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Chicomm Blog

Radio Tech and IT Manager in Wireless Communication: a Blurred Line

Posted by Kendra Newlon on Wednesday, December 11, 2013

techtalk"So you are the IT Manager and you were just put in charge of the radio communications..."

Sound familiar?

I recently glanced through an article in the new (November 2013) Public Safety Communications Magazine from APCO. The title of the article “Communications Manager or IT Manager?” made me think of our own business. It shouldn’t matter if you’re a radio technician or IT technician…electronics is electronics, right? I wish I could say it was that easy.

For me it started over thirty years ago at DeVry learning electronics. I walked into one of my classes one day and my teacher, Mr. Nice, closed the door and indicated that he was about to give us a one day crash course in vacuum tube theory. He indicated that the school did not want him teaching tube theory anymore as transistors were the new tubes. Thanks to him, tubes lasted another 10 years with legacy products in the field to repair. The integrated circuit or IC replaced the transistor with thousands of microscopic transistors on one chip. Thirty-four years later, software is replacing the integrated circuits that replaced the transistors that replaced the tubes. I guess what I am saying is that your legacy radio men have learned electronics from the component level up. Your IT managers have learned software on up.

What used to be discrete parts replacements such as transistors, coils and capacitors is now a module, board, power supply or hard drive change. Maintenance was for keeping equipment working through discrete components, we now have software patches, bug fixes and software upgrades that are the norm. Occasionally we may change a board, power supply or hard drive, but the money is in software.

IT Managers are leading the next wave in electronics, but don’t forget the RF Technicians. The invisible wires they work on are still there. Wireless theory and Networking theory are two key components for the migration of electronics and radio to new levels.




TomTreichlerThis article was written by Tom Treichler, Director of Sales & Service at Chicago Communications. Tom has over 30 years of experience in the industry with a background in engineering, system integration, and wireless broadband. If you have any questions for Tom, or another representative at ChiComm, please contact us.