may be aware (and some not), that the Bay Area MARC group was asked to provide
HAM support for the Silicon Valley MS-100 bicycle event for June 23rd. This was
a last minute request as we received the requests only about 3 weeks prior to
the event. HAM Radioís Field Day was on event day adding to difficulty, because
most of the local HAM operators already had already committed that day.
It was a very hectic and stressful 3 weeks with an initial commitment of Roger
Rines W1RDR and myself and then we both prayed to the HAM gods for additional
help. The local GWRRA group had already committed to providing Motorcycle
support but they had only CB radios and most, if not all, of the GWRRA members
were totally oblivious to the benefits of HAM.
Well, the event has come and past and considering that we, BA-MARC, were
virgins to providing communications support to an event from the ground up,
everything fell right into place and the event was a complete success.
The MS society ended up with about 250+ registered riders and I had heard that
the actual number of participating riders was above the 200 mark. We ended up
with the ability to provide 9 HAM operators. That covered HAM communications
for each rest stop (4 rest stops). A HAM operator in every SAG vehicle, 4 of
those and 1 HAM Motorcycle to patrol the route for the entire day and another 1
to provide route support in the early AM and again after his check point closed,
along with the non-ham motorcycles.
It was amazing how well this group pulled together as a single team.† The day started out with Roger and myself
planning to put up the Net Control station and ended up with more help in
putting up the canopy and the antenna then we dreamed we would ever have. This
allowed Net Control to be up and operational in a fraction of the time that we
We made use of 2 repeaters for the day using frequencies 444.6 PL +141.3 WB6OQS
- SCVRS (Santa Clara Valley Repeater Society) and with the SCVRS repeater we
were able to use 2M 146.76 PL 151.4 and 220 224.26 no PL. All were cross-linked
and provided wonderful coverage of the entire route. We also had MARC Simplex
as a Vehicle-to-Vehicle communications and we used the ECTAR repeater as a
backup using 2M 145.43 PL -94.8 and 440 443.9 + PL 123.† The ECTAR repeater came in very handy as
towards the end of the day we found we had a HAM Hacker attempting to access
the SCVRS repeater trying to change the control codes. A single announcement to
send everyone to the ECTAR repeater allowed for no loss of COMM traffic.
The event was well run and finished on time with 1 Non-HAM GoldWing and 1 HAM GoldWing and 4 SAG vehicles providing presidential escort to the last 2 riders
for the last 3 or so miles of the event. I was able to get landing clearance
and vectoring instructions from Net Control for our flight of 4 and did contact
ground control upon reaching the outer marker. Unfortunately, I did not have
"Hail to the Chief" on CD to play for the riders as we entered the
gate, but I did crank up Charley Daniel's "The Devil Went Down to
Georgia" and that seemed to be well received.
It should be noted that Roger (W1RDR) did an above the call of duty job with
putting this whole thing together and in getting together all of the equipment
for Net Control. The success of this event would not have been possible if not
for Rogers's attention to detail and getting the job done.† Everyone worked together and we were able to
provide excellent coverage for the event.
We did work a couple of minor mishaps:
While making a right turn, a young lady was struck by a car that was the fault
of the Carís driver. When she hit, she was thrown from her bicycle. Our SAG 2
vehicle was on scene even before she finished tumbling from her fall and was
able to set up a safety barrier for all concerned and administer first aid as
well as make contact with Net Control. The HAM operator was having trouble with
hitting the repeater at first but our other expert and quick thinking HAM
operators listened to SAG 2 on the reverse of the repeater and relayed the
information. The young lady was patched up and she insisted on continuing her
ride. We repaired her bicycle at the scene, and she was escorted for a few
miles to make sure she was OK. Relays were set up along the way to keep watch
of her and we made sure she was looked at by the First Aid personnel at each
and every rest stop, and at the end of the event. Hats off to this young lady
who started her day on the 100 mile route, was hit by a car and still finished
Another lady took a spill and while I don't know all of the details of this but
she apparently hit her head and was slightly disoriented at first. Her riding
partner was a doctor and she insisted on continuing her ride and again we made
sure she was checked by first aid at the rest stops.
We made numerous health and welfare
checks on riders who were overdue at rest stops and were able to ease the
worried minds of friends and family when a rider was located and the
information relayed by HAM.
It was a fantastic event. It gave HAM operators a gold star. We may have won
over a couple of GoldWing riders who see how great HAM works. The MS group has
already asked us, BA-MARC, to take on the job for next year and they have
already assured us it will NOT be held on the same day as HAM Field day. We got
major thumbs up by riders and event organizers and I personally feel very good
about what we, as a new group, were able to accomplish in such a short amount of
Thanks to everyone that helped.
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