Now in its 32nd year, Information Station Specialists is the nation's best known source for information radio stations (TIS/HAR), advisory signs and the specialized services required to transmit spoken messages to citizens. ISS is the only such source providing products entirely made in America.
 
VoiceStar Portable Advisory Radio Station
AEL/SEL Category 03OE-03-SIGN
NIMS ESF #3
GSA Approved
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.
After parking 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 roadway orientation.

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 FCC rules.
Equipment Array

Both 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 following links:

VoiceStar CMS
Advisory Radio Station + Changeable Message Sign
FASTrack Roll-Up Signs
May be Optioned to Compliment the T100 Stations
 
VoiceStar T100
Advisory Radio Station only
CMS T331
Changeable Message Sign only
 
Who Runs VoiceStar Stations?
  • Transportation Agencies: departments of transportation, turnpikes and thruways, bridge authorities.
  • 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." See also "Emergency Health info Delivered by Radio."

 
Technical Services

We offer 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 additional professional recording services.

 
Frequencies & Licensing

VoiceStar Portable 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. (See our Frequency/Licensing webpage where you may see prices and download a form to complete and return requesting this service.)

 
Broadcast Content

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.

 
Key Features that Distinguish VoiceStar in the Marketplace  
  1. VoiceStar is the only station that offers the option of a full matrix, remotely operable Changeable Message Sign. 

  2. 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.

  3. 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.

  4. Only 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).

  5. VoiceStar operates 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.

  6. Optional wireless radio and sign message control via remote software.

  7. 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 1710.

  8. VoiceStar also offers free professional recording services.

  9. 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 protocols.

  10. When optioned for tone-and-voice broadcast format, the digital message programmer may be controlled locally or remotely by touchtone phone.

  11. 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.

  12. Each VoiceStar unit may have up to two synthesized frequencies on board for in-shop frequency changing.

  13. 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.

 
Planning Steps  
Step 1: Order a frequency search.

Contact ISS 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.)

 
Step 2:  Survey listening areas.

Survey the 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 this short form.

 
Step 3:  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.

 
Step 4:  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.

 
Step 5:  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 order.

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.

 
Step 6: Consider options and services.

Variables to consider:

  • Should VoiceStar include a Changeable Message Sign?
  • 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 (county) codes?
  • Do you want a Signal Measurement Radio Receiver for measuring the radio station’s signal intensity to verify compliance with FCC rules over time?
  • Do you need FASTrack Portable Signs to alert motorists in the area to the signal?
  • Would you like to try our Professional Recording Services.
 
Step 7:  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.

 
Step 8:  Configure and order your system.

For personal planning assistance, contact Bill Baker of ISS or Tim Paulino 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.  Illustrated instruction manuals come with every station, and we offer technical support for the life of the product 24/7. See our Funding Resources webpage for grant possibilities.

To prepare a formal quote for you, we will need the following information:

  • Your name, agency, phone and fax numbers; email address, if desired.
  • Product name: VoiceStar CMS and/or T100 (see above).
  • Options:

    - 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 file transfer).
    - Desired services, for example, FCC licensing assistance, site choice & frequency monitoring, onsite training.
 
VoiceStarTM is a pending trademark of the American Signal Company.

The PowerPlane® Groundplane design is patented (US #5,495,261) and trademarked by Information Station Specialists.
 
 
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© 1983-2014 Information Station Specialists, Inc • All Rights Reserved
PO Box 51, Zeeland, Michigan, USA, 49464-0051
Phone 616.772.2300, Fax 616.772.2966,
Email ISS

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Patents: PowerPlane "Flex" Factory-Assembled Groundplane (#5,495,261) & Vertical Profile Antenna System (#7,027,008).
Trademark: ALERT AM® Emergency Advisory Radio Station.

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