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North Adams Solves Radio Interference Woes

By Andy McKeever
iBerkshires Staff
04:07PM / Wednesday, March 19, 2014
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NORTH ADAMS, Mass. — The city's emergency communications won't be disrupting its neighbors to the west anymore.

Last Thursday, more than 150 radios were reprogrammed for police, fire and mutual responders, alleviating interference with Greene County, N.Y., on the west side of the Hudson River.

The city's radio frequency was disrupting Greene County's signals because both were using the same frequencies. North Adams, through a vendor, had applied for the signal after Greene County without knowing there would be issues.

But as 911 response became affected, North Adams had to find a way to change frequencies so as to stop blacking out the New York radio frequency.

"Once we corrected the problem, and it's been about a week, we haven't heard anything. So, no news is good news," said Police Director Michael Cozzaglio on Wednesday.

Solving the problem came at a minimal cost, Cozzaglio said, because the Western Mass Homeland Security Council had resources at the Berkshire County sheriff's department to reprogram all of the radios for police, fire and mutual aid responders — from Stamford, Vt., to Williamstown to Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts.

The vendor also reprogrammed the towers and repeaters. Essentially, Cozzaglio said, the signals were "flipped."

"It was quite a challenge to find the best way to correct the problem but once we determined the best way, it went smoothly," Cozzaglio said.

Lt. Colonel Tom Grady from the sheriff's office, who sits on Western Mass Homeland Security Council, said four sets of laptops, cables and software had been distributed to all four western counties. Area responders formed a communications team to assist communities with problems such as the one North Adams faced, including reprogramming the 150 or more radios.

"We had them up and back running at no cost," Grady said. "It went really well."

Cozzaglio said the city had a "minor cost" associated with the vendor reprogramming the repeaters and tower.

The city had been looking at applying for a grant in the range of $30,000 to fix the radio signals.

"We should not have an issue with Greene County anymore," said Fire Director Stephen Meranti.

Tags: fire department,   north adams police,   

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