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South Plains Electric Cooperative Upgrades to IDAS™ MultiTrunk

Bellevue, WA – Icom America is pleased to announce South Plains Electric Cooperative has selected an IDAS™ MultiTrunk network for continuous two-way radio coverage across the company's 7,000-square-mile service area in West Texas. The new MultiTrunk 6.25kHz digital solution offers seamless voice and data roaming, enabling the co-op to respond quicker and more efficiently to customer service requests and emergency situations while providing a simplified user experience for company employees.

South Plains Electric Cooperative serves rural electric customers across several counties in the South Plains regions of West Texas in addition to more than 11,000 residents within the city of Lubbock, where the co-op is based. The new system replaces South Plains' old 800 MHz radio system as well as two separate VHF systems inherited nearly a decade ago from mergers with the neighboring electric cooperatives.

The new fully digital 6.25 kHz MultiTrunk system includes six IP-linked repeater sites for seamless, wide area roaming across the cooperative's multi-county service area. South Plains' main Lubbock site contains five FR6000 100-watt repeaters; the other five sites have three repeaters each. The system also includes four IP-networked Telex dispatch consoles, 12 F6061B control stations tied to the Telex consoles, 90 F6061 mobile radios and 58 F4161 handheld radios for field technicians, line crews, underground crews and supervisory personnel.

"The new MultiTrunk system allows technicians in the field to drive across our area without changing the channel on their radio. It is very simple for end-users to operate," says Tim Warren, special projects engineer for South Plains Electric Cooperative.

According to Warren, the new system has significantly increased South Plains' radio coverage. "When selecting a new system, one of the most important features we considered was system coverage," Warren says. "With our old system, we didn't have enough repeaters for our [service] area. Now six repeater sites provide full coverage across our 7,000 miles of line."

IP networking provides a critical layer of redundancy should a repeater site go down in one of Lubbock's legendary ice or wind storms. For additional redundancy, the system also includes backup channels and IP-networked dispatch consoles.

Local communications company and Icom dealer Stenocall designed and installed South Plains' new MultiTrunk system in partnership with telecom distributor Walker and Associates. The system is expected to be fully operational by end of summer.

Introduced in early 2011, Icom America's new MultiTrunk technology offers IP connectivity between up to 16 sites for seamless wide area coverage. Each site has the capacity for up to 30 channels, and because no dedicated control channel is required, all channels are available for voice and data communication.

As part of Icom's IDAS product lineup, MultiTrunk features digital 6.25 kHz operation exceeds FCC narrowbanding requirements. Equipment is backward-compatible with analog technologies, allowing companies to gradually migrate to a 6.25 kHz digital system.

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