Arkansas - AB1DR, K5ADU (updated March 18, 2024)

We will miss our friend and one of the founders of Arkansas' communications efforts, Don Gephardt, until we meet again.  John 14:1-4.  W5DDG - SK 3/18/2024.  


The Arkansas Communications unit, like many others, was born out of the SBDR response to Hurricane Katrina. Upon arrival, many SBDR volunteers found themselves unable to communicate with NAMB, their home associations, or other units in the field. As they returned home, Jerry Gay WB4TSF and his wife Beckie KC5DKG led their local association to develop Arkansas' first communications command center.  That unit has since been retired.  

Current units:

AR-IMT-001 is a converted travel trailer that serves as the state convention’s Incident Command post.  It carries a satellite uplink, business band repeater, cell phone boosters and a wifi "stretcher" capable of providing limited internet service into the host facility.  The statewide Communications Unit and the statewide Incident Management Team have recently installed a more robust network to improve functionality and reliability in the field and improve data reception on cellular networks. IMT-001 is shown in Lake Charles, Louisiana in 2020.

AR-CC-003 is another converted travel trailer that provides us with a portable command and communications trailer near the New Madrid fault zone, in an area which will be difficult to reach in the event of a major earthquake.  It is equipped with HF, VHF, and UHF capabilities, including Winlink, along with areas for incident command, operations, logistics, and administration.

AR-CM-001 is a modified 6’x10’ utility trailer that is designed as an advanced type of remotely deployed unit. It's capabilities include HF, VHF, and UHF radios, DMR, APRS, Winlink (including PACTOR 4), cell phone boosters, and a long-range Wifi booster.  This unit also carries a variety of portable and mobile business band radios.  Deep-cycle batteries provide power, and solar panels help keep the batteries charged; along with a dual-fuel generator and plenty of propane for extended blackouts or cloudy days.  12V DC power and LED interior lighting are installed, and a folding 8' desk provides room for two operating stations.

Something you might find useful:

We originally planned on using "through-the-wall" coaxial connectors, but they were expensive.  Instead, we decided to core a 2" hole through the floor and install plastic conduit fittings with metal retainer nuts.  Equipped with a 2" plumber's test plug, these allow multiple runs of coaxial cable out of the trailer, while being sealed for transport.  The fittings and plug cost about $5.  Just be sure the threads are long enough to fit through the floor!

We also maintain the flexibility to carry most of our gear in various hard-sided cases, because they don’t usually let trailers onto commercial airliners.

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