Thursday, April 28, 2011

Ray of Light

This morning is sunny. It's the first time in more than a week that we've had the slightest break in the clouds. During that time the longest stretch we've gone without rain was about two hours. About ten between thunderstorms.

It's been clear all morning, and we've had people following the instructions Google gave us for looking at the nearest cell tower. Fortune seems to be smiling on us, because it is a power problem as far as we can tell. The base of the tower has a small building that houses the batteries that get charged by the solar cells that sit around it. It isn't much for communications, really, maybe a couple of kilowatts, but enough to get us on the internet here and there. Some of the panels have been pretty badly damaged by the storms, and Google has several options for us.

The first is obvious: repair. We've got unused turbines and spare solar panels. We could, assuming that the zombie swarms were thin enough, put up new panels and build props for the turbines, turn them into wind turbines. It would be a lot of work to provide minimal power to the cell tower closest to us.

Another option that I wasn't even aware of until this morning is a lot more appealing.

Major communications companies had been providing mobile disaster relief communications for a while before The Fall. Some towns' fire and police departments have trailers that carry what is essentially a mobile cell tower. Some have an even larger version that is itself a truck. Sort of like those vans that supply a satellite signal to news agencies in the field.

Frankfort doesn't have one of those. Part of why the cellular companies were allowed to put their towers right up next to some of the local fire stations was due to the fact that they built expensive fail-safes into those towers for emergency communication. Which is why I've been able to write this blog and keep in touch with people over the last year plus.

I think it's time to make some changes. Jamie has volunteered to take and extended scout trip to look for one or more of these things. If he can find one, we're planning on basically stealing all the batteries from the closest cell tower, the one we're working on, and setting the whole shebang up inside the compound itself. We'll actually get more and better communications with the mobile unit than we do sitting right on the edge of this tower's area of service.

This may not seem like a big deal to a lot of you, but it is to us. Knowing that we can quickly take down and protect our means of communication with the outside world is hugely appealing. I think most of you out there can get that. We're all survivors, regardless of the specifics that got us to this point. Every one of us knows the loneliness and deep discomfort that comes from living in a safe zone surrounded by the walking dead. Human beings by and large need news and interaction with the wider world. It's just a part of who we've become.

I'm hopeful that since we live in a rural area not known for its generous cellular coverage that Jamie will be able to find one of these things. He's only taking three other scouts with him, one of them being Mason. I'm hoping that they can find one soon and get back home safely.

There's enough work to do here that we can't spare them for long.

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