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FAQ

1. What is the West Virginia 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/anyone 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 SIRN funded?
14. How do I get my radios programmed to work with the SIRN?
15. How does my agency get radios operational on the SIRN?
16. Can I get additional talkgroups that are unique to my agency?
17. Can I help the SIRN?

1. What is the West Virginia Statewide Interoperable Radio Network (SIRN)?
The West Virginia Statewide Interoperable Radio Network is a partnership of municipal, county, state and federal 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. Currently the SIRN has over 85 sites operational and provides coverage throughout most of West Virginia. 

2. Who can participate in the SIRN?
Any public safety agency (municipal, county, state or federal) that operates in WV can utilize the SIRN.
 
3. How is the SIRN governed and managed?
By West Virginia State Code, the SIRN is governed by the W est Virginia Statewide Interoperable Executive Committee (SIEC). The SIEC advises the Statewide Interoperability Coordinator, state Homeland Security Advisor, and the Governor on statewide priorities related to interoperable communications, provides day‐to‐day governance of the SIRN and system maintenance . The SIEC is a cross‐functional body that is comprised of representatives from multiple agencies. (SIRN Legislation)

4. How can my agency participate in the SIRN? (SIRN Step-By-Step Guide)
Any agency wishing to participate in the SIRN must complete and submit an application to the SIEC (SIRN Participation Application). Once submitted, the application will be reviewed and voted on by the SIEC. 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 West Virginia?
SIRN currently has over 85 sites operational and provides coverage throughout most of West Virginia. It does not work everywhere in the state. 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. West Virginia is also unique in that the National Radio Quiet Zone is located in the state and special attention must be paid to RF in that area and the interference it causes the observatory.

7. Can I talk to everyone/anyone 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 municipal, county, state or federal agency that uses that SIRN to communicate with each other at one time. The SIRN is a P25 UHF trunk system and is not compatible with MotoTurbo, NexEdge, IDAS, etc. End user equipment must be listed on the SIRN Approved Equipment List

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). Agencies can decide which products on the approved listing are the best for how their agency will operate.

10. How can I buy new subscriber equipment that is compatible with the SIRN?
The SIEC has published and updates, as necessary, the list of approved equipment on the SIRN website that lists each approved device, both mobile and portable, as well as the level of service the device operates at. The SIEC does not provide vendor lists.

11. Does the SIRN charge a user fee?
No. Any public safety agency (municipal, county, state or federal) that operates in West Virginia can utilize the SIRN at no charge. Agencies are asked to contribute what they can to the build out and maintenance of the SIRN.

12. Can an entity install their own SIRN site?
Yes, they can build an SIRN site in cooperation with the SIEC. However, the project must meet the specifications developed by the SIEC, and once completed, the new SIRN site will become part of the SIRN.

13. How is 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. SIRN maintenance and sustainability is currently funded from limited state funds and by partner agencies who assist by covering operations expenses for sites, such as utility bills and fuel for generators, as well as assisting in purchasing repair parts or covering costs of repairing equipment as needed.

14. How do I get my radios programmed to work with the SIRN?
The SIEC maintains a list of authorized programmers for the SIRN. Please visit the SIRN Programming page on our website for additional information.

15. How does my agency get radios operational on the SIRN?
Each agency has a designated point of contact (POC) who can assist with radio ID assignments and adding them to the SIRN.

16. Can I get additional talkgroups added that are unique to my agency?
Under certain circumstances as defined by the SIRN Operations Policy it is possible for an agency to be granted an additional talkgroup.

17. Can I help the SIRN?
Many agencies partner with the SIRN and help maintain sites and equipment that are located in their jurisdiction. A county and SIRN may work together in ways such as a county would cut the grass and trim at the tower sites, purchase fuel for generators as needed, allow SIRN equipment in county owned buildings, pay utility bills and maintain site access roads as examples. Individual participation in your regional RIC is also a good way to participate and keep up to date on SIRN issues.

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