The installation of the new radio system, which is part of the Umatilla Morrow Radio and Data District (UMRDD), was completed near the end of 2021. In total, 41 radios (31 vehicle, 10 handheld) were updated to the newer models in an effort to provide clearer, more reliable connection for our field crews.
Prior to the new radios going into service, Shawn Halsey with UMRRD conducted a training at UEC to all likely users of the radios to ensure everyone knew how to use them properly. Shortly after the new radios were deployed, users instantly saw a benefit in clarity and increased coverage.
During the windstorm that rang in the New Year, crews put that coverage to the test as an outage on Weston Mountain required crews to respond from two different locations – one up on a ridge and the other in a valley. Historically, contact between the two crews would have been impossible, but with the new radios the crews were able to communicate with each other and back to headquarters.
This additional reach not only increases safety, but will also increase productivity as it will eliminate the need to find an area with cell reception to relay information.