I’ve recently become infatuated with Hawaii’s sirens, enough to make me go researching. I ended up finding some really interesting things doing this. I... I had a little too much free time on my hands and got carried away.
I will warn you, this will get a bit ranty and involves a lot of pictures.
Hawaii has a large number of Federal Signal sirens of many types. They went with ASC a couple of times which landed a few I-Forces in the state, some new some old. Besides these there are some unusual sirens installed around the bases there. They are electronic and obviously European style arrays, but nobody knew what they were. They aren’t Hormann ECN or Federal Signal THOR series sirens on account of the speaker mounts being clamp based instead of modular and the fact that THOR sirens are for the European market. There was some speculation that they were WAVES sirens from Cooper, now Eaton, but that didn’t make sense since some of the sirens had more than 8 speakers, which is the cutoff for their current lineup of sirens. Although, there are some WAVES sirens in two of the bases, MCBH and Camp Smith. All of them are 3100 series sirens presumably, although there may be a mix of them on MCBH.
After a while I began to speculate that these were SiRcom sirens, since they do go past 8 speakers. In fact, SiRcom sirens can be ordered with up to 36 speakers which correspond to 4500 watts for the sirens using the older 375 watt amps or 5400 watts with their newer 450 watt amps; point all of the speakers in one direction and you’ve basically created a Bell siren that puts out 137 dBc at 100 feet, but I digress. The idea bugged me to the point where I needed proof that they were indeed SiRcom sirens. One way to easily tell is by hearing one or seeing the logo on the horns, but since no one has ever recorded them and the few up close shots of the head aren’t clear enough to see what the logo looks like that idea goes up in smoke. Even so they are on military bases, so pictures of them are rare. A couple of months ago SoundMaster 391 on Facebook managed to take a few pictures of one of the sirens that happened to still bare its original controls. This one is on Ft. Shafter. I'm not too sure on what's up with their system. They have at least one Modulator on the installation, but it's right on the border of the city and the base. I can't tell if it's part of the base's system or not. If it is, then I would take it that this siren and any others there are inactive. From the looks of things the reason why the joint base system, more specifically the ones on Pearl Harbor, were upgraded was to integrate them with the Modulators on Hickam. Unlike the statewide system it doesn't appear that the bases were required to retrofit sirens with UVs.
By comparison here are the panels used by Cooper and Eaton. The one below is used with the 3100 series, and the one on the bottom is what they currently use on the 7/8100-R series sirens. I think the main logic boards are the same, so both still sound like extra raspy dual tone UV panels.
Untitled94.png [ 79.09 KiB | Viewed 1267 times ]
Obviously it looks nothing like the 3100 controller, and even though the newer panel looks similar it’s made from stainless (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=v3IGFdsIfH0
). I started search for SiRcom sirens in Germany to compare the images to, but they seem to be a bit rare, and the few in Frankfurt are near impossible to find with StreetView and satellite imagery. So I searched outside of Germany and came across an article from Antofagasta, Chile with a picture of a European style siren in it. 15 minutes of searching and I found one. Their system is composed of a combination of SiRcom SiBT 2250’s and ATI HPSS32’s. The system is unique in that it’s only example of 415/425 Hz sirens that do whoop in the wild. ATI’s mimic the SiRcom sirens in single tone and whoop at a faster rate. Apparently they were upgraded sometime between 2012 and 2014. Sure enough the newer control cabinets look the same as the ones in Hawaii, and the SiRcom logo on the horns can be seen in some detail.
https://www.google.com/maps/@-23.692560 ... 312!8i6656
A few months prior to all of this. Federal Signal posted a picture on their Facebook account of a Euro style siren being replaced by a MOD8032B at James Madison University.
Early on in the FB group I mentioned that it was probably an early WAVES siren, since there is at least one on the island without logos on the cabinet or the horns from the looks of it...
... however after seeing the hinges on the siren’s cabinet and looking at the logos on the horns I corrected myself and stated that it was a SiRcom. Curiosity got the best of me again, so I searched Facebook for pictures of SiRcom and stumbled upon a guy who works for one of their dealerships and found a number of pictures of the controls. These sirens are using a miniaturized version of the panel from the previous sirens. The enclosure itself looks identical to the one at the university, just smaller. I don’t feel like dumping his pictures on the site, so I’ll leave a link below to his album.
https://www.facebook.com/kristineanneul ... 532&type=3
This is an example of what the inside of one of the larger cabinets looks like. This one in particular is set up for AC/DC operations. Instead of going the ASC, FS, or Whelen direction and including a rectifier they install AC and DC powered amps. In this case the AC (red) amps are powered by 240 VAC and the DC (white) amps are powered by 12 VDC. Both are 450 watt amps, and they have two others, a 450 watt one that runs on 24 VDC and one for compact installations that put out 500 watts with a single 12 VDC battery which is what was used in the guy's installations. Their old amps were analog and operated at 24 VDC putting out 375watts.
This had me in “I wonder what else I was missing” mode. Eventually I found myself looking at this siren in Arlington, VA. Notice something?
https://firstname.lastname@example.org ... 312!8i6656
Untitled95.png [ 108.57 KiB | Viewed 1267 times ]
Yes that is a SiRcom siren, but here’s where things get interesting. In the process of researching this stuff something hit me... SiRcom didn't have a USA website until very recently! The question is how in the world they they land in the US. Here's another curve-ball, this system is in a testimonial on Eaton’s website… weird. I started searching for more and I came across one other SiRcom siren; however I also found a number of “SiRcom” sirens with Atlas 100 watt speakers. Things just got kind of strange.
https://email@example.com ... 312!8i6656
Untitled96.png [ 200.41 KiB | Viewed 1267 times ]
https://firstname.lastname@example.org ... 312!8i6656
Untitled97.png [ 204.09 KiB | Viewed 1267 times ]
Upon farther searching it turns out that this system was installed by MadahCom, which was the owner of the WAVES brand prior to Cooper Safety buying them out. A jazz hands routine on Google later and I found an auction of a MadahCom siren. Lo and behold it was a MadahCom branded SiRcom siren! Apparently the SiRcom logic board is compatible with the WAVES IP transceiver. Interestingly enough the radio itself is branded Cooper, so this thing must have been made around the time Cooper bought the company out.
https://www.bidspotter.co.uk/en-gb/auct ... 0500dfa97b
Now, even more curious, I did some Googling and came across a few links and one of SiRcom's case studies. Sure enough MadahCom partnered with them for sirens. These are some random links on some shipment information. The bottom one is a link to the case study PDF.
https://www.importgenius.com/suppliers/ ... ernational
https://www.importgenius.com/suppliers/ ... ernational
https://panjiva.com/Sircom-Systems-Inte ... al/1689632
http://www.sircom.biz/assets/pdf/public ... v2_web.pdf
I hopped on Wayback Machine to MadahCom’s and Cooper’s former sites and got a little bit of shock. Early on they mainly marketed their WAVES network and didn’t really mention anything about selling sirens, however an interesting siren spec sheet showed up on their site in January of 2005. The sirens were in a series called SPT, ranging from SPT-108 to SPT-127. Knowing that these are SiRcom sirens, these would correlate to the SiBT-250 to the SiBT-3000. Here’s a link to a PDF with the models listed.
https://web.archive.org/web/20050327050 ... 202004.pdf
Sometime in the middle of July that year they started putting a 2 in front of the model numbers. I’m not too sure what the purpose of this was for. The only change I see in the cutsheet is the model numbers. With that said, this is where we start to see their current series naming scheme start to show. They actually call them WAVES towers in this one, and the number up front tells what generation the unit is from.
https://web.archive.org/web/20051231210 ... 0Tower.pdf
After the acquisition Cooper remade the site. Upon entering into the page with their outdoor warning sirens there’s no longer a spec sheet listed on the page. It seems that they stopped doing the uber-large installations around this time and became more conservative in their sizing of the arrays. The largest SiRcom-WAVES sirens seen in the US used at most 12 speakers. Of the units installed in Virginia all of them maxed out at 6 speakers. I assume something must have happen to their supply of speakers from them to switch to the Atlas ones like that. These units also used smaller cabinets compared to the ones on the base and even the one on their webpage.
https://email@example.com ... 312!8i6656
Untitled98.png [ 182.51 KiB | Viewed 1267 times ]
Moving the dial forward to 2011 reveals that the domain changed from madahcom.com to cooperindustries.com. Following the front number of their naming series scheme we now have the 3100 series and a very glitch Wayback Machine. Originally it was composed of 6 different models: HPSA-3102, 3104, 3106, 3108, 3110, and 3112. Shortly after it appears that they dropped the 10 and 12 horn models, but the site has two pages claiming to be the same using this model, so there may be a discrepancy here. The resources don’t work unfortunately, but there is literature of the 3100 series online although they only show models with up to 8 horns. Not too sure if the 10 and 12 horn models are legit. By this point I’m no longer seeing any of the ties to SiRcom with the exception of the images on the site of the horns. Some of the early Cooper WAVES sirens by this time were still being sold with the SiRcom branded speakers, as seen with the image above of the 3108, but these are using actual Cooper-made panels. Not too long after that they started to have the WAVES logo caste into the horn. In addition to the 3100 series the 7100/-R series was introduced. The only differences between the two are the cabinets and the ability of the 7100-R to integrate with existing audio sources and their SAFEPATH evacuation system. Eventually the 8100-R series was introduced, which adds VoIP capabilities to the system, and the 3100 series was dropped.
With this said and done I can confirm that the sirens seen in Hawaii are MadahCom SPT-2108s and SPT-2122s. The SiRcom model equivalents would be the SiBT-250s and SiBT-1500s. Whelp, looks like it's time to change those titles in the statewide siren map.