PSA - Assistance Needed!
"A few Good Ham's Needed!"
Where: Hill Country State Natural Area - Bandera County Texas
When: January 10 and 11th, 2009
What: Hill Country Trail Runners - Bandera 100k Ultra Marathon
A unique situation to train and test EmComm abilities in a remote
environment, provide a much needed public service, as well as enjoy
the Texas Hill Country! The Hill Country State Natural Area is about
10 miles outside of Bandera, and is in an area where cell phone
coverage is very poor (hilltops only, standing on one foot), and
existing ham repeaters are too far away to provide reliable coverage,
even with mobiles (totally dead in the lower elevations, where the aid
stations are located). The event site is about 4 miles across at the
furthest points, and there are some huge hills in the middle that make
even mobile to mobile communications unreliable between some of the
Aid Stations. To top that off, only 2 of the 5 locations where we
provide communications have electricity available. The good news is
that all sites are vehicle accessible, although one of them may be a
little muddy if we have rain. So it is the perfect challenge to ham
operators – to provide reliable communications for a 24 hour event in
an area where there is almost no infrastructure.
Needed: We have 5 posts to cover for 24 hours – 4 sites that provide
food and water to runners and the headquarters. In addition, we
provide liaison to the event manager, and to the horse patrol (one or
two riders are are hams, and they use commercial radio (which we
provide) to talk among themselves. Usually we need 20 or so license
Amateurs to assist with this event (two operators per site for 12 hour
shifts), but it has been done with less! Hill Country REACT and San
Antonio Radio Club has supplied most of the operators the last 3
years. We have done this event with a solar powered uhf repeater,
and last year we used a cross band repeater. The hill tops in the
middle of the park are accessible by horse or ATV only, and none have
power. Operators need to have Dual Band radios. If all is going well
with a repeater, HTs will do nicely (but bring the instruction book to
program a HT to operate with a cross band repeater). but dual band
portable/mobile EmComm type set-ups preferred as a back up in case the
repeater fails. Some operators have set up HF stations for their own
entertainment late at night when the demands of the event are light,
but we have not had enough hf operators in prior years to utilize hf
for our event communications. This is a great opportunity to test HF
antenna's and equipment in remote situations!
Duties: This is a 24 hour event! Amateur operators man the Aid
Stations at about 6:00 am on Saturday morning and duties are basically
like any other bike or running event (MS150, River Safari, etc),
relaying supply needs, runner counts and times, and coordinating the
Horse Patrol for rescues! Operators support Race Control, Aid
Stations and the HCSNAP Coordinated Horse Patrol! Operators are
released as their aid stations close, which varies from about 10:00 pm
Saturday night to 6:00 am Sunday morning. All runners must be off the
course by 7:00 am Sunday.
2009 Concept: What I am attempting this year! To further the
coordination, enjoyment and opportunities to train and learn! For 5
different organizations to adopt an aid station! Much like the
various ultra runner groups come together and adopt a station to work!
Each group would coordinate and man the adopted station! Any takers???
Individuals and Teams(Organizations) encouraged to participate! The
scenario presented by this event creates some unique training and
The Amateur Operators, coordinating with the Horse Patrol have been
instrumental the last couple of years in extracting injured runners
from remote areas of the trail!
Amateur Operators, that are also Equestrians, are also needed to
extend our capabilities even further!
Other quick details:
Camping: yes, at all the Aid Stations - no charge to our volunteers!
(Quiet!!) Generators will be allowed in most areas, for this event
only! <Question - ask K1STX
Food: Several really great meals are provided to the runners and
Volunteers! Rumor has it, that there will be a big pot of Gumbo Friday
Weather/Environment: This is January in Texas. Go figure. From wild
to mild! Anything that Texas can dish out is possible! Hill Country
State Natural Area is just that, a natural environment, not changed
much since it's donation to the state by Louise Merrick! We have to
be prepared to protect ourselves, as well as to assist about 400
runners, many of whom are running 100k – twice the length of a normal
marathon on rocky trails through the woods at night.
Links of Interest:
HCSNA Park Information: http://tinyurl.com/o99sw
Hill Country Trail Runners: www.tejastrails.com/Bandera.html
Hill Country State Natural Area Partners: www.hcsnap.org
Other details will be placed on my web page in the near future! Link tba
To volunteer or if you have other questions, please contact K1STX at
k1stx at arrl dot net, k1stx at yahoo dot com or cell phone -