Kentucky Southbears



"The Bluegrass State"

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Kentucky Comm Unit Leader
Tom Westerfield, WA4ZVL

The Kentucky DR communications team started with an empty box trailer. The unit has rolled on every callout since 1996.

As of 6-20-06, Kentucky's communication unit K4KBC is in the final stages of modifications to enhance and improve service ability. The unit is now in the shop having roof top racks installed to house ladders and an Aluma Tower that can be pulled vertical once on site.

With careful measurements, we've prepared a 5 cable color coded coaxial harness that quickly attaches to the respective antenna and to the tower before erection. We've contructed and installed a 7 connection thru/wall coaxial panel at the roofline on the rear side of the trailer near the erected tower. The coax fittings are attached to the appropriate terminal. The guy ropes are attached to the tower top and we're ready to go vertical.


We had some very good basic gear for 151 MHz, 47.42 and the amateur bands. Problem was it took a day to get it out of the boxes, connect it all up and get operational when deployed.


Inside the trailer, all of the communication gear is in place, strapped down to the equipment shelf. The power lines are connected to the appropriate power strip and the coax is already connected to the appropriate color coded terminal on the inside of the panel. So....once the tower goes up, come into the trailer turn on the power supply and your ready to go.


The trailer has always had a 110 panel and a few outlets. We installed a couple of the commercial multi-plug strips where they would be accessible.


View looking toward the rear of the trailer.


View of the new ladder racks. Wanted to make sure that they would hold a good load. They are 2 inch square, 1/4 wall aluminum tubing. They are bolted through the side wall, and the vertical metal tubing structure of the trailer.


A Tarheel Screwdriver antenna. Finished the installation today. The controller, mounted on the inside wall at the operator station, works fine. Made a contact today on 20 meters from inside the barn where I've been working on the unit. I'm going to get one of the little plug in modules for the ICOM 706 that lets you tune on low power and use the SWR metering in the rig to make sure we are flat. Can also use the SWR meter in the tuner.


This photo shows the battery installation for the emergency 12 volt system. A trickle charger mounted inside connects to this battery. (A deep cycle one). The voltage is connected to the 12 V power strip behind the equipment shelf. A switch connects either the 12 V power supply to the power strip or the battery. Plan to put a 12 volt light over the White Hat's desk, but haven't done that yet.


This photo shows a new set of portable steps that we built. Its a pretty good step to the ground without them.


One of our goals, for safety if nothing else, was to arrange the trailer contents so their would be a clear path through the trailer with two exits. I've labeled the left rear (standing behind the trailer) door as an EXIT, placed an handle on it on the inside.


Have also attached a spring (which can be disconnected when you're wanting to move things in and out) to keep it closed. Have installed a foot bolt on the other rear door. When operating. The tower will be sitting vertically in front of that door so we don't want any collisions.


7-14-06 - Just finished the tower job and wanted to see if it would work. It does....and well. The tower rolls to the rear of the trailer on a dolly within the rails. Latches in place, pivots, and you crank it up. Takes about 5 minutes.


We've built this little display and are making hamfests around the state. It is interesting how many Baptist hams don't know that there is a disaster relief program let alone a communication subset. Prior to our efforts we had fewer than 10 active. Now we are nearing 30.

Thanks Tom for sharing the photos & info. You guys have reduced setup time significantly.

Updated 5-11-08