Emergency Antenna Platform System (EAPS)

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Presented By:
Rob Roschewsk
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Tell us briefly about your project. Is it a work of art or does it serve another function?

The Emergency Antenna Platform System was designed by Amateur Radio operators (Hams) to assist in providing emergency communications during times of need, specifically natural disasters that disrupt normal communications. During an emergency Hams can be called upon to setup an ad hoc communications post for a shelter or medical station, EAPS can be used to raise radio antennas to an optimal height using an available lamp post, flag pole, or most any vertical structure.

When did you start working on this project and how long did it take you to complete?

The project was started in February 2013 and made it's first public appearance at the Dayton Hamvention Youth Forum in May 2013.

What was your goal in building this project?

This project was inspired by Hurricane Sandy. Warren County, New Jersey was hit fairly hard, at one point even the counties public service communications system was knocked out. Hams pitched in to maintain communications between the various hospitals, shelters and water distribution sites. While setting up a communication post in a mall parking lot we were faced with poor reception problems and looked for a way to use the existing structures ... lamp poles .... to raise our antennas for better reception. We wanted to develop a simple system that was easily transported and deployed to raise antennas.

Does your project help to solve a problem? If so what problem?

Yes! As shown in the video, in an emergency a station can be setup and multiple antennas raised in a matter of minutes. A ham or first responder could have this device stowed in the trunk of their car and create an ad hoc antenna tower in a matter of minutes. Most of the apparatus is self contained and requires no tools to deploy, it can be clamped to and powered from a car battery.

What makes your idea unique?

A unique element of the design is the way leverage and gravity is used to keep the vehicle attached to the pole instead of complicated grabbing mechanisms. The gas struts incorporated in the design are used only to compensate for the taper in some poles.

In what capacity are you using bearings and what type of bearings?

Wheel bearings are used on the "idler" or non-powered wheels. Gear bearings and block bearings are also used in the gear drive train.

What is the most important thing you want people to know about your project?

This was a STUDENT led project which was a FUSION of Robotics and Amateur Radio. The students are all veteran FRC competitors that also have an interest in Ham Radio. Amateur Radio and it's role in emergency communications provided a practical application for the skills learned by competing in FRC

How will you use the $5,000 prize?

The group would like to continue it's work inspiring and mentoring young people in science, technology, engineering, designing, building, and creating. We would use the $5000 prize as seed money to open a Hacker Space in Warren County, NJ to use as a "base of operations" in achieving our goal.

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