Single County Wide Communications System [SCWCS]

Radio System Q & A

What is the Single County Wide Communications System (SCWCS)?

The SCWCS is an integrated, seven-layered, next-generation interoperable network consisting of Public Safety Communications, intelligent transportation systems, and Lahar warning systems which primarily support Pierce County's 795,225 citizens to include some technologies which extend into Snohomish, King and Thurston counties.

SCWCS customers are primarily the citizens of Pierce County, public safety, public transportation, first responders, regional stakeholders (United States Geological Survey (USGS), Port of Tacoma, Washington State Patrol, Washington Department of Transportation, etc.), and general government.

SCWCS 7 Layer System Diagram Presentation Link

What is the coverage area?

The coverage area for the SCWCS is approximately 2,350 square miles (estimated using Pierce County GIS and Motorola coverage map)
Coverage Map

How many sites does the SCWCS have?

700 MHz System – 17 sites
VHF 410 150 – 174 MHz System – 3 sites
UHF 420 – 470 MHz Data System – 8 sites (6 sites shared with the 700 systems, 2 are stand alone)
VHF 150 – 174 MHz Overlay System – 11 sites (7 sites are shared with the 700 MHz system, 4 are stand alone)

What is a site?

A site will mainly consist of a tower, communications building, microwave, backup generator, DC power plant, and the associated radio equipment in the communication building and on the tower.

Can I talk to someone on a different frequency?

Yes, most first responders in Pierce County have radios with 3 frequency bands, 150 MHz, 700 MHz, and 800 Mhz. If a first responder is needing to communicate with someone on a different frequency band, they can turn to the channel that has the correct frequency. For example, a sheriff deputy normally communicates on the 700 MHz band, if that deputy needs to communicate with a park ranger, “who uses the VHF band”, the deputy can turn the channel on the radio to the park service channel and directly communicate with the park ranger.

What is interoperability?

Interoperability means the ability of communication systems to work together within and across organizational boundaries to advance the effective delivery of critical voice communications.

What are the redundant capabilities of the SCWCS?

There are multiple layers of redundancy that are associated with the SCWCS, such as:

  • Microwave loop protection
  • Backup generator systems - Onsite and Mobile
  • DC power plant systems
  • Complete redundant M-3 core
  • Subsystem overlapping coverage

What is the average number of calls over the SCWCS per month?

Approximately 900,000

Who are some of the stakeholders in the CCN?

City of DuPont (DuPont site)
Green Water Fire District 23 (Fire Station 2 site)
Key Peninsula Power (Spring Hill site)
Pierce County (Financial contributions)
Pierce Transit (Financial contributions)
Port of Tacoma (Grant funding)
South Sound 911 (Financial contributions)
Tacoma Public Utilities (Mineral Hill site)
Washington State Department of Transportation (Microwave and site use)
Washington State Patrol (Microwave and site use)

What are some of the benefits derived from those relationships?

Citizens directly benefit when government agencies take a strategic approach with building public service relationships. Taking advantage of these opportunities can revitalize citizen confidence and demonstrate how government agencies can deliver efficient tax-supported services, reducing duplication while providing more resilient services. This approach represents a positive shift in thinking, a reduction of silos, and better coordination and integration across traditional governmental and organizational boundaries.