Franklin County Completed Narrowband Radio Upgrades Recently - The Missourian: News

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Franklin County Completed Narrowband Radio Upgrades Recently

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Posted: Wednesday, May 16, 2012 10:00 am | Updated: 2:59 pm, Thu Oct 24, 2013.

Franklin County emergency responders have successfully switched to narrowband communications more than half a year before the Federal Communications Commission deadline.

Last month county officials and police, fire and ambulance agencies in the county switched over to narrowband channels for their emergency communications.

The federal mandate requires all users operating on frequencies between 150 MHz and 512 MHz to reduce their channels from 25 kHz to 12.5 kHz.

Vince Zagarri, Franklin County interim 911 director, told members of the county’s Emergency Management Communications Board Thursday there were some minor technical difficulties during the transition.

“As far as I’m concerned, the project went off without a hitch,” Zagarri said.

The project involved reprograming existing radios and some new equipment and replacing repeaters at tower sites around the county.

New Haven Ambulance Chief Chris Miller said he has noticed a decrease in volume since switching to narrowband channels, an issue Zagarri said is normal.

Miller said radios also have a delay from the time buttons are pressed to begin broadcasting a message and when the message can be sent out.

Dispatchers said that isn’t entirely bad, as it forces police, firefighters and ambulance personnel to pause, reducing the number of instances in which they begin speaking prior to broadcasting.

Zagarri said the county will continue to look at the network and make improvements where possible.

“There are some upgrades we can make without spending a lot of money,” he said.

Dispatch supervisors with the county’s dispatching center in Union said since narrowbanding was completed, they haven’t noticed any decline or improvement in radio coverage.

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