High frequency radios go up for “bad day” scenario

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ANCHORAGE, (KTUU) - The Civil Air Patrol, an all-volunteer U.S. Air Force auxiliary, is well known for its expertise in search and rescue operations, but it also maintains a communications network that would keep Alaska connected if a major disaster were to hit.

“Your cellphone towers go dead, power goes out we’re able to either battery operate or generator operate a radio and be able to talk throughout the United States,” said Lt. Col. Kevin McClure, Chief of Staff for the Civil Air Patrol’s Alaska Wing.

CAP volunteers have just installed towers at the Lake Hood Maintenance Facility. The high frequency antenna is stretched between them and over the building, which McClure says helps with the signal.

“When it’s going out it kind of helps push it out from what we want it to do.”

Another antenna is being constructed in Tok. McClure says when they’re all online Alaska will have a total of 18 units capable of handling any communication emergency.

The Lake Hood transmission site will act as a backup to CAP’s transmission site at Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson and is expected to be fully operational within the next two weeks.

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