ATA Radio Alert Program

 

The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) issued a rule that all VHF radios be narrow banded by January 1, 2013.  This was an effort to provide more communication bands as the existing wide band frequencies were getting very crowded.  This rule essentially doubled the number of frequencies available for transmitting and receiving voice communications.
 

The trucking industry in Alaska responded to this rule by beginning to narrow band all their radios and during that process realized that many of the radios in use also had cross frequency or pirate frequency problems.  A VHF radio can only be used on a frequency or frequencies authorized by license from the FCC or by a written agreement with an FCC license holder for that frequency or frequencies.  Since there are many trucking companies that operate in Alaska that are properly licensed to operate their own company frequencies, the prospect of entering into individual written agreements between all these companies seemed to be an insurmountable task.    Looking for a better way, the Alaska Trucking Association (ATA) and its member companies began to talk with ProComm, one of the largest radio communication companies in Alaska to figure out how the industry might best deal with this issue. 

 

The ATA decided to apply for license to operate up to twelve (12) channels.  Recently, FCC approved the license application and with that license in hand, ATA is announcing its plan to operate an ATA Alert channel, an ATA Hail channel and 10 ATA Talk channels on the business band portion of the VHF frequency range.  This plan provides ATA member companies, and other truck operators willing to participate in this plan, with a channel to communicate an emergency or other road hazard, a channel to “hail” another driver and direct the other driver to one of the 10 ATA Talk channels.

 

 


ATA consulted with the State of Alaska, Department of Administration, Department of Public Safety, Alaska State Troopers, Department of Transportation and Public Facilities as well as with the Transportation Communications Coordinator at the American Association of State Highway Transportation Officials (AASHTO).  Each of these agencies was helpful in advising ATA and helping with license applications and other operational advice. 

 

As a result of this early coordination, the State of Alaska agreed to be a co-licensee on the ATA Alert Channel enabling emergency and hazard communication with the Alaska State Troopers, Alaska DOT&PF/Commercial Vehicle Enforcement Unit and other agencies that can assist in an emergency or have need to know of a hazard on the highway.  Plan participant drivers can also report hazard notifications to other drivers along the way. 

 

Aves Thompson, Executive Director of ATA said, “This is an excellent example of private and public sector problem solving.  We had an idea and State and Federal agencies assisted to help us make it happen.  For that we are grateful.  We believe this plan will provide a legal way for truck drivers to fill a communication gap that will help to achieve one of ATA’s top goals of promoting highway and driver safety.”  

 

 

 

 

Number of Radios  Member Annual Fee Non-Member Annual Fee
 1-10  $50  $150
 11-20  $100  $300
 21-30  $150  $450
 31-40  $200  $600
 41-50  $250  $750
 50 +  $500  $1500