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Author Topic: Spandex Events  (Read 1888 times)
AE5RY
Member

Posts: 9




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« on: May 17, 2011, 07:08:19 PM »

I worked a 'public service' event last year. My post was a portable rig near a rest and food stop during a century bike ride.  Once again the season for these events is upon us.  This past Sunday I did patrol duty at another century ride.  It was a great time with a lot of good people and I had a ton of fun.

Here is my request:  I'm looking for other amateurs to share their experiences (good and bad).  Basically, I'd like to compile a list of good operating ideas and things to avoid.  Especially important would be information from operators experienced in planning and running communications for walk,run,bike or similar large scale participant endurance events-even those say using horses and leather rather than spandex.

Vent if that's what you have to offer but know I'm specifically looking for positive information.  Planning and organizing tips, developing relationships, really anything related to hams helping at these events.  A list of 'credits' will be compiled so if you have a particular idea that you want named in your honor...

Add to this topic, I'll keep checking until it stops being interesting to others or gets locked due to bad karma.  My email address is available in my QRZ look-up for those desiring a private contact.

Thanks in advance,
73
John
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KC0SHZ
Member

Posts: 372




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« Reply #1 on: May 19, 2011, 02:02:16 PM »

I helped in a Triathalon of sorts (instead of running, biking, and swimming, it was biking, canoeing, and hiking).   I was at the start and then at the part of the river where the canoes came in.

From this event and many other distance events I have helped with, I took away these lessons.

1.  Have an alternative route for your hams in early spots or middle spots to go from check in to their spots so that we can get there in time and avoid the cyclists. 
2.  If you are going to have someone follow the last rider, make sure that they have a tire inflator, and gear to fix tires or a GPS that can send the location of a down rider to the net control via APRS as the support trucks will likely not be with them. (and a GPS in the support truck to direct them there.)
3.  Pre-test your river/lake/ocean drops to be sure that there is plenty of room for the ham vehicle and the various participants and support people at the bank.   
4.  Pre-test to be sure that from the river bank, you can actually get into the repeater that you are using with minimum wattage or use a relay that you know works.
5.  Get really bright, high-contrast signs for your hams to put on their vehicles and make the event planners get your hams the same shirts that the other officials have except make them put "radio" or "communications" on them.
6.  If the event planners want one of your hams to use their medical training for the event, then they have to agree in writing about malpractice, and other liability coverage as well as agreeing to let the medical professional make the decision about participant DQ's or safety conditions.
7.  Long distance cyclists hate bike trails.   Keep the course on roads.
8.  The CDC has a good reference on heat exhaustion/heat stroke--use it.
9.  The weather service has a good color chart on heat index--use it.
10.  If you are out in the "Bring Your Own Shade" portion of the country, make everyone bring something to make shade out of (tarp, polls, rope) for at least 10 people.
11.  Plant sprayers have a mist setting.   Fill a few up with water at ambient temperature.  Mist the participants at waterstops to cool them down.  Amazing how cold 100 degree water feels when your skin temp is 120.
12.  Plan for at least one serious emergency.  How will you get help?  How will you transpo the injured person?
13.  Plan for at least two Hams to not show up.
14.  If you are far enough away from the repeater to get Rayleigh propagation, or other propagation anomalies, bring some HT's and have fun with it, it will keep your hams entertained in the afternoon.
15.  Make the event planners close the course at a discrete time so your volunteers can go home sometime before the next football season starts.
16.  If you are out away from home overnight, find a good restaurant that is reasonably priced and have a Ham night out after the event for your group (dutch treat).   We used to do an event into a town about 90 miles away, stay over night there, and eat dinner at a place in town that had all you could eat prime rib.  A couple of cold ice teas, a nice salad, good prime rib, and great conversation made the heat from the afternoon seem a distant memory.
17.  If your team is staying overnight, dorms suck.  Make the organizers find a motel for your crew (you pay, but they find and make the reservations.)
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AD6KA
Member

Posts: 2237




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« Reply #2 on: May 19, 2011, 05:56:41 PM »

Quote
Basically, I'd like to compile a list of good operating ideas and things to avoid.

Quote
7.  Long distance cyclists hate bike trails.   Keep the course on roads
8.  The CDC has a good reference on heat exhaustion/heat stroke--use it.
9.  The weather service has a good color chart on heat index--use it..
11.  Plant sprayers have a mist setting.   Fill a few up with water at ambient temperature.  Mist the participants at waterstops to cool them down.  Amazing how cold 100 degree water feels when your skin temp is 120.

What do these have to do with radio communications?

Determining the race route, the nature and and setup of
"hydration & cooling stations", medical care and transport of injured, etc.
all should be left to the race organizers.

Encoms guys are there to help out, not organize and run the show.
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AE5RY
Member

Posts: 9




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« Reply #3 on: May 22, 2011, 12:21:46 PM »

Almost 100 views that I assume correspond to the number or reads and two responses.  Two responses that illustrate the pair of most disparate opinions as to the place and purpose of amateur communications in public service recreational events.  As a group we are unable or unwilling to define our role, the people we work for or rather along side cannot define our purpose and confusion is the general result--you get what you get when you get it WST spandex events. Cry

Many thanks to AD6KA and KC0SHZ and the anonymous 100 or so that stopped by.  it's a whole lot clearer to me now.
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KB0OXD
Member

Posts: 39


WWW

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« Reply #4 on: May 23, 2011, 02:00:16 AM »

My experience is vast but quite early on in my life as a Ham.....

After a few stints as a rest stop op (Among other duties) for a number of various & sundrious small walk-a-thons, bike-a-thons & other marathons & even a few Non-ARES sanctioned county EOC drills, I then "Graduated" to working the Tour De Cure Bike-A-Thon.  My first year, I was a shadow op for a SAG (That's Support And Gear for those of you who don't have your ticket yet) vehicle.  The next year, I was not only a SAG unit, I was SAG Net Control (We had a SAG NCS in charge of coordinating all the SAG vehicles & the main NCS who coordinated EVERYONE)

Next, I moved on to working parades.  My first parade was the Parade Of Lights where I worked a street corner & was in charge of shadowing the parade official there.  I also spent time shadowing Red Cross & city Paramedics for the event

My next parade was the local St. Patrick's Day parade.  Though this parade was not as challenging as the Parade Of Lights due to the time of year, it made for some experience.  However, if there was one sour taste with this event, that would be that there was a sentiment among the organizers that we Hams really weren't welcome as communicators there but we were put up with because the group's higher-ups said otherwise.  Because of this, we were often given false information about things of non-monetary value (But still of appreciation) which we would get for our efforts but were never delivered.  These items were mainly items like a free lunch & such.  Because of this, some of us were left with the feeling that if these things were never intended for us, then why tell us otherwise?  (Yeah yeah I know the FCC's rules on this, but still).  Given this, some of us have chosen to never work this event again

I also spent time as an NCS during World Youth Day when Pope John Paul II was in town as well.  Problem with that was the ARES groups in charge of communications quickly found that the repeater we had been using for all the build up activities leading up to the big mass the following Sunday WAS TOTALLY USELESS on the big day itself when a formal net was needed the most.  The ops there wound up coordinating a spontaneous net on simplex while myself (Who was at one Red Cross chapter office) & another Ham (Who was at another which was the closest to the event site) were both left in the dark as to what was happening.  Ham Radio got a big black eye as a result of it

So that is a capsule of my Public Service Event communications experience.  Can anyone top this? Cheesy

Cheers & 73 Smiley

Pat Cook, KB0OXD
Englewood, CO
WEBSITE | TWITTER ME |

LIVE STREAMING WEBCAM


CLICK HERE FOR OTHER HAMS WITH LIVE STREAMING WEBCAMS

--

You actually HIT the repeater??  NO WONDER THE THING IS ALWAYS DOWN WHENEVER I WANNA USE IT!!!  

Ohh...I get it now.  When you say you Hit the repeater, you mean you are Talking To Other Hams Through

It
!!!  *DOH!*
« Last Edit: May 23, 2011, 02:05:17 AM by KB0OXD » Logged

Pat Cook, KB0OXD
Englewood, CO
WEBSITE | TWITTER | FACEBOOK | APRS TRACKER
KC0SHZ
Member

Posts: 372




Ignore
« Reply #5 on: May 23, 2011, 09:24:07 AM »

Quote
Basically, I'd like to compile a list of good operating ideas and things to avoid.

Quote
7.  Long distance cyclists hate bike trails.   Keep the course on roads
8.  The CDC has a good reference on heat exhaustion/heat stroke--use it.
9.  The weather service has a good color chart on heat index--use it..
11.  Plant sprayers have a mist setting.   Fill a few up with water at ambient temperature.  Mist the participants at waterstops to cool them down.  Amazing how cold 100 degree water feels when your skin temp is 120.

What do these have to do with radio communications?

Determining the race route, the nature and and setup of
"hydration & cooling stations", medical care and transport of injured, etc.
all should be left to the race organizers.

Encoms guys are there to help out, not organize and run the show.


Except for the times when the organizers ask that the Hams be on the planning committee.  Then we get involved in route planning.

Except in times when the planners planned for 80 degrees and not 105 degrees and we hams who have cars and trucks and a penchant for making things are the only ones with tools and supplies to build some shade or a cooling station.  We have been involved in races where we were the providers of such.

Helping out can take lots of forms.  Best be ready.
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KC0SHZ
Member

Posts: 372




Ignore
« Reply #6 on: May 23, 2011, 10:53:31 AM »

Almost 100 views that I assume correspond to the number or reads and two responses.  Two responses that illustrate the pair of most disparate opinions as to the place and purpose of amateur communications in public service recreational events.  As a group we are unable or unwilling to define our role, the people we work for or rather along side cannot define our purpose and confusion is the general result--you get what you get when you get it WST spandex events. Cry

Many thanks to AD6KA and KC0SHZ and the anonymous 100 or so that stopped by.  it's a whole lot clearer to me now.

Disparate views come from different needs.  I have helped layout routes and coordinate events in addition to running my radio.  I also dealt with a 150 mile bike ride in the middle of the Platte river valley (so wide you can't see the south bluffs from the north bluffs, and essentially shade free) during a heat advisory.  This tends to focus one's thoughts differently than sitting around waiting for your HT to go off.

As you said, we have a real problem in deciding what we will do for people and sticking to our guns.   We tell the organizers that our volunteers have a life and have to go back to it by X o'clock, and at X+45, they look at you dumb struck when you tell them that you want to leave.   I think that if we had a real national org to support this activity, we could be better at setting up things.  The ARES and the ARRL in the larger sense, don't seem to want to be directional at this level.

I hope the long list of things that I have encountered is helpful to you.
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