In 2018 we were given the “key” to revamp the JB Sag Operations.
This SAG Operation is as the name indicates; Support And Gear, consisting of;
- Roaming Coordinator,
- 2 Transport Vehicles (one with nurse), and
- Bike Repair Vehicle.
Traditionally, the coordination was centralized at Race HQ, with little focus on Racer Services and a cumbersome distant untimely coordination due to cumbersome lines of communications.
In 2018 we re-designed the SAG Operations by equipping all vehicles with a VHF DMR radio network on commercial frequencies. Over the years it has become more and more difficult to recruit hams for the task. There may be a litany of reasons for the ham exodus from the event in general. Thus in 2018 I changed the comm system from ham to commercial frequencies. This allowed us to use ex racers as our volunteers. Their familiarity with bicycles and the course gave us a great edge of previous efforts.
The SAG Team consists of 3 vehicles – 1 coordinator and 2 transports. The end of race SAG also has a nurse onboard. Granted, an ambulance is also trailing the pack for much of the race. The designated end of race vehicle is a hospital security vehicle, but unfortunately is not a part of our comm system. In 2019 this caused premature opening of some intersections controlled by police.
The SAG Team coordinator and forward vehicle floats ahead of the tail end to cover about a quarter of the race course. A Bike Repair Vehicle is also included in our comm system as of 2019 and we can coordinate best service coverage from bike repair to recovery and transport.
The difference in a local floating coordination from a central coordination is the ability to rapidly adapt to the actual conditions. As a result we have better distribution of SAG units and more Bike Repair Requests. As a result there has been a steady increase in requests for service and support.
Unfortunately our efforts and success have not increased the need for ham radio, but we are always open for openminded (ham radio) communicators to join our team.
At the end of the day we are using our knowledge and radio communications to support a charity!