CLAY COUNTY – If you stopped by the Clay County Amateur Radio Emergency Services (ClayARES) booth at this year’s Orange Park Fall Festival, you certainly noticed their new communication trailer …
CLAY COUNTY – If you stopped by the Clay County Amateur Radio Emergency Services (ClayARES) booth at this year’s Orange Park Fall Festival, you certainly noticed their new communication trailer amongst the radios and antennas.
In fact, they probably insisted that you take a step inside the 18-by-12-foot radio shack on wheels to show it off and to enjoy the air conditioning for a few moments. It would have been impossible to miss their pride in the wood paneled radio shack on wheels.
The trailer was retired from service at the Clay County Emergency Operations Center who donated it to ClayARES for use in their support of county workers during disasters and emergencies such as Hurricane Irma.
Members of ClayARES are refurbishing and retrofitting the trailer with their own time and donations. When finished, the trailer will serve as a state-of-the-art communications command center for amateur radio operations during future deployments. It can also serve as self-supporting living and sleeping quarters for radio operators.
“It’s a work in progress,” says ClayARES public information officer Scott Roberts, “but it’s a labor of love for us. We hope that we never have to use it during a dire situation for the citizens of Clay County, but we and the trailer are ready to serve our communities when all other communication fails.”
ClayARES members have volunteered hundreds of hours serving as communicators at Clay County shelters during each storm in the last five years. The trailer will provide enhanced capabilities in the future where they will be able to communicate via radio wave throughout the county, state and country or to even locations around the world.
“The trailer is capable of support, right now, but there’s still some work to be done for it to operate at full potential,” Roberts said.
The full potential includes voice, satellite, digital communication, email and texting without need of the internet.
The mobile command post will also provide a training base for future and newly licensed amateur radio operators.
If you would like to help finish the trailer, you can donate financially, with a gift-in-kind, or with some elbow grease, please visit the ClayARES website www.clayares.org or by calling Scott Roberts at (904) 413-1573.