Operators Needed for Baker to Vegas Event

Submitted by Ken – KA6KEN – My wife (Lena – no call sign), is a Deputy DA for Santa Barbara County. Her colleagues at the DA’s office participate in an annual event called “Baker to Vegas”.  As I understand it, this is a relay (foot) race that is 120 miles long, covers about four counties, two states, and 6500 square miles, and elevations from 470′ to 5495′.  There is no cell service on about half of the course.

They have a need for radio communications amongst their five “shuttle vehicles” and the “follow vehicle”, and, ideally, their coordinator (home base) in Las Vegas at the end of the run.

Communications over this distance is quite a challenge.  There are two closed repeater systems on Potosi (Vegas) and Turquoise (Baker), however, this still doesn’t cover the entire race.  I’m told by the frequency coordinator, Jeff Lee (KF6NXQ), that some
ham clubs and RACES/ACS units use the race as their annual “exercise” so they get real fancy with equipment, trailers, temporary repeaters, lots of people, etc.

Is this something anyone in the club has had experience with, and is there any interest in trying to support our local DA’s office?  They have to have their frequency coordination in by February 2 and the race is on March 25 and 26 so this is very last-minute, but I’m interested in seeing if there is interest, even if not until next year.

Because it is so late, this year they will likely have to rent commercial radios that use the MRA trunking system that probably cover 70-80% of the course.  The group supplying this system has permanent repeaters on Potosi and Turquoise and they bring out temporary repeaters at Ibex Pass and at the California/Nevada state line to support the race.  I have no idea how well this system works, and/or if the hams can do better.

Jeff tells me that San Diego County RACES puts out 30 people and supports six teams.  They use a combination of simplex and repeaters and mostly 50-watt mobile radios.

Here is a link: bakervegas.net.  I also have a power point that Jeff put together detailing the various means of radio communications (and there are a LOT used in the race… also including ham HF, CB, GMRS, MURS, satellite phones, etc.) which I can supply if anyone wants a copy.

As an aside, they also have a full-blown private APRS system that will be tracking all of the runners (via the follow vehicles) which will be displayed on findyou.com.  That said, each team has to supply their own APRS beacons if they want to participate.

Contact Ken – KA6KEN if you’re interested!

Post expires at 11:00pm on Friday March 24th, 2017 but will still be available in the archives.

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About Brian K6BPM

President, Santa Barbara Amateur Radio Club 2016-Present

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