Calgary Amateur Radio Association
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Post Action Report
This year's Rocky Mountain Rally was one of the best we've had. If you didn't make it, you missed some fun times. I hope that reading this summary will convince you to join us for future rally events!
Let's start by thanking all the radio operators who were part of RMR 2019:
Elsie Afaganis, FRS
Perry Afaganis, VA6PTA
Brad Derzaph, VA6AOA
Arthur Foster, VE6ACF
Victor Garcia, VA6VG
Robin Greig, VE6RBN
Amanda Illidge, VA7ILL
Kristopher Irish, VA7GIS
Gavin Jacobs, VE7GSJ
Chris Knight, VA6KC
Tony Latham, VE7TKL
Wilson Loree, VA6JWL
Greg Maciejewski, VE6AFT
Robert MacLachlan, VA6BM
Desmond MacMillan, FRS
Harry Maylor, VE6HRY
Rick Mellenger, V4A6E5 (VE7AXQ)
Jeff Pollock, VA7BAJ
Stephane Raimbault, VE6NR
Jason Schneider, VE6SCD
Patrick Spencer, VE6PDS
Kat Stirling, FRS
Pat Stirling, VE6TXS
Amren Curts, FRS
Jarod Raisanen, FRS
Robert Tejada, FRS
Betsy Nguyen, FRS
Kenneth Conway, FRS
Yuuri Daiku, VE7YUR
Roger Heward, VE6RAH
Ian Willumsen, VA6IAB
The organizing team was grateful for the radio operators who showed up on the Thursday and/or Friday to assist with getting things ready. This year's RMR was bigger than most previous events, with about 35 cars initially registered to compete. Just preparing for this rally was a real challenge, and we're thankful for every set of hands that helped make it happen.
On the Friday evening, several of the radio operators got together for our annual tradition of Pizza at Peppi's in Invermere. It was a good time of trading war stories and getting into the spirit of rally radio operations. Cheers to everyone who came out to get some face time with the other radio operators.
After pizza we gathered at Rally HQ (the Copper Point Resort) for our regular pre-op briefing. A last-minute officials' meeting delayed some of us - so thanks, Stephane, for getting the briefing going on time in our absence. All our radio operators had done a great job of getting ready by reviewing the documentation posted on the forum. Extra thanks to the new operators who took the time to read the Rally Radio Operations 101 guideline. This allowed us to jump right into a review of key procedures and the Radio Operators Handbook. So, we finished on time - well almost!
My apologies for the confusion that happened regarding our start time for Saturday morning. A misunderstanding happened at our officials' meeting and it took some effort to correct it. Thanks, everyone, for your patience with this. All our operators got it right the next day and got into place on time, nonetheless. Top notch, all of you!
This year's RMR coincided with the Golden Triangle cycling event. Both events went through Radium Hot Springs on the Friday afternoon and Saturday morning. By working closely with the Golden Triangle Radio Coordinator, we implemented appropriate safety measures and proceeded with the necessary caution. Our operators drove carefully through this area and, to the best of my knowledge, we had no incidents or close calls. Well done.
Stephane handled most of the Radio Support role on Saturday morning and got our Dogsleg Lake operators into place. He adeptly handled several reports of curious cattle and requests for assistance with lost operators, flat tires, and radio equipment problems. Thanks, Stephane!
As the first leg got underway at Dogsleg Lake, some of us were heading North to get into place on the new Steam Clock leg. This is a great area - if you're into 4x4 offroad expeditions. We had light to moderate rain that morning and it turned the course road into a thick, slippery paste. This leg has steep hills to climb and getting a vehicle to the top was a challenge even for Harry! For those of you who don't know Harry, he comes equipped with a very capable 4x4 and the driving experience to get through almost anything. So, we had our work cut out for us to get our operators to their assignments on this new leg.
Steam Clock was an important addition to the event, so thanks to all the crew that overcame the challenges, got into place, and made it happen (Tony, Jason, Harry, Jeff, Art, Wilson, Robert, and Brad). For those of you who like these kinds of offroad activities - you missed a great chance to get your truck all muddy! I have washed mine twice since then and it still needs another round! Oh, and in case you're wondering where the name Steam Clock comes from: the leg is a CLOCKwise route through the STEAMboat Lake Road. You can thank our Rallymaster for his creative naming protocols!
With our radio team in place, the rally cars headed North after completing the initial stage on Dogsleg Lake. The cars struggled through the mud to complete the first stage on Steam Clock, with many of them passing in what seemed like slow motion. The rain eventually relented, though, and the roads dried up. This allowed the rally cars to pick up the pace, and we had a very successful day of racing on both legs. While we lost a few cars due to technical problems and unplanned offroad excursious, there were no serious injuries. At the end of the day we all got off the course roads safely and made it back to Rally HQ for much needed supper.
Sunday was a much better day weather-wise, with warmer temperatures and mostly sunny conditions. Again, Stephane covered much of the Radio Support role and we had no significant problems getting everyone into place. Robin set up the VE6RNQ temporary repeater for us on this day, to ensure we had a viable third channel. He found a great spot for the repeater and it provided excellent coverage throughout the course. Again, we had no serious incidents or injuries during the race stages and everyone got back to Rally HQ for the closing banquet.
After enjoying some great food, trading more war stories, and pledging to return next year, we ended our rally adventure and headed our separate ways.
Some extra notes and special mentions are in order.
Thanks go out to the Wildrose Amateur Radio club for allowing us to use the VE7PNR repeater. This is the first time we've used this repeater for the rally and it did a fine job of handling our Channel B support traffic. I ask all our rally radio operators to please join me in thanking the Wildrose group and also to support their continued operation of the VE7PNR repeater.
We are also grateful to the East Kootenay Amateur Radio Club (EKARC) for allowing us to use the VE7RIN repeater again this year. This repeater has great coverage of our venue and has always effectively handled our Channel A stage operations traffic. We look forward to continued collaboration with EKARC.
As previously noted, Robin set up the VE6RNQ repeater for us. We hadn't used the VE7PNR repeater before and didn't know how well it would cover our course roads. So, we had a third repeater in place just in case there were unanticipated problems. The VE6RNQ repeater also carried some unplanned tertiary traffic during the Sunday stages when we needed an extra back channel. Thanks, Robin.
I'd like to thank our EKARC radio operators for their continued support and participation in the rally. Gavin, Jeff, and Yurri came out and covered important assignments. It was Yurri's first RMR experience and he competently covered our Ambulance radio operator role. Good work, guys.
We had a good number of radio operators from '7' land (BC) this year: Amanda, Kristopher, Gavin, Tony, Rick, Jeff, and Yurri. It was great to have you join us. I hope you can all come back next year - and bring another radio operator friend with you!
This was Amanda's first experience with rally radio operations. While she has considerable background with rally events, she only recently passed her Amateur Radio exam. She impressed her instructors with a very high mark on the exam, and then impressed the other rally radio operators with exemplary operating skills in the field. Congratulations, Amanda, on your shiny new Amateur Radio licence and we hope to have you back for next year's event.
Perry and Elsie covered the bridge on the south segment of the Dogsleg stages on Saturday. Working together with a 2m link into the Rally Net and FRS radios to coordinate their activities, they kept both sides of the bridge secured. Despite Perry slipping in the mud on the Saturday, both Perry and Elsie showed up on the Sunday and covered their assignment. Thanks to both of you.
Thanks to our FRS radio operators for stepping in and filling what would otherwise be holes in our coverage of the course: Elsie, Desmond, Kat, Amren, Jarod, Robert T., Betsy, and Kenneth. Many of our FRS operators have little or no radio operations experience, so we appreciate their willingness to learn a new skill and take on a new role. While we didn't deploy all of these resources, having them available made it possible to provide the coverage required by the Rallymaster.
This report would not be complete without thanking our Net Contol operators, Roger and Ian. A lot of the success of the event hinges on effective Net Control operations. Keeping the course safe and running on time is no easy task, but Roger and Ian made it all happen very smoothly. Running the Steam Clock leg along with the Dogsleg Lake leg on Saturday was a new twist that required extra diligence to direct. Thanks guys for your solid work.
For those who follow the various drivers, here is where you can find the rally results:
Once again, Pat (VE6PDS) has some file space set up for sharing photos or videos from the event. If you have some photos to share, here is the place for them:
It was a great time in Invermere with a great team of radio operators! Have a good and safe summer everyone, and we'll see you at an upcoming rally.
Chief Radio Marshall, Rocky Mountain Rally 2019
There was a misunderstanding about the schedule change for tomorrow. Please disregard what was said tonight about meeting at Copper Point at 9:00am tomorrow.
Please be IN PLACE at 09:30hrs tomorrow morning, as per the schedule. If you need an FRS radio, then please come to Copper Point at 07:30hrs to get your FRS and then be in place on the course at 09:30.
Thanks and sorry for the misunderstanding.
I have created a Photo Gallery for this event. Anyone who is logged in to the web site can post pictures.
Here are a couple last minute updates.
1) I have our reservation for pizza arranged at Peppi's Italian Fuel in Invermere for 7pm tonight (Friday, 24 May). See you there.
2) Here is an electronic copy of the Radio Operators Handbook. You may want to download a copy for your reference. I believe that paper copies will be available at the training session this evening (21:45, Quartz Rm, Copper Point).
See you in Invermere!
Not sure I can accept your apology Garry. You have one of the toughest jobs of all the amateur radio ops and I imagine it is far from an easy job. Just a big thanks to you from all the radio operators for your time and hard work.
At long last, here is our duty roster for the event. My apologies that this is coming out later than intended. Have a look and we can discuss any concerns at the training session on Friday evening.
Training Sessions and Briefing
Our training session is currently scheduled for Friday at 21:45hrs in the Quartz Room at the Copper Point Resort.
We will also have a quick briefing on Saturday morning in the same room before we head out to the course. Exact time for this briefing will be established beforehand.
Electronic Maps for GPS and APRS
Here is a .kml file and a .gpx file for use with GPS devices and APRS software. These are updated from the previous .kml that was published in this forum, so you'll want this one for rally day.
Please consult your product documentation for how to load these files into your devices. I do not have that information.
Here is a printable map for those of you who prefer carbon based technology - or who just like to have a paper backup in case of electronic system malfunction. GPS coordinates are available for each field location, for those of you who prefer to enter this information for yourselves.
Just a quick reminder to everyone: If you have FRS / GMRS radios, please bring them to the rally. We'll be making significant use of FRS this year, so it's a good idea to have these in your kit.