Cost Estimate: $800,000
VHF System Upgrade Summary:
The VHF System communicates concurrently with the VIPER system for every EMS and county fire department call and is also the primary back up radio system for all county emergency services.
When CCom relays information to EMS and county fire departments, information is shared by radio (VIPER) and pager (VHF). Pagers are often the first point of contact for paramedics and volunteer fire personnel as radios are not always available or on hand.
The VHF system, which is county-owned, was previously the primary communications system for decades, but corrosion and wear and tear negatively impacted service. As of January 1, 2013, the FCC enforced the Narrow-Banding Mandate of all land mobile radio systems operating in the 150-174MHz (County VHF) to migrate from 25 kHz to 12.5 kHz thus, reducing the bandwidth size and power of the system.
With the VHF upgrades, the county will increase from one to three fully functioning transmitting sites including the original old landfill tower, the Mebane Fire Department Tower, and the SBA Tower (2611 N. 62). The three transmitter sites will work simultaneously to improve and increase range of service for the north and northeast parts of the county.
As part of the MCA proposal, microwave radios, dishes, antennas, and related equipment will be installed at the three tower sites and at CCom. MCA will also use existing towers and cabling at Mebane FD and the Landfill site. Additionally, the seven old receiver sites (Pleasant Grove, Altamahaw, Elon Water Tower, Eli Whitney, Snow Camp, Old Rescue Base and Mebane FD # 1) will be decommissioned with approximate county savings at $200,000+ per year. Each site will also have a back-up generator in case of power failure which will keep VHF running for up to four days. The County will be responsible for the purchase of one generator for the SBA site, whereas Mebane Fire Department and the old county landfill site already have generators in place.