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Volunteers ask for better radios

Representatives of the Mathews Volunteer Rescue Squad and Mathews Volunteer Fire Department made a plea to supervisors Tuesday night for funding to upgrade the county’s emergency communications system.

MVRS president Rob Brown explained to the board that the county has three options for dealing with the radio problem: upgrade to a three-site analog system, which would cost $72,000; upgrade to a three-site digital system at a cost of $172,000; or do nothing.

Brown said the analog system would solve the communication problem momentarily, but with widespread migration to digital radios, the tower equipment, field mobiles, and portable radios will eventually have to be replaced anyway, and possibly at a much greater cost.

A digital system would not only solve the problem but would also provide “the best platform for the future,” Brown said. The system would be compatible with any future federal requirements for “narrow-banding,” which increases the number o...

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