A professional engineer/ certified radio engineer was hired to undertake a complete study which evaluated the current UHF two channel analog simulcast system that operates with equipment located at multiple sites across the towns of Franklin County. Recent interference and dropped communication challenges were presenting difficulties which were elusive to identify. The project discovered several cause areas including timing misalignment, antenna crossover and some software programming. The causes have been remedied with fixes. The study also recommended long-term improvements/upgrades to the system. The study was completed in spring 2016.
WRHSAC’s Interoperability Subcommittee utilizes the support of a communications engineering specialist as a subject matter expert for all public safety communication projects it funds. The engineer ensures the system are state of the art design, meet the needs of the region, and helps to determine best avenues for interoperable between different communication systems. This is ongoing.
The Franklin County Emergency Communications System (FCECS) serves the public safety agencies in Franklin County and is owned by the Franklin Regional Council of Governments. The system is supported through user fees. Over the past several years, WRHSAC has funded the buildout of the system from its original 1950’s design of a three-tower VHF system to its current 14 tower duplex UHF simulcast system. A recent upgrade to the system was completed to address coverage gaps in Western Franklin County along the Rt. 202 corridor, particularly in the towns of Orange and Shutesbury. A new tower was built in Orange, and additional repeaters were placed there and in Shutesbury. The upgrades were complete June 2013.