The Wireless Association of South Hills, Inc., began raising money for our mobile antenna tower and trailer in 2005.
Why a tower/trailer? Primarily because during the course of a year, the organization and it's members are involved in many activities, both for our communities and our fellow radio amateurs, that require us to set up and operate our equipment. A mobile tower/trailer permits us to bring the antenna portion of a ready-to-go station with us, thus letting us get up and on the air faster, safer, and efficiently.
What types of activities? A fair question:
WASH is involved with the Mt. Lebanon EOC (once home to one of the South Hills 911 Centers) as a provider of emergency communications. Should there be a communications failure (due to downed power or telephone lines, or saturated cellular telephone links, or anything else that could happen), members of the club can be called upon both to man our backup station (WA3SH) at the EOC, but to head out in the field to provide communications back. For example, this system was tested on New Year's Eve, 2000, when WASH club members joined public safety officers of Mt. Lebanon and were deployed in key areas in the event that a "millennium bug" caused communications or other problems.
In addition, having a mobile capability permits WASH and it's members to quickly provide similar types of emergency and/or back-up communications to other communities
WASH and it's members, along with other Amateur Radio Clubs and operators, also provide communications for many public service events in the South Western PA area. Be it a walk-a-thon, bike-a-thon, charity run, the Great Race, the (late, lamented) Pittsburgh Marathon, or the Pittsburgh Vintage Grand Prix, you'll find amateurs providing the event organizers with communications so that they know what's going on throughout the event at all times. A mobile tower/trailer gives us the opportunity to make certain that our equipment can completely cover an event's "operating area" so that necessary communications can be provided.
WASH and it's members also provide operating demonstrations of Amateur Radio to public schools and other organizations (such as the ARISS contact with the International Space Station at Upper St. Clair High School in 2005). A mobile tower/trailer ensures that we can quickly, efficiently, and effectively operate during these events.
It is important to realize that while WASH can continue to provide communications services, the mobile tower/trailer lets us do it better. A lot better. When a situation calls for communications to be set up - fast - because lives or property could be at risk, when every moment potentially could count, the ability to simply drive up, park the tower, and raise it in a matter of moments can make a huge difference.