Students, Faculty Tackle Communication Challenge

A summer student engineering project with the Air Force Research Laboratory’s Information Directorate (AFRL) and the New York State Technology Enterprise Corporation (NYSTEC), culminated in the successful demonstration of Air Force-adapted technology that could solve radio communications problems for emergency responders across New York State.

student interns

Two SUNY Poly engineering students, Kyle Waldeck, a senior, and Alan Street, a junior, spent their summer working as interns in collaboration with communications engineers from AFRL and NYSTEC, a Rome-based not for profit technology consulting firm. The interns were given hands-on responsibilities to help develop a software bridge that enables clear voice communications between dissimilar radio systems. During the demonstration in Oswego, the interns successfully employed the software radio to bridge analog VHF/FM radios with digital Project 25 UHF radios, then bridge both of these to a micro GMS cellular base station.  Mike Allen , Oswego County E-911 Director, praised the project and the students for their effort.  SUNY Poly adjunct faculty Bruce Youmans mentored Waldeck and Street throughout the project.

Public safety communications problems have been in the news since the 2001 World Trade Center terrorist attacks when, in the immediate aftermath of the attacks, emergency responders from various departments in New York City were unable to communicate using different radio systems.  During the 13 years since the attacks, federal and state governments have explored various solutions to public safety interoperability problems, which exist nationwide.  In New York State, county emergency responders and state agencies currently use various types of radio systems, many of which cannot communicate with other systems.

“The project has been a great opportunity to utilize knowledge I’ve gained through my coursework and develop new skills that will help me in future classes,” Waldeck said. Street said he is eager to see how the project will benefit emergency responders and communities statewide.

AFRL and NYSTEC plan to involve future interns in a variety of projects focused on Air Force technology and research.  Interns in the program are paid for their work. Eligible students must be strong academic achievers who major in electrical engineering or computer science and are currently enrolled in an accredited college or university at the freshmen through graduate levels.

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