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.