Public Service Events can give hams excellent real world preparation for EmComm operations. Busy frequencies, real radio traffic, and some actual emergency communications when event participants encounter trouble.
David W0DHG and his daughter Gwen N6GMG assisted with the Baker to Vegas race, a 120 mile running event across the California and Nevada desert. Over 1000 hams and a complex communications system covered a very remote area with little permanent communications infrastructure. David brings video produced by David Ahrendts KK6DA from their small slice of the event.
Gary KN4AQ operated in another big event, the BikeMS bike tour centered on New Bern, North Carolina. Over 2000 cyclists rode up to 100 miles on Saturday and again on Sunday in the rural countryside near the coast. The operation was simpler, with about 35 hams using a single, wide-area repeater (and some simplex), but the basic communication was similar to the B2V event. Gary also produced a video segment for this show.
This program had some technical challenges as Gary's Wirecast "Studio in a Box" system crashed several times. Gary thought he lost a treasure: David's son Ian W0IHG performing a bit of Fiddler on the Roof with only a little coaxing, but then Gary remembered that it was captured on Facebook Live!
There is a fair amount of talking-head discussion, but the documentary-style video makes up about 30 minutes of the total show, bumping the Radio Rating down to a C. Sorry, but sometimes we just gotta be a TV show.
Both video clips are available separately. Maybe you can make time for those in front of a screen:
And if you want to learn more about the B2V comm system, there are several videos of presentations to clubs and participants:
- Baker to Vegas; A Ham Radio Perspective (2005 presentation)
- B2V Communications Seminar (for the 2017 race)
- Baker to Vegas Challenge Cup Relay 2010 Communication Support (this video will show more aspects of the race and runs only 8 minutes)