Purchase photos

Upgrade issues persist

10/17/2013

Ellis County has been dealing with issues involving an upgrade to the radio system for several years now. There have been problems with the system resulting in some radios not receiving calls as well as other issues.

Ellis County has been dealing with issues involving an upgrade to the radio system for several years now. There have been problems with the system resulting in some radios not receiving calls as well as other issues.

The re-banding process for emergency radios lasted from 2008 to 2012. Sprint, which purchased the county's radio band, covered the cost of moving to another. That included providing the county with 130 new radios, and Sprint also paid to re-band many other radios to the new band. During the re-banding process, the county switched to digital radios. As a result, the new radios purchased by Sprint for the county were digital.

The county paid $132,000 for new radios in the re-banding process and also paid $470,000 to upgrade the 55th Street radio tower in order to turn it over to the state as part of the state network.

After the re-banding project was completed, a new set of templates was needed for the radios, as well as requested encryption loaded onto them. That work was done by Nex-Tech, a licensed Motorola provider, after the re-banding process. The cost to the county was $31,000.

"Will this radio thing ever end," Ellis County Commission Chairman Dean Haselhorst asked. "We've been talking about doing these radios since I came aboard three years ago.

"At the end of each rainbow, we were promised if you give this tower up north ... we're going to have the best radio system in the state of Kansas. Now, if you go to digital radios and do all this re-banding ... you guys will have the best things in the United States. We've done everything for them. What have they done for us? ... I hate to tell the citizens of the county how much money we spent on radios in the past three years, and they still aren't worth a damn."

* RANDY GONZALES, HDN