Bi-Directional Amplifier System – Required Materials and Information for New Installations

Two-way communication systems play an essential role in supporting first responders during emergencies. With over half of all fire departments reporting communications failures at some point during crises, there is a critical need for more reliable communication systems in various facilities. Bi-Directional Amplifier (BDA) systems mend and strengthen weak or broken frequencies, keeping emergency responders in clear and constant communication, reducing the potential for risk of injury or loss of life.

CFC’s approved professionals are licensed to administer “signal surveys” on residential and commercial facilities. These surveys monitor the incoming and outgoing signals in all areas of a building to assess if signal correction is necessary. If the property does not meet the minimal specifications, a BDA system is the only sensible solution moving forward.

To install a new BDA system, you’ll first need to gather specific information and prepare your property to meet installation standards. All BDA system installations must be designed and installed by certified professionals. Additionally, all systems must be FCC certified and approved for use through the AHJ. CFC provides BDA system design and installations for residential and commercial clients throughout the greater Florida area.

If you’re preparing to have a BDA system installed, there’s a lot to consider, and it can often feel overwhelming. The CFC team is here to help you navigate the process, even before we begin the system design and installation. Below is essential information that you should gather when you find out that you will be required to install a new BDA system.


BDA Installation – Questions For the Owner/General Contractor

  1. Does the building have Low-E glass? If so, which windows specifically?
  2. With what materials were the exterior of the building constructed?
  3. With what materials were the interior of the building constructed?
  4. What is the average floor height in the building?
  5. Does the building have a Lightning Protection System? If so, which areas are protected?
  6. What type of roof system is currently installed?


BDA Installation – Required Items – Provided by Others

  1. 120-volt circuit(s), as required by the system.
  2. Roof penetration, if needed.
  3. A Lightning Protection System (LPS) connection is required if the LPS donor antenna falls outside the protected area.
  4. Grounding bus bar if not readily available within 20’ of where the donor antenna cable enters the building.
  5. Two-hour rated room with 90-minute signage – as required by AHJ.
  6. If the building has multiple stories, a two-hour vertical enclosure is necessary for the backbone riser.


BDA System Design and Deployment – Questions for the AHJ

Is there a specification for In-building Emergency Radio Communications Enhancement Systems (ERCES) BDA? If yes, please forward the specifications.

If no, please answer the following questions:

  1. What radio frequency channels need coverage with the BDA?
  2. Which BDA class is required (Class A or B)?
  3. If this is a conventional (non-trunked) system, what are the PL and DPL tone codes for receiving and transmitting signals?
  4. Are you looking to cover the fire frequency only, or would you like to include other agencies as well, such as the police? If you would like to include other agencies, please provide the frequencies and radio repeater site locations for each.
  5. What are the locations of each repeater site? – Please provide the address or the longitude/latitude coordinates. If known, also include the antenna structure type. (i.e., high rise, tower, water tank, etc.).
  6. If this is a receiver voting system, please provide the location of the receiver sites.
  7. We follow NFPA 72, NFPA 1221, and IFC specifications. Do you, as the AHJ, require anything different or “extra and above”?
    1. Examples include – special cable installation requirements, permitting requirements, labeling requirements, or BDA technical requirements?
  8. What is the process for acceptance, testing, and inspection of a BDA system?

If you have any questions or concerns as you prepare for a new Bi-Directional Amplifier system, reach out to our team today. The CFC team prides itself on providing unparalleled client support and communication to our Floridian community. We’re here to help as you prepare for your new fire safety system.