The Tool Box Follow-Up!

As a follow up to my tool box story earlier in the week, there is a question!

What is in your tool box?

Now, the reference is to your Emergency Preparedness/Public Service Communication Equipment!
This can be narrowed down to a county or regional (adjacent county(s) incidents, in which several common modes of communication have failed or not available.   Including cell service, internet and public service digital systems.

While I have procrastinated for several years now to create a formal go-kit/box, much of my equipment is here and ready for use, 80% of the time.

A drill last weekend showed me that was indeed not sufficient, as a serial-to-usb converter that was needed for a connection to my packet radio was missing in the laptop bag. Seems it was in the other laptop back that was at work. Why? Well, I had acquired another similiar laptop which was being formatted for my go-kit (per-se) and I had not completed merging both set-ups.

In preparation, I had also failed to charge 2 of 3 my ht’s, that were still packed from the last event in Bandera! Luckily, the 3rd HT had a spare battery which was fully charged.

Now, this was in preparation to deploy to a fixed station, that was for the most part supposedly ready to activate, although lacking a second laptop for VHF-UHF packet, while the laptop that was there was connected to the Winmor station.

Anyway, as a Amateur Radio operator, I am pretty much set for the standard stuff:

  •  VHF/UHF Mobile
  • VHF/UHF Portable
  • VHF Packet Radio, Laptop and TNC (although this one has developed an low audio issue)
  • VHF/UHF HT’s – several, although it helps to keep the batteries at full charge
  • And a variety of antenna’s, coax and army still poles to elevate them
  • HF Radio and 40/75 dipole (although I am now convinced that portable capabiliy in bands from 10 – 30 are badly needed)

Now for the non-standard stuff:

  • HT’s that are programmed to cover all the personal non-licensed frequency’s:
    • –FRS,
    • –GMRS (I know, one is supposed to be licensed here, but the bubble pack user do not comply and the FCC is refusing to do anything about it and when the SHTF, the FCC is not going to complain.)
    • — MURS: both the color dot frequency’s and the narrow band 3.
  • – Citizens Band/CB/11-meters (Yes, this wasteland of frequency’s has a large role in community communications when the SHTF. FEMA, MARS, Citizen Corps, and the list goes on has proven this, and one should be in everyone’s tool box. I personally used the CB in my truck several years ago during major flooding in Kansas to coordinate with a local ARES team for a Airlife extraction of a pregnant woman that was in labor and we were stuck between 2 flooded tributaries. The further north you go, the more they still believe in the value of the old CB.)
  • Deployable Broadband-Hamnet nodes (5 planned), micro server with VOiP capability among other things.

Other things:

  • 10×10 pop-up with a wall kit – quick portable station set-up and shelter
  • 6 man tent – may need somewhere to sleep
  • various battery’s (which need to organized better)
  • portable gas heater
  • small and large propane bottles
  • various security and defensive items (will not delve into the details as those tend to cause bickering)
  • other personal items.

And most if not all of this equipment gets used for community service events, to make sure it works, and to continue to learn how to use it, and fix it, or work around it when it breaks.

So, what is in your tool box?

Louis Upton K5STX
Hill Country REACT Team


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