(Current as of March, 2018)
The Next Generation ("NextGen") RCS Project will replace the now 21-year old proprietary RCS Network equipment with new equipment that operates using the APCO Project 25 open standard for public safety radio communications. Installation of the NextGen equipment at the 50 remote radio sites is underway. Completion of the equipment and antenna installation is planned for the June 2018 time frame. Once the installation is complete, then operational and acceptance testing of the new network will start and run through the end of 2018. Upon completion of the acceptance testing, Project staff will start migrating users from the current network to the NextGen network in early 2019. Planning for this transition process is underway and details will be released when they are available later this year.
Work is also underway to program the more than 20,000 user radios to operate on the new network. This programming entails adding the new system information to the individual radio, so as to allow the radio to operate on the current network, or at the appropriate time, shift to the new network.
Radios that have been reprogrammed will have two 'sets' of Zones and Talkgroups programmed. A user can tell if the radio has been programmed for the new network by checking for an Asterisk (*) as the first character of the Talkgroup ID on the display (such as '*SDCoCALL'). If one of the new network Zones are selected, the radio will report that it is "Out Of Range"; in this case, the user should cycle through the Zones in the radio to locate the other set of Zones without the Asterisk as the first character of the Talkgroup ID.
The RCS has developed a detailed Advisory (2018-10) covering the programming process and timeline. It should be referred to for additional information.