It's a move intended to free up radio band for an increasingly wireless society, prompting all public safety agencies to change from a wide band radio system, to a narrow band system. "All of the radio's, and infrastructure had to be reprogrammed to comply with these mandates, and it had to be done before January 1st, 2013," according to Chico Police Communications and Records Manager Nancy Wilson.
Wilson says public safety agencies across Butte County decided to make the switch early in order to work the bugs out. The first step was switching over car, and handheld radio's. "We had some volume issues, some transmission problems, where the transmission didn't come through. We would just hear a click."
Officials say most of those issues were fixed after the department modified the infrastructure to support the narrow band, and changed out older batteries, and antenna's. Even with the changes, Wilson admits, not all of the problems have been taken care of. "We still just have these individual battery issues, and some site issue that we have to deal with, but other than that, the narrow band thing appears to be doing ok."
Over the next few months, departments in Butte County will be working to fix any equipment that is not working with the changes, and gathering information on low reception sites. Wilson says if the department finds an area with a cluster of low reception sites, they may need funding from the public to install additional receivers."