The Starke County Sheriff’s Department’s radio tower is back up and running at near-full capacity, but IT Director Joe Short said it’s still not in ideal condition. Because the tower had been damaged during the storm, it was shortened, and new regulations in the city of Knox prohibit the department from building a tower taller than 100 feet.
Radio engineers had replaced the two antennas atop the tower earlier this week at an estimated cost of $2200 per antenna, but Short said the final price came out less than that at around $4000 total. He said there was some concern over whether or not the coax cable would need to be replaced running up the tower; fortunately, however, he said the coax cable checked out and they are running between 99–100 percent efficiency. While it’s not ideal, and the antennas do not have the range they would like, Short said this is as good as it’s going to get until they decide on the location for the new tower.
Short said he is currently working on putting a spec sheet together with the requirements for the tower, including the recommended height of 180 feet, and the necessity of a battery backup and remote link back to the current county jail.
He said his spec sheet will likely be completed before the jail committee decides on a location for the new jail and radio tower to be built, but he said he will be able to plug the new location into the spec sheet and send it out for bids. When they decide on a location, Short said, he will need a core sample of the ground to send to the tower company so they can get the foundation put together appropriately.