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Communication upgrade nearly complete in Bath County


With its areas of dense forests and hilly landscape, Bath County officials report there have been communications difficulties over the past few years due to an aging radio system.

Bath County Tourism Director Brent Frizzell said all that is about to change. Frizell is Project Manager for the installation of a new radio system. Frizzell said six antennas have been installed throughout the county, to expand and improve emergency radio signals.

“Depending on where you are, you will hit the closest antenna, whatever antennas you may be between, so you could be on the north end of the county, and you can talk to the south end of the county just like you were there,” said Frizzell.

Frizzell said there will be challenges, but the benefits to emergency responders will far outweigh the learning curve of adjusting to new technology.

“There’ll be a training program set up for everyone to attend because again this is going to be different from what they’re used to. It’ll be a lot of things that they can do with these that we did not have the capability of doing before,” said Frizzell.

When fully operational, the towers will extend the reach of radio signals and improve the strength of them, so communication will be clearer.

Five departments in Bath County will be using the new radio system: the Police Department, the Fire Department, EMS workers, the Sheriff’s Office, and Emergency Responders. Frizzell said it will be up to individual offices to decide if they will scramble the broadcasts or leave them open to public scanners.

The technology is expected to be up and running in March, but no formal date has been set.