0300 is a time when most people are sound asleep. But not the intrepid Arlington County RACES members who volunteered this year to support the 40th Marine Corps Marathon. Up early, organized, and on station in their role as EMS Liaison they were the link between the scores of Hams on the course who might witness runners with medical emergencies and Arlington County’s Fire/EMS personnel who could provide medical assistance and transport. The four RACES members set up two distinct radio stations. “Doc” Strickland (KG4YIU), Ronald Yeung (KJ6JZW) and Gerry Greenwood (N3EVT) collocated with the Arlington Fire/EMS dispatch personnel while Don Smith (KI4FON) established a mobile base near the Courthouse, but capable of relocating if necessary.
KG4YIU – Doc is tweaking the squelch on one of the back-up hand-held radios.
The two stations alternated hourly as the primary radio link with Net Control located at one of the highest points in Washington, DC. The two stations established a UHF simplex link for coordination traffic. In addition Arlington County RACES Radio Officer Dave Jordan (WA3GIN) monitored the W4AVA/R repeater operation remotely from King George County, Virginia.
The team primarily monitored the radio traffic on the Virginia side of the 26.2 mile race course while also listening to the DC side in order to get a complete picture of unfolding events. In addition, Ronald monitored the behind the scenes MCM chat nets through his smart phone.
Arlington EMS Liaison was the last station released Sunday as its responsibility included a link between Arlington Fire/EMS and Med Tent Echo located well beyond the finish line at the Rosslyn Metro station. So, another successful deployment supporting the Radio Amateur Civil Emergency Service, Arlington County and the Marine Corps Marathon.
Each station was self-contained and independent. For the inside team their gear was hauled in, antennas erected, and multiple portable positions set up. The team made notes of observed operating practices that could be improved and will share those in an MCM after action report. Internally the operators discussed how they might eliminate duplicative equipment in go-kits and what things each kit must have. Of course connectors (BNC or SMA) between various radios and antennas are essential. There was experimentation with various antennas. Being inside creates a challenge. Move two feet from a window and the signal on a rubber duck equipped HT goes from Lima Charlie to Nothing Heard. A mag mount mobile antenna on a ft square ground plane worked but was ungainly. But a J-Pole taped to the window did the trick.
“Jen” Myers was the Watch Officer that morning. She welcomed us and presented each of us with an OEM challenge coin from her boss.
Arlington Fire Captain Chris Cox was the OIC Sunday morning and our direct contact for all emergency traffic.
The signup for hams for the 40th Marine Corps Marathon is OPEN!
The Arlington Radio Service Club has participated for many years in the Marine Corps Marathon. We encourage any member of our club (or non-member ham) who is able to help out to do so.
There are two locations where you have to sign up. The first is the MCM website
After you are done there, please go to the MCM Ham website and signup:
MCM Ham Website
Also, we are still looking for additional hams to join the planning committee and help with the planning. If you are interested in helping with the planning, please let WD5DBC know.
We’re looking forward to hearing you on the air for the MCM!
We were just passed along a great article: With Just a WSPR by Dan Romanchik, KB6NU. If you’ve never read about WSPR, it’s a great way to see which bands are open. Read the snippet below regarding this mode and follow the link to read the full article.
It’s really amazing what you can do with computers in amateur radio, and there’s been an explosion in the number of digital modes. One interesting mode that I’ve recently been introduced to is WSPR, which is short for Weak Signal Propagation Reporting. The protocol and the original WSPR program was written by Joe Taylor, K1JT, and is designed for sending and receiving low-power transmissions on the HF bands to test propagation paths.
10 Years ago, Arlington County RACES was formed and along with it, W4AVA was registered with the FCC. Through the support of our county and the work of our most active club members, we are now the proud caretakers of our Nation’s Capital’s most powerful and widest area coverage repeater system!
The Scout Jamboree On The Air (JOTA) is an on-air event centered around scouting. Cub Scouts, Boy Scouts, Girl Scouts and other members of scouting work with ham radio mentors to make contacts on the air. This is one of the best ways to get the Amateur Radio merit badge.
This world-wide event is in its 57th year and it is intended to introduce scouts to ham radio, and let them talk to other scouts around the world, or around the country. There is a companion event, Jamboree On The Internet.
Lots of information at http://www.scouting.org/jota.aspx
Some of the calling frequencies the JOTA website above lists include:
- 40M – 7.190
- 20M – 14.290
- 15M – 21.360
KI4YBH will be setup with scouts at the LDS Church, 2034 Great Falls St, Falls Church, VA, hoping to get on the air at 0700, until 2200.
All pictures in this post were taken at special event station W4B.