Saturday, April 4, 2009

ARES activated to Support Savannah Red Cross Chapter

On Thursday night, April 2nd we recieved a request from one of our local served agencies, Savannah Red Cross, to assist them with communications in support of the flood relief efforts across South Georgia. Steve, K4SDJ, and I manned the Red Cross amateur radio station, K3SRC, all day Friday and then again on Saturday. We tested all of the radios and got good comm checks on all of our designated frequencies. The affected areas span about 20 counties and the Red Cross asked us to prepare a plan to provide comm from the field back to the Disaster Operations Center in Savannah. Not knowing exactly how many operators we might need and which methods of communications we might use, we began to develop some ideas. As we discovered, most of the affected area is covered nicely by a linked 2 meter repeater system called "Tall Pines InterTie". We thought this might be an ideal system to leverage. Only problem is that the closest repeater to us that is in this system is in Waycross. So we thought if we could just figure out a way to get into the Waycross repeater we might be golden. So on Saturday, Dan, KF4MND, volunteered to take his "go kit" and drive a little ways south from his Long County QTH to see if he could "link" us in. He set up a radio to crossband from his home between the Savannah repeater and a simplex frequency which he would talk to from his mobile "go kit". Once in Screven, GA, Dan set up his kit and an antenna on a 25 foot mast. He was able to successfully get back into a Savannah repeater to his northeast and into the Tall Pines InterTie system to his southwest. Although we didn't need to provide the movement of any traffic today, we proved that it was possible for us to build a link down to Waycross if needed for future operations. Dan was able to work with a couple of local HAMs in the area including Bobby, KJ4BVS, to gather some valuable information and assistance. Bobby set up an Echolink connection from his station into the W4SGA link in Savannah and connected the Waycross repeater which allowed us to become part of the Tall Pines linked repeater system. As HAMs usually are, these guys were very accomodating and willing to assist. I sure appreciate Dans time and effort today. See a couple of pictures of Dan's setup below. This will give us a short term solution should we need it. And we are already talking about how we might be able to construct a permanent link from Savannah down to Waycross.

No comments: