|The Siren Board
|RIP WAVES - Series Discontinued With Ironic Twist
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|Author:||DJ2226 [ Wed Jan 19, 2022 3:59 am ]|
|Post subject:||RIP WAVES - Series Discontinued With Ironic Twist|
As the title states WAVES has been officially dropped by Eaton. The company's website displays the series and its accessories as discontinued. For anyone who has a WAVES system who comes across this looking for help/service, HQE-Systems/SiRcom USA supports the equipment and would probably be the best point of reference to go to. As far as upgrades go they apparently are supplying parts for the sirens, but the horns are 200 to 800 watts with 100 watt 11 ohm compression drivers so they should function fine on a FS UltraVoice, ASC CompuLert, or Whelen IPS panel.
I wanted to make this post to update the community since WAVES was one of the bigger manufacturers for sirens. It's not too surprising to me considering that their equipment was a little on the complex side given that the control apparatus centered strictly around IP based activation and monitoring. They weren't really selling sirens to cities or counties throughout the country. Their biggest customer to my knowledge was the US Marine Corps as they adopted the WAVES activation system as their official method of communications to their giant or "big" voice systems. Every Marine Corps base, well at least up until this announcement anyway, had a WAVES system in some form or fashion whether it be in the form of actual WAVES sirens or Whelen or Modulator sirens augmented with a WAVES radio/RTU. A few colleges here and there also used them along with some other non-Marine bases, but there are only a few cities with them being used as sirens. Likewise, most of their recent work was probably centered around supporting the equipment, and lack of sales probably was the reasoning behind their decision.
I'll give you all a Cliff Notes version of the brand's history.
Here's a link to a post I made connecting the company to SiRcom: https://www.airraidsirens.net/forums/vi ... om#p187741
Here's one from waverider3108, former MadahCom/Cooper Employee: https://www.airraidsirens.net/forums/vi ... om#p201274
WAVES started under the company MadahCom which specialized in wireless communication equipment, mostly geared towards military use. Part of their business was selling mass notification systems. One of their products was the TacWAVES, which used their proprietary IP radio, the TRX-401, which communicated back to a base station connected to a PC. The TACWAVES was a tactical, readily deployable PA system meant to be used in the field where fast movement was required. Along with this, they partnered with the German company SiRcom to provide a larger more permanent notification giant voice/siren system. They rebadged SiRcom's SiBT as the SPT series (SPT-XXX, XXX = SPL). At some point in the early 2000s MadahCom adapted the SPT series into the WAVES infrastructure by equipping them with TRX-401 radio and interfacing with through the siren's logic board using the sirens DB-9/RS-232 port. This turned the series into the WAVES SPT-2000 series (WAVES SPT-2XXX). They would continue to sell the regular SPT series with UHF and VHF radios using SiRcom's communication protocol, which I believe is FSK-based.
In around 2006 MadahCom developed their own controller design in an effort to move away from SiRcom's equipment. This was probably more motivated by simply trying to produce the equipment stateside rather than relying on an overseas company to provide and ship it to the states). They developed a new 800 watt amp that took the place of SiRcom's 375 watt ones. They also changed from SiRcom's 125 watt 8 ohm drivers to Atlas 100 watt 11 ohm ones, which would eventually be switched to DKTec DKU-100Ns with the same ratings. While they did stop using the drivers from SiRcom they still ordered their horns from them. Additionally, they added AC/DC functionality to these sirens with a 120/240 VAC to 36 VDC power supply mounted inside the cabinet. All of the control equipment would be housed in a new sealed fiberglass cabinet, an improvement over the steel ones SiRcom used which were prone to rust. These would eventually be released as the WAVES HPSA-3100 series (31XX, XX=horn count). With the new controller came new tones. They retained dual tone but instead of running the SiRcom/Europen tight offset, they basically adopted Federal Signal's UltraVoice toneset.
The tones were rather raspy sounding compared to Federal's sirens, and I believe that was caused by the shape of the linear diffraction horns' high frequency response. They were dubbed the "drunken EOWS/Thunderbolt" by some because of that sound and by the way they sustained on the wind up and wind down of their wail signal. Like with the SPT series they made the new series available with a more conventional VHF/UHF setup. Shortly thereafter MadahCom would be purchased by Cooper Notifications/Industries. Somewhere in the timeline the US Marines would adapt the WAVES infrastructure and slowly all of the bases would migrate their systems augmenting the existing sirens (mostly Whelen sirens from the looks of it) with TRX-401 radios.
Under Cooper they continued to sell SiRcom based sirens for a short period of time. They were sold under the 3100 series and restricted to 12 horns (four amps). At some point once those sirens were completely sold they converted fully to the newer controller design. The series was restricted to 8 horns by then, which was a bit odd considering the controllers appeared to support up to 1600 out of the box on account of the controller's self-diagnostics test showing 8 banks of drivers (each pair of drivers were wired together in parallel to make a 200 watt 5.5 ohm load per amp channel) and both the power distribution board and logic board clearly having support for a second amp (the logic board has 6 amp interface headers). By around 2010 WAVES found a company in the US that could make its horns, so they stopped ordering from SiRcom. The new horns have the WAVES logo on their sides whereas the older ones had SiRcom's logo. At some point the division developed a new auxiliary board for their controller that would replace the radio that would allow their siren to be controlled by a fire alarm control panel and could be integrated into Cooper's SAFEPATH voice evacuation and mass notification systems. This new lineup was introduced as the HPSA-7100-R series using the same logic boards and speaker configurations. They would go on to introduce a new version of their IP-based radio and with it, an upgrade WAVES series called the HPSA-8100-R. These sirens would be IP based only from what I can tell, so the VHF/UHF options went out the window. In 2012 Cooper was purchased by Eaton, and two years later WAVES would drop the sales of their older legacy TRX-401 based products marking the end of the 3100 series and the TACWAVES, albeit they continued to support the communications protocols of the older radios in their base station software. Over the years all of the sirens used the same logic board, so they all have the siren siren tones. Here's where things get interesting...
A couple of years after Eaton's acquisition of Cooper the German company SiRcom establishes their USA branch through the company HQE-Systems. Initially when SiRcom's revamped website was put online I looked through their resources and found an odd surprise. First off the files they hosted online originally linked HQE's domain name. Going onto their website it was pretty obvious that it was built on the same platform as both of SiRcom's US and European websites. Their website has a gallery of pictures of SiRcom equipped MadahCom WAVES SPTs from what I assume was the Kandahar Air Force Base. The second thing that caught my attention was when I downloaded their spec material under their resource section. I noticed right away that their material was very similar to WAVES's, to the point where some of the text was word-for-word identical. Oddly enough the model naming scheme that they used was directly copied from MadahCom (SPT-YXXX, Y = series or radio, XXX = SPL). I started to speculate at that point that WAVES was starting to refer customers who wanted bigger sirens with a more conventional activation system to SiRcom. After a year or so they changed their naming scheme to the one WAVES was using (SPT-Y0XX, Y = series or radio, XX = horn count) which furthered my speculation that there was some kind of partnership happening in the background.
Fast forward to July last year. HQE puts up a post on their social media announcing that the WAVES brand was discontinued.
It came out of nowhere, and when I initially saw it show up on my LinkedIn and Facebook feeds I was a bit sus. At the time the series still showed up as supported and available from Eaton. Fast forward to December, I took a peak at their webpage and saw what you all see in the screenshot above. I'm not too sure how SiRcom is able to support and supply the hardware and software to keep these systems active, but knowing how the WAVES SPT series originally started off as augmented SiRcom sirens I can see it as far as the sirens themselves go.
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