You think the digital transition was a good thing?

More FORCED Government CRAP! This leaves too many
rural areas with NO TV! Reception is OFTEN CRAPPY!
UP. NO compensation for antenna or help to put it
up. “F the poor common folk!”, says our government!
Like we can all afford cable or satellite, NOT !!!
Don’t believe the CRAP about, ohhh,,it’s to free
up the frequencies for our 1st responders, BS !!!
More so they can sell them to the highest bidder.


Terrible: You might be my neighbor. All the folks around here using indoor antennas lost CBS. Not everyone can erect a roof antenna for RF 4, but the other stations are much better than analog. And only 2 Bears games will be on CBS this year.
ZIP 61231


It has been problematic. It was a good thing overall, but the way it was executed was just plain dreadful for some people. I don't see why they'd need to free up the bandwidth anyway, the cops have -no- problem getting from place to place in my neck of the woods to respond to 911 calls.


If you keep an ear open on NPR or an eye open on PBS you can catch some feature that goes over why interagency public safety and homeland defense communications strategy is so important; it was a frequent topic four or five years ago, but obviously less so now, since so much time has passed since September 11, 2001.


Super Moderator
In the mid 1980's the advent of cellular and trunked radio made inter-agency communications possible. At that time most areas had police in the 450 to 470 MHz bands, with fire in the 154-156 MHz band (though simplex channels). The same techniques used for SMR and Public Safety Radio in the new 800 MHz band (was channels 70-83) could have been applied to the above 154 and 450 MHz bands. There was massive resistance toward it for economic reasons, so the status quo was held and if a Public Safety Agency wanted trunked radio they could go to the new 800 MHz band,

In the late 1980's companies (I represented) sold equipment that would do both. Allow small governments to use inexpensive analog non-trunked radios, with simple audio bridging systems set up the their counties communications system. This gave them much of the same ability as trunked systems while retaining their current radio fleet.

The systems didn't sell well as they didn't bear the name Motorola or General Electric. I know I sold them all. County planners I had extensive meetings with rejected the idea of using an unknown company to solve their inter-agency needs. Inter-agency was on the minds county planning local emergency planners. I had extensive meetings with Craig Fugate, now the director of FEMA, then working for Alachua County Florida as emergency coordinator. He was very much in favor of such a system, and we had planned an extensive system for the county. However those in charge of the budgets in the police, county and fire depts were big on Motorola and bought from their buddy that had the Motorola shop. The opposite was true in Lake City FL where the GE company I represented sold GE radios. Neither town bought Motorola or GE because one was better, but because they knew the owner. This was the same at least all over the SE as we traded stories at regional sales meetings.

The official Motorola and GE position on such equipment was if it worked we would sell it. That was a sales line. They were both pushing their own systems on the new 800 MHz PS Band which were not compatible with each other. In other words if a town went Motorola, they were locked into Motorola or locked in GE. Hence it obvious their sales agenda.

Local fire in particular was not anxious to give up 150 MHz radios as most had spotty range at best on that frequency and they knew they would loose more range at 800MHz.

Both GE and Motorola once the local shops broke the ice with a local government would weasel in at the last moment to cut the shops out of anything but the labor for installs. This happened more than once to both us a GE dealer and Motorola dealers around the state. Only about one in five local govts could even afford the new systems, and even after GE and Motorola stole the sales away from the local dealer there was a still a 50% drop out rate of a local govt going through with the change over to 800 MHz trunked radio.

After a couple of these incidents we no longer wasted our sales time on selling 800 MHz PS Trunked Radio for GE, but pushed their other products and other projects we had going.

So the fact that local governments did not have inter-agency communications was not a result of a lack of frequencies. It was a lack of money or wanting to spend the money. As above they had two ways to do it. With audio bridging systems or 800 MHz trunked radio. Again, they had these options since about 1985, some 16 years prior to 9/11/2001.


So all in all prior to the 700 MHz auctions, the Public Safety Radio spectrum was this.

About 2 MHz in Low band around 40 MHz (not really good for a lot)

5 MHz in the High Band VHF (150 MHz range)
20 MHz in UHF (450 MHz range)
6 Mhz in 800 MHz band

Or a total of 31 MHz and only 6 of it was being used for inter-agency communications though technology was available off the shelf to make it all capable.

So the 700 MHz auction, the gov held back 12 MHz for more public safety frequencies. Increasing their spectrum to about 43 MHz.

But still only 18 MHz of the 43 MHz now will be trunked with new digital radios. There is no even long term mandate to force Public Safety to use the 25 MHz they have in the VHF And lower UHF bands to go digital as they are requiring of so many other services, including as we well know TV.

So they are wasting more analog space they then have of new "inter-agency" digital spectrum.

Even many of those bidding in the auctions asked the FCC to sell off the PS range saying there was already enough Public Safety Spectrum.

In addition, one can't justify the loosing of 108 MHz of TV channels was all worth it to give Public Safety 24 MHz which is about 22% of the 700 MHz auctions.

In light of it all and being a done deal now, I am glad they kept those frequencies for Public Safety as at least that part of it still belong to the public at large.


Thanks for the history lesson. I'm saving it to Word.
After the Mississippi river flooded Keithsburg IL & Iowa, I talked to a volunteer fireman about the new Public Safety freqs. His opinion is "not needed". IL & IA agencies had zero trouble with communications because of good organization & planning. Managers have cell phone # of other managers if needed. Our locals can not afford new equipment or the training time.