The Brazos Valley Wide Area Communications System (BVWACS) is a coordinated effort to attain, both within the 7 county BVCOG region and with our neighboring regions, the targeted level of radio communications interoperability for all police, fire, EMS, and other emergency responders.
Interoperability is the ability of emergency responders to communicate as needed, on demand, as authorized, at all levels of government, and across all disciplines.
BVWACS was formally established in 2008 as a partnership of six entities (the cities of Bryan, College Station and Brenham, Brazos and Washington Counties, and Texas A & M University) in two BVCOG counties, to develop a standards-based, shared radio system that meets all the technical and operational requirements of Texas’ Statewide Communications Interoperability Plan (SCIP) and the National Emergency Communications Plan (NECP). The BVWACS system will also remove technology barriers between existing radio systems in the area, reduce coverage “dead spots,” and improve reliability and backup capabilities.
BVWACS, as a radio system, has partnered with Harris County’s Texas Wide Area Radio Network (TX-WARN) to provide interoperable “roaming” coverage to emergency responders throughout both systems’ areas. This feature will be particularly useful during hurricane evacuations from the coast since the Brazos Valley includes several evacuation routes and shelter hubs.
BVWACS is utilizing $ 2.8 million in federal grant funds from the Public Safety Interoperable Communications (PSIC) grant program to currently build out the necessary infrastructure at seven tower sites and four dispatch sites in the two counties. The six partner entities will provide more than $ 5 million in mobile and portable radios for their emergency responders to use on the new system.
BVWACS is an integral part of the state’s “system of systems” strategic plan to achieve statewide interoperability by 2015. Compliance with the state and federal plans is the key to being eligible to secure additional grants to expand the BVWACS system into the other five BVCOG counties. This expansion is expected and planned, as one city in a third BVCOG county has already inquired about joining the partnership.
BVCOG has contracted with the BVWACS partners to be the system’s “managing entity.” As such, BVCOG provides overall management of BVWACS for the acquisition, implementation, and operation of the system, including grant and contract administration, primarily through the employment of a full time system manager.
What is BVWACS?
BVWACS is a partnership of six entities (the cities of Bryan, College Station, and Brenham, Brazos and Washington Counties, and Texas A & M University) that operates the public safety radio infrastructure (radio tower sites and dispatch equipment) in Brazos and Washington Counties. Police, Fire, and EMS services in these two counties use the BVWACS radio system for their primary radio communications.
What kind of scanner will receive transmissions on the BVWACS system?
Scanners that include the 700 MHz public safety narrowband channels (769 – 775 MHz), and Motorola 9600 baud digital P25 trunking will receive BVWACS system transmissions. Examples of portable scanners with these capabilities are: Radio Shack PRO106, GRE model PSR500, and Uniden Model BC396XT.
What are the frequencies and talk groups used on the BVWACS system?
BVWACS is a part of the larger Texas Wide Area Communications System (TX-WARN) operated by Harris County. Detailed information, including sites, frequencies, and talk groups, for TX-WARN and many other public safety radio systems can be found in the “database” section of RadioReference.com (www.RadioReference.com).
BVWACS CONTACT INFORMATION:
Radio Systems Manager
(979) 595-2801 ext 2045