Oceanside CERT deploys mobile antenna tower at Encinitas FS #5

The Oceanside CERT Communications team was Activated by the FD/County OES on Saturday March 7 in support of joint regional Fire Department testing of backup VHF Public Safety radio communications.

The Oceanside Fire Dept. Communications Support Trailer (aka tower trailer) is a unique piece of equipment, owned by the Oceanside FD but operated by Oceanside CERT. The unit is deployed for Public Service and/or Ham radio communication support during disaster/emergency, and for training purposes. It has a 32 foot hand-cranked telescoping antenna tower that lies flat on the trailer roof for transport.

Since the Oceanside CERT communications team regularly practices deploying this, they were asked to set it up at the designated test location for this exercise, Encinitas FS #5, across the street from the community center. It is connected to a portable VHF Public Safety band repeater in the trailer. Seven members of the CERT Communications team participated in this exercise.

Under direct supervision of Encinitas Fire Chief Robert Ford, this equipment will be used over the next two weeks to evaluate whether a permanent repeater installation near this location would materially improve the FD’s communication capability. Quick checks immediately after deployment appeared promising.