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St. Mary's County Fire, Sheriff, EMS, and State Police


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St. Mary's County Fire, Sheriff, EMS, and State Police

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St. Mary’s County NEXTGEN RADIO SYSTEM implementation will affect all fire, rescue and police 
monitoring on scanner radios being used in St. Mary’s County! 

St. Mary’s County current Public Safety (EDACs) Radio Network is an analog 800 MHz radio system. 
The NEXTGEN Radio System being installed is in compliance with the Federal Communications 
Commissions (FCC) regulation known as APCO P-25 Phase I & Phase II which is a 800 MHz digital 
system. The NEXTGEN system is a narrow banded, digital system operating on new radio frequencies 
as mandated by the Sprint Nextel – FCC radio frequency re-banding plan. 

Additionally, The Sheriff’s Office has requested that all agency radio communications on the 
NEXTGEN system be encrypted. 

Pagers - The current FIRE and EMS Radio Paging frequency, 154.980 MHz FCC Mandated change to 
Narrowband has been completed. Information received from all Departments and Rescue Squads 
indicates that all FIRE & EMS Radio Pagers have been retuned to work within this FCC requirement. 
The existing radio paging network alerting will operate with the NEXTGEN system the same as it 
operates on our EDACs system. 

Scanners - Radio transmissions on the NEXTGEN Fire/EMS Dispatch Talk Channel will be able to be 
received on existing scanners. All existing radio scanners can continue to be used for FIRE & 
EMS Page Alerting purposes as all communications on the Fire/EMS Dispatch Talk Channel will 
still be broadcasted over 154.980 Mhz Frequency. Since the NEXTGEN system is a digital system, 
talk groups and encrypted operations cannot be processed by analog scanners. 

How does this affect Radio Scanners?
Most current radio scanners being used such as, Uniden Bearcat Model 235, 245, 250, 780, 785, 895, 
Radio Shack Models PRO97, PRO 95, 93,94,92,91, 90, PRO 2052, 2053, 2067, 2066 and GRE radio 
scanners will not support re-banding in the newly assigned 800 MHz frequency band and APCO P-25 
Phase II. However, each of these scanners if tuned to the 154.980 MHz pager frequency will still be 
able to monitor the NEXTGEN Fire/EMS Dispatch Talk Channel. 

GRE Models PSR 700 and PSR 800 and PRO 107 will support re-banding but supports APCO P-25 
Phase I only. However, each of these scanners if tuned to the 154.980 MHz pager frequency will still 
be able to monitor the NEXTGEN Fire/EMS Dispatch Talk Channel. 

St. Mary’s County Radio Taskforce (SMCRTF) members contacted the three existing radio scanner 
manufactures regarding future availability to receive the APCO P-25, Phase II. To date, none of the 
manufactures have a product that is able to process an APCO P-25 Phase II signal. These 
manufacturers will have to determine when they will support the new standard by creating a product 
that is APCO P-25 Phase II compatible.