Amateur Radio Community Saves the Big Island over $4,200.00

Discussion in 'Amateur Radio News' started by KH6OWL, Mar 21, 2019.

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  1. KH6OWL

    KH6OWL Ham Member QRZ Page

    The Big Island International Marathon is held each March in Hilo. The website describes the course as; “This scenic certified course follows “the coast of old Hawaii” up, along the Pacific Ocean, post exotic waterfalls, down and over narrow bridges and lava beaches. Hilo is one of the cooler, more lush ports of Hawaii, which translates into good running conditions. Enthusiastic volunteers at well placed aid stations, make this a memorable marathon for everyone.”

    Thanks to the Puna Emergency radio club and Sean Fendt for providing the following details.

    This is the 5th year the Puna Emergency Radio Club, PERC, along with volunteers from outside the club, provided communications and other services to the Big Island International Marathon. This year Sean Fendt, KH6SF, was coordinator, COM-L. It has been Sean or his wife Kim’s (WH6KIM) that has lead this effort in each of the 5 years the PERC club has assisted with the marathon.

    The tasks were to provide communications between aid stations regarding resource needs, and to keep the race management and timing aware of general locations of first and last runners. According to Bob Weidman, the race director, the amateur radio operators have been one of the most reliable volunteer groups. Hams have therefore taken on more responsibilities in addition to communications over the years. Like having a “rover” or mobile ham with vehicle that can move supplies (water, Gatorade, cups, etc) from site to site as needed, and occasionally pick up a runner that decides to drop out of the race. These extra duties have been a significant service to keep things running smoothly and a valuable asset to the marathon.

    According to Sean, “the fact that BIIMA looks forward to our support says a lot about the Ham community out here. The first year we did this, there was a major wind storm the night before (damaging a lot of race facilities) and it was pouring rain at the start, Bob Weidman assumed we wouldn’t show, but everyone was on-station in the rain and on time. That year we even had our own portable repeater set up.” Sean said that they have simplified a few things since then, but have always kept quality communications. He said that in 2018 they had a issue with the primary repeater frequency and actually made use of the pre-planned backup without issue. Everyone seemed to know what to do and was prepared.

    The marathon starts at 06:00 every year. The amateur radio volunteer start setup of the NCS at about 5:00 – 5:30 at Onekahakaha Beach Park. This area was chosen because for backup they can hit all stations on UHF simplex from there and it was a good place for the portable repeater. The race officially closes at 13:00 (unless the last runner finishes before that), although some stations along the early part of the course close down earlier (as soon as the last runner passes). Sometimes we have volunteers re-locate to fill in later locations, others do not, depends how many volunteers we have.

    This year we were asked to do even more involving course setup and I hear that we did a good job. However we were very short volunteers in general this year and after already making the commitment we continued to do complete the job. It does involve working from midnight to about 4 PM race day, and hours on days before renting trucks, borrowing signs and cones etc, and returning everything the day after. Sean figures he put in about 31 hours in 4 days.

    The amateur volunteers are listed below. Please thank them for their support for the community.

    KH6SF (Sean Fendt) – about 31 hours. plus about 16 hours planning and site surveys in advance

    WH6EXS (Thomas-Jon Hoomanawanui) – about 24 hours in several days. Plus about 8 hours planning and site surveys in advance

    KB6EGA (Robert Gomez) – about 11 hours day of the marathon.

    WH7BR (Paul Ducasse) – about 4 hours day of the marathon.

    KH6FF (Michael Haight) – about 4 hours day of the marathon.

    WH6EMN (James Tatar) – about 7 hours day of the marathon.

    WH6LC (Leigh Critchlow) – about 7 hours day of the marathon.

    AH6KO (Stanley Froseth)- about 6 hours day of the marathon.

    WH6ETX (Lynn Froseth) – about 6 hours day of the marathon.

    WH6EVR (David Miller) – about 7 hours day of the marathon.

    WH6KIM (WH6KIM) – about 24 hours in several days

    WH6FQI (James Huntley) – about 7 hours day of the marathon.

    K0BAD (Leslie D Hittner) – unknown time (parallel with other duties) plus repeater support in advance and day of the marathon.

    The Big Island amateur radio community stepped up and provided a total of 14 hams that put in about 145 volunteer hours, Friday-Monday, and more than 24 volunteer-hours planning / preparing over a few months prior.

    With 13 Hams volunteering 145 Hours, that equates to over $3,683. The national average was $24.69 an hour according to the Independent sector website. Hawaii’s average value of volunteer time was $25.40 in 2017.

    Including 24 hours of planning at a total value of $592.56. The total estimated money saved by the radio amateur for the Big Island Marathon in 2019 was in excess of $4,275.56.

    The Marathon web site:

    The independent sector web site:

    Attached Files:

  2. WU8Y

    WU8Y Ham Member QRZ Page

    Unpossible. I'm reliably told by Teh Zed that hams only obstruct and interfere with operations.
  3. KD8DEY

    KD8DEY Ham Member QRZ Page

    Hams will do anything for a FREE lunch........
    WU8Y and KA0HCP like this.
  4. KY5U

    KY5U Subscriber QRZ Page

    How was the food?

    N9SOX and KD8DEY like this.

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