GATR Deployment: Day 4 (9/24/2008)

We met Keith Stone (HISG) and Suzanne Novak (FEMA) at the Anahuac deployment site around 9AM.  I showed the technology to Keith.  He saw the application of the technology immediately.  He has been on deployments around the world and has worked with setting up large antenna.  He could not believe that a 2.4m antenna can weigh 17 pounds.  He saw that this type of system belongs on the fringes where the infrastructure is severely damaged.  He said he would contact other agencies in the Bolivar and Galveston to see if we could be of use to them.  Suzanne Novak also said she would contact other locations within FEMA to see if there is a need elsewhere.  Until we heard back, we stayed put at the American Legions building.  The extra time was good, we were able to get our voip phone system up and running.  The basic architecture we are using is the following:  The antenna connects to an iDirect modem.  Modem connects to a CISCO switch, Digium Asterick box, wifi access point, and LAN access are all connected to the CISCO Switch.  We have a bank of four voip phones set up through the Digium box (Charlie, your Digium product works well J).  We now have a disaster relief deployment system.  Nothing like putting a system together in the field on the fly…


I had not heard back from Keith or Suzanna at 3PM, so I went looking for them.  I met Suzanne in the parking lot of the Chambers County Courthouse.  She was with the FEMA regional director.  The mobile RV was heading to Oak Island, an area with heavy damage.  Suzanne suggested that we go set up in Smith Point, TX.  This is a smaller community that FEMA was not going to get to service since the mobile site was heading elsewhere.  The plan was for us to set up internet and phone for the AllTech folks (FEMA subcontractors) to start getting the people in this area registered.  Smith Point was hit really hard.  This is where we need to be deployed.


I drove Phil down to the Firehouse in Smith Point.  The mosquitoes were unbelievable.  The marshy land is fertile for mosquito breeding.  Here are a few pictures from the drive down. 




The people at the firehouse were confused.  They were told that FEMA was not coming to their area.  We told them that they were going to be here tomorrow morning.  Phil set up the 1.8m antenna while I went back to get to get Caleb and the 2.4m antenna (and Cheeseburgers from the Panther Den).  Smith Point is about a 25 minute drive from Anahuac.  Caleb and I got back to Smith Point at about 8PM.  We told the people at the firehouse what the big balls do.  “High Speed wireless internet, we only have dial up here.”  I thought they were going to kill the fatted calf for us.  Very gracious people.  Here are a few pictures of Caleb and Phil setting up at night.  We got both systems on satellite with screaming hot connections. 




There is an alligator living in the culvert about feet away from the GATR systems.  Here is a map of the area. 

The gator stuck his tail out last night.  The morning before last he was all the way out looking for one of the feral cats.  He is about 7 feet in length.  A man in the firehouse was telling a story of finding a 16 footer underneath his house.  GATR, meet gator…  I find it very ironic that GATR was deployed to the gator capital of Texas.


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