MILLERSPORT — Early reviews of a new 330ft Multi-Agency Radio Communications System (MARCS) tower to aid first responder communications are good.
He’s been active for about two weeks now. The $837,000 radio tower is located in the Walnut Township Trustees office premises at 11420 Millersport Road NE. The groundbreaking took place in June.
Fire, police and medical personnel were struggling to talk to each other by radio in areas near here, as well as in Baltimore and Violet Township.
When speaking to each with walkie-talkies, they had to rely on a repeater in their vehicle to send the signal to a tower at the Southeast Correctional Institution. The new tower was designed to solve this problem, while having a higher bandwidth to allow more units to use it.
So far so good, according to those who use it.
“The problem with Baltimore is that we’re in a bowl, so to speak,” Baltimore Police Chief Mike Tussey said. “The radio is in line of sight. So because of that, we have very poor radio reception, both in reception and in transmission. If you’re on top of that tower, you’re actually looking at Baltimore, so it’s is a line of sight.”
He said he toured several Baltimore neighborhoods to test the new tower and it worked well. Tussey said that in addition to providing better safety for officers, the new tower will help the department better serve residents.
County Commissioner Dave Levacy, a former Millersport Fire Chief, said state agencies and first responders in Licking and Perry counties will also benefit from the tower.
“Based on initial reports we’ve received from the (Fairfield County) Sheriff’s Office, this has improved tremendously due to the receiving and broadcasting ability the Sheriff has experienced,” he said. -he declares. “It becomes a real safety issue if you’re not able to call for backup or whatever the EMS (emergency medical service) or sheriff needs.”
Millersport and Thurston Fire Department Chief Robert Price said the tower would be a huge boost for communications.
“I’m sitting at home and before this antenna I had to be near a window to receive any radio traffic,” he said. “Now everywhere in the house I have a signal at full strength.”
He said the Millersport area has always struggled with radio transmissions due to the lay of the land.
“We had to buy our repeater to install the water tower here in Millersport because there were times when we couldn’t talk to the tower sheriff’s office in Baltimore,” Price said. “So with this MARCS tower, the benefits it brings to us are just immeasurable.”
Sheriff Alex Lape said it’s still too early to tell how much of an overall advantage the tower will provide. But he said so far it has provided better coverage up to Pickerington.
Lape said he hopes the tower will also improve communication from buildings with lots of steel, like schools.