With many thanks to Mike KQ9P and Paul AK4OH , what a pleasant surprise to hear the following on the Monday Night Information Net.
HAM RADIO BOOSTS VIRGINIA BIKE RACE
DON: One of the largest bicycle races in the Mid-Atlantic region had some amateurs along for the ride. But they weren’t exactly pedaling: these hams were riding the bands instead. Here’s Amateur Radio Newsline’s Jim Damron, N8TMW, with the details.
JIM: There’s kilocycles, there’s megacycles and then there’s two-wheeled, multi-geared racing cycles.
And when a full racing contingent of those kinds of cycles set out recently in a road race in Virginia’s Albemarle County, the only thing that seemed to ensure that they’d keep moving forward safely were the other types of cycles, the kinds that come with radios. That’s what brought the Albemarle Amateur Radio Club back to help out the Jefferson Cup Road Race on Sunday, April 3, as it has for more than a quarter-century. The goal was to see that participants along the various routes, which top off at 80 miles in length, stay safe as they follow their course.
The race is one of the biggest in the mid-Atlantic. But cell phones don’t work reliably in that part of the county, according to Mike McPherson, KQ9P , the Amateur Radio Emergency Service emergency coordinator for the county. And for the cyclists to stay safe, and to keep motor vehicle traffic diverted from them, reliable communications was a must.
It’s not just a commitment the hams make to the race, it’s a trial run for the real thing. McPherson told the Daily Progress newspaper: QUOTE “This is great practice. With any luck, there aren’t very many real emergencies, so we use these events to practice our procedures and make sure our equipment works.” ENDQUOTE
McPherson has other goals too, that include making cconnections with the ham radio club at the University of Virginia, W4UVA, and helping Elmer even younger people who want to get into the science and the experience of radio.
That, after all, doesn’t just move bicycles in a forward direction. It also keeps the hobby safely on course.
For Amateur Radio Newsline, I’m Jim Damron, N8TMW.