$2.8 million awarded for radio communication system

Published 8:29 am Thursday, September 5, 2019

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Fire and EMS personnel in Charlotte County will finally see a solution to a weak communication system.
Radio Communication of Virginia (RCV) has been awarded a $2.8 million contract with the county to provide a new system that will provide Fire and EMS with better communication.

According to Charlotte County Purchasing Agent/Planner Monica Elder, the base cost of the system was $2,696,401, but with selected options that included new pagers and dual-band radios for the fire departments and rescue squad, the total cost is $2,845,190.50.

“The County anticipates approximately $253,000 in additional costs associated with tower site analysis, engineering and upgrades; third-party consulting fees; frequency coordination; and frequency licensing,” said Elder.
The new system will also help the sheriff’s department and school system with their communication needs.

The new system will signally help the county in certain areas where communication has been much needed. “We have some terrible dead zones in the county. Up around Phenix and Red House and down deep in Red Oak,” said Wylliesburg/Red Oak Board of Supervisor representative Kay Pierantoni.
According to Pierantoni, engineers suggested to county officials that they should move to an Analog UHF signal. “To try to use the present system (VHS) and add more repeaters would have been a temporary fix, but signals then get so ‘thinned out’ communication would have been poor at best,” explained Pierantoni. “The cost to get what we would need to limp along for a few more years, I think was well over a million. That was just throwing good money to a failing system and old technology.”