$1.2M upgrade for Cayman’s communications tower

The communications tower at Northward is getting a makeover. – Photo: Taneos Ramsay

Cayman’s 27-year-old communications tower at Northward will be getting a makeover.

The Department of Public Safety and Communications has issued a request for proposals to build a new tower, which it said will form an integral part of the National Emergency Notification System.

The system enables government to broadcast emergency announcements to the public on local radio frequencies or through text message alerts. Last month, the NENS radio alert system had its first trial run.

According to Hazard Management Cayman Islands, Cayman is one of the first countries in the Caribbean to have a national alert system in place.

The RPF is inviting proposals for a three-legged lattice communications tower. The closing date for submissions is 18 Oct.

The DPSC, in response to questions from the Cayman Compass, said work has already commenced on clearing the site and engaging local consultants for the project.

The department said the communications tower is a critical part of the Cayman Islands Public Safety Communications network.

The current 260-foot antenna tower is located at the rear of Northward Prison and was constructed in 1992.

“Life expectancy of this type of tower is 25-30 years, especially in tropical /salt air climate,” the department said. “The new tower constructed as part of this project will replace the existing outdated tower.”

The new tower will be located on Crown land approximately 1,000 feet north of the prison.

It is expected to integrate a number of existing services, such as radio frequency repeater services for local radio stations, the local weather service transmitter (107.9 FM) and microwave connectivity for the Kearney Gomez Weather Station in East End.

The tower will also include new services, such as the VHF transceivers that will allow the Cayman Islands Coast Guard and other marine vessels to communicate more efficiently, according to the DPSC.

The NENS will also incorporate an app through which residents who sign up will receive emergency messages to their smart phones.