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STRATEGIES FOR SUCCESSFULLY IMPLEMENTING AN 800MHz RADIO SYSTEM IN THE PRINCE WILLIAM COUNTY ... - page 33 / 54

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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

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