Bi-State Radios in “Fail Soft” Mode For Six Days

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Texarkana area first responders radio system has been in “fail soft” mode for going on six days now.

Bi-State utilizes a radio system known as Motorola Smartnet II. This is a trunking system that takes multiple frequencies and allows users to talk on different talk groups as opposed to setting individual frequencies.

Microsoft PowerPoint - Trunked vs. Conventional pqs_aug03.pptSo for example if Dispatch isn’t talking and an officer calls information to run a person for warrants the call will go out over frequency A. If another officer at the time is talking to dispatch the information call will instead use frequency B because A is being used. This allows for more efficient use of radio spectrum.

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At the beginning of June the Bi-State Justice Building’s Intergovernmental Advisory Committee was told by Motorola that the radio system was 10 years out of date and a new system would cost $8 million with a two year implementation period.

Fail Soft mode places each talk group on a pre assigned frequency.  Some of the Arkansas side first responders are currently using the State of Arkansas AWIN (Arkansas Wireless Information Network) digital radio system until bi-state system is repaired.  According to Texas side fire fighters their tone system is not working causing them to leave their radios on all day and night with a beep playing every 9 seconds.

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