Mar 12

It looks like the 2021 Texas Water Safari will be happening on the second Saturday of June. Actually it will start the morning of that second Saturday and continue on through the morning of the following Wednesday. The event runs for 100 consecutive hours and the canoe teams have that long to paddle 262 plus miles from the ocarina springs in San Marcos all the way down to the Gulf Coast.

As I find out more information about this event, I will be happy to pass it on. I am planning on being at Staples Dam, which has been my usual assignment for the past 10 years or so. Eric Olson WB5ZJQ has been the point of contact from the SARO club For as long as I can remember. Harvey Babb has been the overall contact.

Share
Mar 12

As Covid restrictions lighten up, things are beginning to return more back to normal in terms of public service events. All of the events in the month of April are still canceled to the best of my knowledge.

The next big event is going to be the National MS society’s bike ride. Instead of being a two-day event, it’s only going to be a one day event. They will have the usual starting points in Houston, but they’re going to have a starting point in La Grange Texas as well. The destination will be Kyle Stadium in Bryan college Station at the Texas A&M University.

Ham Radio Operators & other volunteers will be used to staff SAG vans, from the San Antonio and Austin area, for the La Grange start.

Volunteers from the Houston area will take care of the three locations in Houston. The three locations in Houston and the one location from LaGrange will eventually merge on the route up closer to Bryan college Station. Houston will not be coming to LaGrange.

There will be new stringent requirements for those driving and riding in SAG vans due to Covid of course. Precautions will include only putting up to three or four riders and a van at a time, having the riders put their own bicycles in the back of the van, instead of the navigator or driver handling them. Everybody being required to wear masks while inside the vehicle. Plus of course the driver navigator having to sanitize the seats and door handles every time they drop off riders.

Ham Radio Operators are also needed for breakpoints. Break points have their own set of special precautions to enforce social distancing and wearing mass when around the riders or other volunteers.

Volunteers driving SAG vans will still pick up their vehicles the Friday before and return them on Sunday after the event is over. My understanding is that San Antonio and Austin will still pick theirs up at our usual locations.

One major change that you can anticipate, is there will probably not be any paid hotel rooms for Friday night or Saturday. Since there is only a one day event and 20/20 was pretty much dead fundraising wise, the association has had to greatly reduce their staff and cut corners to save money. They do not have the budget that is normally available for this ride. Volunteers may have to pay for their own rooms, or make it one hell of a long day. I’m planning to pay for my own hotel room. They’re supposed to be getting this information about some discounts available in the area. Since the number of riders will be down tremendously and LaGrange won’t be swamped with 10 or 15,000 people, the rooms ought to be a lot more reasonable than in previous years.

I am the lead contact person for San Antonio volunteers. If you’ve not been getting the emails from Mike Firenza, and you still want to get involved knowing what I’ve just told you, please contact me. My contact information is the bottom of this website. I do not answer phone calls early in the morning. Email would be the best method, followed by text messaging.

As of April 7th, I’m still needing 4 more SAG Teams (Driver & Navigator) for the La Grange start on May 1st. Please contact me via email, info@sanantoniohams.org, or text message at 210-771-7075. Thanks.

Share
Jul 22

I just received a call earlier today, Wednesday July 22nd, officially informing me that the BikeMS ride, scheduled for the first weekend in October, has been canceled and converted to a “virtual ride” to (hopefully) still raise funds to help find a cure for MS.

This means that every 2020 major bike ride and other public service event in our area has been canceled by this virus crisis.

Looking forward to the remaining October, November, December and January 2021 events, hoping they don’t get canceled also, but I am not holding my breath.

Share
Jun 4

I just learned that the annual Fourth of July parade up at Startzville, on the south side of Canyon Lake, has been canceled for 2020 as a casualty to the coronavirus scare. While there may be some locals who decorate their vehicles and just happen to spontaneously cruise back and forth around the area, there will be no organize parade.

Share
May 5

The Texas Water Safari (TWS) will NOT be held June 13 – 17 (the second weekend in June) but was originally rescheduled for September 12 – 16. 

However, due to that pesky COVID-19 virus and the fact that the 260+ miles of the course intersects hundreds of municipalities and county jurisdictions, all who could establish their own guidelines or restrictions, the TWS Board has decided to cancel the event for 2020.

We know this will not work for all, but the TWS board felt this was the best solution for a fluid situation that changes daily.  This will hopefully allow for the pandemic to play out and allow for a great race next year

This was not an easy decision because we know how important the race is to all, but we felt this is the best solution to help ensure racer’s safety, allow more time to train and for the Coronavirus to run its course.

Texas Water Safari Board

Share
Mar 17

IMPORTANT UPDATE
The National MS Society is closely monitoring the latest developments of the coronavirus (COVID-19) global pandemic and we are taking proactive steps to protect people affected by MS, our event participants and the broader MS community.

Based on recent guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), we will not host the 2020 edition of Bike MS: Texas MS 150 in person. (Scheduled date had been first wknd of May)

Instead, we will continue to fuel life-changing breakthroughs for people affected by MS through an exciting virtual fundraising experience.

Additionally, we will also announce a special one-day cycling celebration for this fall. .

Share
Mar 16

The San Antonio Fiesta Commission announced on March 13th that they were postponing Fiesta until the month of November. Of course that caused the Wildflower bicycle event to get postponed as well.

The rescheduling will possibly cause conflicts with Wurzfest in New Braunfels, but since the Tour de Gruene ride event was cancelled in 2019, it is unlikely to cause problems with the Wildflower ride.

The BikeMS Ride to the River event will be the month before, in October, so there ought not to be much of an affect there either. The Wildflower isn’t a fundraiser ride on the scale of the BikeMS ride, so folks who solicit their friends for the BikeMS BikeMS won’t need to do it again so quickly.

Share
Oct 27

Just wanted to touch base to see if anybody was interested in helping out with the Universal City Veterans Day Parade in coming up on Saturday, November 2nd.
Hams & other volunteers are needed to work with the UCPD in moving the cones / barricades to block off traffic onto Pat Booker Road when the parade is about to begin.

Law enforcement handles the cross traffic and volunteers handle parking lot entrances and side streets.
We’ll meet up at 9am inside UCPD headquarters in the Universal City Hall on Universal City Boulevard, just off of Pat Booker. Note this is a 30.06 & 30.07 posted building. <hint>
Ironically enough, the police department will furnish free donuts, coffee and juice for the volunteers.
Traffic vests are recommended, but the Police will have some “one size fits some” orange vests. Our experience has been that you get hassled less while wearing a vest.
We’ll have some commercial HT radios available for the non-hams and will be serting up a temp repeater for those radios.

We get our assignments and move out onto Pat Booker Road and get ready to deploy the barricades a little after 10 when they tell us to.

The parade kicks off at 11 a.m. and we’re generally done by no later than 12:30.

Contact me direct at 210-771-7075 (send text msg) or via email at info@sanantoniohams.org

Lee Besing, N5NTG

Share
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

Share
Oct 30

Location: Hill Country State Natural Area – Bandera County, TexasBandera_2014_buckle

When:    6th and 7th of January 2018

Description: 25k, 5ok and 100k Ultra-Matathon

It is that time of year, to start marking your calendars and making preparations for the 16th Annual Bandera 100k Ultra-Marathon held at Hill Country State Natural Area in Bandera County.

Tejas Trails Communication Group – Coordinated by Hill Country REACT with support of Highland Lakes Amateur Radio Club, Chaparral Amateur Radio Club, and other dedicated Amateur Radio Operators from San Antonio, Austin, Houston, Kerrville and other locations throughout the state, have supported and provided communications for this event the past 12 years. The team is responsible for communications, health and welfare, tracking, and occasionally Search and Rescue. We also manage the parking at o’dark-thirty to get the 900 runners and crews parked and to the start-finish line on time.

There is little to NO cellular coverage at this venue, thus the participants, families, crews and promoters rely on the skill and expertise of the Amateur Radio Community.
We have 4 Aid Stations/Break Points, Net Control and Rovers to cover for approximately 20 hours.
This event typically requires 14 – 18 Amateur Radio Operators in a situation that is similar to what an Emergency Communications Operator would experience in a disaster zone. Remote operations little to no permanent infrastructure. Bring it, work it, test it, and enjoy it!

Horseback Hams are also needed and greatly appreciated by the participants.

If you know of a youth organization that needs public service hours, this is a great opportunity to get them in.  We have numerous positions from assisting the communications team to helping serve the runners at the aid stations.

UHF, VHF Voice and Packet communications are involved in this event.  We have been wanting to deploy a Broadbrand-HamNet but research and development has stalled. Anyone with experience in this area is encouraged to help us out.

Read the rest of this entry »

Share

« Previous Entries