The Pecos Valley Amateur Radio Club partners with the Chaves County Off Road Search & Rescue and the New Mexico State Police Mounted Patrol to monitor the welfare and safety of participants in various Roswell area runs and marathons. Saturday, May the 12th was the running of the annual Run For The Zoo, where the Chaves County SAR got to try out it's new portable repeater.
When working an event that covers a span of over six miles across buildings, trees and other city obstacles, handheld simplex radio coverage can be spotty at best. The amateur radio community resolves this by using fixed repeater installations allowing them to cover an expanse county wide and beyond. Search & Rescue recently acquired a portable repeater system which has allowed them to overcome the challenges posed by simplex communications. In a wilderness situation, an SAR team might hike to the top of a knoll or peak to deploy this repeater system which would allow teams hindered by terrain to communicate effectively to the base camp as well as with other teams in the field.
The Run For The Zoo was the 'maiden voyage' for the system, and performance results exceeded expectations. Amateur radio Operator Jim Tucker, (KB0QNW), ran Net Control for the race using the portable system's Radiooddity DB25 Dual Band transceiver on the UHF side. The cross band 'repeater', an Anytone 5888UV dual band transceiver, was deployed by SAR Officer Rick Overmier, near the Roswell Adult Center. The units in the field were then able to transmit on their customary VHF frequency, which the repeater received and re-transmitted on one of the SAR's allocated UHF frequencies which was accessed by the radio at Net Control.
As demonstrated by Overmier in an after action meeting, the entire system, including solar charging panel and gel cell battery, is packed into a 50 pound back pack for wilderness deployment. Many thanks to all the teams for helping make the 2018 Run For The Zoo a safe event with no reported incidents.