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Home > News > SCIP Monthly Update August 2011

SCIP Monthly Update August 2011


August 16, 2011


State of Maine Communications Interoperability Plan (SCIP)

National Emergency Communications Plan Goal 2 Reminder

Statewide Approach Overview Maine is using a statewide approach to demonstrate NECP Goal 2 demonstration for its 16 counties. MEMA has asked all County EMA Directors to prepare Goal 2 capability and performance information on behalf of their jurisdictions. After all data has been entered, the SWIC will verify the data and submit the report via the web-tool to the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Office of Emergency Communications (OEC) by September 30, 2011.

Performance Measurement For Goal 2 performance measurement, each County EMA Director will select a significant multi-jurisdictional/multi-discipline planned event, exercise, or real world incident that occurred after July 2008 to report. The SWIC will submit the data to OEC via the tool once all information is complete and verified by MEMA.

Maine NECP Goal 2 Timeline

  • August 2011 - SWIC verifies all capability
  • By 09/01/11 - SWIC submits Maine Goal 2 report to OEC

MEMA releases DVD in regards to Narrowbanding:

In September, 2010 MEMA released a DVD “Narrowband Will You Be Ready” that explains the Narrowbanding dilemma facing all of us. If you would like a copy of this DVD please contact Steven Mallory at (207) 624-4476

Border Interoperability Guide (BIG)

The B.I.G. guide is in the final stages of being completed and will be going to print soon…

Narrowband Conversion: It is extremely important when you narrowband your radios that you coordinate with your neighboring communities and also include State and County agencies. This lessens the requirement for you and other agencies having to reprogram your radios three (3) or four (4) times. Coordination with all your partners also alleviates the extra costs of reprogramming the radios as well. Programming your radios at the same time also minimizes the potential for loss of communication with other responding agencies, because both agencies would be operating on narrowband channels. If you would like more information and best practices on coordinating Narrowbanding, please contact the SWIC at 207-624-4476.


It is extremely important that when you program your radio to not program these frequencies with private line (PL) tones. The purpose of CONOPS is to have simple interoperable channels that all agencies will recognize and utilize at all times.


Do narrowbanding modification applications require frequency coordination or payment of Commission fees? No. A “straight” narrowbanding modification application requires neither frequency coordination (Pursuant to Section 90.175(j)(20) of the Commission’s Rules, 47 C.F.R. 90.175(j)(20)) nor payment of Commission fees (pursuant to Section 1.1116(a) of the Commission’s Rules, 47 C.F.R. 1.1116(a)). A straight narrowbanding modification application is an application to modify a license by deleting a wideband emission designator (occupied bandwidth in excess of 11.25 kHz) and, if necessary, adding one or more narrowband emission designators – but not changing the existing frequencies, emission types (the last three characters of the emission designator), locations, or other technical parameters of the license.

An application that reduces the occupied bandwidth but also alters other technical parameters, such as changing from analog to digital emissions, is not a straight narrowbanding modification application and requires both frequency coordination and payment of Commission fees.

Straight narrowbanding applications are fee-exempt pursuant to Section 1.1116(a) of the Commission’s Rules, which exempts applications filed for the sole purpose of modifying a license in order to comply with new requirements of the Commission’s rules. To file under the fee exemption, the applicant filling out FCC Form 601 must enter ‘yes’ responses to Items 9 (exempt from the application fee) and 10 (exempt from the regulatory fee). In addition, the applicant must respond ‘yes’ to Item 8 on Form 601 and submit an attachment explaining why the application is fee-exempt. The attachment type should be the 'fee exemption' attachment. It is recommended that licensees reference Section 1.1116(a) in the attachment explanation field and indicate that the filing was made exclusively to comply with the Commission's narrowbanding mandate.

Does the January 1, 2013 narrowbanding deadline apply to non-Part 90 VHF and UHF frequencies? No. The narrowbanding mandate applies only to Industrial/Business and Public Safety Radio Pool licensees in the 150-175 MHz and 421-512 MHz bands regulated under Part 90 of the Commission’s Rules. It does not apply to other services in these bands, such as the Amateur, Maritime, or Personal (Multi-Use Radio Service, General Mobile Radio Service, Family Radio Service) Radio Services.

What are the potential enforcement consequences to VHF/UHF licensees of failing to narrowband by January 1, 2013? As of January 1, 2013, the Commission’s rules will prohibit Industrial/Business and Public Safety Radio Pool licensees in the 150-174 MHz and 421-512 MHz bands from operating with wideband channels (unless their equipment meets the narrowband efficiency standard), even if the license still lists a wideband emission designator. Licensees operating in wideband mode after January 1, 2013 that have not received a waiver from the Commission extending the deadline will be in violation of these rules. Operation in violation of the Commission’s rules may subject licensees to appropriate enforcement action, including admonishments, license revocation, and/or monetary forfeitures of up to $16,000 for each such violation or each day of a continuing violation and up to $112,500 for any single act or failure to act. Go to for more information.

How to Modify your FCC License for Narrowband

The Narrowband tool was created to assist local agencies in modifying their FCC licenses for narrowband. The information shared during this overview is outlined below:

  • The narrowbanding tool provides a step-by-step guide which allows licensees to modify their own licenses. This saves the licensee money that they normally would pay to hire a technologist to modify their license.

  • To ensure that public safety agencies were aware of the narrowbanding mandate.

Want To Check the Narrowband License Status Of Your Town, City, or County?

OEC/ICTAP has created a Public Safety Technology Assistance Tool where you can check the status of your Narrowband license or those of your neighbors. Follow the link below, or go to the MEMA Narrowbanding website:

  • Select State
  • Select County
  • Select Cities
  • Select Frequencies and Transmitter types
  • Select Radio Services
  • Click on Map Data

A box will pop up that will show you your respective area and the total amount of Transmitters in that area:

Green balloon – Narrowband Transmitter

Blue balloon – Narrowband and Wideband

Red balloon – Wideband Transmitter

You can click on any of the balloons and it will show you the name and the call sign, and if it is Narrowband, wideband or both. It will also show you the address, point of contact and license status.

Maine conducted outreach to public safety agencies through the Maine Emergency Management Agency website, email, mail, and public service Narrowband DVD.

To utilize this tool go to MEMA’s Website and then Narrowbanding section or follow the link below:

Some other features of this tool are:

  • You can run a report and save to an excel file
  • You can search for mobiles
  • You can search by frequency
  • You can search by Call Sign

The information and data is supplied from the FCC to this website, and are updated frequently. Be careful if you try to run a report for the whole State, your computer will typically freeze up because of too much data…

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Below Are the Cutover dates for MSCommNet

Below Are the Cutover dates for MSCommNet Table 1. Important Migration & Cutover Dates for State of Maine (SOM) Narrowbanding and MSCommNet Projects SOM/CONOPS 2012 migration (simplex)

July 1, 2012

Commence - State of Maine radios programmed to narrowband CONOPS frequencies

October 31, 2012

Complete - State of Maine radios programmed to narrowband CONOPS frequencies

SOM/CONOPS 2012 cutover to narrowband

November 1, 2012

All CONOPS use shall operate on narrowband frequencies only (local, county & State CONOPS users)

SOM/MSCommNet 2012 equipment migration

May 1, 2012

Commence - State of Maine upgrade to new MSCommNet radios (4,500 radios+/-)

October 31, 2012

Complete – State of Maine upgrade to new MSCommNet radios

SOM 2012 cutover to MSCommNet and RegionNet

November 1, 2012 Cutover

Commence – State of Maine operates internally on digital network Commence – RegionNet analog interoperability with local and county agencies Discontinue – MEMA specific repeaters

SOM/MEMA 2012 repeaters migration contingency plan

September 2012

State Zone 4: Houlton Repeater @ #9 Mountain

September 2012

State Zone 3: Orono Repeaters @ Cadillac, Cooper, Harris & Passadumkeag

October 2012

State Zone 2: Augusta Repeater @ Granite & Huntoon

October 2012

State Zone 1: Gray Repeaters @ Ossipee & Spruce

SOM/MEMA 2012 repeaters cutover to narrowband contingency plan

November 1, 2012

All MEMA repeaters will operate narrowbanded

FCC 2013 Mandate to local, county and State agencies

January 1, 2013

Federal Communications Commission (FCC) narrowbanding deadline for everyone

MEMA Narrowbanding Planning Primer

  • Verify that your organization has a current and valid radio license
  • Conduct a full inventory of all radios in your system: Including all portable, mobile, dispatcher-used, wireless data or SCADA, and on or off-site base or repeater radios (include makes and models and, if possible, serial numbers)
  • Determine which equipment can be re-programmed and which must be replaced
  • Develop a "wideband"-to-"narrowband" system conversion plan that addresses

  • The replacement of any non-narrowband capable equipment.

  • The actual reprogramming of all radios in a system as close to simultaneously as possible.
  • Work closely with a professional two way radio service vendor.
  • Schedule and coordinate the actual system conversion (or cutover).
  • Make certain that all radio users have been advised in advance and are aware of the process.
  • Modify your FCC radio license to remove any "wideband" emission designators, replacing them with the correct "narrowband" ED’s.
  • Make any other changes or updates to a license that may be required.
  • Note that the conversion plan must be tailored for each agency.

Communications Unit Leader Type III (COML) A Communications Unit Leaders Type III as defined by the Department of Homeland Security is a person that, “Plans and manages the technical and operational aspects of the communications function during an incident or event.” In Maine, this person can either be an employee or volunteer of a Public Safety or an Emergency Management Agency with the interest of protecting the safety of the residents of the State of Maine. Individuals will need to complete Federal, State and Local Training Programs prior to becoming recognized. Incident response is categorized into five types according to incident magnitude and complexity.

Individual Training and Certifications

To be considered as a recognized COML the candidate must include:

  1. A public safety communication background with exposure to field operations; this experience should be facilitated by the authority that supervised the student.
  2. Fundamental public safety communications technology, supervisory and personnel management skills. These include, but are not limited to:
    • Knowledge of local communications and communications systems, frequencies and spectrum, technologies;
    • Knowledge of local topography;
    • Knowledge of system site locations; regional, state, and local Tactical Interoperable Communications Plans, if available;
    • Communications and resource contacts; and
  3. Completion of the following training courses --
    • COML Unit Leader Type III Training (COML)
    • Maine Interoperable Communications and CONOPS Training
    • COML Task book Signed by Local or County Official
    • IS-700, IS-800b, ICS-100, ICS-200, ICS-300

Upon successful completion of the required prerequisite criteria, candidates must be recommended by their respective County Emergency Management Agency or Incident.

Commander to obtain recognition from the State of Maine COML Course Offering

MEMA, through the Office of Emergency Communications Interoperable Communications Technical Assistance Program (OEC/ICTAP), is offering the All-Hazards Type III Communications Unit Leader (COML) Class at MEMA on September 20th-23rd, 2011. The COML program provides DHS approved National Incident Management System (NIMS) compliant Communications Unit Leader (COML) instruction to ensure that every state/territory has trained personnel capable of coordinating on-scene emergency communications during a multi-jurisdictional response. If you would like to attend please contact Steven Mallory at (207) 624-4476 or email at Do you know someone that wants to receive the SCIP Newsletter? It is simple to do, just follow this link to be put on the distribution list.

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Steven Mallory