August 2016 Issue Text-Only Printable PDF
 Publisher:  Information Station Specialists
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Grainger Adds Emergency/Health Info Radio Station to Online Catalog
LAKE FOREST, IL: For the first time, a national supply company - Grainger - is offering an Emergency Information Radio Station in its online product catalog. Beyond industrial supplies, Grainger, this summer, began offering Information Station Specialists’ new "IRiSTM Emergency Information Radio Station" (and related accessories) in its line of emergency communication products.
Grainger Emergency Information Radio Station
This product, dubbed IRiS (short for Incident Radio Information Station), is the first portable radio station with the option to be controlled via cell modem and is available solely through Grainger. It also sports the most compact case size of any portable station on the market. Government agencies with a Grainger contract might be able to acquire the product without going through a bidding process, for simplified procurement. [Note, Information Station Specialists has since discontinued offering its products through Grainger. See RadioSTAT instead.]
Don't Drive East!
Information Radio Station Assists Community during Blue Cut Fire
SAN BERNARDINO COUNTY, CA: August 16th started out a relatively normal Tuesday in the California high desert until the first fire call came in at 10:37 AM.  Within an hour the Blue Cut fire, whipped by ferocious winds, was ravaging 1000 acres of drought-parched land in the Cajon Pass and threatening communities along the Interstate 15 corridor northeast of San Bernardino. Incident commander Mike Wakoski explained that the Pass acts as a wind tunnel, accelerating wind speeds by up to 30 miles per hour.
At 3:22 that afternoon the San Bernardino County sheriff contacted the Community of Wrightwood, California, to order residents to evacuate immediately. The request was made that the community’s Emergency Advisory Radio Station on AM 1610 be utilized to direct residents to evacuate to the west, because routes to the east were likely ablaze.

Fewer than 48 hours later, the blaze had grown to engulf 31,000 acres, severed an interstate highway and forced the evacuation of more than 80,000 area residents.

States Wrightwood’s fire safe council director John Aziz:  “Our community evacuation went smoothly; and no structures were burned. Other areas were not so fortunate.”

More than 100 homes elsewhere in the fire’s path and did not survive.
The Blue Cut Fire ranks as the 20th most destructive wildfire in state history, according to Daniel Berlant, a spokesman for the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection.
Virginia DOT Upgrades HARs
Higher Quality Audio and Range for Motorists
RICHMOND, VA: Virginia Department of Transportation has become the first DOT to take advantage of new FCC rules that allow the addition of audio processors to its Highway Advisory Radio (HAR/TIS) Stations. The upgrades were implemented as part of an improvement program on a set of eight synchronized stations along the I-64 Corridor and in the Hampton Roads (Norfolk, Virginia Beach, Newport News) areas.
In March of 2015, the FCC approved a bandwidth increase for the service and, in February of this year, approved the HQ 5.2 Audio Processor specifically for insertion in the Highway Advisory Radio audio chain. The State of Michigan took advantage of the same FCC rule change, and made a similar upgrade using a related technology at the pair of stations that flank the Mackinac Bridge in February. (See the article.)

Audio processors enhance the intelligibility of the HAR signals by increasing the bandwidth 67% and thereby adding brightness and consonance to the broadcast. They additionally increase the average modulation of the signals, which results in a louder band presence and increased effective range.
New Audio Processor
The HQ 5.2 Audio Processor is shown installed at VDOT's HAR station located near Newport News, Virginia.
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Information Radio Stations is a generic term synonymous with Travelers Information Stations (TIS), Highway Advisory Radio Stations (HAR) / Highway Information Systems & Low Power Radio Stations (LPR). Operation of the stations is governed by FCC Part 90.242 Rules. A FCC license is required. Information Radio Stations may be fixed or portable. Subcomponents may include transmitter, antenna and ground system, digital voice player, wattmeter, cabinet with conventional or Corbin locks, lightning arrestors for RF, power and telephone lines, coaxial cable. Most stations employ black maximized antennas to discourage ice accumulation and security measures to prevent unauthorized program access. Options include synchronization, battery backup, solar power, remote programming by local, network or telco, multi-station audio distribution via RF or LAN / WAN or wireless network.