Northants RAYNET – Equipment

How do we get the message through?

The team has a wide range of tools available, and depending on the situation will depend very much on what we will employ to get the job done.

Handheld Radios

These radios enable a very flexible way of communicating over shorter distances, are portable, but low powered.

Mobile Radios

These units are fitted into vehicles with an external antenna located on the outside of the vehicle, They are higher powered and have a greater range especially when used with a repeater.

Masts

You never know where you will be stationed and the simplest thing as being surrounded by fire engines at an incident has an effect on the range of any radio, to over come this we employ the use of a mast, these range from 5m in height for an easy to use highly portable solution, to our trailer based hydraulic mast that can reach a height of around 30m.

Repeaters

These enable us to severely increase the range and coverage of both handheld and mobile radios, these range from a localised repeater unit that can be used with one of our 5m masts to our custom designed and built repeaters located in Corby (which covers the northern part of the county) and it’s brother located near Towcester (which covers the southern part of the county). In addition to this we are very fortunate to have the support from the Northampton Repeater Group who kindly allow us to use their repeaters as and when the need arises. We are always looking for new repeater sites as some of our technologies cannot be co sited, so if you have a site located on a high point with power and access, we would be very happy to discuss how you can help us help the community.

Data

A growing weapon in our arsenal is the ability to send data messages over the airwaves, this enables more messages to be sent and received quicker. Added to this that they are digital the added security enables us to pass more sensitive information.

Encryption

A concept that has been around for years however only up until most recently have we been authorised to encrypt messages for security purposes, this has led to an new and exciting path for the Team to explore and develop.

You might ask why we need to encrypt or need security on the messages we send? As Category 2 responders we provide the Emergency Communications for Local Government and the Emergency Services in time of need. You can appreciate that at any incident sensitive information needs to be passed and having this sent when you do not know who may hear it is a very big problem. Through encryption we can stop this happening.

Vehicles

In the past the team have relied on their own family cars to act not only as transport but as a mobile radio command post, this has now been supplemented by a number of members who as a hobby use 4×4 vehicles. This new capability now enables the team to reach the best vantage point for a repeater or enables an operator to work from a location that previously would have only been able to be serviced by them walking there and using a handheld radio.

Communication Shelters

As the team deploys in all weathers and for long periods of time it is very important that both them and their radio equipment is kept out of the elements. Our communication shelters are easily transportable, lightweight and enable 2 operators to work whilst being protected from the elements.

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