November 29, 2017
November 29, 2017
Commissioners Scott Blain and Bill Bullock, and Administrative Assistant Angela Newell were present.
12:00 Tom Dunne, DES Coord. / GIS Mgr. Tom Kohley, Sheriff Josh McQuillan, Christi Brenna, Deputy County Attorney Shannon Foley, Sheriff Deputy Kelly Carrington, and Red Lodge Rural Fire District Chief Tom Kuntz met with Commissioners to discuss the Simulcast Radio System evaluation. Tom Dunne reviewed his report; noting the need to replace the Bridger radio tower, reliability and coverage issues, and the loss of range that resulted from the switch to narrowband. Important features for the system were reliability and the need for remote access to the system. Tom Dunne noted the needs of various agencies using the radio system are different; it is more important for law enforcement to have seamless roaming than it is for road, fire, and ambulance users.
Tom Dunne has concerns about maintaining the BlueWave repeaters and receiving support for those repeaters; the company’s web presence has disappeared. He is starting to look at the surplus Motorola QUANTAR repeaters as an option to reconfigure the radio system. He believes the surplus repeaters will work with Simulcast if they are properly configured. Tom Kohley noted the County switched to BlueWave repeaters at the recommendation of Industrial Communications; Industrial claimed the Simulcast system issues were due to the old repeaters being used. Tom Dunne also noted the need to install longer antennas. The East Bench radio site only has a 2 ft. antenna, Tom believes the site requires at least a 4 ft. antenna to stabilize the path to the Greeno tower. Tom also noted the frequencies for the microwave links would be more stable if they were licensed with the FCC at 4.9 HGZ; currently the frequencies are only registered. Tom Dunn quoted the cost of a new radio tower to replace the Bridger tower, would be roughly $288,000; Using existing equipment, the Homeland Security Grant should be sufficient to fund the replacement. The County will need to decide if all radio channels need to be on simulcast or if a hybrid system would be better with law and mutual aid on Simulcast and road and tactical channels on another system. The County also needs to look at options to implement the reconfigured system and address the legal issues with the non-functioning system we were sold. Commissioners asked for a timeline to determine how to reconfigure surplus equipment and quotes for installing new equipment to get Simulcast working. Tom Dunne will work on the quote and should be able to evaluate equipment for reconfiguration and quote those costs within 60 days. Need to know timeline – 60 days to determine what system can be configured with existing equipment.
1:00 Commissioner Blain left the meeting. Tom Kohley noted they are also looking at the possibility of using the Shane Ridge tower in the reconfiguration to increase coverage. Tom Dunn noted his is not sure about remote access if the surplus QUANTAR repeaters are used.
Clerk Commission Presiding Officer
Respectfully submitted: Angela Newell, Administrative Assistant