NEW HANOVER COUNTY, NC (WECT) – Several people in the area listen in to emergency scanners to get a sense of what's going on in town. A recent change, however, has some radio enthusiasts now hearing silence.
New Hanover County Emergency Services switched from an analog to digital radio systems at the beginning of 2011, but that wasn't the end of analog. The county patched the two systems together for any agencies that were slow to the switch.
Last month the county had to remove the patch to make room for more capabilities. Without the patch, the county won't broadcast on analog scanners.
While the switch is inconvenient for occasional listeners, NHC Emergency Management & 911 Communications Director Warren Lee says the priority goes to the actual communicators.
"It could be a life or death situation for them if they were not able to communicate," said Lee.
Lee said you'll need a digital scanner to keep up with what's happening in first responder chatter. He said they're a little more expensive than the analog scanners, but you'll need it because they don't plan to patch back to analog radios again.
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