Aerostats could be tremendously useful as surveillance and communications platforms after the loss of communications. Each can be unreeled to a desired altitude on a synthetic tether about the diameter of a school pencil. When necessary, the tether can house fiber optic strands to download data from the payloads without risk of interference and copper wires to deliver power to the payloads. An aerostat at 500 feet above ground will give a radio nearly 50-kilometer line-of-sight range to the horizon; that exceeds the range of most radio payloads commonly used by field operators.?