Onondaga County Dedicates New Radio System

Onondaga County Dedicates New Radio System

New York’s Onondaga County volunteer fire department mutual aid radio network was officially dedicated March 1, with officials of the county, the city of Syracuse, and New York State witnessing a demonstration of the new FM network, supplied by GE.

A radio dispatcher on continuous duty in the Mattydale Fire Department, headquarters for the county’s mutual aid program, handles calls for assistance from any of the county’s 54 volunteer fire departments, or the city of Syracuse.

The central dispatcher can use the two-way radio system to dispatch any of the 36 volunteer departments now owning 48 two-way mobile radio sets. Ernest Holmes, county fire coordinator, expects about 10 more volunteer departments will add mobile radio equipment during the next year.

The central transmitting and dispatching equipment was purchased by the county, but each department buys its own mobile radio sets. The system was first placed in operation last spring, when 30 volunteer departments were equipped with radio.

Electronic “tone” controls developed by GE engineers, allows the dispatcher to actually sound the sirens at some of the volunteer departments from his desk at Mattydale.

At present, he can sound sirens at 10 departments. Most of the remaining 36 radio-equipped departments are presently installing the remote control equipment.

A special radio receiver at each department receives the electronic tones. When the receiver at each department receives the correct combination of tones, it causes a relay to operate the siren.

As an example, the North Syracuse department calls the Mattydale central dispatcher for mutual aid. The central dispatcher can push a button on his desk, and via the tone system, sound the siren in Liverpool. The first volunteer to arrive at the Liverpool fire station would hear the dispatcher giving instructions over the radio, and would answer.

The county-wide radio system employs a 250-watt FH transmitter, located atop Onondaga Hill. It is operated by the central Mattydale dispatcher via a high-frequency radio link. Gasoline driven generators automatically supply power to the transmitter or the dispatcher’s radio link in the event of a public power failure.

A 60-watt standby transmitter will be installed soon at the Mattydale Fire Department, to take over in case the Onondaga Hill transmitter fails.

Most county volunteer departments now radio-equipped also have the latest GE loudspeaker system incorporated with the radio equipment. This can be used to amplify messages so that they may he heard at a distance from the radio-equipped vehicle.

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