Supplemental Weather Alert System for Trailer Parks

I think there needs to be a system that provides supplemental weather broadcasts and emergency alerts to trailer and RV parks.

Standard weather radios do NOT perform well in trailers, recreational vehicles and campers.

This idea has been on my mind for almost five years now.

I previously posted briefly about this to Facebook on Christmas Day 2012, when my area had seen several tornadoes.

It is now late May of 2017, and I’m just getting around to writing a full article on the subject, which will discuss the regulations and technical details of implementing such a system.

Let’s face it, trailers and other mobile homes are not safe during a tornado at all. Occupants need as much advanced warning as possible to get out and get to safety. The most fail-safe system in delivering such life saving information is a stand by weather radio.

However weather radios operating on the VHF High Band get very poor reception being inside of a trailer. VHF signals have trouble penetrating through metal buildings and a trailer is surrounded at all angles by sheet metal. This is even worse at greater distances from the transmitter station. Transmitters are usually located in larger cities and trailer parks are typically located in more rural areas.

Now, one could purchase a standard weather radio and connect it to an outdoor aerial antenna and this would solve the problem.

Not exactly.

It would indeed work fine on a good weather day, but on a day with hazardous weather, high winds and lightning could destroy the antenna, completely defeating its purpose.

However, there is a supplemental system that could, with proper funding and government approvals, be very effective in getting weather information to residents of trailer parks.

I am proposing that every trailer park have a facility with a professional grade weather radio and adequate antenna that receives the broadcast signal. However, there would be a low power transmitter that would repeat the weather broadcast on a discrete 900 MHz ISM frequency, much like what a cordless phone or baby monitor uses. The 900 MHz signal will penetrate most buildings and could be low power so it could only cover a few blocks at the most.

Then for every trailer that occupies the park, have a purpose built receiver tuned to that 900 MHz frequency. The trailer park could have signs which indicate the frequency to tune the receivers to. Have one of these receivers installed to every newly manufactured trailer but also sell them at mobile home and camping supply stores. There could be more than one frequency available too, in the case of multiple parks in a close proximity. These receivers should operate on both line current but also have trickle charged Lead Acid batteries for an extended power failure. The relay station could be housed in the trailer park’s sewer plant or laundromat and also have a backup power supply.

The relay station could trigger all occupants’ receivers when a tornado watch or warning is issued and be custom designed for any other weather situation that might be a threat to the park and its occupants.

The technology to implement this system is definitely available now, it just needs to be built.   It could be easily built with a little cooperation between the public and private sectors.

This system doesn’t have to be limited to just trailer parks, but also apartment complexes, condominiums, hospitals, schools and even gated communities.

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