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By JoEllen Black/Richmond News
Richmond Council’s public works committee Thursday approved funds for a Federal Communication Commission licensing fee that will allow for add two more radio frequencies for Richmond fire and police.
The additional frequencies will allow the city to add a repeater for better modulation of radio communications.
The FCC mandate requires all emergency services to convert from wide band to narrow band by Jan. 1, 2013, because wide-band frequencies have been used up. All safety entities in Ray County have met compliance, according to Ray County 911 Director Nathan Preston, since spring.
The new narrow band, however, has limited range. Agencies like Richmond fire and police are encountering difficulty communicating by radio, which can present a danger to officers and firefighters. The problem is affecting all countywide entities.
“We had an officer on 10 Highway near KFC and they can’t talk on their portable to dispatch. They can’t hear us calling for help,” Chad Burnine, Richmond police chief said at the meeting.
“They’re unable to hear appropriate radio transmissions almost close enough to look at each other,” City Administrator Ron Brohammer said, “and it’s made worse by distance.
“It’s the same transmission power, however the volume is around 40 percent less.”