WightSAR was awarded funding from the Morrisons Foundation for new digital radios and infrastructure to improve communications between search operatives and the Command and Control Unit, but needed some way of boosting its reach to more remote areas.
Now Vectis Radio – the Island’s community radio station – has stepped in to provide space on its transmitter mast just outside Newport.
Dean Terrett, founder of Isle of Wight Search and Rescue, said without the support of Vectis Radio the organisation would have really struggled…
“In the past, we relied on an analogue radio network to talk to one another and the Search Control vehicle. Depending on terrain, these radios had a range of 5 to 10km in a typical rural environment and significantly less in the forest.
“However, thanks to the grant, we have been able to create an Island-wide encrypted digital radio infrastructure to allow communications in the most remote locations. The grant also allowed the purchase of 18 radio handsets which means all of the searchers have immediate and secure communications with search control.
“None of this would have been possible without the help of Vectis Radio, who without hesitation offered to host our main repeater equipment on their current broadcast tower on the downs just outside Newport, and have generously supplied the power and internet connectivity required to allow us to link the equipment to the network.”
Kelvin Currie, director of Vectis Radio, said the station was very happy to house the equipment and provide space on the mast to give better coverage. He said:
“We both use radio communication to serve the community, although in very different ways, and we work closely together when needed. This collaboration benefits the whole community, and we are very pleased to be able to help.”