The Move to Digital
When Randy Burba joined the university as the Public Safety Chief, they were operating an all-analog communications system. Anyone with a radio transceiver (scanner) can listen in to analog transmissions and pick up on those conversations. As a result, unwanted guests were showing up on the Chapman campus. In 2013 the Federal Communications Commission had issued the narrowband mandate, requiring that all licensees using wideband 25 kHz channel bandwidths convert to narrowband 12.5 kHz channel bandwidths. Chief Burba saw this as an opportunity to get ahead of the curve and convert to digital.
Digital communications systems are a key area of expertise for Eagle Communications, the Hytera dealer in Irvine, California. Eagle has been providing consulting, system design, onsite and wide area sales, service, rental and repair of professional wireless equipment and systems for more than 25 years.
Chief Burba partnered with Eagle to research the suppliers in the market and liked what he saw in Hytera. “Digital is digital,” he said, “I liked the features and size of the Hytera radios, and their ability to operate in analog or digital mode gives us a lot of flexibility.”
The On-Campus Experience
Four teams at Chapman University are the primary users of two-way radio.
- The Parking and Transportation team – Patrols the lots and provides shuttle services
- The Fire and Life Safety Team – Provides fire prevention, inspections, training
- Public Safety Patrol Operations – 24/7 patrol of Orange and Irvine Campuses
- The Emergency Management team – mitigation, response, and recovery planning
Clear, secure, and interoperable communications among all four teams is a must. The teams share a radio fleet consisting of Hytera PD782 digital portable radios, Hytera RD982 digital repeaters, and equipment from other suppliers. According to Chief Burba, the Hytera radios all work well with the rest of the fleet.
Although the main campus stretches across 80 acres, the University’s Rinker Health Science Campus is located 14 miles away in Irvine. To keep the sites connected, Chapman uses Hytera’s IP Site Connect software. IP Site Connect enables the repeaters to be connected to exchange voice, data and control packets with each other over a TCP/IP based network.
The entire campus is located within Orange County, and frequently participates in emergency drills with law enforcement. All radios are programmed to the County Blue Channel and communicate directly with OCC Dispatch as needed.
It has been seven years since the first Hytera radios were deployed on campus, and the radios are working fine. “We get great performance from our Hytera radios. They are loud and clear, and the digital encryptions ensure that our conversations are secure.”
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