GATR Deployment: Day 1 (9/21/2008)

I woke up at 5AM to finish packing all of my gear in the truck.  I was told to be as self sufficient as possible, so I packed everything in my brother’s hiking backpack including his sleeping bag and my tent (Kevin, I forgot to ask – I hope you don’t mind).  I had to make a stop at Walmart on the way out of town to get food and pad locks and chain to lock the expensive equipment together and tether it to my truck.  I was on the road by 6:30AM.  I had one stop in Jackson, Mississippi for lunch and another stop in outside Baton Rouge, Louisiana.  I took a picture of the gear in the back of my truck to make a point.

Here is a picture of two complete communication systems including a 2.4m and a 1.8m diameter antennas (stowed in the black cases).  See how nicely both systems fit in the back of my truck.  I passed many other communications vehicles towing single 1.2m antennas very slowly.  I could have checked both GATR systems on an airplane, (something you cannot do with other antennas this size)…but I digress.



I arrived in Anahuac at 6:30PM with a sore back.  Driving through the county I saw twisted buildings, trees on houses, trees on cars, and cattle everywhere.  Here is a picture I snapped on the way into town. 



Once in Anahuac, I met Mike K., the Direction of Communications at the Courthouse.  He introduces me to the County Judge and other government workers that have been working logistics all week.  Mike took me to the deployment site so I could check it out to make sure we has a good look angle to the satellites.  He chuckled and said all the obstructions were removed last week.  Sure enough, flat land with no trees = great look at the satellite.  Since we didn’t know exactly where the FEMA trailer was going to be placed, we decided to wait until the morning to set up the GATR antennas. 


I got to spend the night in the courthouse.  I showered and then watched the Packers-Cowboys game with two employees that have been working hard all week.  They had some amazing stories to tell about the storm – All the cattle that drowned in the storm surge, cattle that had to be tended to for eating salt soaked grass, a person that had to get on the roof and hold on to the chimney in 100+ mph winds because the surge flooded his house, rescuing people who stayed in houses they were warned to get out of, …  What is remarkable is that nobody died as a result of the storm in Chambers County.  Nice folks that have been spending every hour of the day for eight straight days to make sure the search, rescue, and recovery go smoothly.


Here is my sleeping arrangements for the evening.  Not bad, although I think they can hang meat up here – It’s freezing!



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