AARC Public Service 2012

Now that the 2012 AARC Public Service Event schedule has been completed, it is a good time to summarize our efforts for the year.

In 2012, we worked 10 events, down 2 triathlons from 2011. Services were provided for 2 extreme mountain runs, 2 mountain bike races, 2 road bike races, 2 days of the MS-150 Bike Tour, 1 triathlon, and the Boys and Girls Club Cycling Challenge. A total of 40 different hams were logged in these events, with approximately 21 hours on average for each of these participants. Of course that is just the average, a few worked many of the events, and many worked just a single event, but whatever the level of participation, it was greatly appreciated by me as the AARC Director for Public Service, the event organizers, as well as all the bikers, runners and triathletes who competed or participated in the 10 events.

Most of our public service events take place in areas that are almost wholly or to various degrees, not well served by cell phone coverage. That makes our presence incredibly important in providing for participant safety, and at the risk of repeating myself, the single most important venue for demonstrating the value of the Amateur Radio Service to the general public.

So a great big shout out to the following amateurs: Greg N4PGS, Jim K4CGY, Elmer KF4UCI, Bill N0WP and wife Connie, Don KE4DDR, Jon KJ4RPW, Daniel KJ4YHE, Linda KI5LLB, Dayton AA4DH, Mike KA4JJD, Manny K4MSR, Shannon KJ4VJR, Jim K4JEC, Jim K4BAV, Donna KG4FOL, Lenny N4LXP, Patsy K4PMC, Jim N6QDO, Dennis K4THE, Don N4UVA, Ed KA4VMP, Doug KK4CEQ, Bill AD6JV, Kenneth KJ4KIH, Teri KT4UO, Jimmy KK4EDT, Roland KK4EDU, Gordon WW4GW, Lee K4ISW, John KU4KAE, Marty W4MBW, Noah W4NRH, Paul AK4OH, Richard KI4RIT, Stan K2SSB, Debbie KF4UHU, Wes K4WLE, Hugh KJ4ZIL, and Harry W2HD. You all are the best!

The ARRL likes to have reports of public service that estimate the value added by the services provided by the Amateur Radio Service. The ARRL values each hour of public service at $19. I estimate the value of the personal equipment of each participant at $300, and the infrastructure value of each repeater used at $3000 per site. Both of these figures are ridiculously conservative, if a quick scan around my shack is any indication!

So where does that leave us at the end of the public service year? We contributed 831 person hours of service during 2012 for a value of approximately $16,000. The ARRL does not consider personal vehicle use, but I estimate that almost half of our participants were operating mobile, and so I apply the $19 per hour to personal vehicle expenses as well for an additional $8,000 of value. Forty Amateurs each with $300 worth of radio equipment adds $12,000 in value, and the 5 different repeaters used during our 10 events adds another $15,000. This rough estimate amounts to an aggregate value of $51,000 added to the overall economics of the various events of our public service schedule.

Naturally there is no way to put a monetary value on participant safety nor on the information flow that event organizers have come to rely on; that value is beyond discussion in dollar terms, just ask any of the event organizers. Nor can the value of the long history of association with some of these events be characterized commercially. For example, 2013 will be the 25th year of the MS-150 Bike Tour sponsored by the Blue Ridge Chapter of the MS Society, and the AARC has participated every year since its inception. The Jefferson Cup Bike Race will be in its 23rd year in 2013, and AARC has assisted this event from the beginning as well.

As we look forward to the next year of AARC activity, please consider helping out with this important aspect of the Amateur Radio Service. If your support level is counted in multiple events, great, please keep it up. If you only worked one event, plan on going for more than one next year, and if you haven’t yet participated in a pubic service event, make sure you do at least one event next year. It is time well spent, and an opportunity to learn more about using ham radio to communicate in the field. You will meet many new friends who demonstrate their appreciation for your effort, but most importantly, you will have a great time.