Emergency communicationWisconsin county has a new LMR system

Published 23 April 2012

In Rock County, Wisconsin, firefighters have been required manually to change radio channels as they moved from North to South because of two different frequencies in the region; Raytheon is helping to combine three disparate communications systems in the country into one; the result will be more efficient – and interoperable – first response communication system

Raytheon said it had completed ahead of schedule an important milestone in building Rock County, Wisconsin’s, first interoperable communications system. The successful System Acceptance Test, conducted with General Communications, is the initial step in creating this critical emergency network.

The test was extremely complex, but Raytheon worked with us to overcome a number of technical challenges,” said Rich Westgard, project manager for General Communications. “Rock County is one step closer to a truly interoperable communications system.”

The system being installed in Rock County is part of Raytheon’s Rapid Alliance solution. The company describes Rapid Alliance as an integrated, wireless voice and data communications system for municipalities. The system’s open standards approach allows users to keep existing hardware and enables agencies to choose their own timeline for upgrading equipment.

The Raytheon P25net land mobile radio (LMR) system is designed to provide seamless communications across the county, which spans more than 700 miles in the South-Central region of Wisconsin. It will connect the cities of Janesville and Beloit with the entire county on a single, interoperable network.

One of the advantages of operating on a common frequency is efficiency. Historically, Rock County’s firefighters have been required manually to change radio channels as they move from North to South because of two different frequencies in the region. Once the new simulcast network is in place and firefighters are operating on one frequency, there will not be a need to change channels by hand.

Raytheon designs and manufactures an integrated solution that optimizes existing architecture as an independent, yet interoperable LMR system at a highly affordable cost,” said Mike Prout, vice president of Security and Transportation Systems for Raytheon’s Network Centric Systems business.

By providing a solution for multiple end-users leveraging existing legacy systems, Raytheon can meet our customers’ needs today while enabling them to grow into the future.”

Project 25 (P25) is a platform for interoperable public safety voice and data systems. Raytheon’s P25net system is an Internet protocol networked radio system which is compatible with all P25 radios and the industry standard Inter RF Subsystem Interface for interoperability with other manufacturers’ P25 radios.

Using the Raytheon P25net Channel Controller, General Communications was able to convert the existing system to an APCO P25 compliant digital operation. General Communications, with support from Raytheon, will soon conduct its own infrastructure acceptance test. Rock County will then implement a full rollout of the system.