Anyone Work Comms for Boston Marathon?

cockpitbob

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I've never worked a public service event before and this Monday I'll be in First Aid Tent #14 in Wellesley. That's more than half way through the course so it should see a bit of action.

Being a public service green horn, jumping into one of the biggest events to get my feet wet is a little daunting.

I've got my HT, back-up HT, programming cheat sheets, spare batteries, 18" long antenna, HTs pre-programmed with all the event frequencies, pens and notebook, ear bud adapter and ear buds, speaker mic and a a few other things, but it looks like the no backpacks rule applies to volunteers too, so I'm going to have a very long day without being able to bring a lot of gear. They say fanny packs are OK, but oh, the shame.

Anyone work the Marathon? Got any advice?
 
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Clear plastic kid's backpack or a photographer's vest come to mind. I heard that backpacks aren't verboten, just subject to searches.
 
I have a feeling we're going to have sore feet Monday night.

BTW, there's after-parties Monday evening at a Boston bar and Fenway, and the Fenway one you can bring a guest(s?). Do you know anything about them? I'm thinking my wife and 2 teenage boys might enjoy the Fenway thing.
 
yeah I don't know much about them either but my wife and were considering Fenway with our 7 year old since I took the week off and he's on school vacation.

My plan for the day is comfy shoes and plenty of water, though since camelbak's are out I'll have a bunch in a cooler in my truck.
 
I worked comms at the marathon back in 2001 or 2002. FA station around mile 19 or 20. It was fun. Back then I was all about crossband repeating through my car using 440.
 
I reached out about a month ago to one of the coordinators with some questions and never heard anything back, so I didn't end up signing up. Too bad, looks like it would have been a great learning experience.
 
I will be at First Aid 01, water and a snack is always a good idea, also a rain jacket or poncho is worth bringing in case of rain. A clear kids backpack is probably a good idea.
 
I reached out about a month ago to one of the coordinators with some questions and never heard anything back, so I didn't end up signing up. Too bad, looks like it would have been a great learning experience.
I've read that the field of runners is up about 30% this year from last, and the same for Ham volunteers. I got a broadcast email saying that they have so many Ham volunteers this year for the marathon that they'll have to turn some away.
 
I will be at First Aid 01, water and a snack is always a good idea, also a rain jacket or poncho is worth bringing in case of rain. A clear kids backpack is probably a good idea.
OK, that talked me into it. I just spent $20 on a clear backpack from Amazon. Sadly I'm sure in the future I'll be wanting a clear backpack more often. If nothing more, it will speed going through the line at Fenway.
 
How will you guys be carrying your HTs? Belt clip, chest pack, in your hand the whole day[thinking] or something else?

I might break down and get a clear bag now. As for the radio I have a cheap chest rig I got on amazon to hold my primary radio, and I had planned on having the backup on my belt, but if I get a bag then that and the spare batteries will go into the bag.
 
I've never worked a public service event before and this Monday I'll be in First Aid Tent #14 in Wellesley. That's more than half way through the course so it should see a bit of action.

Being a public service green horn, jumping into one of the biggest events to get my feet wet is a little daunting.

I've got my HT, back-up HT, programming cheat sheets, spare batteries, 18" long antenna, HTs pre-programmed with all the event frequencies, pens and notebook, ear bud adapter and ear buds, speaker mic and a a few other things, but it looks like the no backpacks rule applies to volunteers too, so I'm going to have a very long day without being able to bring a lot of gear. They say fanny packs are OK, but oh, the shame.

Anyone work the Marathon? Got any advice?


I'll be passing by the tent about 3:00 PM. Just about the time you guys start to tear down your operation. No I'm not running. I'll be going the other way (away from Boston). I'll wave as I go by (dark blue Jeep SUV)

Looks like the weather is going to be great. I wish the runners an "easy run". And Thanks for helping the run be a safe and fun run!!
 
Chanser and Jsamps, I've been reading through the operation's guide and other stuff. It looks like we can't bring backpacks. I bet I could get away with a clear backpack, but there's always a range-nazi type to make an issue.

I also noticed we have a dress code: "All ham volunteers are requested to wear dark blue pants (no jeans or shorts) and white shirts." I can't comply without a trip to the store. I have some brown cargo pants I was going to wear.
 
I had a great time at the south street parking area. Only 2 of the 10 people at my location had ever worked the marathon before and even less had ever worked larger scale logistics so I got to lead on of the parking areas. I had a ton of fun, got a little stressed at point but would definitely do it again. I also moved freely in and out of the secure area with no one ever checking me. Actually at my location I had local pd, state police, and dhs jackboot thugs wearing police in the back of their vests. Those guys were totally useless.


I also also discovered the I don't care for the remora ankle holster for the sig p238 but it does work even when you spend a whole day on your feet.


As for carrying my radio gear I borrowed a fanny pack (fuel bled style) from my dad that had a water bottle holder, two fairly good sized pockets and a wide support for the lower back. Spare radio, extra batteries, extra antenna, and extra headphones went into one pocket, and 4 granola bars, and apple and waster bottle were in the other. Who I started shedding layers (it was 35 degrees when I started at 5 am) the pack also had straps to buckle down jackets. Did I look like fashion gone wrong, yes, was I comfortable all day long carrying all of my gear, absolutely.

I hope ops you had fun down field.
 
Boy am I tired. Up at 4:30, finally on station at 8:00 and we didn't close the medical station until about 6:00pm. There were 3 hams per medical tent. I was the newb while the other 2 guys had done the marathon twice before so I learned from them. We each had 2 radios, our 2M HT plus a digital unit issued (loaned) to all hams working medical tents. The digital radio was for calls to "medical operations" for serious medical business. It was a genuine pain trying to monitor 2 radios, each talking to about a dozen first aid stations. We eventually divided duties so one of the 3 hams monitored Med Ops and the other 2 handled the "other stuff".

Even though we were at mile-20 just before Hearbreak Hill, action was pretty light. Lots of runners stopped for a Tylenol, an ice pack or a muscle massage. Only about 4 runners were transported out by ambulance. I was assigned to one of the tent's 2 "walking teams" that would go deal with runners that went down between stations, but we only had 1 call and when we got there the runner had decided to move on.

One thing I found really funny. Runners have chaffing problems that Vaseline fixes. All day there were 1st aid people standing curb-side with boards containing toung depressors, each with a gob of Vaseline. The runners knew about this and would pause just long enough to grab a gob and grease whatever hurt. They litterly went through about a gallon of Vaseline. And yes, some interesting places hurt and many runners were too tired to be modest.


SAM_0673cropped_zpsdedac025.jpg


Overall, it was a lot of fun and I learned a lot. It cost me a day of vacation and sore feet, but I might do it again next year.


Here's one more picture from the marathon.
SAM_0681_zps0738650a.jpg
 
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It's that time of year again.

I've signed up again. There's also a 5 1/2hr volunteer training session that I didn't attend last year but will be this year. Either Sunday 3/15 or 3/22.

Anyone else working the Marathon? Hopefully the streets will be clear of snow by then [laugh][thinking]
 
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I'm working it but I can't do Sunday Morning Training. I talked to one of the guys on the committee and they may offer an alternative training plan since my Sunday morning objection is based on religious obligation and not personal preference (I'm a pastor).
 
How does one sign up?

I can't tell if it's too late. Here's the last info I got from them a month ago. The 1st link says volunteer registration is closed, but that's for ALL volunteer jobs, not just radio comms. They may still want hams. The 2nd link says registration for hams is still open, but that may be for a variety of events, not just the Marathon.

Still, sign up and if they don't need you, at least you'll get the email announcements early next year so you won't miss the deadline. You'll also get invited to work other Boston area events.

--Bob


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(From an email on 2/12/2015)


Last Chance to Sign Up for 2015

The volunteer registration deadline for the 2015 Boston Marathon has passed. We still need people to sign up and help fill the last remaining assignments. Sign-ups will be closed as soon as that happens. Repeat volunteers are a huge help to the race in many ways. We hope you’ll sign up right away to join us in 2015.

Registration is a simple two-step process:

1. Register with the BAA
If you've volunteered at a BAA event before, you'll sign in with your BAA Volunteer Loyalty Number, which you can look up on the site. Otherwise, you can sign up as a new volunteer. When the system asks you for your assignment preferences, make sure to choose one of the Ham Radio options. You'll know you're done with this step when the system shows you a confirmation number.

2. Sign up with MMRA
We use this to collect additional information specific to our volunteers, like what equipment you have.

For more details, refer to the BAA's information page for amateur radio operator volunteers.

If you have any questions about the sign-up process, feel free to send those to [email protected]. And as always, thanks for volunteering.

73,
Brett Smith, AB1RL
for the Boston Marathon Communications Committee
 
The assignments are out. I'm at the water station at mile-8. It should be easy duty being so early in the course.

What I'm not looking forward to is getting up at 4:30 so I can be at the 5:30am briefing in Wellesley. But I get to go home much earlier than the folks at mile-25.
 
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