Chenango County
Office of Emergency Services

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UHF Radio System Outline and Operational Usage SOG

UHF Radio System Usage SOG

As you are well are, the Chenango County Emergency Radio Communications System has been undergoing a considerable metamorphoses over the past 2 to 3 years. Included in the upgrade are Fire and EMS systems for all county departments. The changes will transition from the current Very High Frequency Low Band (VHF-LB) Fire to a new Ultra High Frequency (UHF) system, plus upgrades to Very High Frequency High Band (VHF-HB) infrastructure for EMS and operations.


 The first phase in the new system was the relocation and creation of a modern Emergency Communications Center, located in the new Public Safety Facility (PSF), in Norwich. The modern 6 position expandable communications system employs touch screens, ergonomic operator positions, electronic mapping, Computer Aided Dispatch and integrated radio and telephone monitoring equipment.

 The second phase was the establishment of a tower system to facilitate a true county-wide communications talk out and talk back emergency communications system. Towers were erected at the Public Safety Facility (PSF) and in Pharsalia, Cook Park (Greene), and Millbrook (New Berlin). We relocated new towers in Coventry and Otselic. Additionally, we upgraded and added a tower at the Barns Hill site in Norwich. Existing towers were utilized in the areas of Sherburne and Sidney to further expand our coverage. This makes a 9 tower system, blanketing the county, providing communications for Fire, EMS, Law Enforcement and County Highway operations.

The third phase was the locating of a new, considerably expanded and fully functional, microwave system, at most tower sites, to carry numerous radio, security and data transmission to and from the Communications Center. The microwave system connects the PSF, Barnes Hill, Pharsalia, Otselic, Sherburne, Coventry and Cook Park towers. A mini-microwave system will connect the Sidney tower and a dedicated T-1 telephone line will operate the Millbrook site, completing the interconnection of the system.

 At this time we are about to launch the forth phase of the system. This will be the establishment and operation of the tower infrastructure radio equipment, including radios, cabling and antenna systems, at all sites. This portion of the install is expected to be completed over the next several months.


Phase five will be the completion, over the next few years of the local or subscriber equipment. This will include radio equipment at the local fire departments for apparatus, firehouse base stations, EMS (ambulance and hospital) communications, station house receivers, local paging systems and related equipment. Upgrades to the counties highway and sheriff's departments will also be made as part of this phase. There are currently 6 fire departments in the county with installed UHF radio equipment, plus the Office of Emergency staff. There will also be significant enhancement to our county-wide helicopter operations.

 This final phase will take several months for all county fire departments to get their UHF radio equipment, several of whom are relying on Department of Homeland Security/FEMA funding grants. The County Office of Emergency Services continues to recommend both Motorola and Vertex radio equipment to accomplish this transition for subscribers.     

 While there are no guarantees of 100% coverage in all locations of the county, this system will blanket the vast majority of the county, utilizing a standard of 95% coverage, 95% of the time. Members of the Office of Emergency Services, county representatives and others continue to work diligently, mostly behind the scenes, to facilitate the implementation and effectiveness of this upgrade.

This system is a vast improvement over our current radio system, one which will carry the county into the millennium, while improving emergency response and operations county-wide to the residence of and those visiting or passing through Chenango County.

The Office of Emergency Services acknowledges the Chenango County Board of Supervisors and Board Chairman Richard Decker for their on-going support of this project.

If you are having issues with your Vertex radio not receiving channels, try the help below.

On the 4200/4900 mobiles and 920 portables there is a circular arrow on the channel display if it is in scan.  On the 5500 mobiles the display will say SCN in the upper level in very small letters.

To check if you are in scan, simply take the radio out of scan and scroll through the channels and confirm that the scan indicator is on telling you the channel is in scan.

If a channel is not in scan. Press and hold the scan button for a few seconds to put the channel in scan.  The display will say STOP indicating that you  just put the channel back into scan.

In the even the display says SKIP, this means you just took the channel out of scan, and you should repeat the process to put it back in.