FCC Seeks Comment on Virginia State Police Request to Increase Transmitter Power
Friday, February 12, 2021 | Comments

The FCC is seeking comment on a request by the Virginia Department of State Police for a waiver of the commission’s rules to increase the existing limit on power output for its mobile transmitter from 60 to 100 watts (W), with a maximum effective radiated power (ERP) of 150 W.

The state police seeks to increase the capacity of its existing LMR network, referred to as the Statewide Agencies Radio System (STARS), by upgrading it to use TDMA technology, while maintaining the existing geographic coverage on which the STARS public-safety communications system currently depends. In its petition, the police department said it investigated other spectrum and technology options and found no viable alternative for addressing its security and public-safety responsibilities.

STARS is a statewide shared LMR system using Part 90 public-safety channels, Part 80 VHF public coast channels and Part 22 VHF paging channels licensed by basic economic area (BEA) markets. The state police said in its petition that the commonwealth of Virginia concluded that the only practical way to meet the increasing capacity needs of its STARS LMR network is to upgrade from its existing FDMA technology to TDMA technology.

The police department asserted that the upgrade will create an imbalance between talk-in and talk-out coverage, resulting in a loss of geographical coverage that can best be addressed by increasing the Part 22 mobile transmitter power from 60 to 100 watts. The state police further claimed that its operation at this increased power level will not cause any interference to others operating on adjacent channels.

The FCC is seeking comment on the request from interested parties and specifically from entities whose operations could be impacted by the grant of the waiver request.

Comments are due March 15 and reply comments are due March 30. Find the full notice here.

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