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Northern Nye sheriff’s radios going digital in July

Nye County sheriff’s deputies in Pahrump, Amargosa Valley and Beatty have now switched from VHF radio frequencies to completely digital radios, the target date to convert radios in Tonopah to digital is July 1, Information Technology Director Milan Dimac told commissioners Tuesday.

The county replaced 75 VHF mobile radios in the sheriff’s department vehicle fleet, programmed and issued 30 new portable radios and traded-in 35 old portable radios. The county also completed digital programming and replacement of radios for the Nye County Emergency Management Station and Animal Control.

More remote areas like Gabbs are scheduled to go digital by September.

When the digital system is fully implemented, deputies throughout Nye County will be able to communicate with each other, the original goal of the 2005 contract with Motorola for a trunked radio system and a contract with Harris in 2006 to purchase a microwave system.

The Sawtooth Mountain and Amargosa Valley sites were reconfigured with links to sheriff’s dispatch for the digital operation, along with the Brock, Montezuma and Warm Springs sites. The movement of a tower site from southern Pahrump to the west side allows better coverage, the IT director said.

Tonopah radio traffic was rerouted to the Pahrump recorder. Backup battery systems were replaced at a north Pahrump microwave site and in Smoky Valley.

Dimac’s report said Nye County gave some radio equipment no longer used to the Southern Nevada Area Communications Council (SNACC) to eliminate $194,000 in debt for implementation of 800 megahertz equipment in February 2010.

County commissioners decided not to hear Dimac’s public presentation, the only question was from Commissioner Lorinda Wichman about a Shoshone repeater site near Round Mountain where equipment was never unpacked from boxes.

The plan is for the conventional communications system to remain in place as an emergency backup system.

Besides increasing radio coverage, the conversions will allow Nye County to be in compliance with future federal government requirements and extend the lifespan on equipment to 2024, according to Dimac’s report. Steps taken in phase one will reduce a maintenance contract with Motorola from $177,000 per year to $138,000, he said.

In another item, commissioners approved a five-year agreement with Atomsplash to rent space for high speed Internet services.

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