Equipment

Dallas County REACT began monitoring CB channel 9 from a central location beginning in 1967, when the Team was founded.  From 1970 to 1995, the station was located on the 33rd floor of the former Southland Life Building, which not only gave us a great view, it made us a commanding presence on channel 9 (27.065 MHz) in Dallas County.

The widespread use of Citizen's Band radio began to fade in the early 1980s, as more and more people acquired cellular telephones.  In 1986, the Team purchased a used mini-motor home from the Dallas Area Red Cross, and converted it to a communications vehicle, replacing the pickup camper mounted on a boat trailer previously used.  The Team increased its support of community events to replace monitoring as its primary activity.

Communications Trailer

In 1989, anticipating the "no-code" amateur radio license, the Team began using amateur radio, conducting classes to assist its members become ham radio operators.  Planning for a new communications center trailer began in 1990, culminating in the Team's taking delivery of a custom built 32-foot Wells Cargo trailer on 1 July 1992.  The trailer was completely wired, with lighting and a pair of roof-mounted air conditioners, and had a built in storage area in the rear.  The Team then had two Onan 7-kilowatt generators and a 60-gallon custom gasoline tank installed.  In 1994, in preparation for hosting the ARRL's station W1AW at HamCom, the open space was divided into two rooms, and a member-designed console was installed in one of the rooms, along with two Astron 35-watt DC power supplies, a GMRS radio, a dual-band amateur radio, and a business-band radio.  Four appropriate antennas were installed on the trailer roof and a coax patch panel was installed, allowing us to connect to a variety of outside antennas quickly.  The Team also acquired an amateur HF transceiver, along with tuners, microphone, headsets, and Morse code key.

Since then, additional equipment has been installed on the console, including a Red Cross low-band transceiver, a Citizens Band transceiver, and a scanner, and another HF radio was obtained.  Two portable GMRS repeaters are installed on the console.  The trailer carries amateur television equipment, and is equipped for wireless computer operation and semi-modern computer equipment is on hand.  Using some member-owned equipment, the Communications Center is capable of amateur Automatic Position Reporting System (APRS) operation.  Recently, a high-definition 19" flat-screen TV was installed.


Communication capabilities include:

  • HF Amateur
  • VHF Lo Band (Red Cross)
  • VHF Amateur
  • APRS (Rx/Tx)
  • Marine Band
  • Air Band
  • VHF Commercial Band
  • MURS
  • UHF Amateur
  • GMRS
  • UHF Commercial Band
  • Receive Broadcast TV
  • And yes, CB (27 MHz Citizens Band)
Communications Trailer Tow Vehicle

The Communications Trailer is only half of the Mobile Command Center.  The other half is a 1992 Ford F350 Crew Cab dually pickup truck.  This vehicle is optioned specifically for towing large trailers.  With its 460 cubic engine, dual rear wheels, two fuel tanks, and heavy duty suspension, it has no trouble hauling our Communications Center trailer wherever it needs to go.  The truck also seats 5 adults comfortably.  It too has been fitted with GMRS, amateur 2-meter and 70-cm, and CB radios and is a capable communications vehicle by itself.


Communication capabilities include:

  • VHF Amateur
  • UHF Amateur
  • UHF Commercial Band
  • GMRS
  • Citizens Band

Mobile Command Center Support Vehicle

With most of the essential radio equipment permanently mounted in the Mobile Command Center, we then realized the need for a support vehicle.  In 1994, we acquired a 1990 Chevrolet StepVan, equipped with a rear lift, which had previously been a Matco tool truck.  We had the Chevy 454 engine rebuilt, and installed 8 antennas on the roof, a small radio console, and CB and GMRS radios over the driver's seat.  The purpose of this vehicle is to carry all the stuff we need to operate the Mobile Communications Center (and which previously filled up the trailer!).  The StepVan's inventory includes loaner mobile and handheld radios, base antennas, antenna masts, tools, RF connectors, coax, wire, ground rods, disposable plateware and eating utensils, cups, office supplies, safety equipment, first aid, area lighting equipment, ropes, stakes, tarps, a tent, signage, and a wide variety of other miscellaneous items.


Communication capabilities include:

  • VHF Amateur
  • VHF Commercial Band
  • UHF Amateur
  • UHF Commercial Band
  • GMRS
  • Citizens Band

Antenna Trailer

In 1990, we came across an old, unwanted antenna mast trailer.  At the time, it was in waist-deep grass, had rotten tires, and was covered in rust.  We purchased it for the asking price of $50.  With a little care and attention (and $750 in painting, tires, and repairs), it became part of the family.  Handcranked, it will raise a medium-weight base antenna to an un-guyed height of nearly 50 ft.  Typically, the StepVan tows the antenna trailer.  However, the Antenna Trailer is light enough to be towed by any vehicle equipped with a trailer hitch.  Therefore, Dallas County REACT members can tow it to the deployment site if necessary.