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Airport purchasing new radios

Digital system will comply with 2013 FCC mandate

Members of the Fort Wayne-Allen County Airport Authority Board of Directors approved the purchase of a new digital radio system Monday.

The new system will enhance communication with emergency services, county and state agencies and Smith Field.

The prior system did not allow communication between the airport ground and maintenance crews and Smith Field’s crews, said Craig Williams, the airport’s director of operations and facilities.

The new system is necessary to comply with an unfunded mandate from the Federal Communications Commission requiring all emergency call centers to “narrow-band” their communications frequencies by Jan. 1, 2013, Williams said.

Emergency Radio Service and J&K Communications Inc. responded with bids for the system, which includes radios, base stations and other equipment. J&K won the contract with a bid of $151,499.

Another portion of the enhanced digital system that will include higher-capacity radios will be up for approval at the December board meeting, Williams said.

Contract renewals

In other business, the airport board approved annual contracts with the Fort Wayne-Allen County Economic Alliance and the Greater Fort Wayne Chamber of Commerce.

The agreements have been in place for many years, said Scott Hinderman, executive director of the airport.

The 2013 agreement with the Economic Alliance increased by a bit more than 2 percent, at a cost of $304,408, Hinderman said.

The alliance is a private organization charged with facilitating business retention, expansion and attraction projects.

Most of the increase related to promotional work and professional services carried out on the airport’s behalf, he said.

The agreement with the Chamber of Commerce is also up slightly to $371,196, over this year’s cost of $367,468.

The Chamber’s Air Service Development Division is responsible for promotion of the airport to existing and potential airlines and also helps develop an overall marketing campaign for the airport.