Second company makes radio pitch to city

COLUMBIA CITY — Several weeks after hearing a presentation by local electronics company J & K Communications, Columbia City’s Common Council listened to a sales pitch from the Columbia City-based company’s main competitor.Brian Reilly of Motorola addressed the board during its regular meeting Tuesday and touted the abilities of the APX 7000, a radio designed to help the city’s emergency personnel transition to 800 MHz technology.Departments throughout the county of police, fire and emergency medical and dispatch personnel have been making a transition to 800 MHz technology since last year.Columbia City lags behind most of the county where grant dollars have allowed communities like South Whitley and Churubusco as well as the county to purchase 800 MHz equipment.Reilly said he had contact with Columbia City Police Chief Mike Petersen about the new technology.“We’ve talked to the chief a bit about some of his concerns,” said Reilly.The company provided Columbia City’s police with one of its radios for a trial basis.The Columbia City Police Department owns 10 mobile radios and a base unit and cross-band box located in the communications office.Reilly said his company’s radio provides all-important audio quality and coverage.“The minute details make a difference, and that’s life- or-death for these guys,” he said.The city plans eventually to purchase 800 MHz radios for city public safety entities such as the fire department.The cross-band box is a device that allows translation between the 800 MHz systems and the current VHF system, which operates from 150-174 MHz.The portable units available to the police department were purchased with grant money.The radios were part of the same grant that purchased the equipment being used by county sheriff’s department personnel as well as the police departments of South Whitley and Churubusco.Using 800 MHz technology, users can communicate with other emergency personnel over a longer distance.Around 1997, Indiana formed the Hoosier SAFE-T System, beginning the process of converting to the new technology.There are 149 transmitter towers in Indiana and about 150,000 users of the 800 MHz signal.