Local Fire Departments Continue to Report Radio Issues


Some fire departments are still reporting radio issues in Starke County.

During the Aug. 20 meeting of the Starke County Council and Commissioners, several firefighters aired frustrations over the constant issues with the county’s radio system, reporting that they are unable to speak to one another and aren’t receiving their tones to respond to emergency situations.

Representatives from J&K Communications were in the county that week to remedy the situation and it seemed to work, until Ted Bombagetti from the Knox-Center Township Fire Department told the Starke County Commissioners Tuesday that he ran into the same, recurring issues Monday night.

“I sat with a 100 watt radio in my tanker parked at the jail and I couldn’t even talk to the jail,” said Bombagetti. “I sat there and I listened to Porter County, La Porte County and Pulaski County and guess what? They all come in perfectly clear on VHF. So they’re not getting the static problems that we’re having, but yet our guy keeps telling us it’s because of the narrowbanding. Something is wrong somewhere!”

Another firefighter reported issues Monday night and alerted Commissioner Charlie Chesak of the problems he experienced.

IT Director Richard Franks confirmed that tone checks are clearing and J&K Communications is continuing to look into the issue. They’re expected to be in Starke County today (Thursday, Sept. 6).

Bombagetti agreed to contact another company to check the system to see what the underlying issue is so the firefighters, first responders, police and EMS can all talk to each other without any problems as it’s an extreme safety issue.

The commissioners agreed that the issue needs to be solved and they assured that steps are being taken to alleviate any lingering issues.