WV.gov

FAQ

1. What is the WV Statewide Interoperable Radio Network (SIRN)?
2. Who can participate in the SIRN?
3. How is the SIRN governed and managed?
4. How can my agency participate in the SIRN?
5. Do I have to switch to using the SIRN?
6. Does the SIRN work everywhere in WV?
7. Can I talk to everyone/anybody on the SIRN?
8. Will the SIRN provide portable/handheld radio coverage?
9. What types of subscriber equipment (portables and mobiles) are compatible with the SIRN?
10. How can I buy new subscriber equipment that is compatible with the SIRN?
11. Does the SIRN charge a user fee?
12. Can an entity install their own SIRN site?
13. How is the build out of the SIRN funded?
14. How do I get my radios programmed to work with the SIRN?
15. Can I start using the SIRN now?

1. What is the WV Statewide Interoperable Radio Network (SIRN)?
The WV Statewide Interoperable Radio Network (also known as the SIRN) is a collaborative effort by state, county, and municipal public safety entities to establish and maintain a state‐wide interoperable radio network. This radio network is comprised of a UHF digital P25 compliant trunked radio system that utilizes some of the latest technologies in the radio industry. Currently the SIRN has over 70 sites operational and provides coverage throughout most of WV. 

2. Who can participate in the SIRN?
Any public safety agency (federal, state, county, and municipal) that operates in WV can utilize the SIRN.
 
3. How is the SIRN governed and managed?
By Executive Order of the Governor of WV, the SIRN is administered by the WV Statewide Interoperable Executive Committee (SIEC). The SIEC advises the Governor, the state Homeland Security Advisor, and the Statewide Interoperable Coordinator on statewide priorities related to interoperable communications, provides day‐to‐day governance of the SIRN, serves as the primary mechanism for updating policies, procedures, and guidelines, identifies new and developing technologies and standards, and enhances the coordination of all available resources for public safety interoperable communications in WV. The SIEC is a cross‐functional body that is comprised of representatives from several state agencies, the WV Enhanced 911 Council, the WV Sheriff’s Association, the WV State Fire Commission, the WV Association of Public Safety Communications Officials, the WV Emergency Management Council, the WV Emergency Services Advisory Council, and local emergency managers and first responders.

4. How can my agency participate in the SIRN?
Any agency wishing to participate in the SIRN must complete and submit an application to the SIEC (SIRN Participation—Form #1). In addition to some basic information (address, phone number, official representative, etc.), the agency will need to indicate the level of participation desired, describe how they will use the SIRN, and list the number of subscriber units. Once submitted, the application will be reviewed and voted on by the SIEC. However, prior to the SIEC voting on the application, a representative of the SIEC will work with the applicant to answer questions and to explain the philosophy, ideology, and policies of the system. A discussion may also occur concerning legacy radio system interface needs and options. Not all agencies will utilize the SIRN in the same way. By design, the SIRN is scalable. An agency may wish to use the SIRN only for basic interoperability with outside entities by using a small number of control stations and subscriber units on the system or perhaps they wish to connect to the SIRN through a radio gateway. Conversely, an agency may wish to use the SIRN all its operations with 10 or more control stations, 20 or more talk groups, and hundreds of subscriber units. Many entities choose to begin using the SIRN on a small scale and then grow their use of the system over time. The most important thing is to communicate your interest in the SIRN by submitting an application and then to work with the SIEC on developing your requirements. 

5. Do I have to switch to using the SIRN?
No. The participation of an agency is entirely up to that organization.

6. Does the SIRN work everywhere in WV?
No. While the SIRN does currently have over 70 sites operational and provides coverage throughout most of WV, it does not work everywhere in the state. The SIEC continues to manage the build out of the SIRN. New sites are being constructed each year. Given the terrain in WV, even once the construction of the SIRN network is complete, it will be impossible to provide SIRN coverage in every hollow within the state. 

7. Can I talk to everyone/anybody on the SIRN?
One of the common misconceptions concerning interoperable radio systems is that you can communicate with any agency or individual at any time. Many people believe that this is the whole reason for interoperability. In reality though, you would not want each federal, state, county, or municipal agency that uses that SIRN to communicate with each other at one time. Radio systems, by nature, are complex. Radio equipment operates on different frequency bands (such as VHF, UHF, 700Mhz, 800Mhz, etc.), uses different standards, and can be configured and programmed to do different things (such as conventional or trunking operations). For two individuals to communicate with each other using the SIRN they must have radios compatible with the system, their radios must be programmed to use the SIRN, and both individuals must be using the same talkgroup. 

8. Will the SIRN provide portable/handheld radio coverage?
The SIRN is designed to provide a high probability of mobile/vehicle mounted radio coverage within its network service areas. While portables/handhelds will work with the SIRN, you do sacrifice some coverage in order to get a smaller form factor and to increase portability. This is simply due to the fact that the average portable/handheld radio transmits at either 4 or 5 watts while a mobile/vehicle mounted radio transmits at 40 watts.

9. What types of subscriber equipment (portables and mobiles) are compatible with the SIRN?
The SIEC has established a listing of approved subscriber equipment (portables and mobiles) for the SIRN. This listing is available on the SIRN website (Approved Equipment List). Equipment is classified in 4 tiers of operation ranging from full state‐wide operation with seamless roaming and encryption to equipment that may not be capable of statewide functionality, limited to no roaming, and no encryption. Agencies can decide which products on the approved listing are the best for how their agency will operate. The SIEC does welcome any vendor that wishes to have their products tested and approved for use with the SIRN.

10. How can I buy new subscriber equipment that is compatible with the SIRN?
There is subscriber equipment available on the state contract and on the contract maintained by Harrison County. Agencies can purchase equipment through these two contracting mechanisms.

11. Does the SIRN charge a user fee?
No. Any public safety agency (federal, state, county, and municipal) that operates in WV can utilize the SIRN at no charge. Agencies are asked to contribute what they can to the build out and maintenance of the SIRN. Some examples of contributions made in the past by various agencies include property for a tower site, frequencies, or road maintenance.

12. Can an entity install their own SIRN site?
If an agency has the funding to do so, then yes they can build an SIRN site. However, the project must meet the specifications developed by the SIEC. Once completed, the new SIRN site will become part of the collective network.

13. How is the build out of the SIRN funded?
Construction of the SIRN has been funded primarily through three sources; federal grants, state funds provided by the State Legislature and the Governor, and through items supplied by partner agencies.

14. How do I get my radios programmed to work with the SIRN?
The SIEC maintains a group of authorized programmers for the SIRN. Please contact one of the members of the SIEC for assistance.

15. Can I start using the SIRN now?
The system is under construction throughout the state. It is considered to be complete in only five counties (Harrison, Marion, Monongalia, Berkeley, and Jefferson). In all other areas, the degree of completion varies. It may be several years before it is complete in your area. When an agency submits an affiliation request, the SIEC can work with them to determine the recommended extent of usage in their area of operations

Privacy, Security and Accessibility | WV.gov | USA.gov | © 2017 State of West Virginia