What’s your handle?
When I was on my first in-person interview at TX RX, I was asked what I knew about TX RX and the products we made. Of course, being prepared for my interviews, I spouted off information from their web site, talked about the TTA’s, duplexers and other RF components. How they are an industry leader, hold multiple patents and all those great things. Now it sounded good, I got nods around the table but then they dropped the bomb on me, “What do you know about Land Mobile Radio Systems?” yeah…. crickets were heard in the meeting room. I quickly recovered and was honest with them and said that I do not have any experience with LMR systems (like I have said before, what IT person has?) I pulled out a real blast from the past and told them that I did a lot of support for mobile laptops (Panasonic Tough books) that used PCMCIA cards as well as integrated radios that communicated with early cellular phone carriers like Sprint and Verizon to connect to their home network (Yes kids we are talking dial-up RAS servers) and that we often troubleshooted these connections looking at TX/RX transmission rates, etc. (I should have been in sales! Oh wait, I was! I used to sell Compaq, yeah showing my age). It was a good first interview, but I figured with what I didn’t know they wouldn’t call me back for a second. Funny how things work out, they called me back and the rest is history.
As I said in my previous post, I understand the products we make as well as the market we are in but not how they work specifically. As I talked to the engineers here at TX RX (these guys are the next-level, geniuses in electrical engineering, and don’t get me started on the CTO), over the past few months, I started to learn more about the technical side of LMR systems and how what we do connects all of it together. Now if you haven’t figured it out, my mind wanders a lot (hmm maybe I should get tested, but I digress) and this whole LMR topic has my mind careening down the road of movies. I mean after all aren’t CB radios a type of LMR? (I can’t get the movie Convoy “Breaker, breaker 19 this here’s the rubber duck, you got your ears on pig pen? comeback” and then of course it ran off the bridge right into Smokey and the Bandit). Well kind of but they are two-way short distance communication devices. Their signals are not strong, and they only operate on 40 channels between 26.965 MHz and 27.405 MHz. So yeah, not really what our focus is but you get the idea.
But in all seriousness, LMR systems are straight forward and there are a lot of resources on the internet, from videos to slide decks (All free BTW). The only problem is, where to start? If you are not surrounded by engineers, salespeople and designers who live and breathe LMR (like my co-workers, Just ask and I will introduce you), But if you like videos like I do, TX RX has a series of videos that take you through an introductory to all aspects of LMR and the equipment used in LMR systems. (Part I, Part II, Part III). Next, I would look at the following link that talks about the mission criticality of LMR systems by one of our partners Motorola. This is a high-level view of the benefits. Finally, I suggest reading this article on the Cyber Risks to Land Mobile Radio systems published by the Cybersecurity & Infrastructure Security Agency.
I think this is an excellent starting point for now. In the next article I will talk more about the network and how it ends up fitting into our IT infrastructures. If you have questions or want to go into more detail on what I have been researching and how we are helping customers around the world, feel free to send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org or on LinkedIn. Now if you are feeling saucy, I am often roaming around boards on Discord, drop me a DM, rickmoo#6993.