[aprssig] Help needed with APRS event

Keith Allen ag4ac at netscape.com
Thu Feb 24 09:25:03 CST 2005

Howdy folks.  On Sunday, April 17th, the Cheaha Challenge Bike Marathon 
will take place here in Eastern Alabama.   The course starts in 
Piedmont, alabama, runs southward to up and over and past Mount Cheaha 
Alabama (highest point in Alabama), and turns around and goes back to 
Piedmont the same route.  Total 104 mile trip for the bicyclists.  This 
event draws 450-600 riders from 12-16 different states each year.   Last 
year I had over 40 HAM'S helping out, and this year, I'll need more.  We 
incorporated APRS on an experimental basis last year, and it worked 
well.  So, this year, I could really use more APRS operators and 
equipment.  Here's an overview of what I could use help with APRS-wise 
(a new word??):

Mobile patrols - I usually try to put at least 3 mobile patrol vehicles 
per zones, 3 zones, on the course.  Last year I had 3 vehicles APRS 
equipped and it was a big help.

Net Control - Our NCS is set up at our county 9-1-1 office.  We work 
along side the 9-1-1 folks who provide the Public Service communications 
support.  We have 2 NCS operators for North and South sector repeaters 
and a back-up/relief operator manning the NCS.  Full terrain maps 
covering the entire course, marked with mile markers etc are set up at 
NCS.  This year, I have been promised two Kenwood TM-D700A's for the NCS 
radio's.  All an APRS operator need do is bring a laptop along and off 
you go.

Bike shop support - there are four Bike Shop mobiles that provide 
on-course assistance for the participants.  Last year we had HAM's in 
all but one vehicle.  If I could get portable APRS operators with GPS 
and say TM-D7A's on board in these vehicles, we can send the closest and 
most available bike shop right to the stranded cyclist that much quicker.

Sag wagon support - It goes without saying that a tracker in the sag 
vehicles will help send one to the closes cyclists that have bowed out 
of the event.

Additional help-  There are 5 rest stops along the way.  While we have 
HAM's at these points, APRS would be a nice luxury at these points wo 
help with digi messaging ref re-supply needs and to show interested 
parties the course on a digital map etc.  Definitely a last fill-in type 
thing there, as there would be more pressing needs for APRS equipment.  
another help would be D-700 equipped vehicles acting as mobile relay 
digis for the event.  We have on digipeater on top of Mount cheaha and 
hope to have one up at the north end of the course before the event.  If 
not, a portable digi would definitely be helpful.

Well, that about covers what we're trying to accomplish down here.  If 
you're interested in helping and/or want more info, you can email me off 
sig at ag4ac at netscape.com , or telephone me at 205-472-3947.  I don't 
have voicemail or answering machine at the house but usually always 
answer my phone if I'm there unless it's a no caller ID or such (I hate 
telemarketers :-) ).

Look forward to hearing from you folks soon, and thanks for your time.

Keith Allen, AG4AC
Cheaha Challenge Amateur Communications Coordinator
Ragland, Al

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