Door County Wisconsin


Simoco Wireless Solutions, along with partner Bay Electronics, Inc. has supplied an IP-based Simulcast System for the emergency services throughout Door County in Wisconsin, USA, as part of efforts to improve the region’s communications network under updated government regulations. Door County were looking to upgrade
its existing multicast system after one of its fire departments secured a grant to address the reduced quality of coverage and paging as a result of the FCC narrowband mandate enforcement.

With a wide area of 482m2 to cover, Door County identified Simulcast as the best system to meet the ever-growing demands placed on emergency responders. Simulcast enables the 18 municipalities to broadcast the same signal across multiple overlapping sites on the same frequency at the same time and without interference. This means that its 72 law enforcement officers, 26 paramedics, 486 fire fighters and emergency medical responders, and 150 response vehicles can efficiently communicate in any location – even in areas that previously had insufficient coverage.

Based on the original RF design and system specifications as provided by Door County’s Consultant, G.J. Therkelsen and Associates, Simoco partner Bay Electronics designed, supplied, installed and networked the system to create an enhanced county-wide communication system by interfacing the 911 dispatch
center to 11 sites: Washington Island, Ellison Bay, Fish Creek, Chambers Island, Baileys Harbor, Sunnyslope, Jacksonport, Justice Center, Brussels, Mill Road and Southwest. It comprises Simoco’s Solar2 Simulcast technology, which interoperates with a number of receivers, repeaters and microwave radios designed by Simoco and other manufacturers.

The Simoco Solar2 Simulcast is built around a distributed IP network, which means it can enhance the reach, reliability, expandability and quality of radio communications. The driving factor in Door County choosing Simoco’s Solar2 Simulcast solution was the desire to use an IP solution in lieu of an analog-based solution.

Resounding Success

Since Bay Electronics completed the installation, Simoco’s Simulcast solution has enabled the county’s emergency services to broadcast across multiple overlapping sites on the same frequency and across wide areas. This has brought radio communications to areas that previously had poor quality, or little or no coverage previously.

Door County has reported that the system has provided many benefits to its emergency services staff including a significant improvement in emergency alerting and radio coverage. The Simulcast solution has delivered coverage that has even exceeded some of the prediction models identified during the consultation period.

Another benefit was the capability for redundancy in equipment and coverage to reduce the potential of critical infrastructure failures. Door County has been able to add additional Traffic Managers in order to prevent a single point of failure. This meant that, if for any reason the primary Traffic Managers should be interrupted because of a power or network glitch, Simoco’s system would automatically revert to the secondary Traffic Managers in a matter of seconds.

The Simoco Solar2 Simulcast System increased the frequency efficiency of Door County, thus creating surplus frequencies to create secondary channels previously not available. Simulcast not only increased the coverage and quality of their primary channels, but also created new resources available to all users countywide.

From an individual user perspective, the local and county responders are now able to use a radio system that is not only user friendly but also meets the ongoing demands of the emergency response community. The previous multicast systems forced users to change channels as they moved throughout the county, which created further delays and room for human error. With the new Simulcast system however, users can stay on their main working channel anywhere in the county.

“The new Simoco Solar2 Simulcast system has exceeded our expectations. The local and county responders are now able to use a radio system that is not only user friendly but also meets the current needs of the emergency response community. Since its implementation, we have seen a significant improvement in emergency alerting and radio coverage as well as redundancy in equipment and coverage to reduce the potential of critical infrastructure failures.”

Chris Hecht, Fire Chief at Sister Bay and Liberty Grove Fire Department (which secured the grant on behalf of Door County)

“I knew the Simulcast system would be cutting edge technology before we proposed the system to Door County. Once we finished the interfaces and adjusted the audio timing and levels we were pleasantly surprised with the outcome. The system not only performs extremely well from a Simulcast point of view, but the audio quality far exceeds what the county had before. The audio quality is superb.”

Rick Nielson, President of Bay Electronics, Inc.

Because the system is IP based, Bay Electronics – as the system maintenance provider – is able to take advantage of remote access capabilities and diagnostics. It can remotely log in to the system to check overall system health as well as respond to issues that may arise. This capability benefits the county in the fact that its teams can respond, diagnose and correct issues far more quickly. Day and night, response times for diagnostics have been impeccable – and this is
paramount in the 911 world.

Emergency services around the world depend on reliable radio systems to deliver wide area coverage in times of need. Door County is no exception. Without a reliable communications system in the region, people’s lives and property are at risk of being in serious danger. With an IP-based Simulcast system that is able to synchronize multiple duplicated frequencies (regardless of the size and complexity of the requirements), Door County is able to effectively manage a comprehensive Simulcast network and benefit from wide area coverage in the event of an emergency.