About Us


MCH Telecom was formed in the early 80’s as a broadcast quality video production company and stringer for a local network television affiliate. How does this relate to SDR? It’s not a long story, but not a short one either. MCH Telecom was riding on the wave of video production that surged in the 80’s. As with any wave, there were a lot of others doing the same thing, and the competition was fierce (and still is for stringers). One of the partners of MCH Telecom decided, with encouragement from others, to re-enter a business that he had been in and sold off in the early 70s – that of radio communications sales and service. Thus MCH Communications was formed in 1986. Early on, MCH was a General Electric manufacturer’s rep and dealer, but Motorola was expanding their line to include new opportunities for dealers, and MCH added the Motorola Radius line to the dealership. During this time, GE was outsourcing several of their products, but it was not the outsourcing we know today. It was much more drawn out, and some GE products were ordered only to have lead times (time until your order shipped) that went several months out. During one order, the lead time was quoted as OVER A YEAR (no kidding), and we decided that GE could not provide us the products that could meet our customer expectations. So, we decided to focus more on the Motorola line as well as several lesser known economy brands, such as Relm (previously Regency), Tekk, Shinwa (one of the GE sources, ironically), Vertex, and others. There were ups and downs, but they evened out fairly well. That is, until the FCC decided that narrowbanding was a good idea…

The FCC’s narrowbanding requirements will likely do down in history as one of the largest shifts in radio users that will ever pass. They established a deadline to replace virtually all radio equipment with newer models capable of more narrowband emissions. There was a major flaw in the plan, however; the economy was in the outhouse, and many businesses in our economically depressed service area simply could not afford to replace their radios. That, combined with the proliferation of cellphones, made Cellular a more attractive alternative for these business users, so many opted to take the lesser costly path. This resulted in the vast majority of business users, our customers, no longer needing radio maintenance services. The Public Safety users then became the majority of our customers, but they too were subject to the rebanding requirements. Fortunately, they had tax dollars to support their new radio systems. It was decided that all users would be migrated to a new P25 trunked radio system, and with all the new radios the calls for service dimished with the exception of re-installation in replacement vehicles. Fortunately, that only affected one of the counties in our area. But, that would change as the narrowbanding deadline drew near. Additional counties also opted for the same new systems, and service calls for those areas also ‘dried up’, as new radios rarely need serviced. While we still had contracts, the writing on the wall was plain as day. Clearly, another shift in strategy was needed to support the business – enter Airspy.

For the past several years, SDR dongles had been making great progress and some that were avaialble were dirt cheap. These cheap dongles are nice toys, but they are all the result of hacking a TV receiver that some really intelligent person found could be put into a “test mode” and receive a very wide range of frequencies including outside the TV bands. But, these were still receivers designed to receive strong signals and performed very pooorly in areas where strong signals are present. Enter Youssef Touil. Youssef and his team wrote a very elegant program for use with the cheap SDR dongles called SDR# (SDR Sharp). This is one of the more popular programs for such use, and was aided by the ability to install ‘plug-ins’ which added capability to the program. Before long, there were plugins that could do just about anything, and this fueled the SDR craze even more. But, there was something that was missing – quality hardware that could be used in harsh RF envoronments. Youssef decided to design a receiver that had performance only found in SDRs costing several hundreds to thousands of dollars. He succeeded in 2014 and the Airspy was born. It was an immediate success with sales of the first two batches selling out in weeks. Our service manager was one of those who purchased a unit, but found there was something critical missing.

The Airspy unit itself is a design masterpiece. The software is fantastic. Youssef is a genius at hardware and software design. What was missing was a supply chain of equal quality for the USA. Shipping times from the manufacturer who produces his products are between one and four weeks depending on location and shipping carrier. In the USA, this was often on the longer side of that range. To add to the grief, the tracking numbers were often not updated post-shipment until a couple days prior to delivery. This meant weeks of seeing “nothing new” on the tracking pages. This was frustrating in the extreme. Our service manager reached out to Youssef to offer a means of expediting shipment into the USA, and several options were outlined that would largely solve this issue. Well, Youssef must have agreed there was an issue because he put out a call for resellers in the USA and European markets. We jumped on the opportunity to be involved in a project with such great potential. A couple months of negotiations later, here we are – the exclusive USA distributor of Airspy products. If you want to torture yourself waiting for your Airspy products, you can still opt to purchase from the factory, but now you have an alternative that can deliver your Airspy products in 1 to 3 days to the USA.

To be continued…