Comments from the 2008 Los Angeles Marathon

Thank you for another great experience. The professionalism of the net control and all the operators really impressed me. It seems to get better every year. I really enjoyed working the marathon again this year. It was great.

At this year's event, I noticed a sharp improvement made by the Marathon organizers regarding the timely delivery of logistics. The Mile Captain never ran out of help or supplies. This made her job much easier - and mine much easier as well. Police and fire presence had also remarkably increased from last year's event. LAPD was frequently patrolling on foot and on bike from the wee hours of the morning until about 15:00 hours. The Marathon wouldn't be the Marathon we know if it weren't for the Whimsical Clock. Of course, it didn't work when asked. However, the clock operator eventually set it straight (after three resets, I may add). Last but never least, the mile-net control operators did an outstanding job and rose to the challenges, as they do every year.

Yes, it was a good day, and I gained Net experience just by monitoring the professional Mile Net operator.
Things that volunteers should know:
1. You may not find your mile right away; in fact, it may take more than an hour.
2. Be flexible. The printed location may not match the actual location; in fact, it may be no where near it.
3. Bring earplugs and headphones because you may be stationed across the street from a bandstand and not be able to hear yourself think, much less hear the radio when the bands are playing.
4. Be a bit forceful with your communication to the "border guards" if you need to pass (especially to walk past) to get to your station.

This was my first time doing this event and I just wanted to say that I am very impressed with you and your team's organizational skills. I had a great time and learned a lot about procedures and the interaction between the radio support and the other groups involved in this event.

It seemed to me that the radio nets were the best organized part of the Marathon. From workable back-up channels to having lunches waiting for the operators, it went very smoothly. My access credentials worked every time they were needed, and the other volunteer groups seemed to really appreciate our presence and assistance.

... with my race packet in hand I could quickly look up the answer ( Eg. What time does the race start? What time will we set up the water station? Who's in charge? What do you do with this clock? Where are the bathrooms?) We also often would just point out who the station captain was as she did not have anything that made her stand out in the crowd.
Suggestion #2: next year please do not print out the assignments in white on a gray background. Your original may have been in bright colors and stood out, but the white on gray which contained some of the most important information was more difficult to read especially for folks my age.
Everyone seemed to have a great time but as I listened I was amazed at how much traffic was for questions that could have been answered by simply reading the packets and hand-outs we had received at the orientation meeting. Also there were some questions that the asker could have answered by themselves with a little thought: Someone drove thru the barriers. what should I do? Pick up the barriers and put them back in place- there really isn't anything else to do.
I learned a lot, my confidence in my ability to work with my radio increased and I had a great time.

Yes, I had a fun time. Definitely, put me down for next year!

Overall, I really enjoyed the day. Recommendation for the Shadow Net Control to do a role-call of all shadows at the beginning of the controlled net and maybe a couple more times through day.
Too much airtime taken up on MileNet to resolve a radio programming problem -- recommendation that each radio must be certified before race day.

Our post went very smooth. Once again we had very good support from LAPD as well as LA City Fire "misting" the runners and checking on any runners who seemed to be having difficulties. We didn't have to request transport for any drops or medical problems. We even had clock starters show up and set up the clock... bit late and had to help get it started at the 6 minute mark but they did their job and stuck around to help the water station.

In a noisy area, it helps to have a pair of quality headphones, instead of just a standard headset or earphone.

I had a great time and will be doing it again next year.

Several stations had:
() low audio: simply not talking close enough to the mic.
() radios in "WIRES" mode, causing their Yaesu radio to send a DTMF digit at the beginning of every transmission. This causes the repeater to mute audio for one second, so the first second of their transmissions were being blocked.
() intermittent speaker mics or boom headsets
() stuck mics: I counted at least 4 incidents, all on the Mile Net.
Next year, we should get EVERYONE to BRING THEIR RADIOS AND SPEAKERMICS/BOOM MICS TO THE MEETING(S), regardless of what net they will be on so that all the equipment can be checked at the meeting.

This was my first time doing radio communications at the marathon. I had a great time.I was truly amazed how efficient and well organized it was. Amateur radio group really helps resolve glitches.

Thanks for the opportunity to work with a very fine bunch of people, it was great.

The med net should have roll call on a regular basis. While the net is quiet most of the time, at least once an hour net control should know if we are alive or dead.