Trailer – History and Buildout

The TARC Comm Trailer is a replacement for the previously utilized and very heavy all steel unit that was acquired from the Salvation Army. A TARC Committee was put together in 2019 to recommend criteria for a new unit, including that it be lighter in towable weight so that more common tow vehicles could be used. After much consideration of both used and new trailer options and other functional features, the Club approved purchase of a new 14’ Cargo Craft enclosed utility trailer.

Work began on the build-out in early 2020 (unfortunately, the Covid 19 pandemic caused limited group construction efforts.) A sketch plan of renovations along with a general budget was approved and various materials and equipment were gathered up. The plan called for window(s) on the right side and a roof mounted A/C unit (which was ordered installed with the trailer.)

The interior was painted white and black rubber-coin flooring was installed. A side window and entry door window were installed. Wall cabinets and countertops were installed with a file cabinet serving as a support element. The V-nose of the trailer allowed for additional counter space and spare tire storage below. A desktop computer cabinet was also installed and provides additional counter support.

Six 12V LED lights were mounted in the ceiling with LED strip lights planned for under cabinet task lighting. Three interior operator stations are designated as well as a fourth exterior space served by an external 120V ac outlet.

Exterior graphics were designed and commercially applied. A small workbench and a metal shelving unit are utilized in the rear area providing much needed storage space.

A donated used rack mount cabinet houses electrical equipment, antenna connections and auxiliary equipment. 120V power, supplied through a land line or generator power, is routed to a power distribution panel with 120V and 12V dc circuit protection and 12V converter. A separate protected 120V circuit is routed to a 35 AMP Linear Power Supply serving all 12V radio circuits. If exterior power is interrupted, the 12v circuits are automatically switched to battery power from the on-board deep cycle battery (which is kept charged when external power is provided.) At least a 100 Watt solar array is planned to keep the battery(s) charged without a land line connection. The 12V radio circuits must be manually switched to utilize battery power when required.

Each internal station is served by 120V outlets, 5V usb ports, two 12V cables with Powepoles and two coax jumpers with PL-259 connectors for VHF/UHF and HF connected to an external antenna jumper panel box.

Stations 1 and 2 are equipped with 100W HF radios, VHF/UHF/C4FM radios with gps/aprs capability. Each station also has a wall mounted 21” computer monitor and desk mounted usb ports. It is planned for Station 3 to have a dedicated dual band radio for digital mode and aprs uses including Winlink and to include a standard ink jet printer for message traffic.

Two exterior permanently mounted NMO mounts were installed to serve Stations 1and 2 with dual band antennas which can be stored inside when not in use. A mag mount antenna will serve station 3 as needed. A 28’ push-up pole mounted on a drive-over support provides mounting for HF wire antennas. An exterior mounted pneumatic mast is also planned.

At the time of this writing the trailer has been deployed several times including for use at the 2020 Field Day, 2020 Rt 66 event and a Simulated Emergency Test.

Return to this page occasionally to find out about the latest upgrades and new features of the TARC Communications Trailer.