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Horry County News and Announcements

County Switches to New P-25 Radio System

On April 3, 2017 in Public Safety

Conway, South Carolina – Due to a system failure on the old 911 radio system overnight, a decision was made to activate the new P-25 radio system. Horry County was scheduled to convert all public safety portable radios onto the new system on April 18 & 19, but were fortunately in a position to turn on the new digital system early.

The former analog system used by all Horry County public safety organizations, including Myrtle Beach, North Myrtle Beach, Surfside, Conway, Aynor, Atlantic Beach, Loris, Coastal Carolina University, etc., was installed in 1989.  While upgrades have occurred over the years, the technology in use was the same as that of 1989. Horry County began the implementation process for the new digital system in 2014, with a Request for Proposal (RFP) advertisedand a contract awarded to Motorola.

Horry County Police and County Fire career personnel were converted to the new radio system this morning and are fully operational.  The municipalities are in the process of going on the new system and will be operational by tomorrow (April 4).

The new digital communications system will take advantage of the latest two-way technologies to improve emergency response to all citizens and visitors of Horry County. The new system improves Public Safety’s ability to communicate in day-to-day operations and disaster situations.  The new system will meet or exceed industry standards for a public safety grade radio system and is Project 25(P25) compliant.  The P25 standard was adopted by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) and the public safety standards organization to ensure all public safety grade two-way radio systems are interoperable. In other words, radio system users will be able to communicate with each other via two-way radio, whether they are local emergency responders or an emergency responder from another county or state coming to assist during a disaster.

The new P-25 system will also provide the following:

  • The new digital communications system is guaranteed to provide Public Safety grade radio coverage throughout 95% of the county, versus 60% coverage on the old system.
  • The new system includes advanced remote monitoring and alarming to alert county officials of any system problems before they affect emergency operations.
  • The new system is fault tolerant and fully redundant to ensure 24/7 operations without loss of public safety communications.
  • The new system will maximize the investment of the existing portable and mobile radios in use by Public Safety agencies today. The system is designed to allow the existing fleet of portable and mobile radios to continue to operate on the new digital system with only a software upgrade.  
  • The new system is designed for the future and will grow as the County grows.  As Horry County’s needs change and system growth is needed, extra radio system talk capacity can be added.

 

 




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