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$6.7M LMR site upgrade underway

  • Published
  • By Senior Master Sgt. Jonathan Rossetti
  • 36th Communications Squadron
The 36th Communications Squadron "Wired Up and Fired Up" team, in coordination with Motorola, U.S. Federal Government Markets Division, are upgrading the military's Land Mobile Radio infrastructure on Guam and moving the LMR repeaters to Mount Alutom.

The $6.7 million upgrade began in December 2006 and is scheduled to be completed by May 31.

The upgrade of LMR equipment will increase island-wide LMR coverage from 75 to 95 percent and ensure better interoperability between GovGuam, Navy and Air Force first-responder personnel in the event of an emergency, regardless of where the incident occurs.

According to Michael Castro, senior technical advisor for the 36th CS Mission Systems Flight, the old LMR repeater site did not have back-up generator power causing system reliability issues, which impacted the Navy team on Guam using the system.

The solution to move the site enables increased coverage and better reliability. However, getting all the required pieces assembled atop Mt. Alutom, one of the highest points in the central mountains of Guam, is no easy feat. For that reason the Air Force enlisted the experts at Motorola.

Motorola built and assembled the LMR equipment at their manufacturing plant in Illinois. After the LMR equipment was inspected by a team from the 36th CS, it was crated up and shipped half way around the world to Guam.

Halfway through the installation, the 36th CS team continues to overcome numerous obstacles to meet the May 31 deadline. Maj. Darrin Hawkins, 36th CS Mission System Flight commander, stated, "I'm pleased with the progress the team has made so far. They are professional and know their stuff. We are seeing months of planning come together and it's a beautiful thing."

Groundbreaking for the building to house all this new equipment atop Mt. Alutom occured in late January.

The pre-cast concrete building for the communication equipment is designed to have space for future expansion of the LMR system and survive Guam's environmental conditions including typhoons and earthquakes. After the pre-cast building is assembled, the team will install the LMR repeater equipment.

Finally, the 36th CS will run both LMR systems concurrently for a predetermined time before turning off the old system and operating solely on the new system. This will ensure all the wrinkles are ironed out before turning over the system to the first responders.

So the next time you see the firemen or security forces personnel in action and talking on their radios, remember it's all made possible by your friendly neighborhood communications squadron.