Until recently, the responsibility for monitoring maritime distress voice messages on MF/HF and VHF marine radios along Australia’s coastline belonged to the Australian federal government. But several years ago, this responsibility shifted to each of Australia’s states and territories. For the state of Western Australia, the Western Australia (WA) Water Police assumed this responsibility.
The challenges: new responsibilities for the WA Water Police
The Water Police faced a number of challenges as it prepared to take on its new role. Western Australia is the second largest subnational area in the world, with a coastline that is nearly 13,000 kilometres long. In order to monitor this extensive coastline, the WA Water Police had to expand its communications centre and equip it with an appropriate communications control system. They enlisted the help of Zetron Australasia to design and assist in the deployment of the new communications control system.
The solution: a two-pronged project
Daniel Oliphant, Zetron Australasia Territory and Product Manager, explains Zetron’s role in the project: “There were two main components to the solution we provided for the Water Police. One component was the new control centre and its equipment. The other was an upgrade of the infrastructure equipment for some of the radio network. Zetron provided the ACOM system as the solution for the control centre and multiplexer, and the microwave equipment for the radio network. We were also involved in managing the control centre project, providing the integration for anything that was to work with ACOM .”
ACOM was chosen for the communications centre because it would integrate with other equipment, provide extensive interoperability, and could be customised to meet the specific needs of system operators.
ACOM also gave operators the control over their HF radios that was crucial to the system. “Because they only had a limited number of radios to monitor multiple channels, they needed to be able to change the channels and control the radios,” says Oliphant. “We were able to configure the ACOM so it would give them data control of the radios.”
Other key elements of the system included:
- AMUX multiplexing equipment.
- Short term IRR and long-term voice recording.
- Connection to a PABX for internal and external telephone calls.
- Predefined monitor groups for easy monitoring of multiple radio circuits to an external speaker system.
Additional vendors provided equipment to upgrade the radio network with different types of radio systems, battery backups and specialised interfacing equipment.
The results: a user-friendly, integrated system
The system is working well for the WA Water Police. It is providing a user-friendly, integrated communications platform that makes it easy to use all of the necessary radio and telephony equipment from the one console position.
Zetron’s customer support also contributed to the project’s success, according to the project manager, Gary Caudwell, Acting Sergeant for the WA Police Radio and Electronic Services Unit: “The technical support from Zetron was excellent,” he says. ”We went through many changes in the radio and console configuration in the early stages of the installation. The Zetron people were extremely helpful and willing to assist us throughout this process.”