Some corrections have been made to the county’s new $600,000 digital radio system that was launched in April, but experienced some glitches soon after. Some of the issues involved dead spots, which is one of the reasons why the system was purchased in the first place, and another involved a lack of reception inside concrete and brink structures.
“We found some of the problems,” said Logan County Sheriff Wallace Whittaker, who is handing the installation of the system. “Some of the installs were bad and some had broken antennas. Also, some of he radios were only 25 watt instead of 45 watt,” added Whittaker.
There are still some dead spaces in county with the handheld radios, but Whittaker says he feels those issues will be solved eventually as well.
The county bought the new system in 2009 soon after an Auburn firefighter came to fiscal court telling them he could not get through to dispatch (911) after an arsonist pointed a gun in his face that luckily misfired. Other emergency agencies expressed problems as well with the very old system. Another reason the county purchased the system was due to a federal law that requires all analog systems, which is what the county had, to be switched over to digital.
Whittaker said the new system is much clearer than the old one and even with the glitches, still works much better. The old system is still being used as a back up system.
Whittaker said Kenwood, the company that sold the radio system to the county, came down almost immediately to try and troubleshoot the issues. He said their engineers have been working on solving the problems. One of the ideas that Kenwood is going to use to help find solutions is called the Simplex System, which is a booster that acts like a repeater in the vehicles and “boosts” the wattage. This may cost additional money, but it is not yet known how much.
Whittaker said the system was purchased as a four phase plan. One of the phases involves placing two additional antennas in the Lewisburg and Auburn areas, which they are looking into. But is the booster system works, that may not have to happen.
“I think the system is operating fine, there are just a few kinks we have to work out. I think it will all work out in the long run,” said Whittaker. “It’s just gonna take some time to work on these things,” he added.