Sunday, May 06, 2007

Tour Nortel Event

This year the Ottawa EMRG/ARES group volunteered to provided communications support for the annual Tour Nortel charity bike/run event.

Over 15 Ham Radio operators volunteered to help man Check Points, and Rest Areas and to assist with safety.

I was partnered up with Mike (VE3UMZ) and we posted at Check Point 6 which is located here along the 70km cycling route. The weather was PERFECT for this event as it was sunny and cool in the morning and then warmed up to about +12C by noon.

Here are some pictures of our operating location:





Each check point was required to have two complete stations in operation. Each station includes a VHF FM radio, battery, and an antenna capable of getting into the main EMRG VHF repeater on 146.880. One station was to be tuned to the controlled net on the repeater, and the other was to be tuned to the Simplex net operated on 146.580 FM.

Mike's station consisted of a FT-1500 FM radio, deep cycle battery, and a 1/4 wave ground plane antenna mounted on a "painters pole" attached to a portable trolley. It is a very nice setup. Here are some pictures of the trolley and the antenna:



My station consisted of a Yaesu FT-8800 VHF radio, deep cycle battery, and a J-pole antenna up about 13' in the air. I used a 5-gallon pail filled with cement with a short mast pipe as a base for the mast. As the antenna has virtually zero wind load it is very stable and it proved to be an effective setup.

Here is a picture of the FT-8800 with a hat over it to keep it out of the sun ;-) :




It was a great event with just enough radio traffic to keep it interesting. Our radios and antenna worked very well. This check point is in a great position as we could hear all stations on Simplex and easily get into the EMRG VHF repeater using low power (5w).

We had one minor "emergency" at our check point when one cyclist had a breakdown and required transportation back to the start. We were able to relay his request back to Net Control and his ride arrived about 20 minutes later.

For next year I an going to add an external speaker as well as a headset to my setup, but other than that it worked just fine.

This was a great event, and a great excuse to dust off our "Go Kits" and to get on the air and help out a great cause like Tour Nortel.

Many thanks to the organizers for planning and executing this event.

Mission accomplished!

Tom
VA3NFA

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