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Using a trailer based repeater station to provide radio communication for special events and as a backup in times of national emergency.

Mobile & Marine Systems trailer based mobile repeater for use at special events and in times of national emergency.

Mobile and Marine Systems trailer based mobile repeater for use at special events and in times of national emergency.

Crop Over is the premier cultural event in Barbados. It has it origins in the celebrations held at the end of the Sugar cane harvesting Season each year. The carts carrying the last loads of canes to the windmills were decorated with flowers, and the workers took some time off to celebrate another successful sugar crop, and sample some of the by-product of sugar cane – Rum.

The CropOver festival has evolved to its present state where every section in the island takes part.  It showcases the Music, Art, Food and Dance of Barbados over a 3 week period in July each year.

One of the main events of the Crop-Over festival is an open-air concert on the East Coast Road in a natural amphitheatre over looking the Atlantic Ocean.  The site is excellent for the show but the logistics of setting it up and organising it are a nightmare for the Crop Over organisers, The National Cultural Foundation (NCF).

No electricity, water or telephones are available at the site. Due to the nature of the terrain and the amphitheatre, cell phones and all of the repeater systems on the island give very limited coverage. This is not a part of the island where people want to be contacted!

In 2000 Mobile and Marine Systems were asked to set up a system that would give island wide coverage as well as coverage to the East Coast Road for the week before and after the show. This would be used to control the set-up and take down of the stage and equipment.

We decided on using the Tait T800II Repeater the NCF had been using for years, and make a Mobile Repeater that could be quickly transported to the site.

We used a trailer with a tilt over telescoping 7-meter mast. We put a battery box to hold two 100Ahr Batteries and a 19-inch Rack to mount the equipment.  The System is powered by a Solar Panel.

The repeater is a Tait T800II 25-Watt VHF System.  A Tait T2015, with a T2000-80 Line Interface board, providing the link back to the main Highland Repeater site.

The radios are programmed with two channels. Channel #1 is set for the Highland Repeater Site and Channel #2 is for the mobile East Coast Road Repeater.

The User selects the channel according to his location. With the Tait Orca T5000 radios voting can be used so that the user is not aware of which repeater is selected. SELCALL can be used between units on either repeater. In addition we set up base stations at the entry gates powered by car batteries, as there is no AC power available.

In the days before the show the system is used to co-ordinate between the NCF Office and the stage management crew.  Before Mobile and Marine Systems supplied this Tait T800II system there was no communication between the site and the head office.

During the show it is used by the Gate control, Transport co-ordinator, Security and the Emergency services. Every one is on the same system and is kept abreast of any problems that arise; enabling them to be dealt with in an efficient manner.

Due to the limited parking on site all private vehicles are parked about 5km away and buses are used to ferry the patrons in. This makes communication essential at the end when 20,000 people wish to leave as soon as the last performer has left the stage!

This is a long day for the organisers.  It starts around 5am and will not end until the last reveller has left, around 11pm.

This Mobile Tait Repeater system has proved very useful in setting up short-term communication to other customers who may wish to have coverage for a particular area. We can link it back to any other repeater system by simply reprogramming the T2015.

For Mobile and Marine Systems it has also enhanced our short-term lease revenue as we can offer a quick and efficient service to anywhere in the island at short notice.

If Barbados was ever to have a major hurricane or national emergency this trailer based mobile repeater solution also features in the island’s disaster management / emergency relief plan.  It would be used to set up a mobile emergency communications network similar to the one that Mobile and Marine Systems set up in Grenada following Hurricane Ivan for the Grenada Police Force.


Based in Barbados in the West Indies, Mobile and Marine Services are one of the Caribbean’s leading professional private mobile radio communication solution suppliers and radio systems integrators.  Mobile and Marine Services are sales, support and service agents for land, air and marine radio solutions from: Icom Radio Communications and Tait Radio Communications. Radio accessories from: Hustler – Antennas, Midian Electronics, Voxtech, W&W, and Zetron.  Solar powered:  Avlite aviation lighting and Sealite marine navigational aids and lighting.  As radio systems integrators we operate throughout the Caribbean (Anguilla, Antigua, Aruba, Bahamas, Barbados, Cayman Islands, Cuba, Dominica, Dominican Republic, Grenada, Guadeloupe, Haiti, Jamaica, Martinique, Montserrat, Netherlands Antilles, Puerto Rico, St. Kitts & Nevis, St. Lucia, St. Vincent & the Grenadines, Trinidad & Tobago, Turks & Caicos, Virgin Islands plus Belize, Colombia, Costa Rica, French Guiana, Guatemala, Guyana, Honduras, Nicaragua, Panama, Suriname and Venezuela).

Mobile and Marine Services provide a comprehensive range of professional pmr services and radio systems integration. Backed by more than 40 years of experience enables Mobile and Marine Services to come up with solutions that incorporate 2 or more equipment suppliers in ways that other dealers may not think of. Many of our customers have come to rely on these solutions.

If you have questions, simply need more information, or, need to discuss specific requirements, please click on the Contact MMS to e-mail us.