VoiceStar Portable Advisory Radio Station
NIMS ESF #3
VoiceStar is a
portable Information Radio Station, ready to roll – available with or without a
changeable message sign or with the sign alone. Stations are often integrated into a system of several units
to instantly notify the public at highway
construction zones, traffic incidents and in health and safety emergencies.
Via solar power and wireless communication, operators may
program broadcast messages and changeable signs remotely.
VoiceStar stations are made available through the
American Signal Company, an ISS partner.
Powered by a robust array of solar panels and battery backup,
VoiceStar can go anywhere, anytime – built to operate in a
sustainable way in isolated locations without regular
attendance. When optioned, the radio messages and sign text (if
a Changeable Message Sign is chosen) may be programmed locally
or remotely via cell service.
VoiceStar is a 'quick startup' and can be broadcasting and/or
providing its message display in fewer than 5 minutes.
the trailer, the operator swings up the antenna, lays out the
portable groundplane and flips on the power. Batteries are
immediately online. If AC power is
available, the operator has the option of plugging in and
charging the system’s batteries while operating. The solar array
is aligned flat to allow positioning of the trailer in any
VoiceStar's patented groundplane system offers a signal range to
match that of fixed Information Radio Stations (25-75 square
miles). But only VoiceStar provides the option for 2 transmitters – of
the same or different frequencies – in the same cabinet, with
single-switch changeover between transmitters. This allows the
operator to change frequencies or change to a backup transmitter
quickly, in the field.
VoiceStar’s bright lensed-LED Changeable Message Sign allows
many message programming options and is available in Character
Matrix, Line Matrix or Full Matrix formatting.
Options permit broadcast management by conventional
tone-and-voice operation via a dialed-up cell phone connection
or via a cell modem, allowing transfer of audio message files to
the station. When operated via the tone-and-voice format, NOAA
Weather Radio alert interruptions are an option, as well. The
equipment offering also includes an optional Signal
Measurement Radio Receiver that allows the operator to measure
the radio station’s signal intensity and verify compliance with
versions of VoiceStar
include a completely tow-able Information Radio Station in
weatherproof cabinets and includes an AM transmitter, an antenna/groundplane
system, high quality digital message player, wireless power,
batteries, AC power and charging system, test equipment, mounts,
hardware, cables, wiring, lightning arrestors, connectors and
illustrated instructions. Options include cell phone/modem,
digital audio file transfer, dual frequencies and automatic
broadcast of NOAA 'all-hazard' alerts. For product details, click the
Who Runs VoiceStar Stations?
- Transportation Agencies: departments of transportation, turnpikes and thruways,
- Local Governments: states, cities, and counties and their departments of emergency
management and law enforcement.
- The Military.
- Industrial Plants whose HazMat operations might impact nearby residents.
- Events: air shows, fairs, parades, conventions, golf tournaments and
other sports events.
For use examples, see this article: "Ventura County,
California, introduces VoiceStar for public health & safety use."
"Emergency Health info Delivered by Radio."
continuing technical advice via phone and email for the life of
the product. More optional services include FCC
licensing, pre-installation testing assistance and onsite
training and certification. Every VoiceStar digital message
player comes stocked with prerecorded emergency management or
transportation messages prepared by our professional announcers.
In addition, customers may commission
professional recording services.
Frequencies & Licensing
Advisory Radio Stations are licensed to non-federal
installations on frequencies 530 to 1700 kHz AM and to federal
agencies on 530-1700 kHz (and 1710 kHz with FCC waiver), secondary
to standard AM broadcast stations. Range is 3-5 miles (25-75
square miles) across average terrain. The FCC’s special “broad
area” license (good for 10-years and renewable) affords
operators a territory in which each VoiceStar may roam. Licenses
may also specify a fixed operation point, as well, if desired.
Frequency/Licensing webpage where you may see
prices and download a form to complete and return requesting
Information Radio Stations may
broadcast content relating to public safety and travel, such as
road conditions, weather, directions, emergency and other
general interest topics to motorists. Broadcasts must be
voice-only with no commercial content. See our What May Be Broadcast webpage for details.
Message Transfer & Protection
Telephone-based operation is standard with 3 hours of recording
time, 1,000 dynamic messages and 50 playlists (operable remotely
through an easy-to-learn, voice-prompt-style interface). Optional
cell modem and the network-based digital message player allow
transfer of audio files to VoiceStar as well.
Features that Distinguish VoiceStar in the Marketplace
VoiceStar is the only station that
offers the option of a full matrix, remotely operable Changeable
A 6-foot-by-11-foot Changeable Message Sign may
be raised to over 13 feet high. The display utilizes
lens-enhanced LEDs with 30-degree angularity and 4-LEDs/pixel
for full brightness with auto dimming keyed to ambient lighting.
Up to 199 user-controlled sign messages may be created and
stored, in addition to 199 pre-programmed standard
messages. Up to 50 message sequences may be created and stored.
Sign displays may be programmed for automatic changes on a
daily, weekly or yearly schedule.
VoiceStar has a portable, patented groundplane for full FCC
maximum range, the same as fixed stations. No ground stakes are
required. Setup and takedown are easy; and there's easy stowing.
VoiceStar's antenna is black in color to discourage ice build-up
and is finished with a special UV-resistant architectural-anodization
process to prevent color fading. ISS antennas exclusively
include written documentation of safe RF exposure distance per
ANSI/IEEE C95.1-1992 standard by a professional engineer (PE).
on solar power with solar/AC rechargeable battery packs.
Maintenance-free batteries give superior performance under
adverse heat conditions and are unusually tolerant of
high-charging and short-circuit conditions – stored in easy
access cabinets. Battery size is conventional to allow easy
transport and replacement. The tilting solar panel array
enhances solar gathering capability.
radio and sign message control via remote software.
VoiceStar's transmitter provides synthesized frequencies
for in-shop changing and may have several frequencies on board.
The transmitter is approved for military and
federal agencies on 510-530 kHz, 1610-1710 kHz -
certification: J/F 12/07677. The onboard TR6000 Transmitter is the only
information station transmitter manufactured that is certified
by the FCC for operation (with waiver) on special AM frequency
VoiceStar also offers
free professional recording services.
There may be up to
1,000 messages (16-bit sampling rate for best recording quality)
and 50-message playlists for broadcasts with up to 3 live
sources (each with independent timing control), commands for up
to 4 external relays, other (nested) playlists and differing
output levels for each audio output. Playlists may be created,
recreated or appended locally or remotely. Three hours of
recording time in flash memory exists. When optioned, VoiceStar,
via Specific Area Message Encoding (SAME), may be set to
automatically broadcast NOAA weather/all-hazard alerts, targeted
to the specific counties served. This exclusive receiver is
field-upgradeable to allow it to remain current with new NOAA/EAS
When optioned for
tone-and-voice broadcast format, the digital message programmer
may be controlled locally or remotely by touchtone phone.
When optioned for cell modem operation, MP3 files
may be created and processed using (typically provided) software
and transferred to the station. This method increases the audio
quality. A message totaling up to 20 minutes may be transferred.
Each VoiceStar unit may have up to two
synthesized frequencies on board for in-shop frequency changing.
VoiceStar has durable trailer construction, a
4-jack trailer-leveling system, lockable equipment, battery and
electronics cabinets as well as a removable hitch for security.
Order a frequency
to order a frequency search. Just provide the geographic area
where the system might be operated. We will develop a list of
available AM frequencies and send it to you with our suggestions
and instructions on how to monitor them.
(See more about our frequency-search/licensing services.)
Survey listening areas.
highways where listening is required with an automobile digital
AM radio tuned to your candidate frequencies. Monitor all of the
candidate frequencies throughout the listening areas at least
once during daylight hours and at least once after dark. (See
why nighttime monitoring is important.) Report your
results to ISS, using
Choose an operating location for optimum coverage.
Use a map to
select a general operating location for VoiceStar such that a
3-mile-radius circle fully encompasses the highways requiring
coverage. The signal will usually carry 3 to 5 miles and be heard
much farther away on some radios; but the strongest part of the
signal will always be in this radius. If a specific highway or
intersection is critically important to cover, consider
locations immediately adjacent to the roadway. Mark the map to
show the area within which the antenna should be located to meet
your coverage goals. Consider where changeable message signs or portable static signs will be
placed to announce to motorists entering the area that the
signal is available.
Survey the intended site for your VoiceStar station.
For the best
coverage, the immediate location should be free of objects that
exceed 25 feet (about 2 stories.) This includes tall buildings,
trees, terrain features, lighting, power and communication poles
and towers, overpasses and highway signs. Make certain that
there is a 20'-by-20' area of open ground to park the trailer
and deploy the portable groundplane.
Fill out the FCC license application questionnaire.
Complete and return to us
this simple License Application Questionnaire, so we
may secure your operating license from the FCC in a timely
manner. The questionnaire requests basic contact information and
details about the proposed antenna location and frequency chosen
for broadcast, with which ISS can also assist you. When we
receive your completed questionnaire, we will prepare the
necessary engineering work and submit your application to the
FCC for approval, which often takes a few months. As part of
an overall license package, ISS will handle any
additional filings you may require to get up and running, such
as temporary licenses, minor adjustments and the required FCC
notification that your station has been built.
NOTE 1: Because FCC processing time is unpredictable, we
recommend you request licensing and other FCC documentation
services as soon as you know for sure you will have a station –
definitely no later than when you place your radio equipment
NOTE 2: The FCC considers 10-year, renewable licenses for
information radio stations secondary to full-power broadcast
stations. This means, that in a rare situation in which a
full-power station might move into a given area, an advisory
radio station already in that vicinity might need to change
frequency. We can assist.
Consider options and services.
Should VoiceStar include a Changeable
What is the number of
AM frequencies required?
Do you want cell phone
or cell modem format (or both)?
Do you want NOAA 'All Hazard' automatic interrupts
targeted to your counties? If so, what are the
Weather/EAS frequency & active SAME
Do you want a Signal Measurement Radio Receiver for
measuring the radio station’s signal intensity to verify compliance with FCC rules
Do you need
FASTrack Portable Signs
to alert motorists in the area to the signal?
Would you like to try our
Professional Recording Services.
Know your cellular telephone service.
At the time of your equipment
order, we will ask for a contact name at your
cellular telephone provider. The appropriate cellular service
format must be available from your provider.
Configure and order your system.
For personal planning assistance, contact
Bill Baker of ISS
of American Signal. By phone, it's 616.772.2300 x102 for Bill
and 770.448.6650 x112 for Tim.
VoiceStar may be purchased “sole
source” or GSA. And VoiceStar qualifies for government lease-to own programs.
instruction manuals come with every station, and
for the life of the product 24/7. See our
To prepare a formal quote for you, we will need the following
agency, phone and fax numbers; email address, if desired.
VoiceStar CMS and/or T100 (see
- Number of transmitters (frequencies) required.
- Desired frequencies if known.
- Trailer configuration such as paint color, light connector
and hitch style.
- Number of portable signs if needed.
- Counties for automatic broadcast of NOAA 'all hazard' warnings.
- Method of remote operation (cell phone or digital audio
- Desired services, for example, FCC licensing assistance,
site choice & frequency monitoring, onsite training.
VoiceStarTM is a pending
trademark of the
The PowerPlane® Groundplane design is patented (US #5,495,261) and
trademarked by Information Station Specialists.