Serving Radio Amateurs in Michigan's Washtenaw & Wayne Counties

Category: Public Service

Amateur Radio Volunteers Support Michigan’s “One Helluva Ride” Bicycle Tour

From the ARRL News Desk:

Some two dozen Amateur Radio volunteers supported communication for the Ann Arbor Bicycle Touring Society’s (AABTS) 41st running of the One Helluva Ride (OHR) bicycle tour on July 8 in Michigan. The race derives its moniker from the fact that the longer route options pass through the town of Hell. The annual loop tour, which starts and finishes at the Chelsea Fairgrounds, offers rides from 15 miles to 100 miles. This was the 27th year that the Arrow Communication Association (ARROW) — an ARRL Special Service Club — has overseen the communication infrastructure and supplied SAG support (for those “sagging behind”).

“There are many places on the route where cell phone coverage is marginal, making Amateur Radio an excellent choice,” said George Byrkit, K9TRV. “Small beams are deployed at the food stops to provide more reliable communication with net control.” Byrkit served as the morning net control station, while Dan Romanchik, KB6NU, handled the afternoon shift.

ARROW had support from the Chelsea Amateur Radio Club (CARC) and the Livingston County Amateur Radio Klub (LARK). The operation employed two of the Chelsea club’s 2-meter repeaters, which were linked to broaden the coverage.

The hams provide SAG vehicles as well as volunteers to ride along in AABTS vehicles. Among other non-communication tasks, they provide spare tire tubes, foot pumps, food and water, and transportation for those experiencing mechanical failure or exhaustion. Hams also are placed at each of the three food stops.

This year, 100 riders registered for the 15-mile fun ride for youngsters with parents. Some 1,500 riders took the longer routes. No serious injuries were reported.

In addition to Byrkit, volunteers included ARROW President Dinesh Cyanam, AB3DC; George Byrkit, K9TRV; Dan Romanchik, KB6NU; Dave New, N8SBE; Mark Goodwin, W8FSA; Ulysses Balis, N4IYL; Faye Ogasawara, KE8DDB; Jameson Eisele, KD8PIJ; Steve Bemis, W8AYN; Don Winsor, AC8TO; Bob Lyons, KI8AB; Eric Lyons, KC8GBR; Jim Lommel, WD8RWI; Quentin Guzek, KD8IPF; Sam Spiteri, K8NOS; Steve Andre, WB8WSF; Jay Nugent, WB8TKL; Mary Anne Nugent, W8VWY; Joe Glandorf, AC8ES; Willie Peloquin, N8WP; Bruce Freeburger, KD8MFR; Rick Pugh, WR8W; Jim Jagow, KD8TBT; Steve Rogacki, AC8GO; Glen Bowe, KT8KTU; Ralph Katz, AA8RK, and Lawrence Davies, K4ETD.

“These hams drove over 2,400 miles, providing SAG support,” Byrkit said. “Ninety-five percent of the SAG drivers are ham radio operators. The other cars have hams placed in them so that communication with them is possible over the entire route. Ham radio has the benefit of being able to find out who is nearest to someone needing help, unlike cell phones. At least 8 of the vehicles were pinging their locations via APRS.”

Volunteers Needed: Ann Arbor Marathon on 03/26/17

The Ann Arbor marathon is rapidly approaching on March 26, 2017 and at this point we only have nine (9) volunteers and need, at least, ten (10) more. We had about 16 last year and that was OK but this year, we have some participants who can only spend a few hours working. The marathon starts at 7:30 AM on S. Main St. near the intersection of S. Main and Keech St. and ends on S. Main between William St. and Liberty. There will be a shelter in the finish area for net control and we will meet there at 7:00 AM where we will hand out route maps and assign stations. You can find route maps at:

Last year the last runner crossed the finish line about 6+ hours later or about 2:40 PM so I would guess that this year we should be done by about 3:00 PM. People posted to spots near the beginning should be able to leave as soon as the last runner passes or, if we don’t get enough volunteers, I would ask that you move to a spot further down the route. We need someone to volunteer to be net control and also a portable, battery operated station with antenna. If you can do either one of these, please let me know.

There will be some fine tuning as to when you need to be at the net control shelter as we firm up the volunteer count and those people assigned to posts farther down the route will be able to report in at a later time.

Remember, last year Epic Races made a $200.00 donation to ARROW and will make a contribution again this year. So join us and help out your Club.

Jim Lommel WD8RWI

Touch-a-Truck 2016

The Touch-a-Truck was held on May 7th, 2016 at the Ypsilanti High School and it went extremely well. The following hams helped out during the event: Joe Glandorf AC8ES, Jeff Zupan W8SGZ, Dinesh Cyanam AB3DC, Ed Thierbach AB8OJ, Dan Romanchik KB6NU and Thomas Martin W8TAM

One Helluva Ride

As many of you know, the quaintly named Ann Arbor Bicycle Touring Society annually presents a HUGE bicycle ride throughout the wilds of Michigan called “One Helluva Ride” (OHR for short).  This happens this year on Saturday, July 12. The scenario is two dozen hams baby-sitting 1800 riders over a more than 400 sq.mi. area for about eleven hours. Sounds like fun, doesn’t it?  Well, IT IS. (Additional info can be found at )

Requirements are simple and somewhat flexible.

(1) Amateur Radio license, ANY class.  We use the Chelsea 145.45
repeater (and are eternally grateful for its availability).

(2) A good mobile radio and antenna. 50w or more and 5/8 wave are
preferred, 25w with 5/8 or 50w with 1/4 wave will work in most
areas, but not all (there are lots of hills and valleys). Anything
less is suspect. NO HT’s.

(3) A reliable vehicle with the capacity to carry two bicycles and
their riders.

#1 is the only absolute requirement.  There are alternatives for #2 and #3. There are drivers from the AABTS we can pair you up with as a “shotgun” rider. We have a (very) few “transportable” radios available (or maybe you do?) that can be moved from vehicle to vehicle ..  We may be able to borrow one or two bike racks.  So lack of equipment should not trump enthusiasm and desire to help.

SAG drivers are suggested to have at least a minimum mechanical ability (i.e., know which end of a wrench to hold) and some small tools and a GOOD tire pump with Presti valve. These items are a plus, but can be worked around if absolutely necessary.

The event runs from 7am to 6pm and is headquartered at the Chelsea Fairgrounds. It runs through such exotic locations as Dexter, Gregory, Grass Lake, the Pinckney and Waterloo Recreation Areas and, of course, Hell.

You can work the whole day, or just partial. If you have any interest, please contact me directly at [ ].  Please include your name, call, email address, hours available and a brief list of radio and bicycle equipment you can bring. If any of you have ham friends who are not on the maillist who might be interested, have them get in touch.

The complete wishlist (in order of importance):
Two operators from 8am to 2pm, probably to drive on your own, but one might possibly as a “shotgun”
One op from 9am to 3pm, driving on your own
One op from 7am to Noon, to just sit at a rest stop – none of the bicycle equipment is needed for this
One from noon-6pm
One from 9am-noon
One from 11am to 2pm
If this were a perfect world, I’d also love one or two more who could work all day. But beggars can’t be choosers.

You may bring a friend or relative as a co-pilot/navigator/extra pair of eyes.

Thank you.
73 Jeff W8SGZ

(For you ARPSC folks, I have long maintained that an event like this is some of the best training you can get. We cover over 400 sq. mi. of varying terrain (lots of hills and valleys) which effect coverage. Equipment breaks. We need to keep our eyes on 1800 bicycle riders (approx. 100 of whom are arrogant jerks – the good 1700 are extremely grateful we’re there). We need to maintain proper radio discipline (i.e. shut up). We need to deal with poor planning by the served agency, etc. etc, etc.)

ARROW Participates in First A2 Mini Maker Faire

James, W8ISS, headed up our effort at Saturday’s MiniMaker Faire. More later on how it went after I talk with him, but here are some pictures from the event taken by Mike Gould of Monodyne:

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