Friday, March 02, 2012

VHF Narrowbanding Information

To: All Ulster County Emergency Services
From: Art Snyder
Date: March 2, 2012
Re: VHF Narrowbanding Information

Please recall that the Federal Communications Commission mandated all users in the 150-174 MHz and 421-512 MHz bandwidths migrate to “narrowband” frequencies (those with a 12.5 kHz spacing) by January 1, 2013. This has nothing to do with Ulster County’s initiative for a new radio system, this is a federal mandate. As I said in my July 21, 2011 memo on this subject, I had hoped to be able to combine compliance with this FCC mandate with a new radio system. However this is not possible. The new system is still several years away.

To comply with the FCC mandate, our radio licenses have been modified; equipment has been ordered, delivered and will be installed shortly; and we are now prepared to set a date for conversion. On October 1, 2012, we will officially begin narrowband operations. Your radios and pagers must be reconfigured by that time.

Frequency name “old” wide band frequency “new” narrow band frequency
EMS 175 (non PL and PL) 155.175 000155.17500000
EMS 220 155.220 000155.22000000
EMS 340 155.340 000155.34000000
EMS 400 155.400 000155.40000000
Common police receive 155.025 000155.02500000
Common police transmit 159.345 000159.34500000
Police operations receive 155.670 000155.67000000
Police operations transmit 153.995 000153.99500000
MRD 155.370 000155.37000000

I previously suggested you contact your vendor to determine which mobiles, portables and pagers need to be replaced or reprogramed to accommodate the new configuration. At this point I recommend that if your radios have sufficient channel space, simply add the new frequencies and have both the old and new frequencies at your disposal. This will alleviate a last minute surge to have radios reprogrammed.

Please keep in mind that reduced coverage is often a consequence of narrowbanding. Your personnel should be informed of this ahead of time. All PL codes, procedures and operational issues will remain the same after the conversion.

If you need assistance or have additional questions, please do not hesitate to call.