The principal method of communication for the team, when deployed, is VHF (Very High Frequency) radio. This system is simple, stand alone, all informed (within ‘radio line of sight’) and not reliant on external, commercial systems which are often unavailable within our operational area (area of low population and difficult terrain) or because of the nature of the incident we are deployed on (for example flood or adverse weather).
However one of the many benefits of our ongoing project to migrate to a digital VHF radio system is that we can significantly extend the range of these radio and also interconnect to other similar Mountain Rescue Team systems with the use of internet connected repeater sites.
Earlier this week, after much planning and testing, we went live with the first of these repeater sites high on the Yorkshire Wolds providing enhanced radio overage across the south of our patch and interconnectivity to other Teams’ systems.
These repeater sites are very much an enhancement to our capability and augment, not replace the benefits of stand alone VHF radio.
We are heavily reliant on, and grateful for, the goodwill of a number of companies, teams and individuals who helped us get this far and these are thanked below.
The appeal for funds to allow us to procure more handsets, vehicle radio sets and repeater sites continues.
Our recent announcement that the Co-op Local Community Fund is supporting the project this and next year will, hopefully, go a significant way to progress this but if you think you can help with funding please contact us or click on the donate button.
Reading like a Hollywood awards night, thanks to:
All those trusts, grants, businesses and individuals who have donated to our ongoing appeal to date to allow us to purchase digital handsets, vehicle sets and the infrastructure for this repeater site.
Derek, owner of Wolds Way Caravan & Camping Park for allowing us to host the systems on his property.
Richard from rural broadband provider Boundless Networks for hosting the equipment on their existing infrastructure, providing internet connectivity and power and to their engineers, Ryan and Alistair for spending a day with us to install the antenna and connectivity.
Roger from The DX Shop Limited for invaluable advice on antenna selection and to Marti from @itslobsternet helping us procure preowned IT equipment to keep costs down.
A number of local rescue teams are further down this journey than us and thanks to Andy from Upper Wharfedale Fell Rescue Association (UWFRA), Adam from Teesdale and Weardale Search and Mountain Rescue Team and Paul from Swaledale Mountain Rescue Team who freely shared learnings from their experience.
Last, but certainly not least, the subcommittee of our own volunteer team members who are turning this into reality and who are enthusiastically dragging the rest of us into the 21st century.
This link to the ongoing Co-op appeal is here.