USFS’ Pacific Northwest Region Rolls Out Telex Equipment
Friday, July 10, 2020 | Comments

With coverage responsibility for more than 27 million acres of public land in the rugged Pacific Northwest, Region 6 of the U.S. Forest Service places a premium on reliability in its communications equipment. The vast majority of Region 6 dispatch centers use Telex hardware and software equipment.

Vast expanses of its territory are sparsely populated and without cellular coverage, making LMR the only viable option for field communications.

“We’ve been using Telex pretty uniformly since about 2009 or so,” said Jack Myers, Region 6 LMR manager. “We settled on Telex C-Soft as our main dispatch software around that time. We’ve got about 10 dispatch offices across the region, and each location customizes their own setup, since needs are different in each location. We take care of all our equipment in-house, including customization of the C-Soft screens in each individual dispatch center.”

A network of roughly 400 communications sites, mostly fixed repeaters, enable the dispatch centers to stay in touch with roughly 9,500 subscriber units across the region. Forest Service infrastructure is also used in cooperation with state and local agencies. Region 6 covers all of Oregon and Washington, along with parts of Idaho and California. It has nearly 4,000 full-time employees, a number that increases by 30% in the summer, when tourism, fire risk and daylight hours are all at their peaks.

Along with IP-based C-Soft dispatch consoles, Region 6 dispatch centers also standardized on Telex ADHB-4 digital interfaces. These digital headset boxes ensure stable and consistent audio performance for both input and output compared with a typical computer sound card. Designed as a companion to C-Soft via Ethernet, the ADHB-4 handles all common headsets, handsets and microphones, and supports six audio output channels.

For radio interfaces within the dispatch centers, Region 6 dispatch centers use Telex dual remote adapters as the gateways to connect their physical radios to the dispatch system. “All our dispatch locations use either the IP-224 or IP-223,” said Myers. “Our plan is to upgrade all the end pieces to IP-224s, but several of our locations still use the IP-223.”

The Telex equipment has kept pace with the region’s changing needs over the years, maintaining compatibility to legacy phone lines, as well as VoIP handling a variety of radio hardware and cellular systems to ensure that each dispatch station communicates smoothly with remote field agents; nearby 9-1-1 centers; and a variety of other federal, state and local agencies.

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