Gilford police radio bandwidth to narrow, reception to improve if selectmen's budget approved
GILFORD — Among the increases in the selectmen’s $11.95 million proposed budget for 2013 is an $158,000 expenditure for an upgrade in the police and public works radio system.
The cost is unavoidable, selectmen said, as on Jan. 1, all public safety and business industrial land mobile radio systems in the country operating in the 150-512 MHz radio bands must switch from 25 kHz efficiency technology to 12.5 kHz efficiency technology.
This deadline is the result of a Federal Communications Commission effort that began almost two decades ago to ensure more efficient use of the radio wave spectrum and allow greater access to the radio waves for public safety and nonpublic safety users.
Moving to 12.5 kHz efficiency technology, or narrowbanding, will allow the creation of additional channel capacity within the same radio spectrum and support more users, according to the FCC.
In Gilford, town officials hope that adjusting to the change will solve some “dead spot” problems. Part of the $158,000 is slated to be spent on adding a new radio repeater that should help cover most or all of the town, said Town Administrator Scott Dunn.
“Right now, there are times when officers can’t communicate when they are in certain areas of town, and that’s a problem,” Dunn said.
“The long-term plan is to have no dead spots.”The radio upgrade proposal would eliminate the need for three phone lines that go to the town’s current broadcast tower on Gunstock Hill Road, which would save the town $109 a month per line. It would add a narrowband repeater atop an existing tower on Mt. Rowe, he said. mThe conversion to narrowband would create more dead spots as the technology requires more line-of-site reception than the current system, but the new repeater should allow better reception in town, Dunn said.
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