Aug 15

We’re still needing some more ham radio operators to help with the 2-day BikeMS Valero Ride To The River on the first weekend of October, Saturday the 6th and Sunday the 7th.  Hours are generally 7am until 6pm, but may vary depending upon your assignment.

The ride on Saturday starts at Rolling Oaks Mall on the Northeast side of SA (1604 & Nacogdoches), then wanders thru the countryside via mostly back roads over to Seguin and back to a finish line at the Comal County Fairgrounds in New Braunfels. (River Road will be involved both days.)  The event will finish up Saturday before 7pm, but most rest stops will close before 5pm.

On Sunday, the 2 routes start at, and return to, the Fairgrounds. Both routes include River Road, coming one direction from Sattler. Sunday is shorter due to shorter routes.

We need hams to help in these areas:

* SAG VAN drivers & co-pilots (picking up stranded riders in a rental 15 passenger van or pickup truck)

* Motorcycle Safety Marshals (need to train w group before the actual ride)

* Ham shadows for event officials (ride with them all day, relaying msgs)

* Medical rovers / first responders (EMTs, ham shadows)

* Rest Stop Hams (relaying msgs to/from medical, the Rest Stop captain (supplies), or when a need to have riders picked up)

Background checks are required for some, but not all positions, paid for by National MS Society. Driver DMV checks are required for Van & Truck drivers (also paid for). Some online driver training is required for those driving rental vehicles.

Free t-shirts will be available. All fuel expenses for event provided vehicles and motorcycles are covered without need to pay up front and wait for reimbursement.

A training / briefing meeting is typically held the weekend before the event to cover the routes, assignments, pass out maps & other items (like t-shirts), etc.

* Ham Coordinators are Charlie Land KC5NKK, MaryAnn Horn N5NYM, and myself.

* Motorcycle Safety Marshals are coordinated by Ray McLeaird N5RAM.

* Medical Rovers / First Responders are coordinated by Neil Martin WA5FSR, with an actual doctor in overall charge.

Police coordination with SAPD, Guadalupe Sheriff, Comal Sheriff and New Braunfels police has been arranged. Major intersections will have a police presence.

This would be a great training opportunity for ARES and CERT groups as well, perhaps with several volunteers helping out at one or more rest stops. Hill Country REACT members are involved also.

Note: SAG Van & Pickup Truck assignments are expected to be 2-day assignments, with the vehicles being picked up from designated rental agency location on Friday (before 6pm) and returned either Sunday night or Monday morning.

Rest stops can be assignments for 1 or both days since locations change each day. Hours vary by position relative to start and finish line.  We usually have 8 stops on Saturday and 5 stops on Sunday.

While we prefer ham shadows to be a 2-day assignment, we understand that some folks might not br available both days. Preference in assignments is given to those able to do both days of course.

Please contact me for more info. If you email / call / text / or leave voicemail msg, please include your name, callsign and your contact info.

We do have some non-ham positions available, such as being a co-pilot for a SAG ham driver. SAG operators work best as teams, driver & navigator/co-pilot.

Lee Besing, N5NTG
210-771-7075 (cell)
info@sanantoniohams.org

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Sep 20

The 2016 BikeMS ride starting from San Antonio on October 1st is less than a month away from us now.

We still need hams on Saturday to fill a few rest stop positions. Help!

Hams are used on this ride for lots of positions.  Hams are the glue that holds the event together on the day of event, actually 2 days of the event.   If you have APRS capabilities, please plan on using APRS.   Frequencies will be all on 2 meter repeaters, other than perhaps medical.  SAGs may be using dual band, with the Scooter Net simplex frequency on 440mhz. (Same frequency as prior years, same as used for the BPMS150 ride.)

Hams are  used for driving rental SAG Vans and trucks on both days, picking up riders from the side of the road and taking them to the rest stops.  SAGs also take riders from rest stops up the line, sometimes to the finish line, if the rider had unrepairable breakdown of their bicycle, or they were just too tired to finish on their own.  Although we don’t emphasize it much, we have had some serious accidents or injuries in the past where the ham equipped SAGs and Motorcycle Safety Marshals have saved the day.  It’s a serious business, but we try to have fun while doing it.  SAG assignments are for a 2 day commitment due to the nature of the rental vehicles.

Hams are needed for Shadow Positions, riding with medical units, police cars, event officials (think Tour Directors, etc.) and for Rest Stop communications.  While we prefer 2 day commitments for these positions, we understand that some folks are only available for 1 day at a time.

At present time,  Charlie says we mostly need rest stop hams for Saturday, but I think some shadow positions are still available. Enough SAG drivers have been lined up, but backups are always appreciated in the event someone has to drop out suddenly.

The lead volunteer contact is Charlie Land KC5NKK who can be contacted via email at kc5nkk@hillcountryreact.org.

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Aug 26

It’s time to dust off those radios, go-kits, antennas and get signed up to volunteer for the public service events that will be starting up in September and October 2915.  I’ll make another post later to cover the events happening in November (Veterans Day Parade, Tour de Gruene) and December (Skywarn

September 12-13thCentral Texas American Diabetes Association’s Tour de Cure (Austin) – This will be a two-day event starting at the Oak Hill Freescale campus on Saturday, overnight at Jellystone near Fredericksburg, then back to Freescale on Sunday. Also on Sunday, there are other lower-mileage rides on Sunday, basically orbiting Freescale. Contact is Jeff Schmidt N5MNW and Lee Besing N5NTG. Repeater and APRS coverage is still be coordinated. More information about the ride can be found online at this site.

September 12th – La Vernia Wildwest Hammerfest – The San Antonio Ham Support Team will NOT be working this ride this  year due to a disagreement with event organizers over something that occurred during the 2014 ride.  Other hams from Wilson County may be involved, but the usual crew from San Antonio will not be coordinating.

September 13th – HEB 110th Anniversary Bike Fest in Boerne – This is a brand new ride celebrating HEB’s 110th anniversary, benefiting the Junior Diabetes Research Foundation.  Lead Ham Club on this event will naturally be Kendall Amateur Radio Society (KARS) since it is their backyard.  Looks so far like we’ll need to cover 9 break points and 6 SAG vehicles with ham operators, so KARS needs our support to keep this event safer.   Contact David Moore N7RF  (KARS) or Mary Anne Horn N5MYN (SARO) to volunteer ASAP.

2015bike_logoOctober 3-4thValero BikeMS Ride To The River – This is our annual 2-day event that was changed from the 2nd weekend to the 1st weekend of October this  year.  On Saturday, the ride goes from the east side of San Antonio (near Houston St and IH-10), out thru Seguin (lunch stop) and back west to New Braunfels, ending at the Comal County Fairgrounds.   Route includes an option to tour River Road if the rider gets past the cut-off point prior to 3:30pm.   Both of Sunday’s routes will start and ends at the Fairgrounds, with courses remaining in the Canyon Lake area.

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Oct 23

 

2013_BikeMS_Slogan_LogoIt’s now been a couple of weeks since the event was held, but I wanted to write up some sort of “after action” report, complete with photos.    This report is from the Ham / SAG van viewpoint, since that’s where I was all weekend. I didn’t take as many photos as I usually like to do, but I received photos from other folks, such as Mike Perez W5ZUP, Joe Plano KA1MZY, and various BikeMS Committee members.

At the almost last moment, Saturday’s start line was moved from the AT&T Center over to the brand new Wheatley Heights Sports Complex on the other side of IH-10, just off Houston St.  This resulted in minor route change that subtracted about a mile from the course each day.  Riders in my SAG van said they preferred the new location over the AT&T Center, that it felt more like “our event” instead of “just borrowing the parking lot from the AT&T Center.”

2013-10-11 13.05.25

(L-R) David KD5MTJ, Charlie KC5NKK, Paul KA5FZU, Joe WA5AUQ)

Our 15 SAG Vans came from Enterprise Rent a Car as usual, but what wasn’t usual was that we had to remove and store our rear bench seats instead of Enterprise doing it for us, as they have done the past 4 years.  But Lloyd Hensley (BikeMS Staff) came up with a solution and we had the vans delivered to the BikeMS warehouse on Friday instead of our drivers picking them up directly from Enterprise.

Once the vans arrived, volunteers removed and stored the seats inside the warehouse, while the APRS Crew installed the trackers, applied the numbers to the front & back of the vans, distributed magnetic signs, t-shirts, and of course printed maps, guidelines and a list of where the authorized fuel stations were located.

bike-ms-valero-2013-alamo-ride-river-MapThe Route both days was changed this year to avoid the stretch of FM1346 thru St. Hedwig, where the shoulders on the road had cracks large enough to cause a bike to flip, or to take a short cut to Australia perhaps?  After taking FM1346 for 2009-2012, the route committee said “enough is enough” and chance the route.  Riders seemed to enjoy the scenery on the new roads better, with less traffic, lower speed limits, but no shoulders.  The down side of the new section, was lots of blind curves and low water crossings that would have caused us problems on Sunday when the weather turned off bad.

Saturday’s ride went pretty smoothly, with only a couple reported medical issues from riders having accidents, none really major.  It was probably one of our safest years yet for this ride.  We had an incident or two, where a SAG van got stuck when backed into a side road waiting for riders to pass, and a police vehicle with a dead battery.

SAG15_1

SAG 15 – Rob W07ROB loading bikes into his van. Photo by Joe KA1MZY

Weather was very cooperative both Friday and Saturday, getting a bit warm and humid on Saturday afternoon, which required higher than normal SAG usage, but we (the hams & SAG Teams) were up to the challenge.  We’ve had several good feedback reports from riders who felt their SAG driver / team was very helpful, especially on Sunday.

The ride was completely finished shortly after 6pm on Saturday, with no riders needing to be picked up at the last minute as they returned down River Road on the Century Route.   Part of the reason for that improvement, was the earlier cut-off time set for riders wishing to take the extra 30 mile trip up River Road and back.  By moving the cut-off time forward, we eliminated those last minute riders who weren’t physically up to the challenge of finishing the route by 6pm.

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Sep 17

If you’re bored and you know it, charge your batteries, dust off those emergency go-kits sitting in the garage, and get your radios programmed to work these upcoming events.  Even if you aren’t bored, it’s still that time of year anyway.

radio_critterI know more help is really needed for the two upcoming bike rides on September 21st and October 12-13th. I’m pretty sure that all of the other events will be grateful for some extra ham help as well.

Where available, I have listed email address links for the contact person. If you don’t see a contact link, or are unsuccessful in contacting them, please feel free to contact me direct for more info or help. – Lee N5NTG

  • September 21st – OLPH Wildcat Ride and Run – Jeremy KE5ELI
  • September 28-29th – Texas QSL Party
  • October 5th – Belton HamExpo
  • October 5th – BikeMS150 San Antonio Training / Briefing meeting for hams / volunteers at 10am – Lee N5NTG.
  • October 12-13th – BikeMS150 San Antonio. 2 day event. SARO Ham Club. Charlie KC5NKK
  • October 19th – JOTA at the McGimmsey Scout Park. SARC Club – Bob K5AUW
  • October 19th – Alamo Area Law Enforcement Explorer Competition (AALEEC) at SW High School – Dave W5QS
  • October 26-27th – Cactus Rose Run (36 hour 5:30am Sat -5:30pm Sun) – Bandera Hill Country State Natural Area (100 mile). REACT Team – Louis K5STX
  • November 2nd – UC Veterans Day Parade. REACT Team – Lee N5NTG
  • November 2-3th – Tour de Gruene – GVARC ham club. Mike WQ5C
  • November 17th – San Antonio Rock & Roll Marathon – AARO – Lee N5NTG
  • December 6-7th – National Skywarn Recognition Weekend – New Braunfels NWS Office – 24 hour event (6pm-6pm) over 2 days – Louis K5STX
  • December 14th – Christmas Parade at Canyon Lake / Sattler – REACT – Wade W5ERX
  • January 11th – San Antonio Radio Fiesta – (Schertz TX) SARC Club – W5SC.ORGRowena KF5JCZ
  • January 11-12th – Bandera 100K Run at Hill Country State Natural Area (state park) 24 hour event over 2 days – Louis K5STX
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Jul 25

SARO is once again looking for more Ham Volunteers to step up and help with this annual event.

Coordinating this year’s event is MaryAnne N5MYN, Charlie KC5NKK, and Lee N5NTG.

Cbike-ms-valero-2013-alamo-ride-river-09harlie KC5NKK is the point of contact for ham volunteers and assignments. MaryAnne N5MYN is interfacing with the Tour Director and event staff. Lee N5NTG is coordinating the SAG teams, van pick-up and day of the event assignments.

We know that we need a minimum of 32 amateur licensed volunteers. In addition, we would really like to have co-pilots for the SAGs (amateur license not required).

Below is some information about what we’ll need in order to cover this event “at a minimum.” Obviously, we want to exceed this minimum and be ready to do this ride the right way, the SARO way!

At present time (7/25/2013), we have 29 who have said “yes” plus 4 SAG co-pilots, so we have a lot of recruiting to do yet. We would like to have at least 5 “spares” to cover last minute cancellations. If you have friends or acquaintances (or even people you don’t like) who would consider helping (licensed or not) please contact them and let us know if you get any interest.

There will be some route changes, mostly on Day 1, such as avoiding FM1346 thru St. Hedwig. After many years, and no repairs being made to the large cracks along this stretch of FM1346, some big enough to swallow a rider and his/her bicycle (just kidding), the route committee decided enough was enough.

The new route on Day 1 drops south and goes around St. Hedwig, which forced the one rest stop. In addition. one of the churches we normally used in the past, apparently has a wedding scheduled for that weekend and for some strange reason, the bridal party didn’t think that them working a rest stop would fit into their plans.

We need several things from you. We need a volunteer agreement executed. The strongest preference is to do it on line. Instructions will be emailed to you when you sign up to work this event. This form is required of every volunteer for each event. Even if you helped with the BP ride this Spring, this form needs to be executed again for our ride. The main reason for doing one for each event is this is the way that the MS office knows who you are so they can send you “thank you’s” and appreciation party invitations.

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Jan 30

We are fortunate that the Ham Radio community has members willing to help with multiple other non-profit or public service type events through out the year. 

Here is a (not so) short list of the major 2013 events that hams from the San Antonio metro area can usually be found helping with. Contact links for future events are included, but contacts for past events aren’t included since it’s too late for this year.  If you know of an event that ought to be on this list, please contact the webmaster by email.

  • January 12-13 – Bandera 100k Endurance Run – coordinated by REACT
  • January 12 – San Antonio Radio Fiesta  Hamfest (Schertz)  – coordinated by SARC
  • January 19-21 – Big Bend 50 Run (Big Bend National Park)
  • March 2 – MS Walk  – coordinated by SARO – Contact N5MYN
  • March 2-3 – Heart of the Hills 36 hour Ride (HCSNA – Bandera) coordinated by REACT – Contact K5STX
  • April 19-20 – CASI Ladies State Championship Chili Cook-off (Seguin) coordinated by REACT – Contact K5STX
  • April 20-21 – Houston’s BP150 BikeMS (Houston – Austin) (2 days) – Contact N5NTG
  • April 25 – Fiesta Battle of the Bands –  coordinated by SARO – Contact N5MYN
  • April 28 – Wildflower 100 Bicycle Ride (1 day, San Antonio) – coordinated by REACT- Contact N5NTG
  • May 4 – Special Olympics Spring Games Region 21 coordinated by REACT  – Contact N5NTG
  • May 4 – Run for the Hills 5k Run (Bulverde) – coordinated by REACT– Contact K5STX
  • May 11 – ADA Tour de Cure Bicycle Ride (1 day, San Antonio) –  coordinated by REACT – Contact N5NTG
  • May 26 – 3rd Annual American  Hero 25k Run / Relay / Concert  – coordinated by REACT – Contact N5NTG
  • June 8 – Texas Water Safari (Canoe race from San Marcos – Gulf Coast) (5 days) – Top of route assignments coordinated by SARO– Contact WB5ZJQ
  • July 4 – Canyon Lake Fourth of July Parade (Startzville) coordinated by REACT – Contact K5STX
  • September 7 – Children’s Transplant Bicycle Ride (Helotes – Boerne) coordinated by REACT- Contact N5NTG
  • October 12-13 – BikeMS – Valero Alamo Ride to the River Bicycle Ride (2 days) – coordinated by SARO- Contact N5NTG
  • October 31 – Canyon Lake Halloween Event (Sattler) – coordinated by REACT – Contact N5NTG
  • November 2-3 – Tour de Gruene (New Braunfels / Canyon Lake) – – coordinated by GVARC – Contact K5GST
  • November 9 – Universal City Veterans Day Parade (date may change to Nov 2) coordinated by REACT – Contact N5NTG
  • November 17 – San Antonio Rock & Roll Marathon (date change updated 01/26/2013) – coordinated by AARO – Contact N5NTG
  • December 6-7 – National Skywarn Recognition Day (24 hrs, New Braunfels NWS Office)  – coordinated by NWS – Contact K5STX
  • December 14 – Canyon Lake Christmas Parade (Sattler, TX) – coordinated by REACT- Contact K5STX

For more info about the above list of public service events, or to volunteer for an event, please click on the CONTACT link for the specific event, or contact info@sanantoniohams.org.

We’ll work on getting all of these events, plus any others as they get listed, into the calendar on this website.  In the meantime, if you want to voluteer, don’t be bashful! It’s lots of fun, and a different way to make new ham radio friends!  If you know of an event that wasn’t listed here, but should be, please contact us to get it added into the calendar.

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Sep 2

October 13-14th – BikeMS – Valero Ride to the River bicycle event (2 days) – The event will start at the AT&T Center in San Antonio, and the route runs out thru LaVernia to Seguin & over to New Braunfels for a finish line at the Comal County Fairground. Sunday’s route starts at the fairground and runs back thru Seguin & LaVernia via a similar route to the AT&T Center finish line.

Hams are needed for a variety of assignments.

  • SAG Driver / Navigator (background check & DMV check for driver is required)
  • Break Point Hams (7-8 Break Points each day)
  • Shadow Hams for race officials (Tour directors, medical, police car, etc.)
  • Motorcycle Safety Marshal’s – Coordinated by John Perry & group
  • Turtle Vehicle(s)

Fuel is provided for all drivers of an MS supplied vehicle, and certain other authorized positions requiring driving. Charlie Land KC5NKK is coordinating all ham radio related assignments. Contact Charlie by email at charlesdland@gmail.com or call him on his cell # 512-796-7565 to volunteer (email preferred).

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Aug 20

Don’t be bored, volunteer for some upcoming public service events!

We’ve got a series of public service events happening in the next few months, surely one of them will tickle your fancy?  Hams are needed for all of these events.

  • September 8 – Tour for Children bicycle ride
  • October 13-14 – BikeMS Valero Ride to the River
  • November 3-4 – Tour de Gruene race / ride
  • November 3rd – Universal City Veterans Day Parade
  • November 11th – San Antonio Rock & Roll Marathon Race
  • December 8th – Canyon Lake Christmas Parade

Here are the details about each event….  Scroll down!

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Oct 3

Hams are still needed to fill a few key spots for this year’s BikeMS (MS150) event, being held on October 15th and 16th.  The event starts in San Antonio at the AT&T Center on Saturday, ending that evening in New Braunfels.  Sunday starts in New Braunfels, and ends back at the AT&T Center.

Spots still open are “Shadows” for event officials, police cars (ride in front seat, not back), and medical response vehicles. There may still be a few openings for SAG Drivers (Background check & DMV check required), SAG Navigators, or Rest Stop hams, etc.  Shadows simply ride along & provide communications for their designated official, sort of like a SAG’s navigator but you won’t be loading bikes in the back. 🙂   Shadow positions usually start earlier & end later than other positions, due to the need to link up & install radios before heading out on the route.

If interested, contact Charlie KC5NKK via email at charlesdland@gmail.com or Lee N5NTG at info@sanantoniohams.org.   Phone contact available at 512-796-7565 (Charlie)  or 210-771-7075 (Lee).

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