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The story behind the Garfield County expansion...
In 2005, Garfield County decided to move all of its public safety communications from VHF to the state wide 800 MHZ DTR System. This meant brand new site buildings, towers and generators. The Mount Callahan site project started as more of a day dream; a thought of how nice it would be to have HAM gear in a state of the art, brand new site.
The Garfield County Emergency Communications Authority hired Pat Smith as an in-house communications engineer who took on the daunting project of bringing Garfield County into the 21st Century. Fortunately for everyone in GMRA and ARES/ RACES, Pat was HAM friendly and was willing to entertain the notion of allowing us a foot print in the new sites for our equipment. After working with Pat and having several lengthy conversations regarding our repeater equipment in his buildings, we met with the Comm Board to present our request. At the end of the meeting, not only were we authorized to place our gear in the new sites, we were also given all of the UHF med channel repeaters and gear once they were decommissioned. Shortly there after, with the support of the Sheriff, the Garfield County Board of County Commissioners gave GMRA a grant for over $14,000.00 to complete the Callahan Project. In the fall of 2006, the Mount Callahan repeater was on the air.
After Callahan was on the air, RACES was officially adopted by Garfield County as a resource for emergency and disaster communications.
Once all of the ambulances in Garfield County received their new 800 MHZ DTR radios, they began communicating with the hospitals over the DTR system and abandoned the use of the med channels. We began removing the med channel repeaters from various sites and started working on converting the GE MASTR 3 repeaters to the 70 CM amateur band.
As of August 2008, GMRA has three sites in Garfield County on the air with a fourth due to be on-line by the time the snow starts to fly. Garfield County now has a strong support infrastructure for emergency and disaster communications simply because we were able to work together and gain the trust and support of Garfield County.
The Grand Mesa Repeater Association would like to thank the following people…
The Garfield County Board of County Commissioners
Pat Smith, Communications Engineer, GCECA
Carl Stephens, Director, GCECA
The GCECA Comm Board
Sheriff Lou Vallario
Keri Washburn- KB0YNA
Andy Kelly- N0XLI
Al Acker- WA4HND
Eric Ashworth- N2XYY
GRAND MESA REPEATER ASSOCIATION
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