet Consideration.
    NPSTC's Broadband Working Group prepared this document to describe the high‐level public safety requirements required for launch of the network.  The Launch SoR has been developed by public safety practitioners from all disciplines, experts in public safety communications, commercial wireless providers, members of academia, information technologists, equipment manufacturers, and many others who have dedicated numerous hours because they know they are contributing to one of the most important technology initiatives of their careers.
    These volunteers came together through the NPSTC Broadband Working Group (BBWG), working with the Public Safety Communications Research (PSCR) program.  PSCR is jointly supported by the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST)/Office of Law Enforcement Standards (OLES) and the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA)/Institute for Telecommunication Sciences (ITS) with additional funding from the Department of Homeland Security (DHS's), Office of Interoperability and Compatibility (OIC), and the Office of Emergency Communications (OEC).

    NPSTC Files AFST Final Report, "Public Safety Communications Assessment 2012-2022 - Technology, Operations, & Spectrum Roadmap"
    July 18, 2012
    The AFST Working Group received many comments on the need for additional narrowband spectrum to support public safety operations, including the need for additional interoperability spectrum assignments.  There is a need for additional VHF narrowband spectrum to support existing and future public safety communications needs. Many rural agencies compete with statewide public safety agencies for access to VHF spectrum, which is highly desirable spectrum due to its ability to cover very wide areas at lower costs.  The currently allocated Public Safety spectrum is insufficient to meet current voice and data needs, will not permit deployment of needed advanced data and video systems, does not provide adequate interoperability channels, and will not meet future needs under projected population growth and demographic changes.
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