October 2, 2023 at 8:22 am #40171
We have been contacted by the leadership of the Fannin County Amateur Radio Club (FCARC) saying that they could use some help with providing radio operators this coming Saturday. Their request is to help cover the Autumn in Bonham Bike Rally on October 7. If you can help out, please contact Phillip Beall (W5EBC) who will be coordinating our response to their request and/or Keith Mumaw (KI5VNL) with the FCARC:
Phillip Beall (W5EBC)
Keith Mumaw (KI5VNL)
For their planning purposes please RSVP if you can help out.
The particulars are:
- Here is the link to a PDF of the route, rest stops and personnel currently signed up to cover the various locations.
- They are requesting operators with APRS beaconing capability available via their radio and/or on their smart phone or tablet. To be able to beacon via your smart phone or tablet, if you have an iOS device, APRS/fi works well for that purpose. To install APRS/fi on it, here is the link to it in the Apple App Store or launch your App Store app and search for APRS/fi.
- The FCARC base of operations will be located at the Bonham Chamber of Commerce, located on Main and Hwy 56 (SW corner downtown) in Bonham.
- The cyclists should start leaving the downtown Bonham courthouse area around 8:30am.
- Folks handling rest stops 1/5, 2 and 6 should plan to be onsite and ready to go by 8:15am.
- Folks handling other locations need to coordinate their arrival time with Keith Mumaw.
- FCARC will be using their linked repeaters, on the north repeater 145.470 MHz (100.0 Hz tone), and the south repeater 442.525 MHz (tone 100.0 Hz), so you will want both of those programmed into your radio beforehand.
- They plan for operators to provide radio communications between the rest stops and base. Some will also be performing SAG services (picking up riders and bikes that break down or drop out and taking them back to the start/finish line).
- They will also be streaming live video (using the K5FRC YouTube channel and Zoom).
Let’s get some people to go and help out with this. It looks a lot like our Tour de Paris, but where that event is routinely over 100F, this coming Saturday the weather forecast is for lows in the fifties and a high of 77F with mostly clear skies. Just a gorgeous day to go play ham radio and help our friends and neighbors and fellow hams out.
October 6, 2023 at 10:42 am #40195
- This topic was modified 2 months ago by Phillip Beall.
Friday, October 6 @1015 UPDATE:
The Fannin County Amateur Radio Club (FCARC) is still short-handed and scrambling for some additional people. Just 3-4 would get them over the hump. We currently have four (myself, Leo Salas, Cliff Leath and Kim Ledbetter) RRVARC members going. I have just talked with the FCARC president and the rally comms organizer and they even had me on a speaker phone call for a few minutes during the pre-rally meeting that started a few minutes before 1000. Here are my take away points:
• Kim Ledbetter has secured a “Support and Gear” (SAG) loaner truck from his employer Paris Chevrolet GMC. Kim, thank you for securing the truck. The FCARC is planning to pair Kim with a local ride ride-along to help him to navigate Fannin County.
• FCARC is still looking for a few additional people to help out so RRVARC will send another blast email in a few minutes. Look, we know tomorrow is a tough pull for some. TU/OU-OU/TU football game, Texas Rangers first playoff game, etc., but please set your DVR and sign up to help with this. You won’t regret it.
• Like with our Tour de Paris there are sponsors and the sponsors are responsible for their rest stop setup, supply and resupply. Having said that, they want radio operators to all to be at the Chamber of Commerce at 0730 (I plan to be there at 0700 to be sure I am on time.) and as a backup – A BACKUP – they may ask us to take supplies to our rest stop when we leave there.
• Personal suggestion: Take your own folding chair, food and water, notepad, pen/pencil, maybe field glasses, etc., so that you are truly independent. They want you broadcasting APRS at all times. If you don’t have APRS built into your radio please do not let that dissuade you from participating. Just get APRS/fi installed on your smartphone and set it up to broadcast your call sign. It is easy to configure and works beautifully to broadcast your location. But, please make sure you bring a charging cord and whatever adapter you need for your vehicle and a backup power source if you have one. APRS beaconing from a phone is a real battery hog.
They haven’t said anything about doing an ICS214, but when you got on location I suggest you call in and write down the first and last jersey numbers of the riders through your stop. I would also keep notes of generally how may calls you made for SAG, repair, etc., so if they later ask you can do the report.
Please call, text or email me if you can help.
Phillip Beall (W5EBC)
Cell: 214-729-6182October 8, 2023 at 10:52 am #40213
AFTER ACTION DEBRIEF
Yesterday members of the Red River Valley Amateur Radio Club (RRVARC) joined members of the Fannin County Amateur Radio Club (FCARC) and performed communications support for the Bonham Area Chamber of Commerce and their “Autumn in Bonham” bike rally. It was very similar to, but smaller than, our Tour de Paris support effort.
Our participants were Kim Ledbetter (KI5VLH) driving a pickup truck loaned to the effort by Paris Chevrolet GMC, Mel Toye (K5KEY), Leo Salas (N5JEP), Cliff Leath (KI5OPP) and myself. As with TDP, we were either running “Support and Gear” (SAG) or stationed at rest stops along the route. Unlike TDP, none of our people were at the Chamber running net control. Those functions were provided by FCARC personnel.
Our people met at the Chamber of Commerce at about 0700 and Cliff followed the last rider the ten miles back to town from Rest Stop 8, which was the final stop for the 100 mile route, arriving there at about 1700.
I am of the opinion that this effort was highly beneficial in a number of ways. I was personally compelled to add frequencies and tones to my Yaesu FTM-400 and Kenwood TH-D74 and add frequencies and tones and modify APRS operator call signs in Kathy’s TH-D74, which Kim used. Ask yourself this question – When was the last time you did that in the field and without Chirp and a cable? If you can’t remember when you did any of that last then you too could have benefited through participation. Practicing full use of your gear will help you to be prepared for emergency use if you ever are of a need to. Additionally, I have long been of the opinion that RRVARC and FCARC had some synergies where it would make sense if we pooled our resources at times. Bike rally’s are a great example. Their club was short-handed and asked for our assistance and we came through.
Participation rant on: If you are thin-skinned or bristle at feeling lectured to, please do not read this next section. We came through, albeit with only five people out of 54 full members and 150 email recipients. Our low participation rate always amazes and very much disappoints me. Sure, health issues, other commitments, having to work; those are all legitimate reasons to not participate. But why do some never participate in any of our activities? Club member and ARRL NTX Section Manager Steven Lott Smith (KG5VK) tells me that our participation rate is at or even slightly above that of other clubs he interacts with…but I think our participation rate should be an embarrassment to all of us. If you think five of our Club members responding to a request for assistance that went out to 150 total recipients is acceptable, then you have pretty low standards and expectations of our Club and its membership. Put another way, if you ever have an emergency and make a radio call for assistance I sure hope you have better success than our overall participation rate indicates. Please folks, get with it and start involving yourself in our activities. Be a participant and not just an observer. Participation rant off.
Another proof of concept was validated yesterday. People without APRS built into their radio successfully used APRS beaconing from their smart phone. If you had pulled up APRS.fi and centered it on Fannin County you would have seen a lot of activity. Watching the stream of beacons going into Bonham yesterday morning was quite entertaining.
This morning I received the following email from Keith Mumaw (KI5VNL) the FCARC rally coordinator:
I want to thank everyone in the Fannin Club and the Red River Club who came out yesterday to help with communications for the bike ride. It was a great success and an outstanding way to show the community just how valuable Ham Radio is and can be in times of need.
I’m looking forward to our meeting this month, with the continuation of the “Radio Go-Bag” concept and would like to invite the Red River Club to come out as well.
We will be meeting at Coffee Mill Lake recreation area on October 21st, so get ready for some fun.
Overall I think the our participation in this event was very much a positive. Next year I think we should extend an early invitation to their club to help us with TDP. I also think we should extend an early offer to again help with their rally if there is one.
Finally, the last couple of years I have gone to the FCARC fall preparedness expo get together at Lake Crockett. Charles Penry (WA5VHU) was there last year and came over to Kathy and my place afterwards. I plan to go to their October 21st “Radio Go-Bag” meeting and hope some of our other Club members will join me there. If you decide to go please let me know.
Phillip Beall (W5EBC)
October 8, 2023 at 3:13 pm #40215Cliff LeathParticipant
- This reply was modified 1 month, 3 weeks ago by Phillip Beall. Reason: Corrected date for Go-Bag meeting
Amen to programing with CHIRP.! Time got the best of me and getting frequencies set up just had to wait. Thankfully i did carry my manuals for the radios with me. It was good practice. You cant always rely on the internet for help either. Where i was stationed it was very spotty.
Had a great time enjoying the great weather and meeting new people.
- This reply was modified 1 month, 3 weeks ago by Phillip Beall.
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