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WICHITA FALLS (KFDX/KJTL) — With storm season just around the corner, the Wichita County Storm Spotters were recently dealt a blow to their communications system.

The radio tower just west of Wichita Falls collapsed due to vandals cutting the guy wires at the location of one of the radio repeaters the spotters use during severe weather. They gather storm information and report directly to the National Weather Service.

Charlie Byars, with the spotter group, reported that with the tower collapse, they lost their antenna and all of the transmission line that ran up the tower.

Mobile Phone of Texas owns the tower, which will be rebuilt with a new tower shortly after the first of 2021. Mobile Phone has allowed the spotters to use their towers for the spotter radio equipment for about 40 years.

The spotter group will have to come up with the funds to replace their antenna and transmission line. The cost of the project with install prices will cost slightly over $9000, according to Byars.

Byars reported that the spotter group had about $2400 to put forward to the project, but needs support from the community to help fund the balance of the cost. He indicated that our citizens had helped with a project such as this back in 2001, and have always been generous with their contributions.

In addition to the spotters loss, the National Weather Service weather radio was located on the tower also, and according to Byars, that system will be replaced by the Weather Service.

The spotter group has contacted the Wichita Falls Area Community Foundation in an effort to seek help in obtaining additional funds to complete the project.

Any funds donated to the Foundation for this project are tax-deductible. Citizens will be able to donate to a good cause, and also have a tax deduction.

Byars indicated that anyone wanting to help support the spotters fundraising effort can make donations to the Wichita Falls Area Community Foundation, located at 2405 Kell Blvd, Donations can also be made online at www.wfacf.org.

Those making donations by check or online must show the fund they are donating to, and that is the “Wichita Amateur Radio Emergency Fund”. Please show this on checks and online donations.

Byars praised the work done by the Wichita Falls Area Community Foundation to aid such groups as the spotters, and many other worthy causes in our area. “ It is a great organization, and they do so many good things for our community” Byars added.

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