It looks like you're using an Ad Blocker.

Please white-list or disable in your ad-blocking tool.

Thank you.


Some features of ATS will be disabled while you continue to use an ad-blocker.


Navy Yard radio failure

page: 1

log in


posted on Sep, 28 2013 @ 05:35 PM
I have tried to send this article to ATS staff and keep getting the same response that I can only PM staff. Thought that SkepticOverlod and Springer are both staff. On to the topic, it seems that the first responder radios did not work when they came to the scene, I think it strange that the shooter claimed ULF attacks and here the radios are not working.

WASHINGTON (WUSA9) -- We've got more details after explosive accusations suggest lives could have been spared at the Navy Yard shooting if the first rescuers inside were able to communicate.

We are specifically referring to the U.S. Naval District of Washington Fire and EMS Department and reports that their emergency radios failed them during the Navy Yard shooting incident.

"I would say there is a great likelihood that more lives could have been saved," said Gregory Russell with the National Capital Federal Firefighters. He is the president of the National Capital Federal Firefighters Union. He is also a fire inspector with the U.S. Naval District of Washington Fire, and EMS Department. That's the same department responsible for fire and EMS services at the Navy Yard.

"They were there almost instantly after the call was put out."

And just as fast he says, the troubles in communication among Navy firefighters began. He says the radio's provided to them by the navy failed.

"Immediately upon their arrival they were experiencing radio problems. they were not receiveing and not able to transmit messages to other emergency responders"

He tells us a batallion chief who was the first inside building 197 was trying to report details from inside the shooting scene and set up triage, but couldn't.

"This required the use of a runner. We had to assign a fire captain as a chiefs aide...he would have to go all the way outside of the building to transmit.

The president of this union says he is so fed up with the problem that he is drafting a letter calling for the resignation of all those who had anything to do with the purchase and deployment of these radios.

We asked the union president if there were documents reporting the radio failures. He was able to provide reports from 2010, 2012, and one report from January 2013.

"These poorly functioning radios contributed to the chaos," he said.

WUSA9 reached out to the Regional Fire Chief C.P. Miedzinski by phone. He refused to comment on the matter saying they would e-mail statement to us, but we never receievd that.

Republished with permission of

edit on 9/28/2013 by tothetenthpower because: --Mod Edit--Proper Tags - Moved to proper forum.

edit on 28-9-2013 by bilbohicks because: bootom of article was cut off

posted on Sep, 28 2013 @ 06:02 PM
the fact that an incident like the shooting happened in the first place in a Very sad example of how unsecure the military is. One would think that after that other story of the muslim guy unloading his clips on the base ( and good to know justice served that case and didnt become railroaded by a bull$hit religious agenda) that the military would have set up screening of those with any history of mental or domestic issues. quite a fail. Again

posted on Sep, 28 2013 @ 06:29 PM
reply to post by bilbohicks

All that is indicated here is that the radio signals couldn't get through the walls of the building. The radios were working.

edit on 28-9-2013 by Logarock because: n

posted on Sep, 28 2013 @ 08:39 PM
Here is another article that shows that batteries died and they could hear but not transmit. If the building was causing the interference then wouldn't both transmitting and recieving being affected?

By KATE BRANNEN | 9/19/13 6:24 PM EDT
First responders from the Navy’s own fire and police departments had such trouble communicating with their radios during the deadly shooting chaos Monday at the Washington Navy Yard that they had to resort to personal cell phones and runners, according to sources who were on the scene.

Making matters worse, the radio problems were known long before, and the Navy had done little to solve them, complained Gregory Russell, who represents federal firefighters in Washington., Maryland and Virginia as president of the National Capital Professional Federal Fire Fighters Local F-121.

It’s a problem reminiscent of the communication troubles that hampered fire fighters and other first responders to the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks on New York and Washington.

At the Navy Yard – where a dozen civilians and the suspected shooter, Aaron Alexis, died – Navy police officers who first responded to the shooting and exchanged fire with the gunman had to use their cell phones following the first shootout because their radios were not working inside Building 197, where the shooter was on a rampage, said Sgt. Anthony Meely, chairman of the labor union for the Naval District Washington Police.

Meely was not on the base when the shooting began, but drove there after receiving a call and joined other law enforcement officers as they searched for additional shooters.

Since Monday, Meely has talked to the Navy Yard policemen – all federal civilian employees — who were the very first ones to respond to Building 197. And he said he found that, while the officers could hear communications, they couldn’t respond via radio and so used their personal cell phones instead, including the Navy Yard Police Chief Mike McKinney.

One officer’s radio battery died, even though it was early in the officer’s shift, Meely said.

Even if the radios had been working properly, the police officers could not use them to communicate with the Metropolitan Police Department, Meely said. For that, the Navy Yard police had to use their cell phones.

The Navy Yard firemen, who responded to the shooting, suffered similar problems, according to several sources.

Responding to the complaints, a Navy official told POLITICO: “We are aware of the local chapter’s claims, and they will be looked into as part of the review” of security ordered by Navy Secretary Ray Mabus.

The office of Washington Mayor Vincent Gray did respond to a request for comment Thursday.

According to Russell, a battalion commander at the Navy Yard firehouse, Kevin Grinder, set up an incident command post inside a building a few doors down from Building 197.

Inside that building, Grinder could not communicate with fire fighters and police officers outside without using a runner, who would go into the hallway to send and receive messages, according to a fire official familiar with the Navy Yard radio system who asked not to be identified.

Going out into the hallway only took a few seconds, but relaying messages back inside the room ate up valuable time, the official said.

Inside Building 197, where the gunman was still at large, the fire alarm had been pulled. And according to the fire official, fire fighters had to go into the building to silence the fire alarm because it was interfering with radio transmissions.

“This is not normal,” the fire official said, and it put first responders in even more danger. “These radios are not compatible for the fire and police services,” the official said.

These transmission problems happen “quite a bit,” going back “a couple of years.”

A huge problem is that when the radios fail, fire fighters and police officers have to switch to a conventional channel and lose their emergency identification capability, the fire official said, and “firemen are put in harm’s way.”

And the radios, Meely said, were not the only hurdle the Navy Yard police force faced on Monday.

There were not enough officers on duty, he said, and the lack of patrol cars meant officers had to run up to a half mile to reach Building 197.

The lack of resources, he said, was a “direct reflection of the failure of management as it relates to security.”

Stephen DeNigris, an attorney who has represented the police union at the Navy Yard for the past 15 years, said the problems have been ongoing.

The Navy Yard police officers he talked to this week also shared stories of dead radios or radios that couldn’t transmit.

“It’s a nightmare,” he said, adding that past complaints have “fallen on deaf ears because military commanders do not grasp the concept of civilian law enforcement.”

Read more:

posted on Sep, 28 2013 @ 08:57 PM
Two things to consider here. First, modern steel-frame buildings with all the glass/concrete etc are really bad for radio. You might have noticed how many 'dead spots' for cell phones are in new buildings. Radio technology is still struggling to deal with this.
Second, there is a big push for new local radio systems that can communicate with other cities/counties/states (and federal), the key word being 'interoperable'. For example, my county, about ten years ago, left it's four-frequency system for a 'trunked' system of five frequencies that can run multiple conversations, and is now going to the Maryland 'FIRST' system (First responder Interoperable Radio System Technology). Per federal fiat (sorry no link) the new system will be running something called P25, a digital mode that requires whole new radio systems. Scanner enthusiasts will have to buy very expensive units to monitor these new systems. Plus, the P25 digital is very easy to encrypt, which means no private individual will be able to listen to emergency coms.
The newer systems always have bugs. There are numerous stories of Thisburgh's new radio system having dead spots (in buildings, in parts of cities, in valleys, etc) and other problems (admittedly all new tech has teething issues). has lots and lots of info on these issues.
edit on 28-9-2013 by works4dhs because: (no reason given)

posted on Sep, 29 2013 @ 08:59 AM
reply to post by works4dhs

I agree that dead spots in buildings are a problem, and who knows what kind of shielding/interference the building had. It was an electronic nerve center for the Navy. I just thought it was a strange coincidence that the radios didn't work and the shooter claimed that they were using ULF attacks against him. I also find it strange that the non-working radios weren't a bigger story, especially since the battalion chief believes that it cost lives.

I'm sure we can blame Obamacare for this somehow.

posted on Sep, 29 2013 @ 11:00 AM

I think it strange that the shooter claimed ULF attacks and here the radios are not working.

Why? The guy was obviously off his rocker. But to be specific, he claimed several things. One, that he was being attacked with microwaves, which he "felt" as "vibrations". You can't feel microwaves that way.

He also said he was being attacked with ELF, which he seems to be equating with microwaves. Microwaves and ELF are about as dissimilar as you can get and still be the same basic phenomena.

Next, it's, well, nuts to think you can be personally attacked with ELF or ULF. Among the many many reasons, the most direct is this - the focus of an EM wave is limited to about half the wavelength. If you were being "attacked with ELF", the tightest footprint you can manage is typically a few hundred km wide. So you'd also have "targeted" everyone in the state. You can't aim ELF or ULF at a person.

He claimed he was being fed voices and images with ELF. Bollocks, again on many levels, but the Shannon-Hartley limits for this pretty much say it all, with no point asking the other tough questions. ELF's symbol rate is so slow you just can't send clear text with it, much less sounds and video. Not happening.

Next, transmission of ELF and ULF is horrifically inefficient. When HAARP was running, it had a pretty "good" track record for "efficiency" here - it could put 1.8MW out and get nearly 30W of ELF on a good day, if all the random factors lined up. That's better than Sanguine, which could put in about 6MW and only manage to radiate about 8W.

And forget any sort of handheld ELF radio device - you can't do it. Sanguine had antennas several dozen miles long and had a matching network that filled buildings to drive it.

As to the radios on scene, that's something I'm sure YOU'VE seen, you just didn't consider it. It's very common for you to have a handheld and be able to hear the base but not reply. That's because the base has a higher antenna, and is using a lot more output power than your little handheld. So if you are in an area where your signal is being attenuated badly, the base station may get through to YOU, since it has a lot more power and better antennas, but you may not be able to get back to IT. That happens even with cell phones. How often have you had a link where you could hear the other party but not be able to talk with them? Yep. You were still in range of the cell tower's output, but your phone couldn't get back legibly to the tower. 50W out, meet 500mW coming back.

At any rate, ULF would have no effect whatever on a UHF handheld.
edit on 29-9-2013 by Bedlam because: (no reason given)

posted on Sep, 30 2013 @ 07:08 PM
So then the dead spots wouldn't effect the cell phones? Or are cell phones more powerful than the EMS radios? How do dead spots make freshly charged batteries die?

posted on Oct, 1 2013 @ 12:52 AM

So then the dead spots wouldn't effect the cell phones? Or are cell phones more powerful than the EMS radios? How do dead spots make freshly charged batteries die?

Dead spots may or may not affect cell phones in the same way as the handhelds. They are, after all, going back to different sites at different distances at different frequencies. There may be a nearby cell tower while the handheld's tower might be miles off.

If you re-read the comment about the battery, you'll see it wasn't "batterIES" but "batterY", that is, a single battery did this, and it was hot off the charger. I don't know if you've worked around places where you have to carry a Motorola handheld or equivalent, but you've generally got a bank of batteries in a rack. You grab a pack off the rack, jam it in the radio and go. In a rush, you'll often find that someone grabs a pack without looking at the LED, and gets one that just got dropped in the charger and instead of being charged, is one squeak above dead.

Also, if you're not really adamant about screening for bad packs, the only way to find out is by someone finally b*ing about it and tossing the pack. If they remember and get the time and want to fill out the paperwork. What happens a lot in practice is that you put a mark on the pack and chuck it back in the rack, and avoid it next time.

Properly, the techs should be running the packs through a battery analyzer every week or two; the packs are charged and discharged so much that they fail, regularly. There's not much indication when you've got a worn-out pack, other than that it looks fully charged on the rack and fails in a few minutes in the field. You can, of course, spot this pretty quick with a pack tester, which will give you an indication of how much storage capacity the pack ACTUALLY has, but this takes quite a while - the analyzer basically charges the battery all the way then discharges it through a resistive load while counting coulombs and watching the voltage profile. If the pack is designed for hours of life, it may take hours to perform the analysis. Most places are too cheap to replace packs the way they ought, and don't give the techs the time to analyze them on a consistent basis. So you get radios failing in the field.

At any rate, ULF couldn't discharge a pack.

top topics


log in