As you might imagine one of the best ways to simplify the deployment of your antenna in a portable or emergency situation is the use of our Tilt-N-Raise® portable antenna mount. You can deploy either a vertical antenna or a support mast for any number antennas styles within 5 minutes using our unique antenna mount.
Consolidate your antennas, masts, mounts and any wiring you might require for portable operations. This includes any wire necessary for radials, grounding and of course the transmission wiring. Although not considered as ‘wiring’ you should also include any guying mechanisms such as ground stakes, earth augers, guy wire or Dacron® rope.
Having all the antenna essentials grouped together will allow EmComm teams or Field Day operators to assign one person the task of deploying the antennas while others concentrate on the radio gear and other needs of a portable radio operation. Another source of portable antenna information for portable communications operations is located at RadioSurvivalist.com.
The number of amateur and communication equipment that is available in today’s market is as vast as it is varied. Some radio transceivers are suited for portable operation, some are considered to be mobile radios, then there are some ham radios that are only fit for stationary use. There is a good number of transceivers that are capable enough to be as base, mobile, or portable operations.
As with your antennas, you should consolidate any radio gear that will be used for your EmComm or portable operation. Even if you will use your main radio for portable or emergency use you can still consolidate the equipment required to make the transceiver operate in a portable situation. Connect your power cables up in such as manner as to be able to just ‘plug in’ the radio to the portable power source. Same goes for grounding, have the ground system readily available for the radio and any supporting equipment requiring it.
Inventory your radio gear, and any other gear you intend to take along on your communication situation. This is a task best taken care of before a communications emergency or portable communication situation arises. Record all model and serial numbers of the equipment you will deploy. You should try to have copies of any receipts or invoices for any equipment you intend to take along. Another great asset for protecting your equipment (as well as other valuables) is to take a picture of the equipment and include a shot of the serial number. This will help local authorities and your insurance companies should your equipment be stolen.
This might sound odd but nourishment is a vital part of your portable or emergency communications operations. The human body was not designed to go without food and liquid nourishment. While it may be true that you could operate for hours at the communications tasks before you but sooner or later your body will “crash” and demand you feed it. You should ideally have enough food and water to supply your needs for three days.
Gather foodstuffs that have a long shelf life if you store them for future use. The last thing on your mind when deploying on your emergency communications outing should not be food and water. To eliminate last minute norishment issues you need to make a list of food and liquid you wish to take on your deployment. Fruits and vegetables should be used as much as possible as they give you vitamins, nourishment, and water which your body needs.
Liquids should be limited to water and sport drinks, soda and alcoholic beverages should not be taken on portable communications operations and alcohol should specifically be banned from any emergency communications operation.
Safety encompasses the entire operation for a portable or emergency communication operation. There are many aspects of maintaining a safe portable radio operation but there are also areas that some might not consider:
- Don’t drive while you are overtired.
- Don’t locate your antenna anywhere around power lines1.
- Don’t neglect your health while operating portable.
- Periodically check your antenna & ground installation.
- Don’t fill your generator while it is running2.
- Take along a complete inventory of radio gear and antennas.
- Take along a comprehensive contact list.
Safety is something that takes practice believe it or not. You should periodically set up your EmComm or portable radio installation so that you are familiar with it before you need to deploy it. The last thing you want is to be out in inclement weather trying to deploy an antenna that you have never put up before. One great way of insuring a smooth antenna deployment is to use one of our Tilt-N-Raise® portable antenna mounts of your operation.
1 Survey your intended base of operation for any overhead power lines. Walk off the distance from your operating station to the nearest power lines. If the distance from your base camp to the power lines is less than twice the length of your antenna mast then find another location to operate! Don’t take chances with your life because you didn’t look up before you hook up.
2 Filling generators while they are running seems safe enough and yet it is a very dangerous practice. There are many stories on the news web sites such as the man burned while filling generator on Old Summit Road in Santa Clara, California. Speaking of gasoline and generators, here are a couple of tips you might find useful:
- A good many fires start while people are filling their tank or gasoline containers. It takes but a small spill of gasoline falling on a hot exhaust pipe (or cigarette!) to cause a sudden fire. Above all do not fill your generator with gas while it is running and you really shouldn’t refuel it until the unit has cooled.
- Use the proper containers for transporting gasoline. NEVER USE GLASS CONTAINERS TO STORE OR TRANSPORT GASOLINE! Besides being very dangerous it is illegal in most states in America. Unapproved plastic containers can leak, and glass containers could ignite if dropped which could naturally start a fire. Gasoline should be only stored in approved containers marked with the letters UL which means they been approved by Underwriters Laboratory.