EMCOMM: What is a Mobile Command Center?

EMCOMM often relies on portability. It is a huge factor for deployment in an emergency or disaster. So it would stand to reason that the next phase in portability and deployment would be a full mobile command center.  

The above is an example of a Communication Support Trailer (CST). The Xenia Weather Amateur Radio Net (X.W.A.R.N.) was formed shortly after an F5 tornado in April 1974 struck the town of Xenia, Ohio. X.W.A.R.N. was specifically chartered to provide Xenia and Greene County public and private service organizations with a reliable backup to their civil communications in times of an emergency. This CST is installed with MARCS (Multi-Agency Radio Communication System) radios and is the backup command for Xenia.

Interoperability is a big benefit of these mobile communication centers. Besides VHF/UHF and the MARCS radios mentioned above, here are some other items that have been added or can be added:

  • Weather station
  • Weather alert radios
  • CB radios
  • GMRS radios
  • FRS radios
  • Desktop computers
  • Flat-screen TV to monitor local media or the radar
  • Dedicated radio equipment to communicate directly to served agencies such as the American Red Cross and the Salvation Army
  • County and city maps
  • Portable radio repeater
  • HF capability
  • Mesh Network

Among the many options for mobile communication support centers, they can be set up in trailers that need to be towed like the example above or in a truck or van. Old ambulances have been popularly repurposed for this use. Campers, whether towed or full motor homes, have also been chosen for use as mobile command centers.

EMCOMM vehicles from across the country will gather again this year at Dayton HamventionÒ to showcase amateur radio emergency communications and community services. Emergency communications groups such as ARESÒ, RACES, MARS, CERT, the Salvation Army, DHS, National Guard, CGAUX, and others who have a sincere interest in emergency communications are invited to display their emergency communications trailers, vans, trucks, campers/motor homes or other units during Hamvention 2022, May 20-22.

Questions? Share them in the comments below or email me at KE8FMJ@arrl.net.

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