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Narrow-band conversion progressing for emergency radio system

October 7, 2012
John Speer - Central Iowa Press , Reinbeck Courier

By November 1 the conversion of local police, fire and ambulance radio systems to narrow band frequencies is expected to be completed, Ryan Currens Tama County Emergency Management and E911 coordinator told The news-Herald.

A contract to reprogram all but the City of Tama radios to narrow band has been fulfilled, Currens said.

Tama officials elected to use a different company to work on the city radio system. All but one base station and one or two fire trucks have been switched to the narrow band frequency, John Lloyd, Tama Public works director, said.

The move to narrow band frequencies is being done nation-wide at the direction of the Federal Communications Commission. It is touted to enable freeing of more radio frequencies for use to meet demands.

Currens said the more extensive job of converting the six radio towers serving the county is expected to start on Oct. 5. Equipment must be ordered and installed and a "certified OSHA tower climber" must perform the work, Currens said.

The system includes towers at the courthouse in Toledo, north of Toledo at the County Shop, and at or near Montour, Vining, Gladbrook and Traer.

Total cost of the conversion for the county is $110,000.

There is a total of 12 fire departments, nine emergency medical services, the Tama County Sheriff's Office, Tama County Conservation, Tama, Toledo, Dysart and Meskwaki Nation police departments, the Emergency Management Mobile Command trailer and the dispatch center involved in the narrow banding process.

Most of these have mobile and base radios and the fire departments and emergency services have pagers, all which are part of the required conversion.


The true test of whether scanner radios will function comes after the radio tower work is complete.

Currens said scanner owners could refer to their owner's manual to determine if the radios are capable of receiving narrow band transmissions.



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