Des Moines (Iowa) Water Works (DMWW) uses secure radiotelemetry to monitor various remote-site parameters to alert staff to problems. Earlier this year, DMWW experienced periodic and sometimes total failure of the radio system. After no solution could be found, staff reached out to various resources, including the FCC. Polk County ARES also was brought in, and eight operators assembled to track down the interference, working the late shift.
After a process of elimination, the ARES volunteers pinpointed the interfering signal to defunct equipment atop a downtown Des Moines building. The team contacted the owner of the license associated with the equipment and got permission to disable it, and DMWW confirmed that the signal interference was gone. Collectively, the Polk County ARES volunteer team spent approximately 70 hours to assist DMWW. Following the experience, DMWW installed a more robust radio system with encryption and established stronger relationships with several entities that can assist if similar problems arise. — Thanks to H2Oline and The ARES E-Letter