Blackwater Bluegrass Event 2008
On Saturday March 8, 2008, the North Okaloosa Amateur Radio Club, as well as hams from all over the county, had the opportunity to tour and even operate from Okaloosa County’s new communications trailer. During the Blackwater Bluegrass and Bar-B-Q Festival in Crestview, the hams providing communications for the event officials operated their net control station from there. The trailer arrived onsite on Friday evening and was in service all day Saturday. NOARC hams were the first in the county to operate from it during a special event.
The trailer was purchased with help from the State Of Florida last month for around $92,000.00. The county invested $5,000 and the state provided the rest. Consequently, if the county ever decides to get rid of the trailer, it reverts to the state.
According to Randy McDaniel, KI4YKO the county’s Emergency Manager, the trailer has the same capabilities as the state’s communications trailer. The centerpiece of this capability is the V-Sat system. When deployed onsite, the system will automatically seek and acquire a satellite connection providing high speed internet access anywhere in the continental United States. The system will then provide wireless high speed internet to any laptop within a 5 mile radius of the trailer. With the accompanying VoIP wireless handsets, the system provides VoIP telephone access within an area of about 38 acres.
The trailer is equipped with an Icom IC-2820 Dual Band, DSTAR enabled 2meter/440 rig and an IC-7000 HF Radio with an LDG AT-7000 auto tuner which connects to a 102 ft G5RV antenna. Power for the system can be provided by shore power, an onboard 5kw Diesel generator, onboard batteries or solar power system. The tow vehicle has a separate 100 gallon diesel storage tank with a transfer pump that can be used to refuel the generator or the tow vehicle.
In the future, mobile radios for VHF, UHF, and Statewide Law Enforcement Radio System (SLERS) will be installed.
Since the trailer came to Okaloosa County with help from the State of Florida, there is a string attached. When the need arises, the state can deploy the trailer and it’s crew to anywhere in the country to provide communications for communities who have been the victims of disaster or other emergency. In that event, the state pays all expenses for the deployment.
The citizens of Okaloosa County can be proud of this much needed piece of equipment and the team that staffs it.
Bob Murphy KI4MEU,
OUR ROSTER OF PARTICIPANTS AT THE TRIPLE B