Comments from the 2006 Los Angeles Marathon

Both Ted 'the long hauler'-N6ZZK and Craig "I can't get enough of this Marathon stuff'-KC6KKR did excellent as Net Controls of the Mile Net. They kept the net under control, the information flowing, and definitely have a good memory of the order of callsigns that would dogpile in on occasion. The only comment I will make for this year, as I have for every year, is that the commercial radios that the Marathon rented for the Water Station trucks did not work well again. For one, there was not enough antennas to supply each truck driver and the coordinator. For some reason, there were more radios than antennas. Secondly, the location of our base, the Sports Arena, was not a good location due to the repeater location, Hollywood Hills. The result, I would need to make contact with the Mile Ham so he could relay the message to the truck driver. That is just a sample, and Ham radio did exactly what it was supposed to do. My coordinator, Carmen, was very impressed that the Hams were able to get the message through. She depends on us every year since she is aware of the problems encountered with their commercial radios so hopefully she will pass this on to the person she works under. So to sum it up, Commercial radios were no good, The Hams saved the day....AGAIN, the Net controls were great as always...

At mile 7, It came together well, especially when the supply truck supervisor's radio broke down. During the confusion during that time, the driver took charge until things came together, going through the ham radio system. The race educated them well! Also, it happened to work out well with the two operators assigned to 7, especially with the clock being 1/2 mile away from the water station. I don't think we planned it that way, but the other operator, who was running late ended up exactly where we needed him, at the clock. So I was able to help out with the supply truck situation. From my point of view, we were prepared, we were able to improvise quickly, and coincidence played out in our stations favor.

I had a great time, even though i had to go from med-mile 20 to fill the med-mile 12 position (since the guy called in sick). It was a great experience, in fact, I would like to do med-mile 12 next year if possible... the only complaint is the short supplies. We were out of Tylenol/aspirin first and then, literally, out of everything... on the positive side, I call med-net control and about an hour later we got the remaining supplied from med-mile 6. That was very cool!!!

It was very exciting, Greg. I will probably return; however, next time, I will park very close to my position the night before and sleep in my van!

I really enjoyed operating at the marathon. It was busy and I feel that the marathon people really know how to utilize ham radio.

Well, as usual it was a pleasure to be volunteering at the marathon. Also, it was pleasure working with both Michael KI6BWH and Barry KG6NWJ. ( I hope I have their call signs correct). The mile location was # 19. Also, to not forget the great work done by the mile captains Wendy and Virgina.

As far as this year's Marathon goes, technically it was near perfect: I only heard one stuck mic on the Mile Net that only lasted for about 10 minutes, & the signal from it was very weak so everyone easily captured it. The only issues I noticed were:
-K6PMT's Motorola HT had low deviation. Apparently it was programmed for "narrow FM". I instructed Phil to program it for "wide" next time.
-Ted's D700 radio had an intermittent buzz problem on transmit. It sounded to me to be an internal problem with the radio. Hopefully by next year the problem will resolve itself (fix itself, get worse/repaired by Kenwood, or bring a different radio).
-While all stations on the Mile Net were able to access their net repeater (144.xx), some (miles 11, 13, 14, 15, 16 & 18) had trouble getting a readable signal into the repeater. Next year I may try adding a preamp/pass cavity combo to the receiver to see if we can improve the coverage, though I think it's likely that we're already site noise-limited, as I see some site noise even on the 440 system, which has a very sensitive receiver but performs only average on receive.

For a "first-timer" suppporting the LA Marathon I enjoyed the experience and will volunteer again next year. Keep me on your e-mail list. I noted the following: 1. The 224.700 repeater signal was full quieting and strong in the early morning but seemed to weaken and occasionally fade in and out as the day progressed. At the time I wondered if the repeater antenna was being buffeted by the wind (it got windier as the day progressed).

I thought it was a lot of fun and I look forward to next year. I hope we can get the word out in time to recruit more volunteers. I think I was the only one from my radio club to participate. I'll be talking it up!
A couple of points of feedback: 1. I felt silly being there at 6:00 am, alone with the truck when nobody else but traffic control showed up until almost 8:00. Likewise staying until the sweepers came by even though the water/mile captains left over an hour before and the volunteers dribbled away in small batches. 2. If at all possible, the mile-mark/clock should be closer to the water/medical station. Even when we finally found the clock's intended position (no line in the street!) it was six or seven blocks away.

Need to Remind ALL ARO's to Bring and Use earphones to this event OR any event that they may work where there are a crowd or music.

Set-up instructions
-Went very well for a first-time Ham Radio Operator.
-Knowing where the "outside" of the course was made egressing a snap at the end of the day.
-Map was very clear and easy to find.
Time Clock
Nobody showed up to install or monitor the clock. The early-setup volunteers set it up, I helped them synchronize, and it worked fine all day. We ate the Time Clock Keepers sandwiches…
Partnership with the Mile Marker Captain
-By being proactive (and eager to help) with the Captain's needs (getting more cups throughout the day/setting up Time Clock/Advising of StreetSweeper location, etc), I found that she delegated more logistics/follow-up responsibility to me. She could have easily called the Coliseum via cell-phone, but allowed me to coordinate via radio. A good example of where Ham Radio fits in.
-I was able to advise her of where StreetSweeper was so she could stay open, but ramp down at same time. Mile 18 was not a late close station.
Radio Calls throughout the day
-I was expecting to sign in, be quiet, and sign out throughout the day
-It was a great idea to have frequent roll calls because it gave everybody an opportunity to speak on the radio and gave us all an idea on what was needed with our sister Mile Markers.
-I was able to proactively assist mile 17 and 19 with cups because I heard their status.

Terry always wanted to know if there were any incidents on the course. He also wanted to know the position of the leads (wheels, women & men) until they came in. I tried asking the shadow net control to query the mile net control for the info and give me periodic updates. That did not work, so I hung out on the mile net listening to provide status. While I kept the shadow net control informed when I left, I lost touch with what the other shadows were up to, and I was concerned that no one could get a message to me.

Had a "little" problem getting onto the race course to get to the water station. The DOT person would not let me through, even after showing the Pass. Called Net control and gave Ted her unit designation, he contacted DOT, they notified her, and she let me through without incident. We even said "hello" to each other as I walked to assist in starting the clock. My water captain communicated with me via cell phone and that worked fine. Looking forward to next year!