We hope you are all safe and healthy. We also hope you are having an enjoyable holiday season despite the impacts of COVID-19. We wanted to provide you a short update on 2021 Boston Marathon plans in light of today’s public statement from the BAA.
Our team has been engaged with the BAA at both the Organizing Committee and Medical Committee levels regarding the 2021 Boston Marathon. We have also been meeting as an Amateur Radio Communications Committee over the course of the Fall to be ready for a potential Boston Marathon event in the Fall of 2021 and attempt to review some of the issues of past marathons more proactively and address them given the delay in a potential race to the Fall of 2021.
Given the uncertainties brought about by the recent surge in COVID-19 along with how quickly a vaccine can propagate to the general populace, the BAA has pushed back their decision on a Fall race date to early 2021.
We will continue to update you as things change regarding a potential 2021 Boston Marathon race and what changes that might entail in light of the COVID-19 impacts. When the BAA is once again able to resume the Boston Marathon, we hope to see you again as part of the Amateur Radio Volunteers, presuming it is safe for you in your personal situation.
We will keep you posted as updates occur and attempt to get updates out as appropriate in coordination with the BAA. Thanks to all for their continued support of the BAA and the Boston Marathon.
On Tuesday, June 15, Alden Sumner Jones IV, KC1JWR, was hiking on the southern part of the Appalachian trail in Vermont (it’s also been reported as being on the Long Trail) with his cousins at around 12:30 PM. Alden started feeling light headed, his pulse was racing and the next thing he remembers is waking up with an EMT named Dave, from AMR out of Springfield, MA, who was hiking and saw Alden go down. Alden had suffered seizures. It was later determined that this was caused by low blood sugar. Dave attempted to call 911 on his cell phone. He could connect, but the 911 operator couldn’t understand him. At this point, Alden pulled out his HT ham radio, a BaoFeng.
He made contact through the K1FFK repeater. This repeater is located on Mt. Greylock on 146.91. The repeater is owned and maintained by the Northern Berkshire Amateur Radio Club. The initial call went out just before the Cycle 1 of the Western Massachusetts Traffic Net. Ron Wonderlick, AG1W, took the call. Alden initially asked if the 911 call went through. Ron began an eight hour process of acting as a relay between Alden, the emergency crews and various others.
The Traffic Net was truncated and the frequency was cleared by Peter Mattice, KD2JKV, who also stood by as a backup for Ron. KC1JPU, Matthew Sacco, was also monitoring and after a short consultation with Ron & Peter, proceeded to head to the staging area where the Fire and EMS crews were going to come from.
In Matthew’s own words, this what happened when he arrived at the staging area:
As I arrived at the staging point set up by the Fire Department, I met up with Fire Chief Scott Moore (95-C1) of the Wilmington Fire Department who was Incident Command. I told him how I heard about the incident and offered my services. I then got to work attempting to make contact with Ron over the 91. We were in a bit of a shadow as far as coverage went from the 91 and my first attempt to make contact with my HT was to no avail. I then went to my truck to try my mobile radio which also failed to open up the repeater. Running out of options, I went into my radio bag and was able to construct a roll up J-Pole out of some 450 ohm ladder line, a short length of coax, and male UHF connector. In that bag I keep some basic soldering equipment and a power inverter for the truck. Once it was constructed and tested, I grabbed my fishing pole from the back seat, put a weight on the end, and cast the weight into the highest branch I could find. I tied the J-Pole to the end of the line and reeled it up about 20′ into the tree with the help of a barrel connector and about another 24′ of coax. I tried that antenna plugged into the back of my mobile radio and we were up and running! I was then in contact with Net Control!
Now the struggle was to find the hiker. Alden’s (KC1JWR) status was communicated between the EMT on site through the ham radio and impromptu net set up through Ron (AG1W) and Matthew (KC1JPU). The information passed through the net was used to determine what type of rescue equipment would be necessary. Finding the location based on landmarks was proving too difficult. One of the people on site had a cell phone with a GPS unit and they were able to get a location in Google Maps Plus Code. That was converted into latitude and longitude. At this point, it was 4:30 in the afternoon.
On site were members of the Wilmington, VT Fire Department, Wardsboro, VT Fire Department, Deerfield Valley Ambulance, and Rescue Inc., all served through the ham radio net being operated on the K1FFK repeater.
Once the rescuers were getting close to Alden’s location, it was determined that they were not going to be able to get an ATV to the location for an evacuation. So, the determination was made to contact New York State Search and Rescue for a helicopter. Again, this need was relayed through the ham net. Almost all the communication, all day, was through the ham net, or, relayed to the phone by Ron (AG1W) or Peter (KD2JKV).
Meanwhile, Alden is conscious and spending time talking to the EMT and the rescuers about ham radio and how to get their licenses.
An area is cleared by another hiker as a place for the helicopter to lower it’s basket. The GPS coordinates are relayed through the ham net to the helicopter crew. The rescuers took Alden through the woods to the clearing and the helicopter arrived at around 7PM. While the rescuers were talking the helicopter in on their radios, they were having trouble making contact through their rubber duck antennas. So, Alden, who had a better antenna for his HT, lent it to the rescuers for better communication. Alden was initially flown to Woodford Mountain for evaluation and treatment. He was then flown to the hospital in Albany NY. During the flight, Alden again talked to the pilots and the other rescuers about ham radio.
During the rescue, one fire fighter from Wilmington was injured. This forced part of the team to stay the night with him in a shelter along the trail. He was brought out safely and is doing well. Alden is suffering from a number of injuries from the seizures, but he is also recovering.
Neil Van Dyke (N1TNC), the Search & Rescue Coordinator for the Vermont Dept. of Public Safety was the one who called in Search and Rescue. When asked about the event, Mr. Van Dyke said “Ham radio was a key part of the incident and played a major role in the rescue”. Alden said it even better, “Ham radio saved my life last night and I am very thankful for how everyone helped me.”
Well done to all involved in this event. Thank you for all you did for Alden Jones and for being great ham radio operators.
We hope this email again finds you, your friends, and your family safe and in good health in this time of extraordinary challenge.
The Boston Athletic Association (B.A.A.) has announced that the 124th Boston Marathon will be held as a virtual event, following Boston Mayor Martin Walsh’s cancellation of the marathon as a mass participation road running event due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
We want to thank everyone who has worked so hard to prepare for this race. Our volunteers have always gone above and beyond and this year has been no exception. When the race was first delayed, almost universally we got feedback that you’d be there for the race whatever the date, whatever the format.
We expect that volunteer registration for 2021 will follow a similar schedule and process as past years. You can expect to hear from us once registration opens, most probably in January, 2021. If there are any changes we become aware of that you need to know ahead of that date, we will be sure to communicate with you. As always, we welcome your correspondence and questions on volunteering to our general mailbox: firstname.lastname@example.org.
The following message was sent to all amateur radio operators that have signed up to volunteer at the Boston Marathon this year:
As you should now have read in the BAA’s email to all volunteers, the decision has been made to postpone the race this year. This was directed by the City of Boston and protects everyone involved with the Marathon; runners, volunteers, medical professionals, spectators, and others.
We greatly appreciate our volunteers and the work that you do. There are a lot of logistics that go into planning the race and as we have more details in the coming months we will provide timely updates for volunteering for the new race date of September 14. We look forward to your participation on our Team then.
We wish you all the best and very much look forward to September 14th!
This year we have worked hard to build up our volunteer numbers so that the mission may be accomplished. Unfortunately we’ve been met with lower than hoped for volunteer applications. So here’s our urgent appeal for help.
Please spread the word, personally, that comms volunteers are needed at the Marathon. In particular, we are seeking Amateur Radio communications for Course Medical tents, Hydration stations, Transportation medical Sweep and Express buses, and operators in the Course Net Control Operations Center.
Please tell your local Amateur Radio clubs and your licensed friends about the need.
Do you have a current Red Cross or other CPR certification
What is your jacket size (Male/Female)
What is your assignment area preference (Start, Course, Finish)
THANK YOU for stepping up as a volunteer. You are a vital part of a highly-trained, able team of Amateur Radio communications specialists who are making a huge, and very positive impact on this complex and expansive event. We cannot possibly thank you enough and simply cannot do the job without everyone’s enthusiasm, energy, and super volunteer spirit!
The race will be held Saturday, February 1, 2020. This is a very short race, only 4 miles. We will meet around 9am – 9:15ish at Hope & Olive – coffee and donuts are available – and then be at positions by about 9:45am. The FCARC Leyden repeater will likely be used. The race starts promptly at 10am and we should be done by 11am (the fastest runners are done in about 20 minutes).
To sign up or if you have any questions, contact Erika KC1IJJ.
On behalf of the BAA Amateur Radio Communications Committee, Happy New Year! It’s hard to believe that 2019 has come to a close and we are heading into 2020. With the New Year comes the 124th running of the Boston Marathon.
Volunteer registration will open for the Marathon is now open. The race itself is taking place on Monday, April 20, 2020.
For Returning Volunteers: The BAA sends out an email which provides you with a direct link once registration is open. This email will also include your loyalty number, which is required for sign up.
For New Volunteers: If you haven’t previously volunteered, or have a friend who would like to volunteer, please go directly to the Volunteer Registration page and follow the instructions for new volunteers.
Don’t delay! Volunteer registration closes on Friday, February 7 at 5:00 p.m. Help us get the word out by forwarding this email to your club and other amateur radio operators who wish to volunteer. Most volunteers first learn about the event through word of mouth. If you know new licensees who might like to join us, please make sure to let them know about it. Even just a quick mention at your club meeting can be a big help.
If you have any questions about the upcoming volunteer registration period, or the 2020 Marathon generally, please get in touch anytime. Volunteering at the Marathon is a big job and we appreciate the time and effort everyone puts into it. We’re happy to do what we can to make your work fun, comfortable, and effective.
This event is sold out, so it will be busy. It occurs from about 7am to Noon (some assignments should secure as early as 9:30am, and most by 11am). It will be held in Hopkinton State Park and includes a swim, bike and run that travels through Hopkinton, Southboro and Ashland.
If you are interested in participating, please send an email to email@example.com and let them know if you have UHF equipment with DCS / DPL.
Assignments will vary but will generally include various checkpoints along the route, start and finish line, and shadowing the triathlon coordinators. Times involved with each of the assignments will vary as well. The event will be held at the Hopkinton State Park and includes a swim, bike and run that travels through Hopkinton, Southboro and Ashland.