Well, it's that time of year again. When many locals here in Hawaii try to stay as far away from Honolulu as they can over the weekend. Yea, that's right, it's time for the Honolulu Marathon which will be held this Sunday morning.
This year I will be one of the volunteers working the marathon. I will be the radio operator at Medical Aid Station #12, which is the final first aid station before the finish line. This station is notorious for being very active in recent races. It is located 25.5 miles into the race, just about where the runners hit "the wall"
Of all of the Medical Aid Stations on the course, #12 is the only station that only has a single radio operator assigned. All of the other stations have either 2 or 3 operators. With my being the only radio operator at station #12, I am going to be extremely busy.
Along with calling in ambulances for medical emergencies and police for any problems that may come up, I also have to call in the Lead Runners of each division (first 3 male runners, first 3 female runners, and the first wheelchair) as they pass by my station on their way to the finish line. Hopefully they will find another radio operator tomorrow to help me out.
They will start closing down streets along the race course at midnight tomorrow night to get everything ready for the race which officially starts at 5:00 on Sunday morning. Sunday is going to be a very long day. I should be finished somewhere between 4:00 and 5:00 that afternoon.
One of the reasons that ham radio operators volunteer for races like this is that it gives good "net" experience for emcomm situations. Lets just hope that it only stays as practice and nothing bad happens.
With the Honolulu Marathon being the 4th largest marathon in the country right behind the Boston Marathon, it makes for a high valuable target for terroristic attacks with all of the television cameras everywhere, so the city has stepped up its police presence for the race.
I have to meet with the race officials tomorrow to pick up my race ID packet and go over my radio equipment one more time to make sure that everything is ready to go.
Just in case, I will be carrying 2 handheld VHF/UHF radios re-programmed for the race. I have removed all other amateur frequencies from these radios to make it easier for me to switch between frequencies if something happens and we have to take over emcomms there. I will be carrying 2 extended capacity batteries, and 4 regular stock batteries with me so that should give me enough battery life for just about any situation. I will be using an over-ear noise canceling headset and I have a second smaller backup headset.
I will also be carrying my regular VHF/UHF handheld with an extended capacity battery programmed with all the normal ham frequencies just in case I have to switch over to one of those frequencies.
So, a total of 3 radios, 3 extended batteries and 4 regular batteries, and 2 headsets. I should be ready for anything.
I will try to do an update after the race and let you know how it went.
13-Band MF HF VHF Antenna
In upcoming episodes we will take a look at Morse Code, Antennas, Handheld UHF/VHF Radios, Mobile UHF/VHF Radios and Emergency Communication (Emcomms).