East Bergen Radio History - East Bergen Emergency Management Association, circa 1993

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Nov 7, 2003
Once upon a time, the East Bergen Emergency Management Association was attempting to establish a common-ground communications platform within what used to be the 8 East Bergen communities. We had two challenges: funding and frequencies. As many EM directors had dual-duties with public works, and both Ridgefield and Cliffside Park operated on 155.955 MHz, we quickly settled on using the frequency with the Ridgefield tone. Leonia PD had just decommissioned its 37.26 MHz system, much of which was recent equipment (with a few Motorola Handi-Com portables). We used a "spare" Motorola Compa high band base and a GE MASTR-II low band base, hard-patched with a Heil RB-1 audio and keying interface. Ridgefield Company #2 was selected because of its vista to the west, covering the valley much of Palisades Park and Leonia were in. The Ridgefield Police repeater was also going in at the time, but not by us.

The system was very lightly used, and to my recollection, never used for an actual emergency past a few tests. The antennas were still there as of 2018, but the DB-201 we cut for 37.26 MHz was apparently cut short to VHF high band now. What came in on 37.26 went out on 155.955, and what came in on 155.955 went out on 37.26. A "set-up" and "knock-down" switch was in Company #2 so we could turn everything off if there was interference. This achieved cross-band "interoperability" before interoperability was a "thing." Bergen County subsequently set up a simplex municipal EM channel on 37.40 MHz. I chased a job to Missouri in 1996, and my associate left for Florida a year earlier in 1995. Joe Licata, the former EM Director of Fort Lee had attempted to set up a 500 MHz community repeater, per committee recommendation at the time, several years later.

A 29 year-old (and obviously under-fed) yours truly, and my Communications Committee deputy, the Captain of Co. #2, on antenna day.
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