An article found at looks into the high costs of the switch to narrowband radio frequencies and some concerns about the coverage that will come with it.

A federal mandate requiring emergency service providers to switch to narrowband radio frequencies is costing many departments hundreds of thousands of dollars and could result in a 30 percent reduction in coverage area.

Failure to meet the Jan. 1 deadline, set by the Federal Communications Commission, could result in a $16,000 daily fine, said Paul Maplethorpe, treasurer/comptroller for the Mutual Aid Box Alarm System.

“I’ve been a communications technician since 1978,” Maplethorpe said. “Based on my experience, it (the switch) will not provide any benefits and will cause a 20 to 30 percent loss of range.”

Danvers Fire Chief Glen Rosecrans said his department is buying repeaters for its trucks to combat the range reduction. Repeaters retransmit radio transmissions through the truck’s higher wattage radio. A repeater system can run about $3,000 per truck.

The FCC mandate, requiring licensees to switch from 25 kHz radio systems to 12.5 kHz channels, was announced in 1995 and is designed to be a more efficient use of VHF and UHF land and mobile bands, allowing more channels to become available. Most radios purchased in the past six to eight years are capable of narrowband and just need to be reprogrammed at a cost of between $40 and $75 per radio.

The entire article can be found HERE.

thanks Dennis