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A peach of a paging system: careful study shapes success in Georgia.


The State of George, Department of Administrative Services (DOAS), TElecommunications Division, has installed a statewide digital radio paging system to meet the needs of all state employees with the same receiver.

We installed the first radio paging service for Georgia in 1974 in Atlanta, Its success led to service in Augusta, Milledgeville, Savannah, and Rome. Motorola Metro II paging terminals were initially installed in Atlanta and Augusta and later upgraded to Modax Plus units.

Modax 500 terminals were put in Milledgeville and Savannah. Modax 100s were installed in Rome and Athens. Atlanta and Augusta were digital systems. Savannah, Milledgeville. Rome and Athens were tone and voice.

Three radio transmitters were installed in the Atlanta area. The other four towns each had one radio transmitter. Augusta had two.

All these systems were designed for tone and voice paging within a local areal.

Overtime Comp

In January 1988, the need for a statewide radio paging system for state government employees was obvious. State agencies had increased concerns over contacting employees when they were away from normal work locations.

At night or on weekends it was increasingly necessary for employees to be on call. This usually required an employee remain at home, near a phone. The Fair Labor Standards Act requires overtime compensation for this on-call status for non-exempt employees. With radio paging, an employee does not have to stay at home tied to a phone. Overtime compensation does not have to be provided unless an employee is actually contacted to perform work tasks.

Modax Plus paging terminals have store-and-forward capability. They take the pauses out of voice messages to decrease transmission time. They also have a data base and processor, which permits group calling and simplifies adding new receivers.

EAch terminal is accessed by local direct-inward-dialing (DID) lines from the state's ESSX systems.

EAch receiver has its own phone number. There are 800 INWATS numbers assigned to each terminal, for toll-free access for paging parties outside the local area.

With modems, the alphanumeric receivers are accessed via local phone numbers. Where possible these numbers are also directly accessible from Georgia's private phone network.

For transmission, 38 Motorola PURC radio paging transmitters in place statewide transmit digital and voice information, with output power adjustable between 50 and 350 watts.

The terminals are connected to the transmitters via dedicated phone lines provided through the state's private phone network.

The antennas are Decible Products DB-224 and DB-225 and Motorola TDD-6073, installed primarily on state-owned towers. But, where required, some private tower space is leased.

There are three primary types of paging receivers. The Motorola PMR 2000/OPTRX is alphanumeric, numeric and voice; the BPR 2000/BRAVO and the SENSAR are both numeric. The monthly bill for a receiver includes cost for usage and is included on the voice bill from the Telecommunications Division.

How To Page

To make a page, the paging party accesses the system, which is designed to maximize local phone numbers. But INWATS (800) numbers are available when needed.

When the system has been accessed, the paging party then makes the page.

All paging info will be contained in a user's guide being developed. It will be issued along with the receiver. It will explain what to do if a receiver is lost or stolen.

The first step in developing the new statewide system was establishment of an architectural design. It would be based on a digital paging system for each LATA. But the dialing plan would permit cross-LATA access for a fully statewide system. Also, some voice paging capability would be available.

We did propagation studies to show the reqirements for transmitter locations. The diverse Georgia topography--from northern mountains to souther swamps--provided a complex engineering challenge. Topographic maps were studied and radio coverage areas plotted.

Wherever possible, existing transmitter and antenna sites would be reused. However, numerous new sites would be required.

Radio frequency coordination had to be performed to avoid interference problems. Applications had to be made for new transmitter licenses. All this was done by our Design/Engineering section.

Surveys And Letters

Site surveys had to be made to determine availability of space on existing towers and in existing equipment rooms. Letters had to be written requesting access to new towers and equipment facilites.

The existing coding plan had to be studied and a statewide coding scheme developed. All this was timeconsuming work.

Once the engineering was done, equipment specs had to be developed to competitively bid for new equipment.

The final equipment configuration would result in the Modax Plus in Atlanta and Augusta being expanded. The Modax 500 in Milledgeville and Savannah would be replaced with Modax Plus. The Modax 100 in Rome and Athens would be removed. A Modax Plus would also be installed in Albany.

In the Atlanta LATA 10 new radio transmitters would be installed and three existing transmitters in the Atlanta metro area would be retained. However, the Rome and Athens trasmitters would be replaced.

In the Augusta LATA two new transmitters would be added. One existing analog transmitter would be replaced and one existing digital transmitter would remain in service. In the Macon LATA one existing transmitter would be replaced and three new trasmitters would be installed. In the Savannah LATA the existing transmitter would be replaced and seven new transmitters would be added. In the Albany LATA seven new transmitters would be installed.

The Telecommunications Division Support Services section performed the financial analysis and coordinated the equipment bid.

The Operations section arranged for the ordering of equipment and the overall provisioning of facilities.

The radio transmitters and paging terminals would be installed by the Telecommunications Division's communications technicians. It would be done along with their normal work. This would require an extra effort to complete the project. The antenna work would be performed by outside contractors under state supervision.

In addition technicians would be attending technical classes on the paging terminals and transmitters. Careful coordination of human resources would be required.

Once the installation work began in July 1988, regular coordination meetings were helkd to insure that problems were resolved and that the installations proceeded on schedule.

The Telecommunications Division will continue to finetune the system to eliminate any reception problems.

New developments will be incorporated as the become available. We will continue to work with client agencies on unique radio paging applications. The statewide system will meet client agency needs well into the 1990s.
COPYRIGHT 1990 Nelson Publishing
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Copyright 1990 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Title Annotation:State of Georgia implements statewide government radio paging system
Author:Christenberry, George
Publication:Communications News
Date:Apr 1, 1990
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