Reliability was noted as important to the users, particularly in those situations
where priority radio traffic has safety implications. Firefighting and rescue work demand
that all equipment has the capability to withstand prolonged rigorous usage. Portable
radios must be able to withstand being dropped occasionally without breaking and meet
the basic standards of public safety use.
All of the interviewees expressed great satisfaction with their current 800 MHz
radio systems. More channel capacity has lessened radio traffic congestion and created a
smoother, more effective dispatch process. The digital radio quality is better once you
get used to the change of the tone. They all felt that it created a safer environment for the
radio users on the scene of an emergency.
Advanced technology has yielded several features which should increase the
reliability of a radio system according to most of the interviewees. The proposed trunking
system will provide fifteen (15) channels to be shared by the public safety agencies. The
trunking capability will allow numerous talk groups to operate simultaneously and
provide more lines of communications than the present 154 MHz system. Most
interviewees expressed a concern about recognizing the unit or person transmitting vital
information. Technology is available to provide an operator identification function on all
radio equipment which would quickly denote which unit is transmitting. Mobile data
capability and automated vehicle locators were identified numerous times as worthwhile
and recommended upgrades to a new system.
Five of the interviewees suggested that when implementing an 800 MHz radio
system that a users group should be formed to plan, develop and provide effective
training to all users before going live with the new system. Another key element