Unanimous Approval for Communications Upgrade in Texas

Council members in the city of Kilgore, TX were quick to approve measures to improve their communications equipment, reports the Kilgore News Herald. Using grant funds received from Gregg County, Kilgore will now have the means to transition emergency services transmissions from VHF and UHF radio frequencies to the 700 and 800 MHz band. The upgrade is expected to improve the quality and range of current communications.

The SERI (State Emergency Radio Infrastructure) grant will pay for the cost to upgrade the existing equipment, but does not pay for the gear itself. At its most recent meeting, the city council accepted the drafted Memorandum of Understanding agreeing that Kilgore will provide shelter, a generator and a power source for the site of the upgrade to support the equipment purchased by the county. The city also agreed to cover future upgrades to the site as well as needed repairs. 

“Some of the advantages of going over to these kinds of systems is that it helps with regional and statewide interoperability. Almost all metro areas have been on the 700/800 band for 20 years. Some of our partners, Smith County, Tyler, City of Longview, are already operating on it and Gregg County will be next year,” Lt. Terry Linder, of Kilgore Police Department told the Kilgore News Herald. Linder doubles as the city’s Emergency Response Manager.

“What they did to bridge the gap was to identify the southwestern part of the county as a weak spot,” said Linder. “So they needed to find a place to put their antenna equipment on a tower and it just so happens we have one that we’re using and it was available and it was in a prime spot to increase their radio capabilities. It would be the perfect area,” he added.

The new system will help fill-in coverage gaps in the county. “If we have fire resources or police resources going towards Henderson, or going towards the Longview area or Smith County area, they’ll be able to roam to other towers and have coverage,” explained Linder. 

Linder also noted that he was pleased with the lease agreement that was reached with tower owner CPI, reported the Kilgore News Herald. The city of Kilgore and Gregg County will pay only $150 a month for their antenna spot, an arrangement that Linder called “generous.” 

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