The day began in a hurry-up-and-wait mode. The people at the courthouse wanted us to deploy with the FEMA group at the American Legion building. There was a lot going on and FEMA wasn’t moving from the courthouse anytime soon. I got tired of waiting on them, so I went and set up the 2.4m antenna in an open spot behind the AL building. Here are a few pictures showing the stages of setup.
I was set up on the Horizons-2 (74-W) satellite by noon. For the next four hours I waited for FEMA to show up. I went inside the AL building to see if anyone could use free wireless access. The American Red Cross is operating this site providing food, washing machines, and bedding for over 50 people. There were some FEMA employees inside the building. They were trying to access the web through aircards, and weren’t very successful. Most of the cell towers were damaged and cold only provide limited coverage of the area. They were able to upload many of their forms through the wireless link. Other than that it was pretty slow. Here are three of my new friends (George, Trey, and JaCorey). They were staying in the shelter and really wanted to check their myspace pages.
There were a lot of people that stop by to ask what that “balloon lookin thing” is (pretty standard question for us). The sheriff and his wife came by and asked if they could bring their laptop back to check email.
At five PM, I was met by Philip Wilson, a volunteer from Mission Aviation Fellowship. His is a volunteer that is trained at providing technology solution to devastated areas. He is a really sharp guy that has responded and volunteered at disasters all over the world. That evening we spent about an hour talking with the water truck driver who said we couldn’t leave until after he left because he was using our wifi to surf the web in his truck. Interesting fellow – he drives around 250K miles per year. That’s one tough job. Anyway, tomorrow is a new day with new opportunities. I hope we can make a greater contribution to the relief effort.