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DI Technicians Help Kosovo Force Maintain Field Communications

Mike Cassel 002

DI Technicians Help Kosovo Force Maintain Field Communications

Mike Cassel
DI’s Mike Cassel conducts maintenance on radio towers during a radio systems inspection at Mount Golesh in Kosovo on Jan. 28. The communication towers provide long distance, encrypted radio communication. Regular maintenance of radio towers makes sure KFOR assets can always maintain communication in the field. (U.S. Army National Guard photo by Sgt. Jonathan Perdelwitz)

February 5, 2021 – DynCorp International employees at Camp Bondsteel, Kosovo conducted a routine radio tower maintenance visit on Jan. 28 along with U.S. soldiers assigned to Regional Command-East, Kosovo Force (KFOR) 28.

Land mobile radios are more reliable than cellphones because they are secured with encryption and have better connectivity. Radio towers can send signals farther and stronger across Kosovo than cell towers. Therefore, the land mobile radios allow KFOR to operate over greater areas.

Sgt. 1st Class Rod Widows, a signal support systems specialist with the 41st Infantry Brigade Combat Team, Oregon Army National Guard, said there are eight to 10 towers they must maintain once a month throughout each KFOR rotation. The inspection routes are altered during winter months because certain towers can be more difficult to access, but all the towers are maintained year-round. He leads inspections to make sure the towers remain operational.

Army CO contr officer and DI
A contracting officer representative with Regional Command-East, Kosovo Force, talks to DI contractors during the inspection. (U.S. Army National Guard photo by Staff Sgt. Tawny Schmit)

“We check the uninterrupted power supply, how many times the system has been up or down, and the radio functionality at each location,” said Widows. “Each location is a relay tower site so that we can talk on mobile radios throughout the country.”

It is important for soldiers to familiarize themselves with their equipment and know how it works. Professionals with DynCorp International provide technical maintenance and support for KFOR.

DI’s Mike Cassel, the lead technician for land mobile radio, has over 20 years of experience. At each tower location, some of the checks he helps conduct include running software diagnostics, testing the radio transmitting power and checking battery voltage.

DI contractor
(U.S. Army National Guard photo by Staff Sgt. Tawny Schmit)

When Cassel isn’t inspecting towers, he’s helping troubleshoot radios and passing his extensive working knowledge on to U.S. soldiers.

Cassel’s office is open to soldiers as a technical resource. He solves their radio problems while teaching them how to fix the issues themselves. Hands-on learning and demonstrations help the soldiers become more familiar with their equipment and prevent future break downs.


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