China’s Pirate Radio Stations Threaten Passenger Jet Safety

okairwaysThe United States is not the only place where pirate broadcasters appear to be thriving.

Law enforcement agencies in China have uncovered pirate radio stations operating in big cities and provinces using equipment that could disrupt communications between pilots and air traffic controllers, according to a state media report.

A lack of regulations controlling the sale and use of radio transmitters meant the devices were easily available on the market, unnamed legal experts said.

The authorities said they had found high-powered radio transmitters in private hands in Beijing and Tianjin and in Hainan , Yunnan and Guangdong provinces.

Okay Airways, based in Beijing, complained to radio administration officials in Tianjin in March that its radio frequency was severely disrupted by a pirate radio station.

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Is a California Community the Most Prepared in the U.S.?

BEL AIR, CA-AUGUST 8, 2014:  Rick Cole, Operations Manager for Bel Air Crest, a neighborhood in Bel Air, who is also an Incident Commander for their Emergency Preparedness Committee, is photographed inside a storage shed filled with supplies and necessities that would be needed in case of a catastrophic earthquake.  (Mel Melcon/Los Angeles Times)

BEL AIR, CA-AUGUST 8, 2014: Rick Cole, Operations Manager for Bel Air Crest, a neighborhood in Bel Air, who is also an Incident Commander for their Emergency Preparedness Committee, is photographed inside a storage shed filled with supplies and necessities that would be needed in case of a catastrophic earthquake. (Mel Melcon/Los Angeles Times)

Tucked beneath green tennis courts in a hidden corner of Bel Air Crest, a 10-by-20-foot shed holds enough emergency equipment to stock a small hardware store — a 13,000-watt tri-fuel generator, a satellite phone and neatly organized boxes of medical supplies.

And then there’s the eight portable toilets with pop-up privacy tents. “You can’t have 1,500 people not able to go to the bathroom,” said Marsha Hierbaum, president of the Bel Air Crest Homeowners Association.

The shed is one piece of a years-long effort to ensure that all residents of the gated community are ready when the “Big One” hits. In a city populated by people expecting — but many ill-prepared to handle — a major earthquake, it is the affluent and organized hillside neighborhoods that have taken emergency preparedness to the extreme. A 6.0-magnitude earthquake that rumbled through Napa last month underscored for some how important their effort is.

Local residents have long understood that living on winding, narrow roads means they could be on their own when disaster strikes. So they have taken safety into their own hands.

Although Bel Air Crest has fewer than 300 homes, the homeowners association has spent about $50,000 on emergency supplies and equipment over the past three years, including the purchase of a 2,000-gallon water truck. A core group of about a dozen nearby Bel Air Ridge residents has met monthly for more than 20 years to discuss emergency response. And leaders in Beverly Glen recently installed a repeater in a resident’s backyard to help ensure that their hand-held radio system will work up and down the neighborhood’s canyons. Continue reading

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AOR to Release Multi-Mode Digital Scanner

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On September 8th AOR released details regarding a new multi-mode digital communications receiver. The AR-DV1 is described as a standalone SDR reciever, which does not need to be hooked up to a computer to operate.

This radio will decode the following digital emission modes:

DMR (MotoTrbo), dPMR (European version of FRS/GMRS), D-Star (Icom’s Amateur Radio Digital Mode), APCO P25, NXDN (NextEdge), Yeasu Digital, Alinco Digital and AOR G4GUO (which is used in the ARD-9000/9800)

A prototype of the AR-DV1 has been presented for the first time at the HAMFAIR in Tokyo on Aug. 23rd and 24th, which attracted a lot of attention from the visitors.

This is BIG news for the scanner enthusiast! What do you think? Will you buy one? Share your thoughts in the comment section.



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First Responders Night at the Irwindale Speedway

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The Irwindale Speedway is honoring all first responders on Saturday September 13, 2014.  All Police, Fire and EMS workers with proper ID will be admitted free. There will be a staging area for fire apparatus during the on-track autograph session and a parade lap just before the racing begins.

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Culver City Police Department Open House

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The Culver City Police Department will be holding their open house on October 18th from 10 AM to 3 PM.

The public will be able to tour the police station and jail, explore police vehicles and equipment, visit with officers and CSI forensic specialists, watch K-9 demonstrations, view police weapons and even get a picture sitting on a CCPD motorcycle unit!

The event will be held at the Culver City Police Station located at 4040 Duquesne Ave. in Culver City.


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UCLA Water Main Break

A 93 year old water main broke near the campus of UCLA sending a torrent of raging water through parking structures and athletic facilities.

The 30-inch pipe’s rupture shot water 30-feet into the air sending an estimated 20 million gallons roaring onto roads and the campus.

Urban search and rescue crews from the LAFD searched the flooded parking garages for any possible victims. No injuries were reported from the flooding.

From the website of Los Angeles Department of Water and Power:

LADWP crews have completed shutting off water to the 30-inch trunkline that ruptured earlier this afternoon on Sunset Boulevard, near UCLA.

LADWP deployed their new incident command vehicle. This is the first time it has been used.

LADWP deployed their new incident command vehicle. This is the first time it has been used.

Preliminary information indicates that no customers are without water and water quality was not adversely impacted. Crews will begin work immediately to repair the 30-inch ruptured steel-riveted pipe that delivers water to the area at a high velocity from Upper Stone Canyon Reservoir.

Crews shut off three large diameter valves as quickly and safely as they could, taking care to avoid further damage due to pressure in adjacent pipes that could have lead to further ruptures if care was not taken.

Water flow through the pipe was estimated at 75,000 gallons per minute at the peak. LADWP serves approximately 500 million gallons of water to customers each day.

Members of the public are advised to avoid the area.

Recommended traffic detours are as follows: Westbound on Sunset should go south on Beverly Glen then west on Wilshire Boulevard then back north on Veteran/Sepulveda to get around the closure. Eastbound traffic should head south on Veteran/Sepulveda then east on Wilshire Boulevard, then head north on Beverly Glen. For access into UCLA Campus please use Westwood Boulevard.

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Audit Criticizes Sheriff’s Policing of the LA Metro Transit System

Editorial Note: The following article is from Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors member Zev Yaroslavsky’s newsletter.

LASO AuditA hard-hitting new audit says the L.A. County Sheriff’s Department has failed to live up to its multimillion dollar contract to police the Metro system, while the transit agency itself has done a poor job of monitoring the sheriff’s performance.

The audit was commissioned by Metro’s Board of Directors last year and performed by the firm Bazilio Cobb Associates, with a team including members of the Bratton Group, LLC. The May 27 report faulted the sheriff on a number of fronts, including lack of a community-policing plan for the nation’s third-largest bus and rail system, perennial staff vacancies, tardy responses to citizen complaints and inadequate records to support its billings.

Overall, the audit determined that both the Sheriff’s Department and Metro had significant improvements to make.

“We found that Metro needs to substantially strengthen and enhance its oversight of LASD contract performance,” it said. “We found LASD has not met many of the targets for performance metrics, including crime reduction, continuity of staff, and fare enforcement saturation and activity rates.”

The audit was presented to Metro’s System Safety and Operations Committee on Thursday. CEO Art Leahy told the panel that new management at the sheriff’s department now has “an intense focus on delivering the goods here. There’s no finger-pointing, there’s no excuses. They can do better and Metro can do better.”

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Westwood Emergency Preparedness Fair – Sunday July 27th

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The Westwood Neighborhood Council is holding their fourth emergency/disaster preparedness fair on Sunday, July 27th 2014 from noon until 4 PM. This event will be held at the Westwood Presbyterian Church located at 10822 Wilshire Boulevard. Free parking will be available.

Some of the agencies who will be at the fair include the Los Angeles Police Department, the Los Angeles Fire Department, Los Angeles Department of Water and Power, The Los Angeles Emergency Management Department and the American Red Cross.

This event will feature emergency supplies, presentations, demonstrations and “The Big Shaker” earthquake simulator. There will even be a puppet show for the kids!

Thanks to SCMA club member Dominick Falzone for sharing this information.

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Hollywood Commercial Structure Fire

Hollywood Commercial Structure Fire

This morning over 150 Los Angeles Fire Department personnel battled a stubborn commercial structure fire in the Hollywood Area. The blaze was reported around 9 AM at 1001 North Orange Drive, near the intersection of La Brea Avenue and Santa Monica Boulevard.

fireThis location is home to Highland Plating Company. According to their company website, they specialize in metal plating and metal coatings.

Since this shop contained potentially hazardous chemicals, all firefighters were ordered to take a defensive posture and to don their breathing apparatus.

The fire was declared a knockdown at approximately 11 AM. No injuries have been reported and firefighters were able to save the surrounding businesses.

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SCMA Presentation by Wayne Smith, Ph.D.

SDR#At our July meeting, club member Wayne Smith, Ph.D. (N6LHV) gave a talk about Software Defined Radios. Wayne demonstrated how a $25 USB dongle designed to receive digital TV broadcasts can be used as an inexpensive SDR and spectrum analyzer.

Professor Wayne demonstrated how,wayne unlike current scanners, his SDR is able to decode MotoTrbo (DMR), NextEdge and Pro-Voice digital radio protocols.

For more detailed information, please download the outline of Professor Wayne’s talk.

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