A joint exercise between the Governments of Australia, New Zealand and the Kingdom of Tonga was undertaken to enhance the capabilities of the Tonga Police Service (TPS). A significant part of the upgrade was the design and installation of a comprehensive radio communications system.
Designed to provide radio coverage across the main island of Tongatapu and the other island groups of Vava’u and Ha’apai, the radio system comprises several VHF radio channels including P-25 digital equipment and an HF radio network for communications between the main island groups.
With approximately 400 kilometres between Tongatapu and the Vava’u island group, with the Ha’apai group in between, the challenges for reliable communications were many.
AA Radio encountered unique difficulties during the installation of the system from cyclones to transport chaos when the inter-island airline had problems with their aircraft. Despite the challenges, the system was successfully delivered on time.
Previously, the TPS had an insufficient radio network with unreliable coverage around Nukualofa.
On the island of Nomuka, an outer island of the Ha’apai group there are two resident policemen. Radio and telephone communications to Nomuka are unreliable, resulting in very little direct communications.
The AA Radio engineered VHF link from Ha’apai to Nomuka has provided direct radio communications from the District Office on Ha’apai to the Nomuka policemen. This is the first time the officers on Nomuka have had direct contact with their District Commander.
To provide a complete and successful comprehensive system, AA Radio worked closely with the TPS, New Zealand Police and Australian Federal Police during the project.
The system comprises a multi-site voting system and three separate VHF channels for Tongatapu and a single VHF radio channel for the island groups. At the Police Communications Centre in Nukualofa, AA Radio installed a Zetron dual position
console network allowing operators direct communications with all Police units on Tongatapu and the District Police Offices on Vava’u and Ha’apai.
The infrastructure had to be of the highest standards and capable of operating reliably for extended periods, as the support facilities in Tonga are limited; for this reason, AA Radio
The choice of Zetron Console equipment was based on previous experience with the equipment and the high degree of reliability shown in many systems implemented by AA
Radio. Not only was Codan HF radio equipment chosen for reliability but also its ability to have the main base transceiver located some distance away from the ‘Downtown’ Central Police Office, thus reducing the effects of local electrical noise.
The inclusion of an Automatic Link Establishment facility also meant that the radio operators had a very simple system from an operational perspective.
AA Radio provided training to the TPS members on their new communications system. A visit to the Kingdom by Princess Anne gave the locals a chance to try out their new radio
system under real-life conditions and the system passed with flying colours.
With the effectiveness of the new radio network coupled with a modern control centre, Tonga now has a radio communications network as good as any in the South Pacific.
Commander Chris Kelley of the TPS remarked on the positive impact the new radio communications network has had on his officers and the heightened credibility they are seeing in their daily policing activities.
This is yet another example of AA Radio’s philosophy to work closely with the customer to identify and understand their operational requirements in order to deliver a complete solution tailor made to meet their needs.March 20, 2012 11:48 pm
Categorised in: Case Studies
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