On August 6, 2013, the Federal Communications Commission granted a request to allow Lapeer County Central Dispatch to broadcast maximum power on all VHF paging sites. These sites and the paging system are used to page the fire departments and Lapeer County EMS for calls for service.
Initially, the license did not allow maximum power output due to potential interference with adjoining frequencies in Canada. This severely and adversely affected our ability to page our first responders in many areas of the County. In addition to the lower power, narrow-banding also played a part in the reduced ability and quality of paging. Narrow-banding was a nation-wide FCC mandate to cut channel spacing in half in the VHF spectrum in order to allow more users into it.
An appeal was made to the FCC and subsequently Canada to allow us maximum power. Many engineering studies and collected survey data points from the fire and EMS service was submitted as evidence and supporting data for the appeal.
After their review, the FCC and Canada gave the okay and re-issued the license.
Part of the appeal required that a new directional antenna be placed in Almont in place of the existing omni-directional antenna. At this time, Almont remains on low power until the new antenna is in place. We’re hoping it arrives and can be installed within the next week or two. Contractors are being lined up and availability checked. Once the new antenna is in place, the power of the site will be turned up.
Lastly, the new tower being built in Clifford for the paging system is in progress. An application to the Construction Code Authority has been submitted for an address to be assigned. Then DTE Energy can bring electricity to the site and construction can begin.