PSERN Bulletin | April 2019


Why is There a Radio Tower in my Neighborhood?


The process of determining where a radio tower is built is a complex and long process, often taking years to complete before you even see the tower constructed. 

Because a radio network, made up of radio towers, must provide coverage over a pre-determined populated area we first must consider the terrain and topography of the area. For example, flat terrain requires fewer towers and less infrastructure while a hilly or mountainous terrain requires many towers and more infrastructure. The reason for this is the radio signal that travels from the users –a firefighter or police officer— to an antenna must be unobstructed. While the signal can pass through some trees and structures it cannot pass through land forms like mountains. Where a radio tower is placed is a complex decision decided by a team of engineers including Radio Frequency, Civil, and Structural engineers, along with construction professionals who all carefully review and calculate the feasibility of a new site. 

Much like commercial wireless facilities—think cell phones— emergency radio networks must go through the same approval processes that private networks do, including; environmental review, zoning and permitting, legal lease review, landlord negotiations and acceptance, budget review, and feasibility of construction so that the radio tower operates as it was designed to.

A new or enhanced radio system is designed and developed with a well-orchestrated group of professionals. Although it may seem as though a tower has popped up in your neighborhood seemingly out of nowhere, it has taken many years of complex design and review by a bevy of professional. They have determined that not only is the tower location safe but it is effective in providing reliable coverage to your neighborhood in case of an emergency. 

Are You Getting New Radios?

Only a few more inventories to go!

Without a radio inventory, the PSERN Project will be unable to replace your agency's radios. Your radio inventory must be submitted now to

Contact the PSERN Outreach staff for any questions.

  • Call: 206-47-PSERN / 206-477-7376
  • Email:  

Also, visit the PSERN website to see the standard features and functions list for radios currently approved for replacement. When working on your agency radio inventory, keep in mind the following:

  • Radios will only be exchanged if they are active in the system.
  • Every active radio equals a monthly cost to your agency.
  • End of life consideration.
    • Radios exchanged for radio deployment are free to the agency but agencies should consider replacement cost at end of life. (Consider 10 years after purchase.)

Project Schedule

  • Countywide radio inventory to be completed by March 29, 2019
  • End-User Radio Training-- more information to come in the spring of 2019
  • Dispatch Console Training from June 2019* -- September 2019*
  • System Optimization and Coverage Testing to be completed in September 2020* 
  • Deployment of radios to users from December 2020* -- September 2021*

*Dates are subject to change

Contact Us

If you would like to request more information about this project, or would like an in-person presentation for your organization, please contact the PSERN team via the information below. Please include your name, title, organization, and the best way to contact you. Someone will return your inquiry within one business day.


For general information about the PSERN Project: 



For any questions about the project or its staff:

Call: 206-47-PSERN / 206-477-7376



For questions about how your distributed antenna systems (DAS) and/or Bi-directional amplifiers (BDAs) will be affected by PSERN contact: