What Is a Local Advisor?
The Advisors are a vital and current source of information for members requiring assistance in licensing their radio systems. The APCO Local Advisor Network consists of 61 men and women who are experts in the field of public safety communications and share their skills with APCO. They receive ongoing and technically advanced training in current FCC licensing and frequency coordination procedures. When the FCC releases new rules and changes to APCO, those items are immediately passed on to the Local Advisors.
Roles of the Local Advisor
- One of the most important roles Advisors perform is frequency coordination on applications that have been pre-screened by a regional processor. Advisors can help applicants with the coordination process, answer questions about FCC rules and procedures and investigate interference problems. They ultimately assign the frequency that agencies will use in the field.
- Advisors play an important role by staying involved in planning for 700 and 800 MHz spectrum allocations — from the planning stage through the licensing stage, and all the way through the second or third window of modifications. All the planning meetings the Local Advisors attend are time-consuming but show the depth of dedication they have for their communities. APCO appreciates the many man hours Advisors volunteer in the name of public safety communications.
- If your agency is in the planning stages of a new radio system, you will need to do some investigating to find out about frequency availability very early in the planning stage. Without sufficient spectrum, it may be necessary for you to gear your system to a different band, or location, borrow spectrum from other coordinators or plan to share with other agencies. The Local Advisor may be able to give you a fairly realistic but informal estimate of availability in his state or region, particularly if he has been at it a long time. It would be wise to get some early expert advice from him.
- Your Advisor will want to discuss a new system, particularly if it is a large system, or unique in some way, and can probably give you valuable tips on how to proceed. Depending on the amount of congestion at the site of the proposed system, it may also be appropriate to contact APCO’s Engineering Department for more specific information. The engineering staff can run searches that will pinpoint if interference will be an issue and the frequency band that offers the best availability. That could save an agency from committing further resources to a band or location that is not suitable for the proposed radio system. Keep in mind that APCO cannot hold frequencies so those that appear available at the time of the search may not be available when the application is submitted for coordination.
When to Contact Your Local Advisor
The Advisor knows the players; he’s familiar with the terrain, local frequency usage and local politics. She has connections that could save you time. If you have a question related to a new or existing radio system located in a specific area of the Advisor’s region, it would be wise to contact the Local Advisor rather than a regional processor.
Technical questions involving engineering studies should be referred to the AFC Engineering Department. Fees for services provided by APCO AFC are listed on the website under each service. The Engineering Department and Licensing Service can provide many services to make things flow smoothly from engineering, through the Licensing Service, and on to Frequency Coordination. Then your application will be sent electronically to the FCC.
AFC’s top-of-the-line frequency coordination, knowledgeable staff and expert Local Advisors will guide you through the frequency coordination process and speed you on your way to an FCC license.