Hams Needed To SAG! SAG Van Driver Teams Needed BPMS150 – April 20-21, 2013

Tighten up those seat belts, and start your SAG Van engines!

It’s that time again again for Ham Radio Operators to transplant their radios into large 15 passenger vans, or other vehicles, stick their magnetic mount antennas on the roof, turn on your amber light bars (optional, but handy to have), and start looking for those tired, but grateful, bicycle riders on the side of the road who need a lift to the nearest break point.

Riders might just be tired, they might be having mechanical issues with their bicycle, or they may have decided it was just to hot outside and wanted a ride in an air conditioned vehicle that might have some cool bottled water inside.  Or they just might like your smiling face!

BP150 Day 2 Start in LaGrangeApril 20th-21st is the BPMS150 ride from Houston to La Grange to Austin. 

Two days, 13,000 bicycle riders, 50+  SAG vans, 12+ SAG Trucks with a school bus following them around like a little lost puppy, 150 Motorcycle Safety Marshals (all ham operators), more than 300 ham radio operators working together on a network of linked repeaters that stretch from Houston to La Grange on Saturday, and Houston to Austin on Sunday.

The famous phrase “Houston, We have a problem” has happened before, and every time it does, the hams come thru with a timely solution.

Unfortunately with this many riders, there is always a higher chance of something going wrong, but with the ham radio coordinated medics and law enforcement, response time has never been faster!

Hams from the San Antonio metro area have helped support this ride for many years, and in return, hams from this ride have come to San Antonio in October to help us with our local MS150 ride as well.  This ride builds friendships on and off the radio.

 How much will this cost me, you ask?  The surprising answer is “very little.”  No fuel costs, no hotel bills, little or no food costs.

The rental vans are picked up from Capps Van Rental near the San Antonio Airport on Friday, and returned on Sunday night or Monday morning.  Fuel is paid for, rather than needing to be reimbursed in most cases.  We’ll be given a list of authorized fuel stations to fill up the vans, and these vans can sure drink a lot just to get from San Antonio to Houston on Friday night, with an average of 15mpg, or less when you are driving really slow.  The out of town ham volunteers will be covered for a room to sleep in both Friday and Saturday nights.   Why Friday night you say?  Because we get started at 5am on Saturday morning for our last minute briefings, supplies to be loaded, and assignments passed out.

The tour begins at 7am, but the last riders don’t have to be out of their designated stadium (there are 3 stadiums designated as starting locations) until 9am.   Usually the ham volunteers from San Antonio will be assigned to work the “alternate route”, which is the Rhodes Stadium starting point on Saturday, and the “express lunch” route from La Grange to Bastrop on Sunday.  That way, we are grouped together to work with people we may know better, rather than being tossed into the wilds.  Saturday is usually done by 6pm, and Sunday is usually over by 5pm.

April 6th will be the “training day” for hams coming from both San Antonio and Austin, or any other points in between. We’ll pop up to a location in San Marcos for a couple of hours, to get free food, free t-shirts, and a briefing on the latest route changes (compared with last year) or other “areas of concern” that SAG Teams need to know about.

If you want to be a part of this important event, please contact Lee N5NTG via email or by phone (210-771-7075) to volunteer.


One Response

  1. Robb Says:

    I’m looking forward to helping out!

Leave a Comment

Please note: Comment moderation is enabled and may delay your comment. There is no need to resubmit your comment.