W7VMI Communications Trailer

The Vashon-Maury Island Radio Club (VMIRC) determined a need in 2005 for a transportable communications center. A travel trailer was available and the club members spent a great deal of time refurbishing it for communications needs.  Most items (including the trailer) were donations or funded by club activities. Some items were procured with grants from the Vashon Rotary club, and smaller grants from King County and the Department of Homeland Security. The trailer was essentially completed within a year and has since been upgraded to its present form.

The VMIRC club members are understandably proud of their efforts and use the trailer at multiple events during the year.

Features of the W7VMI trailer

·      Two local range (VHF/UHF) amateur radios and antennas.

·      One long range (HF) amateur radio and antenna.

·      A digital station with both local and long range radios for sending E-mail and text messages over amateur radio using the Winlink system that is integrated with the internet.

·      A portable digital station.

·      A generator and integrated battery system.

·      A marine radio and antenna.

·      A CB radio and antenna.

·      Multiple work stations and a well stocked supply cabinet.

·      Health and comfort supplies, including MRE’s, a cook stove, water, and medical and sanitation items.

Local Area Communications Caches (LACC)

The Local Area Communication Caches are portable stores of communications gear deployed in each outlying Vashon fire station. The caches are used in conjunction with the well equipped radio room at station 55, the main Vashon fire station. They were developed in partnership with our sister organization, VashonBePrepared and funded by Vashon Island Fire and Rescue (VIFR). The purpose is to have radios available in each station that can be used by amateur (ham) operators or trained non-amateurs. Each cache consists of the following components:

·      A local range (VHF/UHF) amateur radio and antenna.

·      A computer and modem tied to the above radio for sending Email and text messages over amateur radio (Winlink).

·      A handheld amateur radio.

·      A public service band radio and antenna for non-amateur use.

·      A CB radio and antenna for non-amateur use.

·      An integrated power system (that can be run from a car battery if necessary).

·      Loanable handheld CB and Family Radio Service (FRS) radios.

·      Easy to follow instructions.

In addition, all stations have generators maintained by the Vashon Island CERT group and Stations 56 (Burton) and 58 (Dockton) have heavy duty 60 Amp-hour battery backups.

We have used these caches in many drills in partnership with VIFR, CERT, and VashonBePrepared and they work very well.