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New Jersey Radio Amateurs Enter Emergency Antenna-Raising Project in Innovation Competition


A group of young Amateur Radio operators from Warren County in Northern New Jersey, has entered its 2013 Dayton Hamvention® Youth Forum project — the Emergency Antenna Platform System (EAPS) — in the Boca Bearings Innovation Competition. The group, which calls itself the 721st Mechanized Contest Battalion, developed the device for quickly raising antennas on vertical structures such as lamp posts and flagpoles. In an emergency a ham radio operator could use the EAPS to put up an antenna and establish a communication link. Devlin Murray, KC2PIX, and Chris Blackwood, KD2CXC, first presented the project at Dayton. Murray and Blackwood delivered a Youth Forum presentation on robotics at the ARRL Centennial National Convention last July in Hartford, Connecticut.

“This project was inspired by Hurricane Sandy,” the developers told Boca Bearing in their entry narrative. “Warren County, New Jersey, was hit fairly hard, at one point even the county’s public service communications system was knocked out. Hams pitched in to maintain communications between the various hospitals, shelters and water distribution sites.”

The group’s entry relates that while setting up a communication post in a mall parking lot in Sandy’s aftermath, the operators encountered reception problems. “We wanted to develop a simple system that was easily transported and deployed to raise antennas,” they said. The EAPS can be powered from a vehicle battery. While initially intended for emergency use, the EAPS could conceivably be used to erect antennas for public Amateur Radio demonstrations, such as ARRL Field Day.

The Boca Bearing Company is awarding more than $5000 in cash and prizes in the 2014 competition. Winners are chosen based on a video submission of their innovative mechanical projects that utilize bearings anywhere in their application. One finalist will be chosen in September, October and November on the basis of votes from the public. Boca Bearing will pick the grand prize winner and two runners up from the monthly finalists.

“The Boca Bearing Company believes in supporting those individuals or companies with a focus on art, science, technology, engineering and math,” the company said on its website. “These are the creative people that push the limits of new technology and will be the drivers of our future economy.” — Thanks to Rob Roschewsk, KA2PBT




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