Communications Trailer of the MARC
January 1, 2002
is the identifier of the Massillon Amateur Radio Club's Emergency
Communications Trailer. This 10 foot by 18 foot insulated box
trailer provides 180 square foot of usable space and was custom
outfitted and designed by the members of the club's Trailer
Committee to serve as our main instrument of Public Serve.
Completely outfitted with communications equipment, the trailer
can operate on all Amateur frequencies and modes from High
Frequency (HF) used for National Communications to Very High
Frequencies (VHF) used for local work. Through special
arrangements with neighboring public service agencies, we can also
communicate directly with local police & fire departments or
provide an operating console for use by department
The trailer was originally
conceived in 1995 as a great idea for Field Day, although it has
evolved to become the focus of nearly every major public service
event participated in by the club. It has been equipped with both
a 115 volt AC power and a separate 12 volt DC system. On need we
can "plug in" directly to an available external AC
source or generate our own with an onboard Honda 3,500 watt
generator that drives both the AC mains and an Astron RM35M
battery backup power supply. Both are safety fused through a panel
box with circuit breaker protection. This heavy duty supply was
ordered with battery revert and trickle charge that provides a
steady charge to our heavy duty Marine battery. Normally we will
operate the trailer from the 115 volt supply system. Should we
lose power or be in an area without commercial power, the entire
trailer can run from 12 volts for at least 5 hours if necessary or
nearly indefinitely from the generator. With both radio's and
lighting designed for 12 volts, this proved to be the best design
for power distribution.
The trailer also has
installed a 4,000 BTU RV style Heat Pump Unit that can provide
both heating and cooling to the entire unit. Our systems are
designed to operate year around in all weather conditions.
There are two
independent operating consoles on board EComm 1, designated
Primary and Secondary as well as a single area dedicated to the
commercial station. The Primary console currently has permanently
installed a Yeasu FT5100 50 watt dual band VHF/UHF radio. A
Ten-Tec Triton 4 is a tried and true High Frequency transceiver
that was made to operate at 12 volts. An LDG automatic antenna
tuner completes this station. Continuing along this console
is a fully operational Packet radio system consisting of an ADI
AR-147 transceiver connected to a Kantronics KPC-3 TNC both
running from an IBM 486 color laptop computer. Two operators can
run simultaneously from this console. A storage shelf runs along
the entire length at ceiling height.
Along the front of the
trailer is an eight foot wide Secondary operating console which
has been designed to serve numerous functions as needed. Station
equipment currently installed is a GE Delta commercial high band
unit for direct communications to several local public safety
agencies. A Red Cross transceiver, Realistic Base Station Citizens
Band Radio and scanner are also mounted just below a generous
overhead storage compartment that provides nearly 20 square feet
of safe storage. The center is set with 16 square feet of bulletin
board area to display important information.
The trailer also
contains a complete Amateur Television Station consisting of two
portable ATV transmitters for "live" surveillance and
includes two 5 inch color monitors with down converters all
designed to operate from 12 volts. A VCR completes this station to
document and replay visual status reports to local
The exterior antenna
systems are just as impressive. Multiband capability requires
multiple antenna's. Several vertical dual band VHF/UHF antenna's
are strategically placed along the roof line. Front and rear
corners sport high band commercial, CB and Red Cross antenna's.
High frequency operation can be quickly set up by a tongue mounted
crank up military style mast system. This unique
"Launcher" is a crank up mast that can be raised to a
height of over 50 feet with both a multiband beam and wire
antennas for additional coverage. VHF beams can also be mounted to
this mast which is manually rotated. When not in use, the whole
system stores in a 2x2x8 foot rack permanently mounted to the
include indoor lighting throughout, a 6 square foot
"white" writing board for status reports and along the
back wall is a 3' by 5' fully detailed color county map under Plexiglas
and a wall mounted clock. We also have on board storage of
numerous feed lines, AC power cords, rope and antennas in a large
removable plastic tote. A complete First Aid kit is also readily
available. A two drawer file cabinet provides additional storage
for manuals, etc. A multiple use fire extinguisher is also mounted
for easy reach in case of emergency.
As with any
complicated project, this one is forever in a state of change and
is always being upgraded. Our goal is to insure we have the
capabilities for any and all situations.
Ready for service
24/7, EComm 1 can be quickly transported to anywhere within Stark
County and beyond within one hour including setup. It is available
for use by all local public safety forces including Red Cross, and
the Stark County Emergency Operations Center.
Future plans call for
the installation of exterior lighting for safe night time
operation, an on board tool cabinet complete with tools and an
Information Center to quickly locate important telephone and other
information. Ideas for improvement are always welcome by the
Shown below are some
recent pictures of EComm 1.
The MARC Emergency Communications Trailer
The Primary Operations Console
The Secondary Operations Console & Overhead
Rear Of The Trailer Showing Rear Storage & Maps
1 Mast Installation Nearly Complete
(Nov 26, 2004) -- The 60 foot pneumatic mast
purchased by the club several months ago is nearly installed in
EComm 1, the clubs emergency communications trailer. Within the
last several weeks final trim installation has been completed and
the special mast lubricant has been applied courtesy of Will-Burt
Company manufacturers of the mast. The lubricant will allow the
mast to be raised in cold weather without fear it will freeze in
the extended position.
The installation of the mast has been under the
supervision of Crew Captain Jim Farriss - WA8GXM and has gone very
smoothly. Jim's planning really helped the job go well and we are
now in the final stages of this project.
The mast installation was complete enough to show
it off at the Ohio Section meeting in Columbus in September where
it was demonstrated to ARRL Ohio Section Emergency Coordinator
John Chapman - WB8INY and several Ohio Emergency Management Agency
personnel. It was also on display at the Massillon Hamfest in
October with many hams asking us about it.
The last phase of the installation involves
installing several air tanks that are needed to raise the mast.
The EComm trailer crew has tentatively decided to install several
tanks under the trailer chassis connected to the mast by a remote
air line. A regulator will be installed at the mast fill valve to
make sure the maximum fill pressure is not exceeded. The tanks
should contain enough volume to fully extend the mast and maintain
full extension. An onboard air compressor will be available to
refill the tanks should additional pressure be needed.
The base of the mast is secured to the trailer
chassis by means of an aluminum plate at the floor. The plate is
tied to the chassis by bolts through the floor. The mast is
secured at the ceiling line by a steel collar around the lower
tube that is attached to the rear endwall steel frame.
Some final cosmetic trim installed around the
inside at the ceiling line and cleaning the mast tube inside the
trailer and the installation will be complete. The mast came
complete with circular Ny-Coil, the flexible conduit that houses
the antenna cables, an air compressor and tank, and finally a
Yaesu medium duty antenna rotator.
When fully complete, it will be a great addition
to our trailer as we prepare it for emergency service whenever and
where ever it may be needed. A Diamond Dualband Vertical antenna
was also purchased recently which can be raised by the mast to
provide excellent range for our VHF communications capability.
Several pictures are available below showing the
Here to see the complete video presentation in a nice slide show
format courtesy of Ralph Bugg, K8HSQ.
The base section & plate ready for the mast
A closer shot of the base plate
The ceiling hole with guide pipe
The guide pipe ready to accept the mast
1 Gets Upgrades
(Apr 13, 2003) -- The
Massillon Amateur Radio Club's Emergency Communications Trailer
"ECOMM 1" recently underwent a few upgrades thanks to
Jim Farriss - WA8GXM of the Trailer crew.
The first upgrade was the installation of two
"RIGrunner" DC Power Panels, one at the primary
operations console and the other at the secondary position. These
multiple outlet panels come equipped with the Anderson Power Pole
connectors and are a safe, secure, hot connected method for adding
twelve volt accessories. The ARES standard connector system, these
will easily allow us to add stations at Field Day time or during
public service exercises.
The second long overdue upgrade was the
replacement of our main 12 volt battery. The existing battery has
been in use since about 1995 and for the last two years would
hardly hold a charge making portable operation nearly impossible.
The new battery is a commercial duty deep cycle type with a 75 amp
hour rating. This will be sufficient to power the lighting, HF and
VHF stations for about 5 hours continuously.
At the March meeting the club also approved the
purchase of a tool kit for the trailer. A multi-purpose kit with
hanging storage box was purchased at Sams Club and has also been
installed. The kit provides a good general assortment of wrenches,
sockets plus various other hand tools which will be put to good
use at Field Day. We also intend to add a selection of smaller
electronic type tools and a selection of RF type connectors and
adapters that we will purchase at Dayton.
The third upgrade scheduled to be completed before
Field Day is the installation of some exterior lighting. Plans
call for two 12 volt halogen fixtures installed on both the front
and back. This will provide both safety and service lighting
during our night time operations.
EComm 1 Upgrade Projects
ECOMM 1 GETS
NEW EQUIPMENT !
Saturday, September 23, 2001 members of the EComm 1 Trailer Committee including
Crew Chief Terry - N8ATZ, Crew Captain Jim - WA8GXM, MARC President Don - W8DEF
and long time club friend Marty - N8XPK completed installation of our new Duo-Therm
High Efficiency RV Rooftop Heat Pump unit. This installation completes the third
and final major EComm 1 Trailer Project for this year. The first & second
projects were the remaining exterior lettering and the installation of the new
packet radio station.
unit, approved for purchase at the September club meeting will finally allow us
to enjoy efficient cooling and heating in one package. This 120 volt unit was
purchased from BEGG'S Motor Homes in North Canton, Ohio at a discount thanks to
the clubs record of service to the community. It's high efficiency rating allows
it to run very well using the club's Honda generator and will certainly be a
benefit at next years normally hot & muggy Field Day exercise and no doubt
the heater will get a workout during our Special Event demonstration this
December at Massillon's 175th Anniversary Celebration.
are some pictures taken during the installation process.....
doesn't work, we have a new skylight !
way to lift the unit into position! Jim on the forklift & Marty
Marty center the unit into position over the opening.
it even works !
EComm 1 Sports New
On Saturday, September 1st, the ADI AR-147
Plus packet radio was installed in the club's EComm Trailer. The installation
was performed by Crew Chief Terry - N8ATZ and Crew Captain Jim - WA8GXM. Thanks
to the availability of ready made cables, everything went together quickly and
easily. The ADI Radio was chosen due to its very small size, high power rating
and very affordable price. The final station now consists of an IBM 486 Laptop
running Hostmaster Software, a Kantronics KAM 3 TNC into the ADI 2 meter radio.
It makes for a perfect packet station in EComm 1.
The Packet Station on the Main Operating Console
The new ADI AR-147 radio fits perfect !
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last updated on 12/31/09
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