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Georgia Statewide ARES Network Receives Funding $$$ for D-STAR Equipment

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  • Mark Thompson
    Great example of what s possible with good planning. See message below & attached presentation. $$$ Georgia statewide network receives funding $$$    
    Message 1 of 1 , Oct 30, 2009
    Great example of what's possible with good planning.
    See message below & attached presentation.
    $$$ Georgia statewide network receives funding $$$
        Posted by: "WB4QDX" wb4qdx@... jdavis6129
        Date: Thu Oct 29, 2009 4:38 pm ((PDT))

    An official announcement will be released in the next few days, but it can be announced to the Amateur community that $165,000 in Federal funding has been secured by Georgia Emergency Management Agency (GEMA) to complete the statewide Georgia D-STAR network.  Equipment has already been ordered and is beginning to arrive.

    This is a project that began back in 2005 with a vision for Amateur Radio emergency communications in Georgia. Georgia Public Broadcasting's former Director of Engineering Mark Fehlig, WA6NGC, seized an opportunity to install two Amateur Radio antennas on each of nine tall television towers that provide statewide Public Television coverage as a part of the required conversion to Digital Television.  Fehlig designated Georgia ARES to control the use of these facilities for emergency communications.

    The next task was to determine what technology or mode would provide the best use of these sites for emergency communications.  After considering many modes and technologies including linked FM repeaters and packet.  About this time, the D-STAR digital technology was emerging as a state of the art platofrm for voice and data communications.  D-STAR allows flexible linking of repeaters and provides simultaneous voice and low speed data along with high speed data with Internet connectivity on 1.2 GHz.

    2 meter, 440 and 1.2 GHz voice and data repeaters will be installed on each of the nine television towers of Georgia Public Broadcasting (GPB). These nine towers are strategically located to provide near statewide Public Television coverage.  They will also provide similar Amateur Radio coverage from two antennas located between 500 and 600 feet above ground and connected with 1 5/8" transmission lines.  GPB will also provide indoor equipment space with backup power at each site.  Connectivity on GPB's robust DS-3 data network will be provided with Internet access to allow flexible linking of repeaters using the D-STAR technology.  Two of the D-STAR repeaters are already in operation at Pembroke, Georgia near Savannah and atop Stone Mountain serving the Atlanta metro area.

    The funding also provides 20 dual-band D-STAR radios for installation at EMA offices around the state, a portable UHF D-STAR repeater for emergency deployment, three 1.2 GHz D-STAR radios with laptops for sending data and photos from field locations and a robust reflector to serve the Georgia network during emergency conditions and available for general use during non-emergency times. The complete Georgia D-STAR network should be in operation by early 2010. 

    The Georgia network will complement other D-STAR systems planned or in operation in neighboring states of Alabama, Florida and South Carolina creating regional capabilities in the Southeast. Weather systems approach Georgia either as severe thunderstorms and tornadoes from the West or tropical systems from the Gulf or the Atlantic.  Having flexible statewide communications will provide new capabilities to support emergency communications.

    John Davis WB4QDX
    District Emergency Coordinator
    Georgia ARES

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