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Final testing coming for emergency radio system
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Final testing will soon be on its way to transfer Rockdale County’s emergency radio system to digital format, a move that planners said will greatly improve audio quality of emergency calls.

Members of the SPLOST Fire/911 subcommittee heard updates on the digital transfer during a Dec. 5 meeting. 

E-911 director Bill Cate said testing will begin within the next week. 

Testing will include riding around throughout the county and transmitting signals to the emergency communications center. Testers will start in the extreme southwestern part of the county and the extreme northeast, near Miller Bottom Road. Testing will gradually move toward the county’s core. 

Digital communications will not include in-building coverage, but that  won’t be an issue, according to Cate.

“Going digital doesn’t derogate anything,” Cate said. “You don’t go backwards.”

The county’s radio system currently runs on analog communications, and the switch to digital was a dire need, according to subcommittee vice chairman Bill Hughey.

 “We’re basically operating on a 1950s, 1960s type of technology,” Hughey said. 

 “If you have a signal, it’s going to be a solid transmission instead of breaking up all the time,” sub-committee member Bill Campbell added about digital. 

Besides breaking up, analog calls run the risk of distorting words. That could make a big difference when deputies and firefighters are responding to an emergency.

 The county’s fire and Sheriff’s department would primarily use the system, but other county government agencies could also use the radio system.   

 Planners hope to announce the completion of the transfer some time the beginning of next year.

 The next meeting for the Fire/911 sub-committee is Jan. 9.