Metamora Tower Completed at 370′

The Metamora tower is now complete at 370′ tall. E.R.S. will now be adding the rest of the antenna’s and microwave dishes in the next few days. Blumerich Communications will be moving radio equipment into the shelter next week in preparation of installing and wiring.

240′ Up at the #Metamora Tower

On August 30th, E.R.S. brought the tower up to approximately 240′, on it’s way to 370′. At this height and up, they need to use a gin-pole to winch the segments up to the top as a crane is now too short to continue the upward climb.

DTE Energy Brings Power to Metamora

Detroit Edison energized the Metamora tower site today allowing E.R.S. & Motorola to continue stacking the new tower past 200′ in compliance with FAA regulations. E.R.S. is continuing to assemble the tower and tower lights as well as wire up the shelter with the generator and electronics.

Construction Begins in Metamora

Construction began in Metamora with improvements to the road (old railroad) and clearing of the area leading to the site. The road improvements are necessary so that the heavy construction equipment can get to the site.

Microwave System Work

This week Motorola/ERS will be putting up new microwave dishes on the Lapeer and Imlay City towers for the new system. These dish’s will be dual system capable, meaning they will be able to operate our analog and forthcoming digital system simultaneously. Preparation work began this morning and early Friday will be the dish cut-over.

We are also in the midst of developing our frequency plan and control channel frequencies for the new system, but nothing is finalized yet. Most of our FCC licenses are in for the 800MHz, 150MHz and microwave systems.

Subscriber programming will be coming up soon and templates are being prepared now.

We are also still waiting on some state and federal studies to conclude before we can begin construction on the new tower in Metamora and we’re working with local officials in North Branch for our much smaller paging tower to be built there.

At this time, we’re anticipating a full system cut-over sometime in September and will realize a new system with 6 voice sites and 8 paging sites to provide excellent county-wide coverage for first responders.

Lightning Strikes Lapeer 9-1-1 Tower

Yesterday afternoon a severe thunderstorm passed through Lapeer County and early on a bolt of lightning is believed to have struck the tower behind the 9-1-1 Center in Lapeer. A dispatcher witnessed an arch of electricity move from one of the stand-off antennas to a leg of the tower structure. The dispatcher also saw the tower glowing briefly. Subsequently, this lightning strike temporarily knocked out all communications in the center including sending the voice radio system into failsoft.

What is failsoft?

If the trunking system loses its control channel or has certain other failures, it is no longer able to operate in the trunking mode. So instead of going into a condition that stops all communication, the system enters Failsoft. In this state all transmitters (channels) turn on and operate in a ‘conventional’ repeater mode. The subscriber radios are able to recognize this state and switch to a predetermined frequency (one of the trunk system frequencies, but not the control channel frequency) depending on their selected talkgroup. In most systems several talkgroups will share a frequency. Some talkgroups may not be assigned a failsoft frequency and these talkgroups will cease to operate during the failsoft period. If a particular failsoft frequency has also failed, the talkgroups assigned to that frequency will also be off the air during failsoft.

 

The system quickly recovered and went back into normal operation. However, one system was unable to recover and that is the part of the paging system which dispatch’s EMS crews for Lapeer County EMS.

The old Zetron unit which runs the alpha-numeric pagers for Lapeer County EMS is no longer communicating with the paging servers. Several attempts to reset the unit and even change paging servers were unsuccessful. Another problem is that this unit has gone off of the Motorola maintenance contract several years ago. We do have replacement parts on hand for this unit, but working on it will cost the center time and labor. We will be contacting Zetron this morning to seek their assistance in diagnosing the problem and programming spare boards to be put into service.

As of yesterday, all bases of Lapeer County EMS (Imlay City, North Branch and two in Lapeer City) are operating on radio and telephone standby until further notice. It is not known when or even if this system can be repaired.

Fire department paging was unaffected and is in normal operation.

Additionally, the wireless communication link to Metamora Police which runs their AICS and Internet services went down during the lightning strike.

Further updates will be posted when information is available.