Water district OKs ham repeater

The Point Roberts water district has given the go-ahead for the Point Roberts Auxiliary Communications Service (ACS) to install a radio repeater on the water tower behind Baker Field.

“We really need a repeater so we have a little more power for everyone and a higher antenna to get to Bellingham,” said ACS president Thomas Bailey at the October 14 water district meeting.

Judson Meraw, another ACS member, explained their group is a subcommittee of the Point Roberts Emergency Preparedness (PREP) group, and connects ham radio operators, who would provide backup for emergency services in case a disaster or emergency knocked out or hampered official communications lines. The group has established ties with other organizations in Whatcom County and secured frequencies to use. Now all they need is a location for the equipment.

“It’s a great idea and certainly seems a prudent thing to do,” said water district commissioner Scott Hackleman.

The district will contact its insurance company and draft a contract with ACS to protect the district from liability and costs. “Our intention is, you incur no costs,” Bailey said, explaining they would assume all legal and permitting costs, as well as installation and power to operate the repeater.

“Power consumption is very little,” he added. “It would be on 24/7 but would be on standby most of the time.”

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