Testing continues for new emergency radio comms

| 11/04/2018 | 5 Comments
Cayman News Service

HMCI Acting Director Lee Madison, MHA DCO Kathryn Dinspel-Powell and DPSC Director Julian Lewis at the Motorola facility

(CNS): Government is moving ahead with plans to install a “cutting edge” communication system for the emergency services. With new equipment for the project due to arrive on island within the week, the next phase of testing has been underway after a team of Motorola Solutions Systems Engineers visited Cayman to inspect all the existing and new radio sites for the system. The three new sites — West Bay, Frank Sound and Cayman Brac West — were all inspected for clear microwave paths, tower conditions, grounding, equipment location and backup power.

Existing sites at Gun Bay, Northward, Radio Cayman, Cayman Brac and Little Cayman, were also inspected to make sure they were suitable for the new equipment.

“The Department of Public Safety Communications (DPSC) was also inspected for networking and space availability for the new radio consoles, as well as 911 and radio logging equipment,” Acting Director for Hazard Management Cayman Islands (HMCI) Lee Madison said. “A visit to the Government Administration Building’s data centre, Hazard Management Cayman Islands’ office and command centre was also conducted to check resources for the new system’s core.”

Department of Public Safety Communications (DPSC) Director Julian Lewis and other officials recently travelled to the Motorola facility in Elgin, Illinois, to participate in the testing of the new “P25” system. He said it would have several near-term operational enhancements to improve DPSC’s service delivery.

“It will also improve portable radio coverage inside buildings, on roadways and in high-incident areas. In addition, it will enhance network capacity to support private group communications paths for different public safety partners and functions, automate various network functions to simplify dispatcher and field user operations and support enhanced features such as end-to-end encryption and GPS location services all of which will result in safer communities,” Lewis added.

Final testing will be conducted on the new system in October of this year and Ministry of Home Affairs Deputy Chief Officer Kathryn Dinspel-Powell, one of many government chiefs involved in this project, said that once the new system is online, various training exercises will be conducted to ensure effective use of the system by all agencies.

“The new technology will pave the way for future means of providing other data and information technology services that are becoming increasingly invaluable tools in the field of public safety,” she said.

Meanwhile, Home Affairs Minister Tara Rivers, who signed the deal with Motorola in December, said government was committed to delivering the highest standard of public safety.

“The system upgrade will integrate all public safety radio users on a common platform to enable greater interoperability and inter-agency collaboration. It will also maximise mobile radio coverage throughout the islands to provide a baseline means of communications for all first responders,” she added.

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Comments (5)

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  1. Anonymous says:

    Motarola just sold some more sand to the Bedouins

  2. Anonymous says:

    Another bill of goods. Despite what the public might infer from the $6mln price tag, do not confuse “new to us” with “state of the art”. At almost $15,000 per handheld radio, I think we might have wanted to shop around.

    P25/APCO-25 has been around in various phases since introduction in late 1980s (latest beyond phase 2 rolled out in 2009). Interoperability between agencies is notoriously problematic, and results in a dumbing down of features and bit-streams to something that doesn’t necessarily improve over analog.

    There are also well-known security jamming and encryption vulnerabilities which have been published online, and which our regional smugglers will surely study. Any future Coast Guard should assume the bad guys are listening or blocking comms altogether.

    Our Education Minister should have done more research before paying well over top dollar to deploy an antiquated system. For example, Entel’s fully-submersible DX400 might have been a better pick at fraction of weight, cost, and vulnerability.


  3. Sound Frank says:

    I’m glad they got the US Motorola operators to install and configure it. No more giving the contract to some half-baked local electrics company!

    • West Bay Premier says:

      But who is the CI technology expert in the installation of the equipment ? Motorola , Motorola looks after Motorola interest .

  4. Anonymous says:

    Please give some to the fire service, customs, police and deh.

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