The radio communications issues in Starke County will soon be at an end, as the commissioners this week approved a $4024 expense to enhance the range of the omnidirectional antenna mounted to the side of the water tower in San Pierre.
IT Director Joe Short told the commissioners that since the storms in June and July 2012 damaged the sheriff’s department’s radio tower, causing it to be shorter and consequently shortening the range of the signal along with FCC-mandated narrowbanding efforts compounding those issues, he has reprogrammed and relocated the Koontz Lake antenna to a location in Hamlet. On top of that, Short said he replaced the transmit radio in Hamlet with a base radio, which solved the communications problem in that area.
However, Short said he also wanted to raise the antenna in San Pierre by moving it from the side of the water tower to the top, because its current location on the side of the water tower is causing the range of the signal to be cut to the east due to the tower’s interference with the antenna’s omnidirectional signal.
The commissioners approved a $4024 expense based on a quote provided by Short, and also approved a motion to extend the local communications emergency declaration for another 14 days to allow the county to perform these maintenance operations without approval from the FCC. The county will update the FCC on their efforts at a later time, once the communications have been restored to full operation.