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2004

The Range of Radio Frequencies
By: Ritinder Harry

 

Morris Bodnar

This picture depicts a single lane bridge over a gorge that is typical of many logging roads in BC.  This person had a very close call!

 

When we think of the logging or mining industries here in BC, radio frequencies are generally not one of the first things that come to mind. But, believe it or not, the use of radiocommunications has been a key contributor to economic growth in these resource industries. 

“To logging or mining truck drivers who travel to remote sites all over the province, radios are essential as they coordinate road safety,” explains
Morris Bodnar, District Manager of the Northern BC and Yukon office. 

 

In areas where logging, mining or oil and gas exploration occurs, narrow and unpaved roads are used to haul product or equipment in and out of work sites. These winding roads can be very dangerous with limited visibility. Morris explains that in order to safely navigate their route, loggers, truckers and other motorists need to have access to a particular frequency on their radios. “If another vehicle is using the same route, the radio will be used to warn you of an oncoming vehicle, providing sufficient time to pull out safely.” 

Problems arise when drivers travel to areas where different road frequencies are used, sometimes finding out too late that the posted radio frequency is not installed in their radio. 
 

Some of the signs you would find along these roads warning of dangerous conditions and the radio frequency in use in that area.

 

“With the steady growth in these industries over the past four decades and the ever increasing number of roads needing a new frequency, finding interference-free new assignments for road safety communications is like trying to find the next piece of your jigsaw puzzle,” explains Morris .

 

The numerous frequency assignments used by the trucking industry have resulted in interference to other authorized radio users, including police, fire and emergency services. This, because truckers travel large geographic areas, sometimes encompassing several provinces. 

Morris, along with Gord Hermann, Manager of the Kelowna District office, is working on a major reorganization of radio frequencies used for road safety communications. Upon completion, this project will reduce the number of different frequencies needed in a logging/mining truck radio by allocating a block of frequencies specifically for road safety.

This interprovincial project first began in October 2003, when a working group was established consisting of IC representatives from the Prince George, Kelowna, Surrey, Victoria, Calgary, and Edmonton District offices. 

The project is currently in a consultation phase with stakeholders and equipment suppliers, with feedback being extremely positive. Morris explains that “achieving our goal of designating exclusive spectrum for this purpose will make it easier for loggers and truckers to find the right road frequency, virtually eliminating the need to have 100 or more frequencies installed on their radios.” 

Morris believes this project is necessary and “will help Industry Canada better manage the radio spectrum - it’s going to be a win-win situation.”

 

 

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