March 20, 2013
Michael Lee Lockwood
Austin, TX – The Texas Parks & Wildlife Department is the state agency responsible for managing and conserving the natural and cultural resources of Texas. They provide hunting, fishing and outdoor recreation opportunities to visitors throughout 55 state parks, 4 state forests, 5 fish hatcheries and various other parks and recreation facilities. The department’s law enforcement division comprises two communications centers—one in Austin and one in La Porte—as well as 30 law enforcement offices throughout the state. Texas game wardens communicate using a vast network of two-way radio repeater systems operated by Texas Parks & Wildlife. These repeaters are linked to the communications centers using Telex IP-223 dual IP remote adapter panels on the Parks & Wildlife IP network.
Each communication center is equipped with Telex C-Soft IP dispatch consoles, allowing the operator to communicate on any number of repeaters on the system individually or simultaneously. Though the communications centers are located approximately 180 miles apart, the IP connections at both locations enable statewide communications resources. “This provides a whole new level of redundancy and flexibility for Parks & Wildlife,” says Michael Lockwood, Regional Manager with Telex Radio Dispatch. “Previously, each communications center operated independently of the other, and dispatchers in Austin were unable to communicate on repeaters monitored in La Porte, and vice versa,” he adds.
The department recently added several Telex IP-223 devices to their system, thus eliminating the need for costly leased-line circuits. One of these locations is atop the San Jacinto Monument near Houston, TX. The monument was completed in 1939 and commemorates the Battle of San Jacinto, the decisive battle of the Texas Revolution. This monument is constructed of concrete and Texas shell stone, measures 567 feet tall and is topped with a 220-ton star. By comparison, the Washington Monument is only 555 feet tall, making the San Jacinto monument the tallest vertical monument in the United States.
An observation deck near the top of the monument allows nearly 250,000 annual visitors to gaze out over the Houston ship channel and south towards the Gulf of Mexico, and also view the downtown Houston skyline. A small equipment room directly above this deck houses radio equipment owned by Parks & Wildlife. Historically, the radio equipment was connected via analog leased circuits back to the La Porte communication center. Today a Telex IP-223 has been installed and interfaced to the radio equipment. An IP connection was already at the monument site, connected back to the Austin and La Porte communication centers. The C-Soft consoles can now control the equipment via the C-Soft IP consoles, allowing them to have much greater functionality than before. “They have been able to terminate the old, antiquated leased lines,” says Lockwood, “which in the long run is going to be a huge cost savings for the State. Ultimately, the Telex equipment will pay for itself by the reducing the amount of recurring charges they were being billed.”
This project was coordinated by Michael Lockwood, Regional Manager with Telex Radio Dispatch, in cooperation with the Texas Parks & Wildlife department, D&G Communications and Industrial Communications.