July 9, 2014

Essex County radio system advances

ELIZABETHTOWN — Mobile radios for Essex County's new digital public-safety radio system are now being installed in fire apparatus and ambulances throughout the county.

Wells Communications of Plattsburgh is doing the work under county contract.

Essex County Emergency Services Director Donald Jaquish said testing of the new radio communications network is underway.

“We're going full steam ahead with installation. Microwave dishes are up. We expect to have the microwave operational (this month), paging by late August or September. That's our goal. Belfry (Mountain) is a slight holdup. ”


Jaquish said National Grid had many holdups in installing electrical service to its new tower on Belfry Mountain in Moriah, but it's finally happening.

“We have temporary power on Belfry, so we can test the system.”

Full installation of underground power cables should get underway soon, he said.

The new tower on Belfry will replace an old tower that was owned by a third party. The co-use tower will also support State Police and cellular-provider antennas.


Meanwhile, Wells Communications is putting Motorola mobile radios in fire, ambulance and police vehicles throughout the county.

“The mobile radio installations are going on now, department by department,” Jaquish said.

Essex County provided the radios and installation for public-safety vehicles in the county, but agencies must buy their own hand-held radios.

The county is building a $17 million digital public-safety radio system that will tie the County 911 Center in Lewis in to police, fire, emergency medical services and highway departments countywide.

It will replace a 1950s-era system that was at end-of-life.

The county still intends to page first-responders on its VHF low-band analog radio frequency, but everything else will be on VHF high-band digital channels.

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